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Toyota Sienna Care & Maintenance



  • pjksrpjksr Posts: 111
    mrk4: There's no interval for the change, unless you operate under "special conditions;" then, it's each 30,000 miles.

    Now, how much will they charge you, and will they just do a "drain and refill," or will they do a flush? IMO, a drain and refill is good enough; you can do it yourself for less than $10, using quality fluid (like Havoline) and a little effort; there's a discussion about this earlier. At any rate, changing ATF is cheap insurance for keeping that silky smooth tranny workin' right. And double-check your fluid level after anyone touches it.

    There are other obvious things to change too, as I'm sure you're aware, including the air filter and pcv valve...
  • 1846618466 Posts: 46
    I never checked the valve clearances. I was told by a mechanic at the Toyota dealer that they don't really need to be adjusted if they are not noisy. As far as changing the tranny fluid I open the drain plug (10mm Allen) and drain and add new fluid every 15000 miles. It's probably overkill but it only takes about 2 1/2 quarts to do this (Dextron III). You can't dump the fluid in the converter so I do this just to keep it fresh. I don't like tranny flushes because if there is some dirt you dont want to lodge it into somewhere where it could cause problems.
  • pjksrpjksr Posts: 111
    18, Thanks for the valve clearance info...

    You may want to check early in this thread, because there's a procedure for draining the ATF, kindly posted by an owner who called Toyota on it. Upshot is that if you drain the differential and tranny drain, you'll get out much more than 2 1/2 qts; more like 5 1/5 or more. At any rate, even 2.5 @ 15k would freshen the fluid pretty well.
  • 1846618466 Posts: 46
    I researched it and found that if you drain the differential with the tranny you can drain only 3.7 quarts of fluid. Which is what some dealers normally drain when they service the transmission. More than the 2.5 quarts I get when draining the tranny only. Toyota service manual describes servicing the tranny only. You are right this gives it a fresh recharge when I service it every 15k. It takes about 5 minutes to do on the Sienna.
  • I have a question on removing these plugs. This is a coil on plug type designed engine. Don't you have to remove each of the coils to gain access to the plug?
  • 1846618466 Posts: 46
    There are only three coils. They are above the front spark plugs. These coils have to to be removed to remove the front plugs. Each coil supplies spark to two cylinders one front and one rear. If you look closely at each coil you will also see a spark plug wire going to each of the rear plugs. These coils fire twice for each cycle of the engine, once for the power stroke and then again on the exhaust stroke Because of this only three coils are needed for a six cylinder engine. This is why the type of plug is so important. They fire twice as often and wear twice as fast. This is the major reason that Toyota only recommends the dual ground electrode platinum or iridium plugs for the Sienna.
  • Guys, I am a do it your selfer. I no longer want to pay to have the dealership change the transmission fluid. I also have never performed this task. Can you give me just some basic things to look for and follow. ie drain bolt, fluid refill point, and or any thing else that would be really handy. I know i wont have a problem with this, and as everyone knows there are no generic service manuals for siennas. I know just after a conversation or two with you guys i will know all i need to know.
  • lsaclsac Posts: 22
    Remove drain plug and drain the ATF.
    Reinstall the drain plug securely(NO TORQUE MENTIONED)
    With engine OFF add new ATF thru the filler pipe. (3.7 qts)
    Start engine and shift the shift leveler into all positions from P to L and back to P.
    With engine idling, check the ATF. Add ATF up to the COOL level on the dipstick.
    Check the fluid level at normal operating temperature, 158-176F and add as necessary.

  • You can change the fluid by way of just draining the fluid. Or you can drop the pan and clean the filter/screen as well as the pan and magnets I would suggest you drop the pan every 30,000 miles and then drain in 15,000 miles. This is not specified anywhere by Toyota - they just say change it at 15 if you are a severe user, etc. In my mind it is cheap insurance to follow this schedule. You won't end up posting one of these "my Sienna only has 65,000 miles on it and the transmission failed... the manual never said anything about changing the fluid....

    I got a Mitchell repair manual ( on CD. So, there is a "generic service manual for Siennas...." My only note is that for my 1999 LE, there is not much info on the CD - I refer back to the 98 model year.

    The drain bold is on the pan. You will also see a differential drain plug right near the pan, but I cannot remember its size. Mine took the 3.7 quarts of fluid as specified in the owner's manual to refill.

