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Toyota Sienna 2004+



  • devsiennadevsienna Posts: 70
    While I don't have the NAV system in our XLE Ltd, I do have a fair amount of experience with standalone GPS navigation units (Garmin GPS III+ and a Garmin Street Pilot III (Colormap III).

    GPS-based navigation systems can have problems due to poor signal reception. This is usually caused when you are in an area that doesn't have a clear view of at least a good portion of the sky. Usually this is caused by very steep hills/canyons. Or in the case of urban areas, narrow streets and very tall buildings (so called urban canyons).

    To accomodate these conditions, Nav systems in cars usually have a secondary inertial system that employs a compass and is tied into the speedometer to give a rough idea of where you are should you lose the GPS signals. The accuracy of this secondary system isn't as good as the GPS-based one.

    Neither system is foolproof. You may see descrenpencies due to the quality of the maps provided on DVD, or bad GPS satellite reception/geometry, or the electronic compass being messed up because of local magnetic disturbances.

    I have rarely ever completely lost satellite reception due to urban conditons. Even when travelling on the lower deck of the Bay Bridge (San Francisco/Oakland, CA), I still had reasonable signal reception.

    In short, the salesman you were talking to doesn't know much about satellite-based NAV systems in my opinion...
  • touristtourist Posts: 5

    Check in at the Renaissance Parc 55 Hotel (55 Cyril Magnin Street) in San Francisco. When the valet brings your car around it will be 3 - 5 blocks before your rental car "EverLost" GPS system is able to figure out where it is and were it is going. It will keep cycling through a number of satellites before it identifies its location. Those buildings around Mission, Market, Ellis, etc probably define the term "urban canyon." By the time you get to the Bay Bridge (on any deck) you are clear sailing and the Nav system works fine. Same is true as you head out Van Ness toward the Golden Gate (and wine country ;o).

    This is my experience on every visit to the Renaissance Parc 55 Hotel.

  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    The biggest problem I've had is once the signal is recovered the system resets the "dead reckoning computation and oftentimes puts you where you're NOT, especially prone to putting you on parallel roadbeds.

    In WA mountainous terrain it will often lose/regain about once a mile.
  • cliffy1cliffy1 Posts: 3,581
    You loose signal once a mile? Is this on a factory unit or a portable? The portables are notorious for this and its due to the lack of an external antenna.
  • norbnnorbn Posts: 70
    Does the DVD player interface with the stereo via a FM modulator? Or is it hard wired into the system? I'm talking about the Factory DVD Player. Thanks.
  • beatonesbeatones Posts: 4
    I think it is hard wired to answer question above. I would like to know from those who have factory dvd with 6 disc changer - where do you change the dvds - right in the head unit of the stereo up front, or up in the ceiling where the screen is. Also, is there a visible indicator up front to the driver whether the disc is playing, or visual cues as to what is happening (play, pause, menu selections, etc.)? If the factory unit doesn't provide these, do the dealer installed audiovox units do this?
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    in MOUNTAINOUS terrain.
  • beatonesbeatones Posts: 4
    I think it is hard wired to answer question above. I would like to know from those who have factory dvd with 6 disc changer - where do you change the dvds - right in the head unit of the stereo up front, or up in the ceiling where the screen is. Also, is there a visible indicator up front to the driver whether the disc is playing, or visual cues as to what is happening (play, pause, menu selections, etc.)? If the factory unit doesn't provide these, do the dealer installed audiovox units do this?
  • cliffy1cliffy1 Posts: 3,581
    I can't imagine a mountainous situation where you wouldn't have line of sight on at least 3 sattelites. I can see where you wouldn't have the 6 to 9 I have when on the water, but unless your creeping through a cavern in that RX, I'm quite surprised. Again, that is what prompted my question of the type of unit you are using. What do you have?
  • dako_tiandako_tian Posts: 298
    Try the Big Thompson Canyon on the road between Estes Park and Loveland, Colorado. If ever there was a place that might block the satellites, that would be it!
  • devsiennadevsienna Posts: 70
    That's basically the definition of urban canyon, tourist. And given the fact that the valet has probably parked your car underground, it's not surprising that the GPS system in the car has problems figuring out where you should be. And I'm willing to bet that the valet pickup is under some sort of sheltered area which blocks a clear view of the sky. Also, the GPS system does a lot better locking on to satellites if the car isn't moving when it's trying to initially aquire the satellite signals.

    Most GPS-based NAV systems will allow you to initialize your starting posistion to make it easier for a) the inertial system to get a reasonable idea of where it is, and b) to make it easier for the GPS system to lock on to the satelllites.
  • devsiennadevsienna Posts: 70
    My Garmin StreetPilot III has a connection for an amplified external antenna. I typically attach the antenna to the bottom of the front windshield. No problems with getting a clear view of the sky that way, and my satellite signal strength screen tends to show full bars for those satellites that it has locked on to.
  • pottebaumpottebaum Posts: 15
    We just test drove a Town and Country last night. Long story short...we will not be buying it. It was rather dull and the 2nd row seats were terrible to sit in.
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    with absolutely useless factory GPS/nav option.

