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Toyota Sienna 2003 - 2017 (RIP)

Old 08-02-17, 07:30 PM
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Toyota Sienna 2003 - 2017 (RIP)

Well, at about 185K, the transmission is failing in my 2004 Toyota Sienna. I was hoping to get a couple more years out of the beast, but I guess it was not to be.

The idea of dropping a lot of money on a car of that age makes me consider replacing it. Any suggestions? I have 3 kids, 2 big dogs, and 12 or so bikes, fwiw. We live in a very hilly area, which might have taken its toll.
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Old 08-02-17, 07:49 PM
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Depending on how bad it is you might be able to get full trade-in value from a dealer. Sooner the better.
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Old 08-02-17, 08:48 PM
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A new Sienna seems like a good fit for the crew you are transporting. A Toyota 4Runner might handle the hills better but not quite as convenient for loading and hauling. We removed the center seats in our Sienna, but can still seat 3 passengers in the rear fold up seats, and this frees up the middle space for dogs and bikes.
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Old 08-03-17, 06:23 PM
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Originally Posted by BenzFanatic View Post
Depending on how bad it is you might be able to get full trade-in value from a dealer. Sooner the better.
Wasn't soon enough. Died completely. I donated it to charity and had to beg them to tow it from the 4 hour parking slot the auto repair shop I have patronized for 19 years dumped it in.

I f-- hate cars.
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Old 08-04-17, 12:26 PM
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I'm in the same boat, about 175000mi on a 2005 Honda Odyssey. We chose against the Siena because it required premium gas, and we liked the handling of the Odyssey better. We spent approximately $0 on maintenance for miles 0-120,000 (except oil changes), and we've dumped about $5K into the last few years. At this point, looking at potentially having to replace a catalytic converter (or TWO!), we're done.

Both of these minivans hold up their value well. A friend of mine whose opinion on cars I respect a lot told me that Nissan is just about as good as Honda&Toyota, but because of less reputation, not as much resale value. Which is bad for the sucker that bought it new, but good for the used buyer!

So I'm going to buy a Nissan Quest. I've started searching my local craigslist, and it's certainly true that for the same age/milage, used Quests are a good bit (20-30%?) cheaper than Odysseys. Hopefully my friend is right and the reliability is also on par.
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Old 08-04-17, 03:38 PM
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@RubeRad Before I had the 2004 Sienna, I had a Mercury Villager, which was a Quest with Ford parts on the surface. All the Ford parts disintegrated, and the Nissan transmission and drive train were fine when I got rid of it at 120K miles. BTW, I never heard about a requirement for premium gas for the Sienna. Maybe more recent models? 120K miles with $0 on non-routine maintenance is absolutely outstanding for any car. I was torn between the Honda and Toyota in 2003, and got the Toyota because it was a couple of bucks cheaper and the windows in the middle went down.

Today I rented a Prius V to see what that would be like. It is probably the most minivan-like hybrid. I can put a bike in the back, horizontally, easily, when the back seats are folded down. (For $55/day I can do something like this without some creepy car sales guy hovering over me.)

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Old 08-05-17, 10:16 AM
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Friends just got a new one. backup camera seems a good thing.
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Old 08-05-17, 08:12 PM
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It beeps (internally, WTF?) when you back up. I cannot see a way to disable that "feature."

If it is internal, presumably it is there for the "benefit" of the driver, not passing pedestrians. If I wanted a backup beep, I would buy a delivery truck.
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Old 08-05-17, 09:02 PM
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Originally Posted by wgscott View Post
It beeps (internally, WTF?) when you back up. I cannot see a way to disable that "feature."

If it is internal, presumably it is there for the "benefit" of the driver, not passing pedestrians. If I wanted a backup beep, I would buy a delivery truck.
Does it beep constantly when in reverse or only when its close to something?

My Ford Focus has reversing sensors but I don't look at the display. I just go by the different beeps at different distances from an object. When your backing out of a garage its likely to beep until your clear.
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Old 08-05-17, 11:00 PM
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This is backing up in the middle of nowhere. It is constant, at a constant repeat interval.

It could easily be user error. They didn't take 5 seconds to explain anything to me, and the instruction manual is not in the car.

Keep in mind I am test-driving with intent to buy.

I guess I will buy a car from a different dealer.
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Old 08-14-17, 08:50 AM
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Originally Posted by wgscott View Post
@RubeRad Before I had the 2004 Sienna, I had a Mercury Villager, which was a Quest with Ford parts on the surface. All the Ford parts disintegrated, and the Nissan transmission and drive train were fine when I got rid of it at 120K miles. BTW, I never heard about a requirement for premium gas for the Sienna. Maybe more recent models? 120K miles with $0 on non-routine maintenance is absolutely outstanding for any car. I was torn between the Honda and Toyota in 2003, and got the Toyota because it was a couple of bucks cheaper and the windows in the middle went down.

Today I rented a Prius V to see what that would be like. It is probably the most minivan-like hybrid. I can put a bike in the back, horizontally, easily, when the back seats are folded down. (For $55/day I can do something like this without some creepy car sales guy hovering over me.)
We ended up with a 2005 Odyssey, so the Siena my wife looked at would have been that time frame. Maybe the premium gas was misinformation?