    In regards to rear plug changing, you can get a tool from Snap-on that will get to the back plugs without removing the Cowl. I would not invest the $50 for the socket/u-joint combo since you only have to change these plugs every 60,000 miles. The Cowl and plenum takes about 15 minutes to remove. (The guy who said 10 seconds has obviously never removed each piece... and I have an air wrench to remove the screws quickly...)

    Hope this is of help.
  • 1. when i refill with new atf fluid, does this get added thru the aft dip stick shaft?

    2. obviously, just draining thru the drain plug sounds easy. it has been about 25k miles since the last atf fluid change(it was at the dealer ship where they flushed thru the torque converter). so with the info you guys gave me i am thinking about dropping the pan since its been 25k miles. Now, when i drop the pan, do i need to replace the gasket??

    3. when i clean the pan, what do you use to clean the pan? parts cleaner? brake cleaner? non residue spray?

    4. Is there any filter that i should change?

    5. is there a torque specification for the pan bolts?
    I will check out the web site on the sienna manual!
    Thank you for your input, it is a great help!!!
  • I'm about to purchase a used Sienna and I'm curious to know when Toyota recommends changing the timing belt, at what mileage? This van has 58000.

  • lsaclsac Posts: 22
    At 33000 mi, my dealer did 30k service including ATF change. Now, at 45000 mi, my rear half pan looks greasy. ATF is a bit low. Do I just retorque all 17 bolts or I have to get a new pan gasket?
  • #42 - Refilling the transmission is done through the dipstick.

    In your case, I would drop the pan. You will need a new gasket - around $8 I think. I think the torque spec for the pan is 70 ft. lbs, for the pan drain bolt is 36, and for the torque converter it is 30. I would have to check the manual to be sure, but I am 95% sure on that figure. Once you drop the pan, you will see a screen that has 3 screws. Remove each of these - be prepared for a pint of fluid to come out. Clean this screen with parts cleaner and then blow dry with air compressor or the like. You will want to check the fluid several times (over a few days) to make sure you have the fluid level correct. Mine did take the 3.7 quarts as specified in the manual. On another note, this transmission is not designed to have the fluid back flushed. I am really surprised the dealership provides this service. I know it is easy and a good moneymaker, but I would not have this done to my transmission.... Also, I bought the manual (on CD) off of Ebay for $30.

    For Dana - the books says to change the timing belt at 90,000 miles. My guess is that you would be looking at a $600 repair item, but I have never had to have this done (yet).

    For Isac, I would torque the bolts down to 70 ft. lbs. to see if that takes care of the leaking gasket. Otherwise, it is not a big job to replace the gasket. ATF fluid is something to check monthly.

    Hope this is of help to each of you.

  • Thanks for the advice. I'm having my mechanic take a look today, but how worried should I be that the dealer doesn't have maintenance records?
  • jeproxjeprox Posts: 466
    90,000 miles to change timing belt? wow, that's pretty high. my 1999 model recommends it a change at 96,000kms. which would be around 60,000 miles.
  • lsaclsac Posts: 22
    When I filled ATF and power steering fluid, I used a magazine cover (any clean hard paper) and wrapped it like a cone. Job is very clean and no mess afterwards. Next time, I will do the same to add fluid to any container with small opening.

    For jtlanejr, thanks for your advice.
  • I have a '96 T100 and it requires the belt at 60,000 miles. For the Sienna my owner's manual calls for 90,000. Of course, the belt on the truck is $210 to have the dealer to the service. I bet for the van it will be over $500.
  • Dana,

    You are smart in having the van inspected. My only concern would be the previous owner's lack of oil changes, etc. We all know of the "sludge" problem these engines develop with lack of maintenance. The mechanic that is inspecting it could pull a valve cover and check for signs of poor maintenance. I am convinced that if you regularly change your oil and keep up with scheduled maintenance you will not have any problems with this van. Mine has 66,000 miles on it and I have a T100 with 125,000. I have only put a starter on the truck. OEM parts and scheduled service will yield good results (at least that is what I am betting on...)
  • Just did the trans and diff fluid change (drop and drain) on my 2001 LE. First I had to go to the Auto parts store for torx head wrenches $10.49. Then I drained the trans after that I drained the diff. The diff has its own drain plug that has to be removed. After the trans was done I took the drain plug out for the diff and drained it. At least a quart came out. Now I was not expecting any fluid to be left in the diff because I had already drained the trans I thought in general terms these two parts shared the same fluid. I refiled by the ATF pipe. I checked the diff by slowly removing the plug until the fluid began to drip. So I new I had fluid as there is not filler hole on the diff right? I drained out a little more the three quarts and thats what I put back in.