    Pacific Northwest.
  • hozerhozer Posts: 1
    I was surprised to read the Edmunds review on the Sienna that their gas mileage was so low compared to your experience. I will be replacing my 2000 Pontiac Montana over the next 18 months and wish
    there was a hybrid available now that gas is $2/gal.
  • ralphb1ralphb1 Posts: 1
    We've got 8000 miles on mine, mostly rural or highway stuff. It's a 2004 4wd model, and our average mileage is 20.5. It wasn't nearly as good the first thousand miles though.
  • steverstever Posts: 52,462
    I think the low mpg on the Edmunds long-term test Sienna may be due to a different driver every month (not to mention various editors borrowing it for a family trip to the mountains on weekends). Some editors have heavier right feet and some have awful commutes.

    The fleet is based in Santa Monica, so you have all the California formulated gas blends to deal with too.

    Steve, Host
  • sxdesantsxdesant Posts: 10
    I have to ask. Are you reporting the automated mpg calculator or actual miles to gallons used. I have about 18000 miles on my AWD and usually get 19.2 to 19.5. The automated system gives me 21.3.
  • steverstever Posts: 52,462
    Another member expressed doubt about the low long term mpg for the test Sienna over in the 2004 Minivan Comparison Test discussion, so I've contacted editorial asking them to double-check the figures.

    Steve, Host
  • steph280steph280 Posts: 20
    The Toyota navigation system is OEM from Denso, which is also OEM for Lexus (obviously), Ford (Jaguar/Volvo/RangeRover), certain GM vehicle, among others. A few of us have retrofitted them into our 04 Sienna with great success. They integrate with Sienna's RSA/RES, and it lets you watch DVD from the RES, with full touch screen control. I find this valuable specially with kids in the back.

    These navigation unit relies heavily on compass and VSS (vehicle speed sensor) to determine your position, with GPS as aid to "reset" your current location. Some fancier nav unit such as Pioneer actually has G-force sensors and incline sensor for added accuracy.

    Here is a good page describing auto GPS navigation in layman's terms:
  • steph280steph280 Posts: 20
    There are actually two type of "factory" RES DVD system. One is genuine Toyota made by Panasonic, another is retrofitted at port by southeast Toyota distributor. Former is wired to the vehicle audio system at line level providing better quality, while latter is fed through FM modulator which means your DVD will sounds only as good as FM broadcast, just like the aftermarket units.

    For both system, DVD is changed up in the ceiling RES unit where the screen is. The front 6CD changer headunit can only switch the audio to pipe DVD sound to speakers. However, if you have a navigation unit instead of the CD changer head unit, it will allow you full control (play pause menu selection etc).
    Aftermarket units are the samething. Only thing you can do in the front is tune to the FM frequency where the DVD player is broadcasting so you hear sound through speakers. You could use the remote control to make changes, but you can't see the changes unless if you have a LCD screen up front hooked up to the DVD (which is illegal in many states).
  • owner2bowner2b Posts: 11
    Could anyone give me some tips as to what all to look for (a final check list to go over the van and make sure there are no scratches/dents/electrical problems etc.) before handing over the cash to the dealer and driving away from the dealer's lot in that new Sienna?
    I have already done all the negotiations and settled on the price, and the day is almost here when I will go and pick up the van.

    Thx in advance to your advice.
  • kmeadkmead Posts: 232
    I would suggest a search using the term: sienna delivery checklist on google. You will find the best checklist I know of that is specifically tailored to the Sienna and includes some of the electronic preset choices for XLEs and other models.
  • tarantaratarantara Posts: 3
    Excellent post.

    Many Thanks for the link to Denso.

    The Denso site said they were OEM for Aussie deliveries but didn't mention Worldwide or U.S.

    I wonder why the systems don't use continuous GPS like the portable units do and then use the "dead-reckoning" system as a backup?

    Thanks Again
  • jaymkjaymk Posts: 86
    I would like to know if anybody has put a 6 disk changer in the Ltd with NAV. I just got the van and any help would be highly appreciated.
  • aggie76aggie76 Posts: 266
    I had the same issue/question and decided after research that I will wire in connections for an iPod rather than just add a 6-disc player into the van when I make my purchase next year if they haven't made the 6-disc available. Have seen various wiring options and will still be interested in alternatives if some oneelse has any.
  • andrewtran71andrewtran71 Posts: 840
    See, most sales people, but not all, hate their jobs.
    Thus, they are ignorant with many features available.
    Everybody knows that NAV uses GPS! Heck, at least 12 of them orbiting in space!
  • raydahsraydahs Posts: 449
    I've had my Sienna for a week now, I've searched all of the Sienna discussions and can't find anyone who is having excessive vibration issues. My symptoms, on certain choppy areas of the L.A. freeway system, I get this annoying shaking/vibration where everything on the table starts shaking. I had to take the fast food soda w/ice out of the table cupholder and put it into the one on the dash! This Van is so quiet, it's a shame this dang table is ruining the experience. I looked into getting the console from the XLE/Limited......$700!
  • artiedartied Posts: 2
    Has the rearview camera been an option that everyone has liked? Any problems?
  • kmeadkmead Posts: 232
    The vibration you speak of (actually a sympathetic harmonic in this case) is likely a function of the suspension tuning relative to the frequency of the roadway.

    I used to live in LA and suffered a similar problem with my VW Golf on some of the roads (134/210 and part of the 110).

    I don't honestly know of a way to minimize this problem beyond putting a brace under the drivers side of the table so it no longer is a cantilever and will there for vibrate less. Try cutting a stick long enough that it slightly lifts the left edge of the tray, taking up all the slack in the articulating mounting. Put it about midway along the length of the tray (likely near the safety belt buckle area).

    Hope that helps.
This discussion has been closed.