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2006 - Battery Dies With Front Doors Open in 20 Minutes

21161 Views 37 Replies 23 Participants Last post by  Gearman
First, greetings to all former'ers. Was really saddened to see it gone. I logged in and felt guilty for having become more of a lurker/consumer recently. Always felt like you guys were the same as that cell phone commercial---wherever I went I knew was behind me! I'll have to go back to everyone I've been telling about the old site and share this one with them.

Now, my problem: I recall seeing this on the old site mentioned. Ever since new you couldn't run the stereo for even 10 mins without killing the battery. Now, even 15 mins with just the front doors open and it's dead (you can't shut the lights in the door off---they don't run through the master lights switch). More than once I've sat in a gas station logging my mileage after a fillup with the headlights on (key in ignition) after getting sidetracked and not firing up the engine, and then I'm walking around with a sad look carrying my jumper cables. (Last time was 2 weeks ago in the middle of France, after I filled 'er up at ~$6.50/gal....... And get this, got a jump from a [color=blue[b][/b]]Frenchman[/color] in a bright red Chevy Avalanche!!!).

Anyone have any recommendations? We'll be putting the Sienna on a boat headed back to the States in June and I probably ought to put a new battery in it even though it just hit 3 yrs. The positive terminal is constantly corroding, no matter what I do. Should I try to fit a larger battery in there? Anyone have any experience with a larger battery? Larger alternator will do me no good when shutdown.

Appreciate any help, and, as always, thanks for having my back!

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Try some high temp. silicon grease or waterproof high temp silicon grease.

this might be a good one, not sure though...
Have you had the battery and alternator checked? You may have a bad cell in the battery or the alternator may not be functioning properly. In addition, check your ground cable for a really good connection. This is a inexpensive way to start. Good luck.
The stock battery is pretty weak; we just replaced ours today with an EverStart Maxx from WalMart. It was the highest rated battery from Consumer Report in the current annual auto issue. The van starts up so quick now and the lights seem much brighter. the doors and liftgate also open up much quicker. I think the stock batter is rated at 585 CCA. The EverStart we just bought is 700 CCA.
WooHoo!! The infamous Dead-Battery Club strikes again!! :mad: :'(

I've also been a member....3x (??..can't remember). :eek: 8)

There is a known issue that can plague 2004-2005s regarding how the automatic interior light shut-off works.
It is a fault in the lighting circuitry and how the instructions are "worded". The van does come with automatic light power down, but it only works for the interior lights under VERY EXACT conditions. It does not work as we would expect them to work. The feature is UNRELIABLE and misleading in its usefulness in the real world. Later model years apparently have it corrected (???).

Aside from jumper/booster cables, I also carry the following:
-- AAA Auto Club Membership
-- Black & Decker SimpleStart Battery Booster ( )

Several of the "old" members have also installed an automatic battery cutoff device. Try a Google search for [car battery saver], or something like that. Apparently, one that has gotten a lot of publicity is called [Battery Brain], but that's not the one that was popular with Sienna-folks. I can't for the life of me remember the brand name that was popular....Anyone else remember???

I've also learned to do a "once over" and look at the interior lights to make sure they are all off before leaving the car...especially when away from home (at the mall, beach, wherever, etc).

And I have upgraded my OEM battery to a Costco/Kirkland #9 (sorry...don't remember the standard battery group size). Costco/Kirkland car batteries are made by Interstate/Johnson Controls, one of the world's largest/leading car battery makers. It has greater cranking amps and reserve capacity compared to OEM. The polarity of the post terminals are "reversed", so you will have to re-route/stretch the cables a bit (and/or loosen one of the tie-down snaps behind the battery area) and slightly bend the terminal connectors. The red terminal plastic cap may also need to be modified. And I also fashioned a DIY-spacer from a small scrap of wood and some small corner/L-brackets & duct tape and used it together with the factory tie-down bracket to help keep the new battery from sliding/moving (it is slightly narrower and shorter, than the stock OEM battery). Price at my local Costco in SoCal was approx $70 + California fee (refundable/core deposit $9).

There was also a TSB regarding 2005s with the JBL system and an electrical problem that would drain the battery. I'm not sure if it applied to 2006s....???

Good Luck!!
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I have ran into this a couple of times as a customer complaint. I have never duplicated the problem. I work on alot of toyotas in an indepentant shop. I think the problem came down to the battery shorting out in the plates. It was hit and miss. On the vehicles that were out of warranty, i replaced the battery and had good luck so far. If the vehicle was in warranty i suggested going back to the dealer.
Here is a link describing a Sienna battery problem and a fix (increasing idle speed).
I guess if even slightly excessive idling occurs, this could be the answer???
Fortunately, we do not idle much.
1. Change the battery, Napa Select 8424F is the highest rated battery period, period, period...
2. Pour extremely hot water on the terminals to rid the acid from terminals

In 3 years buy another battery
Many short trips can also kill a battery. Not enough time to recharge.
Add in extremely cold or hot weather + many electrical/power accessories.... and you get stranded.
Here is an excerpt from the link I previously posted:

Section: Electrical

Bulletin #: EL013-03

Date: September 26, 2003 (Revised)

Title: Charging Improvement At Idle

Models: 2003 model year Sienna vehicles.