    My road test was ok. I bought 4 qt Sears brand Dextron II/III fluid for $1.19 each. Sound good.
  • sbelfieldsbelfield Posts: 41
    Now that I'm a new Sienna owner... Are there any good sites to buy accessories?

  • jtlanejrjtlanejr Posts: 35
    The total capacity of the differential and transmission is 8 quarts. The drain/refill capacity is 3.7 quarts. They share the same sump, but, as you found out, you should also drain the few pints left in the differential after the transmission has been drained. I think you will also find that if you check your fluid now, it will still be dark since you only changed 50% of it. I drain/refill twice, then drive it for a week and then drain/refill again. This yields a 88% fluid change and a fresh red color of the fluid. I would also look at dropping the pan at some interval to clean the screen.
  • LuzerLuzer Posts: 119
    I think I understood #50.

    To change the ATF in the tranny and the diff -

    You only have to refill thru the tranny dipstick hole with about 3.7L. Yes or No.
  • I have one more question. When you say the drain & fill is 3.7 this includs both the trans & diff. I think it does; I just want to be sure. I plan on keeping this car at least ten years. Also, the fluid was very dark almost black. The stick still shows dark.
  • jtlanejrjtlanejr Posts: 35
    The fluid is still black because you have only changed 50% of the fluid. You need to drain and fill the at least two more times (from my experience) before you get a good red color from the fluid. I buy the Walmart Super Tech brand that costs like $4.25 a gallon. I normally change it twice, and then drive it a week to let the fresh detergents to their thing - then I do an additional change (number 3.) This gives me best results.
  • jtlanejrjtlanejr Posts: 35
    Yes, 3.7 quarts is a drain and refill of both the transmission and differential. The total capacity is 8 quarts, but with the trans cooler and fluid in the torque converter, you only can drain 3.7 (I am guessing here....)
  • Ok. On my 2001LE I have successfully dropped the pan, cleaned it, the magnets and the screen. Then reinstalled the pan with a new gasket. All went great!
     I wonder?? The screen is a little tuff to effectively clean. Would it be better to replace it next time?

    The Big Question??? where is the Diff Drain plug?? I didnt do this, and after seeing the other notes now relize I have a incomplete transmission service.

    There has got to be a way to change out all the fluid at once! Frustrating.
    Guys thanks for all your help!
  • jtlanejrjtlanejr Posts: 35
    I don't know how to do a complete change without using a fluid replacement machine. Of course. defeats the purpose of doing your own maintenance. The differential plug is just "behind" the pan drain plug. It is vertical instead of being horizontal like the pan plug. It uses same 10mm allen head wrench like the trans plug. So if you are in the general area of the trans plug, just move a little towards the back of the van and you should see the diff plug.

    You can get a pan gasket/filter kit for about $30. I just clean mine with parts cleaner, blow dry with my compressor, then clean again using ATF. My complete service is under $20 with 3 gallons of fluid and a pan gasket.

    Good Luck
  • pjksrpjksr Posts: 111
    A while back, Ed M. posted his response to a call to Toyota USA, regarding drain/fill of ATF. According to them, to change the most fluid, keep the warmed engine running and in Park; draining ATF while the engine (and torque converter) are running, thus circulating out more fluid.

    In my 2002, I got out about 5 quarts of ATF. But don't go by that figure--use your dipstick.

    Other pts: The fill for both AT and differential is the AT dipstick tube (fill slowly). Check for fluid at the differential by not tightening that plug until new fluid is present. Torque on the plugs is 33 [ft-lbs]. 10-mm Allen wrench...

    Warehouse clubs have cases of ATF at prices around $1.15/qt. You can use the extra quarts for your power steering fluid flush :-0
  • pjksrpjksr Posts: 111
    Does anyone know, offhand, the sizes of our brake bleeder valves, front and back? (These should be either 7 mm or 10 mm). It's still a bit cold to jack up my van here in Connecticut.

    I'm planning on putting on 4 speedbleeder valves, to save work in the long run. ( www. ) They have no listing of the valve sizes...
  • LuzerLuzer Posts: 119
    Never saw this one before.
    How DO you do a PS flush, and why?
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