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Toyota Sienna Maintenance and Repair (2003 earlier)



  • mrg4mrg4 Posts: 1
    I have read most of the postings here just now about the t/c problems with the 2000 Sienna. I recently purchased an LE about a week ago. On the second day about 50 miles in the Odometer, the check engine light turned on just like everybody elses.

    I will be waiting for my new T/C which the dealer promised will arrive within 3-4 weeks but from the posting I have read, I will start bugging them about it every week and even maybe write some letters.

    My current concern now... has anyone experienced any problem with their Sienna's due to the defective T/C?
    I almost returned my Sienna on the second day but really already fell in love with it.

    Thanks in advance!
  • palepuppalepup Posts: 1
    Folks: When I asked my local dealer's service department about getting the transmission serial number before I buy, he said, "It is easier than that. Just look at the car color, if it is not white, you don't have a problem". He says all 4 he changed in the last 2 weeks were white. So his theory is that it happened over a couple of days on the assembly line and during that time, all cars are white (because that's how the assembly line operate;i.e., one color for a few days and then change). Can people confirm this. I guess what I am looking for is people who have the problem to tell us if their car color is white. If that is not true, then what the service guy is telling me is B.S.
    Thanks people.
  • cblake2cblake2 Posts: 53
    Over the course of a long road trip, our '99 van showed continued pulling and vibrations. We traveled over all types of roads and had lots of chances to make observations.

    Just before we left, the van was taken in to be checked over fully. The dealership found no problems according to repair order. New tires were recently put on. The pulling was noted to the right, nonetheless. Vibrations were noted especially between 45-55 mph. The dealership cross-rotated the tires, checked alignment, etc.

    The van pulled to the left after this. This pull has become more noticeable since returning. Even when traveling on smooth as glass roads, the van did shake. The worst shaking was around 50 mph. At this time, lots of rattles in the interior became evident. There was a lot of tire noise (dull droan sound), too. The vibrations made the ride uncomfortable.

    I observed the problem as both driver and passenger. As a passenger, the shaking was more noticeable and bothersome. While on vacation and driving in front of our van in my mother's new car, I noted the Sienna looked like it was higher on the driver's side and in general it had a "knocked-kneed" appearance (tire appearance)

    Since returning, I noted once that the driver's side, front tire was quite HOT to touch while the other three tires were not. What might cause this difference? I am watching the tire wear closely.

    I hear a slight clunk noise when I back the van out of the driveway and apply brakes. Aside from the rattles associated with the vibrations, I hear creaking from the driver's seat.

    I know that others have said that the tires are to blame for the pulling symptoms. I see tire replacement as only a temporary solution, however. Am I looking at tire replacement every 20,000 miles or less to *minimize* symptoms? If so, isn't this an alignment/suspension issue?

    Have others gotten updates into this problem? Thanks for posting.
  • rward99rward99 Posts: 185
    No, the factory doesn't make all of one color for even an hour, let alone for a day or more. Each one that comes down the line is a different color. Your service department is mistaken. Color wouldn't have anything to do with the transmission problem.
  • dmathews3dmathews3 Posts: 1,739
    I don't know for sure but I worked at a GM factory for 35 years and since computers became the norm years ago have been painting our cars one color at a time. I have seen the time when red cars ran for days. Not only is it cheaper to do it this way but easier to stock the parts as everything now days is just in time delivery. So I would guess that Toyota does it the same. But as far as the T/C goes didn't someone say they had the problem over like May, June and part of July. So I would think they built more than white vans during that period. So we are both right. :-)
  • I have just recently purchased a new Sienna CE. I have just over 300km (180 miles). So far I have had no problems with the engine light coming on. I did express my concern to my dealer regarding the T/C problem before I made the purchase and referred them to the postings on this site. They vehemently denied hearing anything about this problem. If I do get the engine light problem related to the T/C my dealer will have to do some really, really fancy footwork to get me to settle down. ;-{
  • Well, my June 00 manufactured sienna with the T/C problem is Sailfin Blue. So I think the color theory can be debunked. If you are concerned, check the serial numbers. The range was posted in an earlier message here and another post listed the location of the serial number.

    BTW, after waiting since July 18 for the T/C, it was installed August 23. It's running great. The light has not come back on and the alignment is fine.
  • beckpbeckp Posts: 20
    I just came back from a beach vacation and had my '98 XLE loaded down. Not only the back with the seats up but also a roof bubble and a hitch mounted platform. The van did great and didn't handle all that bad on the highway. I was sitting pretty low though and the bottom of the platform extension dragged a few times coming in/out of various establishments and driveways. Also the shocks came close to bottoming out.

