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Toyota Avalon 2004 and earlier

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  • abfischabfisch Posts: 591
    That sounds a bit on the hight side. Shop around for more inexpensive but not necessarily cheaper parts for the mounts. Yes, those are the parts I was taling about. Older Avalons, were known for those to fail. Depends on how much mileage you have on the vehicle, how much you have on hand, and how long you intend on keepin it. If you have near 100K on it, you probably should. Even if things come out to $1200 or so, what car like the Avalon could you buy for that???

    Mine has about 84K, rides better than the day I bought it and I have not intention of getting rid of it. Although, I need to change the front rotors and pads again, but that is another story. We use this auto as our staple. It takes us on long trips with grace and comfort, tows a utility trailer constantly, gets us through whiteout conditions with 4 snows in upstate NY, etc. It would be the last car we would get rid of, but it hasn't been the cheapest to own, unfortunately(some parts are cheaply made).

    You could forego the bushings, but if you have play in the control arms, a Toyota dealership will charge you to replace the entire arm I believe, not just the bushings. And the bushings are what go, not the arm. Cannot stand it. Most of these makers what you to replace the entire arm instead of just replacing the bushings.

    Our year Avalon is not replaceable by the new one. Although nice, it does not afford a bench seat, and the towing capacity is reduced in half even though it has much more horsepower. What is that tellin you. Different car than before applying to different buyers. I am sure Toyota knows what they are doing, but they lost me as a customer a long time ago. Nevertheless, I hope this forum helps other owners out as their cars age.

    abfisch
  • 5539655396 Posts: 529
    You mentioned to stop by and drive your Avalon. Well, I'm in Rochester. Unfortunately, that's Rochester, MN. Guess I'll have to pass, but thanks for the offer. ;-)
    Yes, I found the mounts a bit cheaper, but I spoke with an alignment guy here and he said they usually don't replace them unless high miles, you hear clunking noises or they have deterioration. Ours only has 50k on it, but it has lost it's cushion on small road imperfections and it feels used and vague, although it has fairly good rebound control. I may have mentioned that we just bought a winter place in Arizona. Unfurnished, so the first trip will be with a full load. Maybe a trailer, so thought it may be a good time to upgrade. I guess I would go for the new Camry instead of another Avalon. I like the size and styling better. Or, an ES350. With BMW always in the back of my mind though. My buddy and I just drove an 06 330i and a 650. The little 330 will run right with the 650 up to 80-90 where the 650 will gradually pull away. That's a fun little car.
  • 5539655396 Posts: 529
    Well, I just bought a full set of KYB GR2's for my 03 Avalon. I wanted tokicos, but they were about $400. The GR2's list for $562.90. I bought my set for $209. STEEP discount. Couldn't resist. I also found Energy bushings for $6 rear and $12 front. I'll order those too. $29 with shipping. How can ya go wrong? I think these are great prices. The first auction for the struts was for $220, but had ended, so I called about them. Only available through their web site for $260, so I said "If you want to re-list, I will bid". Pretty soon, there they were,. but not for $220. He lowered the price to $209. Very nice gesture. Anyway, there were 5 sets available, so now there are four. If anyone wants a set, check ebay here: Performance Parts Store, OH. KYB GR-2 SHOCKS 95-03 TOYOTA AVALON - BRAND NEW! Item number: 200016615765 Give us feedback if you buy em. Check Froogle for the bushings. Jerry
  • 5539655396 Posts: 529
    When trying to find which urethane sway bar bushings to order for my 2003 Toyota Avalon, I see 18mm (#9.5122) or 19mm (9.5123) listed for the front, and 16mm
    (8.5120) listed for the rear. BUT, when I crawl under the car and measure the sway bar, it measures 17mm front AND rear. So, I pulled a rear off. The bushing has the number 17 molded onto it. Do you recall what yours were AB? This was an Enterprise Rental managers car. I wouldn't think they would put a lesser part on for them. It would be more trouble than it was worth to track them, but I could see them doing an 'off spec' approval is there were a parts shortage holding up build. Any thoughts? Anyone else run into this? I wonder what size a Camry SE uses and id they are interchangeable with the Avalon.
    Jerry in MN
  • abfischabfisch Posts: 591
    This is what you do. Call Energy Suspension. They make a paper measuring device (FREE) that they can send you in first class mail, easy. You get under the car without hurting you head, and measure you bar, near where the bushing are located in 2 different places, just to be anal. Do the same for the rear.

