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Toyota Sienna Maintenance and Repair (2003 earlier)



  • steine13steine13 Posts: 2,561
    Come again?

    It's a four-to-five-year-old car with 97,000 miles and a few issues. It also still runs.

    The Lemon Law deals with an entirely different class of vehicles.

    What am I missing?

  • My 1999 Sienna has this problem now at 70K miles. Have you fixed the problem?
  • todolisttodolist Posts: 2
    Thanks Velobob. I was debating on having the shop replace the lamps but it sounds as if it is a manageable task.

    Any more hints or suggestions would be appreciated
  • maryw1maryw1 Posts: 2
    The tilt steering on our 2001 Toyota Sienna keeps jamming. Bought is used from the toyota dealer last year 2004. Still has extended warranty on it. Tilt steering jammed a few months after purchasing Toyota fixed it right away. Now its jammed again no warranty left on it. Anyone else encounter this problem?
  • pieper4pieper4 Posts: 2
    Phew... mouthful of a title!

    Primary concerns are:
    *Due for preventative timing belt replacement approx 62K. Is the 1998 an interference engine? If so, any input on pricing for belt (and related service items) servicing? I cannot use local dealer (long story... bad situation), so need ballpark figure. If interference engine, what am I looking at in terms of belt going before I can scrape up $$ for replacement?
    *When coming out of a parallel spot (tight turning left or right), I have a MAJOR steering/front wheel chatter. Entire car lurches to the chatter. Sometimes steering belt screams, most times not. If I have even 2 feet to manuever straight in forward or reverse before cutting wheels, I get no chatter. No other problems w/steering aside from slightly loose. I'm in NYC, so that's "normal".

    Secondary issues/questions:
    *Interior "glow" dash lights for heater control knobs is out. Is this self-servicable, or am I looking at a ridiculously expense bill for something I could continue to live without? Am refering to the rear-illlumation lights... only 1/2 are presently dark and have been for months. Again, no reputable dealer I can inquire to.
    *Sliding door interior lock/button has ALWAYS jammed about 30% of the time. I've taken this into the dealer and they want min. $175 to "diagnose". I thot I'd read somewhere that this was a known issue, but Toyota HQ denies and for min. $175, my kids can climb out the front or continue to use key to "jimmy" button free.

    Any and all suggestions/responses appreciated!
  • Hello,
    I've seen both probelms listed but not the solutions:

    1- 2001 Sienna, 67k. Recently started stalling whent started cold. I Have to feather the gas pedal to keep RPM's up. After a few minutes it runs ok. No other problems with engine performance.

    2- Pass power window will go down, but not up. I have to wait 30 minutes or so, then it will go up a few inches at a time, very slowly. Looks and acts wlike the motor is bad.

    I need to daignose these problems as best I can and order parts to be shipped overseas. Thanks for the help.
  • Like to share what my experience have been for my 2000 Sienna with 91K miles.

    Change oil myself every 5000 miles or so with mobil 1 5w30. My sister works at Exxon and she told me Mobil 1 is good for over 10000 miles but they don't advertising this for many reasons.

    Brakes pads were changed at 80K miles. I was impressed with the mileage I got out of the pads but I think my driving style helped.

    Change coolant, brake fluid, power steering fluid every 2 years

    Change and flush transmission oil every 30K miles.

    Replaced timing belt at 65K
    On my third set of tires- Michelin Hydro edge- great tires and look cool too with the unidirection treads

