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Toyota Sienna Maintenance and Repair (2003 earlier)



  • sgergensgergen Posts: 155
    Make sure that you are pulling in fresh air, not re-circulating.

    No problems with condensation in my 2000 Sienna XLE and I live in Minnesota (currently -4 with a -45 WindChill).

  • inkyinky Posts: 370
    Statistically, the Sienna is reliable. I owned a 98 XLE built in Aug 1997 (production in first 5,000). It was utterly flawless without any warranty work at all. So I had no fear in buying a 01 with the modified engine, auto climate control and dual power doors.
    What I wanted to relate was a card placed in my owner's manual about SLUDGE! I thought the sludge may be one of those BS things but why is Toyota specifically placing a warning card in the manual about using "quality oil and filter" on a regular 5-7500 mile basis? Regardless, I will be very careful in documenting my oil changes. Will use mobil 0w30 and pure one filter. No sludge will be made from those great products.
  • cliffy1cliffy1 Posts: 3,581
    I actually lost a sale to a customer over this issue but not in the way you would think. I had a customer pull up in a three year old XLE Camry and was looking at a new one. She was in a rush and left her family in the car with the engine running. In the 5 minutes we talked in the parking lot, she asked me if Toyota had improved the defroster. "Look" she said. "See how bad that is. The defrost is on high and the windows wont stay clear."

    I walked over to the car and flipped her over to fresh air from recirculate. I shut the door again and within 30 seconds, the windows were fog free. She was so excited that she fell in love with her old car again and didn't want to look at a new one any more.
  • and as with a few car salesmen I have known, many customers will ask for you by name at the dealership and wait for you to sell them a new vehicle. Word of mouth advertising may take some time to get around, but a gracious, helpful salesman will soon become known to the friends and neighbors of all his satisfied customers. I consider customer reference the best way to select a salesman for my new vehicles.
  • mdx1mdx1 Posts: 63
    Most GM, Ford and Chrysler (nor sure about MBs) vehicles do not have a separate recirculate lever or button. The only time the air is recurculated is when the AC is the "Max" mode. At least this is true for the vehicles we owned from Plymouth, Mercury and Buick.

    On the other hand our Camry, Sienna and MDX have a "recirculate" button or lever to control the air from the outside. People who have been driving GM, Ford and Chrysler vehicles may not know that.
  • 1846618466 Posts: 46
    Any engine that you don't change the oil in will develop deposits (Sludge) not just a Toyota. The sludge warning in the manual should be a given even without the warning in the manual. TAKE CARE OF YOUR TOYOTA AND IT WILL LAST A LONG TIME
  • cliffy1cliffy1 Posts: 3,581
    Don't be suckered into engaging cblake into a sludge discussion. I am nearly certain this is the same person who was trolling in the Camry discussion about 8 months ago and he/she is associated with a mega used car dealer in Atlanta that buys cars at auction and doesn't check for sludge before they sell them. It seems they were purchasing cars off lease without checking maintenance records. As we all know, failing to change oil will cause sludge and off-lease cars are much more likely to have been neglected.
  • tly9tly9 Posts: 1
    My Sienna '00 van has Firestone tires. Do I need to be concerned with the Firestone problem? Has anyboday got the Firestone tires replaced by Toyota yet? Please let me know.
  • enetheneth Posts: 285
    No. The Firestones on the Sienna are passenger-car tires, not light-truck tires. They are not part of the WildernessAT tire recall.
  • I have been following the Camry threads here in the Town Hall for more than a year now and yes I too believe this cblake person is the same person trolling around fabricating stories and defaming Toyota. I caught her with her story telling from a post 2 weeks ago when admits to saying "she thinks she is having sludge problems" and doesn't know for sure what she is talking about. I'm a 21 year old college student and I probably have more automotive knowledge than her. LOL People with enough common sense knows that changing oil regularly will prevent alot of headaches down the road. =)
  • dougb10dougb10 Burlington, Ontario, CanadaPosts: 185
    Sorry to hear about some of the problems experienced by a few. My '99 XLE is 24 months old with 60,000 km. (about 36,000 miles). The car has had the oil changed and servicing done every 6,000 km. The dealer has been excellent and the car has had ZERO problems. (OK on a really hot day, sometimes the rear washer fluid nozzle drips a bit, but get a life folks!) My wife does miss having heated seats (yes, I know they are finally on the '01) as she has heated seats on her '97 Subaru Outback Limited.... another ZERO problem car.
    The Sienna has been used like a truck... to move a number of our kids belongings to new locations, as well as haul tons of landscaping

