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Toyota Sienna Maintenance and Repair (2004+)



  • Currently have 2000 Odyssey- although some problems the service is excellent, including warranty work at 88,000 miles (our warranty expired at 36,000). Main gripe is the constant tire balancing to control shimmy at high speeds. How have the dealers been with 04 Sienna problems? Do they OFFER free loaner or do you have to coerce it? Do they immediately agree to look at and fix the problem, or do they make excuses (we were once told leaking oil is normal for a Taurus by Ford dealer).

    We drove one and liked it but don't want to switch unless service is as customer friendly.
    Thanks for the input! Oh yes- any shimmy problems?!
  • kmeadkmead Posts: 232
    Service is dealer dependent. Finding a dealer that gives service you are satisfied with can be frustrating. Check with friends that have Toyotas to find the dealer you will appreciate and will appreciate you.
  • Rcgator over on the 4Runner boards says that s/he has been working with someone inside Toyota (prefers to not give names at this point) who indicates that Toyota is going to be replacing cats. I assume this means replacing with a re-designed cat, not just another of the same type.

    So, maybe Toyota is going to step and do something constructive on the sulphur smell. Some documentation supporting the rumor of a forth-coming fix would sure be nice.
  • kmeadkmead Posts: 232
    A coworker, who lives close to work, has this problem with his 2003 Corolla. Here is the story he got from Toyota Canada:

    Apparently Toyota's ultra-low emission engines (like the current Corolla's and Sienna's) can give a rotten egg smell, particularly with a lot of short-distance driving where the engine doesn't get warmed up. Toyota (and other manufacturers) were expecting Canadian gas to follow other countries and have lower sulphur gas, and they designed their emission systems accordingly, but the sulphur content is still higher in Canadian gas.
  • bosco9bosco9 Posts: 16
    Well, took our Sienna to the service manager and had him wash it with his power washer to show him how the water leaks into the door frames. He thought it was weird too, but showed us where the seals are located...and it is no wonder that the inside of the frames get wet. All I can after you wash it, open all 5 doors and dry it off. I have never had a vehicle with seals like this before, but then again, this is my first Toyota...luckily the rest of the van is problems with smells, acceleration, or tranny. I have ordered touch up paint though...several chips at just 800 miles.
  • Kmead: Yup, that's been Toyota's standard answer for the past couple of years now. "Our cats are ahead of their time. Wait for the gasoline quality in your area to catch up." If a bad match between cat and the gasoline that most folks can actually buy today is the problem, though, then Toyota is able provide a fix in the form of a cat that works with current gasoline.
  • alaputalaput Posts: 19
    I enjoy your informative posts. Is there really a "break-in" period anymore with advances in materials, quality and lubrication? I still plan to keep the revs down and change the oil at 1000miles...
  • kmeadkmead Posts: 232
    Break in periods are not as rigorous as they used to be. With the tight tolerances that current vehicles are built to break in is not as important as it used to be.

    However, Toyota does strongly suggest that you take it easy during the first 1000 miles. Given their recomendation I would tend to follow it.

    In my view it is very easy to ease your car into the service you will be using it under. Easy starts, part throttle acceleration, no hard stops, no 4k plus rpm are all easy to do and cost you nothing. It will not hurt your car to break it in. With all 5 new cars I have bought I have followed the following regimen and so far have never had a car that uses oil in the first 150k miles, replaced a head gasket, or any other engine or transmission problem.

    During the first 500 miles part throttle acceleration (half or less) and never accerate much below 2000rpm, never over 4000 rpm, do my best to vary engine speed either by choosing another gear or slowing down or speeding up. Easy stops (if others cooperate) to allow the brakes to bed in. After 500 miles increase rpm max to 4500 and continue to use part throttle to accelerate. As I get closer to 1000 miles I tend to increase the rpm with more throttle and eventually will do full throttle and redline by 2k miles periodically.

    Some may think this overly conservative but it works for me.

    There is a whole other school of thought on this, and it is detailed here:

    I tend to keep my cars for a decade or more, use them for household as well as autocross and track use and have never had engine or transmission related problems. (I doubt I will autocross the Sienna) So, whatever works for you will probably be fine.
  • navyjnavyj Posts: 5
    I am not sure if I have a transmission problem or not. We have just over 900 miles on the van. When you are at a stop and start to go, it feels like it slips. Is this normal? I am not going from 0-60 in 5 sec. or anything, it is a normal acceleration. Any feedback would be helpful. Thanks.
  • kmeadkmead Posts: 232
    If your car was built before late November of last year, the TSB for the tranny should be done.

    As for the "slipping", it does take a bit of rpm to get that mass moving. It may also be among the anomalies that result from the drive by wire accelerator.

    Some cars do the following, I don't know yet if the Sienna transmission does this: When sitting at a stop, the transmission shifts into 2nd to reduce the tendency to creep forward, when you start off it needs to shift into 1st to get going, giving a annoying hesitation.

    As to whether this is the issue or not remains to be seen.

    I doubt you have a problem (we have just gone over 1000 miles since Dec 26th) but it can't hurt to ask when you go in for your first oil change. We live in an area that doesn't require hard acceleration very often so I haven't noticed this issue on our Sienna.
  • To the posts about squeaks and creaks. The noise is coming from the sliding doors. The cause is the black plastic centering pins on the pillars and corresponding insert on the doors. Grease them lightly and the noise will stop. Silicon lubricant is cleaner but I found it only lasts a week or two and the squeaks/creaks reoccur.

