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really awful
Crashes / Fires:
1 / 1
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
75,418 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.

2008 Toyota Sienna engine problems

engine problem

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2008 Toyota Sienna Owner Comments (Page 2 of 2)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #8

Aug 102013

Sienna 6-cyl

  • 60,000 miles


While driving my Sienna ac quit & few miles later I saw white smoke come from under the van in my mirror. I tried to slow down & brakes were not working. I tried to pull over & power steering was not working. Without any warning lights. After I pulled over, I walked to the back to see what the white smoke was. I noticed that the bumper cover had motor oil dripping down from the bumper & tail pipe. I noticed the white smoke was actually coming out from the front right side of the van. I ran to shut the engine off but I could not open the driver side doors. Luckily windows were opened due to the ac not working. I took the key out through the window & pulled the hood latch. By the time I got to the hood flames was coming from the right side. I could not open the hood, it was too hot. This happened in matter of seconds. Be aware that all this happened without any warning sound"S or light?S. I called 911. Just in minutes, the van was engulfed in flames & I had no chance to save anything out of the vehicle. The fire trucks arrived about 9 minutes, but by that time there was nothing left of my van. The fireman pointed out to me that there was an oil trail behind the van. The oil trace was visible for few miles. After they finished putting out the fire they showed me where the fire started on the van. It was the area on the left side of the engine around the belt. They said that the fire started from an oil leak on the engine and was started by the burst of oil spraying down on the and catalytic converter. Only two seconds of searching on google, I found out that Toyota is well informed of the hazardous defect. The rubber oil supply line unexpectedly burst open and spray"S the engine oil out in less than few minutes. I never received any recalls or notification about this serious defect from Toyota. Luckily none of my three kids was not in the van when this happened.

- Hulbert, OK, USA

problem #7

Jun 282013

Sienna 6-cyl

  • 81,000 miles
While pulling into my driveway I smelled oil and noticed a line of liquid down the driveway. Turns out the oil line ruptured and the engine oil drained almost completely, within a matter of minutes. There was no warning indicator or anything adverse until that moment. Thankfully I live near a mechanic and we were able to leave it there. Apparently this is a known problem at Toyota- as the part was on a national backorder. Thankfully I did not suffer engine damage- many others have, and this should be a recall worthy issue.

- West Chester, PA, USA

problem #6

Jun 062013


  • 51,303 miles
The contact owns a 2008 Toyota Sienna. The contact stated that the oil line, which Toyota called the vvt line burst and the all of the oil leaked out of the vehicle. The contact took the vehicle to the dealer who confirmed the vvt line burst and caused the failure. The dealer informed the contact that the part was not under warranty nor was there a related recall. The vehicle was repaired. The VIN was not available. The failure and current mileages was 51,303.

- Waseca, MN, USA

problem #5

Jun 062013


  • 51,303 miles


While driving are 2008 Sienna mini van with 51303 miles on it we had developed a sudden loss of oil from the engine. No check engine lights or warning lights came on notifying us that there was a problem. Observed that there was a large amount of oil loss in the driveway. Could track back where we were driving with the oil loss trail in the road. Did some research and learned that the engine in the Sienna is that same as that in several other Toyota (avalons). I learned that there is a vvi oil line is faulty on the engine. Toyota used a rubber hose which results in failure which then results in engine damage due to the oil loss. Toyota recalled the same party on the avalon and is aware that this hose is bad and needs replacement. Toyota issued recall on the avalons but is not issuing a recall on the Sienna. This is the same piece on the two vehicles. They then state that this hose with an average fails at 50-60000miles. They then stated that this hose is not covered under warranty. This hose bursting can cause engine damage and is also a safety issue. There needs to be a recall on this rubber oil hose on all vehicles. They know that this is a bad piece when talking with them. Also if it were to fail they then will state that since this hose caused the engine issues they will not cover it under warranty. This then results in people having to replace the engine in there vehicle for 5-10000dollars. When oil loss occurs it sprays every where getting on brakes, belts, and exhaust which could cause an accident and or fire. Also resulting in serious engine damage. Toyota know this vvi hose is bad and issued a recall on the same hose on the avalons. A five minute search on the internet will show you the issues with motor and vvi hose. A recall must be issued on all Toyota vehicles with this motor which had the vvi oil hose. Thanks

