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Sienna Owners: Problems & Solutions

chum05chum05 Member Posts: 4
edited March 2014 in Toyota
Has anyone else experienced "creaking" and and slight "rattling" from the sliding door on the drivers side? If so, is there a fix for it? The dealer claims not to hear it when we bring it in, but having just returned from a 1200 mile trip - I can attest to its existence!


  • smfransmfran Member Posts: 432
    My dealer calls it flexing and has been able to fix it. Sometimes it has returned and he takes care of it again.
  • flyrod1869flyrod1869 Member Posts: 7
    1999 Toytota Sienna minivan. Possessed! it locks the doors by itself, sometimes it unlocks, then locks the doors repeatedly, even when nobody is in it! It started a few months ago, then quit for a while and is now back with a vengeance. The good news is that I do not have to ever lock it! But when I unlock the doors, with a remote or the key, it activates the "theft deterrent system". 1999 Toyota Sienna minivan. Possessed! it locks the doors by itself, sometimes it unlocks, then locks the doors repeatedly, even when nobody is in it! It started a few months ago, then quit for a while and is now back with a vengeance. The good news is that I do not have to ever lock it! But when I unlock the doors, with a remote or the key, it activates the "theft deterrent system". This always gets looks in the parking lot. No help in the owners manual or from the dealers (on the telephone).
    Please advise on what may be causing it, how to fix it, or at least how to temporarily "deactivate" the alarm system.

    Sure I can take it into the shop, but I am asking for help BEFORE I take it in so I do not have to pay an excessive labor charge to pinpoint the problem.
    I am sincerely grateful for your help, thanks!
  • ladurchyladurchy Member Posts: 1
    I was just informed by my dealer that my 1999 Sienna with 43,000 miles has developed a harmonic vibration in the rear brake drums. Glazing of the drums cause the squeak just prior to stopping. The fix will cost $138. It will require turning the rear drums and installing a weight on the back side of the brake pad. Anyone else with this problem>
  • jeproxjeprox Member Posts: 466
    your problem is the alarm system itself. could be some short in the system or wiring problems. i just read this other post on the corolla board with similar problem as yours.

    my sister's 97' camry have a similar problem. her locks would sometimes lock/unlock while the door is open. it would also make a loud "click" with the door closed - sounds like when you press your power door lock button. we're just waiting for the system to stop working and replace it with a new one!

    if you're not good with wirings, it would be better to take the van to the dealer. it may still be covered by the warranty. i've seen this happen on my sister's car and also my nephew's car. both are caused by the alarm system.

  • 2ofeach4me2ofeach4me Member Posts: 2
    69 thousand miles, purchased new and no problems until now. Out of the blue I have a whinning noise coming from the transmission area that gets louder as the speed increases.
    I have been reading on this board that others have had the same problem with their transmissions or torque converters.

    I am getting all my research inorder and then going to the dealership giving them the opportunity to fix the problem at no charge or reduced rate.

    any advise would be greatly appreciated.

    [email protected]
  • mcf2mcf2 Member Posts: 1
    Also bought my van new. Only minor problems: bent radio buttons and squeaky brakes, (corrected). Until now, I was very happy with it. At 70,000 miles, I too heard a whining noise, and took it in to a dealership, close to my work. I was shocked to hear that my differential was wearing out. Since it was designed as one piece with the transmission, (according to the Toyota mechanic), I was told the transmission needed to be replaced. The price quoted, $4200.00. The transmission fluid was clean with no burt smell. (I did change my fluid twice). I also took it to a private transmission shop and my home dealership. All have confirmed that I needed a new transmission. I was in shock, then angry. This was a Toyota, known for its quality and reliability. After calling the home customer service satisfaction agent and the Toyota hot line, they offered to meet me halfway or $1700.00. I'm considering it.

    Previously, the first dealership stated and insinuated several times, I should have changed the tranmision fluid every $15,000 because Michigan is considered a harsh environment to drive in. I disagreed stating the manual doesn't indicate this.

