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Toyota Sienna Maintenance and Repair (2003 earlier)



  • yamanyaman Posts: 113
    I can't recall reading about many transmission problems on the Sienna.We get our transmission fluid changed every 15k miles.Probably more than needed but paying for a new tranny is expensive.Maybe try doing 15k changes.Good luck
  • deg856deg856 Posts: 120
    "usually in minivans, they have tether or built-in carseat only on one side (driver side) for the middle bench. this is mainly for safety reason. if you place a carseat on the right side of the middle bench, the carseat can slide off the bench when you turn or brake suddenly coz' of the walk-space between the bench and the right side sliding door. if you place the carseat behind the driver, it's up against the left door which is more secure and this is why you only have tether's for only one side for the middel bench."

    The reason you gave above is totally false. A properly installed carseat should stay in place and barely move even during a carsh, so there is no chance for it to slide off during braking/turning, no matter how hard you brake or turn. If you have to rely on the door/side to hold the carseat in place, you haven't installed it right and it can be very dangerous for the child sitting it in. The second row center (only with a bench; can't do it with captain chairs, which are mounted on either side with a center walk-through) is actually the safest location since it's got the most crumple zone all around it.

    They put the only teather anchor on the driver side because putting the carseat behind the driver makes it easier for other passengers to get in/out from the curb (passenger) side. The manual says additional anchor can be installed by the dealer.

    San Jose, CA
  • smfransmfran Posts: 432
    We still love our 2000 Sienna and only have one complaint. No matter how many times we clean the (non-power) driver's side sliding door and tracks it continues to periodically stick. We don't drink in the van so the possibility of spilling sticky juice or whatever is not possible. We've had the dealer adjust/clean/lubricate again and again to no avail. Sometimes it sticks so tight you practically have to rip the handle off to open it. Then it will be fine for awhile and happen again.
    Any thoughts?
  • steverstever Posts: 52,683
    The Odyssey people use some special grease for their sticky sliders - Shin-itsu or something. Might try a Honda parts department for some.

    Steve, Host
  • jeproxjeprox Posts: 466
    thank you very much for pointing that out.
  • smfransmfran Posts: 432
    Any thoughts as to why it is just the driver's side this happens to? Also, why would it be stuck so tight then be OK for a while? For example, It will be stuck shut so I drive to the dealer. When I get there it opens easily. It's embarrassing!
  • steverstever Posts: 52,683
    Who knows - maybe there's a tiny adjustment issue that only shows up when some of the seats are occupied. Ok, that's a pretty wild guess :-)

    Steve, Host
  • smfransmfran Posts: 432
    some of the seats occupied, no.
    I can't imagine the seats having anything to do with the sliding door. I believe it has to be something in the latching mechanism that shifts or alters its position while driving and effects the opening of the door. Lately it hasn't gotten stuck so I'm waiting to see when it happens again.
  • dcs4dcs4 Posts: 1
    My 2000 XLS sienna has the same issue with the door. It has nothing to do with stickiness or grease. It is intermittent. My wife wanted me to take it in to the dealer. I procrastinated and now it's working just fine. Flipping the locks (lock to unlock) doesn't help. I will say it is annoying..
  • wayside1wayside1 Posts: 36
    My Windstar used to do this, although I haven't noticed it yet in my Sienna.

    The problem seemed to be with the weatherstripping around the door. Under certain conditions (like if the van was left out in the sun) the weatherstripping would form a seal with the door that made it extremely difficult to open. Once you got it open, you could close it and reopen it immediately with no problem.