    Mine, an 02 XL, made in Ketucky measured 18mm for the front and 16mm for the rear. As far as I know, Toyota does not make a 17mm bar for this car or the Camry. But it is some easy to do with the device that they send you for free, that it really is a no brainer.

    The rear bushings are simple to put on and easy to access. Make sure you take every safety precaution you need to when working under vehicles, and wear protective eye and gloves. The front bushing are a little more of a pain in the backside. In order to have enough room to access it, you really need to take the front wheels off and have an offset racheting box wrench, not just a plain box wrench. Easy enough at Sears. Get an extra tube of Blue Marine Grease and lube up the outer and inner diameter after cleaning the bar off of rust.

    That is all that is to it. Just not that difficult if you can turn a screw and getunder the car. The control arm bushings are a different story unless you have an ultimate garage. The back ones seemed to make another jump difference but vibration is transmitted in the car a little now at bumps like railroad tracks, etc. This is with the standard 15" tires on. So make your own decisions.

    The sway bar bushings are cheap enough and give you alot more cornering capability. Will premium stuts, it is almost a different car.

    Have fun.

    abfisch
  • abfischabfisch Posts: 591
    55396

    I have similar interests and useage, although not in Arizona. If you only have 50K on the car, yes, I would agree with the mechanic, just have him look at the mounts before replacing struts and then wind up going in there 30K later to do so. A waste of time and labor. Yours and his. The KYB GR2 or TokicoHP would be both applicable to sure up the ride without gettin harsh.

    I trail with my Avalon, a utility trailer, with a ClassII hitch. Actually, I use it quite a bit, more than I thought. A small trailer should be not a problem, unless you push the 2K limit above its limit(like me). Then, you could run into tranny problems or like me, axle problems. My bad.

    My other car is 04 BMW 325ci with the Sports Suspension, bought used from a solier brought back from Germany. 5 speed with no electronic gizmos other than rain sensing wipers and upgraded stereo, not even a sunroof. Perfect for me. Enjoy it during the three seasons and store it in the winter. Have had less problems with the BMW than with my Avalon to date. Both plan on keeping and enjoying.

    If you are going to buy a ES350, go drive a 330ci sedan, 6 speed, dark grey metallic with cinnamon bark leather interior with a sports package. You only live once.

    Enjoy your Avalon. A good car, but mine not the cheapest car to own I ever had. Would be lying. Changing my brakes again, all rusted out for the 4th time but some of this is my own fault. I wash the car in a touchless car wash twice a week during the winter months, with the undercarriage spray and I know it corrodes the heck out of the brake rotors.

