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Toyota Sienna Maintenance and Repair (2003 earlier)



  • jeproxjeprox Posts: 466
    what made u think u have an oil leak? did u see a pool of oil on the ground, oil on your engine, do you have to add oil every few days/weeks, etc.?

    i suggest that you try to find the source of the leak first before you take it to the dealer. sometimes, it could be as simple as excess oil not wiped off from the previous oil change and it just slowly found its way to the bottom of your engine or to the ground.

    symptoms/signs of sludge: your engine using up oil, blowing blue smoke, clumps of oil during oil change... to name a few.

  • I believe you can use strong stream when you wash
    your car point at brake caliper to wash the dust
    away it might help
  • My brand new symphony has the same problems. I think it's the design problem. I do not think replace it will solve the problem. I had to live with it unless there will be some kind of recall.
  • to jeprox: can you give me some tips on how to clean and adjust the Sienna brakes? In regard to cleaning, is this a matter of using air, vacuum, or water to clean them ? And regarding the adjustment part, what is involved in that task? Thanks.
  • jeproxjeprox Posts: 466
    sure i can give you some tips but just remember that it would be better if you read the service manual first before doing any of this.

    to clean: remove wheels and rear drums. as much as possible, try not to blow coz the dust is harmful if you inhale it. best way to clean is to use those canned brake cleaner or use a wet/dry vacuum and suck all the dirt. i would stay away from using water coz this may cause rust and parts seizing up on you.

    to adjust: you need a flat head screwdriver. remove the rear drums. at 12 o'clock position, you will see this "starwheel" that's pushed against the brake shoes at both ends. u need to turn the "starwheel" down (if i remember correctly). you can only turn it one way and this will expand your shoes. when you adjust the starwheel, you use the screwdriver and turn it about 2-3 clicks at a time. if you do it too much, you won't be able to re-install the drum and u need to back off the shoes! if this happens, there's a clip that locks the starwheel in place - lift the clip slowly and rotate the starwheel backwards. each time you adjust the startwheel, install the drum and turn the drum to see if it will rotate freely. you want to adjust it so that when you turn the drum by hand, it will turn only about half way or one full turn and it will stop by itself. if the drums rotate freely, it means you need more adjustment.

    there's a rubber plug on the drum. when you install the drum, make sure the rubber plug is not sticking out. if it is, you have to remove the drum and re-position it.

    do all this on the other side and test your brakes and you're all done! no need to adjust front disc, they adjust automatically.
    when you're done adjusting, your parking brake will be higher as well

    goodluck. job should take you an hour at the most
  • jeprox Sep 17, 2002 1:47pm
    To jeprox: thanks for the tips on adjusting the drum brakes. Your advice is just how I remember doing it when I helped my Dad. He was a machinist for the railroad; he made custom brake adjustment tools (at the rail shop) for each of his cars. However, I don't remember having to remove the wheel from the car to adjust the brakes. I recall that there was a little opening on the inside of the wheel and you inserted the adjustment tool through that opening and turned the star wheel in that manner, turning the wheel occasionally to check for brake tightness.
    What about when it's time to change the disc pads? I have a service manual for a '96 Corolla but not one for the Sienna. I'll just check and see if the calipers look the same, and follow the Corolla manual.
  • jeproxjeprox Posts: 466
    i've never tried adjusting from the rear of the drums so i can't tell you if you can do it on the sienna or not. i know some cars, you can do that/ some you cant.

    since you are cleaning the brakes so it would make sense to remove wheel/drum and then adjust. i always remove the wheels and drums to adjust.

    i haven't replaced the pads yet but from what i saw on the manual, it looks fairly easy. looks like you remove a few bolts and swing up the caliper and out comes the pads. doesn't look like you need to remove the whole caliper.
  • rward99rward99 Posts: 185
    The little opening you're talking about is long gone. Your description of the adjustment is correct, they just don't make them that way any more. (Thank God for that improvement) I remember having to do that on a '58 Chevy, my first car. It was that way on each wheel. If you were just a little off on any one of them your steering was affected when you applied the brakes. I still have the brake adjusting tool in my tool box.

