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Toyota Avalon Brakes, ABS, VSC, etc.



  • alcanalcan Posts: 2,550
    You're welcome. Let us know what you find.
  • eelpeelp Posts: 6
    Took my 03 XLS (bought it in Aug 02) to the dealers today and told them what you said. Serv Mgr called said tech couldn't find anything either. SMgr kinda asked where I was out the brake fluid. I had a chuckle, told him in the radiator..Ha Ha. Said they'll do more checking.
    Lo and behold that booster was soak and wet. I can't believe the master went bad. This started around 4 months ago. Thanks again
  • alcanalcan Posts: 2,550
    You're welcome. Glad to hear you got it resolved.
  • '00 'valon. When I'm on the freeway (usually the 405) and have to step on my brakes the steering wheel wobbles back and forth. So I'm thinking I should probably get the rotors machined and maybe put some new pads on. Then I was wondering if there might be something wrong with the calipers because the steering wheel shakes pretty badly so it might be more than warped rotors.

    My question is, can I rotate the back rotors to the front the same way I do the tires? Should I clean my calipers by soaking them in denatured alcohol? Should I change the pads too while I'm doing any of this? Thanks.

  • My experience has been that if the rotors are no longer true (warped) they need to be replaced. If they are hot spotted they sometimes can be machined, but if the spotting is more than mild replacement is needed.

    Common causes for rotor problems are brake pads that are too hard and over or uneven lug nut torque. Driving conditions that cause heavy brake use can also cause heart related problems with brakes too.
  • Do you know what the torque settings should be for the lugs?
  • For my 1996 it is 76 lb ft. Look in the specifications section of the owner's manual.

    In general, most cars have about 80 lb as the spec. I've had one with 65 and one with 100. All of the rest have been around 80.

    When an air impact wrench is used to put the lug nuts on there is a greater chance they will be over torqued and or the wheel will not be mounted with even torque all the way around. I've observed many tire store people that use a torque wrench do not use it properly.

    I've watched as the torque wrench was used to make sure a lug nut was as least as tight as required rather than using the wrench to make sure the lug nut was not tighter than (and at the correct torque). Fortunately there appears to be enough slop in the spec that a little over torque doesn't hurt most of the time - except when one tries to change a flat tire using the little lug wrench that comes with the car.

    Some shops have torque limiters for the impact wrenches, but I have found the results to be uneven at best, with some over torque common.
  • nomad56nomad56 Posts: 134
    lidoshuffle-YES! It is probably warped rotors. The amount of "shake" is usually a factor of how badly warped they are. Not necessarily the calipers.

    NO! You cannot switch front and rear rotors, though this would be self evident once you pulled 'em. They are different sizes and the rears have the emergency brakes (drums) in them.

    I would NOT replace the pads without changing or "turning" the rotors.

    If you do the rotors (change or turn 'em), NEW pads are a must.

    ...once you've gotten this far a brake/caliper rebuild kit could also be done. This should take any "play" out of the calipers.

    FYI-my smoothest braking came after the rotors were "turned" ON the car. -nomad56-
  • I'll machine the rotors when I change the pads then.
  • abfischabfisch Posts: 591

    I usually agree with Nomad56 as he is one of the most in the know about Avalon. However, from my experience, with Hondas and Toyotas now, I NO LONGER have any rotors "turned". What they do, is flaten or take a small slice from the top much as a Deli counter take a slice of meat or cheese from a big loaf. No bad in and of itself, but HEAT is the #1 problem with braking, ESPECIALLY in Front Wheel drive vehicles. Everything is done on the front wheels. Too add insult to injury, the freakin Avalon, being moderate in weight and having soft shocks, tends to "front dive" when you have to suddenly brake or brake harder than normal. What do you think this does over time???? Heat up those rotors till they almost glow and warp the metal in the process.

    Since rotors are a relatively cheap item, the labor is the deal. Unless you can do it yourself, which isn't too bad, but if you cannot, then the labor is the deal.

    Bottom LINE: Do not cut rotors. Replace them with Better than OEM rotors (Premium rotors and new pads). There are many online companies or places selling them. Have the Brake Fluid all sucked out and replaced with NEW fluid(should be done every 3 years, REGARDLESS of mileage.) Cutting the rotors thins them, and you will get warpage again, much sooner, having to do the process all over again, but now you will have to replace them anyway.

    Good luck. Feed the forum.

  • danbethdanbeth Posts: 17
    Hi nomad56, I have another question for you. A couple months ago you helped me with heater/ac problem which worked out very well with your advice. My question today deals with replacing the front brake rotors which are warping. When you remove the brake caliper do you have to disconnect the brake hose banjo bolt fitting? I know the caliper bracket has to come off but I would prefer not to open the brake fluid system(ABS).From what I understand the sealing washers have to be replaced if this is done. Also since this is my first attempt on rotor removal on a Toyota how difficult is the process of rotor/caliper/pad replacement. Give me as much detail as possible. Is an impact wrench necessary? thanks danbeth
  • nomad56nomad56 Posts: 134
    NO! You definitely do NOT have to uncouple the caliper from the brake line. No, you do NOT need an impact wrench, but a torque wrench is necessary. Especially, for re-installing the wheels! Do the wheel bearing also! This is a relatively simple project. Funny that you ask, I am doing mine next week! -nomad56-
  • abfischabfisch Posts: 591

    Here are some helpful hints.

