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Toyota Sienna Maintenance and Repair (2003 earlier)

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  • The sludge issue is hard to believe but I think that is because we are afraid that it will happen to us and because we cant think of an explaination. One thing is consistant, that is all owners claim almost EXACTLY the same thing. This issue SUDDENLY appears (almost overnight), with smoke out of the exhaust. Often it is taken to the dealer where they are initially told, "it is bad gas or some BS like that), then when the dealer checks it out they get accused with being neglegent. Needless to say all owners claim to having their oil changed as specified by the manuals.

    1. If the oil is being changed, what could malfunction to cause the "Sludge".
    2. What is SLUDGE?! Is it decomposed oil that is adhering to the engine pan?
    3. Are the oil levels typically low when the smoke appears?? Or are they normal.
    4. Could it be faulty oil filters?
  • Although this excerpt is in response to boat engine sludge, the following info also applies to automobile engines:

    What is engine sludge and how is it formed?



    Sludge is a thick, jelly-like substance that is detrimental to the performance and life of
    your engine. Sludge obstructs oil passages and restricts oil flow. Once built up, it reduces
    heat transfer, increases the operating temperature and hampers engine operation. Sludge
    will lead to shortened engine life.

    Although the oil appears to be at fault, it is actually the victim of mechanical and chemical attack. The
    formation of sludge is a complex interaction of components. Each factor deserves attention.

    Soot

    Soot is fine powder that is a product of incomplete combustion. This carbon substance enters the
    crankcase with exhaust blow-by gases that escape past the piston rings. Since soot is a very fine
    powder, it thickens oil by a process called "soot loading." It gels the oil like a cake mix thickens milk.

    If your motor oil becomes excessively thick, there will be less oil circulated through the engine. Also,
    the oil will leave a thicker oil film on the engine parts, which prevents proper heat transfer. By
    remaining on the hot parts, the oil will burn and form deposits.


    Engine heat, a natural result of internal combustion, takes its toll on your motor oil. In the presence of
    air, oil undergoes a process called oxidation, which becomes more severe as the temperature
    increases. Oxidation thickens the oil and produces corrosive acids. Left unchecked, your oil would
    degrade into a tar-like mess. While you want your internal engine temperature above 210F to evaporate
    unwanted contaminants, above 250F the oil is more prone to oxidation. At temperatures of 300'F, this
    process occurs rapidly.

    As long as inhibitors are present, no significant oxidation will occur. However, these additives
    are consumed with time. After their depletion, oil oxidation proceeds rapidly. Regular oil changes are
    needed.

    Fuel

    Fuel enters your crankcase with exhaust blow-by gases in unburned and partially burned forms. It is
    chemically unstable; therefore, it reacts with itself and the oil to form gums, varnishes and asphaltic
    type compounds. These resinous substances are also unstable and react further to cause even more oil
    thickening.

    Oil additive packages include strong detergents and corrosion inhibitors to neutralize these compounds.
    They interrupt the reaction process and allow the dispersants to surround these contaminants so they
    can be removed at the oil drain. Again, these additives eventually will be depleted. An oil change is
    necessary to get a fresh charge of detergents and corrosion inhibitors.


    Acids

    When fuel burns, some products of combustion react with moisture in the system to form acids. These
    include sulfuric, hydrochloric and organic acids.

    Sulfur-based acids are undesirable because they attack the oil, reducing its detergency. Organic acids
    react with unburned fuel to promote sludge and varnish. In addition, acids can cause additive settling,
    or dropout.

    Because acids are an inevitable by-product of combustion, oils incorporate potent additives to control
    these compounds. Our motor oils contain high-alkaline detergents and corrosion inhibitors that provide
    effective acid neutralization. However, these cannot last forever. Again, regular oil changes are
    required.

    Most people associate dirt with engine wear. It can also play a role in sludge formation. Wear of piston
    rings and cylinder walls causes an increase in piston blow-by. Since the exhaust gases contain many
    harmful by-products, their presence in the crankcase should be minimized. Nonetheless, some of these
    compounds will escape past the rings.

