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Toyota Avalon 2004 and earlier



  • 5539655396 Posts: 529
    Well, another setback. The order for the rear sway bar bushings was cancelled again, but the fronts came and I installed them. 17mm fit perfectly, and both old and new were stamped accordingly. Initially, I found the difference to be very subtle, but thought it generally eliminated the soft, sloppy character. But then noticed that when cornering at lower speeds, it seemed more crisp and responsive - possibly a bit of the BMW characteristic. This is my wifes car and she is more familiar with it. Her first impression was that it was about the same, but she drove primarily on the highway. Second impression was that it was an improvement. She just returned from local errands, and now says it is a noticeable improvement. I think it takes a bit until you relax so that your mind is on other things. Thenwhen something that wasn't there before penetrates your thoughts, it is probably the real reaction. She now feels the improvement is noticeable. I'll continue to persue the rear bushings and maybe have to accept the black ones.

    BTW, my KYB GR2's came in. Three silver and one black. I assume it is OK and will get out the silver paint can.

    The label on the black one stated:

    Replaces strut A310800.
    T09 supercedes PN 334246
    Date 12 07 05

    PN 334245 for the other side is silver. They seem to be the same except the upper cap is a different design. I thought about installing them myself, but for $286 I think I'll let someone else have the headache. Will need alignment either way. I'll report back upon completion.

  • abfischabfisch Posts: 591
    I would be suspeect of the black one. I would feel extremey uncomfortable and expect them all to match and fit perfectly. I would triple check them and call the company too.

    The improvement is always noticeable. They are superior parts than OEM.

    I own a BMW too. Not very fancy, but a 04 325coupe with a 5 speed and the sports package, upgraded radio and NOTHING else. ummmmm. I enjoy the Avalon but it has become more of a work vehicle. I do not use the BMW during the winter months. On a good day, the Avalon still gives me enjoyment however, the fit and finish,joy, and ride and not near the BMW, at least mine. But they are too different cars.

    Hope yours gives you years of service and enjoyment. The PU bushing for the control arms, I have to say, give the Avalon almost too stiff of a ride. If I had to do it over, I would change the struts and sway bar bushings and not change the control arm bushings.

  • Hi everyone,
    Just want to get everyone's opinion about taking my 96 Avalon on vacation next year. It has a transmission leak that I have to put Stop Leak transmission fluid in about every three months. Other than that it runs great. Would running it 600 miles (about a 12 hr road trip) put too much on it. It has about 178,000 miles. Also wondering how much something like this would cost to get fixed since I don't plan on getting rid of the car anytime soon. If I take this car on vacation, what you suggest that I keep in my car? Yes my husband would say I am a worry wart but I like to be prepared ahead of time and not have to buy something away from home. Love my car, hate the leak! Thanks everyone!!
  • 5539655396 Posts: 529
    The first thing I would do is take it to a few transmission shops to get an opinion of what is wrong and an estimate of repair. Get their opinion on the trip too. If you go as is, make sure you check fluid levels with each fill up. Maybe at 250 miles the first time as around town and highway miles are different. If it is driven primarily in town, I would take it down a freeway at higher speeds for 50 - 100 miles to see how it behaves and check fluid levels. If OK, you may be good for the longer drive. If you are on the road and notice something that is not normal, do not just keep driving. Stop and have it checked. People end up with big bills when they are not attuned to smaller clues. If the car performs good in other areas, it will probably make the trip just fine. One other thing you could do is get a computerized dyno check. This will check electrical, cylinder compression and balance among other things to see if any cylinder is weak. It also provides a print out with all the evaluations for you. Then you know exactly what you have. I recommend it.

