99 Sienna won't start today

Our '99 Sienna has always started, never had a problem with it. Drove it home yesterday and parked in the garage. Went out later and started it up to move it back a little, no problem. Tried starting this morning and it just cranks and cranks.

I ran the battery down trying to get it to fire. It cranks fine, even a little hint that it wants to fire up. I can smell a little gas so it seems like it’s getting fuel. Gas tank is 3/4 full and it’s always garage kept at night.

The Sienna is maintained by me, regular oil-filter changes, air filter, tires etc. It’s driven by my wife, usually, and she treats it very gently. It has 75,000 miles.

It’s never had a hint of not wanting to start. This is very unusual behavior. Any ideas?



The problem might be that the engine is flooded. Try holding the gas pedal all the way to the floor when trying to start it. This tells the computer to go into flooded mode and the computer then cuts the injector pulse signals in half to clear the flooded condition.


Pull a spark plug or use a spare plug to find out if you are getting spark. The spark has to be bright and blue.

Its not unusual. Its a machine. Sometimes they break.

Thanks, Tester. Your suggestion was the answer. That little move in the garage last night must have flooded it. It’s what I was thinking but I thought if I just cranked it normally it would start. I didn’t know about flooded mode. I used to do that with carbureted engines, it holds true for the injected ones too.

Cigroller, submitted a response to you but it must have vaporized.

Thanks for your suggestion, I was going to try that next but holding the accelerator to the floor did the trick.

Glad its rolling - and hope it stays that way.

I’m not completely confident that it will though. This morning (or whichever morning) its not likely that it was flooded when you first tried to start it. Between evaporation and leakage past the pistons its unlikely that a car that sat overnight (though you didn’t say how long) would remain flooded.

It does sound like it got flooded while you were trying to start it. But I’d be surprised if it was flooded on those first couple of key turns.

Anyway, for your sake I hope its the last you hear of it. But if this starts to happen with any regularity, do check out the ignition system for spark problems and also check the fuel pressure regulator for leakage. A leaky one will flood the engine pretty fast, and if you have even a little bit of weakness w/ the ignition it the two things might have a bad effect on one another.

Will do, Cigroller. The car did sit overnight in the garage. My wife drove it home from work, about 4 miles, and parked it in the garage. A couple of hours later I needed to move it back a few feet, started it up, moved it, then turned it off. This morning I opened the garage door so I could go out and shovel the ice off the driveway (sigh, some vacation).

After about an hour I tried to start it; it cranked without sounding like it would start (no foot on the gas pedal). I let it rest a few seconds and tried again; no luck. The battery was going down (will replace today as it doesn’t take a charge) and just before it was gone I pumped the pedal and it sounded like it was almost starting, then the battery quit.

I put the charger on the battery and took a shower. I went back to the garage and tried Tester’s idea of holding the pedal all the way down. At first it sounded the same, then a couple of times it almost started (increased cranking speed with hopeful sounds), then it fired up and ran normally. This was a continuous cranking, no stops.

If it happens again I’ll take it to the Toyota dealership. It’s the wife’s car and I like to keep momma happy.

I’ve had this happen many times when I’ve started a cold engine just to move the vehicle out of the shop and then shut it off. Then go out and try to start the engine and it’s flooded. The clue was when you stated that you started the vehicle to move it and shut it off, and that you could smell gas.