    Oils ashless dispersant and anti-wear additive components work to fight the harmful effects of dirt
    The dispersants suspend and isolate the dirt soot and other solid particles that work their way into the
    oil. The anti-wear agents help to prevent the wear that creates the clearances that allow these gases
    to enter the crankcase. As with the other additives, an oil change is necessary to flush the unwanted
    components and restock the engine with fresh additives.

    Engine Coolant (Antifreeze)

    This is your engine oil's number one enemy. Engine sludge is inevitable when oil meets engine coolant.
    Contamination of your oil with coolant promotes sludge by two means. First, it introduces water into
    the oil. This presents problems that we've previously discussed. Second, it brings into contact oil and
    coolant that are incompatible fluids.

    As the temperatures experienced in your engine, oil and coolant react to form deposits. Some are
    gooey or gel-like. This is typical sludge. Others are hard, brittle deposits that plug oil passageways,
    reducing oil flow. These two types of deposits guarantee a shortened life for your engine.

    No oil additives available will help solve this problem. The only solution is to drain the oil and locate the
    source of contamination. Then, have the mechanical problem repaired.

    These are the enemies of your engine oil -- Soot, Heat, Fuel, Water, Acid, Dirt and Engine Coolant.
    Motor oil formulations provide the highest level of protection against these enemies.


    Inadequate Engine Maintenance



    Lack of engine maintenance is probably responsible for more sludged engines than all other categories
    combined. Establish proper oil change for your vehicle. A timely oil change is inexpensive insurance for your engine.



    A properly tuned engine is a must. Efficient, lean combustion produces fewer harmful acids, soot and
    unburned fuel than a rough running engine.



    The proper quality oil for your engine. Never use oil that is rated less than the minimum API
    Service Category specified by your auto engine manufacturer.

    Finally, the cooling system must be flushed and refilled periodically with a proper water/coolant
    mixture. This prevents engine overheating.

    These are just a few examples. There are other conditions - clogged air filter, low oil level, low coolant
    level, bad fuel, etc. that contribute to sludge.

    The formation of sludge in your engine is a disturbing problem. Often, the oil seems to be at fault.
    More often, however, oil is the victim. It is the victim of mechanical malfunctions, extended oil drains
    or a poorly tuned engine.
  • kk123kk123 Posts: 2
    Been reading these posts for several months now as I have been battling several issues with my 2000 XLE, 4500 miles. I am an engineer, have a family with kids, and is meticulous with maintenance and the operation of his vehicles...

    I would like to share with you some of the issues and remedies.

    Took delivery of the vehicle July 2000. Had engine light, torque Converter replacement soon afterwards, you know the drill........This was only the beginning:

    Brakes:
    Noticed clicking noise while applying the brakes in reverse, (front left tire). Took it to two dealers and had factory rep. examine. He stated its " normal brake noise, all Toyota's do that"
    Bull____ ! The problem is that the brake pad floats" inside the caliper housing. When you back up, the pad wants to go forward, making a clunk or click. You will notice that if you go from reverse to drive and back again the noise continues. The tolerances or spacing that Toyota allowed for the pad to travel in the housing may differ from housing to housing. I measured the clearances from left to right front wheel and noticed the larger gap on the left, thus the sound on my particular van is only from the left side. OK , heres the fix. If the dealer wont replace the housing, ask your local brake shop to "build up" or put a spot weld on both sides of the pad and re-assemble. Make sure the pad still has some play in it and the noise disappears.

    Seats rattle:
    Front - I have no rattles, cant offer any advice
    Middle - Captains chairs: Try lifting the seat an check for and material or cables/springs touching other materials under the seats. Change positions of the seat(i.e. move forward or reverse one notch) If you have leather, take some leather softener and apply some to the seats where the leather makes contact to the plastic trim.
    Rear - Take them out and re-install, my seats were not in correctly.....

    Gas Mileage
    14-16 around town, suburban NJ
    20+ on the highway, dont expect miracles, this is a heavy, moving brick that does not cheat the wind like the Honda or Nissan...

    Tires
    They su__ ! Firestone junk. Already been to the local Firestone dealer to get them pro-rated for a set of Michelins. Don't waste your time, my tires are wearing out at 4 times the normal rate. Wait until they wear out, take your warranty(the 80k mile warranty) and ask them them to give you a replacement set of another brand of tire. With all the attention and problems at Firestone, they will make good on a new set. My local tire dealer has already given me this piece of info...

