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Toyota Sienna Maintenance and Repair (2003 earlier)



  • cblake2cblake2 Posts: 53
    I have noted now an increasing amount of corrosion around the clamps that hold the battery in the engine compartment. One of the metal brackets is eaten away now and the greenish powder residue is VERY close to the battery cables themselves. The other side has an equal amount of this powder residue. What's going on with this? I have seen corrosion on very old vehicles. Is the battery acid somehow leaking?? Please help.
  • How would you arrange the Honda seating in order to accomodate 5 people in their own seats, a large dog on its bed and luggage?

    I suppose you could put the dog on the rear seat with one of the passengers (no longer his own seat) or put luggage on the rear seat, or stack the dog on top of the luggage in the rear luggage well.

    With an 'all or nothing' 3rd row bench seat, your options are more limited.
  • Folks:
    Does anyone know anecdotally or from any information that the Toyota Sienna TC problems were only in the May - Aug vehicles and that the 2001 Sept., onwards vehicles are good. Has anyone with a 2001 Sept made vehicle had a problem with check engine light? Would appreciate this information very much. Have been reading all the posts on this board and waiting in the wings, for just this information to buy. Thanks
  • Rigstar:
    Hope you are getting some decent response from your dealer with your tranny problems in your 2001 XLE. Was your 2001 built in Aug or Sept? All the best. Thanks
  • gb9gb9 Posts: 16
    I have owned nine cars in my post-University adult life (12 years). I have yet to have encountered sludge... What *is* it exactly and how does it affect an engine?

    My 1971 VW used to have a sticky carburator on particularly cold New York winter mornings, which sometimes resulted in gasoline overflowing into the oil. The gasoline contamination would raise the level of oil in the tank and foul two or more spark plugs (I'd be running on 2 cylinders -- an interesting experience unless you're driving one of those cool Citroën 2CV's).

    On such occasions I would just drain the oil, clean the plugs, refill the oil and drive on... What finally killed that VW was a head-on collision with an early 80's Buick.

    Is the sludge issue specifically messing with the fuel injector system, or what?

    I don't anticipate any problem, as I am a fanatic about routine maintenance and I keep all computer-printout receipts.

    Just would like further info...


    George B
  • dardsondardson Posts: 21
    in spite of my apprehension based on reading this site, I bought an XLE w/leather. I posted earlier that I really liked the car but felt it was "mighty plain" for a 31k car, and a little disturbed by the complaints on this site. Still think Chrysler is better at making interiors that make you feel you've got a luxury car. That said, I love my Toyota. It's very quick (210hp with a relative light weight)and smooth as butter. I decided to trust history (not to mention Consumer Reports). Toyota has consistently built cars that that never seem to break, in spite of what I read here. Thanks for the comments, folks.
  • lleesllees Posts: 7
    What is the production date of your XLE? No check engine light coming on yet? After reading all about this TC problem, I wonder if I should stop this process now and wait for a 10/00 production vehicle.
  • rjsforjsfo Posts: 13
    A few weeks ago you posted an update regarding the Toyota Customer Assistance Center giving you a Platinum extended warranty for having to replace your torque converter. Can you provide more details on who you talked to and your Toyota case number? I just got a rejection on my request for a warranty extension from the Toyota dealers Customer Relations Manager. Thanks, rjsfo
  • lshtlsht Posts: 2
    I bought a 2000 Sienna LE 5 weeks ago. Got the check engine light at 800 miles and sure enough need a TC. What is the long hold-up on getting this fixed? It has been over 3 weeks and the part is still not available, the dealer tells me Toyota is overwhelmed by the problem. I'm a little disappointed in Toyota, with all the problems Ford has had they did manage to get me a rebuilt engine in one weeks time for my old Windstar. First the Ford experience, now this. I'm having transmission nightmares...........
  • anonymousanonymous Posts: 314
    After many service visits and discussions I got my regional rep. involved. after several visits with information learned here I talked toyota into replacing the computer. WA-LA 4000 miles and 3 months later ,NO door problems. In love with my Sienna again.
  • dmathews3dmathews3 Posts: 1,739
    You would think that since this is such a problem of getting new TC's to the customers that Toyota would take the honorable way out and shut down the lines like Ford did for the Firestone tires in order to take care of their future repeat customers.
  • Congrats on your purchase! We have a 2000 LE, bought it in April, and have 9,000 trouble-free miles on it. We love our van, and you have more goodies to enjoy. As a bonus, we got ~26-27 MPG on a 1500 mile trip recently.

