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Toyota Echo Maintenance and Repair



  • Sway Bar...
  • Ok, here's my questions... (for '03 Echo)

    1}How do I change my platinum plugs; is it just the same as with the older cars, just pull off the wires and unscrew the plugs? Also what size plugs are they?
    And I'm not worried about using new platinum plugs; I got 99k now on my first set, so I figure by the time the second set wear out the car will prolly be worn out also... ">})

    2} How do I get at a rear brake light? And is there something I have to be careful about when doing it?

    I prolly could figure these things out for myself by just taking a chance and doing them, but I figure it never hurts to ask ahead of time in case there are any special things I need to do to avoid any unforeseen problems...

    Thanks all,
  • kneisl1kneisl1 Posts: 1,694
    I take it you have a brake light out? You get at the bulbs from the inside of the trunk. There is an access panel on each side of the trunk. You remove the panel and reach in and untwist the socket bulb and all. Then you can take the bulb to a parts store and match it up.
    The service manual lists the following plugs for the ECHO:

    Denso: SK16R11
    NGK: IFR5A11

    Those appear to be regular plugs. The service manaul I have doesnt specify platinum plugs. That tell you anything?

    You have to remove the black plastic valve cover shield with "VTTi" on it. Four 10mm acorn nuts. Each sparkplug connector is held in place with a 10mm bolt. Remove the bolt and the connector. You need a 5/8 inch sparkplug socket a six inch expension and a 3/8 inch drive ratchet. The socket should have a rubber insert to hold the plug while you lower it into place. I spray the rubber insert with WD40. If you dont it might grip the sprakplug so tightly that the socket pulls out of the etension when you try to remove it.
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,726
    Well, I already owned my Echo when the first set of spark plugs came out, and they were platinums. And yes, the maintenance schedule that came with the car lists 60K replacement intervals. But it is a California car, and California cars have different emissions requirements that often require longer periods of maintenance-free operation than 49-state cars.

    As for your Echo, I might be suspicious - my guess would be that possibly some less-than-totally-ethical (or ignorant) mechanic convinced the last owner that the platinums needed replacement at 30K, and stuck regular plugs in there instead. But certainly it is also possible that Toyota went from specifying platinums to specifying regulars in later years of the Echo's run. I just can't imagine the reason why they would. And of course, since you are not in a California-emissions state, it's possible that CA cars had 60K-mile plugs, and 49-state cars had 30K-mile plugs. The Toyota website shows 30K-mile intervals for the plugs for both the 2002 (mine) and 2004 (yours) model years.

    And BTW there's no mention in my maintenance schedule of anything being a 100K interval as you pointed out with the Camry. I am aware though that many Toyota models today (NOT including the older Echo, but including my '07 Matrix) use iridium plugs which are scheduled for replacement at 105K-mile intervals. At the rate I drive, my 105K plugs will be getting replaced before your 30K plugs, so I won't worry too much about being able to get them out. ;-)

    BTW, why would they be corroded in there, unless you have a fluid leak getting into the threads? Otherwise, there should be no moisture and hence no corrosion on the plug threads?

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

  • kneisl1kneisl1 Posts: 1,694
    Look at where the sealing washer on the plug is. It seals everything above the threads but not below. The threads are open to the combustion chamber. When you remove the plugs the threads will be brown with deposits. The longer you leave the plugs in the greater the ammount of deposits on them. Also it is likely to take ten years to drive 100k miles. Thats what can lead to them being frozen in place. Modern cars have plastic valve covers which protect the sparkplug wires and plugs. But older cars with plugs recessed deep into the heads have less protection from water flooding the sparkplug area. I often saw the sparkplug chamber filled with water after removing the connectors.
    The maintenance schedule that came with the Camry specified the 100k interval for the plugs. Since I remove them periodically to clean the threads I can check up on them and change them if they need it before the 100k mile interval .
  • Thank you bery much. Your info is very helpful..!
    The work you describe is well within my limited mechanical abilities, and now that I'm not working "in the dark" I'll be agle to do it without worrying! ">})

    I have no idea why Toyota appears to have different plugs and different replacement schedules for them on their Echos. I do know that mine are platinums and my manual schedules their replacement at 90K miles. When I bought the car the service manager even warned me against letting an inexperienced mechanic change them at 30K..!
  • Hi All,

    I just picked up a 2001 Echo, 2dr, AT, 40k. It is clean & runs very nice. I have records from the dealer showing regular maint. The only thing I don't see is a change of plugs listed on the 30k maint.
    One of the reasons I picked this car is the is the great owner reviews all over the net. I have three college students so I have a fleet of 5 cars & this will help with fuel costs.
    I am planning on a K & N air filter like my other cars. Any recomendations???
    I'm all ears?

