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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi folks,

I had a dealer tell me I can't make a decision. Maybe he's right. But most dealers in my area of MN are selling 2004-2010 Siennas with 175k+ and most now are over 200K. To my mind, that is a nearly dead vehicle. I say that as someone who has a terminal Toyota Previa, 1993, with 311K on it. I paid 2200 for it in 2010 at 150K. Now the dealers are looking for anywhere from 8-11K for vans with many more miles. This is the van I want, preferably 2009-10 to avoid some regular issues. 150K-165K is ok. I think I should be paying 4-6K for different models in good condition (just clean without major leaks, no serious accidents). Every time I got close to that I was beaten out by a sight unseen buyer -my guess is a reseller. 5 grand is a lot to me, especially since this pandemic, and I still want to check the thing out before saying I'll take it.

Am I nuts?! Should I just accept the inflated market as not going away? There's a nice looking van with 189K about 3.5 hours away. Guy and I have corresponded and it has not sold in three weeks. Why? He insists on $7500 -as a private seller. To me that's just too much for a van approaching the 200K mark. P.S. -I don't want a Chrysler minivan. When I buy these things at such high mileage, I at least know the Toyota and it's problems. But maybe I'm crazy.

Frank
1993 Toyota Previa 311K
MN
 

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Prices are going to stay high for the foreseeable future. I almost never had to buy a new car at MSRP. Knowing how crazy the current market is, it's definitely something I just had to accept. An MSRP Sienna is considered a deal at this time, so that was my goal.

You say your van is on its last legs. I think you should settle for the best that you can find now, and just come to terms with the current market reality. I say this because your back is not against the wall, yet.

If your Previa dies, you will become desperate, and you never, ever want to go car shopping when you are desperate. When I decide to buy a car, I start my research months in advance. I couldn't do that and position myself for the best deal if I needed a car Today.

Something to keep in mind. Everyone's situation and luck is different. Good luck!
 

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I had a previa...in 1999 I bought a used 1991 toyota previa with 150k miles on it, for $1800.....Seller got it as a pass down from his old grandmother....The van drove great and I passed it on to my cousin for his kids driving teaching car practice...lol.... during that time... I repaired the SADDs coupling with BMW flexible rubber coupling which fit great and was still perfect when I got rid of the car... I replaced the starter, front struts, rear shocks, brake pads, did all the fluids flushed... and got rid of egr code of 071 I think... It was a clogged egr channel inside the intake or top engine casing to egr valve... I cleaned out the plugged up channel hole of carbon deposits with carb cleaner and coat hangers....the code cleared within 10 miles... passed smog, no problems.. I loved that van, drove me all over, never broke down and was super reliable...granted engine was under seat but not too bad...Its a rear wheel drive that I love, no FWD cv axles or other stuff to break down... I wished the sienna was RWD...

You should just keep the previa and fix it...those toyota engines back in late 80's and early 90's were bullet proof....remember the legendary toyota engine 22R or 22RE....they last like till 1 million miles club, atleast claims made by some owners...back in day.. The transmission is bullet proof too.

As far as buying a sienna.....good luck with those prices...the whole used car and new car market is nuts....Just wait it out and kill your itch or desire for new cars...that's when you emotions will make you broke...Emotional decision is what screws over guys a lot with the wrong ladies which end up with divorces ending $$$ poor house.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Prices are going to stay high for the foreseeable future. I almost never had to buy a new car at MSRP. Knowing how crazy the current market is, it's definitely something I just had to accept. An MSRP Sienna is considered a deal at this time, so that was my goal.

You say your van is on its last legs. I think you should settle for the best that you can find now, and just come to terms with the current market reality. I say this because your back is not against the wall, yet.

If your Previa dies, you will become desperate, and you never, ever want to go car shopping when you are desperate. When I decide to buy a car, I start my research months in advance. I couldn't do that and position myself for the best deal if I needed a car Today.