    stuff when we moved to a new home. I love this car... quiet, great sound system, handles well. Sure, it doesn't corner like my old '96 Maxima SE but this is a VAN and you drive accordingly. I expect to put 200,000 on this car before I get bored and move on to something else.
    Near Toronto ,where we live the weather is tough, from one extreme to the other. You do have to watch deep snow as it is kind of deceiving although you sit nice and high, the van frame isn't and you can get hung up... so we switch to the Outback on those days.
  • cliffy1cliffy1 Posts: 3,581
    I understand your concerns but you really don't have anything to worry about. The recall was very specific and was narrowed down to a certain tread design at one particular plant. If you feel squeamish about it anyway, you may just want to replace them. It wont improve the safety of the van but it may give you just a bit more confidence.
  • I bought a new 2000 Senna with alarm. after six month both of my alarm emotes did not work. Dealer charged me $73 dollars to re program the emotes, he said that it was not under the warranty. After a day the remote again don't work. I thought the alarm was from Toyota put it is not. It is a Checkmate. As any one else had a similar problem and is there any way that I can re program the emotes?
  • cliffy1cliffy1 Posts: 3,581
    You say the alarm is a Checkmate? That is why it isn't covered under warranty. Why did they do an aftermarket alarm? You have an issue with the dealership on this, not Toyota unfortunately.
  • I am a happy owner of new Sienna CE (only 300 miles). After reading all the complaints about Senna on this site I decided that this mini van is still the best compared to other options.

    I would like to figure out what octane rating I should use. I know about all spectrum of recommendations from 87 to 93. Please share with me your practical experiences.

    My Sienna will be in a very undemanding use. Mostly it will be driven by my wife only. Why then mini van? We like to sit high and have larger vehicle for safety.

  • I'm considering a 2001 sienna xle.

    any comments, why not to buy?
  • I own a 1999 Sienna XLE that has been into the deal 4 times in last 8 months for a squeaking noise from the rear brakes. Noise is heard when braking slowly or when at a standstill and letting off the brake slightly (it's kind of a cross between a squeal and a groan type noise).

    Dealer has replaced entire back brakes (or at least that is what the work order has said that they have done) two times and adjusted/cleaned the brakes on the other two visits.

    Noise is gone when I pick up the van but returns within several miles of driving with normal braking. Dealer said noise is anoying but not dangerous. Except for this one recurring problem the van has been great (almost 30,000 miles on it so far)

    Anyone else having this problem?
  • I just purchased a 2001 XLE (turned in my 98XLE off lease) and I have to keep it in defrost mode all the time or the windows fog up (Wisconsin). How many others are havng this same problem? Has anyone found out what the fix is? I hate to bring it in and waste time if they don't know what's wrong up front. Other than the fogging issue, it is a beautifull vehicle. I only have 1000 miles so far but it sure is nice. I had a 98XLE with 36K miles that I turned in for this one. The 98 was never in the shop with the exception for oil changes and tire rotation.
    Take care,
  • I would like to know what kind of mileage you are getting on your new sienna. I am getting a mileage of around 16 rather 15 to 17. New sienna with about 3k miles on it.

    The first 1k, was break in period.. so low mileage is expected. When is the mileage expected to improve. I would appreciate if other sienna owners share their mileage figures.

  • drew_drew_ Posts: 3,382
    When defrosting/defogging, make sure that you turn the A/C on if it doesn't already come on automatically. Heat + a/c should work...This will de-humidify the interior and you shouldn't have a fogging problem. Other than that, perhaps you should leave the fan on a higher speed so that more air gets circulated around. Or, you could also buy a bottle of RainX (or similar) antifog product from your autoparts store. Apply this to the insides of your windows and they should be much less likely to fog up.

