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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My 08 AWD Limited with 217K miles needs a LF half axle and transfer case replacement, which means engine and transmission come out. I'm thinking I'll proactively get done anything that's easy while it's apart, with an eye to making it quieter and reliable for another few years - suggestions? (My driving is local to California's central coast, occasional road trips to e.g. Phoenix or Portland; no towing, lightly loaded, just two adults and a dog)

When I bought it (4 years ago, at about 168K mi) the mechanic said ATF was "awful" but I thought it shifted OK. The engine was Toyota-rebuilt at about 150K due to catastrophic oil pipe failure, and the water pump had recently been replaced too (at 144K miles, about 6 years ago). Major maint since then:
(1) diff support/carrier bearing in the rear
(2) LF half axle (yes, needs doing again just 3 years later!)
(3) RF wheel bearing, tie rod
(4) struts and sway bar links (40K miles ago) - the then-mechanic said "don't replace mounts, they're fine"
(5) front lower control arms & ball joints & sway bar bushings (20K miles ago)
(6) rear axle beam carrier bushing
(7) PS rack just replaced
(8) done trans drain/fill 3 times; now the mech is telling me to "flush." Shifting seems mostly OK to me; maybe I feel a more abrupt engagement into forward motion from stop than I used to, not dramatic

The car is mostly pretty satisfactory, if a bit wind/road-noisy (I got new hearing aids :) ... current 'complaints' beyond the transfer case whine are:

(a) some front end noise - a little steering creaking on low speed turns (mech says it's not the intermediate steering shaft, that has "minimal play" but he took it apart and lubed it anyway while he was replacing the PS rack for a leak); a bit of a thump on low-speed rough roads or when going from stationary to reverse
(b) a thump maybe from rear sometimes on going from stationary to forward
(c) minor stuff I can fix, like unreliable A/C blend control, broken sliding door cable

My candidates for maint now are:

(i) transfer case (replace w/used, with ~80K miles)
(ii) transmission (replace w/used, with ~80K miles)
(iii) replace LF axle (new, aftermarket)
(v) replace mounts for engine, transmission (just because it's old rubber) - anything non-obvious for noise/smoothness improvement?
(vi) replace radiator (is aftermarket OK?), coolant hoses, flush coolant
(vii) should I replace water pump? (no particular noise, just ... 6 yrs, 70K+ miles)
(viii) flush brake fluid, change rear diff fluid

Am I missing any good "while you're that far" opportunities at this point?

Thanks,
-- Wayne
 

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2014 Sienna LE
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(vii) should I replace water pump? (no particular noise, just ... 6 yrs, 70K+ miles)
I probably would. Changing the water pump with the engine out would be a piece of cake. Probably take ten minutes. Took my about ten hours my first go around when it failed on my 2014 at 113 k miles, changing it in-place. (I’ve got the same engine, the 2GR-FE, [assuming you have a V6] that you do, though I have a 3rd gen and you have a 2nd gen)

How old are your spark plugs? That’d be another easy swap with the engine out, took me about 6 hours to do a couple weeks ago…front ones are always accessible, rear are not. I swapped my three rear coils with new Denso ones, and saved the three rear original coils to replace the front three when they eventually die.

Oh, and check all the vacuum hoses, plus any hoses in general. My water hoses I’ve disconnected were in good shape still, but the vast majority of my vacuum hoses I disconnected while doing plugs were cracking around where they went over the hose barbs at the ends of the hoses.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I probably would. Changing the water pump with the engine out would be a piece of cake. Probably take ten minutes. Took my about ten hours my first go around when it failed on my 2014 at 113 k miles, changing it in-place. (I’ve got the same engine, the 2GR-FE, [assuming you have a V6] that you do, though I have a 3rd gen and you have a 2nd gen)

How old are your spark plugs? That’d be another easy swap with the engine out, took me about 6 hours to do a couple weeks ago…front ones are always accessible, rear are not. I swapped my three rear coils with new Denso ones, and saved the three rear original coils to replace the front three when they eventually die.

Oh, and check all the vacuum hoses, plus any hoses in general. My water hoses I’ve disconnected were in good shape still, but the vast majority of my vacuum hoses I disconnected while doing plugs were cracking around where they went over the hose barbs at the ends of the hoses.
Good tips - the spark plugs were changed at the engine rebuild so they've got maybe 70K miles on them, should be good for my projected use (goal is another 5 yrs/60K mil), but I'll make sure to list "all vacuum hoses" for the mechanic!
 

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I don't think they've ever been replaced - how long do they last?
I’m not sure what the typical lifespan is. I’ve seen recommendations to change when your spark plugs are out. I’m not sure if I ever saw a reference to anything less than 150,000 miles for a failure. Do you have an OBD scanner? The general failure seems to be a drifting in long term fuel trims, and it seems failure can often be detected before it throws a code at you because you start seeing the trims drift way away from zero (but not yet reaching the 25 or so required to throw a code). This seems to typically corresponds to a very gradual drop in MPG as the van starts throwing in more fuel because it’s not getting the reading it expects from the O2 sensors as the age and start not reading correctly.
 

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2016 Toyota Sienna LE FWD
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I probably would. Changing the water pump with the engine out would be a piece of cake. Probably take ten minutes. Took my about ten hours my first go around when it failed on my 2014 at 113 k miles, changing it in-place. (I’ve got the same engine, the 2GR-FE, [assuming you have a V6] that you do, though I have a 3rd gen and you have a 2nd gen)

How old are your spark plugs? That’d be another easy swap with the engine out, took me about 6 hours to do a couple weeks ago…front ones are always accessible, rear are not. I swapped my three rear coils with new Denso ones, and saved the three rear original coils to replace the front three when they eventually die.

Oh, and check all the vacuum hoses, plus any hoses in general. My water hoses I’ve disconnected were in good shape still, but the vast majority of my vacuum hoses I disconnected while doing plugs were cracking around where they went over the hose barbs at the ends of the hoses.
I agree with all of this, just make sure you do get a Aisin pump and not a cheap Chinese one, that really won't help you in the long run.
 
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If youre in CA, you might consider replacing the catalytic converter while you have it exposed. Most of that job is already done, only thing left is the (astronomical) cost of the unit itself, and an exhaust gasket.
 
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