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2005-2007 Toyota Avalon



  • njnynjny Posts: 34
    Since many of you may own multiple Toyota Vehicles as I do, 05 Avalon and 02 Sequoia, I thought I'd post this link about a Steering related recall.
  • tinatinatinatina Posts: 388
    Thanks for the information. I also have a Tacoma that is affected by the recall.

    As far as the Avalon goes, I won't purchase one at this time. I am concerned by the greater frequency of complaints regarding the transmission performance posted here. It appears that the problems are occuring after a couple of months of ownership, not a ten minute ride with a salesperson..
  • currycurry Posts: 22
    Curious if anyone has thoughts about the "Miles to Go" display. I am averaging about 28 mpg, so it seems logical that when I fill up the "Miles to Go" should be approximately 504 miles (18 gallon fuel tank X 28mpg). However, the display typically shows about 390 after I fill it up.


  • patpat Posts: 10,421
    It is important to note that the Avalon is not involved.
  • ronharvronharv Posts: 51
    So what happens, as in my case, when there are two drivers who drive differently? A schizophrenic transmission? Transaxle therapy session at the Toyota dealership?

    New point: The little silver panel that closes over the radio and CD player takes me from a half dozen to a dozen attempts to get the damned thing to actually close. I've tried umpteen techniques, too. Nothing's consistent. Anyone with this problem get it solved at the dealership?
  • ryandseryandse Posts: 51
    I need to apply very light, even pressure to the gas pedal to keep up with (or ahead of) the traffic.

    Given I do not own an Avalon at this point, and haven't had a chance to perform a comprehensive test-drive: I don't have first hand experience this "hesitation" (aka "adaptation") of the Avalon's transmission. That being said: after keeping up with this, rather heated, debate: I am beginning to get the impression that the big-picture is being lost/confused (hence the *heated* nature of the discussion).

    As havalongavalon has pointed out, it looks like the very heart of the issue lies with how often driver's rely on momentum (coasting) to keep the car moving at the flow of traffic. Skilled driver's usually have a sharply tuned intuition when it comes to deciding when to coast and pump the accelerator. For this reason it is easy to take for granted the huge amount of variables that come into play, when it comes time to decide what to do with the accelerator.

    It is for this reason that it is easy to forget that a car's transmission cannot see the road. And it has no idea at what rate the driver wishes the car to slow down after the accelerator is released or how fast the car should accelerate when the pedal is depressed. Between durations of applications on the pedal, there is a discontinuity that, it appears, the transmission uses to regulate itself.

    Now, there are two ways for us react to this. Firstly, we could make some noise in hopes that the folks at Toyota will change this behavior in the transmission. The second is that we could adjust our driving habits so that we only release the gas when it is about time to apply the breaks.

    What ever choice is actually "better", is debatable: but my suspicion is that if Toyota actually "fix" this, the mileage could take a hit. In fact, perhaps this "smart" transmission is the real reason why the Avalon has such incredible gas mileage. Furthermore, I would like to make the bold suspicion that if you just every-so-slightly apply the accelerator: the Avalon will maintain a constant speed (possibly using it's "intelligence" to automatically decide to coast)? If I am correct here, then that would make explicit coasting and pumping unnecessary.

    But once again, even If I am correct, this is still open for debate. One of the potential disadvantages of this is that one is forced to keep their foot on the gas (as opposed to explicitly coasting, and keeping the foot over the brake -- just in case it is suddenly required).

    So instead of arguing whether or not the Avalon 2005's transmission is (or some of its drivers) are broken, I think it would be me more useful to focus more on the characteristics of the transmission, how to use it properly, specific pros/cons of how it works, and how it should be improved. Because if we can't collectively think of how it could be improved, how could we be so sure that Toyota could or that it is even possible to do so without putting the gas mileage on par with one of the Infinitis.