    Has anyone in the group installed the air controlled shocks where you can adjust their height by air? Do you have any advice to share on this. I'm assuming it will stiffen the normal ride by having these types installed.
  • The A/C vent on my 2000 XLE for the middle passenger seat behind the driver blows about half as much air as the other rear vents plus the flow cannot be redirected. The dealer claims that this is no different from other Siennas due to the location of the rear A/C control switch. I find this hard to believe. Does anybody else have this problem?
  • Purchased a 2000 Sienna August 2. Engine light came on at 200 mile mark. Brought van to the dealer, who wanted to charge me $ 70., if the engine code was the result of the gas cap problem. Call up Toyota directly, they straighten out the dealer's B.S right away.
    Just as I am going to have the engine checked out, the light goes out. On Ebay I purchased a OBD II code reader ($ 154.) and pulled the code fron the car computer, being P0770, Shift Solenoid E Malfunction. Light has not returned.
    Gas mileage bit lower than expected but octane rating seems to have a big affect on mileage. I rarely put more than $ 10. in at a time in the summer months because I know from my motorcycle days that octane boils off rapipdly in the hot weather month. My usually gas station must be purchasing sub grade gas. I switched to another gas station and get an extra 17+ miles for the 10 dollar fill- hard to tell but I don't think my usual gas station is playing with the delivered amount, but more likely he is getting sub grade gas.
    To all you Toyota owner who find the leak from the rear window washer a major concern (and other such problems), give me a break, get a real life!! Because of a small streak of wind shield fluid on the rear window you get upset. You guys have children, vote, drive vehicles and sit on juries, this society is really starting to scare me.
  • agt_cooperagt_cooper Posts: 202
    Perhaps the gas as the other station is cheaper, resulting in more gas for your $10.00!

    And would you mind explaining the science behind octane "boiling off"?
  • rward99rward99 Posts: 185
    GM and Ford have a different method of producting cars. Toyota uses both a 'just in time' and 'leveling' process. (Toyota Production System) If they were to paint all one color then they would have plenty of that color and not enough of another. They don't store any inventory in the plant, other than what they will use in about 4 or 5 hours. They want to 'level' the process, or keep everything moving at the same speed and not have speed ups and slow downs.

    As cars come down the line they are different colors; Camrys and Avalons on one line and Camrys and Siennas on the other.
  • After six weeks of waiting, my 2000 Toyota Sienna (color: Desert Sand Mica) has received it's NEW torque converter.

    We have driven the vehicle about 300 miles, and have yet to have the light come on a second time.

    We did have the dealership pay for our first monthly payment and first month of insurance (since it was sitting on their lot while we awaited a new t/c... and for the lemon law to take effect).

    By definition, we own a lemon. It was on the dealership lot for 33 days. Check out your states lemon laws.

    Though we own a fully-loaded, absolutely gorgeous lemon, we are still proud owners at this time.

    We have informed our dealership that we would like Toyota to give us a 100,000 mile/6 year extended warranty. I am very surprised Toyota is not cooperating. Should this be the case, when a class action law suit is filed for the 2000 Sienna's manufactured from May-July, 2000, we will take part. Because, I believe we need to take a stand, ban together and make them do what is right.

    In the meantime, I have a friend who would like to buy a Toyota Sienna. I have encouraged her to wait until my issue is resolved.

    Best of luck to you!
  • jmsimsjmsims Posts: 14
    I wonder if Toyota would at least give you an extended warranty on the transmission, since that was the part that was repaired?
  • We have a 2000 Sienna LE purchased in 8/99. We
    have the right side power sliding door. At around
    5K miles, the power sliding door would not close
    tight and "reopened" a small slit. I had to close
    it tight by hand. I wiped the sliding track and
    the locks etc (they were not dirty anyway) and
    the problem went away. Now at 9K miles, the same
    problem returned, this time no dusting and wiping
    do the trick. Anyone has the same problem?
  • toydrivertoydriver Posts: 227
    I am interested in buying a Sienna, but am concerned about the t/c problems listed above. I will wait until Toyota fixes this problem or else buy a used 99 model. Has anyone who recently bought a 2001 Sienna had any problems with the torque converter, engine light or any other problem they would be willing to share?
  • alexiyaalexiya Posts: 2
    We are looking to buy a Sienna. We need a family car that is safe and reliable. More room than the Corolla we currently have. We have noticed a lot of problems with the t/c. Is the Sienna the best way to go for a family vehicle? Anyone?
  • wenyuewenyue Posts: 558
    The problem seems to be for 2000 Sienna made in May-June of 2000.

    2000 Sienna made outside of that date seems to be fine. But even if you can find 2000 sienna that's not built in the period, I would encourage you to buy a 2001 instead. It gets a 210 hp engine (same on used in Toyota Avalon?) that with vvt-i technology, and it gets slightly better gas milage (1 mpg better), also the 3rd role seat slides forward along with usual split and fold function. There other other changes made to enhance the van, so I think buying a 2001 Sienna is a better idea.

