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Friday, September 4, 2009

1999 Toyota Sienna Power Door Fix


Although the van was essentially problem free during the 12,500 miles of our summer trip, we developed a problem a couple of days after our arrival home. The van is a 1999 Toyota Sienna and after 225,000 miles the power door failed. I was a little disappointed as I knew the replacement cost was high. Although it was only the cable that opened the door that failed, the fix is a total replacement of the power door motor. Sure enough a used one on ebay was $400. A new power door opener from Toyota runs from 1200-1700 dollars. Whew!

I removed the unit from the van after unhooking the cables from the door. This allowed the kids to use the door manually while I worked on the power opener. To do this I had to remove the plastic rail cover on the outside of the van and unbolt the corresponding rear hinge on the slider. The decorative slide cover only came off after breaking the two hidden clips near the taillight and removing a single 10mm screw in the door jam. After that the cover could slide forward and off the remaining clips. I reassembled the whole thing aside from the power unit so as to use the van's door manually for the next couple of days. It worked perfectly well as a manual door.

Using the piece of wire that broke off I went to Lowes to match it to the wire they offered. No dice. Off to Home Depot. Home Depot's wire had a thinner plastic sheath making the total thickness of the wire a little less than that offered by Lowes. I decided the match was close enough at 3/32". I also got a ferrule stop set. The total for the wires and the ferrules was less than $5. The crimping tool was borrowed but can be purchased for around $50.

Once home I took the back plate off the power door unit. There was no debris inside the unit due to the old wire's sheathing having failed. I had read in some postings before attempting this fix that the dealers claimed that the old sheathing would damage the inside of the power door unit. I don't see how this is possible. Although it is made out of plastic the plastic is high quality. It is likely a lie in an effort to sell more product.

With the replacement wire in hand I laid the new wire next to the old and marked the length of the old wire on the new. I cut it on the mark. Duplicating the length of the new wire is important. I removed the sheathing from the end of the new wire and swaged an end on the new wire. I found that I could feed the new wire through the unit from the inside to the outside easier than feeding it the other way. I laid the repaired end of the wire in the door adjustment piece. This is the piece that removes slack in the wire if it is too long or adds wire if the line is too tight. This adjustment is done once the motor is mounted and the door is back on with both cables attached. The has to be closed and it is best to pull the wire that closes the door down and so that it hangs loosely. This removes all the closeing wire from the power closer.

I remounted the power door unit in the van to work on the on the other end of the new wire that attaches to the door. This end was somewhat proprietary and I felt it would be difficult to replace. The old wire within a couple of inches of the proprietary end was still in good shape so I decided to reuse the old end that attached to the door. This meant attaching a little bit of old wire to the new wire. I snapped the old end back on the door and after removing the remaining slack with the adjuster mentioned earlier the door worked fine.



I mentioned the choice I describe below only briefly in the post above, but it is a valid path to take. The door will work perfectly well as an unpowered slider. (It will work just like the other slider on the driver's side including a functioning power door lock). In my case I needed the power door for my small children.

In the event that the repair becomes cost prohibitive you can disconnect the cables from the door. They clip in. Access is difficult and removing the rear knuckle that rides in the channel is required. Once it is unbolted from the door the rear of the door will want to fall.(Don't forget to scribe the position of the knuckle before unbolting for adjustment reasons during reassembly) While holding the door up I closed it so I could work on the knuckle. With the knuckle off the door it can be wiggled off the track and the cables unsnapped from it. At this point the door motor can be removed with the cables intact. In reassembling the door I had to let it rest on a box while I positioned the knuckle in its proper location as indicated by my scribing during disassembly.

Alternatively you can simply cut the two cables from the door near the knuckle and push the remaining amount into the van then use the door like the one on the driver's side. It will work very well as an unpowered slider.

Update 2
2004-2009 power sliding door drive unit

Below is a picture of a power sliding door motor for a 2005 - 2009 Sienna. It is clearly more diminutive than the unit it replaced with a smaller gauge wire. This fits with the short lifespan these units seem to have. Many don't even manage 50k while my older style lasted approximately 220k.

It also appears in the photo that the pulley casing that the cable wraps around a pulley within is screwed together. Being that it can be disassembled it is likely that the wires within can be replaced.

Beyond that I can only apologize for the poor image.

Update: Two more pics, this time of a 2004 Sienna. The mechanism is mounted in the door in this photo. The red circle indicates the power door motor. These pics were lifted from the net as I have not actually worked on a 2004 body style door.

According to the comments below...
In the second picture of the 2004, the circled item is the _window motor_, not the door motor. The door motor is in the very lower right of the first picture.
Anonymous appears to be correct when comparing the pic above of the door motor to the two pics below.


  1. We were able to fix our door by turning on the main switch, left of the steering wheel. We have owned this van for 5 years and never knew it had a 'power door off' switch! And, we don't know why it was turned off.

    I'm still glad I found your blog; good chance that cable will break someday. Thanks for enlightening this idiot.

  2. I have an '04 Sienna, and the cable snapped. I think the vinyl coating has been off for a while, so I hope the pulleys are ok. Although It is a different set-up than your van (motor & pulley in door), I like your idea of trying to doctor up new cable and anchors from the hardware store. Beats paying the $1200 for the ass'y at the dealership. Thanks for the tidbit. I'll see how it goes.....

  3. Let me know. I have been curious about the newer vans.

  4. Hello Polifrog, I have the same problem as your door and I am glad to find this good information. When I press the power door button, I can hear a clicking sound from the door but it doesn't move. So I assume there is power to the door and the cable line is broken.
    My question is, does your PWR DOOR light on the cluster stay on? Because ever since the power door stop working, the light has stay on...

    Thanks in advance and I hope I can fix it.


  5. Before the door can open it has to unlatch first. That is first sound you should hear. Then the power motor can pull the door open.

    To make the door problem light go dark the door has to be reinitialized.

    -Disconnect the battery for a few moments.
    -Reconnect it.
    -Turn on the van, but do not start it.
    -Open the slider with a button and let it sit open a few moments.
    -Close the slider, and the door light should go dark.

    First, though, clean the contacts in the door jam. If they are dirty they can cause your problem, as the required connection to unlatch your door is not made.

    Second, try to open it manually and let the motor take over from there. If the motor can open it and then close it from that point your problem is not in the power door motor mechanism. The problem is more likely the motor mechanism in side the door that unlatches it. This is a much cheaper fix than the power door motor. Under $100 for the part I believe.

  6. Hi there, I own a 2004 Sienna and a little over a year ago, the cable snapped (sounds familiar). My dealership replaced the entire cable/motor unit at their expense (great dealer)!! Now, just a little over a year later, we tried to open the door and the cable attachment (plastic clip??) shattered. I have not seen the inside of the door, but would you happen to know whether there is any chance that I just need to replace the attachments - the cable is intact and the motor works fine??? I fail to understand how they expect the cable to be held with plastic, and obviously there was a fault when it only took 14 months for it to shatter. Of course, Toyota only warranties the part for 12 months, and the dealership is not feeling as generous this time around, as they swallowed $1800 the last time around.

    I would appreciate any help / suggestions you have from your experiences above :)

  7. Firstly, my Sienna is a 99 so it is a generation older than yours. Your power door drive is different than mine. (considerably smaller) That said, does it appear that the clip that failed was permanently attached to the cable or was it something that the cable snapped into? If it was not permanently attached to the cable then it is likely a replacement can be purchased from Toyota. Feel free to send me a pic of the end of the cable. I am curious but I was unable to find any pics of your van's door mechanism online. BTW I added an e-mail address to the blog at the top of the page.

  8. Thanks for the great post and the guts to tear it appart! I have an'01 Sienna, and the door motor has quit. Dealer wants $1500 to replace/repair. After looking at your posts, I have a couple of quesitons for you.
    1) Regarding the plastic rail covering and the two clips you had to break - were they in the two square holes at the back of the cover? Did you replace them? Now that you have seen it, could you replace without breaking?
    2) Where was the 10mm screw?


  9. The 10mm screw is in the door jamb and the door has to be opened to remove it.

    Yes, the ones that had to be broken were nearest to the taillight and show up in the picture as the 2 square holes in the van. Near the end of the post is a picture that shows two of the clips that survived along with the empty square holes of the ones that had to be broken.

    If you look closely at the plastic rail cover picture you can see where the clips attached to the backside of the cover. There is also one visible near my thumb. (there are two more like it not visible in the picture) Unfortunately the two at the back are not open on the same end of the slot as the others. Had the slots on the on the clip mounts near the taillight been like the one near my thumb they would not have had to be broken to remove the plastic rail cover.

    I did not replace them as they likely would have doubled my repair bill. :) More importantly, I wanted to retain the easier access and the remaining clips were effective in keeping the rail cover mounted.

  10. Fantastic Info.

    I have a 2002 Sienna with Dual Power Doors. Right does not respond at all (No noise or reponse at all...from remote, external handle, internal button, or dasj button). Suspected fuse 50, but is good (other items on circuit work fine). Will look at connection block, but the door will not close when in opened position.

    Curious about the "resetting", by disconnecting the battery. I will give that a try as well.

    Any other ideas are welcome.



  11. The door can be turned off. On my Sienna the switch is on the lower dashboard left of the steering wheel. Your switch may be in a different place as your Sienna has a slightly updated dashboard relative to mine.