    Too bad about some of the TC problems I read about here; I'm grateful my Sienna has been flawless. I have nothing to complain about so I guess I'm off-topic!

    I strongly recommend the Sienna!
  • We've had our 2001 XLE for about one month and already I see that the leather on the driver's seat is starting to crack!! I had a Chrysler Town and Country for 6 years and the leather was indestructible. The Toyota leather seemed fragile when I first bought the van, and sure enough, it seems to be wearing out. Is anyone else having this problem? By the way, I'm normal weight, and don't wear sandpaper jeans or anything.
  • dardsondardson Posts: 21
    since my dealer didn't have exactly what I wanted, he kinda (sorta) ordered me one (not from scratch, but found me an XLE to be here next week.) In the mean time I'm driving his when I say I love my Toyota, I should say I love my dealers's a CE but the same powertrain. I find the car everything I want. After a '93 Ford Explorer, '94 Jeep GC, '96 Chevy Tahoe, and a '98 Ford Expedition, it's absolutely the best of both worlds (SUV vs. everything else). I've been stuck on SUV's because of their space and (until lately) their great resale. This Sienna has a quiet, sedan like ride, a quick and nearly silent engine, and and more cubic feet inside than my Expedition. You can get in and out without a step stool, and 19mpg to boot. I never tow or drive off-road and only want the space for my job. Is it a car, a spacious cargo hauler, or an ultra smooth riding luxomobile? Yes! Is it as bullet-proof as the press claims. We'll see. But they made this darn thing for me.
  • lleesllees Posts: 7
    We finally picked up our 2001 XLE last night (it took us 4 hours - $40 just in babysitting fees!). And so far we just LOVE it. We took a drive in it today with the kids - and with 60 miles now, still no check engine light (keeping my fingers crossed).

    The dealer still owes us 2 keys and the remote entry beeper things (it was a dealer trade-in and they did not receive everything) so we have to go back tomorrow. Hopefully it will not break down on the way back to the dealer.

    Sorry people, but spending too much time in the Sienna Problem forum is making me paranoid and really taking away my undistracted enjoyment of this new vehicle.

    Dardson... hope you get your real car soon. The CE might drive the same, but I am sure it doesn't "feel" anything close in luxury. Bet you can't wait.
  • we bought a 00 sienna had the engine light go on dealer ordered the part it took 8 days to get and one day to put in and i was given a rental car my van was detailed and so far so good fingers crossed
  • At the end of July, I took delivery of a 2000 XLE, mfg in 6/2000. Next day got the engine light and the engine code identified the t/c problem. Of course, as we were early in to the failing t/c problem it took a number of calls and sharing info from this site and others to convince the service dept to investigate the matter further. I previously posted my early experiences on this site and vented a bit about my disappointment. A t/c was ordered, arrived 6-7 weeks later, installed in one day. Our salesman's demo was loaned to us for the day. It has been two months since and no problems, shimmies, misalignment or other problems have occurred.
    I opened a file with Toyota customer service during the time I was pointing out the likely problem, and getting no action. I checked periodically with my service mgr and the customer service rep. While waiting for my new t/c. I often expressed my frustration and disappointment with Toyota over having to watch the engine light and wonder if it was the t/c, something else or a safety hazard. After the part was installed, I contacted the customer service rep. and discussed ways in which they might attempt to repair their damaged reputation. Bottom Line: I was offered an extended warranty or cash. In my case, the extended warranty had no value to me as I am leasing the vehicle so we negotiated 2 months worth of lease payments, approx. $640. This was not a settlement, but a good will gesture on Toyota's part, i.e, I did not waive any rights or sign a release. I have noted that others have gotten a lot less for their trouble, some may have gotten more, I don't know. I was mad when it happened for all of the obvious reasons, but perhaps there can be a happy ending for some of you. I think Toyota has gone a long way to revive its reputation with me. If you need to protect yourself with the "lemon laws", by all means do so, but give the dealer and the service rep. every chance to make it right first. Best of luck to the rest of you.
  • rjsforjsfo Posts: 13
    When you were given the option for an extended warranty or cash, was this through the dealer or the Toyota Customer Assistance Center? If it was the dealer, would you mind sharing the name? Any details on getting to that point would be helpful too.
    Thanks, rjsfo
  • I have a 2001 XLE with 800 miles. In the last week or so I've begun to hear and feel a brief "scraping" noise under the accelerator. This occurs after ignition is started, van is put into drive and accelerator is depressed. It occurs about 1 1/2 to 2 seconds after I start pushing the accelerator. It does not appear to occur if the van hasn't just been started. In other words, if I put my van in park with the engine running and then put it in drive, I do not have the noise. The dealer says it is a normal function relating to the antilock breaks or transmission. Does this sound serious?
  • The cash or extended warranty offer was made by the Toyota Customer Assistance Center, however, the check actually came from the dealership. I only spoke with the dealer about car specific items and how we could work together on how to accelerate the t/c repair process. My experience suggests that the customer service rep. follows up with the dealer/service mgr. to check my story and other relevant facts. I also let the service manager know when I spoke to the customer assistance rep to give him a heads up and so he didn't feel that the complaint was personal to him. My conversations with the customer service rep were always direct, but polite. At some point, I probably asked whether Toyota would take some steps to redeem its good will which lead to our negotiated resolution. Good Luck.
  • Sorry for the ignorance but what does TC stand for with this TC problem in the Toyota Sienna?
  • alingaling Posts: 598
    TC = Torque converter