    My theory was the heat was making the weatherstripping expand, causing it to either seal to the door (making it hard to open) or causing pressure in/on the latch mechanism, in effect jamming the door. As soon as the door is opened, the seal is broken or the pressure is relieved, and then the problem goes away.
  • smfransmfran Posts: 432
    Good theory on the weather stripping seal but why just the driver's side gets stuck?
    How can we solve this annoyance?
  • duckshooterduckshooter Posts: 156
    When I sprayed some dry graphite lube dust (you can get a tube of it at a hardware store) onto a towel and then rubbed it over all the seal surfaces. Everything else I tried (and I like to think I tried them all) would eventually result in the door sticking again. After I applied the graphite, it's been over a year since it stuck. No it doesn't get on your clothes (it might when you're putting it on!). No it's not toxic, not corrosive, doesn't break electrical contacts. Yes, it works. Clean the seals thoroughly to get any goo off and let them dry before you apply it. You should be set for a very long time.
  • ckshubinckshubin Posts: 39
    Toyota is well aware of the problem. There's a vibration in the backing plates on the rear brakes that cause a squealing/high pitched noise. They have a fix for it - replacing the backing plates with thick heavier ones. Drive your car to your dealer and ask them to replace them if your car is making noise when you brake. I have had mine replaced - but unfortunately my problem has returned. My dealer basically told me not to come back for this problem anymore and that my van is the only one with the problem with the new part and they gave me a complaint form to fill out with the State of California. Thankfully i'm only leasing the van and I will not buy it outright until this is fixed! I am taking it to the dealer where we leased it from and have them try to fix it and if they cannot I will turn it's not a mechanical problem but it's enough to drive you nuts with the high pitched noise!
    I have one question: Has anyone else out there had the back plates replaced and had the noise come back?
  • rward99rward99 Posts: 185
    FWIW, in the past I have used silicone sealer to glue the backing plate to disc brake pads. But I thought that Sienna brakes were drum brakes in the rear, which don't have backing plates. (I have a '99 and they don't squeal at all. Original brakes, 28,000 miles.)

    Anyway, that's one solution for squealing brakes. Silicone seal the plate to the pad. Not much, don't go nuts, just a little dab will do ya.
  • yamanyaman Posts: 113
    Actually I have gotten use to the squeal and it doesn't bother me.At first it was alarming because I though the brakes were bad-now it is simply just the way the car runs.
  • Yes the rear brakes are drums so what backing plate are talking about.
  • jasdmwjasdmw Posts: 118
    Just had my '01 serviced (scheduled) which includes inspecting the rear brakes. They did something to eliminate the squeal. This majic was also performed during a previous scheduled service. Perhaps the intention is to have the brake squeal tell you when your next major service interval is??
  • ckshubinckshubin Posts: 39
    Update on my brake noise. I contacted Toyota National which contacted Toyota Regional. I was then contacted and asked to bring my Sienna into my dealer and some head guy was there to look at it (along with 2 others with the same problem). It is noise that's coming from the rear brake shoes/drums. Unfortunately this isn't a little noise and definitely cannot be ignored. I would like to be able to ignore it but it's not so much a squeak as it is a high pitched hum that is so loud the radio doesn't conceal it and every time I brake to a stop at a red light, parking or stop sign anyone within earshot turns to look because it is so loud. I was told that yes, there is a noise but that the noise is "normal" for a Sienna. This ticked off my husband who is now looking into getting out of the lease and getting me a Lexus RX300.

    I do have a question: Is there a Toyota mechanic out there who could answer this for me....if we replace the brake shoes/drums with non-toyota shoes/drums would that solve the problem? The dealer did say it's noise from the brake shoes but they can only replace them with Toyota brake shoes - we're wondering if the Toyota brake shoes are just bad - and different ones might solve the problem. We're not jumping into trying it because then any warranty on the rear brakes would be void (this is what they told us). Also, only 16,000 on this van and the rotors had to be ground down in the fronts already....anyone else have this problem?
  • the horrible frickin squeaky brakes. They gave me a case number and are sending me paper work for arbitration. My dealership has replaced everything on the rear brakes. There is nothing else they can do. I am waiting for the Toyota Dealership rep for major problems to call me back Monday. They are going to get a Toyota Regional Rep to inspect my vehicle. That man will be in for a rude awakening if he tells me this is just a Toyota Sienna "normal" noise. I am not the type to take things shall we say laying down. He should be more concerned that people go running from the dealership when I throw my fit.

    The Toyota National Customer Service Rep told me that I could go into Third party arbitration. Where they would replace my vehicle, buy my vehicle back, make my current vehicle fixed and several other possibilities. I told her I don't want a new vehicle, I love my Sienna. I want a 36,000.00 vehicle to operate like a 36,000.00 vehicle. I got my vehicle used from the dealer. My vehicle was owned by Toyota Logistics Service, which means the Toyota Manufacturing Plant in Princeton, Indiana owned it. I think that this should carry some weight. It doesn't hurt that my father is the Managing Editor of the major newspaper in the area. I hope this helps too. I want it repaired.
  • cliffy1cliffy1 Posts: 3,581
    Rarely gets you the results you want. Planning on throwing one is even a bit more ludicrous than having a spontaneous temper tantrum. I suggest a plan including Prozac before this meeting.
  • was the sticker value on your vehicle over $36,000?? I suggest that if neither of these apply to you, that you take the prozac. I have dealt with Vehicle reps before. If you sit back and let them tell you it is normal, you get a vehicle with a problem for the remainder of the time you have it.

