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Toyota Echo Maintenance and Repair



  • kneisl1kneisl1 Posts: 1,694
    I would not know where to get one!
  • I saw another member complain of always having to run the ac, and fan to clear fogging. My coolant and mats are dry, I was wondering if anyone has had this symptom and found a solution to it. it's an 03

  • dakedake Posts: 131
    If you live in a humid climate, the car is bound to hold some moisture. The only real solution is to let it sit out in the warm sun for awhile I think. Likewise, if it's gray and rainy for long stretches at a time it will get some moisture inside.

    I used to have and 87 Celica and after about 12 years or so the windows started leaking in heavy rain. All I could do was hope for some sunny days and let the car sit with the windows open to dry out and even then when it got humid it never really did.

    I think part of the issue is modern cars seal up pretty tight, so if there's a weather or temperature change outside, they still have the old conditions inside. If it's warm and humid and a front comes through and cools down the temp outside, your car will stay warm and humid until you equalize.

    I've actually started parking my Echo in the garage with the windows cracked. This allows the car to stabilize a bit since our garage will change temp with the outside.
  • typentypen Posts: 7
    non-sealing cap has caused the check light to come on a few times, i just used a scotch brite pad with some WD40 to clean the filler cap neck, takes a while for the check engine light to go off, also i would suggest cleaning the o-ring on the cap. cheap fix but it works.
  • I have my left brake light bulb burned out, and I also figure that at 99K it's prolly about time to change my 2003 Echo's platinum spark plugs too...

    So are there any 2003 Echo maintanence manuals out there I can buy that will assist me in doing this work, and perhaps other types of minor maintanence work also?

    drummer :)
  • kneisl1kneisl1 Posts: 1,694
    My 2004 didnt come with platty plugs thats fer sure. The service manual is like $125 and that for the 01 later ones are more $$$. Just ask here if you have any questions.
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,726
    Really? Are you sure? I know that my 2002 did. I get 60K between plug changes. Why would they go AWAY from platinum plugs after 2002? I'm genuinely puzzled. It increases the maintenance interval - surely they would go FROM regulars TO platinums, not the other way around? :confuse:

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

  • kneisl1kneisl1 Posts: 1,694
    Perhaps someone took them out of my car at some point and replaced them with regular plugs. Not likely though as the car only has 54k miles on it. The first ECHOs came with regular plugs Im pretty sure. Perhaps I should say I just bought the 2004 used. See what your owners manual gives for a service interval. If its 30k miles then they used regular plugs.
    Platinum plugs have a very serious drawback. If you leave them in for 100,000 miles (thats how long the wifes Camry service manaul says they are good for) when you go to take them out they can be corroded in there! You cant get them out without stripping the threads! Not so good after all are they? I take them out of the Camry every two years and clean the carbon off the threads and re instal them. So whats the advantage? Regular plugs you can get for 99 cents each. What are those platinum plugs $8 each? Thats $32 for 100k miles while regular plugs would cost about $12 over the same lenth of time. And if you want to get lazy and just leave them in there you might have a problem. BIG problem!
  • Can anyone tell me how to replace front bushings on a 2001 Echo? So far, I know how to get it off the suspension--on the frame--but need help from there!
  • kneisl1kneisl1 Posts: 1,694
    What bushings are you dealing with? Sway bar? Shocks?
  • 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: 64,490
    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)
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