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Toyota Avalon 2004 and earlier



  • I agree withpost 1837. See my post on the bonneville board. In my opion the avalon is over rated and if you are leasing I would not think depreciation is a factor.
  • footiefootie Posts: 636
    Many people comment about my Bonneville is great or my Chevy is great or my Cadillac is great, no problems, never.

    That's fine for them.

    However the JDPower surveys and Consumer Reports long term tracking are much more indicative of your likely "likely" experience.

    Toyota's Avalon, like the Lexus, line is consistently ranked in the top three Initial Quality levels at JDP and in long term dependability.

    You bet's your money and you take's your chances. I don't like ot bet against the odds.

    Good luck.
  • I just bought a used 98 Avalon XLS. 39K miles from the original owner for 15K. It is a creampuff. The only options it has is leather buckets, the gold kit and some very nice looking chrome alloy six spoke wheels made by Toyota. they have Michelin XGT 4 P215/55 R 16 tires with lots of tread left. My concern is the ride is much harsher than an Avalon i test drove with the stock rims and tires. Is this normal for this particular tire or is it because of the lower profile or both? When these Michelins are worn out, is there a recomandation for another brand or type that wont transmit so much road noise and vibration. I really want that smooth quiet ride that i know these cars are capable of. Thanks, Mike
  • This is a continuation of post 1841 above. The car has the standard stereo that comes in the XLS. Is it possible to change it out with the top of the line optional JBL unit. The standard unit does not do justice to this car. If so, are the speakers also different? Once pulled out, is this a plug and play thing or is the wiring harness different? Are these JBL head units available used? Can i just go to "You Pull It" and snag what i need from a totaled car? Got those questions dont i. Any help is appreciated. Mike
  • Just ordered a new '03 XLS white diamond with the GV pkg. and the carpeted floor mats for 29,200. How's that compared to the average price anyone else has paid or did I get hosed? I'm turning in a leased 2001 Lincoln LS(POS), probably will turn it in early just to get rid of it. Glad to be back in the Toyota family, previously owned a Camry.
  • Have a bit of research, I've found no solution to
    the poor sound of the JBL system in the XLS.
    This is biggest weakness in the XLS. The sound
    system is very poor.
    I'm absolutely amazed at the lack of audio quality.
    FM antenna is weak;
    sound is thin, very undetailed;
    balance and fade shift;
    Frankly, one gets ten times the audio quality wearing a walkman instead of listening to the XLS
    JBL system.
    Toyota should be ashamed of themselves for putting this crap in their flagship car.
  • nomad56nomad56 Posts: 134
    After the work I put into mine, I had to answer. ...YES! You can swap out the JBL. Most JBL's are NON amplified. If the system in the car you are looking at (a '98) is externally amplified, it should be "Plug and Play." ...right into the existing amp. Make sure you get one with the same harness on the back. *** THREE (3) *** things can happen with the plugs. 1) It is a match. Plug-and-Play. 2) It is an "amplified" head unit(NO external amp)-If this is the case, get a JBL from a Solara WITH the amp. This will plug into the Toyota Line Level jack in almost any Toyota. Of course you will have to Install the amp(Not that hard since it should have the bracket affixed to it.) 3) You have an EXTERNAL amp but, the plugs DON'T match-(Toyota has two distinct interfaces for their external amps) This is what I had! I tapped a NEWER style plug onto my existing amp wire harness. More complex but, definitely works. Finally, YES-The JBL systems have different AMPS and SPEAKERS. They are fully compatible with one another. Despite another posting, it is a very good sound system. Especially if you want to keep an OEM look to the car.
  • abc246abc246 Posts: 305
    My father is thinking about purchasing a 03 XLS. I have a few concerns about this car maybe someone here can help with. Is the engine sludge problem with this V-6 corrected for 03? If so, how did they fix it? My father does minimal maintenance on his current car, a 97 Cadillac Deville. The Cadillac has 100k miles and has never been back to the Cadillac dealer and never had any maintenance except oil changes. He only changes the oil when the car tells him too, which is about every 7k. Does the XLS tell you when to change the oil?