    Door rattles:
    Front passenger door rattles upon closing. It sounds like a "double hit" when it hits the frame rails. Guess what. Its the crappy lower vinyl body side mouldings that are either loose or slapping aginst the door when it closes.

    This is my latest dilemma:

    Try making a slow left or right turn 20-25 mph , and accelerate out of the turn while allowing the steering wheel to come back to center. Notice a muffled thump ? The dealer is currently trying to figure this one out.

    Oh, by the way, I own a '94 Quest with 140K, never seen a mechanic, just routine maintenance. The Sienna was supposed to replace this vehicle. It runs better than the Sienna.

    I guess, I bought the wrong van....
  • Interesting, my 94 Camry has always clunked in the left front brake too - maybe you explained why. Not a problem tho after 80k miles (still have original pads!!!!!)

    Before you think the quest is great, look at crask test:
    Take a look at
    http://www.hwysafety.org/vehicle_ratings/ce/html/98023.htm
    look at the "eating your kneecaps" pix on the upper right of the 4 set of pix -- Sienna pix is better.
  • jdfordjdford Posts: 10
    I hate to be cynical, but two of the local Toyotal dealers are advertising "sludge removal" engine cleaning that they recommend every 12,000 miles. Seems like another revenue stream for them and a built in excuse for damage due to sludge...."if you had paid for our recommended engine cleaning....." I have 36,000 on my '98 Sienna and have had no sign of sludge when I change my oil. I do it myself and use Mobil 1 every 7,500 miles.

    After seeing some previous posts about the camshaft sensor leaking, the lightbulb went off about why the front of the engine has a coat of grime on it. The camshaft sensor seal appeared to be the solution. Guess what the dealer said? The accumulation on that part of the engine is due to moisture and is perfectly normal. Funny, only the right half of the engine is subject to this moisture. The Toyota is the only vehicle I have had to have warranty work done on since my Nissan Pathfinder. I am on my third Acura and have NEVER seen the dealer for warranty work (knock on wood for my new MDX). All in all, I am quite satisfied with the Sienna; the dealer just does not have a great customer service attitude. They advertise that they win service excellence awards from Toyota, but I have always had to return a second time if a part was required - a huge inconvenience.
  • 1846618466 Posts: 46
    Have had our LE for 15k miles now and it's been a joy to own. No problems other than a bad passenger side power window switch. Don't be afraid of the Sienna's quality (it's great). This is one fine machine!!!
  • We have had our 2000 XLE since April. 11000 miles. The vehicle has been a pleasure to drive. 18-22 mpg. We have only had two issues. 1) The squeaky dash which seems to have gone away for now. 2) We noticed a clicking noise when engaged in a tight left hand turn. We took it in and the dealer wants to replace the left drive axle. Will update after next visit.
  • beckpbeckp Posts: 20
    I don't doubt some of the issues that Sienna owners are having and sympathize with them. I know what it's like after having owned the King of all hassles, a '87 Sterling.

    I have a '98 XLE that has only one real issue, the steering rack problem. It was graciously replaced by my dealership. I did have a battle with the interior brake pedal clicking noise. I won the battle and got it fixed right.

    I have 44,000 miles, Mobil One from day one, change oil myself every 3-5K miles, NO SLUDGE.

    Please potential Sienna owners, there are WAY more happy owners than unhappy, look at it's crash test results and think of your family. And last of all, don't spend big bucks on a vehicle and then decide to get cheap. Use good oil, good filters and change it often!
  • We purchased a 2001 Sienna XLE in November. We are taking it back to the dealersip for the 3rd time due to the check engine, VSC, and Trac Off lights all coming on after driving a few miles. So far we have have driven the van for 11 days, while the dealership has had it for 7 days. Has any one else had this problem?
  • flalemon,

    I experienced similar VSC problem you had. My 2001 Sienna XLE was purchased in October. My VSC and Trac Off lights come on often (sometimes ABS light joins in).

