Toyota Sienna 2004+



  • danjaecksdanjaecks Member Posts: 54
    Denvermom - I assume you live in Denver. John Elway Toyota (at Arapahoe & Havana) has an Aspen Green and a Blue Mirage Sienna (as of about 2 PM today.) You should drive over there and look at them yourself. You better hurry if you want to look at the Blue Mirage as it is being picked up on Monday. They also had a Phantom Gray one and one other that I forget... I think they were all XLE's. I'd give you the name of a helpful salesperson but I don't think we're allowed to.
    BTW the Aspen Green which we drove had the NAV system with the rear view camera. So you can try that out as well.
    If you go on Sunday, the Aspen Green was out front under the front overhang, the Blue Mirage was around the right side of the building, (I think it was waiting to be prepped.) I don't know how you get to it because there was a wall between it and the front lot. If it's still in the same place, maybe you can go around the back of the building and all the way around to nearly the front on the right side. (we went through the building w/ the salesman.) Hope this helps, I know how you feel about ordering without seeing the colors, I called all the big dealers in Denver today to find a Blue Mirage and we drove up from the Springs to see it.

    BTW. John Elway is a big dealer and they may be able to get you a car faster, and they seemed willing to meet anyone's price. We shall see about that.

    Good luck (and happy mothers day.)
    Dan Jaecks
  • richb9richb9 Member Posts: 4
    My wife and I recently purchased a 2004 Sienna Le with Option Package #4. We searched high and low to find exactly what we wanted. We had the van less than a day and had to be towed back to the dealer. The car would slip out of gear as well as make extremely hard shifts after over-reving in it's current gear. Has anyone else had this problem? I have been told that they will have to pull a transmission off the assembly line in order to repair it. Also the dealer tells me that the car is so new the computers don't have the diagnostic codes to troubleshoot it. I have filed an official complaint with Toyota but don't know if that will accomplish anything.
  • wwestwwest Member Posts: 10,706

    Take the trouble to call a few city police departments in MT and/or WY until you find the few that were forced into FWD by city managers and the auto manufacturers, mainly Ford and Chevy.

    They will tell you, to a man, just how unsafe FWD can be for wintertime use.

    Lived in MT myself for a few years in the sixties, before FWD.

    And I will continue to tell anyone who asks about FWD or front biased AWD just how unsafe they can be in adverse roadbed conditions.
  • steverstever Guest Posts: 52,457
    All I recall seeing from you in recent days is the "don't mix snow and all season tires" statement in an owner's manual.

    Or shall I put my '82 thru '00 years in Anchorage driving only FWD up against your trips to Montana from WA?

    Here's one link that I think we both can use for ammo: Front Wheel Drive Police Cruisers.

    Steve, Host
  • wwestwwest Member Posts: 10,706

    Travelled to Anchorage and Fairbanks, even Barrow, quite a lot back in the seventies, but didn't do much driving. The one incident I do remember was backing out of a hotel parking lot early one morning, after unplugging the engine heater, just to discover that the power steering fluid was frozen and I couldn't turn the steering wheel. Went back in and had a few cups of coffee with the engine running.

    The police FWD "shill" wrote:

    "By placing both steering and acceleration loads on the front tires, the limit of available traction on dry pavement will be reached sooner with FWD when compared with a similiar rear-wheel-drive vehicle."

    Pardon me, "available traction on DRY pavement", Ontario, Canada?

    Should have said, "available traction on dry pavement, of very serious concern as roadbed conditions grow worse and worse during wintertime driving...." !!!

    But a very good article overall, now if only we could get EVERY FWD owner, or potential FWD owner, to read and heed.

    The most important point made is that for FWD the inception of loss of control is more benign, less noticeable, and the corrective action is non-intinctive for most drivers, "ease off the throttle"(EASE being the operative term here), "shift into neutral".

    Basically glad you obviously learned the non-intinctive "tricks" of driving FWD early enough that you survived. Some don't.