    Hope this is of help

  • wiencswiencs Member Posts: 4
    I have a 1999 Sienna that I bought new. No real problems (busted radio knob and sticking sliding doors that seem to have corrected themselves) but the front wheels/alignment must be whacked. I'm at 29,000 miles and looking at my 3rd set of tires. Early on I noticed a shimmy in the front end at very low speed (like going down the alley). At 10K miles I had it back at the dealership complaining about it (my first pair of front tires was already about shot) and they suggested that the first set of tires wasn't properly balanced. So I spent the money and indeed it was better but still not totally gone. I was watching the wear pattern and the inside and outside edges were going bald way too fast. Today the drivers side went flat and when I changed the tire I noticed that the inside edge was worn all the way through to the steel belts (cut my hand on the nasty little wires sticking out all over the place. I'm sure that I will at least get an alignment, but this seems to me to clearly be a design issue. Has anyone else had this problem and is there any relief from Toyota?
  • rc327rc327 Member Posts: 1
    I recently bought a 2003 Sienna Symphony, drives nice have been happy with so far. I recently took a trip and I believe I experienced some sort of periodic engine jerk or bucking while in cruise. There was no sort of pattern to it but I originally thought it had something to do with going up and over hills. Later, I discounted that when I noticed it doing it on flat and level highway. Also, I don't know if I'm hearing things but I would swear my Premium Sound System has a front speaker gone bad already. It sounds like it's blown out or getting there; some sort of cracking sound occurs with the beat of the music and I'm the only one driving it and I don't listen to music that loud. Has anyone gone through this or similar problems. This Van isn't 3 months old yet and this wasn't what I expected from a new Toyota van. I expected door dings and rock chips in the paint on the hood but not mechanical problems such as this. I might have to rethink my opinion of Toyota vehicles because I expected TOP quality and I'm beginning to think I bought a future lemon. Any comments or suggestions would be welcome. RC
  • toyotakentoyotaken Member Posts: 897
    Something that you may want to have either the dealership or an independent auto shop check for you is if the rims are out of round. It is not a common problem, but if they are, it is almost impossible to balance the tires correctly. The other problem may be with the camber of the wheels. Same thing, you may want a second opinion at another dealership or independent shop. Other than that, I have not heard of anything like this on Sienna's.
  • wiencswiencs Member Posts: 4
    How is camber different/related to alignment. Will I have to ask to have it specifically looked at (like out of round rims which I bet they never check for)
  • toyotakentoyotaken Member Posts: 897
    To check for out of round rims, you do need to ask them to look for that specifically. What they do is actually pull the tires off of the rims and put them on the machine to ballance tires without the tire on them. Camber is usually checked when they are doing an alignment, but not always and not all shops are able to check it. Camber is the angle that the wheels/tires are to the road surface. Optimal is usually 90 degrees or perpendicular to the road. Alignment is how straight all wheels are when you're vehicle is pointed down the road. They should all be parallel to each other. Even if the car isn't pulling, your alignment may be off as two wheels may be out of alignment, and countering each other, but still wearing out the tires. Keep me informed, and feel free to ask anything else.
  • js1111js1111 Member Posts: 1
    Our 2002 Sienna with less then 15K miles has squeaky brakes. It started after a recent tire rotation. The dealer has tried to fix it once, and was not successful. The dealer service manager told us it is a design flaw in the 2001 and 2002 Siennas. Although the brakes do stop the car fine, they tend to squeak more than they should. This is very annoying. Thought I was buying a quality car. Any advise?


  • jeproxjeprox Member Posts: 466
    well - the sienna is a "quality car" and you have bought a good "quality car". if you expect the sienna to be a 100% perfect vehicle, you will be disappointed coz it's not and i don't think there is a perfect vehicle out there. the squeaky brakes have been around since the first model of sienna (1998) came out, not just 2001-2002 models.