    abfisch
  • 5539655396 Posts: 529
    I see the local GM dealer has an 06 325ix all wheel drive on his used car lot. AWD would be nice, but not sure how it affects driving and handling. Too small to replace an Avalon anyway, and I would definitely want the 330. That has the highest fun factor. I had an Audi. Solid car. Great road car too, but not much 'fun'. The Europeans have had a worse quality rating lately - especially Mercedes, than when I had my Audi, and that was bad enough and parts were out of sight. Almost as bad as the Saab 99 that I owned way back when. Never believed in lemons til I owned that car. It was like a snowmobile in winter though.
    I see the billing finally went through on my GR-2 struts, so should have them soon. I have sent Energy 2 emails about sway bar bushings. Guess they can't be bothered to reply. I was surprised that local parts stors have their catalog, so will have to go in and try to find out what I have to order. I called Toyota Parts, and they only have one number listed for an 03, but it does not give a size, so no help there. I intend to find an Avalon on the lot so I can crawl under it with my caliper to check the size. As I mentioned, my rubber bushing is even stamped with a 17 which matches my measurement. Everyone else thinks it should be 18 or 19mm. I always get these strange deals. It looks like I will have to custom size it. I did notice what a pain in the [non-permissible content removed] those front bushing bolts are. I can see why you have had problems with your Avalon. Sounds like it is your work horse. I do notice some clunkiness from the struts, so will pay close attention to the condition of the mounts. Maybe even boil em in water and then spray em with Armor All and place em in a baggie for a period of time to rejuvinate the rubber. Would probably have to flush them off before reinstallation as Armor All makes em slippery. And then again, probably not. That's just automatic mode and the way my mind works. Too much labor involved to gamble on results.
  • abfischabfisch Posts: 591
    55396:

    You will notice quite the difference with the KYB GR2's, big bang for the buck. I am genuinely interested in your comments once you get the car back. Again, I do not think Toyota makes a 17mm front sway bar bushing, as they are 18 or 19mm. Mine was 18mm (XL) and besides being a pain to get at, it fit perfect. As long as you genorously clean and grease the ID and OD (inner and outer diamter) of the bushing and bar interface.

    Let me tell you about the difference in the 325 and 330. Again, it is somewhat subjective. My best friend, among other autos, bought a brand new 04 330cic 6 speed with the performance package/sport package . I bought a used 325ci 2004 325ci (coupe) with the sports package. He paid 50K, I paid 28K. He drove both. Although, I cannot put the top down, he looked at me and said that mine drive better. Only a friend would say that after spending 50K on a car. Now you know, you have to drive these vehicles before really buying them. A convertible, along with 18" rims(instead of the 17") is way heavier and much less rigid. Even with the extra thrust of the 3.0 motor, it doesn't make up for it. Then laden it with all the motorized seats, top, etc. and you could have a weight bias easy exceeding 500lbs. The same with the Xi. Your are pushing another transaxle, 200lbs. You can also bump up the price another 5K, and more maintenance costs. So.....just may two cents. In the year and 1/2 I have owned my BMW, it has been much less maintenance than my Avalon. Every year, I have to redo my Avalon's brakes. And it is garaged during the winter up here. This year, the freakin rotors were frozen to the rear E brake drums, and I had to wind up having a military mechanic help me physically bust through the drum hats with a sledge hammer to take off the rear rotors. Fun huh. Not at all. Every year I have to do those Avalon brakes. The metal is inferior. And Toyota knows it.

    Believe it or not, the mechanic even said that my Avalon under 50MPH, handles as good as my BMW. So the struts and the bushing will make a big difference without changing the ride height, something I do not like to do. They do make springs now that can lower the Avalon, but that is not what I use it for. I need the ride height to remain for the snow and tranversing the trailer across the lawn.

    Let me know how things turn out.

    abfisch
  • 5539655396 Posts: 529
    Interesting. I selected to be notified by Spybot if there is a download. Guess what? When I went to this forum, I got a message that says "Spybot S&D reports that you want to download DoubleClick. This is a known threat" What are you tracking in our PC's Edmunds? I do not appreciate spyware being installed on my PC. How about the rest of you?
  • 5539655396 Posts: 529
    AB. Finally got a reply from customer support on what sway bar bushings to order for MY application, which appears to be unusual. I just did a search for used Avalons in my area so I could measure their sway bars and could not find one less than 100 miles away. I'm still going in to check the parts catalog. I see some have grease zerks. It wouldn't be difficult to install on your brackets. Have you considered it?

    Here is my reply.

    "Jerry,

    That is a strange combo your Avalon has. Order a 9.5121 for the front. For the rear, I would just order the 16mm set and sand the bushing out to 17mm using a dremel type tool with a 60 grit drum on it.

    You need to grease either color, so get what ever color you like. There is no graphite in swaybar sets.