    Make sure your door switch is on.

  12. Thanks for the quick response. I neglected to add that fact yesterday...the over-ride switch (to the left of the steering column)is on.

    I will dive in next week-end, the post my results. I currently am working through a failed passenger front door window motor (glass dropped to the lowered position into the door and would not move).

    It had been making motor noises (grinding in nature - like a bad bearing) for a few months.

    Disassembled the window mechanism, and found the crank assembly wouldn't move. Disconnected the crank mechanism from the glass, then removed the crank assembly from the door.

    Once I removed the electric motor from the assembly, the crank assembly now moves freely.

    Took the motor apart, and no glaring issues.

    In process...

    Thanks again,


  13. P-Frog,

    1st. Thanks for the graphic posts and info.

    We've got an 00' Sienna and the power door stopped working. It can be opened and closed, by me (using strength) but instead the girls no longer use the door. The motor runs but the cable seems loose.

    Any chance to get to the mechanisms without breatking off the plastic cover clips?

    I think this is a warm weather - weekend project so I am mostly figuring on "when" to take this on?

    Anything you'd do differently?



  14. Unfortunately I see no way around breaking the clips except for luck during disassembly.

    It doesn't sound like one of your cables have broken. The slackness you see is a result of you making the motor turn rather than it doing the work. So the slack cables you see I think are OK.

    I assume your red door light is lit on your instrument cluster. I would first reset the door. The procedure is mentioned in the earlier in the comments. Also clean the contacts in the door pillar behind the pass seat that the slider closes on. Also check the fuse that runs the power door. (Check your owner's manual for the location)

    The problem could be in the computer that runs the door. I believe that part is called the head unit.

    In the event that the repair becomes cost prohibitive you can disconnect the cables from the door. They clip in. Access is difficult and removing the rear knuckle that rides in the channel is required. Once it is unbolted from the door the rear of the door will want to fall.(Don't for get to scribe the position of the knuckle before unbolting for adjustment reasons during reassembly) While holding the door up I closed it so I could work on the knuckle. With the knuckle off the door it can be wiggled off the track and the cables unsnapped from it. At this point the door motor can be removed with the cables intact. In reassembling the door I had to let it rest on a box while I positioned the knuckle in its proper location as indicated by my scribing during disassembly.

    Alternatively you can simply cut the two cables from the door and use the door like the one on the driver's side. I will work very well as an unpowered slider.

  15. We just bought a used '04 Sienna. It has one power door and a few days after having it, I noticed a sound like sand in it whenever it opened and closed.

    I inspected it and most of the plastic sheath had cracked off and a couple of wires were fraying and looking rusty. Then Sunday, it only closed halfway and tangled up and my better half clipped the cable off.

    I am so disappointed as we have small children and that automatic door was WONDERFUL... we had a top of the line 2006 Honda Odyssey before this and LOVED the auto door feature for the little ones.

    The used car dealer said he would search around for a cable/pulley from a junkyard, but after reading your post and posts at another site, a new-to-me cable seems only half the battle. Is that right? Can another cable just be installed or is this going to be a major big deal?

  16. Oh, we've only had this two weeks... one week with a power door, one without!

  17. I finally came across a picture of the newer style 2004-2009 and posted an update above reflecting what I could gleam from the image.

    I don't know much about the power door drive unit on your van. Your van is a newer model than mine and the power door drive unit, I believe, is smaller and less robust.

    On the other hand, new ones are less expensive than mine. I have seen them for sale on ebay for around $300. And more recently at around $700.

  18. Dear Polifrog,
    I have a 01 sienna with a problem with the power sliding door. It can be opened but wouldn't close by power with the power door light staying on. Sometimes the door is not completely open if operated a couple of times.
    When you try to close it, you can hear a click and a little jerk then it stops.
    I have tried to reset it using similar recipes as yours without success and changed battery as well. It is is annoying since it is much harder for kids to open or close even when it is set to power off.
    I would appreciate your opinions about the problem before i try to cut off the power cable.
    Is the motor being used for both open and close operations ? if so motor should be ok since it can open normally.
    What about contacts ? shouldn't be the jam contacts since it can be opened and you can hear the click when pushed to close.
    Really appreciate it and your blogs.

  19. Thanks,

    Based on what you describe, I believe your motor and cables are probably OK. I would check the tracks that the wheels that carry the weight of the door ride in. The one that is most likely to get dirty is the one near the rocker panel or step. There is another above the door along the roof. the third is in the gash along the side of the van under the back seat window.

    Be sure that these three tracks are free of debris and just as importantly dirt. While cleaning them you might be surprised to see that they are the same color as your van, except where the wheels roll.

    While there check your wheel along the rocker panel, as it is the one that supports the weight of the door toward the front. (the rear gash supports the weight of the door toward the rear while the wheels along the roof line support the door laterally)You or someone else can lift the weight off the wheel while you check to see if it spins freely. Although the door won't rise much, it should rise enough to see if the wheel spins freely.

    Lastly, I generally use a cloth dowsed in gasoline for this sort of cleaning but other may prefer something less flammable.

  20. Thank you so much for your reply. I checked the tracks visually and don't see any obvious debris or dirt accumulated. The car has very low mileage (40k) so tear and wear is not bad yet.
    One thing I noticed is that when I tried to close the door, the door seems to want to move backward instead of forward and then stop. The bottom is never unlatched. How does the motor know which way to pull ?
    Thanks again,

  21. I believe the motor turns a fixed number of revolutions then stops. When the motor stops the door is either open or closed.

    After looking at our door again, I see that there is no latch to hold it open when it is open. There is a thing that looks like a latch but it is really just a detent or a "bump". Make sure yours isn't broken.

    Our door also pulls against me when I physically attempt to close it. This is normal. We usually use one of the buttons for opening and closing.

    The only time we have resorted to fighting the door to get it closed is when the button does not actuate the close cycle.

    The only other suggestion I have is to adjust the length of the cables that open and close the door. One adjustment adjusts both cables. Access can be gained through a hole just under the rear-most passenger window. The back seat backrest nearly covers the plug that fills the hole. A spark plug socket will fit the bolt that is visible when the cover plate is removed. This nut adjusts the the cables' lengths at the same time.

    Turing the bolt clockwise shortens the cables. But, turning the bolt counter clockwise to lengthen the cables requires pressing the bolt into the door opener first.

    Before doing this adjustment the door should be fully closed and the cable that is under the gash under the rear window outside should be pulled, so as to unwind any extra wire wound around the drive pulley inside the van. It is difficult to see and get to the cable, but it is possible with a bent cloths-hanger.

    If you look at the second to the last photo on the right in my post the adjustment bolt is visible in the center of the photo. Below the bolt is the motor and above the bolt is the gray and green door open buzzer. (I disconnected my buzzer) Also visible are two white dashes with dots in the middle. One is just left of the motor, the other is just right of the door buzzer. The white dots indicate proper adjustment when they are positioned as mine in the photo. The dots actually indicate the positions of two pulleys that keep the cables under tension.

    Unfortunately the adjustment indicators are not visible unless the side panel is removed.

    My last guess is that your door is out of adjustment and not acting properly as a result.

    Good luck, Frank.
    We love the auto-slider for our kids too.


    Before cutting the cables I would take the van to Toyota only to see what is wrong. Only after they assess the situation would I authorize any fix. Fixing these doors can get very expensive very quick.

  22. Thanks so much again!
    I tried to adjust the cable and and I can turn the adjustment knob but it does not stay. Then I pulled on the cable to reduce the slack and same thing happened. Don't know how much force to use. Basically I am pulling on the cable when I turn the knob, not changing the length of the cable.
    But there is a green line that aligns with the two white dots, suggesting it is ok ?
    I have a feeling the motor is giving up on me. The reason is if I start from fresh, it will open fully and when I tried to pull to close it, it is very hard (power on) and always goes back to close.
    After the first open, it would not open fully, stopping half way or near the end. Nothing happens when you try to close it (the click noise dies out too gradualy) and I can manually pull it open or close without difficulty (with power on).
    Unless the battery is draining out (but I can still start), I suspect the motor is having trouble, but this is inconsistent with "seemingly" normal open when starting fresh.
    I really appreciate your help, even though I am still having trouble, I got a peek into the motor and cable part.
    The access panel for my model (2001) was right behind the third row, so it was easy to open and see and the adjustment knob fits 14mm hex socket.

  23. Your description leads me to believe your motor is fine, as the door seems to pull strong.

    With all other options exhausted, the last thing I can suggest is the possibility that the computer controls that run the door have failed.

    I have not seen the computer that runs our slider, but I have no reason to doubt that there is one. For this reason this is a dark area for me.

    Like automatic transmissions, automotive computer controls tend to be something of a black art. As such dealerships can point to the computer as the problem before attacking what they know to be the true problem.

    The only way to deal with this issue is to choose the dealer that does the most business. They may not be as likely to play such time consuming games when they are already busy.

    Junk yards are another source for car parts. I like to use http://www.car-part.com/

    I am out of ideas at this point without seeing the door myself.

    Keep us updated with what you learn.