    Click on "see all responses" near the top of this page to read the previous messages on this issue.

    Townhall Community Leader/Vans Conference
  • dardsondardson Posts: 21
    I've watched lots of the Town Hall sites over the last few years on various cars that interest me. By contrast, the Toyota sites are full of helpful information from very consciencious buyers discussing valuable experiences. This is not my experience at other sites. As a group Toyota buyers expect very close to perfection and are determined to get it at the absolute bottom dollar(the toughest of customers I suspect.) It may be a mixed blessing to be a car company that manufactures no-nonsense cars considered the world's standard for reliability.
  • Your dealer is right. I get the same noise, and would have worried except I had already read somewhere (in fact I think it may have been the car manual) that the sound is the anti-lock brakes activating.
  • Thanks for your reassuring remarks. The service guy officially said it was the "ABS motor pack energizing."
  • lleesllees Posts: 7
    As I said before, spending so much time in this very informative forum is making me paranoid and taking away from my enjoyment of my 3-day old 2001 XLE. I keep looking for the engine light.

    Last night, I thought I heard a minor rattling noise coming from inside the driver side passenger door - and even called my friend to see if they had the same problem. Today, driving on a bumpy road for 10 minutes, the rattling got worse and was definitely not my imagination. I even stopped the car to check the door - and opened and reclosed the door. Still I hear this rattling and now I am seriously concerned. When my husband got home, I made him come with us to drive the car on the same road so that I could "investigate".

    To my major relief, the rattling came from under one of the captain's chair - and it was a headrest I had removed (to fit the carseat properly) and stored underneath the seat. One of the metal bars on the headrest was banging against the seat rail.

    So my whole day had been ruined (worrying about this problem) simply because I was going crazy....
  • cblake2cblake2 Posts: 53
    I would like any information on the clunk noise heard upon backing up in the Sienna. When I back up and barely touch the brakes, I hear this loud clunking each time now. What exactly is causing such a thing?

    Also, my van pulls significantly to the left now after new Michelin tires and several tire rotations. The pull is so strong that it startles me at times. I am constantly countering this tendency. It is unfortunate that such a nice van has such horrendous steering!

    I have read that the pulling problem is secondary to an alignment problem. I also heard that this alignment problem does not have a permanent fix for it.

    What is the latest on this very frustrating problem? I remember reading all the past posts and seeing that it is a *common* problem. I have created a flier for those interested in disseminating information about this issue (and others). Please e-mail me for the attachment.
  • I have a friend in CA who's a Sienna owner for a year now and she told me that the clunking noise while backing up is perfectly normal and is due to the ABS system (which seems to provide lots of fun noises). Did you check with the serv. dept. about this?
  • I took the headrest and turned it around so the booster seat would fit better. Just pull it all the way out and put it in backwards. It looks a little funny but it doesn't have to be stored.
  • I picked up my 2001 XLE on Friday night with 140 miles on it (driven from another dealership.)
    On Monday morning, with 240 miles on it, "check engine" comes on! The dealership I bought from was 50 miles away. I checked with one of 2 local dealerships and they were very gracious and got me right in to look at it. They said it didn't matter that I didn't buy from them (what a shock!) It was a code P0733, which is in the transmission, but they weren't sure exactly what.
    They had to take the dash off to get at the on-board computer and probe voltages. All they came up with is a voltage surge from one of the speed sensors. Anyone else experienced this??
    They put it back together, cleared the code and said it's fine to drive. I have this feeling that the light is going to come back on in another 50 miles.
    The dealership I bought from has been following up on everything that has been happening, so I must admit I have been impressed with the level of customer service. I'm less than impressed with the manufacturer. When you spend that kind of money, you don't expect to be in the shop at 250 miles!
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