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10.0

really awful
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
2 / 0
Average Mileage:
34,000 miles

About These NHTSA Complaints:

This data is from the NHTSA — the US gov't agency tasked with vehicle safety. Complaints are spread across multiple & redundant categories, & are not organized by problem.

So how do you find out what problems are occurring? For this NHTSA complaint data, the only way is to read through the comments below. Any duplicates or errors? It's not us.

1998 Toyota Sienna engine problems

engine problem

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1998 Toyota Sienna Owner Comments

problem #13

Dec 302005

Sienna 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 127,910 miles

A D V E R T I S E M E N T S

Engine light came on in my 1998 Toyota Sienna on I75 in atlanta ga while visiting friends, was able to get to median before it died. Had it towed to independent mechanic who verified sludge build up. Called Toyota about engine failure. Was told to take van to a Toyota dealership in SC (where we live) towed the van home took it to dealership who also verified sludge build up. Was told by Toyota that they were aware of the problems in their engines but was not going to pay for engine replacement because we did not have receipts proving that oil/filters changes were made. We changed our oil every 3000 miles without fail. If we didn't engine would have died sooner. Toyota did say that we could pay for repairs $9000 and then submit receipts for review and may be reimbursed for repairs. Still fighting with Toyota, have made complaint with BBB. Police were called to the scene, I was alone with 4 children.

- Simpsonville, SC, USA

problem #12

Feb 012000

Sienna

  • Automatic transmission
  • 70,000 miles
We leased a 1998 Toyota Sienna because it was the safest van out there at the time. Two years later I was driving to work, when the ( dummy gauge) for the oil light turned on. I stopped at the first gas station and checked the oil it was fine. On my way home that morning from work on the freeway. The oil light came on again, then suddenly the engine stalled & I heard some knocking noise, I pulled over, and had it towed to the Toyota dealearship where we leased the van. They had it checked out then told us that there was oil sludging and has caused engine damage. They told us that the van needed a new engine and it was not covered under warranty because we had gone over the warranty miles. The estimate was over $5,000, we did not have the funds, or credit available to cover for the estimate on the van. So we had no other choice but to give it up as a voluntary repo. Knowing that the leasing company was going to try to get their money. There was no other choice but to file for bankruptcy. I had excellent credit and now my credit is ruined. In the year 2002 I received a letter from the manufacturer stating that they were reimbursing and or extending the warranty on the engine at no cost to all customers who had the problem with engine damage due to oil sludging. Well I no longer had the van in my possesion but I did suffer some damages and I only think it is fair that I get some compensation from the Toyota manufacturer due to their own defective engine. I wrote a letter to Toyota and I have not heard a response from them yet.

- Palmdale, CA, USA

problem #11

Jan 082002

Sienna

  • Automatic transmission
  • 92 miles
While driving 35 mph, the check engine light illuminated on the dashboard and the vehicle stalled on the highway. The dealer examined the vehicle and found a build up of sludge in the engine. A new engine was installed. Two years later, the same problem recurred and a new engine was needed. On March 22, 2004 the check engine light had come on. On March 23, 2004 the vehicle was towed to a service dealer who suggested that sludge was the problem.

- Gladewater, TX, USA

problem #10

Jan 152004

(reported on)

Sienna

  • Automatic transmission
  • 60,000 miles

A D V E R T I S E M E N T S

The engine stopped operating due to engine sludge. The consumer indicated that the engine burned oil too fast which caused the sludge to build up. The dealer says the engine has to be replaced. Please provide any additional information.

- Brandon, FL, USA

problem #9

Nov 302003

Sienna 6-cyl

  • 109,000 miles
We have a Toyota Sienna van. In 8/02 we had 'oil gel sludging' and the engine was fixed under warranty. Now, we have exactly the same problem and Toyota refuses to pay for the repair. With the initial repair, they acknowledged it was a design flaw. Since the engine was poorly designed, and there is a recurring problem due to the design, why do they think a one-time repair will suffice?