    I have read many reports that this car has lots of road noise. This car will be driven mostly on dirt roads and paved roads that have been sealed with gravel and tar. Will the Avalon be noisy under these conditions?

    What changes are in store for 04? Will they upgrade the engine? The horsepower seems low by today's standards and I am not a fan of engines with timing belts.
  • The 3.0L engine has been around for quite a while. They had issues with sludging (some would argue but we'll not get into that discussion here) in the late 90's. From what I have heard from Toyota, the problem stemmed from revised emmisions standards. The early models of this engine didn't have this problem, so I would tend to agree with that statement. They have revised the emmisions control devices to rectify that problem a couple of years ago and certainly an '03 would not have any concerns.

    No Toyota "tells" you to change the oil, the intervals are pretty easy though. 5,000 miles for the shorter interval and 7,500 miles for the longer.

    The road noise "issue" I tend to think may be partly due to the tires they choose to put on the vehicle. I have heard from many who have had problems with this that changing the tires makes a huge difference. I don't think that it is a problem compared to other vehicles I have driven, but like most things, this is a personal issue and you would need to drive one to decide.

    As far as I know, there are not any plans to change the engine for '04, but that's not set in stone. Drive one, I think that the HP figure is misleading and it is much more usable than it may seem.

    Lastly, as for the timing belt, there are two answers for you. Timing belts are TYPICALLY more quiet than chains, so that is why Toyota went with it. Secondly, Toyota only uses non-interference style engines with timing belts, so worse case scenerio if the belt breaks after 90K miles is that you tow it to the dealer, they replace it and you go on your way. The engine won't blow up when it breaks.

    Hope this helps.
  • pluto5pluto5 Posts: 618
    We shopped both but were unimpressed with Bonneville reliabilty and felt that Avalon styling was too staid and car was overpriced. Impala LS great family car value IMO.
  • abc246abc246 Posts: 305
    Thanks for your input. I was familiar with Toyotas timing belt design. I had a Toyota Supra that had one and changed it my self (what a job). However, I am not sure the reason you state (quietness) is the reason Toyota chose a belt. In one word – CHEAP! Belts engines are cheaper to design and build. Many very good cars are both quite and have a timing chain. Does anyone know the change interval for the Avalon timing belt?
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,726
    is 90K as stated previously. You can figure on letting it go a little longer that that without much trouble, and then you will need to change it maybe once in the whole life of the car.

    2014 Mini Cooper (stick shift of course), 2016 Camry hybrid, 2009 Outback Sport 5-spd (keeping the stick alive)

  • Last month I purchased a 2000 XL, Diamond White
    Pearl, with 65,000 miles. Most of the miles were
    accumulated on regular trips from Denver to Vegas
    and back. Just a few small chips on the front.
    Runs like a top, and the JBL system is great.

    I started reading these postings a few months prior to my purchase and I really appreciate all
    the tips, tricks, and evaluations I picked up.
    They all helped in my decision to purchase the
    Avalon. I got a dash kit from Joshua, paint from
    Romania, a Lanka kit, and will order mudguards

    I do have one condition I would like to post for
    comment. The clear coat on the plastic outside
    mirror housings is peeling off. They both look
    like 2 week-old sunburn. It would take many
    hours to peel off the little pieces by hand.
    Then what ??? Got one bid from a body shop of
    $130.00 each.

    Any suggestions...
  • Nomad, Im a little confused and would like to clarify your answer. I just purchased a 98 XLS. It has the standard single CD stereo that has the little storage compartment below it. I find the sound rather lousy. Considering that there is a single uninclosed subwoofer if thats whats you want to call it in the back window, the bass is not deep or tight and very muddy sounding. There is very little treble from the radio. I have not tried a CD yet. There also is very little presence in the sound. The stations i listen to in other cars fade out of range much sooner in this car. This tells me that this unit is junk for a car as nice as this. Most other reports are good on the JBL system. Are you saying that there more than one version of the JBL? You speak of an externally amplified one that must have more power. Where can i find a used JBL or a "take out" for a reasonable price? Do i need to pull out my existing unit to see how many pins are on the plug? Any help is appreaciated. I realize that these factory speakers are likely different than the ones that come with the JBL. Im not looking for a killer system but something that sounds better than this stock one. Thanks, Mike
  • zmonyzmony Posts: 3
    Hi All,

    I just bought my first Avalon - a black '03 XL w/stone leather interior and the luxury pkg. So far I really like it. I would like to upgrade the interior to wood (and possibly buy the wood-trimmed XLS steering wheel) and get a CD changer (came with a single CD player). Can anyone recommend an aftermarket, high-quality wood trim kit and a CD changer compatible with the JBL deck?

