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Toyota Sienna Maintenance and Repair (2003 earlier)



  • I have a 2000LE Sienna, bought in April 2000, with 16k miles. *Every* time I backup, a popping or "smacking" sound is heard, seemingly from the front end of the vehicle. It has done this since the day I bought the vehicle.

    The salesman told us that it would disappear shortly. It never did, and about a year later, I took the van in to get it diagnosed. The dealer said it was the brake shoes clapping together. I am suspicious of this diagnosis...

    When I put the brakes on when backing up, I do hear a soft, muffled "clap" sound, that sounds like it could be bake shoes/pads. But I also hear is a loud, sharp "smack" - actually 1-3 "smacks" each time I backup. A couple of weeks ago I spoke with a 2000LE owner with 40k miles. I asked him if he had had such issues. "no" he said. I backed my vehicle up in his presence, and the "smacking" sound produced some enlarged eyes on his face when he heard it.

    Has anybody else had this problem?

    R. Smith
  • I neglected to say in my first post that I read the last 390 messages in this group before writing. I read a lot about a "thumping" noise that is due to the bake pads/calipers, but nothing about a loud "smacking" noise. Hence, the message. I hear a "thumping" noise, but I believe that it is not the "smacking" sound I have been hearing.

    Replies are appreciated.

    R. Smith in Arizona.
  • I have been disappointed with my Sienna gas milage. I traded out of an SUV to get something close to the EPA 19mpg city. About a month ago I turned off the rear automatic air. My milage has gone up from 15.5 to near 18....not rocket science but a considerable difference. Is it just coincidence or does the rear air take a toll on milage? Any thoughts?
  • jeproxjeprox Posts: 466
    i have the same sound when i back-up and apply the brakes. it's more like a loud "click". mine is a 1999 model. my brother have a 2000 model and same thing happens when he backs up and apply the brakes. as far as i know this is normal for the sienna. i've driven about 5 siennas and they all have it.

    when first turn on your ignition, you hear this loud groan, which is the ABS doing a system check and is normal as well.
  • I have a 2000 xle with about 34000 miles... the post from garyw4 caught my eye. My transmission has an odd whine, actually since it was new, that the dealer has said may be the alternator. Doesn't seem right to me. I've owned many toys and none have made this noise. I'm hoping that garyw4 can go into a little more detail. Thanks
  • bob57bob57 Posts: 302
    Maybe what you hear;
    I had (have) the whining noise - it turned out to be the alternator. It's more noisey when under load.
  • I concur..... it is most likely the alternator. With van in Park, vary engine speed. You most likely will hear the same whining noise.
  • brt1brt1 Posts: 7
    It has been my experience that most if not all the problems mentioned in this forum eventually do happen. It maybe later than sooner, both in age and in miles, but it seems every squeak, rattle, clunk, component failure or design flaw sooner or later happens. It seems Toyota owners are very sensitive to their vehicles performance. That being said it is my turn to deal with the power door problem. Sometimes it closes sometimes it doesn't. It matters not if I activate the door by remote, door handle, or dashboard switch it may not close. I have cleaned and greased the roller tracks and latch and I have cleaned the door electrical contacts, I have tried to determine if the cable is loose or stretched, it doesn't appear so but I do not know for sure. I have heard people replacing computers for this problem. Not owning the service manual(yet) I wonder why there even is a computer necessary? I have located the motor and the relay that clicks but I do not understand what reverses the motor yet. I could take it to the dealer and I still may but my vehicle is 2yrs old with 45000 miles and that means $$$ for the usual run around and vague explanation. Does anyone Know what the problem could be? Any help would be appreciated.
  • I'm afraid Toyota has fallen victim to the minivan wars, each manufacturer trying to out gimmick the other. After two years with a power door can you tell me you really, really need this electric gizmo. I've got one with which I've had no trouble. Search me who really needs such a contraption. It is confusing and anything but intuative. Even if the thing works perfectly, what's the point. Maybe (and I say just maybe) if you've got kids too small to open a manual door, it might be a plus. On the other hand, maybe one ought to be supervising such small children who no doubt need to be buckled into a child safety seat in which case you gotta get out and do anyway. This is an option Toyota ought to lose.
  • jeproxjeprox Posts: 466
    just want to put in my 2 cents worth about the power sliding door and other options. i personally think it's useful up to a certain degree. they are just like power windows/locks and a/c. i used to find these options a waste of money but i now find them useful in my sienna! i also wish i have the power door option in my sienna! carrying a toddler and with some groceries on the other hand and it's minus 10 degrees C., it would be handy to have power sliding doors!
    i guess it really depends on the buyer. some people buy the option coz they wanna show off, some people buy it coz they need it.
    either way, whether we like or not - i can see this option being standard equipment on top of the line models in the near future.
  • When I bought our 2000XLE it had a power door and at that time Siennas were a commodity so I had to pay for it. I was reluctant to because I'm from the old school "why do I need that"?

