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Hello, my name is Chris Mitchell,

We own a Toyota Sienna XLE 2004. Back in November 2008, the driver sliding door cable snapped, making the door jam and unusable in "power" mode. Cable dangling out of its socket, we drove to our dealership to have it serviced. The repair came to over $1800!!!

After researching this issue on the internet, I'm finding that MANY people are experiencing the same problem!! I'm thinking that it doesn't necessarily have to do with mileage but perhaps more with age of vehicle ie: 4-5ish years old.


The cable which drives the sliding door is completely exposed to elements. (you'll find it within the groove located under the rear side windows) This cable is made of some kind of metal (steel? who knows.) then coated with a black plastic/acrylic/rubber casing (such as an electrical wire). With time, the casing begins to dry and be brittle, causing it to crack and fall off the wire, leaving the wires completely vulnerable to getting wet, rust, freeze, etc, also rubbing extensively unprotected against the gears. Within a few months or even weeks, the metal cable wires snap thus getting caught in the mechanism. One thing leads to another and the whole cable snaps, making the door jam altogether.

The FIX:

Per my own experience at the dealership, and subsequently reading and researching many blog sites, the ONLY way to fix this issue is as follows: remove the entire door, remove and CHANGE the entire mechanism. Extremely costly, there's just no way around this. Asked if there was a way to simply change the cable, I was informed that the cable is part of the motor and that it is not a part that can be purchased OR repaired separately.

Any “RECALL” in sight? We can only hope!! But here’s where we need your help.

After speaking with Toyota’s Customer Service Relation (Headquarters), she explained that “recalls” happen when “enough” people call in and bring up issues (complaints) with their vehicles. Local Service Managers can also help petition to HQ on your behalf if they see a problem that may be a repetitive pattern. Service managers can relay this information to a factory representative and such.

What can you do?

First off, call this number: 1(800) 331-4331 (Customer Service Relations… they were VERY pleasant and helpful!) and tell them about your experience with the sliding door defect. They will give you a case number and send your issue higher up. Who know how many complaints they need before they consider recalls, but at least we’ll have done our best.

Second: If you haven’t already fixed your door, DO call your Service Manager in your area to set up an appointment to have the door fixed, AND open the lines for discussion for him to petition on your behalf about this problem which SO many people are having issues with.

Third: If you’ve already had the door fixed, DO NOT throw away your receipts!!! Cust. Serv. Rel. told me that if down the line Toyota comes out with a recall, YOU WILL BE RETROACTIVELY ENTITLED TO A FULL REFUND OF YOUR REPAIRS WITH PROOF OF PAYMENT!!! (aparently that goes for any problems which arise with Toyota vehicles! Good to know!) If by chance you’ve misplaced/lost/thrown out your receipt, I suggest you call your dealership ASAP and ask them to reprint one for you… they should be able to as long as you’re still in the system.


You are NOT alone!
If Toyota can see fit to recall a “clip” which is used to hold carpets, they SHOULD deal with this bigger issue too.

Our voice seriously must be heard, force in numbers people!!!

Thank you so much for your help and attention!

Chris Mitchell ([email protected])

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