    I had to take the van in to the dealer few times before they can resolve the problem. My experience was that warning lights would come on when the car is cold. If I drive the car for more than 20-30mins then shut the engine off and restart the engine, lights would not come back on...

    I told the dealer about the "cold" start and they waited for the car cools down (cold weather helps) and with all warning lights on they detected (or computer detected) the "Steering Angle Sensor" was bad. It would not function when it's cold, so the computer shut the VSC system off.

    I also called Toyota customer service department and they made sure that the dealer would work with the Toyota's special service department to resolve the problem.

    No more warning lights after the Steering Angle Sensor was replaced...

    Hope this helps. Good luck.
  • bh4uabh4ua Posts: 1
    I bought my Sienna at the end of October. My Check engine light came on at 395 miles. I took it to the dealer and his computer said it was an evaporative emissions malfunction. He stated that sometime if you don't close the gas cap tight enough this could happen. I had put gas in the van the night before so I went along with the explanation. At 1395 miles, the light came on again. I only had 1/4 tank left so I knew it couldn't be the gas cap. The same code came up and he sent the VIN code in to Toyota. Supposedly, the next time it happens, I have to have my vacuum line replaced. So far, the experience has been friendly. It is just disappointing to have to go to the shop twice and I have only made one payment on the van. Hopefully, this is an easy fix. Has anyone else had this experience? I did ask if this was the torque converter problem and they said it was not. What code came up for that particular problem?
  • sgergensgergen Posts: 155
    I think it was a P077 or p770 or p0770...

    Something like that...

    Scott
  • sgergensgergen Posts: 155
    1. What part of the country do you live in?
    2. How often do you check your oil levels?
    3. Any overheating?

    The 7,500 mile thing would be for absolutely ideal conditions (never hot, never cold, never stuck in stop-and-go traffic, never have short trips, never idling). The only folks I know of that go 7,500 are all using 100% synthetic oil (Mobil 1) and super high-quality filters.

    The oil light coming on when braking sounds like you were low on oil. Did you check it? What kind of oil do you use (brand and weight)?

    If the oil overheats (can be caused from engine overheating, not having enough oil, etc.) it breaks down in viscosity. When it breaks down, it will thicken. As it thickens the engine (oil pump) has a harder and harder time moving it though the engine which then leads to less oil protecting your engine and the engine running hotter. As the engine runs hotter the oil keeps breaking down further and further getting thicker and thicker until you have...."sludge".

    4. When the oil light came on, what did you do about it?
    5. When you changed oil, did you change filters?
    6. Did you smell burning oil from the engine?
    7. Did you notice oil spots on the garage floor or in the driveway or where you park at work?

    With the number of miles you have on your vehicle (30,000) you would have changed oil and filter only 4 times during the life of your van. Most people, who change their oil and filter every 3,000 miles, would have changed their oil and filter 10 times.

    I guess the point of all of this is that "sludge" appears for a reason, we're just trying to figure out what that reason is...

    Scott
  • dciksh,

    Thanks for the info. I will bring up the "steering angle sensor" possibility to their attention. Thanks again.
  • 1846618466 Posts: 46
    I have seen quite a few engines with sludge deposits, but all I have seen have been due to faulty maintanance, or years ago due to bad quality oil. I would bet the people having problems with this issue either don't change their oil regularly or they had some sort of oil leak and continued to operate their vehicle with a low oil level causing the oil to overheat and begin to break down. I personally use a synthetic oil Mobil1 and go 7500 between changes. This seems to work well. Also I personally would not feel safe going much over 3000 miles using dino oil. A new vehicle is an expensive item and should be treated as such.
  • I'd like to continue gathering information about the oil sludge problem. My van is showing early signs, I think, of this problem. The problem is one of many to date. I'd like the following information from owners:

    1) What model and engine do you have?
    2) What was your mileage when symptoms began?
    3) What was the mileage when you received the "sludge in the engine" diagnosis?
    4) Was your warranty voided due to Toyota's alleged "owner neglect" of maintenance?
    5) What were your oil change intervals?
    6) Were you told that you needed a new engine?
    7) What was the cost incurred?
    8) Were you offered any assistance from Toyota in the repair costs? If so, describe.
    9) Did Toyota PROVE that you were at fault? IF so, HOW?
    10) Did Toyota closely inspect your engine? IF so, what was noted specifically?

