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Toyota Avalon 2004 and earlier



  • ajacat1ajacat1 Posts: 87
    in the postings..I see this has been addressed well. And here's another question: one person wrote that because of the oil "gel" problem, he wouldn't recommend buying any v-6 with the 8 year coverage certificate without all prior papers to prove regular oil changes. Our car is a "certified" car. I don't know what that implies about the 'gel' problem--what is people's experience with the certified program in this regard?

    thanks, and sorry for the un-researched question before this one--
  • ajacat1ajacat1 Posts: 87
    and then that's it :)

    Anyone got any advice on toyota dealers in the Pacific NW?

    thanks again
  • gerry100gerry100 Posts: 100
    Previous posts lamented long lead times on factory ordered Avalons.
    My no option (except white)XL finally shipped on 7/3. Build date reported as 6/25.
    Expected at dealer around 7/11. Around 17 weeks since order.

    I ordered because of my company's lease policy and because I didn't want to pay any options. If you want one, this is the hard way.
  • gerry100gerry100 Posts: 100
    Has anybody else noticed that the Avalon get's little or no promotion from Toyota or the dealers?.

    Sunday Dealer classifieds tout offers on every product except the Avalon which isn't even mentioned.(Albany,NY).

    I suspect that Toyota wants the KY plant making Camrys to assure the best seller title and that the Avalon erodes Lexus sales, hence the deemphasis.

    There could be some credence to the runours about discontinuation or repositioning of the Avalon.
  • footiefootie Posts: 636
    I haven't seen an Avalon ad in 18 months. Never saw an Echo ad ever. Don't remember a Celica ad if there was one, or a Highlander ad either. I don't remember any recent Matrix ads since it's intro in 02 ( 03 models were made for 18 months ). The Solara is invisible and never used with the word Camry.

    There have been ads for the Rav4, new Forerunner, Corolla from time to time, occasional Tundra ad, lots of Camry and 'Get the feeling' ads.

    The Avalon isn't alone. Toyota ads are very targeted at new entries and high volume cars.
  • abfischabfisch Posts: 591
    For those of you who are discussing the 5 speed, you should know this.
    The 5 speed you are discussing is already in the Lexus 300. It got terrible reviews, clunking into gears. More does not necessary mean better, and a closer ratio would not enhance top speed performance. Middle speed passing prowess is secondary to the good torque characteristics of this engine. Poor passing at supra legal speeds, is secondary to, you guessed it, a rather average amount of horsepower for the size and weight of the vehicle, albeit, sometimes, at the expense of gas mileage. The new Avalon '05 show have the 330 hp engine in it to satisfy those who have a need for supra legal passing.
  • mcclearyflmcclearyfl Posts: 149
    Abfisch is correct when he suggests that a silky smooth 4-speed is probably preferable to a clunky 5-speed automatic. I am not so sure he is quite so on target with his power and torque claims.

    Peak power occurs at a specific engine speed - it has nothing to do with road speed. Similarly for peak torque - usually at a different engine speed. By the use of variable valve timing (VVT) Toyota engineers have succeeded in spreading the optimum power and torque over a much larger range of engine speeds. Abfisch is correct when he suggests that the Avalon focus is on smooth power at middle to upper road speeds, and not at high road speeds. Nevertheless, regardless of the targeted maximum engine output, the ability to use that output most effectively is significantly affected by the number of gears and their ratios. This is why older classic cars have 3-speed manual transmissions (or even 2-speed automatics) and modern cars have 6-speed manuals and 5-speed automatics. It is also one of the reasons why "drivers" prefer manual stickshifts over automatics -- an greater ability to control power and torque characteristics. The modern trend towards continuous belt transmissions (CVT) is a recognition of the value of exactly matching engine speed to driving needs (albeit with little or no overriding capability for the driver).

