Toyota Mini-Vans

I drive a 99 Ford Windstar mini-van and am looking to purchase a new or up to 2 years old mini-van. I would like to hear from Toyota mini-van owners
their likes, or dislikes, about Toyota mini-vans. Any particular problem areas, such as the Windstar manifold problem (OBD-II P0171 and P0174 codes) and intermittent ABS light, with Toyota mini-vans?
Thanks for your time and information.
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We have an '01 and it has been perfectly reliable. We know, oh, at least 6 other families with the same van and they have had no problems whatsoever. It's squeak- and rattle-free at 66K miles and the engine remains very, very quiet in operation. There are no whirring, ticking, grinding, clanging or other noises from under thood until the A/C compressor clutch engages or the radiator fans start up. A friends' brand-new Chrysler van makes much more mechanical noise.
There are persistent rumors of sludge buildup in the earlier 3.0L V6 engines but I don't know anyone who has such a problem. Conclusion: change your oil and filter regularly and don't worry about it.
Test-drive one. If the new ones are anything like the '01's, I think you'll be impressed with the power. That's primarily why we bought ours, I was so surprised at how lively it was getting away from a stoplight. I'd test-driven a few other vans and then went to look at the Toyota. I was thinking I'd probably get a Chrysler at the time but the Toyota interior was very nice. Then the light turned green ahead and, when I hit the gas, we rocketed away. Right then, I told my wife, "we're buying this one."
Three things could stand improvement on the '01s... - They have more understeer than I like (OK for a minivan, I suppose). - Traction on snow could be improved. - I don't get a lot of wear out of tires; I'm on my second set and I haven't got a lot of tread left.
All three of these things could be result of my poor tire choices, though, as the other people I know with these vans seem to be perfectly happy with their handling, snow performance and tire wear. It could also be the way I drive but I haven't had tire wear issues on most of my other cars (well - I had trouble with tire wear on my previous mini-van - maybe it's the way I drive mini-vans).
The three things I like best are: - The power. - The very quiet ride. You don't have to crank the stereo way up to hear it over wind and road noise at 70mph. Of course, this can be a bad thing, I once found I was doing 90 in a 70 zone when I wasn't intending to speed at all. I now use the cruise control religiously. - The pleasant, comfy interior.
It's a nice cruiser for long trips; we usually put in 2400+ miles on driving vacations once or twice a year. Everybody in the family likes this car for long trips.
Oh, the fourth thing I like: I'm on my original brake pads, front and rear, with something like 50% left in the front.
--
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Ford Driver, 9/28/2006,3:48:09 PM, wrote:

I bought a used 2000 Sienna with 72K miles a year and a half ago. It now has 100K miles and is still in great condition. It has good power, quiet ride, decent ergonomics, and excellent reliability. The one thing I am dissapointed about is the gas mileage. I get around 18-19 MPG all around and 23 MPG on the highway. I expected more than that, but I have not changed any plugs yet.
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A friend was complaining that he only gets 13 ~ 14 MPG in suburban driving in his Windstar. His wife like the Windstar, although the friend was not to happy about the $2,500 they have spent in the last 2 years for repairs for something in the dashboard, a no-start condition, power door actuator, fuel pump, and now the AC needs a new compressor. Other than the need for those repairs and the poor fuel mileage, they have been happy with the van.
Another friend has a GMC Astro, they are also getting around 13 ~ 14 MPG in suburban driving. AFAIK, it has not needed any repairs other than visits to the body shop.
I guess I shouldn't feel so bad about the 13 ~ 14 MPG we get around town in our Sequoia :-)
--

Ray O
(correct punctuation to reply)
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"Ray O" <rokigawaATtristarassociatesDOTcom> wrote in message

[snipped]
[snipped]
in
to
in
I get 17 in town and 25 on the road in my Windstar. The Ford 3.8 engine has a history of problems; two of which I mentioned in my original post and a head gasket problem. Thankfully, I have not yet experienced the head gasket problem.
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Newby wrote:

Saw your same note to the Honda newsgroup.
I own a Toyota Sienna and prefer it over the Honda minivan (but I like the Accord better than the Camry so I'm not a Toyota bigot).
IMHO, the Sienna features better comfort features whereas the Odyssey features better handling. Since I don't drive a minivan as I do my sports car I'm not too concerned about handling (although with a tire upgrade the Sienna does fine). The layout of both vans is good (but somewhat different) so your preference will determine which is best for you. Used Odysseys, more than a couple of years old, have suspect transmissions. Unless Honda has recently upgrade their brakes, you will find Sienna brakes are more durable and provide very good performance when matched with decent tires.
After your Windstar a new Sienna will seem luxury-quiet. For 2007 I believe Toyota will use their very powerful but economical 3.5L engine in the Sienna. Siennas are available with all wheel drive if you care to pay extra for that feature.
I've got about 180,000 miles on my '98 Sienna and just recently had to put some repair dollars into it when an O2 sensor went up (I elected to replace all 3). Had to replace a sliding door latch (hold-open feature failed) a few years ago. Few other repairs, just routine maintenance (had to replace the bulb - a freebie from my dealer - for the center brake light yesterday). Best family utility vehicle I've ever owned. I will probably buy another when I retire this one; perhaps at 230K miles. Replacement would be certain if the new Sienna weren't quite so big, I prefer the smaller size of the original Sienna.
YMMV
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That's the problem, assuming the previous owner didn't change it. My 2000 Sienna had very bad mileage and very "heavy" to drive. After replacing the spark plug and air filter, it drives like new.
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I should have thought to include mileage.
We typically get 16-19 around town, 24-25 at interstate speeds (for me that's 70-74) with A/C on.
TeraNews will add a little ad below, here. The "free" account cost 4 bucks and service has been poor, many of my recent posts have been dropped with no error.
--
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Ford Driver wrote:

All of the replies so far have been relatively positive, so let me add my opinion on the other side of the coin.
I like the ride, I get the mileage posted (25 and 20) except in the winter (02 Sienna XLE), most everything works flawlessly. But my rotors warped at 20K (and we do not do a lot of stop and go driving or hard braking) and although the rotors themselves were covered under warranty, the dealer pulled a fast one and I wound up paying for a complete brake job ($550) when only the pads should have been charged to me and the rest to Toyota. Both oxygen sensors (2 of 3) went out at around 55K, $230 each for the parts. Another dealer tried to hit me up for another $500 to replace the manifold, claiming the O2 sensor was siezed. My service station removed the "siezed" sensor, cleaned the threads and put the new one on for $50 labor. A recent replacement of two plastic panels (rt. sliding door and piece in front of rear tire) over $700, no metal body work required. The original tires (Bridgestones, IIRC) were crap and the minivan slid on wet pavement. Problem fixed when I put on Michelin Harmony tires at 30K. The selling dealer charged Toyota to repair a tranny leak at 25K. Funny, there was never a drop of any oil or tranny fluid on my concrete driveway where the minivan is parked every day.
Unless you use a bra, there is no way to keep the front hood from getting dinged. (Which reminds me that the clip that holds the hood support rod in place has broken twice because it is inflexible in cold weather. It is now jerry-rigged with a home-made clip) But I guess the front hood dinging is a problem with any vehicle that has a hood that slants down to the bumper.
Would I buy another Toyota? No. Because parts are too expensive, and I can't find an honest Toyota dealer in the MD suburbs of DC. But then again, I'd never touch a Ford :>)
Lena
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And I might add that Lena's problems appear to be mostly related to the dealer she chose - and possibly her driving style - rather than inherent to the vehicle itself.
Oxygen sensors are a service item, requiring periodic replacement. I can't address the condition of her brakes nor the necessity of any work required but brakes are a service item as well. Warped rotors could be a design flaw and I've heard a lot of complaints in this regard with Toyotas in general, but I've never experienced this with my Tacoma (also rumored to have this flaw). The problem could also be in part due to driving style and conditions (eg driving through a puddle while the rotors are hot). Likewise tires, and 30K is about right for OEM so her traction problems might have been due to simple wear, possibly exacerbated by her driving style.
Again - and before she flies off the handle at me - I have no way of knowing what her driving style is nor whether it was a factor in the problems she's had. For all I know she's the World's Best - but viewed strictly from the standpoint of possible causes for the mechanical problems she's described it must be considered as a possibility.
I'm not exactly sure how a slanting hood causes dings to appear so I can't address that. The only experience I've had with hood damage is when I ran into a crackhead a few months ago and that would have damaged the hood regardless of its angle.
It's probably safe to say that genuine factory OEM parts are more expensive than ditto for Ford. It's also probably safe to say that you will be buying them less frequently than with your Ford. -- Mike Harris Austin TX
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Mike Harris wrote:

Dealers (plural). Screwed by the selling dealer, another dealer tried to rip me off on the manifold thing. The third Toyota dealer in this area has such a bad reputation, I wouldn't even try them.
> and possibly her driving style
You have absolutely no idea what my driving style is, do you?

It is obvious that you are so imbued with Toyotas, that you cannot accept the fact that others may think the vehicle is less than perfect.

At 52K miles? Two within a month? A defect, IMO.

Of which you know nothing.

You don't know a damn thing about my driving style; why do you keep on harping on it? Can't you accept the fact that the OEM tires were garbage? I stated that the Michelins fixed the slipping problem.

Then your whole post is a supposition. Accept the fact that Toyotas are not perfect.

Then don't. Crap flies up from the road all the time. On a truck like yours, it hits the grille and causes little or no damage. On a vehicle with a slanted hood, the stones and debris hits the paint on the hood and causes dings.

