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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I have an 08 Sienna LE, it was running fine, no issues until I washed the engine, now the battery loses the charge while driving it,
all the gauges, lights on the dash start going wild and then my vehicle shuts down, I just want to ask if it could be that I damaged the alternator,
Auto zone said it was the battery but I tend to doubt it...when I remove one of the battery terminals the vehicles shuts down.
 

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Clean the battery terminals. Start it up and check the voltage at the battery terminals using a DVOM.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Clean the battery terminals. Start it up and check the voltage at the battery terminals using a DVOM.
Thank you Sir, I did that but its still loosing charge, when I have my vehicle on for a few minutes it starts shutting down again, if I take the negative terminal off it shuts down, I just want to buy the correct thing..
 

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Check the tensioner on you alternator making sure it is not loose. If you have another car around, try using the other car's battery and see if it does the same thing. Alternator diagnosis.
 

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We get one or two posts per year of folks who do similar.

Washing an engine has little real value and poses a lot of risk. Older connectors are rarely water tight, and short circuits are the likely outcome. Unless you can heat dry and ensure all trapped water is removed, you are asking for trouble.

Removing a battery terminal from a running engine is a very bad practice. The battery works in conjunction with the voltage regulator as a ground reference and as a capacitive load to quell transients and spikes. When you remove the battery, you risk blowing the regulator module and the diodes. So if the alternator wasn't cooked before from water induced shorts, it might be now.
 

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Disconnect the battery with the car off. Test the voltage. It should read 12.6 or higher, but it may be lower. Make a note of that voltage. Put a trickle charger on it while it's disconnected. Charge it to "full" charge (1-24 hours, depending on level of charge and age of the battery). Remove the charger and test the voltage. If it's less than 12.6, your battery is dead. Wait an hour and test again. If it's dropped much at all or it's below 12.6, your battery is dead. Assuming your battery is good, connect the terminals. Wait a few hours and test the voltage with it connected. If it's dropped much at all, you have a short with water in it. You can leave the car in the sun for a few days with the battery disconnected and it will probably dry out or you can try to find the short. If it hasn't dropped much at all, your charging circuit has a problem. First check is the belt to make sure it isn't slipping. Test the charging circuit. If it's charging at a consistent voltage/amperage, it is likely a cabling (i.e. corroded terminal, bad ground, etc.) issue.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Disconnect the battery with the car off. Test the voltage. It should read 12.6 or higher, but it may be lower. Make a note of that voltage. Put a trickle charger on it while it's disconnected. Charge it to "full" charge (1-24 hours, depending on level of charge and age of the battery). Remove the charger and test the voltage. If it's less than 12.6, your battery is dead. Wait an hour and test again. If it's dropped much at all or it's below 12.6, your battery is dead. Assuming your battery is good, connect the terminals. Wait a few hours and test the voltage with it connected. If it's dropped much at all, you have a short with water in it. You can leave the car in the sun for a few days with the battery disconnected and it will probably dry out or you can try to find the short. If it hasn't dropped much at all, your charging circuit has a problem. First check is the belt to make sure it isn't slipping. Test the charging circuit. If it's charging at a consistent voltage/amperage, it is likely a cabling (i.e. corroded terminal, bad ground, etc.) issue.
Thank you very much ill give it a try.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
We get one or two posts per year of folks who do similar.

Washing an engine has little real value and poses a lot of risk. Older connectors are rarely water tight, and short circuits are the likely outcome. Unless you can heat dry and ensure all trapped water is removed, you are asking for trouble.

Removing a battery terminal from a running engine is a very bad practice. The battery works in conjunction with the voltage regulator as a ground reference and as a capacitive load to quell transients and spikes. When you remove the battery, you risk blowing the regulator module and the diodes. So if the alternator wasn't cooked before from water induced shorts, it might be now.
Thank you so much, I really appreciate it.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Check the tensioner on you alternator making sure it is not loose. If you have another car around, try using the other car's battery and see if it does the same thing. Alternator diagnosis.
Thank you, I'm trying tomorrow morning!
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Check the tensioner on you alternator making sure it is not loose. If you have another car around, try using the other car's battery and see if it does the same thing. Alternator diagnosis.
Today I replaced the alternator, it was a mess, 220,000 miles original equipment, what a job, it was worth it though I did it myself with the help of You Tube, awesome!
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Well, the happiness lasted very little, Alternator is working great, nothing wrong with the battery thank God, BUT...now the transmission is jumpy when it goes from 2nd to 3rd speed and such, and after taking it for a test drive I parked on my driveway and my sienna felt like the brakes were on and would barely move forward, just wondering if the alternator might have fried the transmission when it went bad all of a sudden...😠😫
 

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It's unlikely that a bad alternator would fry a transmission. The 2-3 shift change is probably just the computer adjusting shift points after the computer memory was cleared when the battery was disconnected. Is the car drivable now? If so drive it around awhile so the computer can reset itself.
 