    you can ask your dealer to fix it free of charge if they will agree to it or replace the pads with aftermarket pads and hope the squeak will go away or just like me... remove the drums every few thousand kms. and clean it and learn to live with the squeak. yes, it's troublesome and annoying but i love the van. its so much better than the caravan that i owned before so i learn to live with the squeak. to me, the squeak is nothing at all compared to having to re-build my caravan engine twice with under 80,000kms. at over C$1000 each time! my sienna currently have 63,000kms on it and its 3yrs. old and the only problems i had with it are the squeaky brakes and alignment of front wheels which is now fixed.

    just my $0.02
  • cheri12cheri12 Member Posts: 1
    My automatic sliding door no longer works properly and I was just told that the computer is bad. The mechanic said he checked with other mechanics and they said this is a very frequent and expensive repair for the Siennas. (Over $1200) Has anyone had any luck with the dealer or manufacturer helping out with this problem? This expense seems excessive for a 3 1/2 year old car.
  • sienna01sienna01 Member Posts: 12
    See post 1939 in the Toyota Sienna Problems (Vans Board) I had the same problem with my 2001. Look at # 1219, # 1246 and # 1367. It was a real pain for us, but the door has been working great since they replaced the door computer. I have the part number in the other posts.
  • surroundideasurroundidea Member Posts: 1
    I have a Toyota Sienna 2000 LE with the combo CD/Tape/Radio unit. I bought a few new CD's over the weekend, and the CD player starts skipping the tracks while I am driving on the road above 35 mph. The road surface was even with no bumps.

    The Sienna has 29,000 miles and it is getting very annoying. If I hit a bump, the CD player will skip one or two songs easily.

    Should I have the dealer repair it or replace the player? Anybody has similar problem? Thanks.

  • toocajun4utoocajun4u Member Posts: 26
    This exact problem was mentioned several times on one of the Sienna boards a while back. IIRC, the fix was a replacement factory unit.

  • kw6kw6 Member Posts: 26
    I had the same problem on my 2000XLE. They replaced the whole unit, and it's worked fine ever since!! Better hurry before your 36/36 runs out!
  • lunarmistlunarmist Member Posts: 41
    We have a 2002 Symphony LE. For the last few weeks I feel as though when I start the engine, approximately one second later I hear a "thumping" noise, almost like when I turn on the A/C and the compressor engages. Please run out to your garages and tell me if you hear the same noise.

    I checked the A/C switch, it is not pressed and I do not have the setting on defrost.

    Is it my imagination? I'm going to the dealer and start a used 2002, if they have one on the lot, and compare.

    Otherwise, we love the ride and quality to date.

    Lastly, has anyone heard anything from Toyota regarding the swinging sun visors. Any remedy ??
  • toocajun4utoocajun4u Member Posts: 26
    Lunarmist, you're probably hearing the antilock brake system performing its initialization. Try this quick test: depress and hold the brake...start the engine - no noise. Release the brake, noise. If your noise follows that pattern, it is the ABS.

    Visor remedy: duck! ;-)

    Larry R
  • jeproxjeprox Member Posts: 466
    sounds like the ABS doing its self-check. do what "toocajun4u" suggested and you'll be able to confirm if it's the ABS. if this is the sound you hear then it's normal.

    it sounds like a vacuum that just suck something up.
  • jrtannurajrtannura Member Posts: 18
    I have a 2000 XLE with 56000 miles... brought it in to the dealer to have a whine noise checked out and sad to say it's the transmission. I have owned more toyotas than I can count and I have never before had a transmission problem. So far the dealer has been very helpful. Thanks to previous posts I had a feeling that I was heading this way. I hope the fix lasts.
  • snowyhahasnowyhaha Member Posts: 3
    I purchased the '03 Sienna several months ago. Since day one, I noticed the Sienna performs very poorly when I made turns. My body lean to the right when I turned right, same when I turned left. I was told it was the soft suspension.
    Does anyone has the same feeling?
  • jeproxjeprox Member Posts: 466
    you have to remember the sienna is a minivan and it's not designed to take fast turns or have lightning acceleration. the sienna does have body lean/roll when you turn. in my opinion, it's not any worst than other minivans out there.

    to cut down on the body leaning on to one side is to slow down when you turn. my sienna leans also when i take a fast turn so i just slow down when turning.
  • pjksrpjksr Member Posts: 111
    I think it's all relative...The Sienna leans less than my old Aerostar, but more than my wife's Prelude; altogther, not bad for a 4000-pound van, and somewhat "nimble."