    I had a nice discussion of the problem tonight with the dealer salesman that sold me the vehicle. He said that HIS SON is having the same problem. Same model and year, he understands our frustration. He is going to help us and his son get this taken care of. I am not going to go in looking for a fight, but I am not going to have someone tell me that this horrible noise is normal. The salesman assures me it is not normal. I am reasonable adult, who is not going to be walked on by Toyota. The salesman is not going to let Toyota walk over his son either. So maybe you should worry about your vehicle and not mine.
  • steine13steine13 Posts: 2,562
    ...between "taking things lying down" and "throwing a fit".
    Squeaking brakes are often difficult to fix. I think the usual routine goes something like, adjust, clean, resurface the drums, watch for change in behavior, get pads from a different supplier (can a Toy dealership do that???), get pads made from a different material, clean, adjust get new drums, get all new hardware, adjust, clean, throw up your hands, slit your wrists, etc...
    Meaning, it might well take some time with the best of efforts; expect a lot of "squeak gone -- sqeak came back" and the like. This is no fun for you, and less fun for the mechanic, so the good side of the dealership is the one to be on.
    All the while insisting the problem be fixed. Just don't expect it to be done very quickly; nature of the beast.
    What works for me is expressing how sorry I am to be so much trouble, but it's really important to me to have it fixed (better yet, the wife is complaining, so sorry)... there isn't a lot they can do but try and fix it when you take that position, and they know you're not going to go away...

    Do yourself a favor, don't throw a fit.

  • are talking about. They have done several things to repair the brakes. Including replacing everything. I am not saying that the dealership has not tried. I am saying that if the Toyota Regional rep trys to tell me that this is a "normal" noise, it won't fly. We have been very patient and understanding. In fact, the mechanic that works on our vehicle is a very nice young man. We have a great relationship, because he wants to make things right. He is one of those rare people that actually like their job and work hard at it. He has gone above and beyond what any other mechanic has ever done. We have been very calm and they have been understanding. The problem is that they can only do what Toyota tells them to do. It is not the dealership's fault, they have tried their hardest. Believe me the dealership is on our side. They have several vans with the same problem, and are trying to get Toyota to come up with a fix.

    "I am saying if the only way I would throw a fit is if they told me this is a 'normal noise' and I will have to learn to live with it." My vehicle is way too expensive to live with that. When I talked to Toyota National Customer Service, she was very understanding. She suggested arbitration. Which could get us a replacement vehicle, Toyota could buy our vehicle back or several other possibilities. I don't want to get rid of my vehicle, I like it. I just can't stand the noise.

    The salesman assured me that his son is not going to live with noise either. We happen to know the salesman on a personal basis. He is nice guy who is going to do everything he can. He said if they try to tell his son that this is normal, it won't fly. So as you can see we are working with the dealership. What set me off was an earlier post that said, basicly we would have to live with it. This was based on what a Toyota Regional rep told him.

    I previously owned a 1996 Chevy Blazer I bought brand new. It had a problem that I tried to deal with the dealership on. Another noise problem. This problem never went away. Dealership told me it was normal and I would have to live with it. I finally couldn't stand it anymore and traded it in on the Sienna. Someone called me the day after Christmas and told me her husband bought the Blazer for her for Christmas. I apologized to her and told her I was sorry if she had any problems with it.

    By the way, I am the complaining wife. I have 2 small children under the age of 5, and another one on the way. So you can understand that we just want our van fixed. We are not interested in throwing a fit. We are interested in working with Toyota to get our vehicle fixed. If we can't, we will let them buy it back and research buying a newer model or Honda. The salesman assures me that whatever options are available to his son will be available to us. His son has already dealt with the sliding door opening on their own, while driving down the road. That is alot more scary than this. Their problem was fixed and now this. I also bought an Extended Warranty from Toyota when I purchased the vehicle. This needs to be fixed, not pushed under a rug by Toyota Regional. As for knowing we are not going away, the salesman and his son aren't going away and they know that neither are we.
  • cliffy1cliffy1 Posts: 3,581
    I didn't say you don't have a legitimate complaint. The price you paid does not give you license to behave like a 3 year old and to suggest that a sticker price of $36K entitles you to that is a bit absurd.

