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Toyota Sienna Transmission Questions



  • s4f4ms4f4m Posts: 19
    Definitely ask for a NEW one. What is REMANS? It is remanufacturing of a used transmission...replacing only the broken components. There is still wear/tear on the non-replaced components.
  • I agree, this is horrible...I am getting bent out of shape because our 2002 Honda Odyssey at 89,000 miles needs a new transmission and I need to pay over $2k to get it fixed and having to fight with the dealer and corporate Honda to come down from trying to charge me the full $5k for the swap. In fact, during the time the Honda case manager was ignoring me, I started to research buying a 2008 Sienna to replace the Honda piece of junk, and here I see that brand new Sienna's with 500 miles are dropping transmissions, and some are on their second one by 3500 miles???? :confuse:
    What's going on? Used to be Odyssey's and Sienna's were the best of the best.
    Transmission failure is unacceptable. That's why we got the Odyssey back in 2001 and even had to pay $1k over the sticker at the time (and that was a good deal, since they were going for $2500 over...). We were after Honda reliability and quality. 20/20 hindsight, I should have gotten the Dodge Grand Caravan instead. :P
    My friend has an 05 Sienna AWD Touring model and so far has not mentioned any transmission issues.

    Now I will think about the Sienna some more (maybe that's why they are offering lifetime warranties, Toyota or their dealers know it's a problem), but definitely stay away from anymore Hondas. Maybe the Saturn Outlook or GMC Acadia are better alternatives.

    So the transmission fails and they replace it with the same transmission that fails again...seems like Toyota doesn't have any solution except to keep putting in replacements that will eventually fail anyways??? Sounds like Toyota is using Honda transmissions now. :lemon:
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    I have the 2008 Buying Guide from Consumer Reports right in front of me, and the specific score for transmission for every year, 2001 to 2006, on the Sienna is either "Better than Average" or "Much Better than Average".

    Any car can break, but your odds are better with a Sienna than with any other van.

    My 07 has been flawless.
  • Good point, Consumer Reports is a good guide, but it is still just a guide.

    Real life experiences that threaten the safety and well-being of a car designed to transport whole families is whole other story.

    Having a transmission go out within 500 miles is completely unacceptable.
    Where's the quality control?
    Where's the testing?
    Is it up to the buyer to be the guinea pig?

    There must have been a bad batch of transmissions or some kind of design flaw to cause this kind of premature failure (and then the failure of the replacement transmission? Ouch!)

    The transmission is the second most critical component, next to the engine, without it working properly, you are stuck on the side of the road.
    It's not like a bad power window switch, or a faulty radio knob.
    If the transmissions fails at just the right time and just the right place, people are going to get hurt.

    Obviously Toyota knows something is up with these vans.
    Otherwise why would the dealers so generously offer a lifetime or 100k warranty?

    During my price shopping, I was surprised to find these are going for $5k under the sticker with a $1000 rebate, which puts them at or way below invoice in most cases.

    Sign of the economic times? Slow sales? Or are they trying to unload them?

    I am not totally against Toyota, my sister-in-law has a Sienna with over 120k miles and no issues, and my best friend has a Sienna AWD Limited with no problems so far, that's why I was looking at them as a replacement for the Honda.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Tens of thousands come off the assembly line. One bad apple doens't ruin the batch. There will always be a few exceptions, even on a reliable vehicle. No vehicle is perfect, I doubt there ever will be such a vehicle.

    I'm sure they test samples, but not every one. Costs would skyrocket and you and I could not afford the van if they did.

    Overall van sales are way down, they used to break a million per year but are way down from that peak. GM and Ford abandoned the segment entirely. Crossovers are all the rage, so vans have to offer more utility and value.

    Smart folks step in and take advantage of that fact. Vans are better than ever.

    My Sienna makes 268hp and is quicker than sports cars were not too long ago, yet I've also hit a record MPG of 34.0. Carrying 5 people and cargo. I've never done worse than 21mpg (what crossover can claim that?).

    My van can carry 8 people or a sheet of plywood, has power doors on both sides, yet I paid only $25 grand, about $10 grand less than the average transaction price on a crossover.

    Sure, on rare occasions, they'll break down. There's a lot of complexity and things that could go wrong. Still, the odds are good, and like I said, vans are better than ever.

    Here's a bottom line, though: I got a price quote on a 7/100 bumper-to-bumper warranty direct from Toyota for just $880. So basically the manufacturer is betting that less than $880 of repairs will cover the entire van for that period, and even leave them room for profit!

    They basically put their money where their mouth is. Just get the warranty if you're concerned.

    PS Even Honda's scores for transmission reliability have improved recently (2004 and later).
  • mcase2mcase2 Posts: 160
    The problem started with the transition in manufacturing in 2007 - The stats your reading are irellevant
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Toyota still uses the U151E - 5 speed automatic in the Sienna.

    Are you saying there were significant design changes?

    I kinda of doubt it, given they had already started replacing those with the U660E 6 speed in other vehicles in their lineup.

