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1st Generation (1998-2003) Discussion area for the first generation Toyota Sienna.

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Old 03-19-2010, 05:47 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Proper spark plug for '98 Sienna

I'm confused. The owner's manual for our '98 Sienna says to only use the Denso PK20TR11 plug, or the NGK equivalent. However, a Denso website lists a number of plugs for this vehicle. You can see the Denso site here:
http://tinyurl.com/yzrebv5

As you all know, the PK20TR11 is the dual-ground electrode plug, while the IK20 shown on the Denso site is the more common single-gap plug. Will terrible things happen in the 1MZ-FE engine if a single-gap plug like the IK20 is used instead of a dual-electrode plug such as the PK20TR11?

Also, I recently replaced my plugs using the PK20TR11 and right out of the box the gap on all the plugs was in the range of .025. I reset them to .043, per the specifications. However, I see where a lot of folks, and even a local Toyota dealership tech, install the plugs right out of the box without checking the gap. I know the 11 on the end of the plug number means 11mm and equates to .043 for the gap, but this wasn't the case for me. What's up? Do I need to pull the plugs and narrow the gap? I hesitate to do so because the van starts and runs fine, and MPG is consistent with what I was getting for the last several years.
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Old 03-19-2010, 04:51 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Just replaced the spark plugs in my 2003 Sienna, which also has the 1MZFE motor.
For 2003, the owner's manual and the Toyota factory repair manual both call for either NKG IFR6A11 or DENSO SK20R11.
Did the plugs you removed have more than 1 ground tab? (and do you know for sure that they are factory original?).

Mine had NKG plugs in it......I installed DENSO SK20R11.
The DENSO plug has a sleeve over the end.......to keep the gap from being bumped out of what it was set for when manufactured.
DENSO and Toyota now say NOT to adjust the gap (the Iridium electrode is VERY sensitive to being bumped).

My 2003 Sienna has a sticker on the underside of the hood that also states to not adjust the gap.

The Denso SK20R11 had a iridium electrode and also platinum enhancement on the ground tab.
It is rated for "up to 120K miles" by DENSO.
This is the correct plug to use.
They also list the "Power Plus" plug.......which I would NOT choose to use......you kind of have to hunt for it......but the Power Plus plug is only rated by DENSO for 30K miles.......and having replaced those rear plugs........I sure don't want to be doing that every 30K miles!!!!

Of course.....now that they are in.....I would not mess with them......however, next time, you will know not to adjust the gap.
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Old 03-20-2010, 09:16 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Thanks, Wiswind. The plugs I removed were the same dual-ground Denso PK20TR11. I still have them on the shelf out in the garage. Interestingly, their gap after 56,291 miles measures almost exactly .043 on both sides of the electrode. Either they were installed at a gap of .043, or the gap grew to .043 after 56,291 miles of driving. The dealership installed the last set, but I installed the current set.

I know of the sticker you mentioned on the underside of the hood, and as you mentioned, it says not to gap the plugs. What trips me up is that the owner's manual says to use Denso PK20TR11 or NGK BKR6EKPB11 and says the gap should be 0.043. I find that to be a huge disconnect. Which is right? Install right out of the box at a gap of 0.025 like the sticker under the hood says to do, or to gap the plugs to 0.043 as the owner's manual says?
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Old 03-20-2010, 10:00 AM   #4 (permalink)
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It is very possible that they specified a different spark plug for your 98.
Toyota Racing Development (TRD) actually had a supercharging system for the intake....for your '98....not that I would recommend it...if one could still be located.

I have seen the message about not adjusting the gap on the platinum plugs also....but they came with no protective sleeve over the end....leaving the ground tab to be bumped during shippment and handling.
The DENSO plugs had a protective sleeve, so the factory set gap would still be good once I took it out of the box.
The concern with adjusting the gap is that the iridium electrode is thin and very brittle.....very easy to damage.
Also the platinum enhancement on the ground tab is easily damaged.
However, it is not like you can "ungap" them......and they are doing well for you, so I would not worry about them.