    Personally, I think you have every right to be concerned. I hope you get a resolution you are happy with. I also hope that you are able to accomplish this with dignity rather than a temper tantrum. I know if I were the regional rep, I would take only so much arm waiving before I decided there was no possible positive outcome and would stop trying.
  • I think the condescending attitude is your problem. I didn't say I was going to throw a fit. Read the message. I said if they told me I had to live with it, that I would not accept that. I have read some of your responses and it appears that you don't have any problems with your vehicle. Just some incorrect responses to others problems. It seems that you like to set people off and I am done letting you do that. You don't even live in the USA, you live on a small island off the coast of Australia. Please leave my vehicle problems off your list of things to boast your "expertise". I have dealt with people like you and your not worth any more of my time. So don't respond to my posts any more.
  • duckshooterduckshooter Posts: 156
    I want to hear what becomes of your brake squeal. It seems to be a broader problem than just your van as a number of other posters have indicated the same problem.

    My own 2000 Sienna is fortunately not cursed with the brake squeal - though at 55,000 miles now we may have to get the brakes replaced... and they might put "squealers" on ours!

    My dad's Lexus LS400 had squealers at one point and believe me, he didn't take it lying down! He drove a loaner for TWO WEEKS until they got it fixed. He doesn't know (or care) what they did to fix it but with a badge like Lexus you can't have the thing making noise at every stoplight. It hurts sales when you have that kind of negative advertising running around out there. I gotta believe Toyota is concerned as well.

    Take it easy on Cliffy - he's just trying to help.
  • smfransmfran Posts: 432
    You should read your own post. You said, "He should be more concerned that people go running from the dealership ,when I throw my fit." Cliffy, who happens to be an expert, as evidenced by his profile and over three years on this board, has proven time and time again that his advise is noteworthy. He was not, and never has been condescending on this board and you should feel lucky that he tried to help you in the first place!
  • SylviaSylvia Posts: 1,636
    Hi - just popping in for a minute while Steve is on vacation. Let's gloss over the "throwing a fit" / behavior at a dealer/service dept sidebar and keep the discussion on "Toyota Sienna Problems".

    I, for one, am actually quite interested in the brake sqealing issue - does it just seem to be this particular model year?
  • (Copied word for word from previous post)

    "That man will be in for a rude awakening if he tells me this is just a Toyota Sienna "NORMAL" noise. I am not the type to take things shall we say laying down. He should be more concerned that people go running from the dealership when I throw my fit."

    Let me clarify, IF I AM TOLD THAT I WILL HAVE TO LIVE WITH THE NOISE, THAT THIS A NORMAL NOISE. I WILL NOT ACCEPT THAT EXPLANATION. This is not a normal noise and I will not live with it. If the Toyota Regional Rep makes a effort to help us, I don't have a reason to get upset do I? My original comment was directed at the post above my original post. The person was told that they would have to live with it.

    Remarks about my throwing a fit are not up for conversation at this time. You keep going back to my "supposed fit". You don't know me and have no right to keep harping on a comment taken out of context. As for cliffy and anyone else who is commenting on a behavior that hasn't even happened. You should think about what you are saying. If someone tells you that they aren't going to do anything about the problem, live with it. You would be upset, unless you are a wimp that walks out with your tail between you legs.

    As for Sylvia's question -- I am told that the rear brakes are made differently on the Sienna 2004. Currently these brakes do not squeal.

    My salesman and I are on the same page. He believes that the regional rep will be understanding and helpful. His son is having the same problem with his Sienna. He wants to make this right for both of us. Apparently the service staff are eager to get this resolved too. They are upset with Toyota because they don't have a resolution yet. Can you imagine having 20-100 customers upset about the same problem and you have no solution.
  • I understand frustration when you feel like you've been insulted in a discussion board. But I really do hope there won't be any more posts on this board about which circumstances would cause someone to throw a fit or analysis on why someone shouldn't.
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