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2nd gen Sliding door cable Fix - Potential idea

42761 Views 28 Replies 20 Participants Last post by  Moshelo
i still havent been able to source out a part number for the infamous cable spool that breaks due to crappy sheathing, cheap rusted cable.

i went to star toyota here in queens and they are just a bunch of a-holes. nobody seems to care other than the fact they say that they dont sell the standalone spool for the power door cable. i said, that the part exists, try harder. they claim that all their customers simply get it fixed from dealer and nobody buys any parts. whatever.

here is some inspiration for folks who are handy.

what i did so far is went to home dpot and bought around 12 ft of 1/16" cable without the sheathing. our cable is thinner gauge than the previous 1st gen sienna. 3/32" seems to be too thick. they sell 1/16" also but with a green vinyl wrap, although that too seems too thick.
unfortunately, the 1/16" cable is only galvanized, but without insulation. that means if we were to put in a new cable, we will still be exposed to the elements. what im thinking about doing is using heat shrink tube from a big spool. this way, the cable will be the right size for the roller and the motor spool.

follow the instructions from polifrog with the ferrut clamping, and we will probably be good.

if i finish this succesfully, i'll post pics and a write up, as this is only an idea in the works.
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Re: heat shrink tubing

Can someone please send me the TSB that TSB that tells how to swap the motors?
Re: heat shrink tubing

Shoot me an e-mail at bavariandoc at and I can assist with the TSBs. Thanks.
I replaced the cables on the right door of my 2004 Sienna and wrote up the repair in detail on my blog:
I replaced the cables on the right door of my 2004 Sienna and wrote up the repair in detail on my blog:
Nice write up!
I replaced the cables (and cables only) on the driver’s sliding door in February 2015.

At this time I also disassembled the still functioning passenger sliding door and removed the plastic coating from those cables to prevent failure.

I used two different cables at that time, as I was undecided about which to use:
For the opening cable, I used standard 1/16” wire rope- this was from Home Depot. A similar wire rope, or cable, was the original design with a plastic or rubber coating. For the closing cable, I used teflon coated tandem bike cable . This repair was successful for 6 months. The van is in heavy use by my enthusiastic wife and kids: 35,000 miles/year, 3-5 passengers daily. I’d estimate 5-10 revolutions of that poor door pulley daily - so perhaps 350-1800 door laps in the last 6 months.

Recently the bike cable failed. The bike cable is constructed differently than standard wire rope. This bike cable is made of a bundle of tiny wires wrapped in a teflon coating, the wire rope is several smaller wire ropes (as opposed to individual wires). Although the bike cable is coated, the wire rope is more flexible and more resistant to fraying. I think the wire rope works better. This rope is neither galvanized nor constructed stainless steel. Cable rust could be a long term concern, but at this point I am not worried about rust in the next few years as the van is in the garage and rain water doesn’t make it to the pulley system.

I replaced failed bike cable with the standard 1/16’ wire rope today, August 2015. It took 3 blissful hours.

I accessed the pulley system by removing only the door panel and the motor pulley cover. I did not remove the motor housing or cable system from the door, but instead left them in place. I fed the new cable through the cable tubes and smaller pulley system (located above the center hinge). I used standard 1/16” swages previously in February, and for this repair. I improperly/unconventionally compressed the pulley swage with a pliers (as opposed to a proper crimping tool) and then filed the swage to a square shape in a size that the motor pulley would accommodate (dreading with each stroke that the swage was getting too thin to offer any resistance to pressure applied to the cable). At the anchor end, the flattened swage is wide enough to adequately compress the spring and narrow enough to slide inside the plastic anchor.

It does take some thought, and possibly examination of a working door system, to determine: pulley wrapping direction, matching the cable with correct tube, and feeding the cable through the smaller pulley system located above the center hinge. The length of the cable could be determined by measuring the old cables. I determined the length by operating the door with the cables in their proper positions, under tension but prior to compressing the cable swage at the anchor.

I wanted to confirm an idea of replacing the cables. If you are as crazy as I am, it might be worth a try.
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The cable snapped on the driver side sliding door for my 2011 Sienna the other day. Other than the broken cable, everything else seems fine.

I looked at the write up by johnmueller (, which was great and super detailed, but its for 2004-2010 models.

Has anyone done a replacement on a 2011 model? Are the steps used to replace a cable on 2004-2010 models basically the same for 2011? Does anyone have the TSB for this repair?

Thanks in advance
Does anyone know the cable length for each of the cables? My cables are broke beyond recognition to verify the exact length I need to cut a new cable.
I attempted the repair, but failed yesterday. The new part I had also broke. I think I did not wrap the cable properly. I did measure the cables and found that the longer cable is Black at 74.5 Inches and the other cable is 70 Inches. Please note that I bought these from a seller on ebay and was not successful in my repair although I do think it was the right length. Good luck!!!
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