If your vehicle is running correctly, I would not worry about it.
You did much better by getting the plugs you did instead of one of the MANY lesser plugs that seem to be listed for our application.
I have seen this on other vehicles that I owned....and folks at auto part stores cannot know what factory specifications are for every vehicle.....they can only tell you what comes up on their screen.
It is best when their screen tells them what OEM is, but that does not seem to be common.
So it is up to us to research things thouroghly before going to make a purchase.
As the plug you indicate (DENSO SK20R11) is used on the later version of the same motor....I am confident that they will serve you well.

Last edited by wiswind; 03-20-2010 at 05:53 PM.
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Old 03-21-2010, 03:00 PM   #5 (permalink)
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I've about decided that I goofed when I gapped the PK20TR11 plugs. They came out of the box with the plastic ring protecting the sparking end of the plug, likely to keep the gap at the factory setting during shipment. That should have been a clue. Another clue would have been that the plugs coming OUT of the van were sitting at .043 after more than 56,000 miles of driving. If they'd been installed at .043 the gap would presumably have been much wider after that many miles. So, they were probably installed with the factory, right-out-of-the-box gap which seemed to be more like .025. It remains a mystery why the owner's manual says the gap should be .043 immediately below where it says to use Denso PK20TR11 or NGK BKR6EKPB11, two plugs having the dual-ground "do not gap" spacing of .025 right out of the box.

Knowing the way I am, I will probably but ANOTHER set of Denso PK20TR11's and install them before too long. After having done the spark plug change once, it's not nearly the hassle it was the first time. This time, though, I'll start with the #1 cylinder's plug and get it over with---the rest are a walk in the part after that one!

Thanks, Wiswind! Oh, and did I read in another post where you're riding on Michelin Harmony tires? We have those on our Sienna and what a great ride!
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Old 03-21-2010, 07:22 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Mine is a 2003, but should be very similar to your '98.
I posted pictures of the process in getting to the rear valve cover.
I replaced the valve cover gasket and the spark plugs.
I posted pictures that show the cowl removal, Upper intake manifold removal, to get to the rear spark plugs.
Here is a link to the first in the series of pictures of the upper intake manifold.....starting with draining some cooant from the system.
You will need 14mm, 12mm and 10mm sockets and a 8mm hex bit.
http://rides.webshots.com/photo/2168...11220610QVNRpZ

I replaced my thermostat the same day.
I do not recommend doing both projects in the same day.
My thermostat was regulating at 163 to 168 degrees.......instead of the 180 degrees that it should have been at.
TOYOTA states that the 180 degree thermostat should not start to open until at least 176 degrees.
YES, the one that I took out was marked "82" for 82 degrees C.
I bought the replacement thermostat from TOYOTA, as well as the 2 "O" ring gaskets.

I ran the Michelin Harmony tires on my '96 windstar (sold that today...super good condition, but over 220K miles on it) for years and was very happy with them.
My Sienna has the larger tires, and I had my parents try the Harmony tire on it when they owned it.....and they were very happy with them.
It is what I plan to keep using on it......unless I get a itching to try the Hydroedge.
My parents, who live over 500miles from me, kept worrying about me driving around such an old car.....so when they decided to replace their 2003 Sienna Symphony with a 2010 Sienna LE, I bought their "old" car.
I know that a minivan is not "cool" nowadays.......but it suits my needs.....and I REALLY like the Sienna.

I am CHEAP in that I hang on to a vehicle for a long time......I make it a hobby to keep it in good shape.
I am not cheap as far as my preventative maintenance....I try to do routine things myself, using the best quality materials that I can.
I drove my windstar for 11 years.......
A friend of mine told me that if I got so many years and miles out of a windstar, the Sienna should last me the rest of my life.

Last edited by wiswind; 03-21-2010 at 07:23 PM.
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Old 03-22-2010, 06:15 AM   #7 (permalink)
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It seems we have a lot in common. I, too, enjoy the challenge of keeping a vehicle in service for as long as possible. We kept a '79 Pontiac Grand Prix for 200,000 miles, a '90 Olds Cutlass Supreme for 217,000 and now our '98 Sienna has 264,000 miles and still going strong! Yes, you're right, it requires diligence on the preventive maintenance, but the rewards are great in that the vehicle goes and goes.....especially if it's a Toyota. (By the time our GM cars got 200,000 miles, I had a list a mile long of all the little things that had malfunctioned; not so with our Kentucky-built Toyota).