    Thanks for the link.
  • kmeadkmead Member Posts: 232
    Having worked in police departments and suffered through the first front wheel drive Celebrity police cars the issues have been mainly to do with durability issues. The Crown Vics and other body on frame rear wheel drive vehicles are more heavily built all around. Driving over curbs and off road takes a significant toll on the lighter duty front wheel drive vehicles so far developed. In addition most officers take real issue with the size of the vehicles, specifically the interior size as an officer encumbered with belt, gun, flashlight and so on has trouble fitting in the seats and through the doors of the usually smaller vehicles.

    As to handling and traction (by the way southern Canada doesn't just receive snow and is not the great white north), this article is written from the point of view of a rear drive tester. Most police training revolves around rwd vehicles (though that is changing to some degree) and the features of rwd. As an FYI, police officers are not the best drivers and are certainly not performance drivers, they just drive alot. They are given rudimentary training in high speed driving which is designed to keep them out of trouble. The number of loss of control police car accidents is staggering.For someone who has never driven rwd (which includes most drivers under the age of 40), they do not have the "instinctive" skills that the police evaluator speaks of. Rwd handling characteristics are not instinctive, they are learned just as they are for fwd.

    On a race course where traction and handling are taken to their ultimate limit, fwd and rwd in low horsepower situations come out nearly equal. A perfect example is the Show Room Stock class in SCCA racing where you have Miatas against Civics, Neons and other fwd vehicles.

    All vehicles are dangerous and have handling and traction peculiarities that must be learned in order to effectively control them. Whether or not a vehicle has fwd, rwd, awd or some other drive system, they need to be treated with respect and care (in most snow storms the vehicles I see in major accidents are 4wd SUVs who's drivers fail to understand this issue). For most drivers "The most important point made is that for FWD the inception of loss of control is more benign" characteristics are safer and more easily handled by the average poorly trained driver.
  • bakelly11bakelly11 Member Posts: 64
    Did you like the color?

  • fourman96fourman96 Member Posts: 3

    Yesterday, I installed my rear-facing convertible car seat in the second row chairs of my 2004 Sienna. My car seat uses tethers (the strap that attaches from the top of the car seat to an anchor in the car). The back of the 2nd row and the 3rd row seats have tether anchors, but I need someplace to anchor the car seat on the *front* of the 2nd row seat (since the car seat is rear facing.

    I flipped up the 2nd row seat, and I found what I think is a tether's a metal "loop" that runs directly underneat the seat. It's similar to the other tether anchors in the car, but it has a strap attached to it.

    Does anyone know if this is another tether anchor? What is the strap for? I can't seem to find anything about it in the owner's manual.


    P.S. For the families out there with young kids...the LATCH system is great. It was SO easy to install my car seats and make them *very* secure.
  • kgnw1kgnw1 Member Posts: 94
    The tether strap should only be used when you convert the seat to forward facing.

    NHTSA | Child Passenger Safety
  • kmeadkmead Member Posts: 232
    I assume you are using a Britax as they are the only car seat rated for using the strap rear facing. You can attach the tether to the same seat the car seat is mounted to (in fact this is preferable as it eliminates the relative motion of the one seat to the other object). Just use the tether attachment strap (its the separate strap) and run it around one of the mounting tubes under the seat and attach the tether to the attachment strap.

    You should not use the front facing tether anchor (on the Sienna car seat) as it is designed for forces running in the opposite direction.

    When I test drove a Sienna there were several stout tubes under the seat that allowed for easy attachment. Remember to run the tether so it goes between the seat cushion and the slide release, not over the seat slide release.

