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Toyota Sienna Maintenance and Repair (2003 earlier)



  • yamanyaman Posts: 113
    I doubt you will get anywhere.Our power window started acting up-sometimes it wouldn't close.Cost us $ 600 to fix on our 2000 XLE.No warranty coverage.
    Once the 3/35 warranty is up your on your own.Can't say that I blame them thats why they sell extended warranties.
  • neeverneever Posts: 2
    I just want to let everyone know about a product that has worked for me. It is called AutoRX and I have bought this stuff to treat my sludge problem. I do not get any money from this recommendation. I had an appointment with the dealer who told me that I needed to jump through hoops to get this fixed. So I did some research online and found this stuff and reviews at I tried it and had an oil analysis done afterward and now I am free of sludge. Based upon the test results, I am now using Schaeffers oil and adding lube control to the oil every 1,000 miles to prevent sludge and extend my oil changes. I decided to go this route instead of fighting with the dealer. About two years ago I was told I had sludge and just disregarded the mechanics words thinking he was trying to rip me off. Since then I have realized that I did indeed have sludge and did two treatments of autorx. I spent a little over $100 for these treatments and now I have peace of mind that I will drive this van another 100,000 miles (it currently has 110,000). I just want to let others know there is another alternative that may help them. If I had to do it over again, I would do an oil analysis before treatment and then one after treatment to compare the differences. I did notice while doing the autorx treatment, little black specks on the dipstick. I also found out you don't want to do a standard oil flush since big chunks can become dislodged and ruin your engine. From what I understand autorx removes the sludge slowly.
  • Just curious, what might the long affects of adding this stuff to the oil and extending the oil changes? I would be hesitant to extending the oil change periods for any reason, if my engine was prone to produce sludge.
  • Let me let you in on a little secret. If you properly maintain your vehicle, you won't have to use you magical sludge fix.

    I have three of the "problem" engines ranging from 78,000 to 132,000 miles on them without any problems.
  • I am not able to bring out the midrange control on my '03 Sienna CE van like I could with '02 Highlander and '04 Corolla by pressing the bass control knob for over 10 seconds. Is there one hidden in the Sienna?
  • dtownfbdtownfb Posts: 2,918
    I'm interested in what happened to your Sienna. Of course based on your treatemnt by some in here, I cn understand why you would not return.

    It has been well documented about Toyota "sludge" problem and Toyota has stepped up and has extended the warranty on the affected engines which your is one.

    Not sure why the shop would not cover it. I would make a call to the regional manager and have your receipts ready.

    Not to bring back a dead horse but there were many people who maintained their Toyotas regularly and still ended up with sludge. This is ultimately why toyota issued the warranty.
  • steine13steine13 Posts: 2,562
    As far as Lisa's "treatment by some", that would be me. I respectfully asked if she'd be willing to scan her receipts for us. "No" would have been a perfectly good answer. But we haven't heard from her.

    "[..]but there were many people who maintained their Toyotas regularly and still ended up with sludge."

    I have heard many people say they changed their oil and then had sludge.
    I have seen many people challenged to provide receipts of oil changes.
    Here, or over on
    I've never seen anybody try to show their receipts. Do you want to see mine? They're all handwritten; I do my own oil changes... but for my new van I keep the store receipts. Anyway, no sludge at 87k.

    "This is ultimately why toyota issued the warranty."

    I'd say it ultimately was a marketing move, and a good one.
    But the overwhelming verdict by the professionals is, it's bogus.

    As opposed to the transmission issue. There WAS a problem, with a certain range of serial numbers, and the whole issue is understood. And there is the extended warranty.
    The sludge thing is still a mystery to me.

    I don't want to be taken as a Toyota apologist. We can all agree their bodies were terrible with rust until '92 or '93. And there was an issue for a long time with Corolla exhaust manifolds. And a number of other things, I'm sure. But this "sludge" business is just silly.

  • neeverneever Posts: 2
    Yes, if you properly maintain your Sienna engine (3,000 mile oil changes), you will not have sludge problems. But, 7,500 mile oil changes (which is what Toyota recommends for normal usage) is too long and allows the oil to "cook". These engines just get too hot for such a long duration. As far as extended oil changes, that is why I have chosen to use oil analysis to see exactly what is going on with my engine at certain intervals. No, I would not extend the oil changes if I did not get the oil analyzed. Also, I add Schaeffers oil and Lube Control to the oil every 1,000 miles which allows for the extended oil changes. It just saves me time (I change my own oil) and money.
  • gwracegwrace Posts: 1
    Owners of 2004 Toyota Sieannaa probably should check out this recall notice for the fuel tanks.