  24. Dear Polifrog,
    Really appreciate your time and effort trying to help others, especially I noticed some of the replies were written very late at night.
    You have a big heart for others and it shows in this blog.
    I hope you and your family the very best, and I am sure they are very proud of you.
    Take care.

  25. Re: January 24th post...

    Passenger Power Sliding Door Inoperable for months. Battery disconnect/reconnect resolved.

    Passenger Front Door Glass. Turns out that the entire door glass drive assembly was just fine. After much troubleshooting, discovered that the window switch for the passenger side window (located on the drivers door) was "stuck" in the down position. Careful disassembly found that one of the "finger / blades" of the toggle switch had broken off. The missing finger / blade was the one that slid the window switch from the down position back to the center, and then the "up" position.

    Total repair cost is about $5.00 for a new toggle switch (not the whole assembly).

    Whewww, imagine the dealer fees avoided.

    All the Best!


  26. Hi...
    I'm reading your Sienna discussion with interest, maybe you can help me. I have a 2006 Sienna with one power sliding door on the passenger side. It has stopped working in the following way: when I open it, it will not stay open unless the van is on level ground or pointed up hill; in other words it looks like gravity is helping the door stay open,which doesn't make sense if it's a powered door. Whenever the van is parked even slightly downhill, the door will close as soon as it fully opens, and only a very strong shoulder block will stop it. It could really hurt a child if one were in the way of the door closing. I bought it used in 2008, and really don't care if the door is automatic. So if this is difficult to fix, I'd be happy to just have the cables cut/removed, whatever, and turn it into a manual door, if that's possible.
    Do you have any suggestions?

    Thanks in advance...


  27. In the second picture of the 2004, the circled item is the _window motor_, not the door motor. The door motor is in the very lower right of the first picture.

  28. I have read all the above questions and answers hoping that they might fix our automatic passanger side door on our 2001 Toyota Seinna..but nothing worked. So here is the problem the door will not open from the button or the door handle. My husband took the panel off to see if anything was broken. Well he figured out that the bracket that is attached to the latch cables will not operate when the button is pushed. There is a bracket behind this that does work and it looks as if they are suppose to work together. He thinks its mechanical and not electrical, because you can hear the motor trying to work. Any suggestions would be great.

  29. The fix I detailed in post above is not your problem, but I will try to help if I can.

    I would remove the door panel from my van but I am currently hours from my, and the van's, home.

    I believe you are on the right track. Just like when you are manually opening an unpowered slider, the powered sliding door has to unlatch itself before it can slide open.

    First thought. Currently both of the power lock motors on my front doors t-r-y but do not always flop the lock paddle. The motors are weak and i have to resort to manually flipping them. I imagine something similar could make it appear that the your power door latch motor is making it seem that it is working when it is in reality it is only working partially and unable to fully unlatch the door mechanism.

    Second thought. The cable from the motor to the mechanism could be broken. Unlikely, but easy to check with a tug on the exposed portion of the cable as it connects to the latching mechanism. You have likely already done this.

    Lastly, I found this link which I suspect you have already found as well. In the tread they are fixing an unrelated problem, but the pictures and some of the discussion are useful.


  30. this is lisa's husband lynn, i have already tried that , on the link, that showed us a perfect picture of it, the black bracket that has the cables that unlatch the latches, is not moving with the silver one behind it. we can manually move it, it unlatches, breaks the contacts and the door opens, i am thinking of spot welding the black to the silver, but im hesitant, but i cant find anything that seems to be broken. thanks for your help

  31. In this picture from the link above:

    In this picture there appears to be a tang on the silver lever that catches the black lever. (Optical Illusion?) It is located just under the perfectly trimmed finger (between the cuticle and the fist knuckle).

    Does yours have this?

    My guess is that they do work together in at least one direction to raise the release lever. I believe the silver (exterior release)leaver or gold (interior release) lever actuate the black lever depending on whether one is leaving or exiting the van. They may work independently in the other direction (down for the black lever).

    If in operating the mechanism you feel that locking the two levers together would work then weld it. I would consider welding it so that grinding it apart is possible.

  32. Thank you for your great website! You could be making a fortune fixing these doors for people! I went to my nearest dealer today for an estimate. They charged me 80$ today to look at the door and write the estimate!!!!!! They said they had never heard of that problem before. The estimate they gave me was almost 1500$ for parts and almost 400$ labor (3.5 hours)plus tax.. Yikes. I am hoping my handy husband will use your blog and try to fix ours.

  33. Thank you for the picture..(nice manicure by the way).. yes ours does look like that and has that tang. I was looking at it after my husband and realized that if you hold the lock up in the unlock position the door will open by pushing the electric button. So now my husband thinks its the lock that was broken and is keeping the electronic mechanism from working. This seems to make more sense, because the boy who messed the door up was holding down the top button on the inside door handle as it closed and then the door stuck. I then tried to close it because it was coming a storm, and it was locked but not shut all the way. I eventually got it to close and then it would not reopen. Do you have any suggestions on how to replace the lock and where to get it?

  34. The lock experience you describe reminds me of a similar problem we had with ours a few months back that I had forgotten until now.

    While the slider was locked and closed one of the kids pushed the button to manually open it. The door did not open due to the fact that it was locked, but (and here is where the problem began) the button they pushed to open the door did not return. The button stayed down in the hole. While it was in the hole we were not able to unlock the door and open it from the outside.
    Once I realized that the button had not returned to its proper location I was able to fiddle with it until it did finally bounce back out of the hole after which the door operated correctly again.

    I'm sure you guys would have noticed that kind problem earlier, but I mention it because it may have been the cause for your issues to begin with.

    I think it is odd that if the problem you have with the door is the lock from the toggle under the handle that you are unable to around the problem with the electric locks.

    Ebay is often a good source for parts like this. I have also found car-part.com good. car-part.com is a site that many scrapyards use to sell parts. Unfortunately most yards will not part the handle out of the door unless the door was damaged. It might take a few calls, but you may get lucky with the color.

    The link I provided earlier with all the good pics was describing just this repair, replacing a door handle.

    I am home now and I might have time tomorrow to look at my lock mechanism.

    BTW...Not my manicure. :)

  35. That is exactly what happened because I now remember the boy saying that the button was stuck and I said great but as we were going down the road it popped out.(so didnt think it was a problem because our driverside door has done this before and it finally came back out) Maybe I messed up the lock when I kept trying to close the door and it finally shut but then was locked and would not reopen. Do you have to replace the handle or can you just replace the lock mechanism?

  36. Just wanted to let you know that we got our door fixed without costing us any money!! Thank the Lord. We let a mechanic by our church look at it and he said it was the cable from the lock. It had pulled out of the clamp right under the lock..as soon as he pushed it back in it worked fine!! so happy to have it fixed the day before school starts!! Thanks for you help and all of your good ideas.

    1. Not sure if anyone is listening since it has been a long time since this was posted, but here goes...I am reading down this blog and came across this one that I think may be my issue. My door is closed and will not open from buttons or manually neither inside/outside, it is just jammed shut. When I press the button, you can hear the motor engage like it did when it opened/closed previously, so I think it is an issue with the lock. How do I fix this? What steps were taken by your mechanic above to fix the lock? Hope someone sees this and can assist.

  37. We have a 2004 Sienna Le and of course the problem is with the passenger auto door. It will not open with the clicker nor the buttons inside above the head or the door? But once you open it from the outside by pulling on the handle you try to close it by the button in the inside of the door it acts like it is going to close but it is like it is getting caught on something. give it a little help by pulling on the handle and it closes fine. I have been reading about this and this morning I went out and cleaned the track and where the door latches out of 6 yrs worth of dust and dirt. I have been using on manual to try to save the motor just in that is it or the cable, but it is very hard for a 2 - 8 yr olds and 6yr old to open. After I cleaned it and pushed the button to try auto again it closed with the button over head thought I fixed it!!!! But no, so I disconnected the battery and waited for 2-3 min and then and tried again no dice. But since my door is still working but just seems to be getting caught maybe my issue is not as bad as the other stories I have read. I did read that someone or maybe you had said that it could be the motor mechanism which is less expensive and or really just possibly a battery in the clicker. Any advice could only help thanks

  38. Discard the keyphob and use the buttons inside the van only for diagnosis. One less possible problem to contend with.

    I am not up to speed on the newer power sliders. They seem to have a worse record than the 99 van that I have, but like you mentioned, repair parts are cheaper.

    I believe you said that the door does not open with the use of any buttons but does open reluctantly with the use of the handle. After that you have to help it.

    I believe you have two problems. One for the inoperable buttons and another for the slow opening door. The button problem may be the result of the contact pad in the door jamb being in need of a cleaning. Make sure they are clean. The second problem reads, unfortunately, like the sheath that protects the wire that opens and closes the door is in the process of failing causing the mechanism to gum up.

    That is my best guess without being able to look at it.

    Although the door are difficult to open and close when the motor is inoperable, they work very easily when the cables are removed. (you don't have to drag the motor along as you open the door)

    I mention cable removal just as an option.

  39. I disconnected my cables - thanks for the advice. To replace the decorative slide cover, pop all but the first connectors off of the car and attach them to the slide cover. Then, slide the cover over the first connector, and press in the remaining connectors. I tried to just slide the whole thing back on, but the connector fit is so tight this is virtually impossible. Thanks for the help.

