4th-gen (2021-) Sienna: Removing 2nd-Row Seats

This article is a collection of information and resources for removing the second-row (middle row) seats on the 4th-generation Toyota Sienna (2021-).

The Situation

2nd-row seats of the previous Sienna generation (2011-2020) were easily removable by pulling a latch. However, the 4th-gen Sienna’s 2nd-row seats are not removable by the user, at least according to Toyota. This is in part because there are now SRS airbags inside the backrests, as seen in this crash test video.

Instead of a quick-release mechanism, the 2nd-row seats are now secured with 4 bolts hidden behind plastic trim pieces. Additionally, the seat airbag connector must be disconnected.

The Procedure

This video shows the process for removing the 2nd-row seats, which involves disconnecting the 12V battery to depower the airbags, prying off seat trim, disconnecting the airbag and seat heater/seatbelt connectors, and removing 4 bolts.

These instructions are focused on the captain chairs, but the bench seat has a similar procedure.

Written Instructions

7-Seat (captain's chairs)8-Seat (bench seat)3rd Row
RemovalLeft or RightLeft
Right
Left
Right
InstallationLeft or RightLeft
Right
Left
Right
Tools Used

I’m linking both the bare minimum tool you need just by itself, and alternatively a better value set if you plan on keeping a good set of tools for DIY automotive work.

Minimum neededExpansion set or more versatile upgradePurpose
10mm socket1/4"-drive socket setTo loosen/tighten the battery terminal bolt
1/4"-drive ratchetFlex-head 1/4"-drive ratchetTo drive the 10mm socket
17mm socket1/2"-drive socket setTo loosen/tighten the seat bolts
1/2"-drive socket extension1/2"-drive socket extension setTo reach the recessed seat bolts
1/2"-drive ratchetMore compact 1/2"-drive ratchet if you have a torque wrench and/or impact wrenchTo drive the 17mm socket
Pry toolInterior trim tool kitTo pry off the seat trim
1/2"-drive torque wrenchAdditional 1/4"-drive torque wrench if you don't trust "hand-tight" for battery terminal eitherTo ensure seat bolts are re-tightened to proper torque

(Using these Amazon affiliate links makes me a small commission at no cost to you.)

The Problem

Once one or more seats are out, if the battery were to be reconnected and the car started, you would see this warning:

The car knows that one or more of its airbags are missing, so it complains. It stays on the gauge cluster screen and also appears on the infotainment screen. Fortunately, it does not beep continuously. Some Toyota dealership employees have claimed that all other airbags stop working in this situation. While this has not been verified, it’s wise to err on the side of caution to avoid a “cry wolf” situation where a false positive masks a real, unrelated airbag problem (e.g. you couldn’t tell the difference between the 2nd-row seat airbags being unplugged and the driver airbag actually malfunctioning).

The Solution

You can use an airbag simulator to resolve the airbag warning message and ensure that the SRS airbag system is working normally. I developed one specifically to fit the Sienna’s airbag connector.

You can buy these airbag simulator dongles from my web store.

FAQ

QuestionAnswer
How can I remove the seat carriages or rails?The process is extremely involved. While the outboard rails are bolted top-down, the inboard rails are bolted from under the floor. I haven't done it myself, but here's Toyota's instructions. An alternative way is to cut the inboard rails and slide the carriage out of the opening.
Do I need airbag simulators to remove 3rd row seats?No, because the 3rd row seats don't contain airbags. The white connectors going to those seats is for the seat belt sensors only.
Does it work for [another model]?Only if your vehicle has the exact same yellow connectors as shown at the top of this page. If in doubt, email to brad@bradshacks.com:
• vehicle model & year
• what modification you're doing to the vehicle
• which seat or airbag is being removed
• photos of the connectors
Will this void my vehicle's warranty?It depends on your country. Under 15 U.S. Code § 2302 enacted by the Magnuson–Moss Warranty Act, the manufacturer cannot deny warranty service because of a user modification unless they can prove that the mod caused the problem for which the user is demanding repair. For example, Toyota may not refuse warrantying the engine when you've modified the seats, since those are unrelated. Nevertheless, to avoid unnecessary questions from your dealership, consider removing the dongles and putting the seats back when you bring it in.
Does the airbag warning mean ALL airbags are not working? Does removing 2nd-row seats also disable front airbags?Airbag Control Modules are not designed to disable all airbags when some airbags are disconnected. However, since the airbag warning message doesn't specify WHICH airbag is malfunctioning, it's dangerous to assume there is no other airbag problem whenever the warning light is on. Using an airbag simulator for the removed seat filters out these false positives and allows you to detect when there is a real malfunction.
Does using this airbag emulator affect my other airbags?No, because the airbags are connected in parallel to the SRS ECU and activated independently.
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Chris Saeger

Great work on the dongle. Just curious. Do you think the seats could be reinstalled facing the rear? Thinking that facing rear they could be moved very far forward and the seat could serve as a support to a bed platform.

Jerry M

I just tried this on the 2022 Sienna. They now have a third plug (see photo) below the white & yellow. With this unplugged the warning light comes on regardless of whether the yellow plugs is connected to the module or seat. Any suggestions?

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JCP

@Brad Ling consider changing the title of your posts and videos, the bypass doesn’t work for anything but the 2021 Sienna, not all 4th gen or (2021-). Nice work on the hack, it just doesn’t work for 2022.