  • abfischabfisch Posts: 591
    This is just my opinion. You don't mention any tranny shifting problems, hesitation, or other. It is difficult to determine if you have any organic problems to the tranny. Have the fluid been changed at 30 or 60K intervals??? The first two things to check are easy and this. #1. Make sure the drain plug is tight. I know this seems stupid, but there could be a drip from the drain plug fromt he last fluid change. Second, have someone look around the gasket of the pan. At your mileage, the gasket is propably is poor repair. All that may be needed, is a new gasket, filter, and new fluid. I am not hot on the Stop Leak Fluid. Only as a very temp means.

    Hope that helps.

  • Only one time I didn't check the fluid and I had some hesitation on starting. Once I got the fluid in it was ok. I've only had the car for a year so I don't know if the fluid has ever been changed. It needs an oil change so I think I'll ask them to check the drain plug and gasket then. Thanks!
  • 49364936 Posts: 15
    Hi Dave I have a 2000 Avalon XLS, and have replaced filters at least 6 times, you will be amazed how dirty they get! If you go to a auto store or dealer, the replacement will have instructions in the box. At least the ones I had purchased. But it really is very straight forward as the screws are easy to undo, altho the clips that hold it in place after the screws are undone will need a good strong tug to loosen. You will have to remove the panel at the right side of the foot well, only a rounded cap screw.
    Good Luck
  • Hi Guys,

    I have a question regarding tire rotation. Does front wheel drive car ripoff front tires than rear tires. I see my avalon front tires have lesser thread than the rear tires.
    which tires need to have better thread, is it front or rear.

    Thank you for your replies in advance.
  • 5539655396 Posts: 529
    I asked KYB about my black strut:

    They are the same except for the collar and striker plate

    Troy Horn

    Subject: [KYB.COM Contact Form] GR2 PN Changes

    I just received GR2 replacement struts for our 03 Toyota Avalon. What I got was 3 silver struts and one black one. Of course, the question is about that black one. I want to verify that it is completely compatible, as the top is different.
  • finfin atlantaPosts: 591
    kpraveen: Yes, FWD cars will wear tire tires faster on the front than RWD. Yes, you should rotate tires frequently and check alignment to help even out the wear.

    If there is a big difference in tread depth or there is some other reason a pair of tires will hold better than another pair, put the better tires on the rear.

    Hope this helps.......... fin
  • Fin, Thank you for all valuable inputs.
    I have a question regarding alignment since you have mentioned key point. Recently, my car steering moves to right hand side and if i streighten while driving and if i leave my hands from steering it moves on to right hand side.
    I have to hold steering from moving. Kindly, let me know why is this happening? Has this happened if i had applied more force while rotating my steering while doing parallel parking.
    Can I get it done by myself?
    Does this require alignment?

    I take an opportunity to thank all of the forum members for thier continued contributions. In these days, difficult to rely on service centers. It is my personal experience that different service centers gives false statements/quotations for things which are not required to repaired. I guess, we can avoid these if we have some basic knowledge of automotives repairs.

    Thank you.
  • finfin atlantaPosts: 591
    Many possibilities here.... what you describe is a pull to the right.

    First, check the air pressure in the tires. Then look for a bent wheel. Also look for a wear pattern in the tread on one tire that does not match the other three. Do the tires all match? Same size?

    After that, who tightenen the lug nuts the last time? Too much torque can distort wheels. Not likely, but it happens.

    When was the alignment done? Good mechanic? Do it right? You cannot check 4 wheel alignment yourself, it must be done on a machine. Did the problem occur just after some work was done or has it been there for a long time?

    You have not done this parallel parking unless you hit the curb and bent a wheel. Others may have more ideas, but this will get you started. Fin
  • Tire air pressure(33) is same in all tires. No bends in rims/wheel, no wears and all of the tires match same size.
    Nuts also fine.
    This is a used car so i did not know when was the last alignment done. but after i bought this car, i drove for 4+K miles and never done wheel alignment.
  • All good points. You did forget one though. Have the front brakes checked for a frozen brake caliper.
  • Steve, Thank you for your reply.

    Can you please tell more about brake caliper.
    What does it do and how it really effects steering.

