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Same issue here. Bad rear viscous coupler. Symptom was a whirring sound, coming from the rear. No driveability issues.

2011 Sienna AWD with 100,000 km. Not driven hard.

$1400 repair. Clearly it's a bad part with occurrences happening frequently. Toyota Canada won't do anything, yet you pay big bucks for Toyota reliability.
 

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While you are under the vehicle you should check the vent on top of the differential.
I just changed the oil in mine and the vent was stuck, Sprayed with fluid film and got it free.

If the vent gets stuck closed you will lose oil and eventually run low and kill the bearings.
The diff builds up air pressure from heat of driving and if it doesn't vent it blows out the seals.
 

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I think I have this issue with a 2012 AWD Sienna LE. Definitely from the rear, a high pitched noise. Doesn't seem to come from one side or the other. I noticed it over a year ago when I got new tires but I thought it was the tires at that time because it was very faint, not so now. The van only has 60 000 km (37 000 miles).

My question to those who have experienced it is does the noise change with changes in throttle position? Mine doesn't and I would have thought this would change with throttle position. I even shut the car off in neutral on the highway and there is no change. I am not afraid to tackle this just want to be sure I am fixing the right problem. I would have thought it was a wheel bearing noise but I see not mention of wheel bearing problems for the sienna.

Thanks in advance for your assistance.
 

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I've had wheel bearing issues on my previous Sienna. One of the ways to test for that is to find yourself a quiet, smooth road, get up to speed, shift into neutral (to quiet the engine noise) and then slalom back and forth to put side loads on the wheels (you should feel yourself being pushed from side to side as you do this). If you have a wheel bearing problem, it will generally get louder as a side load is applied. You may notice that the noise differs when you are in a left vs a right slalom. Generally, you can figure out which wheel it is coming from, but engine/wind/road noise can make this more difficult if it is a rear wheel that is the problem (stick a kid in the rear seat and ask them to listen for which side).

I also had the rear coupling issue. If I recall correctly, it may have gotten louder when under load (accelerating) and quieter when coasting?? I remember being most aware of it when accelerating away from a stop sign, or when leaving a 25MPH zone for a 35 MPH zone. It did not change in noise level based on side loads from turning. The change in noise level due to speed was subtle, but when the part had really gotten bad, I could hear it. (When it got bad enough that I could hear it while coasting, I could hear it "wind down" as I slowed.) It was tough to hear at highway speeds, until it got really bad.

As has already been noted, it was not a cheap fix. There was a redesign of the part, so I would not be looking for a used one. Even if you found a used donor vehicle with very low miles, you are just going to have the problem again down the road.
 

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I think I have this issue with a 2012 AWD Sienna LE. Definitely from the rear, a high pitched noise. Doesn't seem to come from one side or the other. I noticed it over a year ago when I got new tires but I thought it was the tires at that time because it was very faint, not so now. The van only has 60 000 km (37 000 miles).

My question to those who have experienced it is does the noise change with changes in throttle position? Mine doesn't and I would have thought this would change with throttle position. I even shut the car off in neutral on the highway and there is no change. I am not afraid to tackle this just want to be sure I am fixing the right problem. I would have thought it was a wheel bearing noise but I see not mention of wheel bearing problems for the sienna.

Thanks in advance for your assistance.
Yes it's likely to be a rear viscous coupler failure. About a $1500 repair. Toyota will not goodwill the repair even though the part appears to have been updated on the newer version. Sad but every AWD Sienna owner in that era should budget for this repair.
 

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I fixed ours 70k miles ago and have had zero problems with it. Here is the write-up I did for it at that time:

More than likely it is the bearing in the coupling. Mine did the same thing. I removed the coupling from the diff. Remove the dust deflector. Remove the wires coming out of the plastic plug and make sure that they can freely move. Use a press and pressing from the side with the studs press the assembly out. The large bearing will probably stay inside the assembly and is the one that probably needs to be replaced. The bearing is a Toyota Part# 90363-95007. Don't let them tell you that it is not this part. Remember that the coupler is supposed to be a "non-servicable" part. This is the bearing inside the coupler.

I also found this website today after I had mine apart: http://toyota-club.net/files/faq/04-07-05_faq_atc_eng.htm

Mine is a Toyota Sienna 2013 and failed at 80,000 miles.
Good Luck!
 

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Had the same issue - whining started a few months ago. Took it to the dealer for some recall work and had them take a look at it... they said, sure enough, it's bad, and it'll cost $2200 to replace it.

I called Toyota since I was still under 60K, but since we're a little over 5 years, they didn't offer to help out. I ended up buying the bearing and having the shop replace it for about $200. Far cry from $2K, but still, for as many people as seem to be having this issue, it would be nice for Toyota to take care of it.

Thanks for the recommendation @ragerrl - swapping out the bearing has worked perfectly so far - no noise. A little disappointing that Toyota tried to milk me for $2200... if you run into this issue, definitely try the bearing fix first!
 