    Having gotten on my soapbox it is only fair to observe that -- even with multiple gears -- improvements in response by the Avalon at high speeds would indeed be minimal. Contrast my Saab 9-3 turbo, which throws you back in your seat when you find the right gear at 85 mph.
  • toydrivertoydriver Posts: 227
    I experienced owning a '99 Lexus-Certified RX300 (similar drive train to the Avalon) which began using A LOT of oil after 45K miles (4 quarts in 5,000 miles). No one would mention the dreaded oil gel issue - but I believe that was the cause. Prior owner missed an oil change (or two). This didn't become obvious to me until I reviewed the oil change records myself. I assumed when I bought it that if Lexus certified it that would require that all prior maintenance had been performed - WRONG! Well, I traded the car after owning it 2 yrs and driving only 20,000 mi.
    I'm not sure if Toyota and Lexus have the same requirements for the Certification process, but I would assume that they are very similar. I continue to believe Toyota and Lexus have outstanding cars, but they're not perfect. Toyota/Lexus spend a lot of time informing the public of the importance of consistent and frequent oil changes - take them at their word.
    My advice is to insist that you can review and prove to yourself that all oil changes have been performed - or you are taking risk. There may be good reason why someone else traded in that used Avalon.
  • alpha01alpha01 Posts: 4,747
    I believe that I read awhile back on the ES board that the newest versions have upgraded software, and the hesitation during passing kickdowns is markedly mitigated. Also, the Camry V6 got this trans in Feb, and I have yet to see/hear any complaints. It would seem, in my opinion, that the bugs with this transmission logic seem to have been worked out.

  • toydrivertoydriver Posts: 227
    I bought one earlier this month that was manufactured in March '03. I haven't noticed any of the issues with hesitation or vibration that were posted earlier.
  • wachsmuthwachsmuth Posts: 19
    Hi, all - Have had my Avalon for 5 months now, and at the first oil change (3,000) miles I used Mobil One Synthetic - with great results !
        Now, at 7,000 miles, I'm going in for another change & have a question....I'm considering synthetic transmission oil. Has anyone out there ever used it? Any advantages to using it? How many quarts does it take?
        Just noticed today, a faint rattling noise when using the accelerator - not every time, just intermittently. Oh boy, and I thought my car was perfect.
        Thanks for any input -
  • travelerjbtravelerjb Posts: 46
    Your timing is good. I put just over 1200 miles on mine and had my oil dropped and had Mobil One fully synthetic put in. While I was at it I got the Synthetic ATF put in as well. They had me bring them 12 full quarts of the stuff (not cheap I might add) as they had to drain (more like suck with some new machine they have in their shop)all the old fluid thoroughly and put in the new stuff. So far so good. It lowers the operating temperture beyond that of the standard fluids and also lowers friction while eliminating the typical foaming and breakdown common in standard fluids. I suspect in the long run it will pay for itself. I like the fact I caught it new as well instead of waiting for wear to occur...........
  • abfischabfisch Posts: 591
    For anyone of you, whose steering wheel shimmies at 50MPH or above, and may or may not vibrate when the brake is depressed, I have found the answer. The car was taken to Toyota of Newburgh, New York several times. Tires rebalanced, new wheels placed on, realignment, etc. Still the wheel shimmy. Dealership documented that the brake rotors met specs. Well. not really.

    We took off the rotors this weekend, and put the rotors on a lathe ourselves. The left rotor was fine but the right one was moderate-severely warped. Sweeetttt!!!!!!!!!!!!

    This is after 4 trips to have them diagnosis and fix it. Sweettttt.

    The Toyota Corp. will be contacted in the next month. I will keep you posted when I place the steel wheels with the winter tires back on and recheck it for additional vibration problems.

  • abfischabfisch Posts: 591
    For those of you owners who enjoy music, this accessory might be the ticket. We added two months ago a Delphi XM stereo unit, with an FM modulator to the JBL stereo. Mounted the docking station with a vehicle specific mount, just to the right of the radio at a 45 degree angle. Magnetic antenna to the roof. Very very sweet, without commercials for people who drive or commute long distances or times.