    I believe the data is 100% relevant.
  • hause7hause7 Posts: 153
    The 5 Speed in the 07-08 Sienna's are the same as the 04-06. Consumer Reports rated it a very good transmission and i rarely hear about people who have problems with the transmission in the 04-06 MY. Our 04 has 72,205 miles on it and counting and the transmission still is like new.
  • vu2000vu2000 Posts: 58
    My brother has a 2006 Sienna LE with 46K miles and it runs perfectly. A few years back I sold my 91 Camry V6 with 155K miles(never had any transmission issue). I am sure Japanese cars are not infallibe, but they are way more reliable than any American brands I've owned in the past.
  • I still love obviously has been a small number of vehicles that have
    had this issue or I think we would be reading about it on a lot more forums....and a lot more on this forum. I'm fine as long as it does not happen again on the same vehicle, if it did then I would become more concerned....I did not get the lifetime warranty.
  • siennamisiennami Posts: 116
    I don't think the fact that someToyota dealerships are offering Lifetime Warranties is necessarily a red flag. I think that's simply to "keep up with the Jones's". Chrysler offers one; so does Toyota. I just find it amusing that these dealerships are advertising them as "exclusive" when obviously they're not. I don't think that there's some big secret Toyota is hiding about transmission problems. The Sienna is a very popular van in my hometown. Out of my scrapbooking group, there are six of us that drive them. I think that out of the thousands manufactured,yes, there are going to be some that have some problems. And, yes, when it's your problem, that's a pain in the butt. That doesn't mean it's a pain in the butt for everyone else, however. If you feel that the dealership is lying to you, then by all means pursue the truth and get them to fix your van, and not at your cost. But let's not make a broad generalization of the entire manufacturing company because a few people have posted here. Power sliding doors not working is a problem; that's why I choose not to have them (and I can't afford them!). Sliding doors freeze.... but sometimes, so did the doors on my VW Passat when I had to park it outside during the winter. That doesn't mean that Toyota and Honda as car manufacturing companies are the most terrible in the world. There are lemons in every car make.
  • jipsterjipster Posts: 5,345
    If you are having problems with your vehicle, would you sell it privately to dump your problems on another person?

    Yep. I'd provide them with maintence records... their choice.

    If I were selling a newer vehicle I would offer it at private sale. Like you stated, dealerships don't want to give you jack for your trade-in... much less than jack on domestics.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    I don't think these are very much related.

    One side may argue a long warranty is needed when people have no faith in the brand.

    The other might say a company offers one when they are confident in the product and truly believes they can afford to stand behind it without going bankrupt.

    But look at this simple example: even within brands, reliability varies. Yet those cars carry the same warranty.

    It's completely seperate.
  • mcase2mcase2 Posts: 160
    They changed the manufacturing plant - thats when the failures started - so the stats are irelevent because they apply to the transmissions which used to be made in Japan NOT the new failure prone ones made in West Virginia
  • mcase2mcase2 Posts: 160
    There are only an extremely limited number of people that contribute to this forum out of the millions of Sienna owners. Its probably a safe bet that dozens of complaints here represent thousands of failure on the road.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    What dozens? I've only seen a couple.
  • I own a 2007 Toyota Limited with 8250 miles. I have had it in to my selling dealer 3 times for the transmission. I'm sorry, but when I slow down to turn, go over a speed bump or otherwise make some change in speed, the transmission shouldn't be "searching" for a gear when I re-accelerate. The last trip to the dealer was after a complaint to Toyota and them setting up the meeting. The response? "Yes, we 've had lots of complaints about that...but Toyota hasn't given us any repair. We can reprogram the computer but that will last a couple of days and then it will be doing the same thing again". In other words...go pound sand because we're not going to do anything about your crappy transmission. I'm THROUGH with Toyota and this van is for sale. I'm sure I won't have any trouble selling a very low mileage Sienna with navigation/DVD etc. but what a load of garbage from Toyota. I'm totally disgusted.
  • siennamisiennami Posts: 116
    What do you mean "searching" for a gear? If you're talking about the slight hesitation you feel when you turn a corner, then yep, that is perfectly normal. Go to There is a long discussion given to this very same subject. I have learned to live with mine; it is a characteristic of the Sienna particular to the '07 model. If you had an '06, you wouldn't feel it at all, probably.... but then you also wouldn't have the bigger engine and be able fly when you need to, either! ;)
  • hansiennahansienna Posts: 2,312
    Expect AT LEAST $ 10,000 less for your Sienna than you paid based on the resale value I was quoted by a Toyota dealership used car manager when my 2006 Sienna had fewer miles on it than yours has. :sick:
  • I'm not surprised by your experience trying to sell your van back to your dealership. In my experience, Japanese cars have held their resale value better than domestics. However, I have found that NOT to be the case with minivans in general. SUVs & trucks always have done better than cars, followed lastly be minivans.

    I, too, have felt that slight hesitation when slowing down (especially when going down a hill) and then trying to reaccelerate. I just figured it was the vehicle. It typically only does it on one or 2 particularly hilly roads in my area, so I guess it isn't too bothersome for me since it isn't a regular occurrence I encounter.

    Despite my transmission problem within the 1st month of ownership, I can honestly say I am very pleased with my Sienna as well as my dealership. By contrast, my father owns a 4 year old Suzuki Verona which has under 36,000 miles on it. The engine needed replacing (per Suzuki dealership) but Suzuki corporate wouldn't do it...only rebuild it. Needless to say, they had his vehicle for 4 weeks before my dad threatened obtaining a lawyer & going to the local media, as the dealership & corporate fought about it. It is now having the same exact problem with fewer than 200 miles on the rebuilt engine.

    So, I am thankful that my dealership (& Toyota) stood by their vehicle.
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