    You are certain of your tire pressures, of course. Be sure to follow those listed in your driver-side door-frame.

    BTW, I'd like a video of the van leaning right when you turn right ...!
  • jasdmwjasdmw Member Posts: 118
    I noticed the same feeling when my van was new as well. Since I replaced the S rated tires with H rated tires, the lean is significantly less noticeable, albeit still there. H rated tires have a stiffer sidewall which definitely helps for cornering and higher speed stability. The down side may be more road noise, but the rest of the suspension absorbs that and it's not intrusive at all.

    Also, you cannot compare a van with it's significantly higher center of gravity to a Prelude. Totally different spectrum of the motoring wold.
  • toocajun4utoocajun4u Member Posts: 26
    Of course you can compare a Sienna to a Prelude. For those who own both it's a pretty easy comparison! Pretty useless, but pretty easy ;-)

    FWIW, I've been driving my wife's sport sedan for about a month now - she's almost 8 months pregnant and can't climb out of her car anymore, so I offered her the Sienna for the duration. Anyway, I needed the van one day last week - thought I was going to roll it in that first hard right! So while they ARE on totally different ends of the motoring spectrum, some of us would benefit from remembering the comparison. LOL

    BTW, jasdmw - I've always wondered if moving from S to H or V (or 65 to 60 series) would help with the roll. I didn't figure it would help much, thought most of the "softness" could be traced to the suspension rather than the sidewall stiffness. Glad to hear someone had a positive experience in that regard - it may very well make a difference when I finally wear out these darned Firestones. (Why is it that the lousiest tires seem to last the longest?)

    Larry R
  • jasdmwjasdmw Member Posts: 118
    FWIW, I had the Firestones replaced the day I picked up my van. Acutally, had the dealer swap them for Dunlops from an LE, then traded those into a Good year dealer for Aquatreads. I wanted nothing to do with Firestones and had driven a loaner Sienna LE with the Dunlops, in a snowstorm. To me the Dunlops were useless in the snow. However, I had trouble with the Aquatreads, wouldn't stay balanced. Goodyear took those back and I then went to Micelin X-ones. Same story, couldn't balance those either and Michelin took those back, too. Now have Bridgestone Turanza LS - H. Had to go to 225-60/15 to match (close enough) the outer diameter of the tires. The Aquatreads and X-ones are also S rated but they didn't seem to exhibit the same amount of roll in cornering the Firestones seem to, based on what I've read anyway.
  • toocajun4utoocajun4u Member Posts: 26
    Ah, Turanzas...I've got 225-60/16 Turanza LS-V's on the sedan - VERY "sticky" tires. I bet your Sienna can really carve a corner! Any problems with the high CG and the sticky tires? That combination just begs for a rollover in an SUV - I would guess it's not quite as bad in the Sienna. What do you think?

    Larry R
  • jasdmwjasdmw Member Posts: 118
    Mine are the H rated and therefore possibly less sticky than the V rated, but I really don't know. Yes, the CofG would be an issue if it's overdone. I know it's a van so not inclined to go nuts on the corners, but have come into the odd one a bit too hot with no issues recovering, not even a squeal. I have the VSC which did activate once or twice in the rain, but I never felt the thing sliding. Emergency lane changes or debris avoidance is a snap. As stated in an earlier post, the van seems to lean less in curves making it more pleasant and even adventurous if so chosen, to drive without loss of straight line comfort.
  • unc8185unc8185 Member Posts: 33
    I am interesting in upgrading the stereo system in my 2000 Sienna XLE. In particular, I am interested in XM Satellite Radio. However, I would like to keep the convenience of the stereo controls on the steering wheel. Has anyone found any radios that would be compatible with the steering wheel controls?