  • When do the new 2004 Avalons come out? Can anyone tell me if they're happy with their Avalon? I am leaning towards a Avalon or a Highlander! Thanks! ;)
  • alpha01alpha01 Posts: 4,747
    You seem to appear every summer considering a new Toyota vehicle. Do you really buy and trade this often? Wasnt your most recent interest the Camry?

    Going to back to Avalon v. Highlander- what are your priorities?

  • gerry100gerry100 Posts: 100
    Finally picked took delivery on my XL comapny ride-

    - solid, smmoth quiet- will be a great long distance runner.

    - Diamond white pearl ( or whatever they call it)is worth the extra.

    - Car comes with Continental "touringtrack" tires.
    Based on experience with my wifes Volvo and a colleagues Camry , I don't expect much life from these. I 'll rotate every 5k but don't expect much more than 30K, any suggestions on replacements?

    - for all you "oil gelling" afficaionados - there is a warning card inseerted in the warranty booklet.
  • alpha01alpha01 Posts: 4,747
    The Continentals on our Camry were trash after 30,000 miles. Well, they were trash to begin with, but you get the idea.

    Replaced them with OUTSTANDING Pirelli P400 Tourings.

    Best of luck with your new Avalon!
  • alpha,
           I didn't know that you take such priority in bookmarking what everyone does.... If it's any of your business, which it's not. I still have the 94 Camry, and I was waiting for all the bugs to be out of the new remodeled Camrys, but they've seem to be not as reliable as the other camry models. I swear by Toyota, I think Toyotas are reliable,I think they're great, so pardon me for wanting a reliable vehicle.
          Why do you come in here so much? Trade often or buy often ? LOL.
  • patpat Posts: 10,421
    Sunshine, we have lots of regular folks hanging out here - including you, it would seem. :) Lots of us just enjoying talking cars whether we are in the market at the moment or not.

    Don't take offense -- we try to help and it's easier to help when we understand where the folks asking for help are coming from.

    : )
  • matthew525matthew525 Posts: 52
    Dollar for dollar either is a good auto, rides well, and nice creature comforts. We're 9K into our XLS and I enjoy driving it when the wife allows me to do so. Almost all vehicles in this range are good vehicles. I was looking for dependability, dealer service, and how the dealer treats us. Give the XLS a hard look before settling on the XL. Good luck
  • dfurnierdfurnier Posts: 26
    We've had our XL with options (a bit over $30k MSRP) for 3 weeks and we like it very much, particularly the comfort. Our only regret is we didn't spend a few thou more for the XLS. It appears to be a lot more car for the money. But since we were looking more in the Camry price range, we didn't want to stretch quite that far.

    Probably the biggest option to us not available on the XL is heated seats. Since I commute almost a hundred miles daily, they would be much appreciated during our Wisconsin winters. Anyone know anything about having them installed third party? Our salesman suggested we check it out - he recommended someone in the area that does it.
  • alpha01alpha01 Posts: 4,747
    I'm not sure whats up with your attitude, but I certainly wasnt trying to personally attack you, I was just asking questions to better understand your situation. If you werent looking for help or suggestions in coming here, I'm not really sure what you were after. I certainly dont bookmark certain posts or people, but your unique SN and inquiries on Toyota, I remembered you.

    With respect to your question, yes, I and many people I know buy and trade often, and Edmunds Townhall is an outstanding resource. I would like to consider myself an enthusiast, and I gain a lot of knowledge from the posters and hosts here.

    Thats where I'm coming from.
  • finfin atlantaPosts: 591
    Have posted many times that my '99 XL was near perfect for 92k miles. Traded for an '03 XL, fully loaded, because I wanted the cooler perforated seats, not available on XLS. But, if resale is important, a basic XLS is a much better value than a loaded XL. Check out the values on Edmunds or KBB web sites. And the XLS has several things the XL does not offer. Either way you get a great car. My highway gas mileage on the '03 is still not up to 30 mpg yet like the '99, but it is a much improved car, all things considered. Only oil changes and tire rotations thru 20k miles. Enjoy one...
  • I don't have an attitude, but things are sometimes taken wrong on messages boards, and I took your comment wrong, and I appologize for what I said to you... :( I don't want to argue with anyone in here, I just want to find out what I need to find out regarding the Avalon and Highlander before I make my choice...