  40. My 2000 Sienna went to the autobody shop for front end repairs with door working, but came back not working. Did the door reset procedure listed above (battery disconnect/reconnect) and it came back alive and well. Thanks for posting that!

    LK in CT.

  41. hi i have the same problem. how cn you tell if it is the motor and not the cable. becuz i dont hear any power or noise at all. so do you think it would be the actuator instead of the cable. all the other doors in the car works perfectly.

  42. does anyone know where i can buy a new or used power slider door motor
    for the 03 toyota sienna. cant find it anywhere?

  43. This is a good place for diaganose problems. I actually caught a couple times that the switch on the left of the steeling was off that shut the power door off. I fixed it once and totally forgot the next time!
    Thanks Google to help me find this page.

  44. I'm wondering if you have any experience and/or opinions about how the safety features of the power doors actually work. It seems that there is some sort of maximum effort that when reached causes the power unit to reverse so as not to cause injury. Mine seems overly sensitive and the door pops back to fully open at the last instant before latching. Is there an adjustment for this?

  45. Sorry for the slow reply.

    There does not seem to be a mechanical mechanism that senses tension in the cables.

    I believe there is a electrical load sensor gizmo that recognizes the higher electrical load being sent to the motor under such conditions. The door computer makes the call as to whether the door backs up. So, I doubt that it is your problem.

    I would first make sure that the wheels that carry the door and all the rails that they ride on are functional.

    The second thing I'd check is the cables. The cable that opens the door at the back of the van is the first of the two cables to degrade as it is exposed to the weather when the door is closed -- its most frequent position. It is also subjected to the sharpest "bend". As it fails the sheath degrades and the debris clogs things up.

    (Think of a bicycle brake cable. The cable slides within a tube. Some lengths of the cable is exposed. The same is true on the power door opener except the cable slides around 2 1/2 feet rather than a half inch.)

  46. hi Polifrog, here's a short video of the problem.


    I've a 2009 Sienna LE with 100k miles. As you can see after I pressed the open button on the remote(or either of the two buttons inside the van), the top of the door just pops opened a bit. The bottom of the door is jammed/stucked against the body, thus preventing the bottom to pop out too and allowing the door to slide open. But if I pull on the outside door handle with a little bit of force, the door operates normally. The problem started to happen a few weeks ago when it started to get cold here in the northeast. I lubed the front and rear lock mechanisms, and I took off the 'L' bracket located on the inside bottom left of the door. Unfortunately, the problem is still occurring more than 50% of the time. HELP? btw, once it only popped open a little, I can't close/open from the inside/outside unless I first push the door back in from the outside.

  47. First off, my post is directed to the generation prior to yours. There are significant differences between the two.

    But your problem appears to be fairly minor; a spill or an adjustment issue.

    Is the weather striping sticky (spilled cola)? When the door is open that corner is difficult to reach when cleaning.

    Have you attempted to pick up the door when it is open or move it around in any way so as to discern whether any of the hinges have failed in some fashion?

    When the door is closed are the gaps between the door and the fixed portions of the body consistent? Does the slider contact the van in the lower rear corner of the door such that paint touches paint?

    If so the adjustments for the door are found point where the hinges bolt to the slider. There are three; one at the top and lower front and one at the back halfway up the door. I would focus on the rear first. The adjustments are rather crude as the hole that the bolt passes through is larger than the shaft of the bolt but not larger than the shoulders of the bolt. Loosen (do not remove) the bolts such that you can move the door into a different position then re-tighten the bolts. Scribing the position of the hinge on the slider before loosening the bolts is wise so that you can return to the adjustment you started with.

    good luck

  48. We have a 2000 Sienna XLE with one power door. A few months back, the door stopped closing. After a few more weeks, we could get it to open, but only a crack. From that point, the power door dash light has stayed on.

    What's your take on the problem and how I should go about repairing it?

    Thanks SO much for your blog. Very helpful!

  49. Even if the motor does not work you should be able to open the door. There is resistance as you are turning the motor, but the door should open.

    If it doesn't open at all:

    Based on what you are describing it sounds like the sheath on the cable has failed. After the sheath fails the cables no longer function easily, if at all.

    1. My door is closed and will not open from buttons or manually neither inside/outside, it is just jammed shut. When I press the button, you can hear the motor engage like it did when it opened/closed previously, so I think it is an issue with the lock. How do I fix this? What steps were taken by your mechanic above to fix the lock? Hope someone sees this and can assist.

  50. So please that you posted this. Recently I had a cable snap in our 2000 Sienna. The insight and pictures were invaluable to our repair. We had to replace both cables. Hence our total cost was around $7!

    In addition, we did not have a crimping tool. We used a chisel and hammer to carefully pound the ferrules in place. In order to get the ferrules to fit in the motor properly, we needed a grinder to make the size just right.

    Not only was this post helpful, but Toyota has produced a few Technical Service Bulletins for the power sliding door. One helps you to diagnose the problem and another assists you in tightening the cable. If you Google “Technical Service Bulletins for 2000 Sienna” you will be on your way. These free bulletins were easy to follow and provided pictures.

    Thanks again Polifrog. I would not have known this repair was possible unless you had posted it.

    1. thanks to anonymous re TSBs for 2000 Sienna. What do people use to lubricate the cables? I've been using T9 after being warned about Si grease picking up crud

  51. Going to go the "cut the cables" route as I no longer need the door powered.

    What's your recommendation as to the easiest way to access the cables and where to cut them off?

  52. We have 2001 Sienna and have been using the RH sliding door in manual mode because the computer chip kept needing to be reprogrammed. Lately the cable had been sticking and popping down from the track. Now the door will disengage but cannot open. It appears to be stuck once you open it. I think it may be the cable but cannot open the door to reove the rail cover panel. Is there any way remove the cables without cutting them and removing rail cover?


  53. Apparently I missed the Feb, 27 commenter. Sorry. The answer is to go in from the inside. Take off the pass. side panel and cut the cables.

    As to March 9 commenter,

    I believe the cable that opens the door has failed such that the sheath is locking up the system and preventing you from opening the door.

    That failed cable also happens to be the one that drops when you attempt to open the door. You can catch it and cut it. Nothing lost.

    However, the cable that remains of the one cut will likely still clog the system, but you might get lucky and remove enough of it to solve your problem. If not, you will have to remove the pass. side panel and cut from there. (Much more difficult)

    Once the door can be opened the other cable will be easy to get to.
    It is likely ou can take the inside panel off and get tocut the cables

  54. Nice blog created by blog director it’s very informative and template is according to blog theme. I would like to come on this blog again and again. aluminium cable manufacturers, aluminium cable suppliers

  55. Additional information Part 1: I followed the concepts of this post to replace the cable that opened the door (the one in the back). Thank you!
    It did take some time to fully understand how the motor assembly works and how to set up the two pulleys within the motor.
    First, you have to realize that the two pulleys work together; when the motor turns one way, it pulls one cable in and lets the other cable out, at the same time and the same rate. By doing this, there is a ‘loop’ of tension moving the door opened and closed. Without the tension, the cables would skip off the grooves in the pulleys and get all messed up again.
    Once you have the motor off the side of the van and the back off the motor assembly, you have to figure out how the two pulley’s work with the ‘door open’ pulley on top of the ‘door close’ pulley. My strategy when I started putting things back together was to have the door closed and the ‘door close’ pulley fully wrapped with its cable.
    To create the new cable, I went to Home Depot and got 5’ of 3/16” cable and a set of ‘ferret stops?’ which are the lead things that crimp onto the end of the cable. I actually crimped one onto one end of the cable at the store, since they had the machine available to do that. When I got home I had to grind down that end to roughly the same shape as the original end that inserted into the pulley.
    The cable I replaced had to run through the unit that leads the cable to the outside of the van. That was a little tricky but I eventually twisted it through the hole so the cable was sticking out the side of the van. I then crimped the second ferret stop onto the cable at exactly the same length as the original cable. The original cable had a barrel-shaped end on it but that really didn’t matter since there is a little clip that holds the cable in place on the door itself. I just used vice grips to crush that ferret stop on. It has been working for a couple of weeks so it seems to be good.
    Once the cable is outside the van and has the end of it, you are now ready to reassemble the pulley unit/motor assembly. I closed the door and wound up the ‘door close’ pulley so that cable was fully wrapped around its pulley. The new cable then was inserted into its pulley assembly and the tension adjustment inner part turned just enough to ensure the cable would stay in place and the tension could be adjusted later when everything was assembled.
    (Part 2 below)

  56. Part 2:
    You must also figure out how the two tensioning pulleys work at either end of the motor assembly. They actually have an arrow engraved on them that shows the direction of the cable going INTO the pulley assembly. Getting the cover back on with the springs properly set is a little troublesome with the tensioning pulley on the ‘door close’ cable. I had to push down on the cover while I used a screwdriver to push the spring into place. You have to see it to fully understand but it isn’t too hard to do.
    When the cover is back on the motor assembly, it is time to remount the motor assembly to the car and then connect the ‘door open’ pulley to the sliding door. There will probably be a little slack in the cable which will allow you to use a screwdriver to get the ferret stop into the clip on the door.
    Now, before you mess with anything, you MUST make sure the cable has enough tension to ensure that both cables ride in the grooves on their pulleys. If there isn’t enough tension, the cables will jump their grooves and get crimped within the motor. You adjust the tension with a wrench on the adjustment mechanism on the motor assembly. Not too tight or you might bust a cable or pull the end off the cable.
    Then, test the door MANUALLY. Slowly pull the door open and closed to ensure the cables have appropriate tension and are winding/unwinding on the pulleys smoothly. Adjust the tension if needed.
    ONLY then should you hit the button to try the door electronically. Note that if the door doesn’t do anything, the likely causes are: 1. You didn’t reattach the electric connections or 2. The system needs to be reset by disconnecting and reconnecting the battery on the van.
    Good luck! Total cost for me was $4+

  57. Hey Polifrog, sorry if this has been asked and answered but I have a 2001 Sienna and I took the easy way out and cut the cables. I do not plan to replace cables, rather just use the door manually. My question is how to I get the power door light on the dash to go out? I haven't removed the motor, but I disconnected a few of the wires on the back side of the unit, two black, one white and a gray and it still wouldn't go off. How can I get this light off without creating additional trouble? thanks

  58. I don't know how to turn off the light after cutting the cables. As far as the on-board monitors are concerned there is a problem.

