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Toyota Sienna Maintenance and Repair (2003 earlier)

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  • OK...This is a weird one:

    When we turn OFF the A/C in our car and have just
    the VENT on, IT STINKS BAD! LIKE A MUSKY ODOR!

    Is there a filter somewhere that I can change?

    WHat gives? When the A/C is on, it's not bad at
    all. But when it's off, it's STINKY!!

    WHEW!

    Help !
  • cblake2cblake2 Posts: 53
    I have a few questions about my Sienna repairs. The needle of the speedometer supposedly was not working in the startup period because of some "sticky substance," or so I was told. IF this was the case, why would it suddenly start working after the van warms up a bit...e.g. 10 minutes down the road? I know there was a T.S.B. on that problem, too, but I don't know what it says.

    Next, the rear brakes...What would cause my brake drums to be out-of-round this early? I was told that the severe vibrations I felt after routine maintenance was caused by my brakes, NOT my alignment problem. One suggestion was that a brake shoe may have been sticking....isn't this dangerous?? I mean, I don't want to think that I am driving around with my brakes intact! Can anyone help on this issue?

    I want more information on the rack and pinion and how this ties in with the alignment. At first, I was told that I might need a new R & P assembly, but later learned only the inner rack rods were replaced. Why would this be? Like with the solenoid before torque converter issue, I am wondering if I will need other parts of the R & P replaced later.

    I still have a pull to the right after all the brake work, the rod replacement, and the new tires. I noted it clearly after testing it many times under different road conditions. It isn't my imagination. I feel the road bumps a lot more now....I *thought* this would be the opposite. Is the alignment problem causing suspension parts to fail? I would like information if you have it.

    And, one last weird thing is that it feels like the van isn't going into OD like it should. I wouldn't expect any transmission involvement unless the speedometer failure is in some way connected. I remember back when I had the Dodge Caravan that the speedometer failed a few months before the transmission did. Can you explain that connection?

    Since the sliding doors were repaired, they are MUCH easier to open. I know one person who had a repeat problem. I HOPE we don't!! The kids would complain that they simply couldn't open the doors. I had to struggle, but managed after pulling several times.

    Additional observations in my van are at times I do smell the "mold" on the recirculation mode of the A/C. I see paint being scratched off VERY easily on the hood after I bumped into a bicycle a couple of times gently. I really like the seating with the bench in the middle because of all the room on the right side. My kids complain of no leg room in the third row, though.

    I do like the looks of the van much better than others out there. It is roomy enough. I just want to be confident in the van's long-term reliability. I will post the outcome of an upcoming long trip, and I would appreciate the same from others. Thanks in advance.

    cblake@erols.com
  • sbrandonsbrandon Posts: 24
    One thing we were told is if you run the a/c in the recirculate mode you need to hit the outside air or vent, or whatever is marked as the opposite of recirculate, prior to shutting down. This should flush fresh air thru the system and hopefully bacteria (which could cause a smell) does not build up in the system.
  • linkuslinkus Posts: 4
    I bought sienna ce 5 door about a week ago. I drove it mostly highway and now have about 400 miles on. I noticed somewhat vibration during acceleration above 45 mile per hour when I bought it. TOday, i felt a little more vibration and a little more bumpy driving on the street at around 50 mph. From what i read so far, it seems to happen to a couple of people. I am just wondering what the solutions were for those who had such problem. Even though I love my car, I do need to make sure it is well taken care of :-). In addition, I have heard that Firestone tires have defects and caused a number of accidents and fed is investigating. I did not know what kind of Firestone tires were bad. I have Firestone tires on my Sienna CE and am wondering if they are the same type as reported ones. Has anyone experienced any problem with the tires (Firestone)?
  • I bought a 2000 Sienna about 1 1/2 weeks ago, and Its been great so far. I can't help getting nervous, though, about this engine light.

    Many people have been posting that they have this problem, but very few have been telling us what date their car was manufactured. I would ask anyone posting an engine light problem to also check the driver's side door tag for the date of manufacture.

    I only ask because I have heard differing stories on which vans are affected... anywhere from May to July, to just June. My dealer assured me my van is "safe" from this problem, but hey -- I only trust you guys :)

    (Mine is a July 2000 LE, and no engine light problem as of 150 miles.)
  • yupingyuping Posts: 8
    My Sienna LE was manufactured in July. The check engine light came on at 150 miles.
  • sgergensgergen Posts: 155
    Mine was June 2000 and with almost 600 miles we're in the clear so far!