  • kneisl1kneisl1 Posts: 1,694
    Should be easy enough to pull the plugs and check them. Check the AF too easy to do. If its dirty you got lied to! Check the brake pads front and shoes rear. Easy to do the disc's.
    Sorry I CANNOT recommend the KN filter for your ECHO. The standard filter is EXCELLENT you could not do better. The standard filters 99% of the dirt. The KN filters 95%. That means it passes 4 times the dirt of the stock! But wait theres more! The oil in the KN filter is upstream of the mass air sensor. Oil gets on the wires and your car runs like crap. Yes you can clean the wires but they are fragile. Break them and spend $200 for a new sensor. KN air filter NOT a good idea.
    Good luck with your ECHO it sounds like you got a nice car!
  • Thanks K1 - I run K & N's on my other cars(Honda's) with no problems. I can pass on the K & N to spare the air sensor.

    I love the fact that I won't have to deal with a timing belt. This car loooks a little funny, but it seems like a bullet proof little money saver. As I mentioned I have three college students and my gas/car expensives need saving: )

    I got lucky to find a slighty used one in TOP shape. I drove it home about 50 miles and it purred like a new car.

    I'll pull the plugs when it warms up & check the air filter. I can't wait to check the mileage!!! I really wanted a stick, but this AT model was to good to pass on.
  • kneisl1kneisl1 Posts: 1,694
    Yes they run very well and hold up good too. I get 31 mpg with my 2004 with AT but i only drive it 6 miles to and from work. Hope it improves with warmer weather.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,482
    A K&N drop-in filter does no good whatsoever except make noise. Modern air filtration systems are excellent and besides, all gasoline cars have a throttle plate, so the "air flow" issue is moot. Only at Wide Open Throttle would the K&N even have a chance to act differently, since the throttle plate is not interfering, and the so-called "horsepower" gain is so miniscule as to be statistically irrelevant on a dyno. This is especially true on small displacement engines. On a big honkin' V-8, even with the air filter completely removed, the gain in HP is minimal and not noticeable (again, unless you include a) noise and b) maybe on some cars a bit more throttle response if the stock filter is kinked or restrictive.
  • kneisl1kneisl1 Posts: 1,694
    I grew up repairing and rebuilding aircooled VWs. There were a lot of "performance" mods on the market. Most of them resulted in dammage to the engine in one form or another. Yet today many (young) people heavily modify their cars with great gusto. This is a mistake in my experience. Most likely the mods will do nothing or dammage the car in some way. An ECHO is not exactly a high performance vehicle anyway (although the engine is a real gem) and attempts to make it into one are kind of silly. It really is beautifully designed to do one thing and do it well: cheap reliable transportation.
  • I have a different problem. When I hit 45 mph my check engine light comes on and then my car starts to accelerate. When I finally get it to stop and put it in park it accelerates again. My gas mileage is terrible and gas costs $6 per gallon.
    I live on dirt roads in bush Alaska and I have put about $1000 trying to get this fixed. After reading some of the comments I am going to try to clean the MAF but I do not know where it is. I assume it is near the air filter. Someone else suggested cleaning the two wires at, in or near the MAF. I really don't know too much, but it is clear the mechanic in this small town is just guessing at my expense.
    Does anyone have any other suggestions? I changed the plugs, PCV valve and something I think was called the air throttle control valve that cost $200. Thanks in;advance for your comments. My car is 2001 echo.
  • kneisl1kneisl1 Posts: 1,694
    The MAF is in the air cleaner. There are two diagonally located phillips screws that hold it in. Also there is an electrical connector to disconnect. Get it out of the aircleaner and look into the end that was in the aircleaner. You will see the FINE wires. If you break them.....poof new MAF! Use spray cleaner and a q tip. But if they aint dirty LEAVE IT ALONE and put it back.
    I dont think this is the problem. Usually this results from using a K&N oiled air filter. Have you had the codes read? If you can tell us what they are we can look them up for you. Did the mechanic tell you what they were? AutoZone will read them for free.
  • Thanks - I will check the MAF and then call the mechanic about the codes. I recall him saying I might need a new computer but he also told me that it had to be that air throttle valve that i bought.
    One thing about the acceleration, when I am in park and it accelerates I can push the gas pedal and usually get the revolutions to come down for a bit sort of like a stuck choke. But it usually reacclerates all on its own.

