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Toyota Sienna Maintenance and Repair (2003 earlier)



  • deg856deg856 Posts: 120
    I feel the pain whenever I see a nasty dent on a new car, even when it's not mine; it's just not right. The images of a nice new Mercedes S Class and a shiny new Jaguar, each with a single, deep dent on its door, came back to me as I wrote this. How can people be so disrespectful to other's properties?

    Regarding your power sliding door problem - cable popping out and hitting the body - I've never experienced it. My question and observation:

    a) Open the door by pulling on the handle (manually) - Do you actually pull the door back hard enough to move it manually, as the dealer seems to have suggested (that the door is being pulled faster than the motor)? To open the power sliding door by the handle, merely pulling the handle out, and maybe just a tiny bit of force toward the back, should be enough to activate the power mechanism to take over and open the sliding door. To close, you want to pull with just enough force to get the power mechanism activated. In either direction, you shouldn't have to pull hard enough to actually move the door manually yourself.

    b) Open the door electronically (key fob or switch) - You wrote that it happened once or twice even when you activated the door electrically - the reason that the dealer gave you obviously doesn't apply to this situation. It seems like the cable may be hung up somewhere momentarily or has a slack (a stuck spring-loaded tensioner for the cable?) somehow. I'm just guessing on this part.

    San Jose, CA
  • wayne06wayne06 Posts: 2
    Thanks for responding.

    The dealer will take care of the door and panel. They didn't hesitate for a second saying they will order the panel and they'll address the power door when the part arrives.

    One of the reasons I bought the Sienna - it was a close call between this and the Ody - was because I have had great response from my dealership with regards to my '99 Camry. The Camry has been great to us so far (bought used in Nov. 2000) but the few things it has needed addressed - front strut mounts, check engine light (twice) - the service rep at the dealer never hesitates to order what's needed and get me on my way (loaner car while in the shop).

    The service rep I got to know moved from one local Toyota dealer to another and I moved with him, buying the van at his current dealer. It really helps to be on friendly terms with the person who can make your life heck by quibbling over or denying warranty coverage for the little things, let alone the major repairs. And he makes sure what he says needs to be done gets done. I've seen him follow up on the mechanic (for other people's vehicles) to make sure all the items on the work order were completed.

    Anyway, long winded way of saying that even with the couple of minor things wrong with the new Sienna, I really am happy with the Toyota experience. I know not everyone has had good experiences, but there are good dealerships out there.


    p.s. I did a spell check of my message and Toyota, Camry and Sienna came up as misspellings (so did 'heck' but I'll stay with it). Maybe the Hosts can get these added to the dictionary? :)
  • steverstever Posts: 52,572
    hmmm, Camry come up in the spell check for me, but not Toyota or Sienna. I'll report it - thanks!

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  • jeproxjeprox Posts: 466
    i do know that premium gas will help in emissions test. lots of people in my area fills up with 91+ octane before heading to emissions test. depending on the condition of your car, in some cases 91+ octane won't help you at all.

    as far as mixing up the gas to get 89 octane, i'm not really sure. sorry.
  • dchen1dchen1 Posts: 4
    I have a 2002 Seinna LE, which current has 7600 miles on it. From the day one I own it, I noticed the transmission shifted very harsh. I took it to the dealer, and they said there was nothing wrong, and it was normal. Typical dealer response!!! However, I tried other 2002 Siennas and found mine shifted the worst.

    The fluid level and color are OK, which are as expected.

    I then decided to play around with the throttle cable adjustment, and found out at certain spots I could make it shift very smooth under certain driving conditions, but not all.

    Can any of you, who happen to have the repair manual, tell me what's the "spec" location for the throttle cable?

    Also, by doing this, am I expecting to see any damage to the tranny? OR, there is something else going on with the tranny?

    Thanks for your time.

  • jeproxjeprox Posts: 466
    summer's around the corner. turn on your a/c and u got this bad smell! why do you have a bad smell?

    read the following article. hope it helps.

  • deg856deg856 Posts: 120
    I tried it last night and found that my description in post #1925 on the operation of the power slider by the handle was a little bit off. Corrections:

    1. To open - Pulling the handle out alone will activate the power mechanism. No rearward force is needed.

    2. To close - It seems that you do need to manually pull the door forward a few inches by the handle to activate the power mechanism. I got this part wrong since I almost never close the power slider this way. I've always used the button or the remote to close the power slider.