    Steve, Customer Service"
  • My 2002 Toyota Avalon has an error code that says Air/Fuel Sensor heater Circuit Bank1, Sensor2. This sensor is in back of the cat. converter, with wires going up into the floor boards. Does anyone know the procedure for getting to this connector. It is under the passenger side front seat as diagram in manual shows, or is it onder the console? What has to be removed to get to it?
  • patpat Posts: 10,421
    I have the same settings on the most current version of SpyBot as well and, while I've seen similar messages on some other sites, I've never see that here in the Forums. Go to the Forums Software discussion and ask about it there.
  • Deepan......just wanted to know your advice to cbutler may have saved me hundreds of dollars. On 8/21/06 about 6am I was browsing this forum and just happened to see your response to the other poster on how to get the instrument cluster gauges working again. I had recently purchased my car ( 2003 XLS ) at an auction where you dont get to look very closely at the cars. So when I went to pick up my car at the lot, and saw the dashboard gauges didnt work, I took that as just something I would have to fix. I didnt know that when the car was left on the lot with it's interior lights on ( which killed the battery ), that could short circuit the instrument cluster gauges, odometer,clock and outside temp. My mechanic didnt figure it out, so I made an appointment with Toyota. I even asked a Toyota rep for advice on what may cause that and how to correct it. He didnt know, or wasnt telling. If I had kept that appointment, there is no telling what this Toyota dealership would have come up with or charged me.

    Thanks so much Deepan. And if there is anyone else out there with the same problem ( instrument cluster gauges dont work ) try disconnecting the battery for a few seconds, and reconnecting. That might get them working again. I also ordered blank transponder "chip" keys, and received the programming instructions. So I'll be saving money instead of wasting it at the dealership.
  • It took me 4 weeks to read all of this forum. Wow. One of the posts awhile back asked if there was a way to tell if the car had bucket or bench seats by the vin#? I've been spending 2 months researching cars for my self to buy a 95-98 avy. Since I'm retired disabled, I can't afford a new one (see my post on meet the members which I will repost after this one but updated). As I looked at all the cars, I think I may have found the answer (could be just a coincidence). The 10th digit on the vin is the check digit. From what I have seen so far, check digits 0-4 seem to point to a car with bucket seats floor shift. Check digits 5-9 seem to point to the bench seat column shift. This seems to hold up on the 96-99 vins. Can anyone check this out for themselves? Look at your vin#. If you have 0-4 for your 10th digit, do you have the floor shift? If you have 5-9, do you have the column shift?

    BTW, new to the forum.

    Thanks,
    Steve
  • Here is a copy of the message from meet the members: I updated it a little bit from the original post.
    ------------------------------------------------------------

    My Name is Steve, from MA. I'm a retired 48 yr old and awaiting a small settlement very soon. All my adult life I've driven mostly GM cars, the latest a 90 Celeberty Wagon w/ a modified engine It's been a good car. BUT, I am now ready for a "Real Car"! A few years ago, I got to ride in a 98 Avalon XLS. I was like "WOW". I haven't to this day forgot that. I swore from that day on that if I ever got the opportunity to get one, I will. Although I can't afford a newer Avy, I have researched 7 candidates ranging from 95-98. One of them has very high mileage(212k) but I hear 200k is like 100k on a GM in comparison. Some of the other candidates are 120-188k. You can't find an Avy in New England in good shape for less than 5k no matter what the year or mileage. I found ones in NJ, NY, VA, & FL for between 2900-4200. It's worth the 400 in gas to go to FL and back if necessary to save 2k if not more. Of course if anyone one this forum who lives within 400 mile distance wants to sell me their 95-98 XLS for the same range of the candidates found, I would like to talk to you. Be advised though that I have a few prerequisites. 1 a bench seat w/ shift on columm because my wife & I are large people and the buckets won't cut it for long. 2- CD player (At my wifes insistence - sorry). 3 full maintanence records w/ good carfax history which is important so I can determine how much $ I will need to refurbish if need be. I prefer any color but green but will still consider it if other conditions are met. BTW 4200 assumes less than 120k mileage. Looking forward to being an Avy owner VERY SOON! I'm counting the days and believe me it's getting hard. "I WANT MY AVALON"!
    Thanks,
    Steve
  • Sorry about the vin post. I scaned a few more cars tonight with the vin 10th check# 5-9 and sure enough they do also have bucket seats. Thought I found the solution. Sorry, I was wrong.