    Many Thanks,
  • nomad56nomad56 Posts: 134
    That head unit(or your external amp) may just be BAD! Even the internally amplified units were decent. I recommend pulling it out, then: Let me know what the "harness" looks like in the car...has it been spliced or modified in any way??? What is the pin configuration??? ...with this, I can probably determine what you have/need.

    There are several JBL configurations. I am running the 6 CD IN-dash unit to my NON JBL amp and speakers..sounds great..more than adequate for almost anyone.

    Once we determine what you need, eBay is a good source, or a local junkyard, etc. NOTE: If you look on eBay, you may see a PICTURE of your wire harness-refer me to the auction #-then I will be sure which harness you have..
  • nomad56nomad56 Posts: 134
    If that head unit has CD changer controls (NOT all do) ALPINE, and a few others, have direct plug and play units. Otherwise, there are adapters for several other brands. The Alpines play MP3 CD's!!! Kinda' nice! The interior wood trim kits(aftermarket!) are readily available...check eBay, where you may also see that steering wheel show up...they usually fetch bid $$$
  • Nomad, thanks for yur help. When i get a chance, i will pull my unit and let you know my harness configuration. Im makeing the assumption that my wiring is unmolested as i bought the car from a retired origional owner that appears to have only kept real good care of it. Mike
  • zmonyzmony Posts: 3
    Thanks for the information Nomad. The head unit is a single CD player so I assume it does have CD changer abilities. On your advice, I browsed EBAY for wood trim kits and found quite an array. After reading some prior posts on this board, I'm going to try to get a sample from Joshua Tree. Regarding the XLS wood-trimmed steering wheel, I couldn't find one on EBAY (active of completed auctions) so I called my local dealer and they are asking $1,000 (ouch!).
  • 02mdx02mdx Posts: 64
    zmony: I have an '02 XL with the an OEM Wood Dash kit (real wood) and IMO it looks better than what comes standard on the XLS (plood). My only gripe is that the kit is $300+ and does not have a plate to cover the stereo (piece), the rest of the center console is covered.

    I also recommend the Auto-Dimming mirror and the mud flaps.
  • zmonyzmony Posts: 3

    Thanks for the info. Where did you buy your OEM wood dash kit? Did you install it yourself? Where is a good place to get the mud flaps? The auto dimming mirror came with the car and I agree it is nice.

  • 02mdx02mdx Posts: 64
    The Toyota dealer installed the Wood Dash at the time of purchase. I was fortunate to get the kit and installation for invoice, I think it was $306. Installation should not be a big deal either as wood pieces are placed on top of the existing plastic panels. I pretty sure the adhesive is already on the dash pieces.

    As for the Mud guards, I purchased Color-Keyed Mud Guards directly from the internet:

    A set of four costs $79 plus S&H, prompt shipping, good e-mail feedback. Takes less than an hour to install (I had to remove the real wheels to install) w/ some drilling (just pilot holes). Ascetically, they make the Avalon look more sporty, lower to the ground. Functionality, keeps the road grime off the panels... plus I'm sure it will save the paint in the long run.

    Hope this helps...

  • footiefootie Posts: 636
    This may sound silly, but if Toyota only builds Avalons with plood (plastic wood) why is there a "factory" wood dash kit. I think the dealer might have been speaking with forked-tongue.

    I see factory wood kits for sale many places on the web. Try Google.