    Again, Thank you.
  • Brake calipers are the mechanisms that physically stop each wheel as you press on your brake pedal. Each wheel has a brake caliper and 2 brake pads (Inner & outer) which ride along the inside & outside of your brake rotors (The large disc that is part of your axle and your wheel is attached to). The caliper squeezes the 2 brake pads together against the rotor stopping the wheel as you push on the brake pedal and should let go of the rotor when you let off the brake pedal. If the caliper is rusty or otherwise frozen, it may not release the rotor fully or maybe even not at all and can pull on the wheel. Another thing that can happen is the caliper freezes open and won't squeeze the brake pads against the rotor and that wheel won't stop but the other side that is working will stop it's wheel while the other one won't causing it to pull because it's not stopping evenly. Hope this helps. Do you smell a burning smell from hot metal after driving for a bit? If you drive for about 5-10 miles, put your hand on or near the front rims of each tire. Is one much hotter than the other one?

  • 5539655396 Posts: 529
    And if you still can't visualize how this works after that excellent explanation, take a paper plate and hold it vertically with one hand. Then, slip the edge of the plate between your other thumb and forefinger. As you rotate the plate between the thumb and forefinger, squeeze the thumb and forefinger together, stopping the plate due to the friction applied. The plate represents the rotating brake rotor. The thumb and forefinger represent the caliper/pad combination, which is fixed in place.
  • Steve, it was really excellent explanation. Your explanation was very clear to understand. I have not smelled any thing burning.
    I will test and let you know whether if i feel any difference between rims temperature.
  • I just received word that my disability settlement has been approved and I can now finally go out next weekend and GET MY AVALON! It's gonna be a 97 XLS. Praise God, I'm finally gonna have a "Real Car". It has 171k on it but thats line 86k on a GM. I'm counting the days.

  • I will be 2 weeks to get my avy due to my friend who is assisting me with financing until my disability is actually paid will be out of town until the 2nd weekend. I did put a deposit down on the car so as of now, it is put aside with my name on it. Can't wait!

  • 49364936 Posts: 15
    Thanks for the help of suggestions on my 2000 XLS with the VSC & VSC OFF lites that stayed on. Tried the cleaning of the MASS air moldal etc. no go. Took it to Toyota, they asked me if I had 4 wheel alignement, (yes) asked if I had replaced tires (yes all 4) had I replaced struts, (yes all 4). ANSWER, was we have to recalibrate your VSC computer. FIXED total $97.50 Now everything is working correctly.
    Thanks for the help.
    The Happy Pappy
  • It looks like new and has really low miles on it. Anything in particular I should be cautious of or conerned about? Any comments about your experience with the Avalon would be appreciated.
  • Many Avalon owners consider the previous model (2001 to 2004) to be the perfect compromise between performance and comfort, whereas the latest Avalon has a more sporty and agressive feel. Styling easily favors the latest rendition.

    As an owner of a 2002 Avalon XLS I have not been tempted by the latest model. The 2002 is highly reliable, though Abfisch will claim that the plain-Jane XL model has fewer electronic gismos to go wrong. Struts can be a weak point, and replacement performance struts run about $700 installed. This replacement also reportedly will significantly improve road feel. If the 2001 mileage is fairly high, you should budget for replacement struts and/or make a correspondingly lower offer.

    Very few cars in the American market offer the Avalon's level of comfort and agility in a moderate price range. A used Buick Regal GS comes close, but you really notice the extra bulk of the Buick when you compare the two.

    Our lease is close to ending. I will definitely buy our 2002 Avalon XLS rather than return it. It has 41K on the odometer and, as yet, no signs of strut deterioration. The brakes pulsate very slightly, probably indicating a degree of disk warpage (Avalon disks should not be planed), though I did notice a marked improvement when I retorqued the wheel lugs after a maintenance Godzilla had overtightened them.
  • finfin atlantaPosts: 591
    My 1999 XL was perfect for 90k miles when traded and the loaded '03 XL replacement has 83k on it, dealer maintained, and has been similar in quality. The '03 is a better car, all things considered, even though it has never produced the 30+ mpg the '99 would do occasionally.

