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Toyota Sienna Maintenance and Repair (2003 earlier)



  • steine13steine13 Posts: 2,411
    "'99 Sienna CE;323,000 km (no problems)"

    So whatchoo need a manual for?

    '98 LE
    '03 CE
    I'm in a rut
  • bmwx5bmwx5 Posts: 16
    We currently have a 1999 (5/1999) Sienna van XLE with 60600 miles. The van has been problem free until 2 weeks ago when we had a check engine light ON while driving and as we had an appointment for 60K service it was dropped at the dealership. Initially the diagnosis indicated celluloid failure, then we were told torque failure and then yesterday the transmission itself. Now this would be a big dent on the budget as the transmission ($4200) and torque ($1600) etc. and as it is just 600 miles over the warranty I am trying to see what the dealership can do apart from the 'goodwill compensation' as this is our 3rd toyota.
    But reading thru few forums here as well as it appears that there are many owners who have experienced identical problems at or near 60K miles some even earlier. I had been maintaining the van thru the same dealership (e.g. 15K,30K,45K service) and I donot tow boats etc. so there is no abuse as claimed occasionally. I think there is a real issue here with the transmission. How come so many have the identical issues at or near 60K miles.

    Thru the forums I gathered that few cases were reported at NHTSA site as so many cannot be wrong.

    We are disappointed too in the premature failure of the transmission as we believe this transmission problem is either a manufacturing or design defect.

    Does any one had similar experience and could they get any results from the toyota national office.
  • yamanyaman Posts: 113
    bmwx5-I am starting to think that transmission problems seem to occur on most if not all minivans.We had a windstar which was well known for transmission problems.Chryslers problems are well known as well plus I understand Honda was having a lot of issues with the Odyssey.I am no car maven but I wonder if it is just that these things are bigger and heavier than cars and the transmissions are just prone to fail because of that.
    We have 50k on our Sienna and have had the transmission fluid replaced every 15k miles as insurance.If that will be effective down the road who knows.Hopefully Toyota will step up in your case-seems insane that right after your warranty expires your transmission goes.Good Luck.
  • bmwx5bmwx5 Posts: 16
    reply to Yaman: Thanx and I agree but this is so un-usual (i think) well for now I got a split on the total cost (as they claim warranty expired), but still has to pay the half. My suggestion would be to take an extended warranty if possible to 100K if you plan to drive for few more years - as you never know.
  • 6sense6sense Posts: 2
    I got a 2002xle and experiencing this type of noise(woobling/humming)started @7000mi.This is noticeably at the speed of 28 to 25 upon releasing gas pedal w/out steeping on brake.The dealer checked the vehicle but cant fix it,ive already spend three days without result.first,they said of cleaning the brake.Second time the master mechanic said about the bearing.Third time said it is the tire so they changed it, still same brand (affinity)
  • bobbya2bobbya2 Posts: 35
    in USA. I presently have 4 vehicles with transmission problems: 1) '89 caravan, 2) '90 Honda Accord, 3)'93 saturn SL2 4)'95 Windstar.
    I also had '84 Astro & '82 Dodge Ram cargo Van with Transmission & Engine problems plus many other problems.
    Up until recently I would consider buying domestics because of their bigger size & it supported Local Work force.
    Whenever I went to Transmission shops, I would find chryslers, Fords and very few GMs and don't recall imports.
    But based on my 1990 Honda Accord transmission problem which dealer incredibly replaced in 30 days & below 500 miles, I have come to
    Conclusion that transmission problem is Design & Manufacturing Defect because my present car which was exchanged has transmission problem too.
    And I am sorry to say that even IMPORT Brands which use Transmissions & Engines Made in USA,
    hence have problems.
    Even on this Forum, I am sure we all will agree that Automibiles Made in Japan are better than USA. Although Honda, Toyota & others are making vehicles here for quota restrictions & many other reasons, the quality of Japan build is better and is why they still make their expensive Models in Japan.
    Unfortunately, like others have mentioned that Dealers call their problems Normal because they don't want to admit the problem exists and they cannot fix it either because they cannot fix it UNLESS company fixes the problem in transmission design & manufacturing.
    In my experience, the aftermarket transmission was better than the factory but even re-conditioned transmissions don't last long and are never same in driving as original & problem free transmissions.
    The main reason I still have those vehicles is I have a mechanic friend for past 10 years and I have never taken any vehicle to Authorized Dealers for service because as per my experience all have been like LEGAL LIARS & RIP-OFF SHOPS.

