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Toyota Highlander Maintenance and Repair



  • mikefm58mikefm58 Posts: 2,882
    I've got an 04 Highlander, 39K miles, 4 cyl, A/C blowing air that is barely cool. I did a pressure test, checked out fine, but the compressor is not cycling on. Any ideas?
  • jrfierojrfiero Posts: 123
    Ecotrklvr, you still here?
    I'm having the high idle problem on my V6.
    How long did the positive results from your cleaning last? I noticed in another post you recommended replacement rather than cleaning.

    Anyone else with ISCV experience, or other cures for high idle? I'm talking over 2000 rpm warm, occasionally drops lower. Pretty annoying.
  • Hi. I feel your abs pain. I am having the exact troubles with my 02 highlander. Did you get the issues resolved?
  • lmacmillmacmil Posts: 1,758
    The scheduled maintenance for my 2004 shows this every 15,000 miles. I had it done once so far and am going in for an oil change next week. Now have 34k miles on the HL. Of course, the dealer never mentions it while he trying to get me to do all sorts of stuff that isn't required by the Toyota maintenance schedule. Anyone have this done as required or have a rationale for not doing it?
  • I had my local servicing dealership do my 04's last year at 3 years & 21K miles. They didn't charge me anything for it while doing the regular PM service I have them do (which is oil, filter and lube...period), all for $22.77.
  • lmacmillmacmil Posts: 1,758
    " They didn't charge me anything for it..."

    That's amazing! I think my dealer charged me $35 a couple years ago.
  • Yea, I'm pretty lucky having such a good outfit close-by. I checked my work-order receipt, charge line for the re-torque was $0.00.
    Moderators-I don't suppose I can give 'em a plug by name here, could I? :D
  • steverstever Posts: 52,572
    Dealer names and locations are fine. No names of individuals or phone numbers please (those numbers change and wind up giving us fits 5 years later when the new owner of the number contacts our help desk).

    Give 'em a thumbs up over in Dealer Ratings and Reviews too.
  • Thanks Steve. It's here in the midwest, Quad Cities Iowa & Illinois, Highland Toyota in Moline, Illinois. Great people for service and sales.
    Regards, BGood
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    On the other hand the dealer service manager may have used a bit of common sense and didn't even uselessly expend the effort.
  • "I've got an 04 Highlander, 39K miles, 4 cyl, A/C blowing air that is barely cool. I did a pressure test, checked out fine, but the compressor is not cycling on. Any ideas?"

    What kind of "pressure test" did you do? If the compressor does not cycle on, then you won't have any high pressure on the High Side, and you won't have any low pressure on the Low Side. A pressure test is only meaningful if expressed in terms of pressure on the High Side and pressure on the Low Side, along with Ambient temperature and Vent temperature, and engine speed is helpful.
    Example of a usual reading: High Side=225 pounds, Low side=25 pounds, Ambient temperature=88 degrees fahrenheit, Vent temperature=46 degrees fahrenheit, engine speed 1500 rpm.
  • lmacmillmacmil Posts: 1,758
    "...the dealer service manager may have used a bit of common sense and didn't even uselessly expend the effort."

    You are suggesting that this isn't a necessary maintenance procedure?
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    Suggesting, me..??

  • lmacmillmacmil Posts: 1,758
    Just got an oil change at the dealer. The inspection sheet said "transfer case and differential oil dirty, needs changing." This sounds like a way to lighten my wallet and fatten the dealers. Anyone ever have this service recommended? Aren't these sealed/closed systems?

    I need new tires. Looking at the Bridgestone Alenza to replace Michelin LTX. Much better ratings on Tirerack and a little cheaper. Anyone have these tires?
  • Look in your manual, and have the services done that are listed in the book. Anything other than that is not maintenance, but repair work, and you should be given a complete explaination and quotation, then ask them every conceivable question about it.
    WHY do I need this work?
    Why don't you do this work when it's listed in the book or IS it listed in the book?
    If not listed in the book, again WHY do I need this work?
    Why is the transfer case and differential oil dirty? Is it time for it to be dirty? If not, why did it get dirty early?
    How dirty is it supposed to get before it needs changing.
    (Note for you; just because the oil is dirty does not mean it is bad and need changing, it only needs changing if it is starting to chemically break down or is very contaminated). That is why oils are generally changed at milage/time inetervals. I would not get those services, unless I really know I need them.

