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Toyota Avalon 2004 and earlier



  • The problem may not be in the dash or steering wheel. Raise the hood and examine the plastic shroud that is located just below the windshield. Check if it is adequately secured by a plastic stud next to the driver's side fender. If there is free play, it will rattle and drive you (me) crazy. Wedge a piece of plastic or hard rubber under the edge of the cowling and, voila, no rattle! :D
  • alan_salan_s Posts: 356
    mcclearlyfl you are right on. I had the same rattle in my '02 and it was the plastic shroud. I also had a "tick", "tick" noise which drove me insane for months. It sounded like it was coming from the dash or something hitting the windshield, and I took the entire dash apart trying to find it. Actually, the inside of the dash is very well insulated and designed to reduce rattles. I eventually traced it to the windshield wiper motor INSIDE the housing covered by the plastic shroud, on the opposite side of the dash. Sound sure travels.... I tightened the bolts securing the motor to the firewall and no more "ticks".
    P.S. No, I didn't have any parts left over after I reassembled the dash! ;)
  • the factory shocks and struts do a poor job of absorbing road imperfections. i am thinking of retrofitting with good-quality third party products. can i install air suspension in an '98 avalon? if not, what are my options?
  • My '99 XL is up for 60,000 scheduled maintenance. Among the various inspections called for in the manual is "Engine valves". All the other inspections -- brakes, brake lines, fuel lines, etc. -- are easy, but doing the valves involves taking off the covers (obviously) which is a big deal on this engine (1MZFE) -- a $450 job at my dealer. I talked to two different dealers who seemed surprised at this scheduled maintenance item; one said if I did it, it would be the first time any owner had had it done since he'd been working there. Anyone here ever have it done? Anyone ever had burned valves from them getting out of adjustment? Any thoughts on a $450 routine maintenance item?
  • finfin atlantaPosts: 588
    Quick answer: Find another dealer. Fast.
    My '99 XL was perfect at 92k miles when traded. Never had any valve covers removed. These valves will not get out of adjustment. This is hard to imagine on an otherwise good Avalon..... ;)
  • I have a chance to buy one for $9900 at at dealership. I would like to keep it for about 5 yrs. It has 85000 miles. It seems to be in excellent condition inside and out.
    Does this sound like a good deal for a 27 yr old single guy? Thanks very much.
  • Thanks for the response, but it leaves me a bit confused. The dealers are saying don't do it, and you're saying don't do it. Why find another dealer?
  • finfin atlantaPosts: 588
    Thought someone (a dealer) had said to do it. The dealers are right. Not necessary. My misread..... ;)
  • finfin atlantaPosts: 588
    Try this: Drive the car, talk to the dealer (then use Carfax to check on the car), have an independent mechanic look at it, check the price on and and make your decision.

    Avalons can last for years and 200k miles is easily possible with good care. My '99 XL was near perfect at 92k miles when traded. Good luck !! :)
  • rzepa1rzepa1 Posts: 55
    I am about to replace original battery on my 2000 XL.. Is this as simple as
    it used to be or there are some things I need to be concerned with ?

    Also what would be the best battery replacement ?

  • geolgeol Posts: 1
    2001 Avalon.
    Where are the Head Light adjustment screws ? I only found one on the crossbar over the headlight assembly. In the hole there is a blade screw driver slot on one side and a star gear wheel on the other. What adjustment is this ?
    And where is the other adjustment.
    Thank you so much,
    Geo :confuse:
  • alan_salan_s Posts: 356
    Very easy to change. One of the best places for batteries is Walmart. They are comparatively inexpensive, have a 2 or 3 year FULL REPLACEMENT warranty, depending on which battery you buy (none of that prorated warranty B.S.) and they will install it for you at no charge.
    I needed a new battery for our Sienna last year. Even with the dealer prorated warranty remaining on the original battery, it was about $30 cheaper to get it from Walmart. The Walmart battery died shortly after, :sick: but they replaced it with a new one, no questions asked. The new one has worked out fine.
  • abfischabfisch Posts: 591
    Get some aftermarket replacement shocks, either TokicoHP or KYB GR2. You will be very impressed with the change. Get shock tower bushing replacements from Toyota, either from a dealer or via the net, while you are doing this as well. You will need a 4 wheel alignment so figure that into the price as well.

