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Toyota Sienna Maintenance and Repair (2004+)



  • dako_tiandako_tian Posts: 298
    Maybe you have to be a very serious radio junky to pay extra and then have to stick-on a (sorry about this, but IMHO) crappy-looking piece of equipment into a new vehicle. In addition, I cannot imagine that a through-the-limited-quality-cassette connection could give you very much in the way of quality. I'll stick with over-the-air-radio and CDs, I believe. But, to each her/his own! ;-)
  • ferousferous Posts: 226
    I use to have the same problem with my '90 Taurus. It didn't start happening till I had over 100K miles, but the problem was the key was not "clicking" back to the "ON" position from the "START" position. I would just touch the key and then it would flip back (to on) and everything would be OK.
  • I had a similar experience last winter with my 01 T&C. When I brought it to the dealer, everything worked normally, and they could not find anything wrong. After some convincing they checked again and found a bad battery. It had been frozen (yes we were in some very cold stuff when the problem started) After a year on the new battery, we have not seen it reappear. Good luck!
  • I bought my XLE Limited on Dec 31 and have a similar experience on accelerating from a stop. My van has to hit over 2000 rpm before it starts to move. Pushing down on the accelerator is a drag and everyone passes you. Do you guys notice that you have to go over 2000 rpm also?
  • kmeadkmead Posts: 232
    There are many features about the subscription radio networks that are great. First commercial free, if I don't want to hear a blowhard go on about this or that I don't have to. I can hear exactly the mix I prefer, anywhere in the US rather than suffering from podunk nowhere programming.

    The quality is near CD, none of the compression of normal FM stereo, putting it through a cassette converter although not perfect is better than the FM option as you get much better SN, stereo separation and dynamic range. No its not CD quality but its pretty good. Unfortunately no direct input has been engineered for the new Sienna (and several other Toyotas) stereos yet but both PIE and others are working on it so a direct AUX input will be possible.

    As for looks, I can understand your sentiments, but consider that you can use the same unit in several cars and at home.

    I am not yet a user of either system, but can assure you that most anyone would notice the difference especially if you like CD quality. Some positives over CD are that you won't toast expensive CDs or lose them to a break in. The XM can be put in your shirt pocket and taken with you with ease. This is among the many reasons to go with XM or even a multigig MP3 player so you can lots of qualtiy, quantity and portability.
  • If you are reving up to 2000 rpm to get the car moving, I would definitely have it checked out. My LE worked fine in the beginning and had no problem accelerating from 1st gear. At 700 miles it was very noticeable reving up to get started, particularly starting from dead stop on an incline. The engine was louder and it took some time to get the car really moving which wasn't the case in the beginning.

    After three weeks of haggling, I have just been notified today that the computer that controls electonic shifting has arrived and has been installed. I will pick up the car tomorrow.

    Have your's checked out before it goes too far. Make sure the technician road tests it because the test module used to find electronic problems did not find the problem. It was discovered only after they installed a new transmission and they found the same problem still existed.
    Good Luck
  • dako_tiandako_tian Posts: 298
    Thank you for the advantages discussion. I can see how people could get hooked on it, especially if you like variety and don't want to keep shuffling potentially theft/loss/damage-prone CDs around with you.

    Admittedly, I personally don't spend as much time in the car as I used to do. Plus, that time tends to be more occupied with keeping peace in the middle-row seats, satisfying the seemingly-endless litany of food/drink/attention needs/desires assaulting my senses from that region, and enjoying the all-too-infrequent peaceful interludes when peace and sometimes even silence reigns mid-vehicle. Actually listening to music isn't something I can indulge in very much any more. But then, there are other rewards inherent in the lovable little munchkins whose "music" I now enjoy. :-)
  • I admit I have never driven a van before, my previous driving experience were: Camry (v6), Accord (V6), & Cutlass Supreme (V6). So I really don't know what to expect from a van in terms of acceleration at low speed as compared to a sedan. My van has just passed the 1,600 miles mark, the initial acceleration after a complete stop has improved some what recently,but I still notice that drag if I slow from 30 mph to 15 mph, without coming to a stop, then accelerate again to 30 mph. I also notice the van is running very smooth & responsive cruising on the interstate. At low speed acceleration, I do have to go up to 2,000+ rpm to get it going. I thought as long as the rpm is not in the red zone, the van should be OK? so far it hasn't been on the red zone on mine.

