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Toyota Sienna Maintenance and Repair (2003 earlier)



  • mcdawggmcdawgg Posts: 1,680
    the oil was changed often enough, you won't have a sludge problem. You can look at the sludge debate on another thread.
  • steverstever Posts: 52,683
    I think that's part of the concern with buying a used one. You pretty much have to trust the service records at the dealer or receipts from a d-i-y'selfer.

    This info should be readily available; otherwise you won't have anything to show Toyota if gelling occurs.

    If you search for sludge in this discussion, the number of people who actually have experienced the problem is small.

    And yes, Toyota did roll a fix in (crankshaft ventilation stuff, iirc). More here:

    tmsusa1 "Engine Sludge/Oil Gelling--Toyota's Customer Response" May 3, 2002 5:17pm

    Steve, Host
  • jyoung77jyoung77 Posts: 13

    I want to do a DIY job but need to order a part from a dealer. Do dealers charge parts higher if you don't let them do the labor? If so, is it legitimate? How to avoid it? Thanks.

  • freebirdfreebird Posts: 77
    When the dealer does work the work, I pay full price. When I go into the dealer and get parts, I ask for a discount, normally they give me 15% because I am a loyal customer and only use OEM parts. Most dealers have web-sites that also have a parts counter on the web-site. There are a few dealers that discount parts on the internet. is one that I know of. Google search "discount toyota parts" is another internet source for parts.
  • deepandeepan Posts: 342
    98-01 models were the affected ones. for 02& 03 they changed the PCV design so as to breathe more.
    having said that during the peak of the oil sludge saga it was deteremined that the affected engines were .01% or somethign IIRC. If you do regular oil changes i wouldnt worry about it.
  • scoti1scoti1 Posts: 676
    In Answer to: #2863 of 2871 Sludge again? by shoes4industry Mar 02, 2004 (4:48 pm)

    The sludge policy is supposed to cover those who buy used vehicles (according to the sludge discussion here at Edmunds and in the news articles that came out in 2002); however, you are also required to show proof of reasonable maintenance. "Reasonable maintenance" is not defined and presumably is left up to Toyota's discretion. Prior to purchasing a used sludge-era van, I would recommend checking with Toyota (corporate, not dealership level) to see what they require as proof. Then you need to make sure that the appropriate records arer available from whoever you are buying the van from. I would also recommend, regardless of maintenance history, that you take the van to a mechanic and have the valve cover removed to check for sludge.

    Steve_Host, you mention that you may have to pay for repairs up front and be reimbursed later. I am not sure if this is the case, unless you have some more recent information. Toyota has been fixing these engines just as they would under warranty. There have been some who were initially denied coverage and were later reimbursed, but it is my understanding that those currently experiencing the problems are having it repaired at Toyota's expense and also getting a free loaner car while the repair is being done.

    Also, some of the '02 models ARE included under the sludge policy. Toyota made the change in the engines mid-production '02 (after announcement of the sludge policy which was around March/April). You can find the details of the models and years on the website.
  • scoti1scoti1 Posts: 676
    FYI, the link and FAQ site lists the models covered under the sludge policy as:

    Avalon 1997-2002
        4 Cylinder
        V6 1997-2002
    Celica 1997-1999

        4 Cylinder Not involved
        V6 2000-2002
    Sienna 1997-2002
        4 Cylinder 1999-2001
        V6 1999-2002
  • steverstever Posts: 52,683
    I believe you are right. One of the Toyota faqs talks about reimbursement, but I think that's for people who paid not knowing about the sludge campaign.

    Thanks for picking up on that!

    Steve, Host
  • Thanks again for the info. I would probably be buying a 2001 or 02, so if I do I'll look into this for sure. I didn't even realize it, but my 99 Camry (4 cyl) is part of problems at all with that car, which is one the reasons I'm looking at the van.
  • scoti1scoti1 Posts: 676
    shoes4industry, are you the original owner of the 1999 Camry? The reason I ask is that you should have received a letter describing the sludge policy. Toyota mailed letters to all 3 million plus owners of the subject models.