    I guess I'm one of the few but I have had no problem with it and find it has utility. Getting in and out of the cars with kids in each hand is easier for me with the touch of a button(s).
  • jeproxjeprox Posts: 466
    i forgot to say thank you mrfong1 for offering to look up things (for me) in your manual in one of your earlier posts - so, thank you! :)

    i just received word yesterday that my manual was returned to sender (california) coz' the package had the wrong address. it will be mailed out to me again with the correct address this time and i should get in within a week or so!
  • To brt1:

    I had the same problem with my 1999 sienna two years ago. The dealer replaced the computer chip and solved the problem. Recently, due to bad wire connection, the door kept opening and closing by itself. Again, it was fixed under warranty but who knows when it will happen again. At that time, I may have to pay the repairement.
  • I have been having a problem that might be related to yours. I purchased a used 98 XLE with 33k miles from Toyota(certified used vechicle). In the six months I have owned it, I have only been on two long distance trips. After the first trip(800 miles) I checked the oil and was nearly a quart low. I added a quart and didn't think too much of it. I had the oil changed at the the 3000 mile interval. I went on another 800 mile road trip and was careful to check the oil before I left. It was full. At the halfway point in my trip I checked the oil and I was a nearly a quart low so I added a quart and when I got home I was nearly a quart low again. I took it to the dealership where I purchased it. They did compression and leak down test and it was within the specifications. They did look at the PCV valve and noticed it a little dirty with oil but it was still functioning. Right now I am doing an oil consumption test for 1,000 miles. I don't think it will show much because right now all of my miles are in the city and it hasn't showed signs of consuming oil during city driving but only during freeway driving. Thank goodness I purchased the extended warranty, there is definitely a problem but it might take a while to diagnose.
  • I had one problem with the sliding door on my 2001 Sienna. It would not open or close. I could hear the click of a relay near the back of the door when I hit the remote button or the console button. I took it to the dealer. They ordered part number 1 84261-08041 Junction, Slide Door $78.88. The part is the chrome push pins that make contact with the door frame electrical contacts. It took about a week and a 1/2 to get the part in. They installed it at no cost. I also got a free rental car. The door is working good now. We both like the power sliding door. 2 children, 16 months and a 5 year old.
  • I have a 2000 Sienna LE with about 30000 miles on it. In the past couple months I have had two occasions either during or after a heavy rain, in which the air conditioner light started blinking and then it turned off. After turning the A/C off for a little while, like 10 minutes, it worked with no problems. Has anyone else experienced this? If it sounds like a problem waiting to happen I need to get it serviced before the warranty expires (soon!). Any advice would be appreciated.
  • brt1brt1 Posts: 7
    I tried the procedure in the owners manual for a malfunctioning power door. It basically requires you to disconnect/reconnect the battery cable to reset the electronics which control the doors start and stop positions. The first time it got worse. Now the door stopped at the half way open position. Trying again it would not open at all. It also caused the power door open indicator on the dash to turn on even though the door was indeed closed tight. Not giving up I tried one more time. This time I accidently sparked the battery terminal when re connecting. Strange sounds of clicking relay routines began. I thought I was in deep trouble maybe frying some unknown electronic component. Thankfully I didn't and when I tried the power door it was working just fine. I don't know where the smarts for the power door system are or how it works but for now it is working