    Toyota Recalls Minivans

    Aug 15, 2003 2:51 pm US/Eastern
    WASHINGTON (AP) Toyota Motor Co. is recalling 34,437 Sienna minivans because the fuel tank is prone to damage and could cause a fire, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said Friday.

    The recall covers minivans from the 2004 model year that were sold to the public starting in January.

    According to NHTSA, a part of the Sienna's fuel tank was damaged during severe front-end crash tests conducted by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. A fire could result if fuel leaked from the damaged tank.

    It was not immediately known whether any injuries were caused by the defect. Toyota officials weren't available for comment early Friday.

    Dealers will replace the fuel tank for free. Owners are scheduled to be notified of the recall later this month.

    So much for that "Toyota" quality...
  • cliffy1cliffy1 Posts: 3,581
    You're posting this from August 15th? Perhaps you should go back 2 months and see the posts about this. The problem was detected by Toyota and a remedy found before any government action required it.
  • kgnw1kgnw1 Posts: 94
    Old news. Consumer Reports and the IIHT still gave it their best picks after the recall.

    Not to mention that Motortrend also gave it their best pick.
  • I lease a 2001 Sienna. At 15000 miles they turned the rotors because they had some grooves. Apparently those grooves were so deep that when I had to brake hard to avoid an accident the car almost didn't stop and I heard metal to metal crunching. Took it in and they said that they would have to replace the rotors and they would do it under warranty "this one time only." Mileage on car? 22,000 miles. Thing is is that i've taken it in for metal to metal sounds and they told me it was within the "specs". Only when I told them that I almost didn't stop did they admit that they were warped and the last time they turned and sanded(?) them down that they had to take a lot off so they couldn't do it again or they'd be too thin. They tried to blame my driving in hills (I don't live in the hills) or "bad driving habits". Add this to the humming/squealing "normal" noise that I have and it makes me glad the lease is almost up. I don't think that rotors should have to be fixed at 15000 miles and then replaced at 22000 miles. I know others have had rotor problems that i've read about but mileage is usually higher...anyone with low miles have this problem???
  • Hi:

    I have read many post on this forum as far as Brake Squeal/Howling. Yet, I have not come across any definite answer to this annoying problem. Can someone who had gotten rid of this problem share his/her experience on this? I really want to get this fix. Does changing to a replacment market brake shoe and drum work?

    Please some shed some light on this issue. I love my Sienna but this is driving me nuts. Tha nks in advance for any advices given!

  • As far as anyone I know there is no fix for the howling/squeaking noise that is on the Sienna's. I've gone as far as Toyota National who flew in a guy to check on three local Sienna's (mine included) that had the same problem. This is what they said "This noise is normal for a Sienna." Someone on this post has won an arbitration regarding the same noise. We were going to try non-metallic brake shoes but since it's a lease we didn't feel like putting more money into a car we weren't going to keep. The dealer I went to weighted down the backing plates with glued on weights and it's noticably quieter...have your dealer try this.
  • I also have a 2001 and do drive it in extreme conditions, daily mountain driving including aggressive use of brakes on longer trips at high speed. My milage is 49,561 and I am still using the original brakes. I just had them checked and they still are in good condition.

    I suspect the rotor problem you are experiencing is not a result of your driving. Did they replace the original Toyota brakes at some point?

    I DO have the standard Sienna brake squeal, but have learned to live with it.

    Hope this helps!

  • This time they replaced the front brakes with the rotors. They said those were needing to be replaced and that they'd do it "free, under warranty" when they did the rotors. Thing is, I only put 10,000 miles a year on a car, live in flatlands (Los Angeles suburb), take kids to and from school and basic around town driving and that's it. No hill climbing, no mountains, I don't "ride" the brakes etc.....everything they tried to blame me for. That's not new....for the humming/squeal noise they tried to blame me for saying I was driving with the emergency brake on. I never even set the emergency brake and you can tell because the lettering and pedal are new...which I nicely showed the service writer. I think it's time to find a new service dealer!
  • Thanks for the response! I may try to add weights to the backing plates and see if this will help. Also, using a non-metallic brake shoe, will the brake performance be the same, as far as braking distance, etc.

    I tried to live the the squeal but it is getting very annoying and louder and louder.
  • Has anyone experienced their tire light coming on while driving on rough roads or under contruction roads and then going back off. My wife and I just got a 99 XLE with 70K last weekend and she tells me that she noticed this happening intermintently.