  • Hello All,

    I'm looking to tweak my 2001 XL.

    First, I want to take out the "roll" when going around a corner.

    Second, when I apply the brakes, I get this slight wobble in the steering wheel. I want to get rid of that. The dealership "checked" it out and said everything was fine (yeah, right!) A buddy of mine checked the wobble, also. He said it could be almost anything and not necessarily the rotors.

    The car was "dinged" in the left rear by a truck a couple of years ago. The repair shop did an alignment after they repaired the crunched rear bumper. They said that it aligned okay.

    I went thru this forum to look for tweaks (abfisch your posts were especially useful) and am thinking about the following:


    Change front and rear sway bar bushings to polyurethane [Energy Suspension]

    Change struts to Tokico HP or KYB GR2 [w/new strut rubber bumpers]


    16" wheels/new tires?? [I have the stock 15" wheels on it. The oem Continentials lasted 28k. I have Dunlops now. How much difference would going to the 16" make?]

    Slotted front rotors and ceramic or semi metallic pads?? Any rotors that stand out?? Should I stay away from the Toyota rotors or would they be okay for the rear??


    The XL didn't have fog lamps. Can you retrofit the stock fogs on the XL??

    Thanks for any advice!!

  • abfischabfisch Posts: 591

    You wanna buy a nice tweaked out 02 XL. Got one. Just kiddin. I recently bought a used soldier's bmw 325ci so now I have two different vehicles to compare. Now i am not saying the Avalon is a BMW nor vice versa but I can piggyback what you already now.

    The dampers/struts should be a direct fit by a competent shop. Make sure they are a wheel alignment or axle place or some place that does that kind of work on a daily basis, so it is a chip shot for them. Second, go to Toyota and get new strut mounts and rubbber bump stops. Look at the exploded diamgrams they have. As long as you are taking the thing apart, might as well change those too, as they are not that costly. Realize you are taking about $400-$500 for the shocks (TokicoHP) and another $100 for the other parts, plus labor, plus tax and add an alignment on that. Plan on keeping the car awhile then.

    The energy suspension bushings are easy to do by yourself, but they are not a totally direct fit, as I believe I remember that they were not listed for my year at least 3 years ago. Maybe now they are. Nevertheless, the front bar is 18mm and I believe the rear was 16mm. The rear ones were a piece of cake, the front were painful, and you need a small racheting wrench and I cannot remember the size. Go buy, a tube of (cheap) Blue Marine Grease, and lubricate the OD and ID of them, this way they will not squeek.

    Those two changes will drasitcally affect your Avalon although not make it harsh in anyway. It will be more like a Police Interceptor (Crown Vic with a heavy duty suspension).

    Anyways, I have 16" wheels along with 15" wheels. The 16" tires are 215/55 H or V 16" Continentals Eco plus, the same that used to go on the old E-series Mercedes. They do give better transient response without make it nutso, but the 15" tires that I have (Falken Ziex) are so sporty, that if I had to do it over again in retrospect, I think that for the money, it was wasted, unless you have to have the lower profile tire. The difference and the biggest bang for the buck is in the suspension parts, the superior parts, not really in the difference between the 15 and 16" wheels and tires. Yes, there is a difference but clearly, the shocks were the biggest thing.

    Regarding the brakes. If the only time you get a shimmy is when you apply the brakes, guess what. It is the brakes. The rotors are warped.