    Good luck on your purchase.
  • No, I bought it in 2001 with 75k on the clock (from a Toyota dealer). This is the first I've heard of it till now. I've changed the oil very regularly since I've owned it and it's been great.
  • deepandeepan Posts: 342
    was atleast 1 oil change an yr IIRC for the policy to be covered. There were folks who used Amsoil or something similar which required them to change the oil every 25k miles. I cant recall the exact details

    I found this. Go back to 2001 for info

    cblake "Sludge in the Engine Problem: Sienna, Camry, & Avalon" Oct 8, 2000 11:57pm

    there wasanother thread started by a Toyota Rep but i cant seem to find it. Maybe Steve could help
  • Karen_SKaren_S Posts: 5,095
    I think this is the archived topic you're seeking.

    Engine Sludge/Oil Gelling--Toyota's Customer Response

    Edmunds Manager UGC Click on my screen name to send a personal message. Need help navigating? Check out Getting Started in Edmunds Forums.
    Need help picking out a make/model, finding inventory, or advice on pricing? Talk to an Edmunds Car Shopping Advisor

  • I've searched through these posts and found only two others that posted this problem. I had my check engine light come on. I had my husband check the spark plugs first before taking it in. He felt they could be changed. He was able to reach 4 of the 6. We took it to our local garage who is DIY friendly and have dealt with for 15+ years. Hubby told them he got to 4 - could they replace the two back spark plugs and all the wires. Within 3 days check engine light is on again. Garage says timing belt "skipped a tooth". After changing the timing belt... they said something still was not firing correctly. Turns out a burnt out valve. Has anyone else had cylinder damage directly after spark plugs. Van is a 99 with 54k miles.
  • jyoung77jyoung77 Posts: 13

    My liftgate cannot be opened because its latch handle is broken. I need to order a part but don't know the part number. Some readers previously mentioned their fixing experience (#2854 - #2861) and would you please provide the part number for me? It costs around $65 (and labor around $180).

    It's a tinny, plastic, cable actuator that can be seen outside from underneath the handle. When you pull the handle outward, the actuator transfers your pulling force to the internal cable.

    Your help is much appreciated.

  • freebirdfreebird Posts: 77
    I don't think that I still have the invoice with the part number on it. The entire handle assembly is included as the $65 part. There is not much to replacing it once you pull the inside liftgate panel off. If you really need the part number, just call the dealer, I know that mine would happily provide it for me as it is only available as a dealer sourced part. I guess you could also get one from a junk yard, but I don't think you would save too much.

    This is not a big repair for the average DIY.
  • sj1bj1sj1bj1 Posts: 20
    Does anyone have any new information on a possible TSB for the brakes or new drums? Anybody else have luck getting them replaced by their dealer? I tried the magnet trick, but my brakes are still squealing in reverse and can't get my dealer to replace them at his expense. Thanks for any help.
  • jasdmwjasdmw Posts: 118
    Look back into the postings here a week or 2. I had my drums replaced, and the shoes as well, no charge. Others have as well. No one has found the actual TSB to my knowledge, but a nice, frank discussion with your favorite service department should do the trick.
  • ldav31ldav31 Posts: 7
    In looking of my Sienna, which has had no problems to date with 35000 miles and regular service, I was looking at the PVC valve and saw on the block behind the manifold what looks like a vent on the side of the crankcase. It is a little thing (I do not know mechanic lingo) with about a 1/4 in. tube running off the side of a thing screwed or bolted into the block. There appears to be a set nut or screw on the end.

    It looks to me like an adjustable crankcase vent.

    What is this thing I am looking at?
  • I asked my service department to look into any fixes for the squealing brakes and they drew up a blank. ..said that they couldn't find anything to authorize that there is a problem.

    Same old.
  • jasdmwjasdmw Posts: 118
    I'd suggest you go to a different dealer. Sounds like these guys are just lazy. Perhaps you should approach the service manager and if still you get no satisfaction, go to the general manager. Then go down the street with all your business, making sure you tell this dealership what you intend to do.
  • lexus92lexus92 Posts: 2
    I have been experiencing the same intermittent door closure problem as others have posted here. Does anyone know what Toyota is doing to respond to this problem? I have contacted my local dealer and he wants me to find the TSB that Toyota has posted on this problem. Does anyone know the TSB number? My warranty recently expired, however; my van was looked at for this problem before the warranty expired. Since the problem is very intermittent they would not do anything at that time. The problem seems to be worse when it's cold and wet outside. Any help would be greatly appreciated. I would hate to throw $800 at a problem Toyota should cover under a recall.
  • pjksrpjksr Posts: 111
    Not sure what you're describing... is this on the right side of the engine (that is, the back...engine faces passenger side)?