    San Jose, CA
  • babsgobabsgo Posts: 1
    Ugh! I am so disappointed in Toyota--I will never buy one again! My Sienna just turned four and it is slowly disintegrating, I've lost two armrests, one of the back seatbelts broke and just yesterday the handle broke off of one of the sliding doors, not to mention it shows every single scratch and ding it has received. I've been driving around with the "check engine" light on for years since I paid $400 and had it re-repaired twice after that and it goes on again after about ten minutes of driving. I know most of this is cosmetic, it's really running okay, but I thought Toyotas were supposed to be good quality. Can't wait to get rid of mine!!
  • sienna01sienna01 Posts: 12
    2001xle,15k, I have mag rims and the squeal. Have not had it fixed yet. interesting theory, (1915)
  • rward99rward99 Posts: 185
    >are built to looser quality tolerances, that's
    >my understanding. Example: the Sienna. If the
    >Sienna were selling in volume in Japan, it would
    >face tough competition on quality from other
    >Japanese makes.

    The build quality is the same. Transmissions and engines are produced in Japan and West Virginia (and soon in Alabama), and I believe that all of the Sienna transmissions come from Japan. The quality of the parts is high, whether the part comes from Japan or locally, since that same part can go into a unit that is shipped out. For example, engines that are produced in West Virginia are sent to Japan for cars assembled there. Do you think they build special parts to go in those engines, or that they put less quality in engines / transmissions made in Japan than for the U.S. market? That doesn't make sense.

    Toyota has the highest quality cars on the road.
    If you have a problem with the Toyota product you bought, take it to a dealership, or to a second dealership if you aren't satisfied with the results. Keep all records of maintenance, and maintain your car properly.
  • tomeboytomeboy Posts: 2
    We've got an 02 van that when we use the heater or Ac we now get a musty smell.I read the post from canadian driver. Is there any way we can avoid tearing into the van? Maybe running heater after using the ac to "dry " out the heat , ac exchanger.
    There was a post on April 18th #1816 with this same problem, I was wondering what outcome they had. I've seen no reply to their post.
    This is too nice of a vehicle to have such a goofy problem.
  • jeproxjeprox Posts: 466

    refer to the above article. it may help you a bit

  • pjksrpjksr Posts: 111
    Have you tried running your unit on any long trips? Hopefully, your problem is minor on a new van. Or maybe if you shut off the A/C when turning into your driveway (the a/c will "sweat" like a cold drink until it is no longer cold), at least you won't get any worse. And if you are garaged, try leaving your windows open a few inches for air circulation.
  • barbzbarbz Posts: 19
    Thank youfor the response about the retrofit part for the sludge problem. What i'm actually looking for is when the new part will be available at the dealership. If anyone knows when it will be available, please post.
  • bockleebocklee Posts: 4
    My power door is starting to stick in the open position. I had read postings about that in Town Hall in the past, but they related to the 2000 model of the Sienna. Mine is a 2001. Is this a common problem in the 2001s as well? I am worried that I will have to drive with the door open!!! Does anyone know how they fix this? It sticks every fifth time or so. Thanks!!!!
  • sienna01sienna01 Posts: 12
    I had the same problem with my 2001. Look at # 1219, # 1246 and # 1367. It was a real pain for us, but the door has been working great since they replaced the door computer. I have the part number in the other posts. Let me know if that was the problem.
  • stanleykostanleyko Posts: 2
    I have a 2000 Sienna LE. It has only 64000km on it but I already had the transmission replaced twice this year. Both of them are under warranty but still I cannot believe that happened to Toyota. Other than transmission, 3 out of 6 seatbelts did not retract back to normal position after release.

    Anyone experience these kind of problem?
  • jeproxjeprox Posts: 466
    mine is a 1999 with over 65,000kms. no tranny problems.

    one of the rear belt is slow (sometimes) to retract.
  • salzosalzo Posts: 9
    2000 Sienna - when I come to a stop or otherwise brake hard, the next time I give it gas the front left has a 'clunk' sound of sorts. There's no vibration or "feeling" associated with it - just a sound. 50K miles on the van. Original brakes. 2nd transmission. :-(

  • drbgddrbgd Posts: 1
    I bought a new Sienna CE in late March. After few weeks I noticed that windshield gasket on the bottom corner does not cover the edge of the glass on the driver side. The service tried to replace the gasket but it looks the same. The whole windshield looks like it is shifted 0.5 inch or more toward the passenger side. They also found that one of the front bars at the left wheel has white paint on it (same as the car). I am now very suspicious that the car was repaired and sold as new to me. The service is not the same place I bought the car.
    Anybody else had any problems with the windshield. I just can not believe that the car would come out of the factory like this.
  • jeproxjeprox Posts: 466
    sounds strange.
    i looked at mine and i do see small gap at each corner. kind of hard to say if we're both looking at the same thing.