Good to hear about the Villager/Quest. Been away on business travel, now that I'm back I can focus on car shopping, and then clean up the Odyssey, put a little lipstick on the old pig to try to sell it.
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Old 08-15-17, 09:19 PM
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I've been car shopping. I almost bought a Rav4 hybrid until they brought out the arm-twister that tried for 3 hours to get me to break down and agree to taking their $5.7K extended warranty. It was like having someone take a duke in your brain and forgetting to flush. It almost ruined my bike trip, which I had to delay starting until 3pm as a consequence. I felt more in need of a shower after that experience than 3 days camping and on the road.
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Old 08-15-17, 11:56 PM
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Originally Posted by RubeRad View Post
A friend of mine whose opinion on cars I respect a lot told me that Nissan is just about as good as Honda&Toyota, but because of less reputation, not as much resale value. Which is bad for the sucker that bought it new, but good for the used buyer!.
I don't have as heavy of experience with Nissan as I do other manufacturers, but I would suggest extreme caution believing that. Those I have worked on have often had some really stupid problems with stupid designs and quality control. I can see where from the owners perspective that would be the case, but when you look at a broader spectrum of vehicles coming through a repair facility, my experience suggests otherwise. The repair aggravation can end up being more like Mercedes or Cadillac than Toyota or Honda.

That said, they do drive nicely and many of them are much faster than you'd suspect. Just be sure you're getting what you want if you buy one.
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Old 08-16-17, 08:30 AM
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We have a 2004 Nissan Quest, about 116k miles on it. Quality wise I give it an OK, not great. Beyond regular maintenance, it's had two camshaft sensors replaced, the radio died, a front wheel bearing replaced, one of the tire pressure sensors fails when driving in stop and go traffic, the sliding doors rattle and some of the interior components are pretty cheaply made. Now its starter will sometimes just click on the first try, then works on the second. Our shop can't diagnose it because it is too intermittent. It also has a noisy rear wheel bearing now that we will get fixed next time it goes in for service. It has a really wide turning radius which is a pain sometimes.

But with the center row captain chairs I can just roll my bike in the back upright and park it between them, so it's convenient that way. It gets decent mileage on the highway (24-25 at 75mph) and it's pretty powerful. And it has almost no trade in value so we plan to keep it as long as it is generally reliable.
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Old 08-16-17, 09:02 AM
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Only the first- and second-generation Quest (1993-2002) shared parts with the Mercury. After that, I believe it was all-Nissan.
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Old 08-16-17, 04:32 PM
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Originally Posted by jimincalif View Post
We have a 2004 Nissan Quest, about 116k miles on it. Quality wise I give it an OK, not great. Beyond regular maintenance, it's had two camshaft sensors replaced, the radio died, a front wheel bearing replaced, one of the tire pressure sensors fails when driving in stop and go traffic, the sliding doors rattle and some of the interior components are pretty cheaply made. Now its starter will sometimes just click on the first try, then works on the second. Our shop can't diagnose it because it is too intermittent. It also has a noisy rear wheel bearing now that we will get fixed next time it goes in for service. It has a really wide turning radius which is a pain sometimes.

But with the center row captain chairs I can just roll my bike in the back upright and park it between them, so it's convenient that way. It gets decent mileage on the highway (24-25 at 75mph) and it's pretty powerful. And it has almost no trade in value so we plan to keep it as long as it is generally reliable.
id guess some damged teeth on flywheel
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Old 08-16-17, 09:33 PM
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For the intermittent hard start, I'd check the following in this order-

Battery terminal connections. Loose or corroded terminals will often cause this. Also check the other parts of the system.

Test the battery itself, using a load tester if possible.

The voltages going to the starter itself, and the starter solenoid while someone cranks on it.

After that, begin wiggle testing all the remotely possibly related wiring connections while having someone else cranking it.

For most cars, this can be done in under an hour.

If that doesn't shine some light on it, it's either truly intermittent, or something more unusual and a pain like the flex plate teeth.

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Old 08-18-17, 02:23 AM
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My favorite multi-purpose vehicle is the Toyota Alphard. I don't own a car anymore, but rent an Alphard for long trips here in Japan. It's stylish, roomy, economical, and very comfortable. Many business executives are shuttled around in these.

I don't know if they sell the Alphard model in your market, but if they do, it's a good car. I'm thinking of surprising my wife with one for her birthday.
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Old 08-18-17, 09:36 AM
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I don't think so, I've never heard of it. Is it maybe equivalent to an Avalon?
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Old 08-18-17, 10:35 AM
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https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Toyota_Alphard

Nope, that thing is for various foreign markets only.
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Old 08-18-17, 04:16 PM
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Originally Posted by Sangetsu View Post
My favorite multi-purpose vehicle is the Toyota Alphard. I don't own a car anymore, but rent an Alphard for long trips here in Japan. It's stylish, roomy, economical, and very comfortable. Many business executives are shuttled around in these.

I don't know if they sell the Alphard model in your market, but if they do, it's a good car. I'm thinking of surprising my wife with one for her birthday.
Wow, they even have a hybrid. Unfortunately I have never seen one in the US.

I would buy a hybrid or hydrogen fuel-cell Sienna if they had offered one.

I wound up buying a Rav4-hybrid.
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