    Front brakes and struts can be a weak point in these cars if you drive hard and/or in the city a lot. Never bothered me as we drive on highways most of the time. The AC controls are also a sometimes problem on the XLS as it has the auto-temp control type AC. Beyond these things... the car will go 200k or more if you maintain it properly.

    Do a CARFAX just in case... might show something, might not, but it probably is worth the money. Enjoy your Avalon, they are well built cars. Hope this helps....

  • abfischabfisch Posts: 591
    I could not agree more with you. I just so happened to sit in, not drive, a Hyundai Azerra(sp?) the other day, just to see if I could fit my old arthritic self in it. Very nice vehicle if the price was right, but not at all like my 02 Avalon with the bench seat. The plastic was inherently cheaper, and although the fit and finish seemed very good. Ingress and egress out of the vehicle were OK. Head room was adequate, without a sunroof but the seat travel was unacceptable for me, as my knee hit the side of the console, which would be horrible on a long trip. Bench seat Avalon not a problem.

    Have 87K on mine, paid cash for, and have enough oil filter to last me to 300K. Will see how far she goes. Full of salt at the moment but no problems currently. Washer pump was very annoying but easy to fix.

    New Avalon very nice looking on the outside, not as practical on the inside. Ingress/Egress not as good as old, console only, tow capacity reduced by 50%. Although HP up significantly, useable torque not as much. Cannot justify the cost of the new one unless you don't have an old one.

    My own sports suspension, would be hard to duplicate on a current production model with 65 series tires. Although, most would be very happy with OEM production.

    Left it out last night, 10F, cause had to work on a used snowmobile in the garage. Car starter (aftermarket) came in very handy. Next best thing to a 50F garage.

  • I recently changed my struts because I was hearing clang, clang everytime I ran over a rice grain on the road.I used Tokico struts with Michilin tires.Everything cost around $1,200,the baby is just floating on air.I was still hearing the clanging soung after changing the struts,so the mechanic decided to investigate.It was the right rear caliper that was(still is)making that sound.Mechanic said I have to change the caliper,he said it is shaking because the bushing is bad.The car still had the original struts at 118k mls.Any suggestions on the caliper?

  • I am looking to install a remotestart system in my car.I would like to have suggestions on which one and what other accessories to buy.I plan on installing it myself and would like to know where I can get critical information from.

  • geo123geo123 Posts: 33
    "why dont you try disconnecting the battery again, leave for a few minutes and connect. this will resest pretty much everything and hopefully everything will turn out fine."

    Deepan, I would like to express my appreciation for this excellent post. It saved me a bunch of money!

    I took my 2000 Avalon in for some front end work and new tires and it came back with the instrument dash cluster not working. Took back and they tried everything--still no luck. They were going to take to an electical shop but, fortunally I searched this form and found your post! Told them to try what you had recommended and it worked. Come to find out I had a bad battery that started all this.

    Again, thanks Deepan and all who post such valuable information such as this to this forum.

  • I have a 1997 Toyota Avalon XLS. I can't get more than 6 months out of a set of brake rotors before they get warped. I've tried high end rotors and cheap ones. Is there any trick to keeping them in good shape or is this just a characteristic of this car? Or my wife's driving habits?
  • tomittomit Posts: 2

    Overtightening or uneven tightening of the wheel bolts will do it every time.

    Buy a clicker torque wrench & retighten the bolts after anyone touches the wheels. I set mine to 75 ft-lbs.

    Autozone Duralast brake rotors have a 2-year waranty; I used them on the front of my '95 with no problems going on 1.5 years.

    Visit (bobistheoilguy) for all kinds of car info.

    Good luck!

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