Advice on buying older Sienna/MPV/Odyssey

ohcardinalohcardinal Member Posts: 2
I am looking at mini-vans as a used vehicle. My needs are: $4000-$5000/ dependable / presentable for business / 4-7 passenger/working A/C is a must. Concentrating on the Sienna, but alternatives might be Mazda MPV, maybe Odyssey, but I worry about transmission problems. I am suspicious of Chryslers in this price range from a reliability standpoint, don't know much about GM or Ford minivans. It looks to me like the pricing in Ohio will put me in this age/mileage bracket for the Japanese brands with anywhere from 120k -180k mileage. I will have an appropriate brand specialist mechanic check it out before buying. I am asking for any red flags, problem areas to watch for, and recommendations that you all can provide. Thanks in advance. If I can make 2011 a good year, I'll be looking for one with half the mileage next year.


  • blackexv6blackexv6 Member Posts: 503
    My recommendation is to stay away from the '00-'04 Odyssey and all years Chrysler's. Both of those vehicles have major transmission problems. The Sienna will be the most reliable vehicle for your needs and price range.
  • loucapriloucapri Member Posts: 214
    Toyota is known for engine sludge as well for most of the V6 from 1999-2002. I once was looking at $4-5K older mini van

    It cost a lot to fix honda's tranny issue but maybe less for Chrysler. As for Toyota engine, it usually cost around $2-3K to overhaul.

    Both Toyota and Honda also has power door problem as well
  • ateixeiraateixeira Member Posts: 72,587
    Aren't all power doors problematic? My friend had a Chevy van and it never worked properly.

    Any how, at that price you may not get that feature anyway.

    I'd look for a higher mile 04+ Sienna. Not sure you'll find one in that price range, though.
  • genericaccountgenericaccount Member Posts: 8
    I lke that cor :surprise:
  • ohcardinalohcardinal Member Posts: 2
    To some extent, would I see some clue about sludge buildup by looking through the oil fill cap at the lifters? Or by wiping a 6" swab like I was taking a "culture sample" inside the valve cover? I've never bought a used car without having a mechanic spend an hour or two with it first. Or is the sludge issue likely to be an invisible problem? Before spending $4-5,000, I would not be opposed to having a mechanic drop the oil pan for a better look if that would reveal a good :shades: or bad :lemon: buy.
  • themanindboxthemanindbox Member Posts: 11
    Im sure you already bought one, but i have an 01 sienna, and if the oil was changed every 3k miles then the likely-hood of there being an issue is slim.. Also if you run synthetic oil in your van from the day you buy it forward, you will destroy any possibility of having sludging develop. Also if you are buying in the 120k+ mile range, then you really are likely not to see the sludging issue. A mechanic would easily be able to see if there was an issue. Sludge is less of an issue then say someone using a cleaning product to clean up sludge, that typically causes the return lines to get clogged and causes the issue..
  • jpfjpf Member Posts: 496
    For the $4000 to $5000 price range you won't get much of a van because it will likely have extremely high mileage. It won't matter whether it's a Toyota or Honda with 200k miles because that's all you're going to get for $4000 to $5000. For $10,000 to $12,000 you can get a good minvan, especially a Chrysler or GM with factory warranty. I just bought a 2007 Uplander for $11,900 with only 55k miles and almost 1 year left on the powertrain warranty. Good luck with your purchase.
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