    Steve
  • Hi, my name is David and I lives in Chicago. I have a 2001 Avalon that need to have its air condition filter replace. I did a search online and all the instructions I found said that there is a screw on the right side of the glove compartment to be remove in order to lower the glove compartment. The problem is that I don't see any screw on the right side of the glove compartment; all I see is a plastic cap-like thing that is holding the hinge. I try to turn it and it just won't move. Is there a way to reach the filter without damaging anything in the compartment? If this question has been answered before, I'll appreciate a direction/link to the post(s). Thanks a bunch!
  • 5539655396 Posts: 529
    "Again, I do not think Toyota makes a 17mm front sway bar bushing, as they are 18 or 19mm."

    You aren't gonna argue with my caliper are ye? Could be the eyeball, but checked it against a rule. I ordered the part numbers Energy suggested, so we'll find out for sure if they are 17mm soon. BTW, I ordered through Checker Auto Parts. Only a few bucks more than the internet. If they don't come with grease, I think I'll try my Silicone Plumbers Grease from Home Depot for $1.97. No big deal if it doesn't work out if I need to relube anyway, and I can compare that to your experience, although my usage isn't as extreme.

    "Just not that difficult if you can turn a screw and getunder the car. The control arm bushings are a different story unless you have an ultimate garage."

    I have a pit in my garage that is 13' long and 6' deep, set up to pull engines when I ran the drag strip, so access shouldn't be a problem. No parts yet. I'll report back as things progress.

    Jerry
  • abfischabfisch Posts: 591
    I am jealous now. Sounds like a sweet situation. The grease needs to be hydrophilic is the main thing. Really doesn't matter what other factor it is, but needs not to wash away. High temperature not a factor, nor pressure really. No, I cannot argue with a caliper, but I can only tell you what fit on mine. Every now and again, the sway bar bushing start to groan a little and need regreasing. Not a big deal but not for everyone.

    Have found 33 PSI in the tires, 205/65 R 15 too much and brought them down to 31, just as the manufacturer recommends now.

    Man, I could really use your bay better than my garage. Need to put a modified CDV(clutch Delay Valve) in my BMW and have to get underneath.

    Anyway, hope it comes out good and you have a noticeable improvement.

    abfisch
  • 5539655396 Posts: 529
    I stopped at a guys place up the road. He appraises cars and really has a nice garage. Has one of those car lifts so you can stack them plus a motorcycle lift. He has a restored Avanti and an older Buick Riviera, both white, but up on the hoist was an old Cord. I couldn't believe the horrible fit on doors etc, but he said that was normal unless someone fix it later. This one had been converted to rear wheel drive. He said the fenders were made up of 7 or 9 individual pieces and weigh about 75 pounds each. Nice toys and a nicer set up than mine.
  • abfischabfisch Posts: 591
    Now, your killin me. Nice. I would even have the time but glad someone has the time,patience and money to enjoy.

    Does anyone have experience with aftermarket batteries for the AValon. CR just had a report this month, Best Buy Everlast at WallMart Size #24F but ofcourse they don't have that size. Only size #24, terminals reversed.

    abfisch
  • finfin atlantaPosts: 588
    The battery question: As posted before, my '03 XL is on the 3rd battery. Reasons unknown. The second battery was from NAPA...the company with the blue signs. It failed quicker than the original battery. No good at all, would not charge. The third is actually another from Toyota, a local dealer gave me a 3 year 100% free replacement warranty... got it in Florida as the NAPA battery failed while we were there. A few bucks cheaper than NAPA too!