    Please provide any details that might help expand the owner database. Most scenarios I have read are remarkably similar. Such similarities are far too many to be simply coincidental.

    Does anyone have information about any current class action lawsuits? Does anyone have any information on petitions to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to investigate this problem on behalf of all owners? Does anyone have any information from the Center for Auto Safety on trends of owner complaints logged? Does anyone have any information on consumer investigative journalists who might be interested in "digging" into this issue?

    Thank you for ANY helpful information. I trust that the host of this site will make sure that posts are limited to responses addressing the issues.

    Charlene Blake
    cblake@erols.com
  • I have to agree with "18466", it seems as if many, if not all, of the sludge problems seem to be related to faulty maintanance. On the flipside of the coin, I can see how someone may want to "point the finger" at Toyota if indeed the manual says to change the oil at 7,500 miles (although it might stipulate only under ideal conditions which can be perceived in many different ways), they did change it at this interval, can prove it with receipts, now have sludge and Toyota has neglected to cover the problem.

    The only part of this mystery that I cannot understand is that if Toyota actually realizes that there is the potential for sludge, why not change the manual to suggest changing the oil at a lower interval, possibly 5,000 miles. There would be no additional cost on their part and it would prevent problems such as those described in previous postings-possibly tarnishing their name and reputation!

    I do sympathize with those with sludge, especially with "cblake" who has had a plethora of problems with her Sienna and other vehicles. I do not agree with her theory that the Sienna's have an inherent sludge problem and that changing the oil every 3,000-5,000 miles will only delay the inevitable problem-as described in her previous posts.

    I'm with "18466", I spent +$30,000 on my XLE and plan on keeping it for a long time, so I don't hesitate to spend the $20 every 3,000 miles to have the oil changed. Although I do stick with the dino oil, that is, until somebody convinces me to go with synrhetics........
  • I am getting a 2001 Sienna XLE in Jan. 2001. The dealer told me that it would be cheaper to get the extended warranty at the time of purchase rather than at a later time (after a year or so before the original manufacturers warranty expires). I have the following questions.

    1. The extended warranty provides coverage for 6-years (from date of purchase) or 100K miles which comes first. Since, I will not be driving 100K miles in the 1st six years (we live in the city and do not take long trips. Our average mileage per year is about 7-8K miles ) does anyone know of plans that do not have any limit on the years but on the miles only or if there are plans that provide coverage for more than 6 years (say 10 years).
    2. The dealer also offered a “after market program” coverage instead of the Toyota factory backed plan. Which is better ?
    3. The MSRP for Toyota factory plan is about 900$ (for platinum coverage). Is this negotiable and how much should I pay if I decide on this ?


    Your help will be appreciated
  • Toyota warrants the engine for longer than a "year or so". It is more like 5yr/60000 mi.

    I drive right at 10000 per year so in 6 years, the extended warranty would be gone. The factory warranty would cover for 5 years (for me up to 50000 miles). I can't see getting the extended warranty. The dealer is just trying to make a lot more profit. Wait a few years and see how your car is holding up.
  • >A LONG WAIT FOR A HONDA MAY BE WORTH IT.
    >SACRIFICING ONE LESS "STAR" ON A QUESTIONABLE SAFETY RATING FOR THE NISSAN MAY BE WORTH IT.
    >DONT BE A FOOL LIKE I WAS.

    ... and if you go to an Odyssey forum, or a Dodge forum, or a Chrysler forum,
    you'll find peoplewith problems. And most of them are probably true, tho none
    of us know for sure when the only evidence we have of someone's veracity
    is a flow of electrons. I'll bet on the CR and JDPower statistics and buy the
    Toyota.

    I do hope that your problems are solved soon. Good luck !

    Greg.
  • >
    >Oh, by the way, I own a '94 Quest with 140K, never seen a mechanic, just routine maintenance. The
    > Sienna was supposed to replace this vehicle. It runs better than the Sienna.
    > I guess, I bought the wrong van....

    I own the Mercury version, the Villager. It has 65Kmiles on it. I've spent over $3K on
    repairs (over and above maintenance) on it in the past 12 months.