       I thought that I was all set with waiting for a year till all the bugs in the new remodeled Camry came out, but It's I read in the consumer guide and also in the message boards on Edmunds and it doesn't sound to reliable.
          Again, I appologize for my comment that I made to you, I realize that it was nasty, and I appolgize and I am embarassed. I didn't know that so many people in here come in here for pure enjoyment, alot of exhusiasts, and people that come in here for help regarding their future purchase and their minor problems....

        I have alot of stuff going on in my personnal life, I am house hunting, I am car shopping, and I appologize for snapping at you. If you choose to ignore my posts ;then, that's fine, I don't blame you. However, I am appologing, and I am sorry for snapping at you.

        Where I am right now, Is looking at the Highlander and Avalon. I really like the Camry, but I am scared of it because of all the stories I've heard.... The Avalon and Highlander have minor errors that I can live with. I really would like the Highlander,and I was ready to get the Highlander, but I could only get leather if I got the limited and the Limited is close to $36,000, and I refused to pay for a limited just to have leather. Therefore, I guess If I run into the same problem ;then, I'll just get the Avalon. I'm in here to see if they're both as reliable,so that I can choose either one with peace of mind and ease.
            Again, I am sorry for snapping at you. I do realize that everyone has something to deal with in life, and I'm no exception.... My appologizes to you.
    Sunshine6105. :)
  • alpha01alpha01 Posts: 4,747
    Seriously, don't worry about it. I know how it goes, and I'm sorry if my comments were unclear or came across in way that could trigger a defensive posting.

    With regards to Avalon/Camry/HL, one thing you should consider is that most of the Camrys and all of the Avalons are made at the same plant in Kentucky. Certainly, it is true that the initial Camry launch was not as flawless as are typical Toyota introductions, but I am reasonably confident that most of the Camry's bugs have been worked out, as it has been on the market for 18+ months now. If you look on the Camry boards, I think you will find comparatively fewer complaints for the 2003 vs. the 2002.

    Given that you are looking at HL and Avalon, my guess is that you'd be choosing an XLE V6 Camry, and there are a few benefits to this model over the Avalon, the most major being available side curtain airbags, if you are into the safety side of things. The Camry V6 also now has an enhanced 5sp automatic transmission, and is a newer design than the Avalon. Most likely, given similar levels of equipment, the Camry XLE V6 will be less costly up front, and if you are still uneasy about the Camry's reliability, you could get an extended warranty with the money you save, and probably still have some left over.

    just my .02
  • abfischabfisch Posts: 591
    For those of you who tow light trailers or want to transport skis/bikes in back of the vehicle and not on the roof, Draw Tite makes a Class II hitch that fits very nicely to the subframe.

    The hitch is templated with holes, as only two additional holes are needed to be drilled. The hitch is very well hidden under the rear skirt of the Avalon, and all you see is the receiver. If you do it yourself, you might want to spray undercoating on it, to prevent it from rusting through the years.

    There is also a module for trailer lights, bought separately that is easy to hook up . Best to route the wire inside the car and not out.
  • Alpha,
           Thanks, you gave me alot of food for thought... :) I'll type you a post sometime this week or weekend with my thoughts and questions. :)
    Sunshine60105! :)
  • abfischabfisch Posts: 591
    To answer the problem, of #2299, I had a problem early with the express switch. I, not the dealer, diagnosed it correctly. The window seal in front, has a small guider on it. If it is deformed, the child safe device triggers, releasing the window back down. Check the deformation of the seal around the window, and bring it back to the dealer if the vehicle is under warranty. Hope this helps.

  • founda98founda98 Posts: 11
    I have the exact problem detailed in Message #83 under Avalon Maintenance

    Can anyone report what the actual problem & cost was to fix?
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