    Ultimately, I would like to believe that the Avalon 2005's transmission functions this way by design. If that is the case, then I would be willing to leverage this and reap the benefits of its gas mileage.
  • tmeframetmeframe Posts: 80
    Now I'm curious. Why are my posts with the above numbers concerning my experience with an '05 Avalon gone?

  • Hey everyone!

    This goes out to those who own (or work with everyday like Mackabee) an 05 Avalon... Regarding this learning transmission issue, is there a way to "reset" the computer system? I'm simply interjecting due to the fact my current vehicle has such a system in it, but the dealer/manufacturer gave me a button sequence that resets the computers data on the driver, making the car act "normal" again.

  • ryandse,

    Very good analysis. It shows that a prospective owner's bird's-eye-view can be very sharp and useful.

    One clarification: "coasting" or perhaps better said, "cruising" in D with the foot off the gas is not the same as true, "inertial coasting" that is achieved by shifting to N while moving (this strategy I tested and reported on earlier, but abandoned for safety reasons). While in D, with the foot off the gas, a small amount of fuel has to be delivered to the engine to keep it from stalling, and this small amount contributes to maintaining a cruising speed, without having to press the gas pedal. This resembles what happens in typical automatic cars after a full stop -- when you take your foot off the brake, if you don't give gas, the car will still creep forward.

    So, I don't think that driving on level stretches with the foot off the gas pedal poses any learning challenges to the Avalon. It probably is one of the typical driving strategies that the processor is programmed to monitor.

    Here I am reminded of an earlier post by rewop, #5377, who had said:

    "When I coast at low speed, for example, I notice a red traffic light ahead and take my foot off the gas, the car then continues forward as if in gear and after a period of time it feels as if the transmission shifts to neutral, the rpms drop to below 1,000. Then the traffic light changes when my speed is about 5 - 10 mph and I slowly depress the accelerator. The engine rpms increase about 300 - 500 rpms but there is no acceleration. Then the transmission gets the message and we start to accelerate.

    This is the only situation I have noticed the transmission and engine being out of synch. Perhaps if I depressed the accelerator faster when the light changes it might help.

    rewop, did you try to accelerate a bit more and did this cure your car's hesitation problem?

    I have noticed this type of delay too, a few times. If I step on the gas tentatively the RPMs go up but the car keeps going the same, then after a short while the car accelerates, as if letting the clutch slip for a short while, with a manual transmission. The result is a more tempered acceleration. If I step on the gas more briskly the car surges forward right away, without any hesitation. I wonder if this "slipping clutch effect" is also intended; another Avalon transmission design feature?

  • bkinblkbkinblk Posts: 198
    It will act normal for about 2 days or until the transmission re-learns your driving habits. You can also disconnect the negative battery terminal for about 10 minutes to achieve the same result. Trust me, eventually, you will be back to square one.Check out the Engine Hesitation forum on this site. You will be able to keep updated with any information regarding this issue. The hesitation problem has been around since the 2002 ES-300. BTW, does it irk anyone else when it is suggested that you must learn to drive a new way in order for this car to operate properly? The best transmission is one that you don't have to think about!
  • Ed,

    Sounds like typically conservative Toyota encourages you to refill when your tank is 80% empty, not 100% empty?

  • The condition called "radial-crawl" sounds plausible, but if this is the cause in Avalons, why would all cars reported to drift thus far, drift to the right? Wouldn't radial crawl cause drifts with 50% chance of either direction?
  • sopecreeksopecreek Posts: 203
    "It will act normal for about 2 days or until the transmission re-learns your driving habits."

    If this is the case, then Toyota should just provide software update that disables the learning feature (or at least give a customer such an option.) Or someone should come up with a hack.
  • Steve,

    I read your posts late last night, with interest and concern, but had no time to follow up then. I must say that I expected them to be removed because you named specific dealers and employees, and this seemed to break house rules. Have you checked your email for a recent message from the forum moderator?

    I would encourage you to re-post the last half of your long post #5709 and also #5710, the information on the symptoms and defects, because it would be useful to share the essence of your saga with the forum.