    Two of my family friends own Siennas (1999 and 2000), I helped them both to negotiate the price. My friend's Sienna (the 1999) did a good job protecting the family when it was hit in the right side middle by a pickup truck an the downtown intersection, everyone walked away from the accident even though the door was totally smashed. Still, they are very happy owners, have only good things to say about it.

    Test drive the 2001, I have heard from people who test drove it commenting that it's faster and quite versitile.
  • alexiyaalexiya Posts: 2
    thanks. toydriver.
  • beckpbeckp Posts: 20
    I have a '98 XLE with 37,000 miles. We have had a few minor issues but I think it today's environment that's to be expected with ANY new vehicle. I drive it everyday and am very pleased. It's not the biggest Van in the world but we manage to load it down quite well every year with our annual beach pilgramage (see earlier post). I would recommend the Sienna to anyone and will probably buy another Sienna when the times comes.
  • beckpbeckp Posts: 20
    You mentioned safety, the crash test results on the Sienna are outstanding. Not too mention I think Toyota builds a solid safe car in general. This last winter my wife was completely broadsided in her Camry by an 18 wheeler, it pushed her down the road into another vehicle. Though the Camry was completely totaled, she walked away with only "jolt" type of soreness and aches. I honestly think that the Toyota saved her life.
  • In case anyone missed the point of my earlier post, I was merely saying the Sienna is *not* a lemon, nothing that has happened has warranted a safety recall, and (based on all the input from this forum + personal experience) is no big deal.

    I held off posting again until my own T/C problem was resolved, so I could honestly report if I thought the experience is a "big deal".

    Here's the long and short of it: at 700 miles, (on vacation, of course) the light went on. Armed with common sense and the good information on this board, I continued to drive the van, and had it checked when I returned from vacation. P0770. Put in my name for a new TC at two dealerships. Got a call *the next day* (I realize how lucky this is) from one of them, they put in the new TC, no more light. No big deal.

    Just a note-- if, at any time, you feel driving your car is unsafe-- don't drive it. Go to your dealership and demand a loaner. If you have a good dealership, you won't even have to demand it. I can't convince anyone not to blow this out of proportion, just do what you will.

    Oh, I have edited tbridgeman's post to reflect how (IMHO) this defect can result in disaster:
    (CAPS mine ;)

    "Oh, and this is for the person who doesn't think
    this is a big deal...think about and my
    four children driving down the Interstate, my
    CHECK ENGINE LIGHT GOES ON...I try to pull over to the
    right hand lane...oops, big trucks in my way, I
    can't get over....I AM BLINDED BY THE CHECK ENGINE
    comes a big old 18 wheeler with a very sleepy
    driver barreling up behind my ... minivan WITH THE ILLUMINATED CHECK ENGINE LIGHT....hmmmm. Not a pretty picture. This is a
    VERY BRIGHT CHECK ENGINE LIGHT. And we should all scared."

    Please take this bit of humor in the spirit it is intended. No children, vans, trucks, or sleepy truck drivers were harmed in the posting of this message. Thank You.
  • I met this problem too.

    I got my '00 Sienna on 07/17, and the check engine light turned on after 80 miles. I returned to dealer and told it was loosing gas cap. Then after another 80 miles, it was on again, this time they said it is torque convert problem. I have waited a month, I haven't got the new part.

    On the other hand, this car is fine, right now the milage is about 3000 miles, all highway milage. But I really want to complain about this. Maybe we need some action to let toyota learn some lesson for this problem.
  • These may sound petty after all the talk here about the torque converters, but I've had two problems with my '98 van. The first is that there is a brownish fluid leaking from under the glove box. We had it in a while back when I found some on the floor mat (won't come out). I reached under there and wiped it off so by the time we went to the dealer they said they couldn't find anything. Well, it's back. We took a 3 hour each way trip last weekend and I unfortunately found it when I took some pillows away from my sons and stashed them under my feet. This time I saved the paper towel to show them. It looks like oil but doesn't have the smell of oil.

    Meanwhile, with two kids I rarely listen to tapes in the car, but on the trip I decided to put one on. It went in but wouldn't play - just kept making a clicking sound. Then the whole radio stopped working. I can't eject the tape or use the radio now. My husband thought we might have blown a fuse but the fuse looks intact (at least if you compare it to the drawings in the manual.)

    I have always had such good luck with Toyota and am disappointed with how many times I've had to go to the dealer with a 2 year old, 16,000 mile van. (I've also had to have a seat fixed that wouldn't stay up when tumbled and door rattles taken care of.) I decided on another Toyota because even though my dealer gives a free loaner, hauling two kids down there and changing over car seats is not my idea of a fun activity at 7 am.

    Anyone had any similar problems? Just curious how they worked out.