    This Toyota battery seems to be fine.. and the charging system has been checked many times, always OK. Terminals clean. A mystery in an otherwise great car.

    Avoid NAPA, check with a local Toyota dealer for a battery deal.. my .02 anyway..... :)
  • abfischabfisch Posts: 591
    Thanks man. Forgot about that posting. CR had a testing this month, for batteries. Our cars take an odd size 24R, for some reason, that I cannot understand. So I go to Walmart, and look for it, Best Buy, tag is there but other batteries in its place. I make them call two other WalMarts, nobody has it. So CR got it, but I cannot have it. This Everstart battery exclusive to Walmart. Very painful.

    Went to a local Interstate battery dealer and ordered the correct size. Ofcourse they don't stock it, and it will be here next week. Very very painful. Glad to stay away from NAPA. They have an attitude problem at the local one here anyway, so that is even more reason.

    I'll let you know about this Interstate one. A little on the pricey side but got a good rating in CR. Not a big deal in the whole picture though.

    Thanks for the tip.

    abfisch
  • 5539655396 Posts: 529
    No SAMS Club in your area? I either buy there or at Fleet Farm, which carries Champion. I wonder if many of these come out of the same factories. Can you tell where they are made?

    BTW, Checker couldn't get the Energy bushings I needed, but then found another source that had one of the numbers. I had already ordered online from FasterThanThem.com by then though.

    Jerry
  • Did you ever determine the problem you mention in your message below? I have the same problem.

    I have a 96 avalon xls and when I press the brake pedal I get a buzzing noise. I had read on another forum that low fluid in the ABS reservoir can cause this. First I need to know (which I don't know much about abs brakes) is there a separate reservoir for the ABS system and could this also be my problem? I have no problems stopping.
  • I had never figured out the problem. It still does this. I had read in a couple of places that this is normal with ABS brakes. I don't have any leaks and I also don't have any problems stopping. I had read that there were a separate reservoir for the ABS but I am not sure where it's located.
  • abfischabfisch Posts: 591
    55396:

    Yes, there is a SAM's club but I don't belong, and is on the other side of town. I don't have a big family, so between the commissary and the local stores, I don't find a big need. In addition, I was trying to follow the objective type advice found in the new issue of CR magazine. But, I bet you are correct. There are probably 2 or 3 manufacturers that made automotive batteries and put their labels on them. No big deal. It is 5 years from the OEM and is due. Funny thing the green eyeball is still green on the battery. Took off the negative terminal to test for a bad alternator, but the thing keep runnin fine.

    Let me know us know when you put the bushings on. Use a generous amount of hydrophilic grease, whatever type you have or like. Bet you get a smile from the difference.

    abfisch
  • I have a '99 Avalon XLS and I keep bottoming out on the least little bump or incline with a bump in it. I think it's the muffler hitting but not sure. Tires seem to be at the right air pressure. Any ideas what I might do to get a little more clearance? Thanks.
  • 5539655396 Posts: 529
    Is it a clearance problem, or are your struts shot, allowing the suspension to bottom out and therefore traveling lower than it should? How many miles on the car. Have they been changed before? I ststed in a previous post where the premium KYB GR2 struts are available at a great price. Mine arrived today, as did the Emergy sway bar bushings for the front. I can't seem to get the rears so far, but mine are an unusal size. I will try to find time to install the bushings tomorrow. It's my wifes car. I'm going to 'sneak' the struts on when she's not looking and see how quickly she notices. ;-)
  • abfischabfisch Posts: 591
    Changing struts or bushings do nothing for ride height. The Avalon tail section of the exhaust system sneaks under the chassis, and where the back section connects to the middle, is quite low. I never like the design but that is how they did it. Making it worse in the new one, with a fake dual exhaust. Check out the bottom of the car first to see if they is anything that is broken or out of place. If not, then my guess is the struts need to be replaced in a 99 model vehicle.

    abfisch
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