Something to keep in mind. Everyone's situation and luck is different. Good luck!
Absolutely, you are right. I missed the boat on this -I was working on my van last winter with a no-start condition and problem solved it and got it going. That's when the transmission problem showed up. For me, and my mechanic it seems, is not worth addressing. That said, I just put in the front and rear disc pads to keep it going for short trips. The transmission issue, dropping out of gear, hasn't gotten too much worse..yet. There's a new oil leak at the front seal/oil pump house and the front struts have been gone for years. I'll drive it and keep looking. Getting value now seems to mean finding an overpriced van at mileage but that has the best chance of going another 80K.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I had a previa...in 1999 I bought a used 1991 toyota previa with 150k miles on it, for $1800.....Seller got it as a pass down from his old grandmother....The van drove great and I passed it on to my cousin for his kids driving teaching car practice...lol.... during that time... I repaired the SADDs coupling with BMW flexible rubber coupling which fit great and was still perfect when I got rid of the car... I replaced the starter, front struts, rear shocks, brake pads, did all the fluids flushed... and got rid of egr code of 071 I think... It was a clogged egr channel inside the intake or top engine casing to egr valve... I cleaned out the plugged up channel hole of carbon deposits with carb cleaner and coat hangers....the code cleared within 10 miles... passed smog, no problems.. I loved that van, drove me all over, never broke down and was super reliable...granted engine was under seat but not too bad...Its a rear wheel drive that I love, no FWD cv axles or other stuff to break down... I wished the sienna was RWD...

You should just keep the previa and fix it...those toyota engines back in late 80's and early 90's were bullet proof....remember the legendary toyota engine 22R or 22RE....they last like till 1 million miles club, atleast claims made by some owners...back in day.. The transmission is bullet proof too.

As far as buying a sienna.....good luck with those prices...the whole used car and new car market is nuts....Just wait it out and kill your itch or desire for new cars...that's when you emotions will make you broke...Emotional decision is what screws over guys a lot with the wrong ladies which end up with divorces ending $$$ poor house.
I've been keeping this Previa running for 160K and I would continue, but my mechanic won't work on it at least where serious issues are concerned. The transmission dropping out of gear developed this spring and he doesn't want to trace the issue (maybe sensor, maybe not). The new oil leak at front seal/oil pump and 12 year old struts need replacing which isn't a cheap job and one I don't want to do now. I just replaced the brake pads all around to save myself a few bucks -brakes seems ok now. Last winter due to no-start condition, I replaced the coil, distributor cap, rotor, o-ring, wires, plugs, finally used the 25$ gasket maker from Toyota on the valve cover gasket job and stopped that pesky but engineered-in distributor area leak. I cleaned the throttle body twice in 12 years, the second time this winter, trying to source the no start. Turns out my no start condition was the front 02 sensor -which I always have trouble with understanding. Replacing it was mentioned by my wife who remembered that happened four years prior. The throttle sticks when cold. The hatch lifts are shot in temps below 75, you can nearly see through the wheel wells due to rust. It's not a safe van on MN icy roads, but I've made it work for years now. I will drive it until I cannot, but yes -don't want to be cornered. I am waiting to find a reasonable van at a reasonable cost, even if it's a little more. But avoiding dealers now. They are insane. I wish people would just say nope, but maybe they are since so many of them are still available at the dealers. Its the resellers that are screwing my opportunities when a decent van comes up at a reasonable price they buy them without a blink, without looking. There's a 163K Highlander for 6k at a house just a mile away. I may looking at that for my wife -her 98 Jeep Cherokee has 220K and the heater core has been shot for years. Replacing it requires removing the entire dash, apparently. Flush doesn't work. She's been driving in -20F for two winters without heat. Crazy, but she's tough. Heated steering wheels -haha, seems ridiculous to us! If she likes that highlander, we can get that, and I'll drive her jeep since I don't need the van volume off season (building materials/potted plants hauled).
 

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My "work van" is an '07 with 235K miles. Needed trans replaced and didn't want to put any more money in it. On one warm day this past January I had my sawzall in-hand, ready to cut out the catalytic converter and junk the rest. A phone call from a client took me away; by the time I came back it was dark, then it snowed, etc. Things got busy and van ended up sitting there until July.