    Transmission & Engine is like a Heart & Soul of any Vehicle, and if they have a problem then the experience of Owning & Driving is completely Disastrous.
    I will continue on this topic next time.....Sorry gotta go
  • bmwx5bmwx5 Posts: 16
    I agree as said by bobbya2 "Transmission & Engine is like a Heart & Soul of any Vehicle, and if they have a problem then the experience of Owning & Driving is completely Disastrous."
    In fact we pay a premium to own these vehicles over others because of their reliability and safety. We needed the mobility and had to pick the van from shop with a new transmission but we are seriously debating whether to keep the sienna
  • storm11storm11 Posts: 38
    My brother in law has a 2001 XLE. Our families took a trip to the Smokey Mtns. in NC two months ago. On the way back, his XLE's xmission went out doing 75 mph. The van had 55K miles on it, so he was lucky for it to go before the 60K warranty. The tranny did need replacement. He got a remanufactured unit vs. a new one. Stranded him in S.C. for three days.
    Now, I'm not a proponent of Chrysler products, but my '95 Voyager with a 3.0 and 102K miles on it has been one of the most reliable vehicles I've ever owned. That 3.0 is a Mitsubishi motor, which I'm sure is why I've had such good luck. Most of Chryler van engine problems are with the 3.3 and the 3.8 which are manufactured, I believe, by Chrysler.
    So, there appears to be an obvious design flaw here that's disappointing a lot of Sienna owners that are out of warranty. It'll be interesting to see if the new 5-speed auto on the '04 will have similar problems.
    Hopefully, you will have luck getting relief from Toyota on this obvious flaw.
  • pmoskalpmoskal Posts: 25
    I am no plans in 'not keeping' my Sienna around for years to come. With all the experiences noted above about the Sienna's tranny problems, I think one solution folks is to protect yourself from the high expense of having to posibly replace it , especially once out of warranty. My current warranty is for 6 yrs/60 miles, whichever comes first. My 98 Sienna w/48K miles on it will hit the 6 year expiry next Feb. I am considering looking into a 'Used Car extended warranty' to cover myself, not just in case the dreaded 'Check Engline' light comes on , while in SC, but for other items such as power window motors.... I plan on keeping this vehicle for another 5 years so it may be in fact feasible to consider such as a warranty as 'piece-of-mind' protection.
    What is it with all these tranny problems on the Siennas...just the fact its a moving part...driving habits...too much towing...or does the darn fluid need more frequent changing...
  • My '98 75k Sienna had the engine sludge problem and Toyota fixed it for free in a one-time "Goodwill" gesture without any hassels. While I'm very grateful for this, has anyone else had their engine fixed? Has the repair lasted, or could the same thing crop up anytime, even if you change the oil every 3,000 miles?
  • mobilmommobilmom Posts: 10
    I have a 2000 Sienna that I've been thrilled with thus far. Presently, though, since my family has grown, I need to max out my van for carpool purposes and have found that the rear center seat belt is not a safe situation for a small child. It's not a shoulder belt, which is really what I need since four of the five kids are out of harnesses. Even as a lap belt, it doesn't retract and I've never felt comfortable with those locking clips provided by the car seat manufacturers. I can't believe that I'm the first person to have this problem. Does anyone know if Toyota has done anything to retrofit the seat to resolve this problem?
    Thanks, in advance, for your help!
  • jasdmwjasdmw Posts: 118
    2001 Sienna with a "jingling" sound over irregular roads, not rough or big potholes, etc., just not completely smooth. Sound comes from dash in front of driver, seems to come from left side of dash area. Sounds like change in your pocket, or maybe a washer or two hitting each other?? Anyone else experience this and have it fixed?

    Thanks for all replys.
  • scoti1scoti1 Posts: 676

    I don't know the answer to your question. I asked a question earlier about whether the engines in newer models had been fixed to prevent sludge and received no answer, so I have been trying to do some research. There is a very good resource for you right here on the Edmunds site. There is an archived discussion called "Engine Sludge/Oil Gelling Toyotas Customer Response". I found it by using the key word "sludge" in this site's search engine.

    I am sure when I read the sludge discussion I saw a reply stating that it is not supposed to be a one time deal as you were told. I think you are covered for the 8 years, no matter how many time your engine sludges, as long as you can prove some sort of reasonable maintenance.

    I have still not found the answer to my question. I have an opportunity for a fantastic deal on a used 2003. If the engine was not modified to prevent sludge and because the 8 year policy only covers through 2002, I could be out of luck should this problem arise. Anyone know if the engines were fixed in 2003?
  • bmwx5bmwx5 Posts: 16
    As you know the dealership installed a new transmission at 60600 miles . Does anyone know how many years of warranty one gets after that? 'will it be for next 5yrs / 60000 miles or otherwise ? Any info is helpful.
  • deepandeepan Posts: 342
    From what i remember the engines affected were 98-01 (194hp 3.0). The PCV was "modified" and the new 3.0 is a VVTi engine cranking out 210hp (02-03).

    The warranty is for 8 yrs if sludge is the reason but am not too sure whether it covers the 02-03 engines. Since the sludge topic surfaced in early 01 and died in late 01 i would assume everything has been solved. We have a 00 and have had no issues.
  • deepandeepan Posts: 342
    it most likely will be one yr or some mileage whichever comes first. you will NOT be getting anywhere near 5 yrs IMO. at 60k youre probably out of the origial warranty.
  • Is it possible to buy an extended warrenty on a Sienna from Toyota after you have had the car a few years.

    I've experienced premature transmission failure on a Dodge minivan and would hate to have the same problem on my 2001 Sienna.

    Of course so far (2 years, 18,000 miles) the car has been flawless.
  • broncoguybroncoguy Posts: 39
    I believe most extended warranties simply require that the vehicle still be under warranty when it is purchased.

    So, when I decided to purchase my leased Blazer, I was able to buy a 7/100,000 warranty on it as it had only 30,000 with 6k more to go until the warranty ran out. I know that is how it worked with that warranty and I would expect that is the case for nearly all extensions.

    In my opinion, too many people buy them up front and wind up paying interest on them long before they ever use them.
  • deepandeepan Posts: 342
    you can buy an entended toyota care warranty before the 3yrs/60k kms or equivalent mileage is up. i bought mine a week before the 3 yr anniversary. Basically youre buying peace of mind.
  • scoti1scoti1 Posts: 676
    Deepan, from what I have read here on Edmunds, the sludge discussions were halted about this time last year (2002). Also, I have read that the 8 year sludge policy covers the engines in the 1997 through 2002 models. It is also clear to me that there was a major redesign of the 2004 engines. It seems like the 2003's may be caught between the two -- not covered under the 8 year policy and prior to the major engine redesign in the 2004's. I am beginning to understand why I am being offered such a great deal on the 2003. It may not be worth it.
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