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Toyota Avalon 2004 and earlier

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  • 300+ miles and still enjoying the car....BUT the Toyota service dept. had the car for a full day and a half-told me to come and get it because the diagnostic computer failed to pickup any codes (please explain cliffy). Yes the airbag light did not flash as I left the lot. BUT all I did was stop to put in gas and the light started flashing again upon restarting the car. Being late for an appointment, I was unable to return to the service dept. immediately.
    So some time next week, I must return to the same place and give them another try!?
    I am hoping someone else out there had this problem already so i can give the service people some hints as to what to look for. Being told that perhaps it is an "intermittent problem" in not satisfactory for a safety device, much less a flagship/$27000+ car.
  • footiefootie Posts: 636
    They haven't solved the problem yet. Local Toyota Zone "Master Technician" has worked on the car twice. Took the back seat out, etc. Thought it was a piece of plastic in the door trim above the window...No luck.

    I am going to have my dealership work on it on next visit.

    The Edmund's review on Avalons is something every potential buyer ought to read.
  • cliffy1cliffy1 Posts: 3,581
    tbzhang, Did you get the XL or XLS? Let me know and I'll let you know what is up with your security system.

    Hawaii... The air bag light flashes and there is no code? That is very unusual. When is it flashing and how long does it flash? You are aware that it will flash for several seconds after start up right?

    footie, I am curious about this noise you are hearing. Do you have a moonroof? Before you have anybody tear the roof apart, allow me to tell you the most common cause of excess wind noise. People are not closing the roof properly. The let it shut until the roof looks flush from the inside. They don't let it move up into its recess. From the inside, it looks like the roof is shut but it isn't. I can't tell you how many very intelligent people make this mistake and I include a demonstration of this when delivering a car. This is also the most common cause of roof leaks.
  • cliffy1cliffy1 Posts: 3,581
    Why would you lock a car with the windows down? If you have an XLS, you will set off the alarm by doing what you are describing.
  • avfanavfan Posts: 17
    Thanks for answering Cliffy1. The car locks for several reasons. I have three kids. Sometimes they grab the keys and play with buttons, sometimes the button gets pushed by accident when it is in my purse or pocket, or when I have several items in my hands along with my keys. I do not have an XLS or the security system. Please help if you can. I keep the windows down when the car is in the garage.
  • cliffy1cliffy1 Posts: 3,581
    I think the power door lock button should work when reaching inside. Either I am wrong (which does happen from time to time) or you are hitting the wrong button. Are you sure you aren't accidentally hitting the window lock button? In the worst case, you can always manually flip the lock next to the door handle.
  • footiefootie Posts: 636
    Thanks for the thoughts Cliffy. I haven't heard or had any problems with the moonroof from a windnoise point of view.
    The roof noise in our Avalon XLS is a clicking, popping sound from the passenger, rear roof area and it appears to be caused by driving over rough pavement. It doesn't happen on every bump I hit, but about 50% of the time. It is reproducible and has been demonstrated to Toyota zone and confirmed by our local delivery dealership.
    We've had this clicking, popping (along with four other rattles and squeaks that have been fixed) since June 2 and 3 unsuccessful passes at it by Toyota "Master Technicians" to resolve.
    Very disappointing that there was even one. I've had three Corolla and one Camry loaners during service, and driven them over the same interstate that I drive each day to/from work, they were all quieter from a rattles and squeaks point of view than our Avalon.
  • avfanavfan Posts: 17
    Thanks again CLiffy1. I am certain I am not hittng the wrong button. I guess I will have to take it in to the dealership.
  • potatoepotatoe Posts: 8
    Headroom is a big problem for me, in my 2K XLS (and I'm only 5'10"). I have to leave the moonroof slider back all the time, and I tilt my head to the right.

    Yes, the moonroof takes up an inch or two of headroom. I wish I didn't have one. The Passat does have great headroom, as do Mercedes and Audis (I think). The avalon could be as good if they just gave it a couple of inches more seat travel, downward.

    Who knows, maybe the 2001 will have some refinements like that.
  • potatoepotatoe Posts: 8
    It looks like our 2K Avalon is a HUGE success for Toyota. Sales statistics thru July are available here: http://www.ai-online.com/stats/toyota.htm

    As I read it, this year is @ 87% ahead of 1999. Not bad!

    By the way, that site has stats for other makes too. Click "home", then "Industry Stats" and "choose an automaker". Buick LeSabre sales are down from last year, but still far ahead of the Avalon, so the Avalon is not the #1 large car. Not yet!
  • potatoepotatoe Posts: 8
    Some months ago, there were posts here about a glare problem. When the sun is just right (behind you, mid-afternoon high), it shines through the top of the windshield, off the lower dash, and onto the windshield.