    The van runs great. The only problem I had was with the battery that leaked and actually corroded the terminal wire and left me stranded. I added a few accessories to my van like air horn, Piaa driving lights, leather steering wheel wrap, and a faux aluminium dash kit. Overall, I am very pleased with the van and I hope to get another 100K miles out of it.
  • freebirdfreebird Posts: 77
    On #2 - you are correct - the power motor needs to be replaced. It is around $250USD and takes 30 minutes or so to get to and replace.
  • sj1bj1sj1bj1 Posts: 20
    The light that illuminates which vents I want my air conditioning or heat to come out of has burned out behind the knob. Has anyone changed it themselves and how do you get behind there? Also one of my push type lights by my rear view mirror is also burned out and has anyone changed this?
  • Guys and gals,
    I have an interesting thing to talk about with the conclusion probably by Tuesday.
    Anyways I have a 02 Sienna (bought new 8/ 01) XLE with 38800 miles in it which my wife drives. I would usually drive it on Sundays when we go to church just so I could check and feel if there's anything wrong with it. This van has been great so far. About 2 Sundays ago I noticed upon leaving the drive way when I accelerated just before the gear shifts seems from 2 to third gear (rpm around 2500) there was a fine sort of like a whirling noise from the engine area. So I pulled to the side and revved it, unable to duplicate , until I put it in drive again and accelerated I was able to duplicate. It sounds like it's coming from the valve tappet on the cylinder head like the valve clearance needs to be adjusted but it's not constant and only when there's a load on the engine (i.e. accelerating in drive) and lasts only about a second or two. Now the most interesting part is once the engine warmed up the noise was completely gone , no matter how hard you accelerate, gone.There was no check engine light nothing. The transmission fluid (only 1 1/2 year old, I change every two years including coolant) prior to this drive upon checking was dark already instead of reddish orange to clear color ( I use synthetic). Took it in to the stealership last Thursday and left it there overnight. Friday afternoon the service advisor called saying they could not find anything wrong with it, the technician drove around all morning unable to duplicate, instead he attempted to sell me different services like wheel allignment , trans fluid black needs change etc.I bought the trans fluid and brake fluid flush. And then I left it overnight at the stealership again and I came Saturday morning and asked that I drive it with the technician riding shotgun. I duplicated it with the technician on board until the engine gets warmed up and it wouldn't do it anymore. I did the rev thing while in park and neutral nothing only in drive. He then made me leave trans in drive and had my left foot on the brake and rev engine til 2500 nothing . He (tech) said he'd never heard or received such complaints from any Toyota ,engines .in a long time,says back in 90 to 91 the 4 cylinder camry's had same problem which was attributed to piston slap. When we got back to the stealership he talked to the service advisor and told me ( the tech) he comes back to work this coming Tuesday and he'll call Toyota and then he'll call me back. He said He wanted to know from Toyota of any piston slap problems reported from same model van before he spends Toyota's money on my van (thank goodness it's still under warranty, drivetrain) he said he thiks he'll need to change the block , I said to myself that' s as good as changing the engine . which means from the inside the van is as good as new again with the exception of the trans (maybe I can keep it more than I usually keep my cars.) Although I am thinking could it be the transmission ? the fluid going foul in 1 1/2 years this is the first time i've had trans fluid get black on me and we've had quite a few cars owned. My wife doesn't drive like a jerk neither do I.
    Sorry if this post is taking too long , anybody had same problem like mine ? I'll keep you folks posted.
  • w2323w2323 Posts: 60
    Below I have included posts I found about the stalling problem I think you have.

    I think I have the same problem. The van works fine while driving. I stop to go into a store come out and try to start it and it stalls. When I had this problem last year when it was still under warrenty toyota told me bad gas.

    Well its back again this year . It appears as though the carb is dirty and just needs cleaning I hope anyway.

    This is what I found on edmunds.

    IAC seems to be problem in 1MZ engines and some other Toyota engines. My van had exhibited sympton like "difficult to restart a warm engine. Even after starting, RPM drops to dead." It took me long time to figure out what could go wrong without changing too many costly parts. Google search engine helped me do my research. Spray carb cleaner directly into throttle body and IAC worked for me. With a 6 1/2-year-old van, I am thinking about a 3M complete fuel injector cleaning treatment. 3M has a set of tools to T into fuel line and cleaner gets sucked into FI and into combustion chamber. There is also another cleaner that cleans combustion chamber. Honda dealer sells one too. Spray that cleaner into warm combustion chamber via spark plug hole. Let cleaner sit for maybe overnight. Start up engine the next morning to blow out carbon deposits inside chamber.

    Question to see if this is what I am experiencing:
    2001 xle sienna 67,000. After a morning drive for an hour the highway I stopped. After about 10 minutes, I restarted the car. It started, then idle did not kick in and rpm went to zero and car died. I was able to drive it home by continuously putting it in neutral and keeping the idle up.