    I will let you know. Thanks again
  • kneisl1kneisl1 Posts: 1,694
    Sounds weird. Never heard of anything like it. Try to swap a known good computer rather than buying a new one. I trust you have disconnected the throttle cable from the throttle body and checked it for sticking/smooth function?
  • kneisl1kneisl1 Posts: 1,694
    My 2004 ECHO I just bought is making a grinding sound when you accelerate. If you listen closely you can also hear it when cruising just a little. It also vibrates loudly at times when in drive and stopped at a light. Vibrates in reverse when stopped with the footbrake. Whn you shift in to reverse it makes a double lurch. Yikes! Both left and right wheel bearings have been replaced. I have a bad feeling looking closely at the underside of the car what it has been "taken apart" at least at the axles area. I should have looked the car over more closely when I bought it but it was cold out.

    Anyone have any of these symptoms and did you fix them? Thanks!
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,726
    Well, it sure sounds like it has bad engine mounts - that would explain vibration at idle and in reverse, as well as the double lurch when going into reverse.

    The grinding could be a dragging brake? Does it stop when you hit the brake while cruising? Otherwise, I would suspect the wheel bearings just like it seems you did.

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

  • kneisl1kneisl1 Posts: 1,694
    Yes I called a transmission shop and their initial reaction was its the mounts. I inspected the two side mounts and they appear to be fine. There is another one under the car which I havnt seen yet. Perhaps the eninge/transmission assembly is jambed in crooked.
    Possibly its been removed and replaced. Looks like Ill have to take it to the shop and let them inspect it. That still leaves the grinding noise. I was thinking its the belts or the components they drive. Unfortunately I cant get the lower alternator bolt loose to remove the belt. Toyota wants $200 to do that!
  • kneisl1kneisl1 Posts: 1,694
    Dont think its the brakes because it makes the noise upon acceleration. They do need new pads and i got them already. Hey they are bendix pads and guess what? Bendix has a program (supposedly) where if you buy new pads and they wear out, one time they will give you a new FREE set of pads. (ps I have three ECHOs now)
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,726
    can eventually begin to make a grinding noise if it's allowed to go long enough. It will do that even on acceleration.

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

  • kneisl1kneisl1 Posts: 1,694
    When they had the front end apart to change the wheel bearings on my new 2004 ECHO, I saw the brake pads were pretty shot. Today I changed the drivers side brake pads. Guess what? You may know the piston side pad has a metal spring on it. This serves to rub against the rotor when the pad is nearly worn out simulating the screech of metal pad on rotor. Well....the pad thickess on the piston pad was THICKER than the non piston side was! Which means the one pad will wear out and make metal to metal contact with the rotor BEFORE the spring on the other pad has a chance to warn of wornout pads! There was about .125 inch of pad on the piston side and .070 inch on the non piston side.
  • goetchgoetch Posts: 2
    Help Please I have had this problem for 3 years now. After driving for a while the speedometer starts to go crazy (up and down or just goes to 0 while driving) After this happens the car sometimes (not all the time) looses power or just won't go anymore. This has been an on going problem, the thing is the car can run great for months then I get this problem for a few weeks then I can run great again so on and so forth. The dealerships has been a nightmare, I paid them and they replaced some sensor 3 years ago, bring it back they tell my wife she went through a puddle and got her sensors all wet the dried em off and charged me. I complain to toyota cause the next day we break down. Go back to the dealer ship they tell me the transmission fluid smells burnt, I smell it it does not. I take it to a local mechanic he can't seem to find anything wrong. The codes that come up say speed sensor and general transmission failure, yet the dealership told me its the the speed sensor or anything else they told me to flush the fluid and maybe it will be ok.... Can anyone help me ????
  • kneisl1kneisl1 Posts: 1,694
    What are the codes? I assume the check llight is on?
  • goetchgoetch Posts: 2
    The codes were for 2 sensors and a general transmission failure.... I think it was the speed sensor and one other sensor ... .. I 'll have to locate the slip from the last time I went to the shop.... But the dealership said that its not the sensor it has to be the transmission. Could it be a sensor and not the transmission? The dealership didn't want to change the sensor because I said I wasn't going to pay if it didn't fix the problem.....
  • kneisl1kneisl1 Posts: 1,694
    The fact that the trans works properly at times woud be a powerfull arguement that its a sensor issue. Could you get the sensors from a junkyard?
  • 205,000 mi, new radiator Feb 2008 after collision with coyote.