    It doesn't happen often, but it is really blinding. Has anyone found a fix for this problem?
  • jwalexjwalex Posts: 1
    As the owner of a 2000 xl I tried locking the car with driver's side window down. Then upon reaching inside to unlock with the switch on the driver's side door I found that avfan is correct; indeed it did not respond. Pressing the lock side of the switch caused a clicking sound as of trying to relock already locked doors. So I would guess that this is just a quirk in the system and not a bug in a particular car.Of course it's just as easy to use the manual unlock by the door handle anyway,isn't it?
  • Thanx, cliffy for responding. The light will come on at startup, stay on for several seconds, and then begin flashing throughout the rest of the trip.If the trip is interrupted by a brief stop, it will flash upon resumption of the trip. Of say 12 times I have used this car so far, there were only two trips that the sensor did not flash the whole time. Once in the peak heat of our Hawaiian day, it stayed off for about ten minutes, but then began flashing(I did not stop the car). The other time was after picking it up from the dealer (when it started flashing after I stopped to fill in gas. Any additional thoughts?
  • n4pyn4py Posts: 10
    My avalon also will not unlock by pressing the unlock button through an open window. I believe
    this is intentional to prevent someone from taking a coat hanger or stiff wire and pushing it through the side of a window and then using it to press the unlock button. It is much more difficult to move the maunal button this way.
  • uwilsgduwilsgd Posts: 4
    Is there a way to stop the Avalon XL from automatically locking when put into motion or at least have it unlock all doors when the turned off? Seems like it only unlocks the driver door with turned off, can an option be set to unlock all doors at that point?

    Thanks!!!
  • I have a 2000 xls and it seems that the car scrapes bottom much too frequently when driving normally on So. Cal Freeways which have an undulating road bed. Seems to have too low a clearance. Any others with the same problem.
  • cliffy1cliffy1 Posts: 3,581
    You have a real problem. Get it to a dealership quickly. I was unclear about when and how long your light came on but from your latest description, you can't wait on this.
  • vinceb1vinceb1 Posts: 1
    After looking at about every car possible, I'm close to getting an Avalon XLS but two things about it bother me. Any suggestions?

    First, I'd like a more sports-like suspension. http://popularmechanics.com/popmech/auto3/9906AUASRM.html suggests that "sportier suspension tuning" is coming. In 2001? Or is there aftermarket equipment that will help? (I really don't want to get a BMW! I've have good luck with Toyota's in the past, one over 100K and one over 200K.)

    Second, the audio system doesn't seem to have any form of dynamic range compression on CDs. I listen to a lot of classical music and had to keep adjusting the volume during my two extended test drives. Is there a setting I missed?

    I'm resigned to an automatic, although I've driven nothing but stick for decades. Seems like the Japanese has forgotton about manual transmissions in conjunction with 6 cyl.
  • avfanavfan Posts: 17
    Thanx for the response jwalex and n4py. The coat hanger theory sounds reasonable. This is why I like this forum so much. You have saved me a trip to the dealer and a day or two of being without my Avalon.
    In regard to UWILSGD Automatic locking and unlocking please note that several months ago someone wrote in a response to a question similar to yours. Look back in the files about 2 to 3 months ago (I don't know if there is a way to search for it). I tried the procedure they reccomended but it did not work. It may be because I have an XL or the fact that I don't have the security system. If you can't find it or no one responds I may have saved the procedure. I won't have time to look for it until the weekend. I'll watch the postings until then.
  • footie:

    thanks for the info regarding the roof noise. Please keep me posted. I'd like to know what they say. There are far too many squeaks and rattles in my car and I'd like to eliminate as many as possible.

    uwilsgd:

    I was told that you could not turn off the auto-lock feature. However, I did go to a shop in that installed after market theft alarms and they installed a module in the car that unlocks all four doors when the car is turned off. This is a much better feature than having just the driver's door unlock.
  • After reading MMCF's post regarding mud flaps from Metro Toyota of Michigan at
    http://www.toyotapart.com, I ordered a set and installed them this evening. I have had my 2000 XLS for 9 months, and have 11,000+ miles on it with no problems, however it has always bugged me that Toyota did not offer mud flaps, as wheel spray marks really show up on white pearl paint. These flaps came in a Toyota box, with bilingual markings (english and french), so I suspect that they are from Canada (the instructions, however, are only in english). Molded into the flaps are "Avalon Left Front" etc. Before ordering, I checked with my local Toyota dealer here in Southern California, and was told they were not available. They are black, fit perfect, are straigt forward to install, and came with all required hardware. The front flaps utilize two existing screws on the front side of the inner fender, and require a 1/16" hole be drilled in the underside plastic of the front fender. I had to jack up the car to drill this hole. The rear flaps utilize three existing holes, and also require one 1/16" hole be drilled in the front face of the inner fender plastic. I did not remove the rear wheels, but in hindsight it would have probably been easier to remove the wheel as clearance is tight. I have not seen the Contura aftermarket mud flaps mentioned in previous posts, but these are Toyota factory parts, look great and fit perfect, even to the point of having a molded-in bump to fill in the gap between the front fender and the rocker panel. At $80 a set, plus $8 for shipping, they are a bit pricy, but they do go on a $30,000 car! I won't miss scrubbing tar streaks off the rocker panels every week!
  • losylosy Posts: 14
    Can anyone recommend a Toyota Dealer in Northern CA, that is easy to work with and will sell me an Avalon for a fair price? Thanks
  • FWIW, there are several sources of mudflaps that I have found by using both the edmunds.com search engine for aftermarket parts and YAHOO. It seems most US dealers are importing them and marking them up as needed. I have gotten quotes ranging from $61, $80, $99 and $130. All before shipping. Toyparts.com, in Canada quoted me $64(@$42 US) Canadian but wanted $50 Canadian to ship here. It should be less for any of you on the continent.
    However toyotaparts4u is offering colorkeyed mudguards (AND NO drilling) for less than than $57 plus shipping. Apparently these come from the previous maligned (in this forum) SE dealership group. Will update when I get them. BTW, thanx to the previous posts for the addresses... I also lost a bid on ebay at $61 plus shipping.
  • cliffy1cliffy1 Posts: 3,581
    The link to Popular Mechanics has some glaring errors. Each vehicle they mentioned had some errors. Most glaring on the Avalon was the claim that the 2001 will be over 200 inches and have an upgrade in HP and suspension. The 2001 will be unchanged from the 2000. Beware what you read on the Internet.
  • I don't subscribe to Popular Mechanics, but the link seems to be an excerpt from an article...was the misinformation circulated to newstands or going to be circulated in a future edition? I guess dealers like cliffy will find out when the customers start coming in and asking for the "crisper, harder new lines, etc" for 2001!
  • marsha7marsha7 Posts: 3,673
    just add a little more HP and a sportier suspension, coupled with Toyota's quality, it could be damn close to the perfect car.
  • losylosy Posts: 14
    Help...
    Can anyone explain how the traction control and vehical stability work. I am considering this option, but an having trouble finding any information on it.

    Potatoe,
    Thanks for the information, I will give Walnut Creek Toyota a visit.
  • thepope1thepope1 Posts: 23
    TO CLIFFY...

    Have now driven our '00 XLS about 1,000 miles. Love It! Cannot believe the dynamic improvements over the '98 model. Only complaint is a paint chip picked up on the leading edge of the hood. (Where is the chip-resistant paint?) However, near that chip was a factory 'nub'. Factory is paying to fix all and blend in.

    Here's my question: I've noted there are some areas, under the fenders, that the spray-person missed. Also, there appear to be open areas around the fender inserts. Is this normal? Is it O.K. to apply more undercoating/sound proofing material? Is there a particular brand I should look for?

    Thanks for your response. You should look forward to greatly increased sales on this winner.
  • potatoepotatoe Posts: 8
    It's good to hear that you will visit WC Toyota. Good luck! If you feel like it, let us know if things go well.
    One thing - the internet group is located in a separate building from the dealership, across the street, in the back of the car lot.

    Traction Control:
    The "VSC" option on the Avalon includes 3 functions; Traction Control, Brake Assist and Vehicle Skid Control.
    All 3 functions build on the ABS system.

    Traction Control - keeps the drive wheels from slipping when too much power is applied, or the road is slick. I think it does this by using the ABS sensors to detect wheel spin, and then it brakes the slipping wheel(s) and, if necessary, cuts back the throttle. Since the Avalon doesn't have the power to spin its wheels on dry pavement, Traction Control is most useful on snowy or wet pavement.

    Brake Assist - helps you stop quicker in emergency situations. The computer detects when the brake is applied more quickly than usual, and instantly applies full braking power. (ABS still keeps you from skidding.) People sometimes hesitate to stomp on the brakes, so this can help in avoiding or minimizing an accident.

    Vehicle Skid Control (VSC) - helps the car corner better when it starts to slip sideways. For exmple, in an "understeer" condition (the car isn't turning as quickly as desired), "VSC controls the engine output and at the same time brakes the front wheels and inside rear wheel to help control the understeering tendency of the vehicle." (Portion in quotes is from the Avalon "Product Information" booklet.)
    VSC is sometimes considered a performance feature because you have to corner really really hard to activate it on dry pavement. It can also enhance safety on slippery roads.

    IMHO, the Avalon's VSC option is a great value. Lexus, Mercedes and others charged a lot more for these features in recent years. Unfortunately, somebody decided that it's primarily a bad weather option, so not many cars are shipped to California with the feature. At least, that's how it was 9 months ago.
  • tsj525tsj525 Posts: 1
    Have an appointment with area service rep for my 1999. Has 29000 miles has had struts, strut tops, stabilizer bar, front and rear. Dealer hears noise cant fix, car rides real hard over bumps almost like bottoming out.

    Also have intermittent air bag light.

    Had brake noise at 5000 miles, they did pads and cut rotors. Now I think the rotors are warped, the shake at high speed braking.

    Has anyone had the reps look at struts-I know there are service bulletins but I want to be prepared for there statements.

    Any help would be great.
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