    Will your carb cleaner work for me? Also what is IAC and exactly where am I spraying this cleaner?

    Your van fits the description. Just take off the air intake hose between throttle and air cleaner box. Inside throttle, you see throttle plate and IAC. IAC is right under throttle with a small squre opening in front of throttle plate. Just spray carb cleaner into the plate and the IAC. Use toothbrush and towel to clean the dirt. It works better on a cold engine. IAC stands for Idle Air Control Valve. There is a motor inside. After cleaning, put back on the air hose. Start up the engine, keep turning the steering gently to get IAC respond. This helps to free up the sticky IAC valve. That is all I do when I do.
  • w2323w2323 Posts: 60
    I have a shimmy in the front breaks when I stop at high speeds. I think what has happened is toyota told me all I needed was pads when I went in for a break job.

    Well what you really need is for them turn the rotors as well. I think that will stop the shimmy. Right now I can live with the problem so I wont be getting it fixed.

    My passanger window motor stopped working costs about 500 for toyota to fix I think I can live without a passanger window. You need to get drivers one fixed however

    Also cant be a lemon at that age and at that mileage sorry.
  • w2323w2323 Posts: 60
    Timing belt replacement costs about 200.00 anywhere. They recommend changing water pump too that will cost about 300.00. I have a flyer from toyota states change timing belt at 90,000 yet they say 60,000. I can see belt from outside if it gets bad I'll replace it but not right now. I will not have water pump replaced as i dont expect to own this van very much longer. Also they will try to replace seals when they do timing belt as well. I dont think you need that.

    To fix the sticking door get some vasoline or some other type of grease and grease the hell out of the latch, rollers and anything else you see mechanical. I dont grease the thing with buttons on it. But I think you could lightly grease that as well. I have had this sticking door problem a few times and everytime I greased it it fixed it for about 9 months. Also when I first had my van I had toyota fix it all they did was grease it. Your dealership is an [non-permissible content removed] to charge a diagnositic fee they know its a problem. How long they going to look at the door for 175.00 I think that comes out to like 4 hours those pricks. Sorry but they piss me off!!!

    P.S. I have a manual sliding door not sure what kind you have. I knew anything electric would break and avoided it.
  • w2323w2323 Posts: 60
    Did you ever find out what was wrong with the stalling. I have the same exact problem. I though it was a bad gas problem but I think the carb needs cleaning. Heres a link to the answer I think. If you found something else please let me know.

    lsac, "Toyota Sienna (2003 and earlier)" #2903, 14 Oct 2004 9:21 am
  • w2323w2323 Posts: 60
    Check junk yard. Also I bet some company will make one to order. I know they do it for motorcycles.
  • w2323w2323 Posts: 60
    If the tech that changed the plugs does not clean out the spark area before pulling the plugs sand can drop into the plug chamber and mess up the engine. People look at you strange when you say this but this is what happens.

    The person that changes the plugs need to blow out the sand and other containments before changing the plugs. Some suggest blowing the waste with compressed air then apply some sticky stuff to the area so nothing falls in. Then pull plugs.

    One more item: About transmission flushes.

    One last note: I was also informed that you should not have your trans fluid flushed. Stuck oil products can get wedged into sensors and such and fowl up your trans.

    You bring a car in for service and a week later you have a bad trans or engine. The person working on the car will deny any wrongdoing and your out.
  • w2323w2323 Posts: 60
    Have you found the answer to your problem?
  • w2323w2323 Posts: 60
    What I was told is theres a plastic shrowd that blocks puddle water from touching the belts. But when people have their oil changed they take off this showd and forget to put it back on. This allows water to hit the belts and they slip. Hence the light on the A/C goes on and off.

    I would turn the AC off for about 10 minutes and wait for it to dry.