    to gregali119, have you had a chance to test drive your van yet after they fix it? pls keep us posted on how things are.
  • Thanks for your response and advise about having the technician road test it. Keep us posted on how the fix went.
  • I got my van back today and drove it around town and out on the highway to check it out. Everything is working smoothly so it appears the problem is fixed. I did check out the rpms after tsunami said that he had to get up to 2000 to get moving. My van now shifts from first to second at approximately 1500 rpm if I go slowly and watch the tach rev up and then drop down as it shifts. If I give it more power, it does go up further before I see it drop so, perhaps I was a little hasty to say that 2000 was too high.
    It does move much easier from start up and I don't get any hesitation now when the car shifts into high gears or when it shifts down.

    That's all I can say now and I know that it isn't much. I'm taking the car cross country from New England (Go Pats) to Texas on the 22nd and then on to Phoenix. Hopefully, all will be OK.
  • davenowdavenow Posts: 171
    Noticed a peculiar thing: When I was test driving a LTD FWD a couple of days ago. (I don’t know if it was just this particular minivan's problem or not) I noticed that when the vehicle was not running the tachometer was not resting at zero. The arm was up somewhere above 0 but below 2. Is this in the design of the tachometer? Or was this a problem with this particular instrument? Just wondering? Does anyone notice the same with theirs?
  • gordy6gordy6 Posts: 14
    The tachometer arm on our XLE FWD rests at zero
  • We took our 2004 Sienna in for the transmission problem and a few other things. They said Toyota has acknowledged that the sour smell coming from under the car is a faulty Catalytic Converter - but there is no fix for it yet! Just add it to the list...

    They flashed/updated the ECU. I hope this fixes the problems, we will pick the car up tonight.

    The dealer refused to touch up the paint chips - WHY? Said we should do it! The manual says all chips should be touched up right away so they don't rust. Dealer is Koons Tyson's Toyota in Vienna, VA. Anyone else have any experience here?

  • jxg123jxg123 Posts: 6
    We are experiencing a sour smell inside the vehicle (04 XLE AWD, leather). We were thinking it's because the new-car smell suddenly turned sour and waiting for it to dissipate. After seeing your message, it sounds like a real problem with car itself. My question is, if the catalystic converter is faulty, why can't they change it to a new one?
  • roeyroey Posts: 5
    I have a LE/8 with BW pkg. Package listed as having Daytime running lights. They are not on the vehicle. Auto on and off is standard on LE, but not DRL which is upgraded. I went to dealer today to ask if they could "figure it out". They said they are not there, mgr not there to give solution, need advice, what would others do in this situation??
  • Apparently as part of the Predelivery Inspection (PDI) a fuse/ relay has to be plugged in for DRL activation. But, some of the dealerships are clueless, so it isn't done. If your car came with DRLs I would definitely check this out. Details are posted somewherelse on the internet for you to find!.
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    It isn't very likely that the problem really lies with the catalytic converter. It is much more likely that some engine control/performance software parameter has been screwed up causing early catalytic converter "failure".

    No reason for converter replacement until cause of failure is isolated.

    But the smell is "sour"???

    Maybe like mould or mildew??

    If so then see:
  • exb0exb0 Posts: 539
    Here is what BBB has to say about them:

    "Based on BBB files, the company has an unsatisfactory record with the Bureau due to unanswered complaints. Some customer complaints presented by the Bureau were resolved, however. The company responded to complaints with an explanation of the matter stating their position and the appropriate actions they have and/or would take.
    Complaints against this business concern advertising issues, contract disputes, guarantee or warranty issues, refund practices, repair issues and service issues."

    Even Rosenthal dealers have satisfactory records. Need I say more?
  • kmeadkmead Posts: 232
    Touching up the paint chips is not the responsibility of the dealer or a warranty item.

    Most dealers will have it touched up for you for a fee, as will any detailing or other bodyshop.

    Did you offer to pay for this? Its an easy enough job, you can get the touch up paint at the dealer service department.