- Chapel Hill, NC, USA

problem #8

Nov 242003

Sienna

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
We are on our third motor for a Toyota Sienna 1998 van, purchased new. Several months ago, we had the motor replaced. We were charged $4-500, though Toyota handled it under warranty. Now, 10,000 miles later, we must replace the engine again, at a cost of $6000. The problem, again, is 'sludge'. we are also, like others filing complaints on your site and others, being harassed by the dealership, who claim we have "never changed the oil." For argument, let's say this is true. In 10,000 miles, you will utterly destroy a new engine if you miss an oil change, recommended for between 5,000 and 7500 miles? I believe the public has been sold a defective design, and that the company, deliberately or not, is refusing to take owner complaints seriously.

- Charlotte, NC, USA

problem #7

Jun 032003

Sienna

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles

A D V E R T I S E M E N T S

Approximately 5 years ago we purchased a new 1998 Toyota Sienna because we wanted a new vehicle with an excellent reputation for quality and service. Because of Toyota's reputation, we paid approximately $10,000 more for the van than we could have purchased any other van in our area. Recently our van started emitting blue smoke. When we took our van to our local Toyota dealership for service they said that they could not find the problem, and offered to tear down the motor and send pictures to Toyota with a fee of one hour's labor. When we scheduled this service, after tearing down the motor, we were asked for documentation of oil changes. Although we have had them done regularly, we did not save this paperwork. Since we are out of our warranty period, I thought this was an unusual request. However, after researching my van on the internet, I realize that this is a very common problem with my van. Unfortunately, I did not find this information soon enough to start saving all of those oil change receipts. The oil in my van is very thick, and we were treated as though we never had oil changes done. We were told that they could replace the valve covers and clean the heads and that it might take care of the problem or we could spend $5000 to purchase a new motor for a van bought new and still being paid for! I will no longer be able to purchase a vehicle based on reputation. Not only was this a problem that has occurred often, but we were never notified, and then basically accused of not maintaining our vehicle. We were charged a $75 fee to find the problem even though the mechanics should have know this was on ongoing problem the first time the van was taken for service. Because of their defective motor, I also have now lost that "great trade in value" that Toyota vehicles always "maintain". again, I am very disappointed in my van and Toyota. I purchased my van because of the high recommendations given to me, but I will not pass this recommendation on to others.

- Elkhart, IN, USA

problem #6

Apr 282003

Sienna

  • miles
We have a 1998 Toyota Sienna. For several years we have had problems opening the rear passenger doors because of faulty springs on the door buttons. Now the vehicle spews out blue smoke when starting up or accelerating. The oil is also sludgey. We took it to the dealer after hearing that the blue smoke problem is a recall issue, but the dealer wants proof of all oil changes, even though I change the oil and filter myself. A friend around the corner has the same problems with the faulty doors.

- Alexandria, VA, USA

problem #5

Jul 102000

Sienna 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 75,000 miles
Oil seals around spark plugs failed in both fwd and aft bank of valve covers.

- Morrow, OH, USA

problem #4

Oct 202000

Sienna

  • miles
At only 30,000 miles, while vehicle still under full bumper to bumper warranty, smoke began emitting from exhaust pipe. Took to dealer - dealer says it is steam. Next smoke gets worse (its blue) & oil light flashes when braking. Take it back to dealer - dealer says need oil change. Do it. Next - same stuff. Take it back. Dealer says oil leak in valves or rings - will call to set up appt. For repair. No call. I call dealer. Dealer says want oil change receipts. I get them. Dealer says no fix under warranty, not covered, caused by consumer lack of maintenance. I complain to manufacturer. No luck. I look on internet - hundreds of identical complaints on various web sites. Caused by sludge in engine, which analysis of shows water & fuel in oil. I contaact you.

- Hayden, ID, USA

problem #3

Jun 131998

Sienna

  • miles

A D V E R T I S E M E N T S

Engine--camshaft and belt.

- Aliso Viejo, CA, USA

problem #2

Feb 151998

Sienna

  • miles
Crankshaft ball bearings are defective, causing decrease in oil pressure and crankshaft and oil pump failures

- Sugar Hill, GA, USA

problem #1

Feb 151998

Sienna

  • miles
Crankshaft ball bearings are defective, causing decrease in oil pressure and crankshaft and oil pump failures

- Sugar Hill, GA, USA

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