2004 Toyota Sienna timing belt problems

Tiny
KARENRR
  • MEMBER
  • 2004 TOYOTA SIENNA
  • 4.7L
  • 6 CYL
  • FWD
  • AUTOMATIC
  • 69,000 MILES
I am a pretty broke divorced mother of a teenage girl who lives in an apt complex with several speed bumps in the parking lot. The speed bumps are made from the asphalt that they use in the lot. When they redid the parking lot two years ago they built up the height of speed bumps & repainted them yellow. Two of the main speed bumps were at least 8 or 9 inches high initially. Even though I take the speed bumps very slowly and carefully they scraped the underside of the van very badly. I immediately called the office and left them a message telling them to lower the height of some of the speed bumps right away. Within one day the came out with one of those rollers and reduced the height by a few inches. The damage was already done as I then had a nasty ticking noise and the van ran differently. When I got oil changes & new tires I asked them to try to figure it out which they didn't. I couldn't put my finger on the difference & could not afford to have it looked into by the dealer. Well a few hundred miles later with less than 60,000 miles on it my timing belt broke & I had to have it towed to the Goodyear as they would not tow it to the dealer because it was too far. Goodyear did the fix for me and gave me a slight break on the price knowing I had to remove money from a retirement account in order to do it. The ticking was still there but recently I found out it was a heat shield that had been loosened under the van. I am wondering if you could tell me if there is some possible relationship between the timing belt and the underside of the van being scraped so badly. Goodyear would not speculate. Of course neither would the dealer.

I can't recover anything financially even if it was a possible cause as the complex has since been sold to another owner and too much time passed. The manager of the complex who has been here for 15 + yrs. Has a Toyota Camry that strangely has also had to have not one, but two emergency timing belt replacements on her car. The first one also had to be done at 50,000 miles or less. I am not certain how many miles she now has on it or what year it is but it isn't that old. I have not brought this question up to her at all since she works for the complex.

I just really wonder if there could possibly be any relationship to those ridiculously high speed bumps of the past. They are within normal height limits now but they still have huge chunks of asphalt and yellow paint missing from some of the really low vehicles especially when they are loaded down with household belongings, furniture, etc. When people are moving. I do know that there will always be the people who race over them and scrape the bottom because they are inconsiderate morons.

I have now come to find out that there are other options in speed bumps that can inflate higher if the speed of the approaching vehicles is too great. They also do not have one sign posted about the fact that there are multiple school bus stops and young children and disabled people. There is not even one camera in any part of the very large parking lot. Some of those options are probably more costly then they would be willing to spend but for heavens sake they certainly could put in a couple of signs.

If you can answer that question I would sure appreciate it. Thank you so much. Please don't give or sell my name & e-mail to people.



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Sunday, July 5th, 2015 AT 4:42 PM

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Tiny
CARADIODOC
  • EXPERT
The timing belt is not related to the speed bumps. You'd have to rearrange your kidneys if you hit a bump big enough to reach up to where that belt lives. I suspect you're a victim of a common problem that goes back to the 1980s. That is timing belts that break sooner than the manufacturer's recommended replacement intervals are reached. Honda, for example, used to recommend the belt be replaced every 75,000 miles, and they typically broke at 65,000 miles.

To add to the misery, you most likely have an "interference" engine. You listed a 4.7L but the only one I'm aware of that came in your vehicle is a 3.3L. That is an interference engine which means when the timing belt breaks, the open valves get hit and bent by the pistons as they coast to a stop. That turns a four or five-hour timing belt replacement into a very expensive valve job.

My recommendation is to have your timing belt replaced again within the next 50,000 miles to prevent having another expensive valve job. This is probably why that other Toyota owner you mentioned had theirs replaced a second time. The next time you're out car-shopping, ask if what you're looking at has an interference engine, and if it does, keep looking. We can tell you here too if you tell us the engine size, year, and car model.
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Sunday, July 5th, 2015 AT 11:01 PM
Tiny
KARENRR
  • MEMBER
Thank so much for the info guys. You answered something that nobody else has. You are the bomb!
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Friday, August 7th, 2015 AT 1:15 PM

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