    Isn't it great to get something worked on, only for them to mess something else up.
  • jim33jim33 Posts: 10
    It is an interfering engine.
  • Okey as of this writing Wednesday 11:50 am nothing happening yet. I just hung up with the service advisor says him ,yesterday the tech was on hold a few times when he tried to call the Toyota tech line. At one point he even told me the tech was on hold for more than 45 mins until he just had to grab the tech and ask him to just do some work cause they're getting kinda busy. He promised today he'll try and do his best.
    I am beginning to think Toyota is starting to act like the big three in the old days . They are getting good in ignoring their clients concerns and problems with their cars. Heck if they can put the tech on hold forever how much more do you think they'll treat an ordinary Joe like me. Or either way if it's just the dealer making up this story it still reflects bad on Toyota. Hummm that Honda Oddessey is now starting to look better with each days passing by. This is my fifth Toyota and I drive 05 4 runner , I was thinking of getting the redesigned Sienna by next year, now i'm starting to consider that Oddessey.
  • coderedcodered Posts: 43
    i am looking a 01 Sienna with 69,000 for $14900.............
    sound good??????????? thanks
  • w2323w2323 Posts: 60
    hehe i have a 01 with 62,000 I'll sell ya for 14,900
  • dougmddougmd Posts: 1
    I have 2001 Sienna and the check engine light came on. I took it to Auto Zone, where they hooked up the diagnostic and told me it came up fuel gauge sensor. Then they pulled up the number on their computer and it said pedal sensor. I called the dealer, and they tell me the number specifies the air/fuel ratio sensor, and that it would cost me $420 parts and labor to fix. Can someone please tell me specifically where this sensor is located, if this is something I should be able to do myself, and how much that part would cost me? I guess I could get a Haynes book but won't bother right now if it is too complicated for the average Joe to do himself.

    Thanks for any help/advice you can give me!
  • drbeavisdrbeavis Posts: 1
    i know exactly what you are talking about. i purchased my 2001 sienna in october of 2000. almost instantly i noticed that it made the exact same noise you are describing when it runs cold. and it happens on every gear as it revs up to the point where it is about to switch to the next gear. and of course, it goes away once the engine warms up. so for the past 4+ years, my rule has been to let the car run idle until the temp needle clears the very bottom notch.

    moreover, i was recently researching how the engine works, and came across octane factor. turns out that the lower the octane, the higher the chance that the fuel/air mix will self combust during the 2nd stroke when a piston comes up and compresses that mix right before the spark ignites it. that sort of "explosion" is not the same as the one caused by the spark, and usually causes, surprise, piston slap. the article noted that any engine with compression ratio higher than about 9.5:1 should think about using a higher octane. i immediately searched and found out that my particular sienna engine has a 10.3:1 ratio. so now i am litteraly waiting for my next trip to the gas station and fill up with super.

    as for the toyota dealer shops, i though about doing what you did, which is the only way that anyone could prove to them the situation. unfortunately, i am not in a position to do so. nevertheless, i knew (based on all my previous experiences with such dealer shops, and not just toyota) that the response i would get is the same as the one that i would get from my 5 year old if i were to ask him something like that. with all due respect to the toyota quality, the repair personnel are quite clueless when it comes to more than everyday questions. you can see that they have no idea, but they feel the urge to act as though they care. so they start selling you stuff immediately. an engine check light once came on, so i took it to the dealer shop. they ran a computer test for 2 hours ($40/hr x 2, non-refundable no matter what) and told me that i need a new catalytic converter, which is $400. i asked them how sure they were that this is exactly the part that needs to be replaced. namely, what would happen if following payment and installation, the light would still be on. they said that they could not guarantee that the catalytic converter was, in fact, the problem. and they would not refund me anything. so i said no thanks since the car does not suffer. about half a year after, i started feeling a definitive lag between pushing the gas pedal and engine's reaction. it was as though something was abstructing the air flow. so i took it to the dealer shop and showed them the problem. immediately the guy next to me said that the air filter must be replaced. and before i could say anything, he left and came back with a new filter with such speed that would make Cark Lewis and Michael Johnson look like toddlers. obviously, that was not the issue since the lag was so flagrant. so they ran yet another test (aka $40) and determined that it was the air flow regulator. the funniest thing is that the engine light disappeared after that repair. good thing i did not shell out $400 to replace a catalytic converter that was, after all, just peachy. hense, i was thinking about asking them for my $80 from the last 2 hour test that clearly had a bogus conclusion. but talking to these people is like masturbating with a cheese grater: slightly amusing, but mostly...painful.

