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Toyota Sienna Maintenance and Repair (2003 earlier)



  • rsbasu12rsbasu12 Posts: 2
    Thanks user777, for your input. Would an overfill of oil cause the car to hesitate when the accelerator is pressed, as well as white smoke? RB
  • steine13steine13 Posts: 2,562
    Who knows what happens in a computer controlled car when one parameter goes seriously out of spec? If I were you, I'd leave my computer and run not walk to the car to check the oil level.

    Overfilling is seriously bad if it's more than a quart or so... if the level in the crank case is high enough, the crankshaft throws will whip it up into something frothy and creamy... and then it lubricates about as well as a latte...

    Always always always check your oil level after someone else changed your oil.

    Make sure you still have an engine, and worry about driveability problems later.
  • penizzlepenizzle Posts: 104
    try to remove the carpet next to the lever and squirt some kind of lube or penetrant like wd-40 in the tube that holds the wire for the release. Try tracing the wire for kinks and such all the way back to the fuel door. Since the lever is starting to bend, try getting a new lever. While your a it, look at my post before yours and see if you can answer my ?.
  • penizzlepenizzle Posts: 104
    White smoke isn't oil, its engine coolant. Your car is leaking coolant through the enginge and it is being burnt, but i dont know why it is doing that all of a sudden, but i am certain that white = coolant and blue = oil.
  • Sorry to here you are having these problems with your Van. It's been ages since my last post. If I read your post correctly you indicated you had the throttle body cleaning done. When this is done the car will produce a ton of white smoke out the tail pipe. Driving the car around will eventually clear you engine of this strong cleaner and no smoke. However, while doing this cleaning the car can trip the check engine light as your car did. In an extreme case they may have fried your 'o2' sensor thus your hesitation problem. If the car ran well and the MPG was perfect you should be ok. It sounds like to me they want to replace your engine and get the money for that and then pop in a new 'o2' sensor. Planting the sludge seed may have started something? You may try a different dealer and tell them what happened. As far as I know the service you had done should not have caused a engine replacement.
  • gunga64gunga64 Posts: 271
    No catch, but sometimes the code can mislead you from the real problem
  • scoti1scoti1 Posts: 676
    "My questions to you are:
    1. Could sludge cause the symptoms I described?
    2. The car had been running very smoothly before I took in for is it that these problems happened right after the service? Why would an oil change cause this problem to surface?
    3. Are there any other explanations for these symptoms (aside from sludge?) "

    1. Yes, sludge could cause these symptoms, but the only way to tell is have the valve cover pulled. if you want to be sure for yourself, be present when they do this to see for yourself.

    2. Yes, the car can be running fine up to a certain point. Usually there are other signs before you notice the engine acting up, like the smoke in the exhaust, high usage of oil, check engine light illuminating, or visible signs of sludge on the dipstick. It may not be that noticeable on an oil change except the oil would have looked old and less than the normal amount would have drained. This could have lead to an overfill of oil as others have suggested and caused your immediate problems. I don't know, but it is possible that draining the oil that was still liquid could have stirred the remaining sludgy oil up enough to make it clog the system.

    3. Probably.
    If you feel uncomfortable with this dealerships diagnosis, take it elsewhere. If you can show records of reasonable maintenance, the 8 yr, unlimited mile sludge policy should cover you.
  • donb13donb13 Posts: 4
    I tried as you requested to hear the fuel prime on my sienna but could not hear anything as well.
  • penizzlepenizzle Posts: 104
    THank you. I guess its just the way these are built. Oh well.
  • allanpogiallanpogi Posts: 3
    I was just driving a week ago and making a left turn, then all of a sudden, the signal light didn't work. After I parked the van, I did some troubleshooting, checked the fuses(and they're fine), press the emergency lights switch and still didn't work. Should I go to the dealer to have it fixed(even though they'll charge me pretty high)? Is there any other way to fix it (myself)? :confuse:
  • gartmacdgartmacd Posts: 27
    You probably need a new flasher. Low cost item, you can pick one up at autozone or any other auto parts store, and change it yourself. If you don't want to do it yourself, any gas station with a service bay can do it in less than 15 minutes. They don't last forever, no matter who made the automobile.
  • allanpogiallanpogi Posts: 3
    Thanks. Appreciate it.
  • allanpogiallanpogi Posts: 3
    Just have another question, where exactly is the flasher located? Thanks.
  • penizzlepenizzle Posts: 104
    It depends on your dash setup. If you stick your head where the brake pedal is and look up, you may see a box looking thing that is small, but since my discription is bad, heres what you should do. Buy a haynes manual for the 1998-2002 Siennas. The info is in there and it is good to have in any repair situation. Make sure you get one
  • I am experiencing the squealing brakes again in my 2001 Sienna, this problem has occurred on and off. I am totally out of warranty so the TSB from 2004 won't cover me to get new brake drums. My question is, do you think that non-toyota brake parts such as pads etc will affect the squeal? The dealer suggested that if I had non-toyota brakes the squeal would be worse. Well I do have non-toyota brakes as far as I remember but I am not convinced this is true. Should I invest in A. toyota brand brakes and/or B. new brake drums. Thanks.
  • penizzlepenizzle Posts: 104
    The dealer is right. Always buy OEM parts from the dealer. They are more expensive but in the long run, they are better.
  • gunga64gunga64 Posts: 271
    Theres a TSB on 2001 siennas breaks? Where can I find this? Anyway, I put in ceramic break pads and brand new rotors in my 2001 camry. It cost me about $90.00 for the parts the labor was free since I did it myself. The rotors were very cheap about $25.00/per disk, beats grinding the old ones down, because they are a lot smoother and not warped from heat. When I asked the dealer if they put ceramic pads on my camry they said they werent available. But going through any auto part store they are. Ceramic break pads are known to be quiet and last longer. Of course the dealer won't want that would they. My camry breaks are quiet as a mouse now.

