To Replace or Not To Replace? A Toyota Transmission Tale



I have a 99 Sienna with 110,000 miles, and a check engine light that is permanently on. My mechanic (who is very good) told me that the problem is a transmission solenoid, but when he went to replace it, he said that the transmission had so much stuff floating around that it would not pay. Instead, he told me to drive it until the transmission ultimately fails, (and not to take it on any long trips).

The transmission is now making metal scraping noises, so I figure the end is near.

Here is my corundum: it will cost in excess of $2,000 to replace the transmission. This Sienna also has the Toyota motor that is prone to engine sludging, although mine runs great and never burns or leaks a drop of oil.

So, is it worth it to replace this transmission and hope that the engine does not fail next week, or do I just bury my minivan in the yard as a lawn ornament?


Since the engine is doing well, I think I would replace the transmission. Toyota Sienna minivans do not depreciate as rapidly as other vans, and, if repaired is worth considerably more than $2000. If you have changed the oil as per the schedule in the manual and haven’t had a problem at this point with sludge, you are probably fine as far as the engine is concerned.


I’ll bet you read all that about engine sludging on the net too.

The majority of those who had engine sludge was the result of not changing the oil and filter on time and/or not often enough.

True. these engine DID have a problem with sludge due to narrow oil ports and drain passages, but regular changes prevented most of it.

If I remember right it was an EGR related fault.