    Scott
  • 2000 XLE mfgd 6/2000. Light on at 65 off at 120 on again at 165 - dealer diagnosed fault at 215 as P0770 - shift solenoid fault. Ordered new solenoid. Reset engine light. At 400 and no part and no light so far. Appointment scheduled for tomorrow and part is not here. Service Mgr. indicates that Toyota is trying to come up with another solution; he believes solenoid replacement is a stall until they get enough torque converters or some other fix. Suggests solenoid replacement is a waste of time. Suggests I call back to check if they have a fix later. Huh? This is crazy. I hope someone in the Toyota universe is taking note of these and other posts. Only takes one bad experience to kill any affinity for a brand not to mention resale value. Oh what you do for me.....Toyota.
  • csnycsny Posts: 1
    My Sienna LE had only 59 miles on it when the engine light came on. Took it to the dealer today. I was told the torque converter was fine. The problem was the oxygen sensor which the dealer had replaced. The light has stayed off so far. The Service Manager said he was aware of the engine light problem associate with the torque coverter with the Sienna. He was positive that mine was not among them and instructed me to bring it back if the light ever comes on again. I hope he was not b-s-ing me. I'll appreciate feedback from anyone who has been told of the same thing and how it turns out.
  • Sbrandon, are you supposed to turn on the fresh air vent EVERY time you turn off the car if you were running the AC to avoid the smell? I had a wonderful Honda Civic for 8 years, and my only complaint was that it stunk when the fresh air vent was on without the AC. I really don't want to have the same problem and would appreciate the advice.

    Also, my Sienna LE was manufactured in June 2000 and the engine light came on at about 150 miles.
  • Hmm....am I the winner? About 31 miles on the van when the engine light came on (we were driving it home from the dealer). Called them up, they gave me the song and dance about it being a "sensor". However, when I took it in today they changed their tune to "torque converter" My concern is basically whether it is safe to drive? They say it is, I am not so sure. I did call the 800# in one of the previous posts and open a claim, at least then Toyota can track this problem if we keep reporting it. Supposed to take 2 weeks to get the part in. Boy am I glad I didn't sell my other car, at least I don't have to worry about being stranded. I live in the desert and drive to work by way of nowhere every morning. Not exactly what I bargained for when I pictured myself tooling around in my new Sienna. Hope Toyota gets their act together and takes care of us folks with this problem. Incidentally, the vehicle is a new 2000 LE and was manufactured in Kentucky in July 00.
  • jeproxjeprox Posts: 466
    Normally, when you are done using your a/c - slide your lever back to "fresh" and this will eliminate that strange smell. For my van, if I leave the lever on "recirculate" over night and turn on my fan next day, I would get this smell but not stinky though.

    What I do is I turn off my a/c and switch back to "fresh" when I'm 2 blocks from my final destination for the day. This brings in the fresh air and won't give me that smell the next day or next time I turn on my a/c or fan.
  • jo45jo45 Posts: 5
    I purchased my Toyota Sienna 2000 CE yesterday. My engine light came on after a whopping 65 miles. I took it back to my dealer and told him about the torque converter problem on some of these vans. They checked that and said it was fine. My solinoid switch was reset, and so far no more engine light. Thank you all for these posts. They really helped me out when deciding what vehicle to purchase.
  • Mine came on at around 500 miles. Purchased van in late July. Took it in and got the old "bad torque converter" story. I also called Toyota and told them to check out this website and see how many disappointed new Sienna owners with "check engine" lights there are. To their credit they said that they would and apologized up and down for my inconvenience. If the repairs come out OK and I no longer have any problems, my faith in Toyota will be restored. By the way, I'm waiting for parts and still driving the van with no other problems (1200 miles). Took in on a 500 mile trip and it just drives fine. Other than this fiasco, I really like it.
  • dmathews3dmathews3 Posts: 1,739
    What is this smell crap. I have owned at least 10 american cars with air and I never had to put the air back to fresh before turning it off. I talked with a bunch of my friends and they too have never had a problem. Is this just part of the Toyota problems that are creaping up more and more.
  • jeproxjeprox Posts: 466
    I don't find the so-called "a/c smell" a problem. For my van, it doesn't stink or smell bad at all -
    some people are more sensitive to smelling things and consider this a very bad smell. No, it's not a part of Toyota problems unless it smells like rotten eggs, then there's a problem. No car manufacturer is perfect, every single manufacturer have their share of problems.