  • seems I read somewhere way back in this thread about a clicking brake pedal.......I noticed yesterday the brake pedal feels slightly loose...maybe a half inch play between it's resting position until I feel it make positive contact which is accompanied by a "click". While my description may not be all that good, I can tell you until lately the brake pedal has had a firm and positive feel, no click, no tick, and no looseness. Anyone else experience this?
  • I just went back skimming the last 1000 posts trying to find comments on brake problems. It occurred to me it's a great way to shop for a vehicle. Except for the brief period when Sienna had the torque converter problem, my general impression from this overview......owners like this vehicle, problems are mostly minor, and if you're going to have a problem it will likely be a power rear slider either not working properly or squeaking. The car is full of odd noises mostly considered "normal" by Toyota. It has a few too many squeaks and rattles but they're mostly overlooked for the good points....great engine, powertrain, and reliability. Lots of praise for it highway crusing/travel ability with more than respectable MPG to boot.
  • Glad to hear that the problems are minor. We are trying to get email quotes on a new Symphony. I worry about a power door--nice feature but something that can go wrong. Got the first quote back and it seemed a little high at $28,600 OTD. Will see what the others say tomorrow. Am hoping to get a similar deal to what another Symphony owner got on this board. When we test drove it, it seemed very quiet even at highway speeds with no noticeable rattles or squeaks. Do they tend to come later or is that a rarity?
  • The Sienna is at its best on a smooth road/highway (aren't all Driving a smooth urban street or an interstate at 75 mph it is a very quiet car. The biggest problems in my one year old Sienna are...the rear seats are not well anchored, the tolerances on those seats seem sloppy, and the rear sliders creak and groan as the body flexes. Open the rear doors, shake the captain's chairs, and you'll see what I mean. Find a rough patch of road and listen to the rear seats rattle. It may or may not bother you; but it seems pretty sloppy in a car otherwise well put-togther. The creaking and groaning rear doors come a few months later. My service advisor showed me where to grease them to stop the noise. Gotta do it every month or so. Disappointing to me in a fairly expensive vehicle.
    I suspect a bit of the problem is the car is so quiet you tend to hear more than you might in another vehicle. Is that a good problem to have? Maybe. Just be aware the interior of a Sienna is not up to the NVR (noise, vibration, rattle) of the rest of the car. It is a fine car if the rattling seats and groaning doors don't bother you.
  • sgergensgergen Posts: 155
    Not all Sienna's perform like yours.

    My 2000 XLE has 25,000 on it now and is tight and quiet. No squeaks, no rattles, no problems with the doors (powered or otherwise).

  • beckpbeckp Posts: 20
    I'm the one who had the battle with my dealership over the brake pedal click. This click would occur as you slightly depressed the pedal. It almost felt as if the pedal was hanging up on something, then when enough pressure was applied it would release. While I never felt it was a safety issue it was very annoying. I won't go through the battle scenerio again but basicaly it was caused by the pin that holds two seperate pieces of the braking linkage had way too much tolerance in it. While the dealership wanted to fix it with electrical tape (great long term solution), I pitched a fit and in the long run, they added a washer like shim to take up some of the slack.