    Greg.
  • With the new system in place, my posts from 12/14 did not get transferred. I see that your posts, kk123, did not either. That is too bad because your responses to "lamm9733," "sgergen," and "athena_cl" were right on the mark!! The quality (or lack there of) issue in the Toyota is significant. Toyota's hallmark has been long-term reliability. I believe this is NOT the case now. It may well be a myth perpetuated by Toyota. Owners are likely to have false hope based on this myth.

    Did you know that some owners are experiencing sludge in the engine and being denied warranty claims? Did you know that these same owners are paying $5,000-8,000 for new engines? Did you know that some 2000 Sienna owners are having torque converter replacements within the first few hundred miles of driving? Did you know that others have had total transmission failures after after a few thousand miles? Did you know that there are other problems common to this vehicle? Have you had:

    1) Persistent drifting/pulling to the left or the right
    2) Uneven wear of tires with need for early replacement
    3) Premature brake component wear, including rear brake drums
    4) Power steering problems, including inner tie rod or total rack and pinion replacement
    5) Vibrations, esp. at speeds above 50 MPH
    6) Premature transmission problems or failure
    7) Torque converter replacement, sometimes just after delivery
    8) Sliding door latch problems with sticking and difficulty opening
    9) Oil sludge in the engine related to a contaminated system

    IF you have experienced these problems, please write to the following agencies and file a report detailing your case. THEN, network with others by visiting sites where owners post experiences.

    U.S. Department of Transportation
    National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
    Office of Defects Investigations
    NSA-10.01
    400 7th Street, NW
    Washington, D.C. 20590

    1-800-424-9393
    1-888-327-4236

    http://www.nhtsa.dot.gov

    Center for Auto Safety
    1825 Connecticut Ave., NW
    Suite 330
    Washington, D.C. 20009-5708

    http://www.autosafety.org

    The Complaint Station--click "T", then "Toyota"
    http://www.thecomplaintstation.com

    Car Trackers Discussion Forum
    http://www.cartrackers.com

    Phil Edmonston's Lemon-Aid Car Guides
    http://www.lemonaidcars.com

    Also, use the USENET groups:
    alt.autos.toyota
    alt.autos.toyota.camry

    Charlene Blake
    cblake@erols.com
  • sgergensgergen Posts: 155
    ...sell your Toyota! Maybe you will then stop posting the same drivel in every Toyota topic here!

    It's obvious that you've had some problems with your vehicle, it's also obvious that some of your issues are "imagined" (i.e. the "sludge" issue that you're sure that you'll have even though it has not yet happened).

    While we're all sorry that you are having problems with your vehicles, it is unfair to paint with such a broad brush and basically call all Toyota vehicles crap.

    Let's see, they've sold millions and millions of them...they have among the highest resale value...they are highly acclaimed by virtually every automotive publication...they have very,very high owner satisfaction and owner loyalty.

    Those are the facts.

    Yep. we've seen the postings from people who go 8,000 miles (probably more) between oil changes and then complain that their engine is trashed. Doesn't matter what make of vehicle you own, if you don't take care of it it will fail.

    Scott
  • Toyota owners have told me of fewer problems than have owners of any other brand.
    I have read in the Town Hall for about 20 months and have observed that the Sienna had a brief period of torque converter problems. The Odyssey and Accord with V6 have the most "reported" problems in the Town Hall. The much maligned Chrysler vans had many problems in older models...but very few with 1999 and 2000. Even with all the problems reported in Town Hall on Odyssey and Accord V6, the percentage of owners with problems is VERY low. Like Sienna, the chance of getting an Odyssey with problems would be very low.
    We sat in every vehicle at the Big Auto Show last January and the Sienna is the VERY most comfortable for both my wife and I. My wife says Odyssey glove box intrudes into passenger leg room. I like the Odyssey driver seat and all seats but front passenger seat...however, the Sienna is most comfortable in every seat for me. I also like the soft, padded Sienna front door armrests better than the hard cloth covered Odyssey door armrests.
  • My wife and I have owned our 2001 XLE for 6 weeks now (about 1,000 miles). We absolutely love it! It drives more like a car than a van.
    The seats are very comfortable. The cabin is very quiet. We have not had a single problem to date with our vehicle.
  • I own a 1998 Sienna LE with over 30,000 miles on it. I bought this van in Jan 1998. My wife (the primary driver) and I absolutely love this van. We had some growing pains typical of a first year vehicle, but Toyota has been terrific in correcting the problems.