    Yes the LATCH system and the tether made for a very fast, easy and secure installation.
  • rperez718rperez718 Member Posts: 10
    Does anyone know if the 2004 Sienna CD players can play MP3 CD's? TIA for the info!
  • kgnw1kgnw1 Member Posts: 94
    Sorry it doesn't, although it will play CD-RW even though it's not suppose to. I have an aftermarket MP3 CD player in my current vehicle. Makes it nice for those long drives.
  • canuck13canuck13 Member Posts: 73
    Richb9: Yes, I had a very similar problem...mine was also defective the 1st day I got it. My symptoms were almost identical to yours (although perhaps less severe). It took me a while, but, after 3 trips to the dealer they replaced the transmission. Mine came from the parts centre in Kentucky. They shouldn't have to pull one from the line as there were several in stock when I got mine (unless there are lots of other failures out there). They told me my torque convertor was defective but they replaced the whole transmission. My new transmission seems to be fine now. I wonder if they have a design problem or a manufacturing problem...seems it has to be one or the other.
  • bakelly11bakelly11 Member Posts: 64
    I'm just wondering if the dealers are giving accurate delivery dates, or if things are just taking longer than planned.

    I ordered one LE and was told it would arrive in about 5 weeks(end of May).

    Then, I received a call that they had another one that was similar and would be arriving sooner (in 2 weeks). They said they weren't sure when the 1st car would arrive (due end May originally). I changed my order and took the one arriving sooner. Now the 2 weeks for this car has turned into 4 weeks (due end of May with this "earlier" car).

    I'm wondering if things are taking longer than they planned, or if I'm just having bad luck. Have any of you experienced this? Longer than estimated deliver dates?

  • blandfordmblandfordm Member Posts: 54
    Anyone have suggestions on what is the best (most capacity for the cost) thing to buy to add cargo capacity to a 2004 Sienna (e.g. topper, trailer hitch and trailer, swing gate...). And if so, the best place to get the suggested item?

    As far as a topper for the roof rack, the roof rack on the 2004 Sienna says 150 pound limit on it and I would think that a topper would also have a negative effect on gas mileage due to poorer aerodynamics. But, I assume a trailer would give you even worse gas mileage.
  • wwestwwest Member Posts: 10,706
    A single wheel trailer worked really well with my 67 Mustang fastback.
  • george96george96 Member Posts: 11
    Well we did it.. we are in the cue for a LE7 with package 7, due for arrival first week of June. We are having some second thoughts about the value of getting all of these safety features, giving the price difference between package 1. Anyone else twist on this?

    Our thoughts go like this..

    Do the second row air bags and air curtain systems save lives? What about the kids laying against the air bags in the second row?

    We have had a 4WD Suburban for 4 years (we are selling) and have used the 4WD a hand full of times (we live in Maryland, but make frequent trips to NY in the winter). Is the traction control system really worth the extra money?

    I guess we have seen too many Volvo and Michelin commercials and that is why we have decided to play it safe.

    And finally, anyone else worried about two posts for transmission problems?
  • bakelly11bakelly11 Member Posts: 64
    My feeling is that you can't spend too much money to make sure your family is safer. My husband lost his 27 year old niece from a side impact accident. She died instantly from head injury because there was NO protection on the side of the car.

    I don't really know how the sienna will rate for these airbags, but I'm going to take the chance. I asked the same safety question about a month ago, about the air bags. I was told they drop from the ceiling, not the side of the van. My GUESS is that its like a seatbelt. Sometimes it can cause injury, but overall its much better in a crash.

    I am a LITTLE concerned about the transmissions, but my HOPE is that it is very rare.

    Congrats on your new van!
  • foresterbeanforesterbean Member Posts: 9
    I agree with bakelly11 regarding the airbags, we purchased #7 for the added protection. I too was nervous about all this talk of transmission problems, but I am happy to say that I so far have had 2,500 trouble free miles. Lets hope those with problems are only anomalies.
  • fourman96fourman96 Member Posts: 3
    Thank you both for your reply. I do have a Britax which can use the tether straps rear facing.

    I'll be moving the tether strap to the mounting tubes this morning, thanks kmead.

  • danjaecksdanjaecks Member Posts: 54
    I thought it was nice, not my favorite shade of blue, but I liked it the best of the Sienna colors. But everyone likes different things and whether I liked it or not won't change how YOU like it, which is much more important. I suggest calling all the big dealers in your area and then driving out to see them in person. (If colors are important to you, some lucky people don't care.)

