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2001 Highlander electrical problem

ennywennyw Posts: 2
I have a Toyota Highlander 2001 V6 4wd. The problem is when the car is in drive the light representing drive (D) in the dash does not stay on.
I can move the shifter (not taking it out of drive) and the light will blink with my movements.
Not a big deal but it also affects my cruse control. When the light blinks off the cruise control shuts off as will. I believe it is the reason my back passenger brake light does not work to. Yes the brake light bulb is new so somehow the problem is all linked together I believe.
The dash light is sporadic in working but the brake light is always out.
Any Ideas out there? (I know TAKE IT IN) :) Thanks


  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    Failed, failing rear brake light bulbs, open circuit, will disable CC.
  • ennywennyw Posts: 2
    Thanks for the reply but what should I do? Are you saying there is an open circuit to the brake light? (bad wire)
  • typesixtypesix Posts: 320
    Some of the brake light circuits do not like some of the aftermarket light bulbs, you might try replacing the bulb with OEM bulb from dealer.
  • dallas12dallas12 Posts: 14
    edited December 2010
    I have a 2008 Highlander. Yesterday when I started my car, the following light on my dashboard was On - Hill assist, VSC & check engine. Also my stop signal lights when I brake does on get ON.
    Is this issue with my fuse going off. I cheked the manual, In the fuse under the instrumental panel fuse#8 and 17. It looked okay to me.

    Does anyone know if I am checking the right fuse or is this some other issue. Should I just change these fuse and see if the new one works.
    Any suggestion/help is appreciated. Thanks.
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    Check engine light is VALID...!!
  • Yes Check engine light is ON. What do you mean by valid?
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    The other fault indications are the result of the CE, the CE is the only VALID fault.
  • so what could be the fault here , do I need to take this to the toyota dealer to get this fixed. Thanks.
  • so what could be the fault here , do I need to take this to the toyota dealer to get this fixed. Thanks.
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    One way or another you need to address the CE fault.
  • phrosutphrosut Posts: 122
    edited December 2010
    Last week the VSC and CE light came on as I was leaving home. I stopped, lifted the hood, and removed a large mouse nest from the top of the engine.

    On the weekend, I took off the top plastic engine cover and removed 5 pounds of acorns. After washing the engine, I looked hard to find chewed wires and found none. I'm leaving the hood open overnight now to hinder a reinfestation.

    If a wheel sensor wire was severed I'd probably have an ABS light in addition to the CE and VSC lights. I checked the wire to the front O2 sensor (having read online that it can cause the VSC light to come on).

    Any ideas on where to look next?

  • steverstever Posts: 52,683
    Getting the code checked at an auto parts store may help you narrow it down. When critters chewed on my sister's Subaru, it took the dealer over a week to find the chewed wires. They wound up replacing a whole wiring harness (luckily, her insurance covered the bill).

    I've heard that pure mint oil will help deter the critters. It needs to be the 100% pure stuff, not an extract. May have to mail order it if you decide to try it.
  • phrosutphrosut Posts: 122
    Thanks, Steve, I will begin a quest to obtain some mint oil. I'll stop by a parts chainstore when I have a chance to see if their code reader can give me more hints.

    I didn't mention (and realized it last night) that I'd already checked the vacuum hose that comes off with an air filter change and then sets the VSC light.

    When the weather is nicer I'll put the HL up on ramps and look carefully underneath. I wouldn't even care that the VSC remains disabled but it also sets the Check Engine light which would prevent the car passing our bi-annual smog exam.

    Any other ideas, suggestions or experiences are welcome.

  • steverstever Posts: 52,683
    edited December 2010
    Looks like it's $10 to $15 an ounce at Amazon, but a little goes a long way. We used to drive around the outskirts of Boise in the fall when they harvested the mint crop. Talk about aromatic.

    Can't say that I noticed a lot of mice running from the fields though.