    Best wishes,

  • bkinblkbkinblk Posts: 198
    I could not agree more, but it's not so simple. Toyota acknowledges that there is a problem, but EPA, CARB and other agencies must be addressed. It is a giant can of worms.
  • kinzuakinzua Posts: 44
    Now, there are two ways for us react to this. Firstly, we could make some noise in hopes that the folks at Toyota will change this behavior in the transmission. The second is that we could adjust our driving habits so that we only release the gas when it is about time to apply the breaks.

    Your point is well taken. However, as I read some of the posts regarding hesitation, it seems there is a degree of inconsistence that is hard to deal with. I have a good example of this as follows-- I own a GEM low speed vehicle. When we bought it the controller was set up with the max. speed adjusted to 22.5 mph and the regenerative function kicked in at about 18mph. It didn't take but a few miles of driving until I got the feel of the regenerative slowing of the vehicle and stopping distance. It was the same day in day out whether I or my wife drove the vehicle. Recently we had the speed adjusted to 25mph max (this is the max legal allowed). As a result the regenerative function now doesn't kick in until 13 mph. So we had to adapt to this change. But not difficult since it is the same day in say out whether I drive or my wife drives. I think the key requirement for the adaptive transmission function is that it optimize performance based on near term parameters and not what has happened minutes or even seconds ago. In the words of that gteat philosopher Idontknow, "If you don't know where you're going, any road'll get you there". :) ;)
  • Hi ronharv,

    No two drivers may be more different than my wife and I. So far, our Avalon has kept up fine with both of us without any need for autopsychotherapy.

    I find that the best way to close the panel over the radio is to press using one fingertip, directly under the middle of the release button. If this doesn't work for you, then it may need to be serviced. As I recall, other posters have had dash panel doors successfully repaired.

    Good luck,

  • bakeroidbakeroid Posts: 39

    I know you have had your Cassis Pearl LTD for about a week now. Are you experiencing hesitation? Any problems at all? Mine's not due in for another two weeks now.

  • ron6ron6 Posts: 27
    I've noticed the exact same thing....the "miles to go" indicator shows about 390-396 miles when I refill. I'm taking a 500 mile trip this weekend so I will check to see if it gradually resets itself to the correct reading during the trip.
  • rewoprewop Posts: 35
    Havalongavalon writes: rewop, did you try to accelerate a bit more and did this cure your car's hesitation problem?

    No, I continue to drive as I always have. The problem is infrequent and seems to be less than before. Perhaps the transmission is learning or I'm getting smarter. I was recently driving our 1996 Camry V-6 (bought new) and for the first time noticed a similar lag. I think the Avalon has sensitized me to the lag. It never bothered me in the Camry and is less of a problem in the Avalon than before. Also, my Avalon only has about 500 miles on it and I'm still trying to baby it.

    Next time I'm in that lag situation I'll accelerate a little faster and see if that makes any difference. Will report back on the results.

  • tmeframetmeframe Posts: 80
    Re-edited to be in compliance with forum rules.

    I just purchased an XLS in mid-April, and paid well-above invoice. While I feel somewhat better about my Avalon now, this is a post to let people know that life with a new Avalon is not always a bed-of-roses. This post is very long, and could be considered boring. You've been cautioned.

    In the first two-weeks of ownership, my Avalon XLS developed 6 sample defects, one of which was serious, and BTW, was present in the car from Day One. During this time, I was in contact with my salesman at Toyota of Fort Worth. There existed throughout this first two-weeks of ownership a scheduling conflict between us. I couldn't get the car into service "unless I'm here" the salesman told me, "so I can get you a loaner". The full two weeks passed, and we were finally able to get something scheduled for the 3rd week on a Friday.