    If it becomes highly irritating I suppose one could remove the instrument cluster and pop out the bulb that lights it.

    It might even be similar to the commonly burned out (drive) shift indicator light between the tach and speedo.

  59. Great to come across this info! I too have have the cable snap on my 04 Sienna and would be fine with a non automatic door if it meant saving a bunch of money. Dealership won't do it: any advice on where to go for this? Thanks.

  60. This post is primarily intended for the do-it-your-selfer.

    The particular repair you seek is a general knowledge repair, so I would suggest your looking to a friend for help who is handy and who you trust, however if your preference is for professional help, I would turn to a reputable non-dealer automobile repair shop.

    Although the non-dealership facilities tend to be less technical in their approach, they also tend to have a better working knowledge of automobiles than dealerships thus they tend to be better at accomplishing the "repair" you request.

    Outside of that ... no. Sorry.

  61. Hello,
    I have a 2001 Sienna. The car runs good but both of my power doors are not working.
    Now we have to open the door with power mode, after the click sound, put it on manuel to physically open the door. If I leave it on manuel mode, we can't even open the door. I don't want to spend $3000 to fix both doors, just want to make it a manuel door. Do you have a picture show where to cut the cable? Thanks.


  62. (May 9, 3:12) Sorry I didn't see your comment earlier.

    I think you are from Canada and I don't know what Toyota offered in Canada, but are you sure your Sienna has dual powered sliders? Most if not all of the first generation Sienna did not.

    No, I do not have a picture to show you where to cut the cables.

    However, one way I have found to to get to a cable without removing anything is to push the door open against the resistance of the power door motor. With luck the cable that pulls the door open will build up slack and fall out of its hidden track along the gash on the outside of the van. If a second person is quick enough they can catch the cable when it becomes visible. Cut it.

    Once cut close the door then open it. The cable that closes the door should pile up in the rear door jamb cut it too.

  63. I have a 1999 Sienna. The power sliding door quit working. When I push the button, I hear clicking sound, but the door does not move at all. When I manually opened the door halfway and pushed the button, still just the clicking sound, but no movement at all. The clicking sound I hear comes from towards the back of the door. The outside door handle is now broken, because it took lot of power to open the door manually. It would be nice if I can repair the door handle and convert the power door to operate manually. Thanks.
    Btw, great post and thanks for sharing your knowledge.

  64. In order to covert the door to manual, do I need to cut the cable OR simply unhook the cable from the door? I went thru' this post and I am not very sure. If I can just unhook the cable, I would prefer that. Thanks.

  65. I seem to have missed some comments, sorry.

    Most find it easier to cut the cables, however one can unhook them. Doing so requires scribing the rear bracket on the slider, unbolting it, and supporting the door from the bottom.

    The cables clip to this bracket. To get the bracket off of the track requires removing the exterior track cover detailed in the post above. At this point the bracket can be removed from the van and the cables unclipped. Assembly is the reverse.

    This unfortunately leaves the cables dangling. Removing them without damage requires removal of the entire door opening mechanism which is also detailed above.

    For cutting...

    The easiest cable to get access to is the one hidden in the track along the outside of the van that opens the door.

    If one person opens the door against the motor the cable that opens the door will frequently fall out of the track and briefly fall out of the track in which it normally resides. If a second person is quick enough they can catch it. Once in hand the cable can be cut.

    With the cable that opens the door cut the next step is to close the door then open it. The other cable will then be exposed in the rear door frame for cutting.

    Unfortunately either of these solutions will leave the "door" light illuminated on the gauge cluster.

    Unfortunately I currently have no pictures of this.

    I hope this covers the questions of the last three comments.

    Good luck.

  66. My 2000 door is having trouble now in both directions. Don't know if it's the cable or if the motor is tired. I'll figure it out thanks to your blog. My question is where do I get replacement clips for putting the exterior track panel back on if I break them?

  67. Clips for the exterior track cover are sold at Toyota. It is unlikely any of the after market offerings will work as the clips are fairly specific.

  68. After reading you blog, I decided to fix the power sliding door of my 99 Sienna. We had stopped using the door for quite sometime. When I press the button, I could only hear click sound. I manually moved the door front and back a few times, and suddenly the power door took over and moved the door a little. This was encouraging because this confirmed that electricals are allright and possibly cable and motor are fine too. As mentioned in this blog, I cleaned the contacts and the door tracks at the bottom. After a few tries, the door started opening and closing. Woohoo...However, it's not perfect. There are 2 things I am noticing. When opening, the door does not go all the way back and latches. It stops an inch short of the latch mechanism and secondly, on occasions, I have to push the button more than one time for the power door to start closing. Let me know if you have any input on correcting these. What's a good way to clean the tracks/contacts? Thanks for a great post and thanks for helping others.

  69. My door exhibited similar issues prior to the failure of its cable failure.

    The cable that fails is the one that opens the door. It is also the one that resides outside the van when the door is closed meaning it is the the cable that is more frequently subjected to weather.

    If that cable is failing it would likely be frayed. On mine the fraying was near the door meaning that when the door was nearly open the cable would hang as it entered the motor mechanism causing the door to not open completely. Additionally the frayed cable would cause the door to hang when told to shut until the frayed section was free of the motor mechanism.

    As for cleaning the tracks and contacts, I would stick to soapy water and perhaps brake cleaner on the contacts.

  70. Thanks. I opened the quarter panel trim on the power door side, but could not see any obvious signs of frayed cable. Is it possible to see the condition of the cable that opens the door from inside? If you can post any picture of the cable in question, I would really appreciate that. Thanks for your help.

  71. If you were able to see the cable, was it still covered in its protective "plastic"? When the (plastic/ vinyl/ nylon) cover fails it can come off inside the door mechanism gumming the works.

    The other cable closes the door but is much more difficult to see.

    Unfortunately the cables are not visible from inside the van without removing the entire mechanism and disasemling it.

    There are photos of the cable at the top of this page. The last pic prior to any updates shows my repaired cable. The original section is clouded.

  72. I'm so glad I found this blog. My daughter just bought an '02 and I knew about this problem.

    I was looking at the cable ends and memories from my childhood stirred - I have seen those ends on "universal" brake cable replacements for bicycles. I recall it had one of each of thase fittings - the barrel and the blob - on each end of the cable. The blob isn't exactly the same but check out
    Now, if the cable itself is the right size....

  73. I have a 2007 Sienna LE. In 2009 the passenger side door made a noise as if trying to operate but would not open, not even manually. The relevant buttons were properly set. I took the van, still under warranty, to the dealership, where it was repaired for free in a 3-4 procedure. I have lost the invoice, and I cannot recall what did except the words "motor" and "taking the door apart" were uttered by the Service dept. manager. After the repair,the door worked until a few days ago. There's the same second-long sound of a motor trying to operate and the absolute inability to open the door at all. My 3-year was in his car seat at the time, none to happy about the situation. He may have learned some new words from Daddy.

    I have double-checked the buttons--the interior lock button slides to open or shut when prompted, but that's it. The door won't open, short of a crow bar or the jaws of life.

    I called the Toyota dealership, who have access to my service records, but was told I needed to bring the vehicle (no longer under warranty) in for a $90 diagnosis. I declined doing so for the time, hoping to learn more online, ending here at your wonderful website.

    The only variable that's changed between the original problem and this one is my son hitting the door jamb open/close button before he's out of the car, resulting in the door being stopped by my arm and then re-opening. However, this has happened only about 5 times.

    Long story short: dealing fixed similar, if not identical, problem 2 years ago; now I suddenly can't open the door at all. It won't budge at all, despite following the cheerful directions in the Owner's Manual.

    Another thing, literally, a slightly-curved metal bar, 13 inches x 3/16, has manifested itself inside the interior door storage compartment. Its appearance puzzles me, as my son's mechanical skills have not progressed beyond Popsicle sticks and macaroni. I do not recognize the mystery part as coming from anything we own. what it is and how it came to be in the interior compartment of the troubled door leaves me puzzled.


  74. Pete, thanks for the colorful comment.

    Before the door can open itself electrically it has to unlatch itself. That unlatching issue is sometimes the problem.