Then I saw the insane prices of used Sienna. Glad I didn't cut the thing up. Spent $2300 to get trans rebuilt. Debating whether to sell it now that prices are sky-high, or keep it as 2nd vehicle now that it runs great.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
For Laughs: Not so much the price, but the age and mileage difference. 1/10th the miles, not quite 4 times the cost.

Tire Automotive parking light Wheel Vehicle Car
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
My "work van" is an '07 with 235K miles. Needed trans replaced and didn't want to put any more money in it. On one warm day this past January I had my sawzall in-hand, ready to cut out the catalytic converter and junk the rest. A phone call from a client took me away; by the time I came back it was dark, then it snowed, etc. Things got busy and van ended up sitting there until July.

Then I saw the insane prices of used Sienna. Glad I didn't cut the thing up. Spent $2300 to get trans rebuilt. Debating whether to sell it now that prices are sky-high, or keep it as 2nd vehicle now that it runs great.
Well I'll tell you my experience! People are snapping up any market-ignorant private seller van that comes up sight unseen! If it is decent and under 4500$, it sells in a heartbeat. The overpriced vans are sitting at dealers.
 

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My "work van" is an '07 with 235K miles. Needed trans replaced and didn't want to put any more money in it. On one warm day this past January I had my sawzall in-hand, ready to cut out the catalytic converter and junk the rest. A phone call from a client took me away; by the time I came back it was dark, then it snowed, etc. Things got busy and van ended up sitting there until July.

Then I saw the insane prices of used Sienna. Glad I didn't cut the thing up. Spent $2300 to get trans rebuilt. Debating whether to sell it now that prices are sky-high, or keep it as 2nd vehicle now that it runs great.
I'd keep it unless you're keen on upgrading. At least it'll be the evil you know. I hate surprises. The sky high prices has made a jump from a used car to a new car much more bearable. I've sold all my cars for over or near what I bought them new, years ago!
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
I'd keep it unless you're keen on upgrading. At least it'll be the evil you know. I hate surprises. The sky high prices has made a jump from a used car to a new car much more bearable. I've sold all my cars for over or near what I bought them new, years ago!
How can that be? You've sold all your cars for more than you bought them new? Were they only a year or three old?
 

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How can that be? You've sold all your cars for more than you bought them new? Were they only a year or three old?
One was a sports car I bought new for $50k+ tax, sold it 5 years later for $49k. Other was an SUV listed in those promotional emails as a loss leader, $22k for a $31k vehicle. OTD was about $24k on that. I sold it to a dealership 3 years later for $25.5k. They sold it for $29k a few weeks later. Both cars were sold about a couple months ago.

I think it helps that I keep all my cars looking better than showroom condition. I take pride in keeping a clean and shiny car. All my vehicles get a coat of spray wax at the end of a wash.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Looking at a 145K mileage 2009. Private seller. FWIW, dealer vans are sitting on lots if they even have them on hand when advertising. That one the dealer shamed me for not jumping on is still there a month later.

Couple of things about this 2009 van -Carfax says it has a lien in 3/21 still. I don't know much about buying cars with liens, unless it's payed off now. The other thing is the accident. He had the body work done at the time. Third thing is that I asked about the spark plugs, he said he never cared to get them done. But why would the dealer, where he took his car to get serviced at 119K, not do the plugs? Maybe he refused due to the cost. Seems foolish, but who knows. Last thing was his cavalier attitude about recalls. He had the tire cable done, but said he didn't care to look for other recalls and the dealer said nothing. When I run the vin, it states that the shift solenoid is replaceable. I know this may be a minor issue -someone who grew up without shift lock vehicles, but 1 -is it a DIY item, or can a second owner still bring it to a dealer to get done? Thanks for any info and support!
 