  • blackrblackr Member Posts: 6
    I am looking to get an auto dimming mirror for my 2003 Toyota Sienna. Is this something I could install (I'm mechancially inclined), or is this best left to professionals? Also, am I better off getting the official Toyota part (discounted from the web), or going with some other manufacturer?
  • ramblinwreck85ramblinwreck85 Member Posts: 17
    I have a 1998 Sienna XLE with the CD/Cassette/Am/Fm Radio. We have had a couple of problems come up recently with the radio. First, the radio keeps losing the preset channels. I will reset the preset buttons then after a day or so (or sometimes the next time I start the van) the presets have disappeared. Any idea why????
    Next problem, two of the buttons for the preset radio channels have come off and I don't see how to put them back in place so that they will stay. Help!!

  • toocajun4utoocajun4u Member Posts: 26
    Ramblinwreck85, How's your battery? Loss of power is the only reason I've ever seen any radio lose presets. Make sure your battery's okay, make sure your fuses are all fully seated, and if you can locate it, trace the power lead for the radio to check for breaks or kinks.

    re: buttons - short of pulling off mine to see what's underneath, I can't really help you there!

    Larry R
    2002 Sienna XLE
  • ramblinwreck85ramblinwreck85 Member Posts: 17
    I had thought about the battery. The van still has the original battery in it. But I thought if the battery lost power, you would have to enter the security code for the radio to get it working again.

    I need to get a new battery anyway to make sure my wife and daughter don't get stranded.

  • treytexagtreytexag Member Posts: 1
    Just took our 2000 Sienna LE to Joe Myers Toyota here in Houston this week for a whining noise. I called that afternoon and he said they were almost done putting in a new transmission - said they knew about the problem. Has 44K miles. Of course, the work was all done under warranty - they didn't even call to tell me what they were doing - just went to it.

    Anyway, I looked at the receipt today, and it says "Remanufactured Transmission". I don't like this - although the Sienna seems to be working OK now. Is is common to put in a rebuilt tranny instead of new? I'm going to call them tomorrow.
  • jrtannurajrtannura Member Posts: 18
    I also just had a trans. replaced on our 2000. The replacement was labeled remanufactured. It has been OK but I think the shift from first to second in not as smooth as it used to be, in addition to comparing it to other Toyotas. I asked to have a regional rep drive it and give an opinion... the dealer has been very good to work with. I'd like to hear from others that have been driving with the replacement transmissions.
  • dave2001autodave2001auto Member Posts: 20
    Anybody know how to increase the delay on the light timer? I would like the auto head lights to stay on for one minute after getting out of the car instead of when I turn off the engine. And the dome lights to stay on for 30 sec. instead of 5 sec. after closing the door -- so the kids can get on the seat belts in the dark.

  • mojakomojako Member Posts: 7
    '03 Sympho at 3816mi. I notice the brake warning light illuminates in the dashboard. It comes on and off intermittently. I tried to check the sensor above the mechanism of the parking brake pedal underneath, and the only sensor I found out is the sensor for the Daytime Running Lights. Has anyone encountered the same problem lately? Is there any remedy for this? Pls. let me know before I take it to the dealer.
  • deepandeepan Member Posts: 342
    the warning comes on if the brake pads/shoes are worn, hand brake is not released properly or if the Brake fluid in the master cylinder is low. If its intermittent i would say that your parking brake is somehow being touched while driving.
  • crv16crv16 Member Posts: 205
    I had this problem before (with my old Nissan Quest). When I stopped fast, or even went around a fast corner, the brake warning light flashed on.

    I solved it by topping off the brake fluid.
  • eomckameyeomckamey Member Posts: 26
    I have a 2000 Sienna with Gentex self-dimming mirror with temp/compass features. It was purchased with vehicle new and installed as a port type option (ie. after factory assembly).

    I have since purchased a 2002 Tacoma (new) but no such mirror was available via Toyota. (Reason perhaps: Driver's side fold down sun shield doesn't clear the wider Gentex type mirror.