    If you are unable to open the door electrically, it sounds like the motor that unlatches the door is no longer doing its thing whether the unlatching motor has failed or the method of connecting the motor to the latch has failed.

    However, if you are unable to open the door manually as well, then the problem may not be electric at all. Usually different linkages runs to the latch from the interior release and the exterior release. If the linkage fails usually the one two latches continues to operate.

    Have you attempted to open the door from both the interior and the exterior?

    If you are still unable to get the door open the next step, removal of the interior door panel, becomes more difficult but not impossible. If you are able to get the door panel off then you can reach inside and open the door without the interior or exterior releases or fix whatever is broken.

    The last suggestion I have is to make sure none of the safety interrupts have failed and are causing the door not to open. I don't know all of them, but an example would be the shift selector being in drive. This would cause the door to not open. Of course I am sure you have it in park, but that does not mean that the sensor that takes note of such things hasn't failed. Other might be found in the owner's manual.

    That exhausts my thoughts without laying hands on the car.


  75. Thanks for the speedy response!

    I cannot open the door from the inside either. Pulling the handle does nothing.

    After some more Googling I found (at safercar.gov) this interesting Toyota Technical Service Bulletin issued 4 October 2010:


    Service Bulletin Number:
    NHTSA Item Number:


    Before finding this info, I called the service department at my dealership to request a copy of my 2009 invoice on the original repair. Amazingly, their database does not contain any specific information. To get what I need, the Service Manager sullenly told me he's going to have to spend an hour looking through boxes of actual invoices. Welcome to the Information Age!

    (BTW, there are also some bulletins addressing problems with the power rear window.)

    You write, "That exhausts my thoughts without laying hands on the car." First, "Hey Beavis, he said 'exhaust.'" Second, By "laying hands on the car" are you suggesting I consult a faith-in-Toyota healer? "The Power of Kiichiro Toyoda compels you! Out fiendish door oni! I've got a monkey statue and I'm not afraid to use it!

    Disclaimer: I do not endorse irreverence toward Japanese myth and folklore, except when it applies to Sienna doors. I could just have easily written, "The Power of Chrysler compels you!" but I figured it might cause offense to closet GM enthusiasts.

    Still wondering about this odd metal bar. I neglected to mention that it is 1 mm thick and steel.


  76. More Service Bulletins for 2007 Sienna doors:

    Service Bulletins - Search Results

    4 Record(s) Displayed.
    Report Date : June 4, 2011 at 06:03 PM
    Search Type : VEHICLE
    Year : 2007
    Make : TOYOTA
    Model : SIENNA
    Make : TOYOTA Model : SIENNA Year : 2007
    Service Bulletin Number : SB-0280-10 Date of Bulletin : OCT 04, 2010
    NHTSA Item Number : 10036906
    Summary :
    Make : TOYOTA Model : SIENNA Year : 2007
    Service Bulletin Number : TSB-0085-09 Date of Bulletin : MAR 13, 2009
    NHTSA Item Number : 10029190
    Summary :
    Make : TOYOTA Model : SIENNA Year : 2007
    Service Bulletin Number : 01107 Date of Bulletin : DEC 15, 2007
    NHTSA Item Number : 10024010
    Summary :
    Make : TOYOTA Model : SIENNA Year : 2007
    Service Bulletin Number : 07017 Date of Bulletin : OCT 23, 2007
    NHTSA Item Number : 10023697
    Summary :
    1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE, West Building Washington DC 20590 USA
    1.888.327.4236 TTY 1.800.424.9153
    United States Department of Transportation logo and link to website. USA.gov logo and link to website

    Here's the website, so that owners of other model years may search for Service Bulletins: http://www-odi.nhtsa.dot.gov/tsbs/


  77. I skipped addressing the rod as my comments on it would be entirely speculative, but with that understanding...

    Rods like the one you describe are often used to relay motion from the interior and exterior handle to the latch. Usually they have a 90 degree bend 1/4" from the end at either end. These 1/4" lengths are positively received by the latch or the handle.

    One can be seen running to where one would expect an interior door handle to be in this pic.

    Why I consider this so speculative?

    Although a previous mechanic may not have properly installed the rod during the previous repair, I do not see how an actuator rod would have fallen not only free of the door, but have made its way outside the door.

    And that is assuming your van uses rods. It seems that rods are giving away to cables akin to bicycle brake cables to actuate the latch in more modern cars. Your van is quite new.

    In my case random things show up in random places as my oldest is a scavenger. In my case, I'd simply assume my son found another forgotten treasure.

  78. This rod has a slight overall bow but no major bends on the ends. One end has a smooth convex end, the other a slightly-rough, slightly convex end--possibly broken, I suppose.

    Complete (?) TSB list for 2007 automatic door problems:

    12/15/07 TSB 20713
    3/13/09 TSB 17813
    3/13/2009 TSB 17812
    10/4/10 TSB 134754
    10/4/10 TSB 134753

    The number of these bulletins suggests to my darker impulses a variety of uses best kept out of a public forum.

    (College Professor, hence the ongoing compulsion to continue my research.)

  79. I did have another thought. McDonalds or the like.

    Could it have been possible that some cola was spilled as someone was entering or exiting the van or even while the door was closed?

    The cola, once dry, acts as a glue and can stick the door shut. While someone opens from the outside without extreme force, try pushing the rear portion of the slider away from the van (not to the rear of the van). You may be able to overcome the effect of the possible sugary spill.

    You have probably already seen these pictures in your search. Cables, no rods.

  80. Sorry, I was not clear. Try pushing the rear portion of the slider away from the van from the inside.

  81. I have three kids, so syrupy goodness abounds everywhere. Living in Tennessee, the interior temp of the van is well over 100 degrees on many summer days, so the sugar theory is intriguing. I spent several minutes scraping a former rasinette from the interior of my Corolla yesterday, so your suggestion is intriguing. I'll let you know.


  82. Brawny Brother-in-Law tried the above technique without the door bodging an inch. I went after the interior and exterior door jamb with undiluted Simple Green and will try again in a few minutes.

    Oh, and now the driver side rear door (manual) won't latch open...


  83. My answer might be here. But our sliding '99 Toyota Sienna door is very hard to open and shut and no buttons for the power door switches in the van or the remote will activate. i hear clicking on the switch by the radio. Any suggestions? I have turned the power door switch off and it's still hard to open...have to use force to get it open. I saw a post about disconnecting battery, we may try that.

  84. I just could not pop those rear clips! mainly out of fear of hearing the old lady complain if I broke the cover. I cut the cable with bolt cutters and the door opens and closes now. Good enough to let the kids get out on the safe side now. Any idea on how to pop those clips out without breaking the cover and I will be in on taking the motor out all together!

  85. There are two ways.

    The easier of the two is to remove the taillight and prying to the point of clip failure vary close to the clip with a screwdriver. Alternatively you can use a chisel to "cut" the clip.

    The harder way to remove the clips and likely salvage them in the process is to release them from the inside. This requires removing the interior panel which you plan to do anyway. Things are tight in the area you have to access due to the rear A/C, but with the A/C evaporator loosened (about 3 or 4 10mm bolts) you might be able to squeeze the clips with a pair of needle nose pliers such that they release.

    I chose the taillight removal method due to the clips being cheap and as it turned out unnecessary.

    Good Luck!

  86. Hi

    Well I tried to read through all the posts this is a great sight! OK my problem is my driver side Sienna 2000 (actually bought in June 99)manual slider is stuck shut. By the way the other electric door went long ago and now is manual too. How do I get it open? We have had problems with it for awhile but usually pulling the handling on the outside or locking and unlocking have gotten it open. Sometimes the inside lock button gets stuck in but nothing is working now.


  87. Hi. The cable wire was broken of my 2004 sienna's automatic door how I hav to fix it. As the dealer asking about $1800 to fix this. I never had try this so need help from you.

  88. The tracks you left on my site indicate you are in Canada. I am in North Carolina. That in combination with the fact that your Sienna is a different generation than the one I have posted on here leads me to believe my help would be limited in this instance.

    The difference between the two generations of Siennas (my 1999 and your 2004) in regard to the power door is substantial. Unfortunately my only experience with your model is indirect.

  89. is it possible to work a power door mechanism into a sienna 2001 that does not have a power sliding mechanism at all i.e. the opening of d door is fully manually.

  90. We have had a problem with our 2001 Sienna since it was 4 years old. I finally came across this blog (and others) that talk about cutting the cables. I went ahead and did this in four places (either side of the door and at both ends where the cable enters the inside of the van to the motor). No need to remove any panels.

    But I now have two problems (which I am surprised to note that no-one else has discussed).

    1. The electronic lock does not work. Locking the door is now a manual process. I note that the manual door we have has 2 wires to the electronic lock whereas the now defunct electronic door has 4 wires. Both electronic locks appear to be the same part. The question is if I cut the two extra wires, will the electronic lock now work? Has anyone done this?

    2. The manual door has an extra cable which is used to release the lower catch when the door is open. The electronic door does not. It works anyhow by giving it a tug so I'm not too worried. Again comparing the two door mechanisms, there an extra cable and set of levers. I'm not sure if there are parts to make them same or whether the whole mechanism has to be replaced. Has anyone tried to retrofit an electronic door to make into a manual door?

