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Toyota Sienna Maintenance and Repair (2004+)



  • jess14jess14 Posts: 1
    We leased a 2006 Toyota Sienna in end March 2006. We have approx 5,000 miles on the odometer at this time and have had multiple problems with the vehicle.

    In early June, the car would not start in a plaza and had to be towed to the dealership. The dealer ran some tests and informed us that the fuel pump and assembly had failed which was replaced under the warranty. The van was at the dealership for over a week because parts had to be ordered in and where on backorder.

    Fast forward (July 3rd) - at this point the van had only done an additional 500 miles and would not start in a plaza once again. The van was towed to the dealership and the dealer has been trying to diagnose the problem but has not been able to. Changed the onboard computer, immobilizer, and a lot of other parts but the van still won't start. They mentioned to us that they had never had a problem like this before.

    The Customer Service at Toyota Canada has been most unhelpful. Today, the van has been towed from the dealership to the Toyota Head Office in Scarborough, Ontario, Canada. Wondering if any of you Sienna owners has had these problems and if so what is your recourse. At this point, Toyota is refusing to buy back the van and replace it. Its to a point where it is totally unsafe to drive this vehicle. Even the dealership agrees that they should do the right thing and replace this van. The van has not even gone in for its first oil change.

    Any suggestions would be most appreciated.

    This is my first Toyota after having Chyslers, Dodge, Nissan, Honda and Fords which incidentally never gave me any problems.

    An unhappy Toyota owner.
  • ratamacueratamacue Posts: 1
    Driver side air conditioning vents (left center vent and driver's side door vent(near the door) only) have intermittently been delivering non-cooled air. Passenger right-center vent and passenger side door vent and rear A/C are all normal. We thought it was permanently non-functioning, but we found out when we went to the dealer, that it was intermittent (they did not see the problem until I made them run the engine for a while and then it was more apparrent.) A Toyota factor rep was conviently present at the time I picked up the car, and he could not find any record/report of this type of problem. The dealer talked about leaving the car, removing the dash so the tech could drive it home and then back the next day to re-create the problem and see what is not working. He also said that the interior would probably have more creaks after replacing the dash.
    My guess is that the method used for mixing hot and cool air to regulate temperature is going into fail mode - sensors, vacuum or electric actuators to control doors for mixing, etc. Does anyone have any similar experiences or can direct me to a place where I can see the mechanics of the temperature control and heat/cool mixing? If I know how the system is supposed to work , I can probably figure out what is wrong.
  • We purchased a 2006 Sienna LE in June, and we are having an intermittent problem with the LCD display on the factory stereo. Occasionally, the LCD shows garbled characters or goes completely black (the audio works fine, though). The only fix is to shut off the van and restart. It seems to happen when it rains, but it doesn't happen every time that it rains.

    We actually switched vans at the last minute when purchasing it, because the van we were going to buy had this problem on our final test drive (it was raining then, too). So, that makes two vehicles with the same problem.

    Has anyone else heard of or seen this problem?
  • nifer76nifer76 Posts: 9
    Ok, went window shopping at a Honda dealer and than Toyota to look at vans. At the Toyota dealer we noticed one of the vans had obvious body work. So we started to pay more attention to the van bodies and we noticed that the bumpers really didn't match the paint on the rest of the body. :surprise:
    The only ones that we didn't see much of a difference was on the black and white vehicles. And I say vehicles because it wasn't only the vans that had bumpers that didn't quite match. Did anyone else notice this on their van? Have I just never noticed that body color bumpers just meant "close enough". :confuse:
    Went to Honda dealer first didn't notice on the Odyssey but will definetly be checking when we return.
  • smaesmae Posts: 1
    Could you please tell me how you got this covered under warrenty. I had the dealership disconnect the cable because of the same problem. I would like to go back with information on the warrenty
  • beernutbeernut Posts: 329
    Mine's perfect. Blue Mirage Metallic.
  • monty6monty6 Posts: 1
    I have 2006 Salsa Red Sienna, one month old. I too noticed the front bumper was slightly darker red than the rest of the vehicle. Wondering about that. I saw a gold Acura MDX with this problem just the other day. I highly doubt there is anything that can be done, but I may give our local dealership a call on this (Leesburg Toyota - Virginia). On a recent trip to NY, a tire monitoring system said I had low tire pressure somewhere. After checking the tire pressure within a few miles of the light coming on, all tires were at 35 psi. My wife read the manual to me about resetting the light. It came on again about 30 minutes later. Once in NY, I called a local dealer, and he lead me through a slightly longer resetting procedure. No problems of any kind since.
  • jb_shinjb_shin Posts: 357
    I remember my friend who sold Acuras and now MBs since the late 80's telling me that dealers so not have to disclose damage up to certain amount. I think he said it was $800. His MB dealer still has a contractor coming in 3 times a week to fix minor scratches, dents, and paint work on new and used cars.
  • beernutbeernut Posts: 329
    The threshold of when they have to tell you of damage is usually a percentage of the car's value. Perhaps someone who knows for sure could tell us, but its usually a pretty big number.