    you can always check out the VIN # to see if it was registered before.
    as far as the white paint goes, i have some parts on my van that have paint markings on them. some parts do come with markings on them from the factory. don't know what the markings mean.
  • deepandeepan Posts: 342
    We have a 2000 sienna CE with rear a/c. Does this mean it has two separate compressors. Do you have to turn on the front a/c for the rear one to kick in. Is the rear a/c just a fan?. The other day the rear a/c was turned on and i thought i didnt get cold air until i turned on the front a/c switch at which time i got cold air from the rear vents.
  • jeproxjeprox Posts: 466
    the rear a/c only works when you turn on the rear switch at the front (just above the radio). you have a separate lever at the front marked "off, rear, low, med. etc." when you set it to "rear" you can turn on/off the rear a/c independently. if you turn on your front a/c and set the lever to low,med,high - the cold air in the rear vents are coming from the front a/c.

    also, it takes a while for the rear a/c to get cool air when you turn it on. lot of people het confused with the front/rear a/c. took me a while to figure it out myself.
  • kw6kw6 Posts: 26
    I had the same type of clunk. It felt like it was right under my feet. The mechanic found that the windshield washer bottle was loose and was clunking around under the hood. Have your van checked, hopefully this will solve your problem.
  • gopackersgopackers Posts: 11
    Our 98 Sienna is great except that the passenger side sliding door is sometimes very hard to open. It's almost like it is glued shut. If you yank on it really hard repeatedly it will finally open. And it is seemingly random, sometimes it works without problem. I have tried spraying WD-40 everywhere I can see that might be causing it to stick, but without any affect on the problem. It is not a power sliding door. Anyone have any suggestions?
  • barb23barb23 Posts: 1
    I logged on to this message board because my 2001 Sienna is due for its 30,000 mile service and I wanted to question other owners about what things they had done at 30,000 miles. When I had a Honda Accord, they pretty much told you what to do at various intervals and charged you a flat rate for that service. Apparently Toyota lets you choose which things to have done (and prices them individually) so I was wondering if I should do everything they say to do in the Scheduled Maintenance Guide or if I should pick and choose (I really don't feel qualified; I'm not a mechanic). Anyway, after reading this board for awhile, I am starting to feel paranoid: sludge, power doors that stick, unevenly wearing tires... so my first question is: What is sludge and how do you know if it's a problem? I get the impression it has to do with not changing your oil regularly. Mine is changed every 3000-3500 miles. My other questions have to do with scheduled maintenance. There are certain things listed that add up to $260 at my dealership (too long to list here). Additionally, the dealership recommends the following: HEPA filter replacement, fuel induction service, and replacement of the fuel filter. This brings the total up to $487. I'd appreciate any comments/insights. And by the way... I LOVE my van. It runs great. We thought we made an informed decision and haven't been sorry. Hopefully the people who aren't happy are the exception. After all, this is the PROBLEMS board, so I guess I should expect to see problems posted. Thanks in advance.
  • yamanyaman Posts: 113
    We had ours done recently.The service book outlines what Toyota recommends that you have done.The dealer we bought the car from has a supplemental brochure on maintenance that adds some stuff.We had the service done recommended by the dealer and it came to a bit less than 300.I do not believe that this included the three items you mentioned (HEPA filter replacement etc).As far as the sludge-i think if you change your oil like you mentioned you need not worry about it.Toyota is giving an 8 year unlimited mile warranty on sludge-(assuming you can show you have done basic maintenance).Hope this helps
  • pjksrpjksr Posts: 111
    Not sure if you meant fuel "injection" service or not. This may be of questionable necessity; find out what they do; if you use high quality fuel you may not need this, or you may be able to run some Chevron Techron fuel injector cleaner ($6) and accomplish the same goal.

    Go for the fuel filter (tough to get at); make certain of air filter change; do a coolant drain/fill or flush; and consider a transmission and differential (done together) drain/fill or flush. People will say that the drain/fills aren't as good as a powered flush, but they're better than leaving all old fluid in...

    These round-number services can be good if they're more than just "inspections." And don't feel pressured into additional services without first understanding why they're recommended; you can always come back later (tell them you need your van back)!
  • dsattlerdsattler Posts: 135
    Many dealers add their own "extra" servicees to the manufacurers' recommended services. Edmunds has an article or two on whether the 'extra" services are worth it. Generally, if you just ask for the 30,000 mile service without specifying you want only the services the manufacturer recommends, you get the extras (and pay for them).
  • steverstever Posts: 52,572
    The Edmunds Maintenance Guide will tell you what the minimum requirements are (just like your owner's manual) and what we think it should cost you.

    That said, I do listen to and often take the recommendation of my service writer.

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