    As a side note, I left the child proof lock on before I cut the cables. This made is harder to open/unlock the door and I ended up breaking half of the handle on that side. It seems to be holding up for now. So as a caution make sure you turn off the child proof lock before cutting the cables and closing the door.

  91. Class Action Lawsuit forming on facebook for power door cables! Please visit Please visit this facebook page and click on Like to start a class action law suit asap!


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  92. I have a 2006 Toyota Sienna, with a passenger side power slider. The power motor on the door seems to be working fine. The problem I am having is that the latch mechanism will not disengage, not with the buttons inside the van, the door button on the keychain or the inside or outside handle. The only way to open the door is to remove the cover in front of the handle mechanism and using a flat head screw driver push the lever on top that has two cable attached to it forward and then hit the open door button. It then open and closes fine. But will not reopen again unless I use the screw driver again. with the panel off I noticed that when we use the handles the lever that I push forward does not move. the lever moves forward fairly easy. is there some type of clutch mechanism inside that handle mechanism that is not letting that lever move forward to disengage the latches.

  93. hi. i also have a 2001 sienna xle with an inoperable right sliding door. Also, power lock no longer works on same door. Both stop working at same time. Tried reset procedure and no help. Do hear a click noise when pressing main switch on dash, pillar switch and key fob. But, door does not unlatch or move. PWR Door light is lite up on dash board. Any ideas before going to dealer.

  94. This is a great post. Thank you Poligrog for your efforts and advice. I too am among this exlusive group of Sienna owners wondering why the inferior cabling system fails on these vehicles and have also been given the run around by the dealer to the tune of $1200-1400.

    In my case, I own a 2006 Sienna with 90K miles and a couple of months ago, while trying to open the door using the overhead button, my son heard a snap and saw the cable dangling in the outside track just below the rear seat window. At this point, the door is totally innoperable and does not even budge when I try to operate it manually. I am thinking of taking off the inside panel and cutting the cable as suggested.

  95. I have a 2005 Sienna. I took it to get detailed at the car wash today and the right power door worked fine when we got out. As far as I know, it was left open the whole time they cleaned it. We hit the button to close it when we went to leave and nothing worked, but I could close it manually just fine. Any ideas?

  96. Thank you, polifrog, for the info on this page, and everyone's followup comments. Just had the passenger-side door cable snap on my 2004 Sienna. From research online, you can get a new cable/reel mechanism online for around $430 (list price around $592), and the part number is 69631-08030. Again, this is for a 2004 Sienna (second generation model). And please double-check this info before placing any orders.

    That aside, I cut the cable portion that was dangling from the track (was primarily concerned it might scratch the car, plus it's no use anymore). The door is not openable but an inch or two -- I think it is binding on the cable remnant where the cable snapped near the door. Need to check that, hoping not to have to remove the door panel and window just to get the door movable again!

  97. Yeah, both cables need to be cut, however they can sometimes be difficult to get to.

    And, yes, the price for the second generation opener is lower than the first generation open. Unfortunately it is more likely to fail prematurely.

  98. Hello, what a great blog! Thanks for doing this. OK, my problem is a bit of a variation. I have a 2001 XLE, both doors are power. The driver's side works fine. The passenger side will always open however when I try to close it, there will be a clicking sound with no movement. When I try to manually move it, no luck - it allows me to move forward 1-2 inches then pulls back. It will eventually work but it is getting progressively worse. Any advice would be greatly appreciated!

  99. My guess is that the sheathing on the cable is failing causing it to bind on the way out of the spool.

  100. Thank you for such a quick reply. What would your recommendation be for repair - replace the cable?

  101. I have a 1999 Sienna. When I either use the remote or the power door button, the power door lock unlatches but the door does not open. I only hear click sound after that. The cables look fine to me. I suspect that the motor that opens the door needs replaced. I have taken a few pics but can't attach them here. You think I am on the right track? What will it take to replace the motor?

    Thanks for sharing your knowledge on the topic.

  102. I have a 2001 Sienna with 1 power sliding door. It has been acting up. i tried the RESET sequence from the Owner's Manual. I could open & shut the door 2 times but for the third time it opened but would not close. I could just hear a click. In sumary, I could not complete the reset sequence. Now, the PWR DOOR indicator is lit. When I press the power door button it makes a sound as if it is trying to open the door but the door does not open. If I manually (forcefully) open the door and try to close it using the power button, it clicks but does not close the door. Now, if I attempt the RESET operation, I am able to open the door using the power button but the door would not close using the power button.

    Any idea what I can try?

  103. To answer both of the previous comments I would first clean the contacts. Especially when the clicks but does not open. This can mean a couple of things.

    One is that the signal to unlatch the door does not make it to the mechanism inside the door as a result of dirty contacts in the door jamb. The result is that the door attempts to open but is stymied by the fact that it was unable to unlatch first. Tug. No go.

    Another is that the contacts are working, but the mechanism inside the door that unlatches it has failed in some fashion. More frequently a cable fails than the electrics. In any event when the motor attempts to pull the door open it can not because it is still latched shut.

    As for closing the latch is not an issue. Usually the problem seems to reside in dirty tracks or a failing cable each of which result in an increase in resistance to movement. For safety reasons that threshold is low. First clean the tracks, one near the roof, one near the floor and the gash in the side of the van under the window. Cross your fingers and hope this is the problem otherwise it is most likely your cables.

  104. Thanks for the prompt response. What puzzles me about my 2001 Sienna is how the door is able to open every single time I after I disconnect & reconnect the -ve terminal of the battery, in an attempt to RESET the door. However, it does not ever close. I looked at the tracks and they appear clean. I did see some greasy stuff in the bottm track but I thought it might be lubricant. Are the contacts the 7 or 8 bullet like things on the body of the vehicle and the portion of the door that connects to the body? They have a silver (chrome)front and a coppery side. Again, they seem to be clean. I did wipe them down, though.

  105. I also cleaned the contacts and lubricated all three tracks. Again, the door opens a few times but will not close. And, after a few tries it seems to be losing power and will open only half way through. I have replaced several motors in my Sienna (power window, rear vent etc.) and this symptopm with the power door appears to be similar to a motor going bad. Let me know your thoughts. Thanks again for sharing your knowledge.

  106. I am sorry to hear that my suggestions have not done the trick.

    I am sorry to say I am empty of further thought. Perhaps the problem is the motor as you suggest. If you can come up with a replacement unit (broken cables might be fine if you're handy) between the one you have and the replacement a whole one can be fashioned.

    Merry Christmas.

  107. Wow, what an excellent blog site. I read through most of it but then skimmed to the end because it appears I have yet another problem with the power door on my 2004 Sienna. I had the cable mechanism replaced about 8 years ago but I am not sure this is a cable problem. I opened the door using the outside handle and it powered open normally. I closed it using the button inside the door and it closed about half way an stopped. I tried assisting it and it still will not close. It feels like it is hitting something but I cannot see anything in the way. The rollers seem okay and there is nothing in the top, middle or bottom channel blocking the door. My neighbor thought the handle that activates it felt soft but I don't think that explains what I am experiencing. Any ideas would be greatly appreciated and if I missed a previous answer you have given please just point me to the date. Alan

  108. Update. I disconnected the cable in the door jam and was still unable to close the door. After getting the plastic decorative piece off I was then able to disconnect the cable at the back under the fin window. The door rolled beautifully to a close so I am not convinced this is either a cable or a motor issue. I don't need a power door so may just cut the cable off as others have suggested. Is this my best option at this point? Al

  109. Should have proof read. Meant to say " so I am now convinced this is either a cable or a motor issue"

  110. If you do not need or value the power door, yes.

  111. Perfect blog. Thank you Polifrog!

    Let me share some thoughts: On 2001 Sienna XLE, the Negative pulses from the Rear Latch is being translated to the motor by the ECU or Door Control Module. The ECU tells the motor the current state of the door whether it's open or closed. ECU is volatile, meaning, when you disconnect the battery it loses its memory of the current state of your door. Everytime you disconnect the battery, you MUST re-initialize your power door.

    Somebody ask how to turn OFF the Auto Door light on the dash after cutting the cables, here's one suggestion:

    1. Turn OFF Main Auto Door Switch
    2. Turn IGNITION to ON
    3. Push Power Door Switch 10 times within 10 secs
    4. Wait 30 secs. (At this point Auto Door is blinking telling you Diagnostic Code Error).
    5. Push Auto Door for 4 secs. Wait 15 secs.
    6. Push Auto Door for 4 secs. When you release, Auto Door Light should be off.
    Note: This works on 2001 Sienna XLE with RH Power door.

    I followed Polifrog's FIX but ended with door not closing (not an inch move). Might check the railing for dirt and the lower latch for possible strain. Motor might think of accidental block.

    I refuse to give up on this door. Will reply soon as the door is fixed.

    Thank you very much, Polifrog.

  112. I suspect you already done so, but be sure the cable is not too thick.

    If you don't mind I'd like to add the info you have provided to the post at the top.

  113. I tried the steps mentioned above to turn off the PWR DOOR light on the dash on my 1999 Sienna. Everything worked as described. However, as soon as I put the van in a gear other than P, the light comes back on. Thanks.