    About 4 months ago... red engine light on, radiator leaking coolant, took to mechanic. He found radiator half full, but fill reservoir full. Radiator pressure tested, no problems. Mechanic could not find leak again after running, returned car.

    Car ran fine for a few months; last 7 days, I've noticed small coolant leaks under car, I topped it off the radiator this morning, fill reservoir read full. Then today the car overheats again after 100 mi drive, spewing coolant from somewhere near bottom of radiator - definitely not the cap or the fill reservoir cap. But the fill reservoir level had actually gone up, so it's apparently not feeding the radiator. I've been carrying coolant in trunk, so I added about 1/2 gallon to radiator and drove home.

    What's causing this? My brother seems to think the thermostat (coolant temp sensor?) contacts may be sticking and causing continuous coolant flow - - which (for some reason?) then causes a coolant relief valve to open and release the coolant. But I really don't understand that and have no clue. I'm not sure I want to return it to the mechanic and am willing to try minor repairs on my own - pretty sure I can handle a thermostat or something similar.

    Thanks for any advice you can give.
  • kneisl1kneisl1 Posts: 1,694
    Were the hoses changed when the radiator was?
  • Thanks for the response. I don't know. There's nothing on the old invoice about hoses. The radiator replacement was done by a body repair shop. The mechanic I just took it to for this said he'd inspected and pressurized the whole thing and found no problems. And indeed it ran fine for quite some time. He also said the thermostat appeared to be functioning properly at that time - of course the car wasn't leaking at that time either.

    Today after the overheating, I peeked around and saw nothing leaking from the top, just some substantial oozing of coolant from the very bottom, underneath the radiator, and onto the plastic cover below it.

    Thanks again.
  • kneisl1kneisl1 Posts: 1,694
    With the engine cold start it up and wiggle/pull on all the hoses to see if you can make them leak. It helps to have one person pulling and another looking. Obviously you have to stop when the engine gets hot, but you can let it cool down and repeat this several times.
    You can get a can of "stop leak" in a car parts store and add it to the raditor (follow dorections on the package). That might fix things for a while if the leaks are small...
  • Thanks, I'll give that a try in the morning, maybe the mech missed something.
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,726
    because if this thing is REALLY leaking from the radiator or a hose, a competent pressure test would have found the leak in two minutes flat. Those pressure testers exert much more force on the system than its standard operating pressure is, enough so that many dealers won't even use them any more for fear of causing damage to the system.

    I suppose there's no question of a leaking head gasket or cracked head from the previous overheat? Because that would explain half-full radiators and oozing coolant. A mechanic could perform a gas test on the coolant to determine this.

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

  • zepjunkiezepjunkie Posts: 4
    Thanks much for the help. I was able to locate a leak at the bottom of the radiator so took it into the shop again - apparently the aftermarket radiator I was fitted with last year didn't fit so well and friction created a hole in it, just a month after the warranty expired of course. But she's back on the road again.

    No explanation for the fact that the leak stopped after the first leak incident.
  • kneisl1kneisl1 Posts: 1,694
  • mnmanmnman Posts: 36
    Het Kneisl1, did you ever get that bolt to loosen? I had problems w/mine too, I think it's what we call a sex-bolt in the facilities maintenance trade. the right side as you are looking at the front of the car has a hole in it, spray some penetrating oil in it and let it sit awhile. I took the grill and the shroud left of the radiator out to make it easier to get a longer wrench on the 14mm bolt. It finally gave up the fight and I got a new belt on, with 112000 miles on the original!!

    I have a copy of the factory manual on my laptop for the first generation Echo, I think it goes to '03? I could try and send a copy if you need it, I can't recall who was looking for it. Ebay is a good source of course.