    Good luck!
    Drew Townhall co-host
    Vans and Aftermarket & Accessories conferences
  • Sometimes you can overdo the defrost, so change the settings to "floor" or "middle" and see how that goes. ABSOLUTELY start out with the recirculate off: you want to use the setting with the arrow that only goes in only one direction, not the one that looks like a recycling symbol. Even though the recycling setting changes the internal temperature faster, it has been better for us to only use it in the summer, when it won't fog the windows, and even then only for a few minutes. The only other time I use it is when I am in a tunnel or stuck in stand-still traffic behind an offensive vehicle (diesel, exhaust, etc.). If after this I forget to reset to the fresh air setting, there is fog on the front window.

    Hope this helps with your problem. Keep us posted.
  • tmurf1: I too just recently purchased an XLE - my second Sienna (98 LE also). I have no condensation problems like yours on either EXCEPT when I recirculate internal air rather than use external. But the XLE does seem to fog quicker than the LE - perhaps something in the XLE's dual A/C or the different fan cooling points from the towing package? I'm in CT - not quite as cold as WI but close. If your are using external air and still have to continually defrost that sounds like a defect to me. Good luck.

    venkin: I've been keeping detailed mileage records of my new XLE. I observed the break in period religiously (try driving 55 or under on I-84 in CT, the passthrough between NYC and Boston - Yikes!). I go to a popular gas station that often refills its tanks.

    Breakin Mileage 1st 1000 miles: 24.5 mpg

    Since breakin I drive mostly highway around 70 mph: my mileage seems to be going down from 22.5 mpg towards 21 mpg. I'd expect what I got during breakin. Not cool. But its been progressively cold lately.

    Next fillup I'm going to try to 'unleaded' my foot and see what the milage looks like but the trend isn't great. I'll double check my LE mileage but I know it's better than 15 - 17 mpg.

    Anyone else care to contribute?
  • Ooops - I forgot to add I've been using 91 octane Gulf gas only.
  • We have a Sienna LE 2000 and have driven 35,000 miles since Jan 00.

    Here are our mileage numbers for the past five weeks, traveling mostly highway, some city, some trips to school and mall, and occasional stand-still traffic:

    Yearly high was 26.29
    Yearly low was 17.34

    We always go to the same station and use 93 octane.
  • I've mentioned before, I don't check religiously, but when I have it's around 21/22 mpg. I have a 2000 LE with 5000 miles on it. We've done some trips, but mostly around town - about evenly split with freeway and surface roads. No stop and go stuff. For what it's worth!
  • fischdafischda Posts: 272
    I haven't read this whole string (only the last month or so), but hopefully this hasn't been answered yet. My '99 XLE (33,000 miles) has manual sliding doors. On the driver's side, the post that catches the locking mechanism when the door is full open appeares to be rusting through. We've also had some intermittent sticking problems with the passenger's side sliding door. Anyone experience any of these? The doors function fine, but I fear future problems.

    Another problem: I've had the fuel sensor in the gas tank replaced when the gas guage went haywire. It worked, but on a recent road trip I noticed that the indicator was still on FULL after 65 miles. It usually breaks after about 40. Then, after the fuel low light was on for a while and the indicator showed EMPTY (I mean it was fixed down there), we filled up and came 3.5 gallons short of a full tank. I doubt the usual reserve is that much, so I think the sensor may be going again. Anybody experience this problem?

    Other than that, our van has been fantastic! It's so versitile for our family w/2 kids in car seats and a large dog. For those living in places with changing climes, I highly recomend rubber floor mats from Weather Tech! They're top quality, hold lots of melted slush and gunk and clean up well. Thanks all!
  • I own a 2000 Toyota Sienna LE.
    I love the handling and design of the car, however I am wondering if this year is a bad year for this model.
    I have had the brakes replaced at about 12K.
    I have had the transmission and radiator replaced at 22K. This was especially troubling because we were on a Thanksgiving trip out of town when it went out. The dealer mentioned that transmissions have been going out left and right on this car. It took a week to get the car repaired. The dealer was very accomodating but it was extremely inconvenient.
    The check engine light has come on twice, I have it in the shop now.
    I keep the maintenence up and do oils changes about every 3500 miles.
    Anyone else have any transmission problems?
    I am seriously considering trading it in for a Odyessy.
  • Read this discussion from the beginning to learn about the Torque Converter/check engine light problem with some 2000 Siennas (manufacture dates in July and August, I believe). I was one of them - only one other person needed a new transmission that I remember in here. Since my TC was replaced I've had no problems and it's been 2000 miles and about 2 months since the fix.