    Any thoughts or suggestions would be appreciated.

  • I'd check your tire pressure, it might be too high or too low. The sensor is checking for anything different to the pressure and without good inflation, it might be more sensitive.

    Mine will turn on if I hit a bump really hard for just a second. It also will come on if I have a very heavy load in the van and am driving up a very steep hill, but will turn off once I level out.

    Other than that, it came on (the way it was supposed to) the one time that I had a damaged tire.
  • I'm almost due for back brakes so we were going to try a non-metallic shoe through a company that we get work vehicles services through. Don't know when we'll do that since were still at 50% of our rear brakes so when we do replace them and the humming stops i'll let everyone know! I've also filed a report with the NHTSA (web address is: for this very problem as well as the rotor problem. There are a couple of other complaints regarding this issue and the more complaints they get the better!
  • yamanyaman Posts: 113
    Ours came on when we got new tires.Apparently there is something that needs to be reset after tires are changed.Elsewise it has never come on
  • My wife got someone to check the pressure and fill the tires. We'll wait and see.

  • anna15anna15 Posts: 3
    I bought a new 2002 Sienna. At 5k miles I start hearing squealing noise whenever I compress the brake and come to a complete stop. I took it 4
    times to the dealership. The noise is still there it is driving me crazy. This is the most expensive car I ever bought and it sounds like cheap car. I was on my cell phone and the person on the other line said what is this noise??? It is still under warranty I have 20k miles on it now.
    I read most all messages with this problem. Called the dealership and told them I like to try the weights on the backing plates as a temporary fix. They said no we cannot do this unless the toyota order us to do it and if there is a recall.
    What should I do I cannot live with this problem
    it is so annoying. Please anybody respond thanks
  • It is annoying, however, has the dealer replaced the backing plates? There are thicker replacements - it doesn't solve the noise problem but does tone it down just a bit. Your other choice is arbitration. Someone on this thread got out of her lease and got all her money back for that very problem - so if it's really bad that's what I would do. I wish I had done that on mine. What the noise come from is the metallic brake shoe vibrates at low speeds against the backing plates which causes it to "hum". You can try replacing the metallic brake shoes with an non-metallic brake shoe to see if that helps. I don't know if anyone has done that yet or not and what results they had. Fortunately we leased ours and are giving it up in 7 months - but amazingly enough it doesn't bother me as much as it did before. The weights on my car were a dealer fix since I think they were really tired of me showing up and complaining and I had called Toyota Regional and then it went to National. I'm somewhat "blacklisted" or "flagged" by the service dept. because I gave them a scathing review on their incompetence during a couple of services so when I complain they know I'll report them if they don't try something.
  • Kirstie_HKirstie_H Posts: 11,041
    A major news magazine is looking for an enthusiastic Toyota customer, preferably a buyer (or soon-to-be buyer) of the Sienna, Highlander or Tundra Double Cab. Please provide your daytime contact info and vehicle status to no later than Tuesday, October 28, 2003.
    Jeannine Fallon
    PR Director


    Need help navigating? - or send a private message by clicking on my name.

    Share your vehicle reviews

  • indtjindtj Posts: 1
    2001 Sienna xle,Engine noise sounds like a stuck lifter when the engine is cold. Toyota did a bore scope inspection and removed the valve covers and can't find the problem. Has anyone else had this problem?
  • jasdmwjasdmw Posts: 118
    Mine exhibits a similar sound, until the engine is really warm. Sounds like valve clatter for the first few minutes of driving and increases/decreases with engine speed. Van has 70K Km and shows no other probs, so I have to believe the dealer when they tell me, as you, it's normal. I tend to take it easy until the sound dissipates.
  • I just got a call from my Toyota dealer letting me know that they just received word from Toyota that there will be a fix for the Sienna brake problem. I don't know yet exactly what the fix will be, but they told me it would be ready in about one month and there would be no charge for the repair. This came shortly after my most recent email complaint to Toyota concerning the brakes on my 2000 XLE, which have been squealing since we bought it used about 1 1/2 years ago. Let's hope they have come up with a good solution.
  • Finally! Maybe something will get done! Did they tell you what they were going to do? I know the Tundra had problems and they eventually had to re-do the entire braking system on them all. Let's hope it's not just a "bandage" fix to pacify all of us and a true, real fix for the whole problem.
  • They didn't tell me exactly what the fix was going to be. I'll post again when I know.
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