    Actually, the main reservation I have about the car (besides the price!) is the poor rear visibility. It is harder to back up than our old Nissan Quest van, the windows are smaller in the rear and the 3rd seat cuts your view, so you can't see anything (or anyone) less than about 4 feet tall. I think it would also be hard to parallel park, though I didn't try. You also have to look more carefully before changing lanes on the freeway than in our old van.

    Good luck,
    Dan Jaecks
  • shuedshued Member Posts: 107
    If you think the package 7 is two much.
    How about package 4 (BI)? I also doubt that
    the traction staff is necessary or not when
    I am not a aggressive driver. To avoid the kids
    to sleep close to the side air bag, I suggest
    you buy 8 passenger trim. Then pull down the
    middle seat in the second as armrest, and
    the kids mostly will sleep over the middle
  • bakelly11bakelly11 Member Posts: 64
    I do agree. Color is such a personal decision. I guess I will call around and keep trying to find it. I did order one, so I hope it looks nice. (I'm sure it does. It does look nice in the pictures.)

    I'm afraid I agree with the rear view. I did have problems when I demoed the van. They had me back up to a gastank to fill it. I'm hoping that I will get used to this. It was dark and I was nervous driving a new car that wasn't mine. That was part of the problem too. Hoping I'll get used to it.

    Thanks for the help with the color.
  • bakelly11bakelly11 Member Posts: 64
    Are you having problems with visibility when backing up?

  • rcf8000rcf8000 Member Posts: 619
    It's the only complaint my wife has had, other than the Sienna not having as much "zip" as her previous car(which was an MB E320 wagon).
  • sljbfamsljbfam Member Posts: 15
    Yes, I have run into a dealership in Hillside, NJ that gave me a $3000 add on for bonus vehicle he the manager called it. I told him I don't car how bonus it was that I deal from invoice not $3000 above retail. They even gave me a low ball trade in price of $800 for my 1995 Nissan Pathfinder SE that has a book value of $6000 he later gave me a price of $5000 for the trade in. I told them I wasn't ready yet and was just looking. But if they wanted to scare me away I think they did. I told them I also was getting the 2004 Prius when it comes out in the spring, the Sienna is for my wife. So they probably lost out on two cars if the want to deal like that. No van/car is worth paying over retail no matter how much in demand it is. So be warry that some dealerships will markup the Sienna's just walk away if they do, if they really want to sell it they will work with you, not screw you!!!
  • wwestwwest Member Posts: 10,706
    Switching from that to a Sienna is going to be a BIG surprise. If you are commited to the Sienna I would definitely get the AWD version. But before you go for a family outing in adverse, or potentially adverse, roadbed conditions find a safe place to practice maintaining control of a FWD on a snow or ice covered surface.

    And do not, I say DO NOT, rely on the Sienna AWD system in anything close to the way you might have had occassion to in the Suburban.

    Assuming the Sienna owner's manual is written the same way as the RX330, for the safety of you and yours ignore that bit of snowchains ONLY on the front, that will exacerbate the hazardous nature of FWD and front torque biased AWD on adverse roadbeds dramatically.

    If you do find a circumstance wherein snowchains are the only option, put them on all four if you can, otherwise only on the rear.

    And if you have the infamous Toyota automatic climate control, when the front windshield fogs over spontaneously during colder weather ignore the front defrost/defog/demist button until you have first, quickly, turned up the heat and the blower.
  • rorrrorr Member Posts: 3,630
    Oh yes, by all means, you must ignore the owner's manual and put snowchains only on the rear of what is essentially a FWD vehicle. Remember: traction to drive wheels = 'BAD'. After all, we all know that Toyota is attempting to kill off their customer base.

  • kgnw1kgnw1 Member Posts: 94
    Why are you posting here?
  • wale_bate1wale_bate1 Member Posts: 1,986
    "...otherwise only on the rear..."

    Now THAT'S funny! LOL!
  • steverstever Guest Posts: 52,457
    Willard used to have an AWD Caravan and he mentioned earlier (maybe not here?) that he was interested in another AWD minivan.

