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Toyota Sienna - Converting from 7 to 8 passenger

frizz2112frizz2112 Member Posts: 84
edited March 2014 in Toyota
I have a 2004 Sienna Limited and I'm interested in converting it from its current 7 passenger setup to 8 passenger. For some reason Toyota only offers the 8 passenger setup in the lower trim levels, so we went with the 7 passenger setup. Now our family demands another seat, and I'd prefer not to buy a whole other vehicle just to gain a seat.

From what I can tell from pictures, I should be able to install a second row center seat unit between the existing second row captain's chairs if I can take the inside arms off the captain's chairs. I was wondering if anyone had any experience doing this. I assume I can get a center seat unit from my local dealer, but I wasn't sure about that either.

Any advice is welcome. Thanks!


  • ateixeiraateixeira Member Posts: 72,587
    There is no easy way to do that because the floorpans are actually stamped differently. The floor anchors are in different positions.

    We got the 8 passenger model and that limited what options we could get.

    It's funny how Toyota offers such a wide lineup yet they don't seem to carry exactly what any one buyer wants.

    You can't get AWD with the 8 passenger, either. And you're forced in to run flat tires. :mad:
  • frizz2112frizz2112 Member Posts: 84
    Crap, I didn't realize that. I was thinking that since the captain's chairs can be positioned in different places that they used the same anchor system for 7 or 8 passenger models.

    It looks like I might have to replace this vehicle after all. I love the Sienna, but Honda was smart enough to make 8 passenger seating available across the Odyssey line, so it's likely they'll get my business this time around.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Member Posts: 72,587
    Not really - you can't get the 8th seat in the base Ody LX, nor can you get it on a loaded Touring.

    With Honda, you get the 8th seat on the EX and EX-L models.

    I guess you could buy the "bridge" and put it on the other model, if it fits.
  • jchenirvinejchenirvine Member Posts: 7
    Hey frizz (or anyone else who has advice) - was wondering if you had any luck doing this? Found a GREAT deal on a Limited but like you, I need the second row bench. Any thoughts from anyone whether there is an easy to do this or do I need to pass on this deal? Thanks all!
  • frizz2112frizz2112 Member Posts: 84
    Unfortunately I didn't find a solution for this and we ended up simply making due with 7 seats. It wasn't worth the cost of buying a whole new vehicle, or trading into a lesser equipped vehicle to get 8 seats.

    I still think this is a strange omission; it would not be hard to design the floor to accommodate different seating setups so that any seating arrangement could be had at any trim level. A friend of mine has a Ford Expedition with the third row seat, and while the Sienna has it all over the Expedition as far as versatility, comfort, useable room, etc, it's amazing how often our families end up piling into his car simply due to that extra seat. Seems like a missed opportunity for Toyota and other manufacturers to me, and it wouldn't require changing the body of the vehicle at all.
  • jchenirvinejchenirvine Member Posts: 7
    I called a local Toyota dealer this morning who told me it was fairly easy to make the switch because they DO use the same anchors. Told me they could get me a bench for about $1500. I have heard in the past that it was hard to do so not sure what to believe now...
  • frizz2112frizz2112 Member Posts: 84
    Interesting. I wonder what they mean by "bench." The 8 passenger Siennas I've seen don't really have a "bench" in the second row per se, but three separate seats that can form a bench type seat. I was told by my local dealer that the floor stamping was different from the 7 passenger version and that this could not be done, so I'd be curious to hear what you find out.
  • cptpltcptplt Member Posts: 1,075
    the Honda 8th seat is for midgets or toddlers, we had a Venture with 8 seats and when GM gave up that market the Sienna was the only real choice as that Ody 8th seat is a total joke.
  • frizz2112frizz2112 Member Posts: 84
    I agree to an extent, but they're all probably a joke if you're talking 8 full sized adults. Often you have a few smaller kids in the mix, and that extra small seat makes the difference between everyone riding together or taking two vehicles.

    Either way, I hope some manufacturer wakes up to this. Most of the contenders in this segment have the room readily available; it's just a matter of reengineering the seating setup.
  • siennamisiennami Member Posts: 116
    How funny that this topic has come up right now! I just went to my local dealership to get one of my second seats (I have a 7 seater CE) moved over so that my "peeps" don't have to climb over each other to get to the third seat. I just took a look at the anchor points, and there's not really room for another seat that I can see, so I'd be very interested to see how that dealership can convert a 7 seater into an 8 seater unless they're taking out both of the captain's seats and replacing them with a bench seat (yuck!). One of the main reasons I first looked for a Sienna 7 years ago was because it had captain's seats in the second row.
    Let us know how that works out for you.
  • cptpltcptplt Member Posts: 1,075
    The middle row seats of the 8 seaters while clearly less wide than the "captains chairs" are still adequate for an adult and quite honestly, unless you are "oversized" they are more than adequate for adults on long trips. You lose out on elbow room but not much on seat bottom width. The hondas 8th seat is for people with very small bottoms! It would have been ok when my older kids were still kids and not teens who are as tall as I am now!
    My old 00 Ventures 2nd row 3 seats weren't bad either and in fact for a few years after our model year GM actually had some 7 seaters with that same 3 seat 2nd row and then they put 2 of those same seats for the 3rd row instead of a bench like most people have in the 3rd row or they had in our 8 seater.
  • jchenirvinejchenirvine Member Posts: 7
    I'm starting to think this CANNOT be done easily. Same dealership that told me if was easy referred me to Toyota customer service when I called a second time. When I called customer service the guy said Toyota does not recommend doing it as it voids the warranty (something about the side airbag configuration). I think I'll forget about doing this and either just get the 8 seater without the perks available only in the XLE or Limited or get another make that has 8 passenger capacity AND the luxury features. Very frustrating Toyota would design something like this...
  • ateixeiraateixeira Member Posts: 72,587
    You would have to cut holes in the floor pan, weld on new anchors, ... it's just not practical.

    7 seater owners might feel better to know that a center console will fit between the captain's chairs but not on the 8 seat model.

    So there're your revenge. ;)
This discussion has been closed.