    If you really want to find out how good or how bad your oil is, you can send a sample of oil to an oil analysis company for a fee, and they will send you a full report with a full explaination. You can find these companies on the Internet. Just google "oil analysis".

    There is a company called Black something that says "Oil analysis can identify any problems developing in your engine long before they cause you an expensive headache. Or maybe you'd just like to get a good look at the microscopic wear your engine is producing. Can you run a fill of oil longer than 3000 miles? Are your oil and air filters doing a good job? Is your tranmission or differential oil holding up? We can answer these questions and more when you submit a sample of your engine oil for analysis."
  • steverstever Posts: 52,572
    There is a company called Black something that

    Blackstone Labs

    Testing is up to $22.50 now. Seems like you could get a test down for about half that a few years ago.
  • lmacmillmacmil Posts: 1,758
    I have asked those questions before and always get some nonsense answer. I was more curious if other Toyota dealer service departments do the same thing. I may try the other dealer in town next time even though it's much less convenient, location-wise.

    The service writer had a brochure on his desk for brake fluid replacement. That's a service you won't find in the manual but is a good idea every few years because brake fluid absorbs water. They wanted $90!!! More than transmission fluid service. I'll buy a quart and do it myself. (He did say it probably didn't need to be done before 60K miles).
  • jrfierojrfiero Posts: 123
    I cleaned the Idle Speed Control Valve on my 2001 V6 over the weekend, and it cured my high warm idle. I had just additionally started to get an erratic cold idle.
    It's kind of a pain.
    There are a couple writeups online, one on Tundra Solutions, but they aren't quite right.
    The ISCV is attached to the bottom of the throttle body, and you need to remove the throttle body to get the ISCV off. Perhaps if you're really good and you have some trick tools you could get it off the throttle body without removing the throttle body - I didn't try, and its a good thing. Its a good thing because the ISCV is held to the throttle body by four Phillips head screws, and I stripped two of them before going to an impact driver for the 3rd and 4th, which made me very nervous on the aluminum throttle body. I replaced the fasteners with cap screws.
    There's a lot more to it, but once I got it cleaned and reassembled, there was a coolant leak from the hose attached to the ISCV. Same original clamp, perhaps I should have replaced them. Grrr. I removed the air cleaner and intake hoses again, and ran the car without them, which of course throws a diagnostic code and illuminates the check engine light. Plus, the hose didn't leak in that condition! So, I put if back together, there was initially a slight leak which has now stopped, the idle is fine in all scenarios, and the CEL has gone out after several cycles.
    I'd still do it again to save the $500 or so, but I wouldn't suggest others try it unless they're mechanically adventurous and have a good selection of tools.

  • Irishcasey. I dont think you have a PCV failure, however a new PCV is inexpensive and may be worth a try. Simple as replacing a spark plug to replace.

    The smoke and excessive oil consumption concern me and lead me to think you have a valve guide problem. Smoking tailpipe at idle is a dead giveaway. The oil consumption, while alarming, is not excessive for an engine with bad guides. A vacuum test will reveal for sure if you have bad valve guides. Plug a vacuum gauge into any available below throttle port and let the engine idle. A sound engine will show between 15-19 inches. A vibrating reading indicates bad valve guides.

    Valve guide replacement is expensive, essentially involves an engine top end, or head rebuild. In an otherwise sound vehicle, probably worth the expense.

    You could have bad rings, but I doubt that, as you would be seeing smoke out the tailpipe all the time. You can test for bad rings, as well as bad valves amongst other things, by performing a cylinder leakdown test. If your vacuum test is normal, I would follow up with a compression test, then a leak down test.

    Failing these tests would result in a total engine rebuild, or replacement. More expensive, and might not be worth the cost.

    Good luck.
  • My HL's odometer shows 4602 mile at the moment and it has been showing a message "need engine oil change/ maintainance soon" message on the display everytime I start it.