    There may be many reasons to fault that dealer, but this is not one of them.
  • I have noticed that when my driver side sliding door opens, the lights inside do not turn on. The passenger door, however does trigger the lights to turn on. Any suggestions are appreciated. The console switch is set to "door"

    XLE Artic Frost Pearl, Package 12
  • 5000miles so far.
    stiff and stiff compare quest or caravan.
    It's strange and really disappointed.
    This is not a 'toyota quallity'.
    I think only my sienna have a problem.
    dealer says 'looks normal'.
    what should I do?
  • kmeadkmead Posts: 232
    Do you mean the ride is stiff? Keep in mind this is a vehicle which can have a very different gross vehicle wieght depending on the loading. 8 passengers and luggage and a trailer versus just you and one little tike.

    If you could be more explicit as to the problem, we may have some suggestions. I wouldn't expect it to ride like a Lexus, it is a van after all.
  • alaputalaput Posts: 19
    Have 300mi on an LE 8 and reading about gregali119's acceleration problem made me think of the slight lag I noticed from stop when the accelerator is depressed. Is this a normal characteristic of electronic throttle control?
  • steverstever Posts: 52,683
    Our editors seem to like the steering just fine:

    Long-Term Test: 2004 Toyota Sienna

    To rule out the obvious, are the tire pressures to spec?

    That link also mentions that the Sienna engine earned so-so marks, but they don't mention lag specifically - just want more acceleration without having to punch it.

    Steve, Host
  • Yes, this is a REAL problem as Toyota has admitted it, but I too do not understand how they don't have a fix for it yet. At least we know there will be a fix on the way I am sure - prolly as a recall and you will get notice in the mail.

    BTW, the transmission software update improved the shifting/performance greatly. Can any of you tell me approx. what speed in mph that your transmission shifts into 3rd at?

    Thanks, Wendy
  • Mine did this too, you need to take it in and have them update the computer with new software, the aceleration problem will go away then.

  • kmeadkmead Posts: 232
    that the problem is a faulty converter or that Toyota has admitted it or that there is no fix for it.

    The smell you describe is often the result of running rich, ie more fuel than can be burned with the available oxygen. It may well be dumping a bit more unburned hydrocarbon into the cat than it can catalyze at startup.

    A catalytic converter needs time to heat up to be able to convert different elements of combustion into less harmful forms. At startup they are less efficient and under heavy load (again often a rich condition) may be overcome and unable to catalyze all of the gases completely.

    It is quite normal for cold start gases to smell much worse than normal operation odors due to the rich condition an engine needs at startup and the converter not being up to temperature.

    I have not seen any evidence that Toyota has admitted to this being a real problem with the Sienna. I participate in another board about the Sienna and there are Toyota service people who participate there and none have mentioned this, nor has anyone else complained about it. The Toyota dealer has admitted its a problem they don't know how to solve or that the service writer doesn't understand but is trying to satisfy a customer.

    If this is really a problem, a catalytic converter can be acquired, or new O2 sensors or other recalibration of the injection system can be performed. Given Toyota's experience with this engine family across multiple product lines, I am very sure they can figure out this problem.

    I would ask to have the Toyota regional service representative get involved to help resolve this.
  • kmeadkmead Posts: 232
    Some VW owners have also complained about poor throttle response with drive by wire accelerators. On our Sienna we haven't noticed this problem, but we tend not to really get on it due to where we live and still breaking our Sienna in.
  • just4fun2just4fun2 Posts: 461
    I have been following this problem the exhaust smell and I believe that it is normal under some conditions. I own a 2000 Chrysler and a 2002 Old and they both have that smell when I turn them off and walk around the back of them in the garage. Both of my sons own Toyotas and a friend owns a Nissan Murano 2003 and guess what, they all have the same problem.

    I can't believe that all of these cars have bad cat's.
  • The common recommendation from the dealers seems to be to seek out lower sulphur brands of gasoline, although not all who have done this report it to be of great help. Seems that in a given geographic area (presumably using similar gasoline) some Sienna owners have the sulphur smell while some do not. Suggests that neither the cat nor gasoline quality are the whole story. I fully agree that an engine that is running too rich would make the issue worse and I believe that some have reported improvement after having the mass air flow sensor replaced.

    The sulphur smell is not isolated to Siennas, or even to Toyotas, but rather is reported by many owners of newer models. Seems to be a bit more predominant in the Japanese makes. If you haven't already, take a look at the boards for Accord, Corolla, Protege, among others.

    Lovemyaccords, hope that your dealer is right and able to quickly resolve your issue. Just can't help but notice that many with the sulphur smell are quite concerned (not hard to understand why) and that not all have been successful in getting a fix.
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