- Waseca, MN, USA

problem #4

Apr 282013

Sienna 6-cyl

  • 77,300 miles
On a rainy Sunday afternoon I was driving 65 mph on the interstate when the check engine, vsc and trac off lights came on. The vehicle was taken directly to the dealer the next morning (69 additional miles were driven). When tested the code indicated to inspect the vvt-1 system, including the actuator bolts and alignment. Upon inspection (requiring the engine to be partially disassembled) it was determined that the vvti gear was coming apart causing debris to spread throughout the camshaft gears and housing only for cam bank 1. this is an obvious material quality defect and Toyota's only statement is "we don't have a recall for this". my van is 90 days past the 5 year & 17,369 miles over the 60,000 warranty. (note: Other manufacturer's offer a 100,000 powertrain warranty). This van has only been serviced by this dealer. This single repair bill is $4,295 with no guarantee the other cam bank won't do the same thing, requiring another high service bill. After 3 days of waiting for Toyota to investigate, they only offered a goodwill contribution to the repairs of $2,400... but only after I submit paid receipts and then wait 10 weeks for them to reimburse me. They flat out refused to send the payment to the dealer. This is Toyota's premier family vehicle and if the engine has seized while driving could have killed my family or someone else. I have driven Toyota's for over 15 years and never heard of this kind of materials defect and then to be treated this poorly over a major safety issue that is a direct result of poor quality materials. I guess they would have been more interested if someone had died. I think everyone who owns a 2008 Sienna should be aware that this model has a vvti gear material quality defect that can be expensive to repair or cause the engine to seize while driving and kill someone. Who knows if other 08 models are also affected.

- Cumming, GA, USA

problem #3

Mar 212013

Sienna 6-cyl

  • 61,080 miles
While driving alot of smoke coming out from engine, pulled over and turn off and all came out of car and oil started leaking. Next day took van to the Toyota dealer and they checked everything was fine but there was a part( oil hose no.1 ) that was been recall and it been fix by Toyota dealer but same hose was blow which is dangerous that Toyota dealer told us and he was surprised that could not happen after replace part that mean they still have that same problem and we was on I-10, we stop the van on time otherwise we wont able to move van and we might lost our life so please investigate and save others life.

- Marksville, LA, USA

problem #2

Dec 072012

Sienna 6-cyl

  • 49,000 miles
There was a pin hole puncture in the flexible material the oil cooler is made of. The result of this is that all the oil is forced out of the engine very quickly under high pressure. There was no warning until I heard engine noise. I had the van towed in and had the part replaced. The current factory authorized part is now made out of metal. The dealership then informed me that because of the failure of the part I would need a new will cost $10,000. I asked if there was anything I could have done differently to prevent this I was told no. My engine is still under warranty but the part that caused it is not. I realize parts break but this part is not a maintenance part and the expected outcome of its failure is engine replacement. This I have found from experienced auto people is common knowledge. I believe this is a defect that Toyota knows about and is willing to ignore by invoking their warranty as a reason to allow this to happen to unsuspecting owners. Oh, when I contacted Toyota for help with my $10,000 problem, they offered me dinner. At this point I own a $30,000 piece of junk ( I owe $20,000) none of this would have occurred if the part had been made out of metal originally or if there was some kind of safeguard built in to warn you of the potential problem. Unfortunately that is not the case. Please help.

- Niskayuna, NY, USA

problem #1

Aug 122012

Sienna 6-cyl

  • 53,000 miles
We have owned the Sienna for 4 years and 53,000 miles without incidence. We have had it serviced by the Toyota dealer and have had all scheduled maintenance. One afternoon, after driving the Sienna all day, we pulled it into our driveway (which is on a slight incline) and placed it into park. After doing this, instead of the brakes being applied, the Sienna rolled back as though it were in neutral. We brought the Sienna to the Toyota dealer who inspected it. They told us the pin that enables the brakes upon placing the Sienna in park was completely shot and the entire transmission would need to be replaced. The service manager said he has never seen something like this before and that these pins don't wear out over time. The service manager also told us that you would only see damage to the pin if you were driving the car and then suddenly put it into park while moving at a high speed. The service manager contacted the offices of Toyota corporate and had the case reviewed. It was determined by Toyota corporate to be related to the warranty and they are replacing the entire transmission.

- Chelmsford, MA, USA

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