    When I got to the dealership that Friday, I was subsequently told by a 30-year veteran of the dealership "Oh man, I can't get to you today, my trim guys are full-up". I was not a happy-camper - I'd just made the 28-mile trip to the dealership from my house for nothing. I learned later that at this point, that this guy had no business turning me away, but another snafu was made too. It turns out I was supposed to see another Service Advisor - the one that my salesman had made the arrangements with. Rather than try to get me taken care by another advisor (they're on commission), the 1st Service Advisor just sent me away. I was not aware of this until much later, and my salesman didn't realize when we discussed it that I'd been turned away, so my anger was somewhat in check.

    The third week of ownership of my brand-new Toyota Avalon XLS started rather eventfully. That Sunday, the 8th of May, on the way to work 4:30AM, I started noticing a rather nasty smell coming from the air-conditioner. Kinda smelled like steamed-rice. While I LOVE steamed-rice, I don't want that smell coming from the air-conditioner in my car. At this point, add #7 sample-defect, this one as it turned out was quite serious.

    The following week, the 4th week I've had possession of this Avalon, I finally got it in for service Thursday, May 12th. At this point, the dealership's Sales Manager, had no qualms at all about letting me borrow another "new" Avalon XLS, a gold one with 56 miles on it, even though I'd be in it for 2 days, heh-heh, or so we thought..

    Thursday afternoon, I received a call from my service advisor, and he told me that the "trim-guys", Westside Trim of Fort Worth, had had the vehicle virtually all day, trying to nail down the whistling noise. They'd previously handled the other trim issues in a fairly straightforward manner, with no lingering issues except this one. They brought my Avalon back to the dealership Thursday evening only to pick it up again Friday morning to tackle the whistling again. On Friday, they picked up the vehicle again and had it back to the dealership by around noon, with the whistling issue resolved.

    By chance during their work on the trim issues, they noticed what could be the cause of the smell - the drain hose for the air-conditioner evaporator had popped out of place (to another spot which happened to be INSIDE of the vehicle).

    To understand this, just imagine a rubber hose coming out of the evaporator parallel to the ground, and then bent 90 degrees downward, backward, and downward again. Well, unless it's secured at the end, OUTSIDE the car, it's going to have a tendency to try to get back to being a straight rubber hose. This is what happened, and consequently, the cars interior, apparently throughout its short life, was subject to being drenched with condensation water from the air-conditioner evaporator.

    Needless to say, when I heard this, I was absolutely livid. At this point, I didn't want to discuss this car anymore, I wanted to discuss its replacement. My Avalon is a brand new vehicle - I should not have to put up with this. I dutifully filed my complaint with Toyota, who of course, dumped it right back into the hapless dealer's lap (this is standard operating procedure).

    I was very upset - I'd owned 6 other Toyotas, 3 of which were Avalons, and 5 of which were purchased at Toyota of Fort Worth, including when it used to be Garry McKinney Toyota. The 6th was a Lexus RX300. I'd NEVER seen a Toyota with this many defects at once, 2 of which were very serious defects at that.

    Toyota of Fort Worth kept assuring me that they'd do whatever it took to take care of my and the problems I was experiencing with my Avalon, and I kept telling them to get ready to give me another Avalon, just like mine.

    Monday evening the 16th, I'd even called my salesman and cautioned him that the Toyota Avalon XLS that I'd been given as a loaner was "PERFECT", no defects at all, and that they had a tough road ahead to convince me that the repairs on my Avalon would be as good. When the Service Manager called me the same day to discuss issues with the car, I essentially told him the very same thing - that I'd fully expect to end up demanding a replacement vehicle.

    This afternoon, Tuesday, May 17th, Pat called me and said my Avalon was ready. With some trepidation, I headed to the dealership and got there in about an hour from work.

    My test drive with the car was with my salesman only, relying on the "no-BS" relationship that we had to uncover any shortcomings in the repaired vehicle. I was very surprised to realize that the repairs were for the most part, perfect, except as discussed in the list of defects below.

    Here's a list of the defects.

    1) Wind noise - a whistling noise when going down the street that can be changed by moving the air-conditioner to recirculate or not.