    I switch from fresh to recirculate to get the air inside moving. I don't find it annoying and it's not a big deal to me doing it. If you don't have to do this, then good for you.
  • brentg1brentg1 Posts: 10
    As I have said before, Toyota is NOT ARGUING with you people about your problem. They are FIXING the problem. Geez, loosen up a little. One misbehaving part on a complex machine does not make it a lemon.
  • timbftimbf Posts: 1
    I just spent $30K for a car that's FAILED 3 times before I could even get home from the dealer. That's had at least the tranny out of it TWICE before 150 miles. That's been in the shop 16 of the first 18 days I owned it. That's cost me >10 hours either sitting in the shop or on the phone. And I'm supposed to cut Toyota a break?? I don't think so!

    Toyota gets a premium price for their QUALITY, not their repair service. My expectations are higher. I could have bought a Chrysler product for this! I'd REALLY like Toyota to take this car back and let's start again! At a minimum, a DECENT apology for all the crap and BS I had to wade through to get it fixed. I look forward to the satisfaction survey I'm supposed to be getting %*)

    BTW, I'm a 20 yr veteran mfg engineer for a large electronic instrument company. I KNOW how these bad part situations usually play out. I'd be surprised if it's not at least a 20% problem once the dust finally settles. There's big bucks involved.
  • cblake2cblake2 Posts: 53
    "brentg1," I have to side with "timbf" on this one. It all boils down to asking yourself, did you feel you got a safe, reliable means of transportation which will not be devalued due to inherent manufacturing defects. I am not too pleased with problems after the one year mark already; I am afraid I would be livid if my major powertrain components had to be taken out of my newly delivered van!! It is difficult to ask owners to *not* be emotional about the issue. WHO wants the headache and hassle so early??

    Having said all that, I will say the BEST defense is to have good documentation while being clear about what you expect. Base your expectations on the federal and state laws. You have a right to demand fairness under the law. The laws are there to protect you...READ about them and use them to your benefit.

    Network with as many other owners as you can. Check to see what the Center for Auto Safety can do to assist you in this matter. The more knowledge you have, the better position you will be in.

    Personally, I think this torque converter thing is a real test for the auto manufacturer. If enough angry owners gather information and discover that Toyota has NOT informed them prior to purchase about a known possible defect, then things could get *very sticky*. Do check with the Federal Trade Commission on this and hold Toyota to the law! In my reading about auto consumer issues, I have not seen anything quite like this. Usually there is a much longer period before the problem surface allowing the manufacturer to "plead ignorance."

    Now, to Toyota's credit...I think the memo which "dblum" (Thanks for your details!!) mentions above is very smart! At this point, Toyota cannot risk NOT taking some action in the predelivery stage. Just letting the vans sit on the lot, knowing full well that any one of them could have the problem once it is actually driven, is NOT A SMART MOVE. I have to give Toyota applause for taking this *small step* in the right direction.

    I think that "dblum" is quite valid in EXPECTING a new van....ASSUMING the replacement is indeed NOT defective. He'd be wise to investigate all his legal rights. You may *not* need an attorney to get Toyota to be fair. BUT, you MUST know your rights and have a good general idea of what is fair under the existing laws. It doesn't hurt to consult with a "lemon law" attorney to find out if you don't want to take the time to learn on your own. I wouldn't recommend a general attorney who may or may not know these laws.

    "brentg1," you have to understand that it is actually better to be level-headed, on guard, and constantly digging for information when in "dblum's" situation. One owner can hardly "loosen up" when faced with a manufacturer the size of Toyota! I would venture to say that Toyota is little worried about "dblum" alone; however, if many "dblum"s gather together, then Toyota would possibly blink, more than once!

    No one is really berating Toyota here, as far as I can see. BUT, many want to send the message loudly and clearly that they are waiting (but not too long!) for fairness. I think owners are clever enough NOT to allow the manufacturer to "slip out the back door" on this one. I say, keep the heat up and EXPECT clear, decided action from Toyota. No mud-slinging is needed; a strong, united consumer front is needed, though.

    I don't have the 2000 Sienna, but I relate FULLY with the owners....particularly those that left the Chrysler, vacation-bombing minivans to come over to Toyota! I have been reading with great interest the chronology of issues on the Sienna. WHY can't we get a quality minivan????

    cblake@erols.com
  • eomeom Posts: 7
    Anyone have any idea as to exactly where the trans. serial # is actually located? I know...someone will respond that it's on the trans., but would appreciate a specific location as to where one might look to find exactly what serial no. is associate with our trans.

    Thanks!
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