Some customers may complain of a low battery or no start condition after running the engine at idle or low RPM for extended periods of time with several accessories on (for example, front and rear air conditioning) during high temperature conditions. A new alternator has been developed to improve charging performance at idle.

NOTE: This new alternator will not prevent dead batteries or no start conditions on vehicles that are stored for long periods of time or on vehicles that are driven very infrequently.

So what you need to do is go to your Toyota Dealer and have them check and adjust the idle speed. Then have them check for a parasitic draw on the battery. If everything checks out good, or has been repaired, they can then install the modified alternator and that should take care of your problem.

Read more: "Toyota Sienna Killing Batteries: A Low Mileage Toyota That Has A Dead Battery Every Few Days." -


The lesson seems to be, avoid excessive idling which could cause a parasitic draw on the battery, thereby slowly killing it. Idling is not good for the engine either, right?
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Alternators provide very little amperage at idle. This is normal. So if you are running lots of accessories for a LONG period of time then i think (maybe) it may drain the battery down over a time span.......Yes increasing the idle speed will have an effect on the output of the ALT.

But the OP was battery dies with front doors open after 20 minutes? For a battery to die after 20 mins with just the doors open??? I think the battery is to blame.

Just my thoughts??
Battery died this morning.
2004 LE
my in law brought his charger to the house, an hour later, the van started ok.

Battery dated 5/2003 so it's close to 6 yrs old. If it happens again, I think we will replace it. We just replaced a new battery for our 97 Camry back in Nov (11 yrs old). I expect the battery will last around 6-8 yrs. Will see how it goes
Almost all batteries say maintenance free but I like to top mine off with distilled water at least once a year...

"If the battery water level is allowed to get too low, the heat generated within the battery will destroy the battery cells".

This is an excerpt from:

Batteries do not need as much water as a petunia, but they need some.
I had to change my battery this past November. The build date for my van was 06/2003. It is an XLE limited with all kinds of lights and electronics. If you have to boost it twice... replace it. No problems since. Not the longest lasting battery in my experiences. Went with the Costco $60 ish battery, best replacement warranty and cheap! I expect but hope I don't have to do this every 4 years...

cheers, ;)

I wonder if we can bring back the LED interior light mod thread.

Years back I replaced all the interior lights with leds. Since then I have not had a dead battery.

Before that the battery died three time after kids left a door open. All three times I put the battery on the slow charge figuring it would be toast, however it has managed to last. My build date was 02/04.

Since the LED changeout The kids have left the lights on several more times and I not had any issues starting up. Its been one of the best mods, it did change the lighting from yellow to blue Bbut we found that to be better anyways.

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JeffG, where did you buy your replacement LED lights?
I'm thinking about buying led lamps from here:

Does anyone have any experience with this seller?
Mine were purchased from superbrightleds back in 2004 Ive had no issues with any of them. I know on the old message board there were a few posts from members who had one or two go out, but were able to get them replaced. I knwo there were two different part numbers. Let me do some digging and see if I can remember what I ordered...
grandmama said:
Battery died this morning.
2004 LE
my in law brought his charger to the house, an hour later, the van started ok.

Battery dated 5/2003 so it's close to 6 yrs old. If it happens again, I think we will replace it. We just replaced a new battery for our 97 Camry back in Nov (11 yrs old). I expect the battery will last around 6-8 yrs. Will see how it goes
I think it was the AAA that did a nationwide study regarding average car battery life. Their verdict = 4 years. Your battery might last longer than that, but chances are it will leave you stranded some day. Even if you live in a temperate/comfortable year-round climate, or if you never let the battery discharge & die, or never need a boost/jump-start, batteries do not last forever and they degrade over time and usage. A battery is a relatively easy and somewhat inexpensive component to replace. If you are uncomfortable DIY-ing, many stores that sell them will install it for you....some charge a fee, others do it for free. Some states also impose a disposal/core charge fee to mitigate environmental impacts, which may or may not be refundable.

Many batteries die when it is very cold, or very hot.

This is one easily done/preventative maintenance item that will help lessen the likelihood of you getting stranded somewhere.....inconveniently, or possibly even dangerous.

GREAT idea with the LEDs. I'd forgotten about that.
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Just out of the blue, I suddenly remembered what the name of the battery-saver device I was trying to think of in an earlier post on the 1st page of this topic is called.

PRIORITY START. Here's their website:
Shop around, it is available from many different online retailers.

Several of the old members have used/installed this in their '04 (or later) Siennas (and other cars) with good results (saved them from dead batteries).

Good Luck!! 8)
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