    This was an air-leak around a poorly-sealed windshield - an assembly defect.. I was concerned at first, but got over it.

    2) Center console door over the radio gets stuck in the down position

    Easily repaired and resolved

    3) On strong bumps, left driver's door window emits creaking sounds

    A loose door. Toyota engineers should take notice of this and institute changes on the production line

    4) On slow start-ups from a reverse, with the wheels turned sharp, like backing out from a parking spot, I'm hearing what appears to be CV joint clicking from the right front

    Brake pads shifting, going back and forth, and the brakepad-wear warning thingys singing

    5) The lower center console squeaks badly, and needs to be looked at.

    This is just a poor design - the lower console is held in place by only 4 sheetmetal brackets or similar, and this allows the console to flex quite a bit. When I turn a corner, my body shifts and I lean into it causing the creaking - again, bad design, and the only remaining open complaint.

    6) The Front Passenger's door makes noises over sharp bumps, almost sounding like rubber on rubber (similar to #3)

  • tmeframetmeframe Posts: 80
    7) Starting just Sunday of this week, the Air on Recirculate stinks, almost like steamed rice

    Wow, this was the biggie. My brand-new car basically flooded because a drainhose was not secured at its final destination, outside the car. Later the Service Manager, a real pro, told me that the water had soaked the underlying foam mat, and the "jute" underneath that protects cabling clear back to the passenger compartment. Toyota of Fort Worth ended up replacing the entire sheet of foam, and the entire sheet of insulating jute under the carpet. The carpet itself wasn't damaged, and just required drying.

    The smell is gone, most of the trim issues resolved, except for the center-console, and I'll patiently wait for Toyota to come up with a fix for that, but not for long. My final word up to this point to the service manager was "Ya did good".

    Steve Mitchell
  • patpat Posts: 10,421
    and thank you havalongavalon for the assist. ;)
  • barclay3barclay3 Posts: 90
    Bakeroid...This is only my 4th car but with my previous 3 (74 Valiant, 85 Cressida, 95 Avalon) I have experienced some kind of problem that the dealer needed to take care of. I had many defects with the 74 Valiant, a lot fewer with the 85 Cressida and if memory serves me well 7 defects with the 95 Avalon. I have found absolutely nothing wrong yet with my 05 Avalon. Cars have gotten so much better in recent years.

    I am really concentrating on finding the hesitation problem but I haven't found it yet. I am concentrating on it so much that it is taking away from my enjoyment of driving this car because I am waiting for it to happen! I never take my foot off the gas pedal to coast and then press the gas pedal to speed up again. To slow down I decrease the pressure on the gas pedal then either take my foot off it and hit the brakes to slow down more or I speed up again by pushing down on the gas. I don't have a heavy foot or pump the gas or brakes. I don't jump back and forth between the brakes and gas. I try to drive smoothly. I have no idea if this is why it is not hesitating because I do not know that much about how cars work! This is just my driving style.

    I had it out on the PA Turnpike and boy does it cruise nicely!

    I haven't found anything wrong yet and I am looking. The lids over the radio and the tape player close fine (I just use a firm push at the bottom). The CD player sounds great (Asleep at the Wheel Live). The radio is easy to use (a knob to turn for volume and one to tune in stations works for me). I thoroughly enjoy the sunroof. There is no wind noise. The seats are large, very comfortable and soft. The ventilation of the seats make them even more comfortable. The keyless entry and push button start are so convenient that I don't know how I could go back to using a key. I can even open the trunk by just pushing a button on the trunk. Cassis Pearl is a beautiful color and the ivory interior matches up very well. This is the fastest, smoothest and quietest car I have ever own. If I could afford an Audi A8 12 cylinder then that would be the best but the Avalon is the best for me because it is in my price range.

    My only negatives are: 1) limited visibility when backing up 2) wish there was an off button for the radio on the steering wheel.