    Now that 'star wheel' has a self adjuster built into it. You adjust it so that the drum just barely fits over the linings. Backing up will adjust the brakes automatically.
  • Finally gone on mine. Might be worth sharing this with guys with the same problems. For the first time in my life, I took my vehicle, Sienna in this case, to Midas. So far, bye,bye, annoying noise.
  • I went to the dealer last weekend to have an alarm installed for my 03' Symphony. According to them they don't have any available security alarm yet for this model, they said that they have to check it first. I ask them if they can just use the '02 alarm that they installed on the same models yet they told me that it is different.
  • We bought our van new, no problems until now. We have a whining noise that starts at 20 mph and progressively gets louder as speed increases.

    We have ruled out tire noise, sticking caliper and wheel bearings. Three places have told us it is something in the transmission.

    We are reluctant to take it to the dealership before finding out what is wrong with the car. I have had experiences with taking my camery to get a recall done on the stirring wheel and 3 hours later getting the car back with a 3 page list of what is wrong and how much it will be to replace...

    I have been reading archives of this board for 2 days now and I do find this board inlighting and confusing at the same time.

    From what I have read, we either have a transmission problem, torque converter, alternator or fan belt. We are over our warranty and hoping that toyota will fix what ever is wrong. Looking for advise on how to go about problem. I have called Toyota warranty department and have been given a claim number and the name and number of the person that I need to talk to in the warranty department in the local dealership where we bought the van from.

    Now what, I do not want to go into the dealership empty handed.

  • Since I got my 02 Sienna, I occasionally hear a soft clunk under the front area, driver side. I hear it sometimes when I go over bumps or ruts.
    When I took it to my dealer they said not to mind it much, as it is just a "rubber bushing" issue. I asked a second dealer and they replaced my front left strut and adjusted the toe-in, because they said it was noisy. But now I notice the clunk is still there and my steering wheel is slightly off center already.
    I am now hesitant to take the van back to the dealer beacuse I am worried that they might make more replacements and adjustments(!) on the van, that probably are not related to the problem.
    Anybody had a similar experience.
  • deepandeepan Posts: 342
    there was a TSB on earliar siennas regarding the front struts.
  • Believe rear brakes self adjust when using the emergency brake....not backing up....on the Sienna.
  • jeproxjeprox Posts: 466
    i'm not 100% sure but i don't think i've seen any notes on the sienna shop manual that the rear brakes for are self-adjusting. i did see the book explaining how to adjust the rear brakes using the starwheel.

    i've had my van for 3yrs. now. the parking brake kept going further down until i adjusted my brakes, then i only need to step on it for a few clicks.
  • spgrspgr Posts: 23
    I was about to post a question about a break squeak that I hear just before my Sienna goes to a complete stop when I noticed PIUSJUDE's post. PIUSJUDE what did you do to stop the squeak? I scrolled up some messages on the list but couldn't find the answer.
  • I have a 99 Sienna LE that was purchased used. I received only one remote and it does not work all the time, even with a fresh battery. The remote is shaped like a kidney and has three buttons; red, green, and black. The alarm has remote start and it looks like a aftermarket product installed at the dealership. I can buy a remote at a local dealer for $30.00, but they will not give me the programming information, they charge an extra $50.00 to program. Does anyone know the programming sequence or the brand name this alarm might be?

  • jeproxjeprox Posts: 466
    if the alarm is aftermarket, it could be any brand and not every brand have the same programming sequence. if it's a toyora OEM alarm, you may have to pay the dealer unless someone can get you the OEM programming codes.

    look on the back of the remote to see if there is a model number or brand of the alarm or if your windows still have the alarm stickers with the brand name on it.

    if not, crawl under the dash and look for the alarm "brain" which is usually strapped near your steering. that little black box will have the brand name and model number. get it and look on the internet for the owners manual. manufacturer would usually have the manual available for download and you may be able to order remotes as well at a cheaper price!

  • SPGR,

    Took it to Midas for brake pads replacement.
  • Hi, everyone. I have Sienna CE 1999. Just about a month ago I did 30000.00ml service at Keyes dealership. A week after front of the car (steering wheel) start to shake little by little, more at slow speed 20-30 ml/hr. I went to tire place to check the tire balance but it was fine. They say that car is getting this shaking because of incorrect air pressure in tires & now looks like I have to get 4 new tires. On the dealer they say that tires were properly rotated & it is not manufacturer problem. Did any one experienced same type of problem. Is it possible that tires were changed or something wrong with chassis?
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