    1. The brake rotors come off, or should come off rather easily. Make sure the car is secure on a lift or other device, not a jack but jack stands.

    2. Get a Haynes service manual or the Toyota serice manual.

    3. No, you do not have to disconnect any brake lines to service the rotors.

    4. There should be two bolts that mount the califper to the axle and another two bolts that hold the caliper together. Get a couple of wire hangers to hang the caliper to the coil spring or strut. Never hang the caliper by its rubber line.

    5. It may take a couple of swift bangs with a rubber hammer to loosen it if it is an older model.

    6. IMO!!!! Never cut the rotors. Replace them with premium rotors. If you can take it, get SLOTTED rotors and use premium pads, ceramic or semi metallic, if you can take the brake dust. You will notice your Avalon now stops much better.

    7. Use brake caliper grease on the outer squeal shims and other places to revent vibration and noise.

    8. What else. I cannot think of right now. Take your time. Do not do it if you just ran the car or the brake rotors may be hot.

    9. Again, you do not have to take off the brake line and this will not interfer with the ABS. However, you brake fluid should be changed every 3 years, REGRADLESS of mileage. It soaks up mositure and leads to a spoggy feeling pedal. It also deteriotes over time secondary to the heat produced by the braking system.

    I hope this helps.

    "Feed the forum"

  • danbethdanbeth Posts: 17
    Abfisch/nomad56, Thanks for the detailed helpful hints. I find it always helps to confer with the people who have experience in completing this type of project. I will give it a whirl and let you know how it turned out. thanks danbeth
  • danbethdanbeth Posts: 17
    Abfisch, I just completed the rotor and pad replacement on the Avalon. It took about 3.5 hours. I ordered the Brembo blank rotors and the Toyota OEM pads. The pads were the premium version but did not come with new shims. I had to clean the shims and reuse them, but it turned out pretty much how you described it. Thanks again for your help. danbeth
  • abfischabfisch Posts: 591

    It always makes me feel good, giving real advice and someone taking it and it working out well. This substantiates all of these wonderful forums. Congradulation. I am sure it was stressful the first time, but the second time and third times you will cut down your time and you have the satifaction of doing it correctly!! And you know what you did. In the future, you may try the following: If you desire more stopping power, slotted discs with semi metallic pads. The trade off is a vibration when hitting the pedal and brake dust if you are on the brake alot. Remember to suck out the fluid every three years, and you will never have a spongy pedal other than leaks elsewhere in the system. Brake fluid degrades via heat and time through absorbing moisture. It is a little messy but Griot's garage, sells a manual pump to suck the brake fluid out. Look that up on the internet. Also use brake caliper grease so prevent squealing. Thanks for the response made. It was worth my time to tell you how to do it.

    In regards to a vibration at engine speed, not at car speed, I am stumped. Never heard this complaint. But....... this is NOT NORMAL, and they do not care. It is not their problem. So...get the Toyota service manual, to see if they have an alogorithm to engine vibration, not speed vibration or brake pedal. Take it to an independent mechanic. Make a compliant on the internet to Toyota corp. and document three attempts at the dealership (Lemon law) or check your states requirements.

    NOMAD 56 Any ideas???? I honestly have not heard of this but someone needs some direction.

    "Feed the forum"

  • abfischabfisch Posts: 591

    Need to change my brake fluid. Three years almost up and starting to get spongy pedal. How many liters do I need. Can I get away with 1 liter or do I need two???


  • nomad56nomad56 Posts: 134
    abfisch-I have NO idea what the actual capacity of the brake system is (Good question). I usually do mine at my buddy's shop and fill from a BIG DRUM, so it is less than 55 Gallons!! I am sure you'll want at least two liters on hand, though! Even if capacity was published, there is no way you could ever add THAT much and GO! You HAVE TO bleed the lines... and, you will lose fluid, when you bleed the system. I even looked in my service manuals, and the "capacity" is left blank. And, any instruction that refers to filling the brake fluid, mentions "bleeding." -nomad56-
  • abfischabfisch Posts: 591

    Manual, I believe, states DOT3. DOT 5, synthetic, obviously should NOT be used as the properties are much different. Going to try though DOT 4, ATE Blue Something; remember the name. Brake pedal starting to get spongy after 2.5 years and 43K. I let the forum know how it goes once I bleed the lines and refill the reserve.


    "Feed the forum"

  • abfischabfisch Posts: 591

    I had the fluid changed (after 3 years)for the entire brake system (resevoir and lines). We were able to do it with 1000ml (l liter) bottle.

    Energy suspension has a new PU bushing for the lower front suspension arm. The arm attaches to the ball joint and the frame. What benefit do you think this would have on the steering, response, and what how do you think this would negaively impact the ride/vibration. There are only 1 or 2 rubber bushing on that lower front suspension arm, and I am wondering if it would correct somewhat for the Avalon's rather "light and fuzzy" steering feel. I am sure it will not correct the feel as far as being over assisted but it might make the steering more precise albeit letting a little more vibration into the cabin. The part number is the same in the 2000-03 models as it is for 1999-1997(6). I want to have the front suspension mounts (which one is squeeky) replaced with the new ones redesigned, and since I will have to realign the front again, I thought I would get some input from you regarding this small modification.

    Any thoughts??? Any experiences?????


    "Feed the forum"

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