    Not that anyone needs any reason to participate in Town Hall....

    Steve, Host
  • kgnw1kgnw1 Member Posts: 94
    Okay I'll buy that. I was just wondering with all the negative posts on AWD vs FWD vs RWD.
  • steverstever Guest Posts: 52,457
    Well, Willard and I have had our little dust-ups about his blanket condemnation of FWD too :-) My latest salvo was a link to a police trainer in the banana belt of Ontario, but I don't think I convinced him, lol.

    If someone does bug you on Town Hall, the down arrow works well....

    Steve, Host
  • kgnw1kgnw1 Member Posts: 94
    If it did, I wouldn't post on HO vs TS board.
  • wwestwwest Member Posts: 10,706
    Do you read the second page of the Ontario post you linked?

    I thought it gave a really good description of the shortcomings of FWD in adverse, snow and ice, roadbed conditions.
  • shabbycatshabbycat Member Posts: 65
    do you think it would be worse than an 01 Corolla? It seems like I'd be up higher and have a little bit better visibility than I do now.
  • steverstever Guest Posts: 52,457
    Yes I did; I meant to mention to you not to overlook the rest of the article because I almost did. Ergo my "ammo for both of us" comment :-)

    There's a new AWD vs FWD topic in Vans that just got started:

    AWD vs FWD with VSC + Traction Control

    See you there!

    Steve, Host
  • denvermomdenvermom Member Posts: 8
    Thanks to everyone giving me info & insight regarding colors. Dan, I did miss out on the one @ Elway. I just called and it was already delivered. That what I get for not checking this board quick enough! That is what I have ordered now and I am having second thoughts. Dan, when you saw it, was it very similar to the old color, Silver Spruce? It seems in some of the pictures it is very gray/silver like that. I just don't like ordering a color w/o seeing it in real life. I did see the strat. blue in the 4runner and that would work so I am tempted to change to that. I have also seen the green now too. Now everyone has me worried about this rear sight thing. Buying a car is too stressful! :)
  • kgnw1kgnw1 Member Posts: 94
    I felt that the Sienna was pretty easy to back up compared to my Mom's DC. You'll also have the parking sonar with your LTD.
  • danjaecksdanjaecks Member Posts: 54
    Sorry you missed it. I am not familiar with the Silver Spruce color so I can't compare it. I would describe it as a grayish blue, rather than a bluish gray, but it might look like silver gray under some lights. I've seen a similar steel blue color on a Windstar and Caravan, but the toyota is more blue and less gray than those 2.
    Ultimately, personal perceptions of colors vary, so its best to see it. I'm sure someone in town will be getting one soon, try calling the big dealers once a week and tell them you haven't made up your mind yet and want to look at the blue color when it comes in. You'll have to pretend to be still shopping or they won't bother to call you back when its in.
    Good luck,
    Dan J
    PS, after you've seen the car, when they pressure you to buy, tell them you've got an offer for $500 over invoice, but if they meet it you'll switch. They won't bother you any more, at least that was my experience.
  • wwestwwest Member Posts: 10,706
    Text taken from MY2002 Toyota Sequoia owner's manual, page 230, 2nd sentence of 2nd paragraph, left column. Yellow CAUTION high-lighted text.

    "Be careful when accelerating, up-shifting, downshifting, or braking on a slippery surface. Sudden acceleration or engine braking, could cause the vehicle to skid or spin."



    Or else quickly shift into neutral.

    The Sequoia is predominantly a RWD biased vehicle, what did you suppose will happen with a FWD or AWD with front torque biasing?

    Same manual, Page 143, center column yellow high-lighted CAUTION note.

    "Under certain slippery road conditions, full traction of the vehicle and power against 4 wheels (4WD mode) or rear wheels (2WD mode) cannot be maintained, even though the active traction control system is in operation"

    I read this statement as verification of a firmware time-out to prevent the ABS pump/motor from being over-taxed and over-heating due to continuous pump activity requirement.