Kristen

Just removed the second row seats in my 2022 Sienna LE and used 2 of your original airbag dongles (didn’t need the new ones for the upper trim level). Everything worked great and I really appreciate the clear step by step instructions. Thank you so much!!!

Last edited 2 years ago by Kristen
Billie

How can I remove the console between the drivers & passengers seat in my 2022 Sienna please? I need to be able to move to the back while staying inside my vehicle. I’m sure others do also.

Chris

I’m just a little bit confused how many plugs do I need if I want the remove 2 second row seats? 2 round and 2 square plugs right?

Johanna Ammentorp

Is it possible to remove a middle bench seat

Patrick Wilson

Can the third row seating also be removed for extra storage purpose? 2022 sienna. Thank you

Maribeth

Thanks for the tutorial and dongle soluton. Can you remove the rail carriages for a flat surface?

Last edited 2 years ago by Maribeth
Mark Mayeske

Hi Brad, Do I need just 2 round dongles if removing both middle row seats on my ’22 Sienna LE (8 passenger), or do I also require 2 square dongles?

Thanks!
Mark

Michelle Simon

I bought 2 dongles before removing the railing of a 2022 Sienna LE. It did take away the air bag message. But now that the railings have been removed the airbag message is back. How can I by pass the message now?

Rose-Ann

We had given up on getting a new Sienna van but after watching this are slowly coming around to reconsider.

Jay

Any update on yhe ottoman conversion? I have a 2022 Sienna with 3 plugs. I bought the ottoman but it only have 2 plugs. Do you know what is the 3rd plug for? My middle seat is not power nor heated. Thanks

Patrick H Dwyer

Hello
i cannot get the key fob to be recognized by the van for power doors and locks after making this change.?

Jay

Got the 2 square for my 2022 XLE today. Thanks for the fast shipping. Works great , no more annoying SRS warning

Faris

Hi Brad, thanks for this, I ordered a set online recently, and am writing to ask you to expedite getting the order out since we are leaving on a trip in 7-10 days and need to figure out the new camping set-up. Thank you! –Faris Keeling, Duluth MN

Faris

Brad, if the 2022 has 3 plugs per seat, why does the table recommend only 2 plugs per seat? Is one of them unnecessary? Thanks. –Faris

Susan Dickerson

I just got my 2022 Toyota Sienna Platinum XLE. I told the Toyota dealership I needed to have the 2nd row seats removed (as I am not savvy or strong enough to get under those seats). They charged me $225. As I drove out the dealership, the error message came… Read more »

Rich Payne

So we disconected the battery and plugged the square dongle into the yellow connector. We still have warning messages. Any advice?

Armando C

Hi Brad and others,

Is anyone able to verify if these dongles work for the 2023 models?

Frank

Brad I have a 2023 Sienna XLE hybrid.
I removed the seat and plugged in the round dongle but still have the error code. There is two more square connections left. Do I need additional dongles? If so which one?
Frank

Justin Liss

I have a 2023 XLE, and there are 3 connectors in the captains chairs that have to be unplugged. It seems 2021-22 models have just 2 connectors and 2023+ models have 3 connectors. Do you know if the current 1 square + 1 round connector solution works for this? Is… Read more »

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Susan Kirk

I ordered the airbag simulator dongles and would like to know if there a way to remove the rail carriages for the middle row seats on a 2022 Sienna?

James

Out of curiosity, are you able to fit a 4×8 sheet of plywood inside the Sienna once the second row is removed and have the trunk close fully? I know the Odyssey can carry a 4×8 sheet, but I’d really prefer the better mileage on the Sienna.

Jake

Assuming most people do this to gain extra space, it would be helpful if you posted interior dimensions after taking out the seats. Thanks!

BRUCE

Hi. I just received the “solution” for the air bag issue for a 2021 Sienna Hybrid. I have removed the 2nd row seat behind the driver and also removed the rail system. The battery has been reconnected and now that the “solution” has arrived I’m ready to install it. Two… Read more »

Jason

I am looking for guidance on the left seat 8 passenger. I want to install the ottoman seats. Are all the seats the same and just mounted to the bench seat dolly

Ilya Perelman

Toyota Sienna 2023. 8 sits.
Disconnected battery, connected round dongle, connected battery back. Now have warning light about airbag.
I didn’t remove left double sit yet (where I connected round dongle).
What should I do?

Barbara

I can’t find anymore where buy twols .

O Correa

First, thanks for this valuable information and can see that fellow Sienna owners are in need / using it. Second, disappointed in Toyota designing/ engineering this unacceptable non removal of the middle seats with 2021 models forward! Third, deal breaker and sticking to my 2020 for now. Fourth, their AWD… Read more »

Anthony Phung

Will you make a bypass dongle that will allow us to plug in the seat and dongle and remove the seat with the battery still connected?

MICHAEL

Thank you thank you thank you. Now my 2023 Sienna XLE is a camper. Removed the center seats and plugged the dongles in. That was five days ago, all good since! The dealer I bought mine from, Edmark Toyota in Nampa, ID lied to me, saying the seats were removable.… Read more »

Michael Chen

Anyone know about that if I remove the 3rd seat on Sienna 2024 LE, do I need to put the resistor dongle in or not? Some video shows there are cables connected to the seats.