    As far as my battle. For those that feel strongly about something, don't give up. Also, get the sales manager involved. These folks can put great pressure on the service manager. Basically I went to the sales manager, told her the way I was treated and since sales touts the service department in their pitch I felt she should know. I also told her this was my second Toyota from that dealership but given the way I was treated I would strongly have to reconsider purchasing from them again. Mind you, all these statements were true, but boy did that get the attention I needed to get it fixed right and not just use electrical tape.
  • jeproxjeprox Posts: 466
    i have the same click when i step on the brakes.
    my sliding door also rattles a bit when i close it. the oval plastic piece on top of the speedo rattles a bit. rear window washer drips a bit, little bit of pulling problem.

    yes the sienna is expensive. C$31,000 taxes included is a huge amount of money. when you buy a new vehicle, everything should be perfect! well, its sad to say no vehicle is perfect regardless of how expensive the vehicle is!

    after having my engine rebuilt twice, tranny problems, oil leak, constant loss of coolant, valve gasket problems, heater problems... all this in my old dodge caravan.
    i think it's safe to say that my problems in the sienna are very minor and with the nice engine and good ride in the sienna, i can live with these minor problems which by the way, i hope to fix when my shop manual arrives in the mail this week!

    just remember that even if you buy a $200,000 car, it will still not be perfect! just for information, i found out that electrical components on jaguar cars are made in the philippines by ford! nothing wrong with this but a british car with made in the phil. parts and the car cost over C$50,000???? ohh well...
  • jj35jj35 Posts: 283
    Suggest you also look at the engine sludge site under Maintenance and Repair before you draw your final conclusions on Sienna problems.

    From Edmunds Town Hall, do a search for "engine sludge."
  • I'm convinced everyone has a different perception of a quiet interior, what's important in a car and what isn't. A few rattles or squeaks mean nothing to some but drive people like me up the wall. You suggest "not all Siennas are like yours". Of course they're all like mine. There is nothing "wrong" with the rear seats in my Sienna. They are just as designed, and they are (in my opinion) a little sloppy, loose, and nothing like the tight tolerances typical of Toyota. That is why I suggest the above prospective buyer check out this shortcoming on the Sienna and decide for himself if it's an issue. The creaking, groaning rear sliders are mentioned on this thread again and again. The last car I remember driving that creaked and groaned when it flexed was my Dad's 61 GMC pickup. I contend this is a dissapointment in a $30k vehicle and wish someone had alerted me to the problem before I bought. I've said many times on this thread, the Sienna is an exceptional car. I'm only disappointed the rear seats aren't screwed down properly and the rear sliders creak and groan.
  • pilot13pilot13 Posts: 283
    We've just purchased our second one--the first was a 99, and it performed flawlessly since new. We accumulated almost 80K miles (several trips across the country) and never had to take it in to the dealer except for routine service.It was as tight the day we traded it in as it was the day we bought it in 99.
    Cautions expressed about sludge,(post1231,above), IMHO, are not worthy of too much concern. We've never met any Sienna owner yet who has even heard of the problem, and at least 6 dealers around the country that we've been to for service have not had any complaints about it. There seems to be a lot of talk about it on the Engine Sludge topic, but nothing of any substance.
    We also have a Y2K Avalon in he family, and it's been a trouble free car since new.
    Guess I'm just a thoroughly satisfied Toyota fan!
  • I've got 32,000 miles on my Sienna XLE. A couple of days ago I noticed a whining noise would that would get higher in frequency the faster I went. It sounded like the transmission even to my untrained ear. Took it in and the mechanic found metal shavings all over the inside of the transmission, he said they must have put it together wrong at the factory. I'm glad it's under warranty, but am dissapointed that this happened and am worried about future problems. I would expect this in a Chrysler, but not a Toyota. I'm planning to keep this van for a few more years so am hoping this is an isolated incident.
  • jeproxjeprox Posts: 466
    anyone here replaced spark plugs on your own?
    if you have:
    - how long did it take you?
    - how much ($)?
    - hard or easy?
    - what parts on the van did you remove to get to the rear plugs?

    thank you.
  • cp4hcp4h Posts: 18
    How many miles do you have on your van ? I believe you don't have to change them until 100,000 miles or 160,000 kms. Take a look at your manual.
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