    Since mice can squeeze into such little spots, you may have to dismantle some interior bits to find all the bad spots (the dealer would up taking most of my sister's dash off). Not fun if they headed that way.
  • phrosutphrosut Posts: 122
    Since we live in the country, mice have been a problem since the coyotes ate up all of our outside cats.

    I had an ongoing problem with the HL and mice getting inside though the intake for the heater. They'd build a nest on the cabin filter and eventually tunnel through to the interior.

    I finally put a layer of course screening (contractors cloth?) over the intake (under the cowling, difficult to install).

    On our other vehicles, I learned years ago to leave them parked with the hood open to prevent mouse nests in the engine compartment. Since we drive the HL daily I haven't done that... until now.

    I'll find some pure mint oil, thanks for the Amazon tip. When weather permits I'll check underneath for chewed wires. Amazingly, there's no sign of wire gnawing anywhere in the engine compartment. The bugger did remove three feet of the windshield washer hose tho.

  • phrosutphrosut Posts: 122
    I ordered the mint oil from Amazon. In the interim, I left the hood open each night. No mouse nests. The oil came in day before yesterday. I sprayed the engine, what is left of the firewall insulation, and all around the engine compartment. I left the hood closed last night.

    This morning... another mouse nest. Dang.

    I'm gonna look for mothballs today. I'd already tried dryer softener sheets, which also didn't work. (These "remedies" from an RV forum)

    And I still haven't had a chance to put the car up on ramps to check underneath. I live in CA and my ramps are outside. What a couple of weeks for rain!!

  • I got the code for the CE light and then narrowed it to a electric wiring fault on the engine..forgot the connection name..but as soon as I removed the engine cover saw that the electric wiring might have been cut off by a rat or something. Got the wiring soldered and now it works fine and the warning light on the dash board for hill assist and VSN has gone away after I reset the battery connection. Thanks.
  • steverstever Posts: 52,683
    That's a bummer.

    I was up at Kings Canyon a few years ago and there must be a varmint problem up there. People would put chicken wire fencing around their cars or they'd put a big tarp on the ground and the drive onto the tarp. Then they'd take the corners of the tarp and pull it up to the roof and tie it off. Sure looked weird, but better than ruined wiring.

    I guess you'll have a lifetime supply of mint to doctor your hot tea with now. :sick:
  • phrosutphrosut Posts: 122
    I was hoping to a solution like post #18 by dallas12 and just have some wires to repair. I can't find ANY evidence of nibbling anywhere visible from the top. Maybe tomorrow I can get it up on ramps and check underneath. I'll also unplug/replug any connectors I can.

    Steve, that suggestion was cheap enough... it says it can be used to prevent head lice too and we have a relative that'll be starting school next year...

    So far the only surefire prevention is to leave the hood open at night, which is what I do with the other vehicles that aren't driven daily. It's just a PIA on a daily driver.

  • phrosutphrosut Posts: 122
    An update:

    1) since the "upgrade" of this site, when I try and correct spelling or grammar on a post, I lose most of the post and get the '4- arrows' thing like I'm editing a JPG. I've usually given up after a couple of tries, and now will just make the post without corrections.

    2) looking for mothballs, I found something resembling a urinal cake in a plastic container for moths. I hung it in the engine compartment. Before putting that in, IF I closed the hood overnight, there'd be a complete nest with an ample store of acorns the next morning.

    After hanging it in under the hood, and closing the hood overnight, there'd be one 'mouthful' of nesting material and acorns.... like it got there with a full load then decided to leave because of the smell. HOWEVER, that moth thing is almost disolved after only 5 days so that's not gonna work. So I'm leaving the hood open at night and there is no evidence of nesting.

    Back to the VSC light: I found a spot on the little hose from the air cleaner housing that causes the error after changing filters that had a little chew hole. Fixed it, disconnected the battery to reset, then the light was off. For 20 miles. Now back on. I'd put more details here but...

    1) this new forum software would prevent it and
    2) I don't have a solution or answer yet so who cares?

This discussion has been closed.