     Other problems I have that I see posted are: rear wiper/washer position that doesn't wipe, annoying wind noise from windshield/windows - I note a TSB out for this, poor drive-by-wire throttle sensor design(acceleration lag). Also, after having the vehicle for 6 months it has now developed a pronounced whine from the transmission(?)and what sounds like clicking tappit noise from the engine.
  • Rockin2,
    I am hearing wind noise behind my left ear while seated in driver's seat. Can you direct me to the TSB that you referred to in your recent post?
  • mercier1,
    at this website. go to new cars,sienna,maintenance,TSBs and recalls.
    And oh yeah, I forgot to mention another thing that pissed me off. The headlights were improperly aimed up into the Milky Way somewhere and every other passing driver flashed his high beams. Of course the inept dealer said there was no adjustment necessary, so I re aimed them myself. I had less grief with the much maligned Windstar we owned before.
  • rockin2:
    How difficult is it to adjust the headlight aiming? I find mine to be a bit on the high side as well. Haven't really check to see how it can be adjusted yet. Thanks,
  • alaputalaput Posts: 19
    I'm bringing my LE in next week to have DVD installed and have left a message for them to check that the software is the latest version. Did you buy yours early in the model year? I wonder when the "new" software made its debut?
  • kmeadkmead Posts: 232
    The tranny software update came avialable in late November. All Siennas since then have had the software installed at the factory.
  • I cannot determine if our 04 Sienna has a rattle in the passenger side slider door or in the column between the front passenger door and the slider door. This rattle/noise comes and goes with no pattern.You can hear it going over bumps, pulling into parking lots etc. It almost sounds like a part or something is loose with in the frame work. Has anyone else experienced this type of noise within your van? If so and the dealer was able to make a successful repair I would greatly appreciate your feedback as to what the problem was as I'm sure that when I pull into the dealership my van will stop making noise for the day and the dealership will tell me "If they can't hear the noise they cannot fix it"!!!!! My van noise sounds different then what rockin2 posted here regarding squeaks and creaks as I would classify mine as a rattle.
  • Could it maybe be the seatbelt for the 2nd row passenger seat behind the driver? If the locking part of the belt isn't secured in the clip provided when the belt isn't being used, it can sometimes rattle against the pillar. Good luck, and hope this helps.
  • steph280,
    It could be very difficult for a bear with a very small brain but for you and me,its no problem. There is one adjustment nut at the back of the headlight and if I recall correctly you'll need a small 1/4 in ratchet to get in there. Find a good looking 5 ft blonde to stand naked exactly 12 ft from the bumper and adjust until the top of the low beam is exactly at her navel. If you notice the high beams are on you're not focusing on the task at hand.
  • I bought mine end of October, and the software fix has helped the problem - when starting from a stop - but I still think it should shift into 3rd at 30 mph, mine doesn;t till about 36-37mph, which makes it still sluggish at these speeds, especially when you need to accelerate changing lanes, etc.

  • Just wondering what speed your 2004 Sienna shifts into 3rd and 4th gear?

  • This was not something just said off the cuff by the service dept. it is printed right on my invoice "Smell coming from converter Toyota aware of problem".

  • We purchased our 2004 Sienna in April 2003 and in August we discovered that the roof had caved in and had dents covering it. We do not know the cause, but suspect either an automatic car wash or possibly using a soft-sided car-top carrier on the luggage rack while traveling.

    Whatever the cause, the cause was not trauma or an accident. When assessed by our insurance company, they thought it looked as if it had been in a roll-over, except there was no side damage.

    The repair cost $7500 and took 3 weeks - the entire roof had to be cut off and replaced. We wonder if there is an integrity flaw with the roof - often discussed with SUVs as they have gotten bigger, they need to keep the vehicle light and take away where they can - the roof.

    I have not seen any other similar posting, but I wanted to put it out there to see if others had the same or similar problems. I also want Sienna owners to be careful with automatic car washes and car-top carriers. This was a major cost and inconvenience for our family.
  • olizerolizer Posts: 38
    There is a maximum allowable weight on all car roofs. Usually it's about 100 pounds. Check your manual. Maybe someone overloaded it. Glad to hear your insurance covered it.
  • lmaalmaa Posts: 1
    Has anyone heard of problems with the AWD Sienna? When I went to the dealer to purchase one, they tried to talk me out of purchasing an AWD model and I can't understand why?
  • ewt1ewt1 Posts: 10
    Did they have one in stock? If not, the "problem" was that they didn't have one. There aren't any AWD-specific problems I'm aware of.
  • arhowarhow Posts: 7
    I have 200 bouncy, jittery miles on my 04 Le.This
    does not compare to my traded 98.Any one have a
    solution...has Donlop tires.Discusted with van!
  • stickguystickguy Posts: 25,371
    did you check the tire pressure? Sometimes they are delivered with too much air.

    2015 Hyundai Sonata 2.4i Limited Tech (mine), 2013 Acura RDX AWD (wife's) and 2015 Jetta Sport (daughter's)

  • arhowarhow Posts: 7
    The air pressure does not effect it..32 to 36 lbs.
    the ride is comparable to a sports car or truck
    not a toyota minivan!We bought this van too quick
    based on our ownership of a 95 previa & 98 sienna.Something very wrong with all the touted
    fine ride write ups!Has any one else experienced
    this and has a possible solution other than trading it back?
  • While I have about 7K miles on my LE, lately I too feel like I am driving a full size pickup, rather than a 2004 Sienna. I have also lamented trading in my 98 Sienna, bought used with 55k miles and NEVER a problem. My advice would be to dump this van now if feasible. Hopefully the 2005 will address many of the problems with this current model. To make matters worse my dealer can never duplicate the problem and I don't think they even try.

    Good Luck, Becky
This discussion has been closed.