    I sympathize for Charlene Blake who apparently has a vehicle with many actual and perceived problems. The list (and the posts) seems to get longer each month. This sounds like the exception rather than the rule among Sienna owners. I hope those looking for a new van will listen to the majority of owners when considering their new purchase.
  • Like a broken record...you were once heard but ignored over and over and over and over and over again. Studies show that irresponsibility leads to engine failures! True story!
  • kk123kk123 Posts: 2
    Well, my Sienna is back after 3 days in the shop. A new steering rack, new P/W switch, free rotation on the tires (since their are wearing abnormally), front end re-aligned, complete engine diagnostics to check on the poor gas mileage, and brakes inspected and greased for the clicking noise. (By the way their IS a new TSB on the caliper brake grease, ask your dealer. Its too bad it doesn't really work, but it does quiet them down somewhat.)

    It turns out, my steering clunk is 95 % diminished and the steering feels much tighter than before. What I mean is that unless I take make 90 deg turn at approx. 15-20 mph and (you will probably never do this in ordinary driving unless you are hunting for a parking spot in the shopping mall lanes) whip the wheel around back to center, I don't really hear anything. Turns out the dealer, a regional factory rep and the regional tech rep spent 4 hrs disassembling the engine, tranny, suspension, the new rack, and exhaust from their mounting points/bushings. After checking all the parts and moving the mounts a bit they carefully re--assembled the front end, tranny etc and the noise is greatly diminished. They suspect that since the tranny was out of the vehicle for the T/C replacement back in Aug, it and all accompanying suspension parts were not properly seated. The moral of the story is: Those of you who have had the T/C replaced should make sure everything was put back correctly. It was a major job and anything could have been re-installed incorrectly causing creaks or groans......

    For my troubles the factory rep is giving me a Toyota Platinum plan 6yr/100k miles. He said it was the least Toyota could do. The dealership handled this with kid gloves; the factory rep. must have called me 4 times in the past 3
    days. Kudos to Toyota on that......

    However, I am still not satisfied with the quality of this vehicle. The captain's chair still rattle, the pass. door still does not sound right when closing, the car gets 14-15 mpg, the brakes still make noise and the engine still has a slight whine at idle. Maybe I am extremely picky about my vehicle , but it is my money, and this has not been a pleasing experience. The extended warranty may just be the factory's way of appeasing me......

    I will drive this vehicle for another 2-3 months before I make a decision on whether to sell it or not.

    Regards to all, peace during this holiday season,
    KK 123

    P.S. Take it easy on CBLAKE. We need consumer advocates in our society. While I may not necessarily believe any claims about the sludge issue, I do feel we need to band together when we feel we are being taken for a ride......
    P.P..S. The Sienna lemons seem to be all XLE's.... The '01 LE loaner I had was a dream, no captains chairs = no rattles. pass door made the same sound as mine when closing but the suspension noise and engine whine was non-existent.
  • sdb9sdb9 Posts: 1
    I bought Senna EL in Oct 99. Here are the problems.

    1. Passenger side window glass was getting stuck.
    2. Tire pressure light coming on / it was taken care earlier too.
    3. Driver side seat belt light on all the time .
    4. Leak rear washer fluid.
    5. I just got all the tires balance and rotated but still
    the ride is not smooth.
    And you know what these dealers don't fix the problem on the
    same day (not enough parts), and guess what? you got to take it
    to the dealership again.
    I was a big time toyota fan , I am having some doubts now .....

    sdb1.
    (Toyota of
  • We own a '96 Camry and a '00 Sienna XLE. Both cars' windows are prone to fogging more than any other vehicle we've owned. I checked with the local dealer who told me that we need to run the A/C when we use the dehumidification switch. It works but only when we dial in "blue" for cold air. Why are these cars more prone to fog up?
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