    The squealing usually comes from front discs not the rear break drums make sure they work on the right breaks.
  • garandmangarandman Posts: 524
    We're going to start looking at 2001-03 Siennas as we need a shorter van than the large models now available.

    It seems sludge is a persistant problem wit hthe Toyota V6 of this vintage. Can you tell by the way the engine sounds or runs, or must you open up the valve cover?
  • coonkycoonky Posts: 1
    I recently turned off my 1998 Sienna and my headlights were flashing. When I went back into the car to turn them off my Automatic locks would not work and I could not see my clock display. I dont know much about cars so was wondering if anyone knows of common things that would cause this so i dont have to go into the dealer. Thanks.
  • scoti1scoti1 Posts: 676
    Toyota made some minor changes to the design sometime in 2002, so the ones manufactured later in 2002 and 2003 are less likely to develop sludge. Really the only way to tell for sure is to have the valve cover pulled, and take a look, but I am not sure I would go that far with a 2003.

    I heard that the design was modified further in 2004, so you may want to consider getting one of that vintage.

    If you do go for a 2001 or early 2002 (really this goes for any year and any make/model car you buy), try to get all the maintenance records from the owner and make sure it was properly maintained. That way, if something happens down the line, you may be covered under the 8 year sludge warranty.
  • penizzlepenizzle Posts: 104
    There is a way to check for short driving periods or not letting the engine warm up as well. Doing those things it what causes the sludge. You dont have to pull the valve cover, which by the way isn't hard, just remove coils, plugs and bolts. Anyway, remove the oil fill cap. Flip it upsidedown and scratch the underside, especialy right in the corners and edges. If an oily crusty slimylike substance comes off, that is sludge. With that being the case, there is a higher chance of slludge being in the engine. While the cap is off, stick a flashlight in the oil fill and once again scratch the surface below if crusty crap comes off, there may be sludge. We bought a van with this, a 1999 Sienna with 60'000 miles. After we got it. We drove it on the highway in hot weather and did some city driving. Then we did an oil change right after that and we did get most of the remaining sludge out. We have never missed a 3000 oil change. I do it right at 3000. Here is the biggest thing. CHANGE THE OIL EVERY 3000 MILES WHILE THE ENGINE IS HOT. :) Get the van if you like it. Take the 15 minutes to remove the front valve cover and inspect it. If only trace sluge, do a hot oil change and you will be good to go. ;)
  • steine13steine13 Posts: 2,562
    2003 Sienna 57k miles.
    Owned since new, and I did all the oil changes on the car myself & documented them. Winter oil changes at 3k miles; summer up to 5k, depending on conditions.
    And there is plenty of crud on the top surface of the baffle under the oil filler cap. No circulation; it gets hot, there's junk on it and has been since 10k miles. I would guess the filler cap isn't much different. I doubt that these indicators are all that helpful.

    That said, sludge in these engines is very rare, just not as rare as in, say, the Toyota 1.8l engine.

    Good luck,
  • typesixtypesix Posts: 320
    Your front disc brakes automatically adjust for wear. Parking brakes are usually rear only(except for some Saabs).
  • penizzlepenizzle Posts: 104
    First off, I made a mistake, the place where you pour oil in is not a good indicator place, but under the oil cap for sure is. Your lucky, your 2003 has the most advanced 3.0 V6 out of that Sienna's era. The 98-2000's had most of the problems. If you really want to know, take 20 minutes and take the valve cover off and look.
  • pgunapguna Posts: 1
    Hi Alan_s,

    I do have the same problem that you experienced in item(7). Can you please guide me how you resolved the issue? I am having 98 Sienna XLE and it is a manual door.

    Appreciate your help in this regard.

  • penizzlepenizzle Posts: 104
    Alan_S hasnt posted in 6 years so I'll answer. There is a TSB for your problem. Here is how you get it. You will neeed to buy a new handle assembly. Go to Type in "AARC auto repair" in the search box. Then click on Bedford Public library link. Then click on the ARRC link/picture. On the next page, click on 1998 then click on toyota then sienna then service bulitins and recalls. Then down to Glass Doors Hood Deckid, etc..... There are a couple of TSB's regarding your problem. Look through them and read them.
  • penizzlepenizzle Posts: 104
    There is a new kind of alternator that has better output while sitting at a light or idling with accesories on. That is your prob.
  • mitsymitsy Posts: 3
    2003 Sienna were just on a road trip noticed a noise that sounded sort of like static everytimeI would accelerate it would go away when crusing but come back during acceleration. any guesses as to what this would be??
  • penizzlepenizzle Posts: 104
    If the radio is on, it very well could be static from various engine compnents. If not, then it can't be static. It could be a rattle, which sounds like static somewhat. If it is, then check the following:: Secure objects in the cabin, secure engine and transmission mounts, secure exhaust hangers and clamps. Check those and get back with me.
  • mitsymitsy Posts: 3
    The radio is not on. I said static because i was trying to describe the noise. It only makes the noise when accelerating.
    Once i ease on gas the noise stops
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