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Entirely possible that you just need to drain and fill the transmission fluid, if you haven't done it in a while. Driving the car more, in the heat of summer, with dust and dirt and whatnot may have pushed transmission fluid on the edge of "clean, fresh" into the dirty, broken down category. If you left it sitting a while, it's also possible that a caliper slide pin or something else in the brakes is stuck.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
The Battery is doing great day after day 12.83 no loss of power and the alternator is working great as well, almost at 14, starts like its new, BUT I've tried everything else resetting the memory with the battery negative off the pole while the vehicle is off, inserting the keys to almost start position and taking it out for a total of 10 times and driving it around, But the problem persists, I've even done 3 spill and fills to where the Tranny oil is almost like from the factory (Pink).

I'm just wondering if it could be the Tranny Solenoids that are clogged or not working at all, baffled...
 

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Well, for starters, I would stop resetting/clearing the memory. You need to build all of that back up, circulate everything and get through, at least, 2 complete drive cycles from cold start to full operating temperature, keeping speeds below 55, before you can properly diagnose anything.

So, you've got a good battery and charging circuit now. On to resolving your transmission issue.

It's entirely possible that you've got a bad solenoid. I assume you didn't just drain it, fill it, drain it, fill it, drain it fill it, right? You've drained it, drove around for a few hundred (or few thousand) miles, then repeated the process? It takes a while for the fluid to work through the system. What was the condition of the fluid when you started? If it started brown or black, you may need to drop the tranny pan and change out the "filter" and check for metal bits.

I still think there is also a possibility of a stuck brake component too. If you have a seized caliper, nothing is going to work right. So, I would pull the wheels and get a helper to press the brake pedal to see that the brakes are releasing. I would also make sure the e-brake isn't stuck on. If your van is trying to overcome a grabbing brake or two, shift points will be off, apparent power will be down, pedal hesitation will occur, etc. Once you verify that the brakes are free and clear, I would take the van for a nice drive, in the 10-30 mile range, from cold start, keeping speeds from 10-45 mph and then do it again the next morning.
 

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Last I heard:
BUT...now the transmission is jumpy when it goes from 2nd to 3rd speed and such, and after taking it for a test drive I parked on my driveway and my sienna felt like the brakes were on and would barely move forward...
What exactly is the trans doing now?
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Entirely possible that you just need to drain and fill the transmission fluid, if you haven't done it in a while. Driving the car more, in the heat of summer, with dust and dirt and whatnot may have pushed transmission fluid on the edge of "clean, fresh" into the dirty, broken down category. If you left it sitting a while, it's also possible that a caliper slide pin or something else in the brakes is stuck.
In reference to the spill and fills, yes I wait several hundred miles in between to do them, we use this vehicle as a secondary, but use it all the time. Thanks!
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Well, for starters, I would stop resetting/clearing the memory. You need to build all of that back up, circulate everything and get through, at least, 2 complete drive cycles from cold start to full operating temperature, keeping speeds below 55, before you can properly diagnose anything.

So, you've got a good battery and charging circuit now. On to resolving your transmission issue.

It's entirely possible that you've got a bad solenoid. I assume you didn't just drain it, fill it, drain it, fill it, drain it fill it, right? You've drained it, drove around for a few hundred (or few thousand) miles, then repeated the process? It takes a while for the fluid to work through the system. What was the condition of the fluid when you started? If it started brown or black, you may need to drop the tranny pan and change out the "filter" and check for metal bits.

I still think there is also a possibility of a stuck brake component too. If you have a seized caliper, nothing is going to work right. So, I would pull the wheels and get a helper to press the brake pedal to see that the brakes are releasing. I would also make sure the e-brake isn't stuck on. If your van is trying to overcome a grabbing brake or two, shift points will be off, apparent power will be down, pedal hesitation will occur, etc. Once you verify that the brakes are free and clear, I would take the van for a nice drive, in the 10-30 mile range, from cold start, keeping speeds from 10-45 mph and then do it again the next morning.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Last I heard:

What exactly is the trans doing now?
Well my Sienna is down, the transmission took a dump, Lucas Oil didn't work out for me, the ATF oil turned brown from the clutches and of course the burnt smell, I removed the pan and observed the magnets, fully loaded with black mud-like material on them and a black film on the bottom of the pan, awful... I tried to remove the valve body today but I was unable to disconnect the wires from the solenoids (I just want to know if they are working) I couldn't find where to pinch them to remove them without breaking the harness wiring. Can anyone advise on this, thanks!
 
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