    Consider this: The amount spent to repair a car that determines whether they have to divulge it is the dealer's COST, not market value, and HE determines the worth, often being able to hide or otherwise not include costs such as labor. AND... they don't have to include any work that might have been done by anyone else prior to their recieving it.

    Lets say there was a Chevy dealer in Chantilly, Virginia, say.. Pohanka Chevy, and lets say they were trying to sell a white Chevy S10 truck with 6000 miles on it as a "new Demo". Lets also say that it was wrecked to the tune of a new cargo box, rear bumper, tailgate, right door and fender, but the parts were bought used and wholesale and the work done by salaried bodymen. Lets also say that it was not previously sold but leased to a company who's drunk employee wrecked it so it was never really titled to anyone. Would it still OK to call it a "new demo" and not report but in fact deny that it had had work done to it?
  • drajkumadrajkuma Posts: 8
    I've experienced the same problem.

    It seems to appear whenever the AC is set to MAX and the vehicle is not moving for a while. It goes away once the vehicle is turned off and on again immediately. I had to wait until it appeared and then without turning the vehicle off, took it to the dealer. They switched radios and everything looked good... Until today. It reappeared in the new radio which is hardly 2 weeks old. I'm gonna have to try and replicate the issue and take it to the dealer again. Sure it would happen again. Sucks. Would this qualify under the "lemon law" if it happens 3 times in a year?

    I switched from Honda to Toyota and have had nothing but problems.

  • master1master1 Posts: 340
    The radio turning off does not qualify for the lemon law. The car has to have an actual problem that effects driving.
  • I recently had a horrible problem with my power hatch. Mine is a 2005 and only had 13,500 miles with extremely light use of the hatch. It came down on me while I was loading the back. Worse yet, it did not reverse as it should have. I was lucky enough to be able to free myself, but it caused serious injuries.....ruptured discs, nerve damage/paralysis as well as muscle/tendon damage. Had it been another family member, I am sure it would have been worse.

    I have reported the incident to NHSTA, but my report doesn't show up on their website. I have talked to a NHSTA safety engineer who stated they have received other similar complaints, but he would not divulge how many, when or if they were all Siennas.

    Toyota denies this have ever happened before and the local dealership is now antagonistic towards me.

    What was your experience? Has this happened to anyone else out there? Has anyone ever noticed their remote opening anyone else's hatch (I haven't).

  • user777user777 Posts: 3,341
    going out on a limb and guessing what may be happening:

    it sounds like perhaps there is inadequate handling of the condensate from the evap coil. do you have an issue with the passenger or footwell being damp?

    if so i'd say maybe the condensate isn't collecting in the pan and exiting via the drain tube.

    another possibility is there is some poorly fitting duct work between the evaporator and the vent and the fan is pushing very moist air onto the radio.

    this I could see causing the radio to shutdown as a self-preservation tactic. water/moisture and electronics don't mix.

    maybe the dealer should try looking for a poorly connected vent, then perhaps placing a shield of some form behind the radio such that condensate when the AC is running hard doesn't hit the radio.
  • I would buy that argument that there is some condensation issue or other drain issue if the problem continued upon shutdown and restart. But I only have to turn off the ignition and turn it on immediately and the problem goes away. I'm baffled and so is the Toyota engineer. Matter of fact, the Toyota guy first wrote down "Condensation problems" then after I showed him the shutdown/restart routine, he struck it down and wrote down "Radio in-op".

    I thought that mine was a freak incident, but after the second occurrence and the posting of a fellow member, I'm not sure what it is. I'll leave it to Toyota (or enlightened posters) to figure it out as I neither have the inclination or the skill to fathom the cause.
  • user777user777 Posts: 3,341
    ok - i'm a computer and systems engineer and have some experience with electronic circuit that experience a power surge, or are forced into an invalid state.

    if you have a condensation issue, it's probable that traces (fine layers of conductive material) or component pins/leads on the motherboard of the radio will short together, and it's then probable that the central processing unit (CPU) will go to some odd-state, and in a means to protect itself, go into a power-safe state and shutdown the amplifier and tuning sections, and gosh knows what else.

    so much is computerized these days. that said, if you had a very old analog radio, condensation would probably short something, and perhaps draw a lot of current, but with the circuits all powered up - cause a little heating in the way of a fire. nice huh?

    a restart of the vehicle - much like CTRL-ALT-DELETE (or the "three finger salute" is akin to cycling power. most CPUs (central processing units), otherwise called MPUs (multiprocessor units) will sense the power cycle and boot-up or re-initialize themselves to a good state (one where things work again).

    i know it seems crazy but it fits the observations. the toyota engineer was on the right track i believe, but didn't test the theory.

    one way to test it, is to physically remove the radio from the dash, but leave everything connected. i wager the radio when turned on keeps working and working and working when moved from it's close proximity to the A/C / Fan / VENT.