    You're not talking about the coolant draing plugs, which are metal, are you? There are 2 drain plugs, one of which is visible looking in from in front; the other is found from below...

    Pete --- 2002 Sienna, 38000 miles.
  • Hi everyone. I have a Sienna CE 99. Constantly sound from right sliding door (only one door). Sound comes & goes. Went to dealer several time during 4 years. After 3-5 days after dealer sound is back again. They say that nothing else they can do. No damages to the door, no accidents. Any suggestions???
  • alyssazmomalyssazmom Posts: 142
    My 1999 XLE Sienna has developed squeaky brakes. Is there a solution for it?


  • ldav31ldav31 Posts: 7
    It is the one you can see from the front and now that you mention it, it does look like it could be a drain.

    It is the first one I have ever seen in any location away from the radiator.

    Just got back off of an 1800 mile trip and no problems.

    Thanks for the info Pete.
  • deepandeepan Posts: 342
    chk out post 1736. good description of the PCV valve
    jeprox Mar 6, 2002 11:37pm
  • After checking with my Toyota service department off and on over the last 2 years, they finally said today that they received a "bulletin" about the squeaky brakes with a fix by replacing the rear drums.

    They said that they *think that since my Sienna is over 36,000 miles that it wouldn't apply to the fix.

    Does anyone know if this is true? The problem has been around ever since I bought the van!! I've been looking for a fix for 2 years, well before the 36,000 miles!

    I haven't had the service manager check with regional or national yet. Does anyone know if this new bulletin is limiting the fix to vans under a certain number of miles?
  • jasdmwjasdmw Posts: 118
    I had my drums and then the shoes replaced on my '01 at about the 75000 KM mark. That's about 44000 miles. Your dealer is BSing you. Be persistent and they'll fix it. My advice is to insist on shoe replacement as well. If they balk, make sure you test drive it with an advisor right after they are done replacing the drums. Do some heavy braking from a higher speed (mybe 60 MPH) and listen to the rear of the van. If you hear nothing out of the normal, no prob, you're OK. However, should you hear a noticeable rumble, it'll be quite obvious, get the shoes replaced right away too.
  • impalaimpala Posts: 7
    2002 Sienna 28k km, own it since new. Had the squealing rear brakes resolved 2 months ago with the new drums (TSB BR-03-005) under warranty. However, dealer did not replace the shoes -- they just 'deglazed' them.

    While the squealing noise was gone (big relief!), the brakes now make a 'skipping/thumping' noise, as the van slows to a stop. It sounds like the old shoes are not making complete contact with the new drums.

    Took the van back to the dealer, they told me there is nothing to go 'off centre' in the drum brake set-up that would explain the noise, so they just 'deglazed' the shoes more. But skipping noise persists. Finally, they told me the only solution is to replace the shoes, but that is not covered by warranty because 'there is no upgraded part for the shoes'.

    Though I agree brake shoes are a wear item, in this case I am not willing to pay for the new shoes because of the low mileage of my van. The most recent service on the van was December 2003, where it was reported the brakes had 65-70% wear left.

    The dealer is telling me I need to complain to Toyota Canada to see if they will cover the new shoes... alternatively, if I can provide details of another owner that has the same paid for by Toyota Canada, then they will do it for me. So I'm trying to solicit help from fellow town hall members...

    Reading posts by fellow Canuck jasdmw, apparently some dealers would replace the shoes as well under warranty, while replacing the drums (TSB BR-03-005)? Wonder if jasdmw can pls post more details of the repair, e.g. part numbers, operation numbers, etc pertaining to the shoe replacement? Have read many posts by jasdmw, and found them very informative -- hopefully jasdmw can help out again.

    Input from jasdmw and any other town hall members would be greatly appreciated !
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