Our other vehicle is a Ford Taurus, so like you, I can compare the Toyota to the Ford. The Taurus is a good car but it's already cost me more in maintenance than the Sienna did in all these years.

I saw where you had posted pictures of radio removal, and I plan to look at those again at length. I have several bulbs burned out and it's time to tackle those, although by now we can reach and find whatever we want to adjust without even looking, since we've had this van since December, 1997! Have you tackled the dash lights? The dealership said the bulbs are about $10 apiece. If you know of another source (and part numbers for the dash and heater/AC bulbs) please let me know. We can move the conversation over to PM if you want.

I had the intake plenum and intake manifold off a couple weekends ago. Replaced the rear valve cover and did some work with the knock sensors. (P0330) Too cheap to buy a new sensor so I wired the output from the one good sensor to the computer's input for both sensors, a trick I learned here on TN. My Toyota mechanic buddy howled over that one, and as soon as I can scrape up a couple hundred dollars that I don't know what to do with (sarcasm!) I'll buy two new sensors and install them. The good news is that I can recite from memory exactly how to get to the sensors, from removing the hood and cowling down to the individual bolts on the intake manifold, so the next time will be a LOT faster....especially since I won't have to bother with the rear valve covers this time. What a pain getting that cover back on with the engine wiring harness in the way! But it was worth it, the cardboard on the garage floor is no longer necessary because there's no oil dripping from the engine, and I'm using full synthetic which likes to find the leaky spots!

Your friend was right, the Sienna will last a LONG time. You may have seen the post somewhere here on TN where an airport shuttle driver has a Sienna with over 300,000 miles and he still finds it very reliable!
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Old 03-22-2010, 09:15 AM   #8 (permalink)
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I replaced the spark plugs on my 02 Sienna over the weekend, after taking off the top cowl the only tool needed was 10mm socket and two 6" extension to tackle the rear 3 plugs, it was pretty straight forward and relatively easy to do, previous owner had Bosch Platinum 2 in there....eeek, I can't believe my local Toyota dealer wanted $299 to change spark plugs on these van. while I was at it I replaced thermostat and flush the brake fluid as well.
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Old 03-22-2010, 11:03 AM   #9 (permalink)
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$299? Holy cow! Good job on doing it yourself! I'm curious, what brand and part number of plugs did you install, and how are they working out? Also, did you leave the gap alone or did you re-gap before installing them?
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Old 03-22-2010, 02:05 PM   #10 (permalink)
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You don't even have to take off the manifold to reach the back 3 plugs. 6 inch and no longer extension and feeling for it the way to approach it.
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Old 03-23-2010, 06:08 AM   #11 (permalink)
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I did my spark plugs while I was doing the rear valve cover gasket, so I had the upper intake manifold off to do that.
I have not had any issues with light bulbs inside the vehicle yet.
My radio removal was to install the GROM USB2 adaptor to the radio so that I can have a auxillary audio input.......and this unit gives me a USB2 port that I can install a flash drive into.......and turns my single CD radio into a "CD changer", each folder on the flash drive is a "CD", up to a maximum of 6, and I can have up to 99 "tracks" per CD.

I would use the spark plugs that are listed in your owner's manual, unless there is some TSB stating not to use those in your vehicle......
I wa surprised to see that the '98 takes a different plug than my 2003.....but I still have a lot to learn.

Folks on forums kept stating that removing the cowl was the best way to replace the rear spark plugs on the FORD Windstar......but I can drive the front up onto my ramps and get them from under the vehicle faster than I can remove the cowl.

It is good to read that the rear spark plugs can be accessed without removing the upper intake manifold......saves a lot of work.

On the Sienna, my valve covers had slight seapage......and I wanted to verify that I did not have any of the "sludging" issues......which I do not seem to have.

Yesterday, I removed the big lower trim panel on the inside of my rear hatch to look into why my rea hatch would not open.
I lucked out on that one......nothing was broken......just needed some lubrication......my favortite repair.....FREE.

Last edited by wiswind; 03-23-2010 at 06:10 AM.
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