    Has anybody changed their wiper control for one that has intermittant?
  • kneisl1kneisl1 Posts: 1,694
    No I never did the bolt. I traded the car in on a Yaris.
    Yes Ive done the switch replacement its easy. Search ECHO forum here (dont think its under manitenance) Call this junkyard number they probably have the switch you need. 800 765 7100. Mine was from a 2006 Corolla (variable intermittent) Also RAV4 switches work.
  • dakedake Posts: 131
    Yeah, it's in the Regular Echo Thread Here

    It's an easy swap and any wiper stalk from any Toyota of the same general vintage should work - I took one out of a Matrix b/c that's all I could find at the junk yard.
  • ChazzleeChazzlee Posts: 6
    Suddenly my right rear directional signal on my '03 Echo won't work. It's not the bulb 'cause I replaced it! And it's not the snap-in socket either because both the old and new bulbs and the socket work fine in the left side. I also moved the working left side bulb and socket over to the right side, and they won't work there either!?!

    Could it be a fuse? For only one rear turn signal not working? -I sorta doubt it but will try checking them anyway... Anyone have any clues or experience with this? Is it maybe something in the wiring?
  • ChazzleeChazzlee Posts: 6
    Never mind... :D
    Found the problem. -The main right side stoplight bulb was loose, and this prevented the signal light from working! Soon's I tightened up the stoplight socket, the directional started blinking again. They must be connected in series..!
  • kneisl1kneisl1 Posts: 1,694
    Hmm that was good of you to point out1
  • rozmanrozman Posts: 7
    I have a 2000 Echo with 215,000 miles on it. It has to crank for a while to start. When it does start, the acceleration is lacking. If I put the pedal to the floor it doesn't do anything. Just sits there. Any help will be appreciated. Thanks ,
  • kneisl1kneisl1 Posts: 1,694
    Check the wires in the mass air flow sensor. They might be gunked up/broken. The MAS is bolted to the sir cleaner with two philip screws. Just take it out and look in the part that was in the aircleaner. There are very fine wires you can CAREFULLY clean with a q tip soaked in carb cleaner.
  • rozmanrozman Posts: 7
    I tried to clean the sensor. It's still is the same. I have the hood open and hit the accelerator and it bogs down. This car still gets 33-35 MPG. This prob just started. I love the car. I am the orig. owner. Could it be a fuel prob? ie, filter or injector.
  • kneisl1kneisl1 Posts: 1,694
    Is the check engine light on?
  • rozmanrozman Posts: 7
    no, car never gave a prob until now. Just gave routine care.
  • zaken1zaken1 Posts: 556
    If the fuel fiter hasn't been changed in the last 60,000 miles; I'd definitely replace it. The symptoms you describe sound just like a clogged fuel filter. If it was a clogged injector; the idle quality would have been disturbed.

    The other possibility is that the spark plugs need replacement. For best performance in this motor; I would recommend one of the following three plugs:

    The least expensive would be a Bosch Super Plus # 7957. This is a new part number, which is still not in stock at many stores; but it is now in the warehouses, so most stores which sell Bosch can special order it, and receive it within a day or so.

    I would NOT recommend the old Bosch Super number for this application; but another Bosch plug that would be a good choice is the Bosch Platinum/IR Fusion # 4501.

    The third recommended alternative would be an Autolite Iridium # XP3924.

    The gaps on these particular plugs should not be adjusted. Fortunately, they are right for your engine as they come.
  • jennyj1jennyj1 Posts: 2
    have a 2003 echo with 112,000 miles on it. AC blows cool or coolish air for about 5 or 10 minutes, then blows hot air. i turn the AC off and 30 minutes later it may blow cool air again, but very briefly. i have not done the full diagnostic test yet with the dye to check for leaks. the guy at the dealership told me he thinks it is the fan motor that has to be replaced, but it was an unpaid diagnosis (long story) so they didn't evacuate the system and do the dye check, but the air blows fine, full blast it is just not cold air...wondering about others' experience with AC problems on the echo, and any suggestions on what to do? i would like to get it fixed but i want to make sure that it is something that can be fixed, i don't want to spend a chunk of cash and have the thing still blowing out this hot air in the middle of a new jersey july
  • rozmanrozman Posts: 7
    is the compressor clicking on and off when it is blowing hot air? Put it on defrost and cold and see if it does the same thing.
  • joecho1joecho1 Posts: 2
    Yesterday I turned on my car and both turn signals, the speedometer, fuel gauge, and air system would not turn on. I have checked the fuses and they seem to be fine. Has anyone had any similar issues? The horn and headlights work fine though.
  • rozmanrozman Posts: 7
    Thanks for all the help I received. It ended up being a vac. leak
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