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Third thing is that I asked about the spark plugs, he said he never cared to get them done. But why would the dealer, where he took his car to get serviced at 119K, not do the plugs? Maybe he refused due to the cost.
The front plugs are easy DIY, but the rear plugs (the bank closest to firewall) are a pain in the arse to change, so the labor charge is not insignificant. Also, my mechanic said if you're going through all the trouble to change the rear plugs, might as well change the COP coils also.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
The front plugs are easy DIY, but the rear plugs (the bank closest to firewall) are a pain in the arse to change, so the labor charge is not insignificant. Also, my mechanic said if you're going through all the trouble to change the rear plugs, might as well change the COP coils also.
Those COP OE same as the Denso version? $52 Rockauto. Always used Denso on my Previa and seemed pretty good for the price.
 

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The front plugs are easy DIY, but the rear plugs (the bank closest to firewall) are a pain in the arse to change, so the labor charge is not insignificant. Also, my mechanic said if you're going through all the trouble to change the rear plugs, might as well change the COP coils also.
The dealer where I am wanted $400 to change the plugs, just the 6 plugs and the labor, that was it, not a whole service.
 

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Those COP OE same as the Denso version? $52 Rockauto. Always used Denso on my Previa and seemed pretty good for the price.
On my 2007 and 2012, yes the Denso was the same as what came with the car.
It's time to find a reputable local mechanic if dealer wants $400 to change plugs!
 

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Looking at a 145K mileage 2009. Private seller. FWIW, dealer vans are sitting on lots if they even have them on hand when advertising. That one the dealer shamed me for not jumping on is still there a month later.

Couple of things about this 2009 van -Carfax says it has a lien in 3/21 still. I don't know much about buying cars with liens, unless it's payed off now. The other thing is the accident. He had the body work done at the time. Third thing is that I asked about the spark plugs, he said he never cared to get them done. But why would the dealer, where he took his car to get serviced at 119K, not do the plugs? Maybe he refused due to the cost. Seems foolish, but who knows. Last thing was his cavalier attitude about recalls. He had the tire cable done, but said he didn't care to look for other recalls and the dealer said nothing. When I run the vin, it states that the shift solenoid is replaceable. I know this may be a minor issue -someone who grew up without shift lock vehicles, but 1 -is it a DIY item, or can a second owner still bring it to a dealer to get done? Thanks for any info and support!
All recalls are fixable for anyone who brings the van to them. It doesn't matter how many owners, how many miles, or how rusty. If you drive it in there, you get a free [recalled item] if the VIN shows an open recall.

As for advice: You know where I stand on these dumpster fires. Run fast and run far. I've "invested" $8500 into mine since December 2019 and now I'm finding out it needs a radiator, master cylinder, lower coolant hose, trans drain plug washer, power steering lines, struts, and sway bar links. IT NEVER ENDS. Don't buy one of these with high miles unless you're independently wealthy or insane. If you must know what I'd do, I'd finance the newest, lowest mileage van you can possibly stretch to afford. It'll hold more value once prices normalize, you'll be able to write most of it's history, and you'll get more use out of it as opposed to just hoping to get by for the next 80k miles or so. Who knows how much you're going to have to sink into a 180k mile van to get to 260k. Dollars/mile, you're better just buying one for $30k with 50k and adding 200k to it with a lot fewer headaches on the way.
 

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Not sure how this post went from used car prices to reliably comments but my ‘08 with 175000 is rock solid. When I bought it 3 years ago at 130k for 6 grand I had all maintenance done which wasn’t a lot. Flushes and fluids and whatnot ($200). And a power door repair I did myself ($300).
I took it to my mechanic this summer before a 1000 mile road trip. A rear wheel bearing and new brake pads were all it needed. I’ve spent $1000 on it so far. The suspension is done so I’m planning on lifting it and replacing struts and shocks and other undercar parts. As it sits it’s worth more than I paid for it. But if I sell it can’t afford to replace it.
I’ve noticed dealers are asking a small fortune for these vans. Private party sellers are more reasonable. Combing Craigslist and Marketplace ready to buy with cash in your pocket is the best way to get a good deal.
 
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