    I purchased a Gentex SD mirror with builtin compass and temp. from J.C. Whitney who periodically has coupons for free shipping and/or discount. You can read all about the Gentex mirrors at <http://www.mitocorp.com/nvsmirro.htm>

    I installed the mirror on our Tacoma and had no difficulties in doing so. You do have to free up the left/driver's side windshield pillar trim and headliner (only along the joint meeting windshield) to get wire run up to new mirror. Comes with pretty decent instructions and there is toll free # at Gentex for help.

    You can do it!

    Ed M.
  • mojakomojako Member Posts: 7
    '03 Sympho at 3845mi. I just came in to work this morning with that brake warning illuminating again. I top it off with brake fluid, then when I check the dash it was gone. Thanks' for the advice.
  • danhirschdanhirsch Member Posts: 20
    Why do the radio buttons break?
  • jeproxjeprox Member Posts: 466
    could be that it was hit with something.
    could be the button itself is a bad one.
    could be anything.
  • bob57bob57 Member Posts: 302
    Your #41 post. I might be wrong but I think that comes from an IC chip on a PC board buried somewhere in the car electronics. The delay is built in.
    If you find out something simple - post it, I'd be interested too.
  • toyotabtoyotab Member Posts: 6
    Toyota regularly uses "Reman products" to keep costs down. Reman products from Toyota are all internally new. The case on this transmission is the only thing reused. All internals are new parts from Toyota.

    This also goes for other parts that are reman'd by Toyota. Starters, alternators, and the like.

    Important thing to remember is that it is not used or only the parts that have failed are replaced, it is all new.........

    By reusing the case on the transmission Toyota keeps the cost down a bit. All reman trannies are bench tested to assure they are up to snuff.

    For thos of you at or around 60,000 miles with this problem it should be covered under the powertrain warranty. I noticed one person at 69,000 you may want to take the partial payment. If the 5/60 warranty is up Toyota does not need to offer you anything.

    I do not work for Toyota Motor Sales but for a Toyota dealer. Just wanted to share this info to make sure that you, the consumer are aware that Toyota internals are nothing to worry about on these trannies.

    FYI......I have never seen a reman tranny go bad on ANY Toyota, so the quality is just as high as the original.

    Trying to calm some fears
  • dawnygaldawnygal Member Posts: 1
    I own a 2000 Sienna and have noticed many, many others who have had transmission issues. I took my Sienna in for a whining noise and it turned out to be the transmission - they found shards of metal in the drip pan. I feel lucky in that mine did not fail while driving highway speeds and I was able to get it replaced before it locked up. Unfortunately, warranty expired at 60,000 - mine is at 67,000. Dealer was great in working with the dealer rep. to get my price down. However, I feel the manufacturer, Toyota, should pick up the entire cost of replacement. I bought a Toyota for their reputation in quality and longevity - I sure did not expect to have to replace the transmission so early in the life of the car! Toyota obviously has an issue with the automatic transmission in the 2000 Sienna. Has anyone else over warranty been successful in getting Toyota to pay for transmission replacement costs?
  • innovations2innovations2 Member Posts: 22

    make sure they check your 2000 sienna and make sure it wasn't one of the 2000 model year that had a manufacturing problem with the transmission.

    I remember several posts over a year ago discussing a bad production run in June/July?? 2000 with bad transmissions. It's the only other posts I've seen here over the years I've been monitoring Edmunds.

    cliffy? You were around back then, does this sound right?
  • toyotabtoyotab Member Posts: 6
    Here is what you should do.

    The dealer says they spoke to their rep right???

    Request a meeting with Toyota's Parts and/or Service Manager or DPSM as Toyota calls it. Tell them you want to talk with them personally.

    The dealer should accomodate you without a problem.

    when you talk to the DPSM point out that though you are over on 60,000 mile part of warranty you still have 5 years!!!! Tell them what is on your mind. The DPSM reviews things like this on a case-by-case basis.

    Let them know you are frustrated, and worried what will be next...... Oil GEL problem...

    What region of the country are you in???

    I can call and find a name for you.

    Let me know.

    Toyota's "GoodWill Policy" is pretty lenient. The consumer usually is unaware how to play the game

    By the way, did you buy an extended warranty??? OR buy it used as a Toyota Certified Used Car
This discussion has been closed.