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Great posting!! Found it researching the tell-tale whirring coming from the rear of my 2011 Sienna LE AWD (only 60K on her). Thanks to ragerrl and all for the more wallet-friendly option! Also found the original 2016 thread.

Just want to add/clarify what my own research yielded in hopes it can help the next poor victim.
- The original coupling assembly is part# 41303-28011 for production dates 01/2010-10/2011 and 41303-28012 for 10/2011-01/2014.
- Believe the front bearing is the same for both: NSK 95DSF01 / Toyota 90363-95007.
- Believe the dust deflector for this unit is a Toyota 41252-44010.
- Parts are under $75 US total.
- Dealer quoted somewhere under $2K for total replacement with the newest unit. (Believe that part# is 41303-28013)

PLEASE anyone chime in if this doesn't match what you found!
Cheers
 

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I'm in the process of trying to get this issue fixed as we speak. I too heard the "whirring noise" and couldn't figure it out (thinking it was wheel bearings) and I've encountered several other Sienna's that make the same noise. I was about to chalk it up to a noise that is inherent these vans just make, but then I found this thread.

I spoke to a local garage that specializes in rear differentials and they said they have fixed many of these. So I just ordered the bearing 90363-95007 and when it gets in I'll have the garage replace it. $350 for labor (much better than the $2k repair). However, the garage said because of this issue it causes the fluid to leak which could potentially affect the clutch in the rear diff. Having only 55k miles on my 2011 he said it should be ok. I'm praying and crossing my fingers I don't need a new coupling.

I will post my outcome once I get it back from the garage.
 

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Taking this issue into account, would I be paying too much to pay $14k for a 2011 Sienna XLE AWD with approx 110k miles? I'm more familiar with the second generation vehicles' issues and prices, and just starting to look at used third generation vehicles.

This particular vehicle has a pretty good maintenance record according to Carfax. It did just recently have:

Wheel bearing(s)/hub(s) replaced
Rear wheel bearing(s)/hub(s) replaced

Not sure if this would be addressing the issue discussed here but I could ask the dealer if consideration gets that far.
 

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Hard to say what that vehicle is worth without seeing the whole thing, but I would use it as a negotiating tool. Ask for $1500 off the purchase price, or ask them to replace the coupler and pay their asking price (or whatever you can get them down to). My preference would be to have them do the repair prior to purchase. Their cost is lower than your cost to pay to have it done, and it may leave more room to negotiate the price down. Also, it will be done, and you won't have to mess with getting your car back in to fix it later.


Another thing to check: If I recall the timing belt is supposed to be replaced at about 90,000 miles. You want to check if this was done - it's not a cheap repair. (As I think about this, it was my my Gen 2 Sienna that I did this twice on. Not sure if it's the same deal on the Gen 3.)
 

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Thanks for the feedback. I did indeed decide to go for this Sienna, so I'll probably be on this board from time to time -- first Sienna -- though hopefully not TOO often!
 

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Anyone have any idea on how safe this vehicle is to drive while making the noise? I have looked into getting it fixed and I cant come up with the funds until next week/ Is it safe to drive? What will happen if it completely fails while driving at highways speeds? Is it going to do further damage to the drivetrain?
 

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Anyone have any idea on how safe this vehicle is to drive while making the noise? I have looked into getting it fixed and I cant come up with the funds until next week/ Is it safe to drive? What will happen if it completely fails while driving at highways speeds? Is it going to do further damage to the drivetrain?

I don't know what damage it will do, but I drove mine with that noise for a year or more before I got it fixed.
 

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Can anyone confirm if this snap ring (?) needs to tuck under the lip on top of the bearing or if it's held in place by pressure? I removed it like an idiot when I took the coupler off. I replaced the larger bearing but can't figure out how to get this tucked under the rim...
 

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Just last week end 12/10/16 I replace the carrier Assy P# 41110-45011 (The new version, came from
Yark Toyota, 1377 Conant Street Maumee, OH, 43537 US 866-984-9658 [email protected]
for $800 and got it on line. wt =35lbs) in my wife's Toyota Sienna 2011 AWD (60k Miles) The skid plate that was on the old unit was fine, still looked like new and was very easily installed on the new one. Unless yours is damaged I have no idea why someone wants to sell you a new one... My local mechanic offered to put the replacement carrier Assy in for me for $150 @ 2hrs work. I ended up doing it myself. 3Hrs work and yes I mechanical skills. Note the carrier Assy is shipped with NO OIL. Use 0.6 quart of AMSOIL Severe Gear SAE 75W-90 Synthetic Extreme Pressure Lubricant. While you are under there change the front differential oil too. ( use same oil, 0.9 quart ) Change both again after another 80-100K miles. Oil cost me $44 for 2 Quarts. Good Luck!
May you share with me where I can find the installation instructions?

Thank you
 

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Can anyone confirm if this snap ring (?) needs to tuck under the lip on top of the bearing or if it's held in place by pressure? I removed it like an idiot when I took the coupler off. I replaced the larger bearing but can't figure out how to get this tucked under the rim...
Anyone?
 
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