  • jeproxjeprox Posts: 466
    The brownish fluid you mentioned sounds like coolant fluid which means big bucks and bad news. Have your van checked ASAP. Coolant are usually brownish in color and have an oily texture, if you touch it and have a sweet smell. CAUTION: Coolant are very toxic, if you touch them - make sure you wash your hands after.

    The clicking sound in your tape player could mean that the tape got jammed in your player. The unit may need to be removed to get the tape out.

    Definitely have your leak checked out. If you run out of coolant,your engine will be damaged big time and it will cost big bucks to fix!

    Good luck
  • rward99rward99 Posts: 185
    I have a 99 Sienna and I looked under the hood on the passenger side but the heater hoses come in on the driver's side. I don't see any hoses that could carry coolant. Still, that doesn't mean that the heater core isn't leaking.

    I have a gallon of the coolant and it has a faint musty smell. Toyota LLC (long life coolant) is a clear cherry red color. jeprox is right, it is toxic, so wash your hands before eating.

    I kind of doubt that it is coolant. Usually once coolant starts leaking it just gets worse, and it would be more than a blot on a paper towel, but anything is possible.

    It's also possible that you have a water leak around the windshield and that's causing rusty water to leak into the glove box. This may have also leaked into the radio and caused that problem, but replace the fuse anyway. It's about $2 for a box of them at Kmart.

    If you aren't satisfied with your service, go to another dealer, even if you have to go to another town.
  • I bought top of the line Sienna 2000 XLE last October. Since Feb it has been giving lots of problems. (It has 3000 miles only.)

    1) Compressor exploded in Feb and it took 6 iterations to fix. Technicians at a dealer in NJ didn't know what the problem was in spite of 4 visits.

    2) Rear windshield wiper liquid is leaking constantly. Twice it was fixed (according to our local dealer) but it is still leaking.

    3) Break Pedal is making a clicking noise. Two different dealers in CA tried their best to convince me that it is normal noise. I read articles here and took copies of them to one of them this morning. They now seem to have fixed it. I believe they put some washers to secure the pedal pin. I don't hear the noise at least for now.

    Since this model is new, even technicians don't understand what is going on. To top it all, they are so rude! I would never buy a Toyota again, and I am looking to sell my van.
  • cna2cna2 Posts: 1
    I wrote back in June/July about the torque converter problems I had with my Sienna 2000 van purchased in June 2000. I had my car in the shop 5 or 6 times until Toyota sent the dealership correct information on how to repair the problem. They replaced the torque converter on August 4th and the engine check light has never come on again with over 500 miles driven since then. The old torque converter was too sensitive and sending a code that caused the engine check light to come on. Once it was replaced, the problem has been solved. The car now works as it should. The dealership worked very hard to get Toyota to refund money that we were out when we had to purchase airplane tickets for a vacation where we had planned to drive the van. Hope your dealership fights for your van to be fixed also.
  • Many thanks to Edmunds for hosting this town hall meeting! Our 2000 Sienna CE was built in June 2000, and the engine light came on at about 200 miles. Using the Toyota 800 number posted by one of you earlier, we called Toyota and got a case number.

    To save you time reading this, the short story is that they replaced the torque converter. The longer version is that we called the dealer from whom we bought it, and got interesting responses. The first lady said it was a programing error that had the shift timing off by 2/10 of a second. The service manager said it was a sensor and asked us to bring it in to they could get the serial number off the transmission, and they'd order the part.

    When they saw it, the svc mgr said they were going to order a torque converter, and no harm would come from continuing the drive the van. The TC arrived about 2 weeks later, at which time the van had about 890 miles on it. We took it in for the surgery, and thanks to a previous post, I requested that they drain the transmission to remove possible debris from the transmission. (By the way, they were very cooperative in all this, but not eager to reveal all info about what they did to the van). They provided a free loaner Camry.

    When we picked up the Sienna the service rep said they replaced relatively simple part. I was given paperwork indicating simply that they had replaced the TC per "SET", whatever SET is. I noticed they retained the mechanic's notes, and I asked the cashier to give me a photostat of his notes, which she did. This is what the mechanic wrote (in part): "T.C.C. coming apart". (Is that Torque Converter Clutch)? He also wrote: "Pulled pan and inspect for excessive amounts of clutch material", and "flushed transmission per SET".

    We have had the van back for several days and it seems to drive fine, and I have every hope that it will have the extended trouble free life that Toyota is generally known for. But I am wondering if "clutch material" which was presumably flushed out may have worn parts in the transmission which will lead to a premature failure of the transmission? I certainly don't know that to be a probability, but I wonder. A transmission in this class of van, I would expect, should last at least 125,000 miles or more. I think it would be appropriate for Toyota to grant an extension of the powertrain warranty to at least 100,000 miles or more for those vehicles involved in this problem. Thanks to all of you who took the time to share info about this.
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