    Good luck!
  • Hi all. Am new to the group and so far love my 2001 XLS. I've been plagued by a noise that appears to be coming from the dash at the windshield, lower left corner. Dealer has looked at it 12 times and has: 1) foam padded under dash, 2) padded exterior plastic cowling at bottom exterior of windshield. Noise does not occur after the car has been parked in the sun. Now that it's winter here in the south the noise is driving me nuts. It does not occur only when hitting bumps, slight undulations or shifts trigger it as well. Turning on the heater to try and warm the windshield/dash does not have an effect. Any thoughts/advice? Earplugs are out! :-)
  • sebmichael2002:

    I also had a persistent noise just as you described. The fix? proper installation of the air conditioning filter.
    Hope that helps.
  • I had a similar problem except it was around the rear window. Would hear a clicking sound which would occur when even going over seams etc. and only hear it when it was cold. Had the problem fixed this week and it turned out to be a headliner clip near the rear window. Apparently when it was cold the sheet metal would contract enough so that the clip would tap against the roof. That is what they told me anyway it is fixed.
  • Last week I ordered a 2003 Avalon XLS Lunar Mist w/bucket seats - it is being built this week at the factory in Georgetown KY - I am from Ohio. It has the following options:
    Z1 - SR - GV - VD - DK
    This is my first Toyota - I am 7l yrs. old & have had heart & spinal surgery. The Avalons on the car lot seem to feel very comfortable - easier to get in & out of than my 2-dr.coupe Olds 88 (l4 yrs. old & 275,000 miles)

    I got a bottom-line price of $29,989 w/options - think this is a good deal?

    What would be a good extended warranty - what kind of rust protection, recommended??? \

    Ist the V5 factory installed intrrusion protection VIP RS 3200 already built in? The brochure seems to list it as an option for $309.

    Any input would be greatly appreciated !!!
  • First of all, a good deal in one area may not be a good deal in another, so that's not an easy question to answer.

    As for extended warranties, that depends on what your driving habits are. You can configure them pretty easily for your driving habits. Some are very high milage with short term while others are just the opposite. Additional info about how you drive would be helpful to give you advice about warranties.

    Rust protection, for the most part, is NOT recomended on Toyota's. They take many preventative steps to help ensure that they don't rust. From special primers and paints on lower body panels and the front areas to dipping some framing and body panel areas in wax, they are pretty well protected. Most aftermarket (not all) rust-proofing systems will either plug drain holes or are not very effective in real-world situations. There are some out there that are VERY effective, but they tend to be expensive and the marginally better protection you get vs. the systems they design into the vehicle may not be worth the cost. You will have to decide yourself if you feel they are worth it, however.

    The XLS model has a transponder key with engine immobilizer as standard equipment. If someone tries to start the engine without one of the transponder keys, it will not allow the engine to start. The only thing that you MAY want to add would be the glass breakage sensor so that if any of your windows were broken, it would set off the alarm. the V5 is for the XL model primarily which does not have the transponder key or a factory alarm standard.

    Hope this helps and feel free to ask any other questions you have.

  • cliffy1cliffy1 Posts: 3,581
    The only catch is that many people confuse rust proofing with undercoating and other protections. It is up to the consumer to decide if the other products are worth the extra money, but Toyotaken is right that rust proofing is a waste of money and in some cases detrimental to the car. It shocks me that some dealers still offer this. Again, undercoating and paint protection do have demonstrated value (although some may dispute just how much value, it doesn't hurt the car) but rust proofing is a waste.
  • Honestly, the best preventative for rust is regular and frequent washing including washing the underside of your vehicle. There are only two systems currently that I know of that have been shown to be effective. Both put the vehicle up on a lift and they spray a aerosolized material throughout the underside of the vehicle, including inside the framing members and then remove all of the inside door panels to access that area then move on from there. It's a process that takes up to 3 days and costs somewhere to the tune of $1,500. They also do annual re-applications to wear-prone areas such as the underbody for $200 or somewhere like that. It isn't inexpensive, but for something that is that exacting and time intensive that has been independently tested, I wouldn't expect it to be.

    That being said, as cliffy and I have said before, for the most part, all of the ones that are offered by dealers are worthless at best and harmful at worst, so stay away from them.

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