    let me know the latest, p53mustang
  • Update .
    Okey finally the service guy called me yesterday and said that they finally have an answer from Toyota but we'll wait further instruction from Toyota as to what they need to do with my van as my next step.But two days ago I emailed Toyota about my problem with my van and pointed out that if it's just the dealer making up stories that they can't get a hold of anybody from Toyota tech line reflects bad on Toyota I asked if there's a lot of failing Toyota that their tech line is just swarming with calls. Either way wether the dealership is making this up or Toyota just couldn't field the call reflects badly on Toyota. I emailed that this is exactly one of the reasons why the Big Three isn't as big as they used to be.
    So I got an email with a case number the following day telling me that the service manager will contact me no later than Tuesday next week with regards to how to handle my situation.
    I emphasized on my email that part of my wifes job is visiting baby's and kids born from indigent parents who live in some poor and bad neighborhood. My wife refuses to drive my 4runner , so getting stalled by this van is not a good idea.
    I also mentioned that i've been visiting a lot of forums over the internet and i've been seeing a lot of complaints about Toyota and it's service. I did mention that I am emailing them as proof that I am trying my best to to resolve this matter in a civil manner rather than post something bad right away without trying.
    I asked the service advisor what they had done on previous cases like this . He said the last time he worked on such problem was the Previa model he said they changed the engine block and it took about a week.
    So far this is all I got , i'll update next week.
    Have a great weekend guys/gals
  • sj1bj1sj1bj1 Posts: 20
    Anybody ever changed the dash light that illuminates the selector dial for controlling the a/c and heater airflow? Mine has burned out and I don't know how to get to the light. Also anybody ever change the "push-type" lights by the rear-view miror? Thanks
  • skilewskilew Posts: 1
    Can someone give me some advice on how to adjust the rear brakes on my 1999 Sienna van. I have tried applying the parking brake several times but this does not seem to adjust the brakes.

    Is there any other way to adjust the brakes?

    The rear brakes seem to be doing very little, thus my need to adjust.
  • To p53mustang&rdbeavis

    I also have the same problem with my van. When the car is cold and just before each shift I get what sounds like to me a rapid tapping. Fine after warm-up.The van is a 2001LE loaded with 62,100 miles on the clock. I took it into the dealer and they came up with noisy fuel injectors..... If you think about it this makes some. sense When the car is about to shift the control is to cut back on the fuel for a smother shift. After the shift the noise is gone until the next shift and so on. The thing is that this has become just part of the car for me and I live with it. So with 62,100 miles who knows. The mpg is perfect on regular gas you gotta love that. One more thing I' am not so sure I would trust the dealer to do any internal engine work such as a new block.

    I knew if I hung out long enough I would find others with this problem. I would like to know what's the highest mileage so far with this rapid tapping.
  • rlee2rlee2 Posts: 4
    Hi Mohala:

    I have similar problem on my 2003 sienna. I am wondering what is the problem you found out.


  • I've read many of the posts on the power door thing. I'm not clear if my problem is the same as others. My problem is that when the power door closes, sometimes it does not close all the way shut so that when put in gear the annoying beep goes off indicating door not closed even though it looks closed. If I help it to close by pushing it from the inside or outside, the problem does not occur. I thought a shot of wd-40 might help but no dice. Doesn't seem like a compuer module type problem Any help would be appreciated.

    Wanted to say thanks to all for their postings re: the read door handle fix. Mine snapped at 130k miles. Had I not found this site, I probably would have taken it in to the dealer and gotten ripped off. Instead I ordered the part from Toyota for $60 or so (still a rip off) and put it in myself. This job is not that difficult to those who are considering taking it on. You just need to pull off the plastic pieces surrounding the back window. Mine just came out with a little tug. The big plastic piece covering the lower portion is a bit tougher, but is still held in mainly by clips and three nuts (one at the strap and two on the other side. Once the plastic trim is off, the fix is easy. Just three nuts to undo, remove cable, replace piece and reverse process. I only broke one clip, which cost about $2. No problem. Believe me, if I could do it...

    Thanks again to the posts and the posters.
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