Another supposition. Unsubstantiated. But you really want the OP to buy a Toyota, don't you. So say whatever you want.
Lena
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(rolls eyes) Happy with the car you owned before the Sienna, were you? Been wrenching for very long? Do you, in short, have a clue about the mechanical issues you experienced?
It's pretty clear that you have reading comprehension difficulties, I might add. -- Mike Harris Thankful he's not a mechanic for that Harpy Austin TX
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I purchased a new 06 Sienna a month ago after seriously considering the Honda and Chrysler/Dodge. I've had the Chrysler/Plymouth Voyager as my last two vans. I still think the Chrysler mini has a better interior design, but the Honda & Toyota are clearly superior in terms of reliability and resale value (Chrysler sucks). The prices of comparably equipped models were really very close (Honda was a little higher), so I went with the Sienna. The Chrysler clearly has the largest stow space, and the Toyota has about 5" more than the Honda.
We drove the new Sienna on a 3000 mile trip and mileage was 24.8 usually driving about 75mph. The manual hints that you might need plus fuel in the Sienna, but after 3000 mile using regular, I can't see why. The ride is quite (more so than my Chrysler was), handling is average plus, and it has plenty of power. I've had no issues yet, but didn't expect any. After 3000 miles the oil is still pretty clear. And, no more lugging seats in and out to carry our tandem bike!!
I had pretty good luck using Consumer Reports price data and playing five dealers against each other when negotiating.
Arthur (buying a new car is worse than going to the dentists) Hass Reston, VA
Ford Driver wrote:

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wrote:

The standard NET low price to you remains $19,900 for the std CE. Is that what you got?

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What's NET?
MO full name wrote:

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wrote:
Net - is actual US$ or something of value that you pay - everything else is BS - or pure profit to dealer. Net +tax+licence = what you pay or the actual loan amount. Net + government fees= "
Many ( correction - most) people are so beaten around that they don't even know what the actual NET purchase price was! I offered check or credit card - full amount. In spite of this it took these monkeys a full three hours of BS to complete the ORDEAL. They had even faxed me their NET price and total before I even went to that den of BS. THERE WAS NOTHING TO TALK ABOUT - and I told them so. And I am one that made a living arguing environmental issues to public officials, on behalf of clients, for a living! Car dealers are the worst. Perhaps they finally thought I had made them an offer they could not refuse.

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Then you are not including destination - $605. I don't think you can get around that.
I paid $22,500 which included about $500 in options, and $750 for tax & tags. I figured I paid about $900 over cost, which was within the range I was willing to accept. I suppose I could have found a lower price out in east overshoe, but the difference would not have been worth the time I'd have to spend.
MO full name wrote:

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1k was well worth three hours of my time since I'm retired. Destination IS a BS fee. To hell with "all the names for profit" and other baby talk - that is all the dealer problems and not yours. Net + gov fees= my total cost period. What 500 option did you get? If I may ask.
wrote:

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cruise, rack & mats. I took the cross bars off of the rack for normal use. In fact, I'll probably never use the rack, but I had to get it to get cruise.
MO full name wrote:

Not according to CR.

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Whoooo there - that was all standard with the CE sold in Calif!
The Stockholm syndrome at work. The captor gets the prisoner to identify with him. You really are a prisoner - you have no alternative. All the dealers use precisely the same sleazy conduct, smoke and mirrors and the public just love it - or else things would change. These are all good things that public love and are willing to put up with just like, war, tax exempt institutions, crime and drugs, illegal immigration and lawlessness. First they will say or do anything to get you in to their lot. Then when you get tired and are ready to buy - you are shuffled between about three managers or VPs (The big cheese will likely drop in to gladhand you also) (the guy with the boots and hose outside cleaning cars is at least a VP of something) that are furiously 'pounding' calculators and forms. Then they want you to start signing pieces of paper, per policy, or required etc. When they got to that stage with me I threw the paper back and said: "Do all you damn paperwork first an put it in a single pile for me to consider and sign if acceptable or appropriate - be prepared to give me a complete and correct copy of everything I sign. And by the way I know this is the stage where somebody will claim there is an error that will cost me XXX$ more - and you are counting on me being a nice guy etc. and accept the additional charge just to get the F### out of there." I told them do the right thing NOW I have things to do and places to go - YOU SIMPLY NEED TO MATCH THE NUMBERS IN YOUR FAX - PERIOD - or else." DO IT NOW! DO IT NOW! DO IT NOW! That seemed to finally work. No wonder the first guy did not want to send me a fax <grin>. I was gang ringing exactly at 8am when they opened to confirm that their ad was correct and the car was in stock and if they delivered. No dealer has ever gone below the LOW NET special no matter what you say - in my experience in So Cal. To get best price you have to accept precisely what they have (except the BS). None have beat my price in four months - including my dealer. I had actually expected to pay about 1k for purchasing before the end of the model year.
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