    This statement would likely also apply to ANY Toyota or Lexus vehicle with ACTIVE Trac and/or AWD using braking to apportion torque, HL, 4runner, GX470, RX300, RX330, Sienna, and obviously the Sequoia.

    You likely have only about 45 seconds of continuous Trac or AWD "duty", then you're left with a vehicle that has 3 open diff'ls.

    And obviously the ABS and VSC would now also be non-functional until the time-out expires (unless you need to do a restart cycle??) and the pump can again be activated.
  • kgnw1kgnw1 Member Posts: 94
    I don't understand why you continually post this? I've driven both FWD and RWD vehicles. I can say my vehicle with TRAC and anti-lock brakes does just fine in the rainy streets of Seattle.

    The difference for me to get an AWD is $6000 and frankly not worth it to me. I'm not going drive my new $35K van on the road when it snows and in Seattle that's pretty rare.

    I'll drive my 5K sedan instead.
  • wwestwwest Member Posts: 10,706
    Not "pushing" AWD at all. Simply trying to point out the hazards of FWD and front torque biased AWD, over and above RWD or rear biased AWD, in slippery roadbed conditions.

    And trying to point out the limitations in the use of ABS pump/motor implementations of VSC, Trac, AWD, and ABS itself.

    The VSC/Trac on my 01 RX300 was disabled after about 30 seconds of continuous use, and the "failed" indication remained on until the next time I restarted and then drove about 100 yards.

    It now appears that during that "failure" period I had no ABS, VSC, or Trac functionality at all.
  • buckeyedonbuckeyedon Member Posts: 46
    is helplessly snared in his own importance on a few vehicle subjects he holds dear. Sorta like the revolving "Groundhog Day" movie, his retention of these selected repeatative themes is his narcissistic tonic...and very borrrrring.
  • leknlekn Member Posts: 78
    Ha, I like your Groundhog day analogy :-)
    I really wanted to respond to wwest's posts and pointed out how totally irrelevant his "references" were and how the only explanation for his RX300 behaviour was mechanical failure and that he had a faulty car.

    But then, I would be just "copying and pasting" all my old messages. So I gave up, listened to Steve's advice and used the down arrow key. However, I do worry about new users coming here looking for information - as they would be totally confused by wwest's rambling which was totally wrong.
  • nofeernofeer Member Posts: 381
    sienna must be a boring car experience if the few posts we get are dribble and irrelevant.
    Issues of reliability, early owners experience, option choices, every day use.....come on give us something, availability, regional differences

    my solution to the above is a "nwd" no wheel drive, so things can never happen driving characterisics of vehicles are important but get a life, make up a dribble forum and have those that want to wollow in it move there. people are looking to these forums to enhance their knowlege and share experiences i guess it's too much of a challenge.
  • broncoguybroncoguy Member Posts: 39
    A forum was created out there just for you. When people want to read what you have to say about the FWD-RWD-AWD-4WD "controversy" they can go there to read it. Please stop posting this garbage in here.
  • duckshooterduckshooter Member Posts: 156
    Like I suspected, they're sticky toward MSRP right now -- and wife and I want one, but we're inclined to wait for the new Ody due out this fall. Not that we're interested in the new Ody, but its introduction will likely put downward pressure on those 04 Sienna prices.
  • blandfordmblandfordm Member Posts: 54
    The word over on the Odyssey discussions is that the Odyssey won't come out with a redesign until next year, spring to fall of 2004.

    KarenS "Honda Odyssey Owners: Future Models" May 12, 2003 10:58pm!make=Honda&model=Odyssey&ed_makeindex=.ef138ce

    Unless by "we're inclined to wait for the new Ody due out this fall" you just mean the minor changes manufacturers do on their same models each year to make them slightly more appealing. Or have you heard different?
  • denvermomdenvermom Member Posts: 8
    Apparently color is a lot less controversial than some of the other topics on here. My goodness! Anyway, I saw the light blue this week and glad I did as I opted to change to the dark blue. Thanks again for everyone's input. And yes those sales folks are pushy, I just let my husband do all the talking & "shopping". :)
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