    OK - that experiment is a bit hard on ya right? here's an even harder one if you are in a hot / humid climate. run your radio for a few weeks but leave the A/C off. Does it continue to work as designed? If so, what changed? :surprise:
  • Quoting the PA Lemon Law verbatim:

    A defect or condition which substantially impairs the use, value or safety of a new motor vehicle and does not conform to the manufacturer's express warranty.

    I guess radio not working can be construed as impairing the value of the vehicle, but I'm jumping the gun here. Let's see what my Toyota dealership says about this issue.

  • ohresohres Posts: 46
    Sorry to hear the problems.

    I had a similar problem with the automatic rear hatch on my 2004 Ltd AWD and received a service few months back. The door stayed up ok but was not opening up all the way in cold weather and the safety (reversing) system was not working at times. The system needed a major resistance to create the reversing too.

    I also experienced the kind of pinch you illustrate. I thought that the reversing mechanism will kick in if I block the move, while picking up a stuff after initiating the closure, but it was not.

    After the service, it seems working fine.

    The safety system for the automatic doors, however, seems not designed for young kids or babies. We are extra careful to make sure that our 4 year old twins clear the area around the automatic doors (in & out).
  • Thank you for your reply. Toyota insisted mine was the only complaint and has tried to evade all responsibility. What did your service report state as the cause? And did you file an incident report with NHSTA?

    I will be having an independent automotive engineer evaluate my vehicle, it would be nice to know how other failures occurred.

    We have friends who are very wary of the power doors with small kids, but we don't know too many with power hatches.
  • beernutbeernut Posts: 329
    You sound interesting and well informed, 777, and your entry is a good read. But I still like the Toyota mechanic's explanation better: "Radio in-op"!!!
  • user777user777 Posts: 3,341
    Thanks for the kudos. If only my wife found me "interesting" ;).

    Hey, there's noone else responding to your request for help, so I thought I'd wag a possibility. It is only a possibility to help you locate the root cause. I know free advice from a forum like this. Go figure.

    However - I've provided two ways you can test my theory. The first was to pull the radio and leave it out of the dash. Cosmetically and theft non-centric I agree. The second was to try to survive the heat wave and avoid using the A/C. If the radio keeps working for a month with no issues, well that's a good sign you've determined a causal connection. It doesn't rule something else out, but its a good piece of information to have which currently you do not.

    If the radio dies without the use of A/C, i'd be inclined to think the voltage regulation from your alternator isn't very good, and sometimes you are exceeding rated output; radios will also shutdown when provided a voltage supply that strays pretty far from nominal.

    Sincerely, besides the fact I am an EE - I have seen moisture cause problems like this with computer systems over the past 2.5 decades.

    But I had another reason motivating my post - first-hand experience.

    I've actually witnessed what can happen with a clogged evaporator pan drain in a Honda Accord which I owned. When the level of the water topped the pan, the fan blew enough water droplets that they hit the radio, and yeah, the radio would go out. Happened 3 times in 3 days before I got the pan drain unclogged. Each time, restarting the car temporarily reset the radio until the next blast of water vapor. See, the pan would empty into the passenger footwell on hard left turns.

    I am lucky the radio didn't permanently die, huh?

    I'm glad you prefer and trust in the Toyota mechanic's explaination.

    If he / she replaces your radio a second time and if it does it again, perhaps you'll try the theory for the heck of it. :)
  • We have the same problem with our 06 Sienna where the radio display goes blank occasionally with the A/C on. The problem only happens with the A/C will not happen with the A/C off. Weird......
  • I have a 2006 Sienna XLE and none of the 12 volt outlets are "unswitched". This is a real inconvenience for charging cell phones or XM portable radios overnight. My old Plymouth Grand Voyager was just the opposite. The dealership can alter your van so that the outlets are hot without the key being in the accessory position. By the way, I hope your 12 volt electric cooler works better than my Rubbermaid did. A complete waste of money.
  • user777user777 Posts: 3,341
    if the AC were ramping on/off often causing electrical disturbances, i could see that potentially causing it.

    very interesting the two of you have the same issue.


    ask the dealer to put some form of plastic barrier around the radio in the area where it could be getting condensation from the A/C.

    if there is two of you with this problem, there are probably more out there. THAT'S GOOD!

    did you report this to toyota? wierd is right.

    oh wait - maybe it's just cold air in close proximity to the radio. maybe there is some very sensitive traces to the LCD display that when hit with cold air cause it to stop working.

    you two need to exchange information so your dealer's techs can talk.
  • jbolltjbollt Posts: 734
    oh wait - maybe it's just cold air in close proximity to the radio. may be on to something...I don't own a Sienna, but I remember reading that cold can effect the display on the NAV in my new Camry Hybrid...don't have the manual in front of me...hmmm..