    I replaced mine with Slotted and Drilled Rotors. I think they are superior but realize I pull a small 5 x 8 trailer weekly with my Avalon, sometimes with a ton of dirt or mulch. Wiith different pads, it does grab much quicker and because the struts, the front does not nearly dip at high speeds anymore. That being said, the CONS are, more front and rear brake dust(I hate cleaning wheels) and a small rumble when the brakes are applied at the slots hit the pads. (Mechanics hate this but that is how they function). Pad wear is accelerated too, so the life of the pads are reduced.

    FOG LAMPS: I drive in terrible weather. I am not sure where you are located. We go through white out conditions sometimes.
    First, replace your headlamps with PIAA or Sylvania brighter bulbs. That will give you better illumination under regular conditions.

    Second, if you need FOG LAMPS or AUXILLARY Driving lamps, I installed a long time ago now, PIAA 1500, two sets, both under the front grill, with sheet metal screws to under the bumper. They came out perfect. The FOG lights are relayed to the low beams and the Aux driving lights relayed to the high beams. Go to Toyota, and get two Toyota Toggle Switches that fit perfectly into the dummy holes in the lower fascia of the dash, under the steering column. You do not have VSC and there is another dummy cover there. This worked out super, and OEM looking. You don't even know I have the lumens I do, unless you are driving at night. Put the Fog lamps to the outside and the driving lamps if you desire to the center. PIAA may have others, but these were perfect in dimensions, at least 5" in width and no more than 2.75" in height, so the beam is wide and low and supplement the halogens well.

    Hope that is technical enough for you.

    Good luck.

  • abfisch,

    Thanks for the reply!

    I hope to get the struts/bushings done by the end of this year. I'll let the Forum know how I make out. Next year for the brakes, etc.

    Your comments about the fogs and replacing the headlamps have piqued my interest. The ol' night vision ain't what it used to be. I'll have to give that a good looking into.

    Thanks again for your comments!

  • I just programmed my wife's 2000 Avalon by following these instructions. Hope they help. It may take several attempts to get the timing right, but it will work. Took me about 15 tries. My problem was holding down the lock and unlock in step 9, too long. The 1 to 1.5 second note was not on my instructions.

    Toyota keyless remote programming instructions


    1)Driver's door open, all other doors closed, key removed from ignition

    2)Insert key into ignition switch, then remove it.

    3)Press LOCK and UNLOCK on the vehicle door lock control switch at 1 second
    intervals 5 times.

    4)Close and re-open driver's door.

    5)Press LOCK and UNLOCK on the vehicle door lock control switch at 1 second
    intervals 5 times.

    6)Insert key into ignition switch.

    7)Switch ignition ON and OFF once to Add a remote, twice to re program a remote, three times to check number of Fobs programmed, and five times to erase all codes registered.

    8)Remove key from ignition switch:
    a)System should now lock unlock vehicle. Once , twice or five times
    depending which mode has been selected. One to four times, slowly to
    indicate number of remote transmitters registered.

    9)Press and hold remote transmitter LOCK and UNLOCK buttons, together for 1 to 1.5 seconds and release.

    10)Press LOCK remote button for 1 second:
    a)System should now lock and unlock vehicle once to confirm, twice to
    indicate registration has failed.

    11)If required repeat button procedure to program remaining remote

    NOTE: To exit programming mode: Close driver's door or insert ignition key.

    NOTE: A maximum of 4 remote transmitters can be programmed.
  • I just thought I'd post my experience today...
    I recently picked up my Avalon from the body shop after having some small parking lot dings fixed. I was away on vacation for two weeks while they did this work (excellent).
    I didn't drive the car all week until last night and noticed that the blower motor wasn't working. Long story short...took blower motor out and found it packed with Horse Chestnuts...probably a hundred of them. Some industrious rodent packed a stash there during my absence!

    An hour and a half trouble shooting and cleaning saved me big $$$ vs. taking it to a dealer.

    Thought you'd enjoy.. :D

    Minnetonka MN
  • finfin atlantaPosts: 588
    Heard of "going nuts" over an Avalon.....but this is....hmmmmm :)
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