    Sorry to hear about your troubles - I hope they end soon! I also love the ride, handling and comfort of the Sienna.
  • I'd like to disspell the total fabrication that "rbacsafra" and "cliffy1" are perpetuating here. To imply that I am part of an Atlanta used car facility is absurd! I am simply a '99 Sienna owner. I did not post here 8 months ago as implied, nor did I make any posts about my Toyota prior to this summer.

    The truth is that the number of sludge victims is increasing. There are more and more new Avalon owners in particular. There are more and more owners having this problem at low mileage and after adequate oil changes. I just received a 25-page document with owner scenarios. You may wish to call all this fabrication if you choose; you *lose* if you do and own a V6 Toyota engine, though.

    There are a significant number of "lurkers" who are sending information to support the problem. Some owners continue to post on The Complaint Station, amidst the mechanics who are calmly and not-so-calmly responding to the owner complaints. There isn't any need to embellish this matter; it speaks for itself, owner by owner.

    I'd like owners to take the information and do their own research. It isn't hard to find owner posts. To totally discount my information is very PRESUMPTIVE of "rbacsafra" and "cliffy1." I *thought* "cliffy1" was credible with the torque converter issue and Toyota's response. I will be changing my opinion about him if he is intent on discounting this matter for me and the other owners. Since he works for a Toyota dealership, it isn't surprising that he would attempt to minimize the matter, though, is it??

    Suffice it to say, there IS a significant problem for owners with the V6 engine in the Sienna, Camry, Avalon, and Solara though. Toyota can continue to look the other way if it chooses. Toyota is challenging the owners' reputations; is it any wonder that they are challenging Toyota's reputation in return???

    Charlene Blake
  • It's a plain fact that preventive maintainance is beneficial to any vehicle. But with cblake's claims, she has no hard based facts because "SHE THINKS" she has sludge problems in her van and she really doesn't know if she does or not. It's very easy to fabricate stories of anything. she claims to have a 25 page document of these problems. I'm sure she typed this up on her Microsoft Word for a couple weeks now trying to create bogus scenarios.

    Isn't it ironic that cblake is the only one who cries wolf about this sludge topic? Now who are you gonna believe? An outcast who "THINKS" she has a problem or someone knowledgeable and a large asset to the Town Hall community like Cliffy1. See, just because Cliffy1 is not on her side, she thinks he and I are a bad guy. I'm sure if I agreed with her sludge statement, she would be my best friend in the whole wide world. But she thinks the other way. I would like to apologize to everyone in the Town Hall about how his issue keeps getting dragged on and on and on and on like a broken record. We just have a case of someone WHO THINKS is having problems because she doesn't know when to change her oil. Anytime you defame her facts, she gets offended and it takes her a week or more to make a comeback. Just ignore it. There is no sludge problem with the 1MZ-FE V6. It's just someone's passion to blame Toyota for their own incompetence to follow the directions. Look at it this way, the more time Toyota investigates this, the more money they put into research and if it does get into legal issues...guess what...the cost of these things will eventually be price increases for all Toyotas. So once you see big price increases contributed by the reasearch and legal can thank cblake first. It's sad how one person can ruin it for everyone.

    Maybe you wanna start investigating the Firestone issue with tread separation or make you need to complain to the EPA that ALL cars pollute the air and that our ozone layer is getting depleted? Just do everyone a favor by quit arguing this story and stop wasting your time. Please go to the forum and post your problem there and see what you get.

    Too bad there isn't a government agency to stop internet trolling. LOL

    Good Luck!
    TeamSC³ - Southern California Camry Club
    Founding Member
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