    Is it just a reminder due to the number of miles I have driven or does it actually have some relationship to the current quality of the engine oil? Toyota recommends oil change every 5k, do you guys always do it at the dealership? Or is a regular place around the corner ok as well? Is there any difference?
  • lmacmillmacmil Posts: 1,758
    I believe that there is some kind of algorithm involved that looks at # of starts, time the engine is on, maybe average coolant temp in addition to the number of miles driven. Otherwise it would come on at exactly 5000 miles. I could be wrong. :)

    I have always gone to the dealership. It's not much more expensive than an independent shop and then they have the record should you have a problem under warranty. I would never go to one of the "quicky lube" places. I've heard/read too many horror stories about them.
  • For about the last several years we have heard a clunk sound in the rear of our 2002 Highlander when we hit a bump. Our dealer has repeatedly dismissed this until now. The mechanic told my wife that we need to replace the driver side rearradial arm cam bolts which will cost around $585.00 for parts and labor. Just what is this part of the car?
  • I'm going to disagree with lmacmil on this one.

    My '08 HL had the same message appear at almost the exact same mileage, and I'm just guessing that the likelihood of me having the same # of starts, time the engine is on, and average coolant temperature as jilin74 is pretty low.

    The message is simply a reminder that you're approaching a manufacturer's recommended service interval. My dealer charged $24.95 for the oil/filter change and $12.00 for the tire rotation (also recommended @ 5K). Together, that's about what I would have paid for just the oil/filter change at the local oil joint (a.k.a. high school auto shop). I feel better knowing the work was done by factory-trained people, that Toyota has a record of all work performed, and the price is well within reason.
  • lmacmillmacmil Posts: 1,758
    You are probably right. It does come on too consistently to be connected to anything other than the odometer. I stand corrected.

    On my Olds Intrigue, there was an algorithm involved because it came on much sooner in the winter (more cold starts, lower engine temps, etc.) than it did in the summer.
  • I am trying to change wiper blades on my 2003 HL but the old blades won't budge. Can anyone please give me a tip on how to remove the original wiper blades. Any help will be much appreciated. Thanks.
  • I have a 2004 Toyota Highlander that I keep in pristine condition, however, it has developed a nasty mildew smell over the last 6 months that I could not correct. Finally, I took it into the dealer and they told me that my sun roof drains were clogged and that is what probably caused this condition. They cleaned them out and deodorized/sanitized the ventilation system. It cost me $160 for this service and the smell still has not discipated. Any feedback on this issue would be appreciated.
  • webgoodwebgood Posts: 95
    Have you (or the dealer) checked the cabin filter behind the glove box? Also, I'm not sure if this applies to the HL, are there drain tubes from the condenser coils that might be plugged? FYI-Isopropyl (rubbing) alcohol in a spray bottle makes a great sanitizer/deodorizer. The alcohol kills bacteria that makes the odor and while not everybody cares for the alcohol odor, it dissipates pretty quickly. You can turn on any ventilation blower and mist the spray into the intakes where it'll get sucked in. Works great on the insides of shoes/boots/sneakers.
    Also check under your front floor carpet for dampness/odor.
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    Google for:

    wwest EED odor gym
  • I have a 2006 HL AWD Limited with 64k kilometers (40K miles) on it. The Dealer tells me the rear brake pads are shot and the rotors are "too rusty" to be turned. This sounds ridiculous. I have never replaced pads front or rear on any other vehicle before well over 100K km, as I am very easy on the brakes and most of my driving is highway miles. Why would rear pads be worn out before front?
    A possible related problem I have had since new is that something locks up (I believe it is the rear brakes) when I leave the vehicle unattended for a week or more -usually in an airport parking lot) and it takes a lot of effort to get the vehicle to move, accompanied by a loud snap). The Dealer said I had a caliper seized - but since new?? Perhaps this has worn down the rear brakes? Appreciate any comments.
  • lmacmillmacmil Posts: 1,758
    It is virtually impossible on a correctly functioning brake system for the rear pads to wear out sooner than the front. And turning rotors is based on thickness not the amount of rust. I would look for another dealer or independent shop for a 2nd opinion.

    It is possible for the linings to "stick" to the rotor if left unattended but I would expect it to take more than a week and would also expect them to break free fairly easily. Not sure what this could be. Are you setting the parking brake? If the caliper seized, you probably couldn't apply the brake, it wouldn't typically seize in the applied position. But if the caliper piston is stuck in the applied position, this could explain the pad wear.
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