  114. I'm BOB and posted the procedure above to turn off the Power Door Light on Dash.

    You may add to try again pushing the power door for 4 secs (this will bring you back to Diagnostic Mode with light blinking). Push it again for another 4 secs. Just a reminder, this worked on my 2001 Toyota Sienna XLE and has still no light showing on the dash. I counted the blinks on mine and showed 2-2 indicating NO OPTICAL SENSOR PULSES. My RH door would open automatically but would not close and move any inch (just clicks on the motor).

    OPTICAL SENSOR = position of door and rate of speed. Senses when door is blocked due to change in speed.
    CLUTCH = disengages motor and movement of door when it is blocked or interrupted and when power door is OFF.

    Still no luck with mine. Will try to clean the inside of motor using contact cleaner.


  115. Your blog is most informative. My 08 has the cable issue you talk about. I feel dumb...but I am having difficulty in removing the inner door panel to access the motor. We popped one clip but are fearful of breaking the rest. Any suggestions?

    1. Some will break. Most will survive. Try to get your pry tool as close as possible to the snap, preferably against it before prying.

      They do not necessarily need to be replaced.

  116. Since you had to remove the quarter trim panel to access the Sliding Door Motor on your 1999 Sienna, did you happen to note the location of the Door ECU? If so, do you remember its location?

  117. Hi Polifrog, Michael here.
    Exact same issue / motor on my 2000 sienna. No issues removing the motor. My question is - what direction / how many winds did you put the cables on the upper / lower spindles inside the motor. Assume the lower spindle is the one which does not remove from the motor. I tried it once and had WAY too much slack so I got something wrong along the way.


  118. Thanks for the amazing content on your blog I am very interested in this article and you have really helped me.

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  119. I have a 2005 xle. I have replaced the middle hinge and will be replacing the motor and cable assembly. I am concerned about puting the new assembly on in the wrong direction. That is to say - installing the cables when the door is "open" vs. "closed" If you put in on during the incorrect phase, you take a chance with the cable snapping again.. am I thinking correctly?

    1. Update to my anonymous post dated May 24, 2012. I have since found a new unit on EBAY for $500. So I will attempt to replace the unit myself. Also prior to finding in on ebay. I checked with two dismantlers and both quoted me about 600. I talked them down to 500 but then found a new one on ebay. I will let you know if it is as easy as it sounds.

    2. Success!!! Replaced the center hinge and motor/cable assembly for a total of $612 parts and labor (free). It took some work, a total of about 4 hours. I did it myself with the help of my wife easing the door to the ground with me and lifting it back up onto the padded car jack stands. The biggest problem with the entire process was realigning the hinges afterward. I would recommend tracing the outline with a sharpee for ease, it would go so much faster. Good luck! You can do it.

  120. I have been meaning to reply to your comments, but have been too lazy. Sorry.

    I appreciate the information and so do all those who visit.


  121. How much cable did you get on your origional repair? I have the same van and need to get the cable for the power door.


  122. I don't recall just now.

    What I do remember is that I used the old wire as a template for the new one.

    I would suggest taking yours apart first so that you have a better sense of what you need before making purchases.

    It's your call, though.

    I doubt I bought more than 6 - 7 feet of cable. I replaced only the one that opens the door, not the one that closes the door.

  123. Join Date
    May 2012

    Re: passenger sliding door problems

    Hi Polifrog, I think my pushing the stuck power door may have snapped the cable. The door did not open when my son tried opening it
    by pushing the switch. That's when I tried opening it manually. The cable snapped. I saw an end of the cable sticking out. Looked like
    as if the end piece broke off ( assuming these cables are same as bike break cables with similar 'T' type ends). Now the power
    door has no friction, I could easily open and close it. The 'Power Door' light is lit all the time. If I do not turn the power door
    switch 'off' the van beeps as soon as I put it in a gear ( R or D ).
    Could some one help me diagnose it, how and where do I start ?

    I have some picture I would like to upload but not sure how do I do that.

    1. Forgot to mention that it's the driver door and it's 2001 Sienna XLE with both side powered doors. Thanx

    2. Yeah, they're like big bike cables and it certainly sounds like yours broke.

      The beeper is probably sounding because the door will not fully close. Check to see if excess cable is dangling such that it might impede the door from latching.

      If free of cables the door should move freely and operate as well as any unpowered door.

      email pics to frogstargw [at] yahoo dot com.

    3. Thanks Polifrog.
      The door does move freely. The cable is broken from the end which goes inside the backseat panel. That end is right behind the cup holder of the back row seat.
      Is there any way I could repair it ?

  124. To BOB who posted the procedure above to turn off the power door light on dash - thank you much - worked like a charm.

    I reviewed wiring diagrams, performed multiple searches and even considered covering the light with black electrical tape - until your post. Thanks again!

    1. You're Welcome. Remember though, repeat the process when you disconnect your battery.


  125. Hello Polifrog, My problem is with the cable that runs though the middle of the door, right under the rear window. It is loose and hangs down below the the rear window. Door does not work. I've tried to read most of the posts here but they all seem to be about the lower cable. Any idea what my cable does?? Or the correct name for it so I can look for repair information? Any one have links to parts pictures? Seems like it runs though a roller om the door that I can't figure out how to remove to clean or repair.... Thank you, Edward

    1. Hello Polifrog,
      OK, now I understand that is the cable you are talking about! Now that I see the TSB with drawings it is clear to me. Thank You! Edward

  126. Hello Polifrog,

    Just to help you answer some questions regarding cable length. The front cable (for closing door) is 75 inches. The rear cable (for opening door) is 59 inches. Again, this is for 2001 Toyota Sienna XLE.

    I have reference documents that will show you how to adjust the cables and to diagnose the fault by pressing the auto door button and indicators on the dash. This include the removal of quarter panels. If you break some clips, you will be surprised that you can buy it from ACE hardware. Always refer to Polifrog's method above. The documents will just help you understand the mechanism and adjustments. Compressed File size is 3.6Mb. If Polifrog would allow me to email this file let me know.


  127. I feel pretty happy to have discovered your webpages and look forward to tons of more pleasurable times reading here. Thanks a lot once again for a lot of things.

  128. Great blog. I have read through and was not able to see anything definitive concerning my issue, but do believe that maybe I am screwed. Basically my issue is that the sliding power door on my 2000 Sienna is closed and will not open from buttons or manually neither inside/outside, it is just jammed shut. I do not care to fix the problem for fear of having to mess with it again unless it is a simple fix this go around. When I press the inside buttons, you hear noise (I believe it's the motor engaging like it did when it opened/closed previously) but no door action, so I want to say my issue revolves around the locking mechanism. Does this sound correct? If so, how do I fix this? If not, what do you think it may be? Again, if I had the door working manually, I would be glad but not sure I can even ge this far. Look forward to our advice. Regards, RAP

    1. I am on the road right now (Thanksgiving), but I will take a close look at my door at some point and when I arrive at my destination I will give a better reply 'round eight eastern tonight.

  129. We bookmarked your site a couple of days ago because your blog have good information of fixing door and window.

  130. Where are you located, Polifrog? We need a door fixed and you seem to have it down to a science!

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  134. I have read through this blog with a lot of interest. I have a 2002 Sienna with power sliding doors on both sides. The left (drivers)side wasn't working, so I did the reset procedure by disconnecting the battery and all. Now it will open with power, but won't close with any of the buttons. When you try to close with the handle, it will resist extremely hard. If you do happen to close it somewhat, the power will take over and it will open again. Only way to close it after that is to shut off the power door system on the dash and close manually. Does this sound like a motor problem, a cable problem, or a computer problem? Thanks.

  135. It seems that the cables are good otherwise the door would not open due to binding.

    My guess is that the motor is not getting the open signal.

    As always, check and clean the contacts in the doorjamb first.

  136. Power door locks is highly recommended for those who own cars nowadays.

  137. I have 2002 sienna xle, I was able to remove the sliding door motor upon following your guide info. Please help me to figure out the length of the cable as the previous owner cut it and its hard to figure out the exact length

  138. I really like what you guys are up too. This sort of clever work and exposure! Keep up the awesome works guys I've included you guys to my blogroll.

  139. Have a 2001 Sienna, the power sliding door opens but when time to close, it "Clunks" and moves about 1in, after using all my strength to pull it shut, it works for a time after that, for a while.. Any tips, I have retrained it (numerous times) but still "jams" every once in a while. Thanks in advance for the help

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  144. Great site Polifrog!
    Has anyone come across a wiring diagram for the power door on '99 Sienna's? I looked through Clymer and Chilton's wiring diagrams but nothing on power doors.

  145. I was able to access diagnostics and clear the door fault on my '99 Sienna. Other methods failed for me.
    Here were the steps:
    Slider closed.
    Door power off.
    Key on, and engine running.
    Cycle the open button, by radio, about 10 times quickly.
    Diagnostics entered. Read flashes.

    To Exit and Clear:
    Press & hold open button for about 5 secs.
    Diagnostics flash.
    Press & hold open button for about 5 secs.
    Light should be cleared.

    If there is still a fault, operating the door automatically will probably flash a fault again.

    Thanks for all of the info.

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  152. On the Toyota door cable fix did you have to adjust the tension of the new cables and if so how do you do so??
    Seems one had to push the palstic nut in and adjust to tighten but the cable still wants to hang out on outside trackwhne opening right door -?? Please help 2001 Sienna.

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