The new automatic went in and worked perfectly. The engine got fully rebuilt. New crate short block direct from Toyota, heads rebuilt-surfaced/valve job/adjusted/stem seals. Entire engine re-gasketed with Toyota FIPG/OEM gaskets. New pretty much everything else on the front of the car. Wires, plugs, all three O2 sensors (Denso), IAC, Coolant Temp sensor, MAF, resealed injectors, OEM fuel filter. Brand new main TWC catalytic converter. Converted both the exhaust manifolds to 1998 Sienna California emissions spec (integrated warm-up cats), so now the car has a total of THREE catalytic converters.
Broke in the entire setup for 1,000 miles the proper way with varying RPMs, letting off gas to allow rings to seat, and occasional three-quarter throttle bursts, special break in oil for the first 500, then over to Mobil1. Tons of power, smooth, quiet. At idle she is so smooth you can’t even tell the van is on. Checked the entirety of the engine for vacuum leaks — nothing. Compression is strong across the board. Zero blow by.
However, I live in California, and — you guessed it — the van still failed the smog check. (Read More…)
Traversing the great state of Wyoming with hundreds of pounds of men, gear (including a Chairman Mao stencil) and snacks needs no fewer than 14 cupholders.
(Two cupholders were used for drinks, the rest were used for toy cars and various empty wrappers.)
Building a family car isn’t a trick. Rather, it’s a compromise between size and economy, comfort and capability, familiar and futuristic. Anyone can build a battleship, but moving it down the road at 25 miles per gallon requires some finesse.
This isn’t a story about the Littoral combat ship. Instead, it’s a story about three overweight men, eight hours to wonder aloud in a van in Wyoming about Nixon, road noise and absolutely no legal marijuana from Colorado crossing interstate lines. (Sorry to get your hopes up.) (Read More…)
This August, we will have a 23-year-old German au pair coming to live with us. She will be taking care of our three boys – ages 6, 4, and 1. I am looking for transportation for said au pair that fulfills the following criteria:
1972 Ford Carousel (photo courtesy: forum.chryslerminivan.net)
What is the deal with minivans? I was thinking the other day that as an outdoor person, minivan’s are perfect. They have lots of room for people and gear, AWD (in some cases), lots of roof space, and better MPG’s than an SUV. But apparently I can’t own one because they’re not cool. I could get a wagon though. Isn’t a minivan just a super-sized wagon?
Supposedly they should to able to hold six or seven.
But the truth is the buyers of these vehicles rarely have room for three these days.
See, I have dealt with hundreds of minivan buyers over the years as a small town car dealer and a writer here at TTAC. Nearly everyone I deal with considers no more than three minivans. To be frank, the majority won’t even consider two which is why Chrysler, Toyota and Honda minivans now control more than 88% of the North American minivan market.
What chance does the Nissan Quest have? Even after 20 years in the public eye?
Two weeks in a minivan with three kids? There but for the grace of god goes this childless 20-something. Luckily our man Karesh is made of sterner stuff, and was happy to put the 2011 Toyota Sienna through its real-world, families-are-no-place-for-the-weak paces. Here, in pictures, are some of his impressions.
My in-laws live in an Arkansas county that only received its first traffic light in the late 1990s. So it goes without saying that there’s no major airport nearby. Pay airfare for six then still need to rent a three-row vehicle and drive for a few hours? We simply drive the full 800 miles. Extend the route to include Nashville, Memphis, and Chicago, and could there be a better way to test the redesigned 2011 Toyota Sienna?