    I also seem to remember an electronic product I once had with a LCD screen that "went goofy" in temperature extremes, it worked fine, just couldn't read the LCD...
  • ohresohres Posts: 46
    I just check the record again since my memory was not clear and find out that the service manager did not record the particular problem on the official receipt even if I gave a written letter (with a list of problems) that is addressed to him. My wife gave the letter to the manager when she drop the vehicle for service in March 2006. I am not sure if they were playing a game since they are aware of a legal action taken by my lawyer about the vehicle. Because of unusual circumstances sensed during and after the service, I had to talk to my Lemon Law lawyer about the suspicion of services done without record keeping and my lawyer told me that she will subpoena all the records on my vehicle from the dealer.
    I am not sure what my lawyer obtained or if she really asked about the records but I have a copy of my letter that clearly says problems with the safety (reversing) system. I am sure that they did something to correct the problem since the system became very sensitive after the service. I did not file an incident report with NHSTA.
  • user777user777 Posts: 3,341
    well - the thing i've seen when it gets cold is an LCD display slows down...the digits don't change as gets sluggish.

    if the vent duct work runs in close proximity to the radio, or is otherwise situated close to a vent, maybe there is an issue there... my guess would be that there is a poor solder joint or broken trace on the circuit board of the unit, maybe even a poorly manufactured component, and in temperature extremes, there is some change in electrical continuity somewhere as a result of expansion / contraction.

    i would think the radio design was tested to run to a range of environmental extremes (sub-freezing to 130F or more), because let's face it, we have to have our tunes or NPR :shades: when we are stressing our bodies to get to work, or get home to the little ones. :surprise: i mean to say, any temperature sensitivity to A/C - well that is a sign of a defective unit because A/C gets cold to what 40F or so? that shouldn't be a big deal for any of the audio's electronics.

    it's possible the manufacturer (toyota doesn't make radios that i know of) has a bad batch of units.

    which lends credability to the "radio in-op" report. but my problem is this, if cycling power soon after the event where the radio goes inop, i wouldn't see how that would bring the unit back to operation, unless cycling power happened sometime after the unit got back to a more moderate temperature.

    i'm sorry with the theorizing. is it just the display that goes bonkers but the audio keeps playing? when this happens, can you select another preset and the radio goes there, you just can't see the display?
  • I did not use my hatch much, so I know that I didn't wear anything out nor did I ever misuse it. I am also discussing this with attorneys as Toyota has not given me satisfactory responses. Given the nature of the defect, it would seem unlikely that there are only two defective power hatches in the world and that it is a matter of time before other similar accidents will occur. I would encourage you to file an incident report with NHSTA as this defect can cause serious injury or worse.

    Please forward your whatever information you have available to: [email protected]
  • jbolltjbollt Posts: 734
    hmm...maybe what I remember of that old electronic device with the weird acting LCD is when it got HOT, not cold.

    It seems that everytime I remove a CD from an in-dash CD player, the CD is quite warm to the touch. Perhaps the radios in question are getting too hot? But then, the "reboot" wouldn't solve this...I dunno..probably your bad solder joint is more likely.
  • pug555pug555 Posts: 1
    We are also having similar problems. When I am driving in hot weather and turn off the car for a short period of time (not allowing it to cool much) and then turn car back on - no navigation or radio. If I allow the car to cool, and then re-start it seems to come back on. After an afternoon at the dealer, they said they would order a whole new navigation system. They mentioned that there was a TSB (technical service bulliten) issued but they wouldnt give me any of the details.
    Any feedback is appreciated.
  • badgerfanbadgerfan Posts: 1,565
    You may be interested in this article, a press release, from the Detroit Free Press:

    The government has opened an investigation of 2004-2005 Toyota Sienna minivans after receiving complaints that the liftgate had failed, causing the hatchback door to close on motorists.

    The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said in a notice dated Aug. 2 that it has received eight complaints and four reports of injuries involving the liftgate unexpectedly closing on a person’s head or body.

    The investigation involves 393,313 Sienna minivans from the 2004-05 model years.
    In March 2004, Toyota issued a technical service bulletin to owners of the 2004 Sienna saying that the liftgate struts had been redesigned to help prevent seal damage and gas leakage.

    Toyota spokeswoman Ming-Jou Chen said Monday that the automaker was cooperating in the investigation but it was too early to know if the problems were linked to the issues that led to the service bulletin.

    Some investigations by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration lead to vehicle recalls.
This discussion has been closed.