    I still think this is a great car and I highly recommend it. I keep checking to see if any of the defects posted here are in my car but so far I have found none. I will keep looking and I hope others keep posting defects so I know what to look for.

    I'm getting the painted pinstripes on Friday. Will let you know.

    Int...did you get the gold package yet??
  • On my trip home last month I was clueless. I had the car for maybe 24 hours before I left DC. I did the whole trip in "D" and set the cruise control so that seemed to hold my speed going downhill. The only thing I know for certain about mountains is not to ride the brake. I got into a bit of a pinch on my way back to DC because traffic was heavier and erratic (people jumping in and out of lanes). So I did not have the cruise control on and was still in "D" and picked up a good deal of speed going downhill. I tried to brake intermittently but it felt like the car was going to spin out on me. At the time I had not used the standard shift side because I understood from the dealer that it was not necessary to use it. The car should run just fine in "D" all the time.

    On this trip I am much more familiar with the standard shift side and will use it if I get into that situation again. Yes, I am worried about the difficulties the car has changing between the two modes with my driving style. The good news it that I am leaving earlier and driving back on later so hopefully most people will be back to work and I will have the road to myself. I think I drove back on a Sunday last time. I ran into all the weekend people who leave DC on the weekends and come back Sunday night.

    I am curious and this is open to anyone.. Has anyone done arbitration with Toyota over car problems? How did it turn out?
  • easyrider300measyrider300m Posts: 1,116
    I presently own a 2000 300M. I like quite a few things about the avalon and that may well be my next car (2006 model) next spring. It is a similar size compared to my 300M and has even more toys. I like the idea of much better gas mileage and a more powerful engine with a 5 speed tranny. My M also has an adaptive tranny and I have had similar symptoms that some of you have mentioned but I have learned to just live with it. When slowing almost to a stop and then giving it gas again, you may occasionally get a hard shift. Chrysler did a programming update on the tranny, but it didint totally cure the small problem. But I have almost 85k on my car now and the tranny overall is holding up well. We have some members of the car club I belong to that have in excess of 200,000 miles on the original tranny and engine. Concerning the Avalon, may just be a programming issue that Toyota will eventually correct or it just might be a small drawback of a learning type adaptive tranny.

    If I do end up buying the Avalon, I have thought of a neat mod. I hope to be able to remove that cover over the radio and drill a 1 or 2 inch hole in it. You could then install one of those small quartz clocks they sell complete with a bezel and lens that fits flush in a small hole. I think it would dress up the interior a bit and would be a useful addition. How hard is it to remove that cover? Anyone have a service manual for the Avalon?

    I think it is one of the best values out there for a luxury car. I most likely would order the Avalon Limited with Nav and Stabiltrak. For color, I most likely would go with white, silver, or that light green color. I like black, but I don't clean my cars often enough to keep a black car looking good. I may consider getting the factory wheels chromed or possibly upgrade to aftermarket wheels. How are the Michelin MX4s in the snow?
  • scoti1scoti1 Posts: 676
    There is a poster on the Lexus ES330 forum (lepflorida, "Lexus ES 300/ES 330" #4919, 17 May 2005 5:51 pm) who reports he was going through an arbitration or lemon process and got Toyota to buy back his car or buy him out his lease before they actually went through arbitration. This has been discussed some on the Engine Hesitation forum (KarenS, "Engine Hesitation (All makes/models)" #, 6 Jan 2005 12:11 pm), too.
  • easyrider300measyrider300m Posts: 1,116
    on my 300M, I always use the maual shift when going down a steep hill or entering an off ramp on the highway. That way you can slow the car down without riding the brakes. I use the manual gate on my 300M with no ill affects on the adaptive tranny. I wouldn't think it should affect the tranny operation of the Av if it is designed properly.

    I will be monitoring this board to see how your Avs are holding up over time. Hopefully Toyota will address any issues you guys are having. Most manufacturers will bend over backwards when they come out with a new model to keep their reputation and to get the word out that the car is reliable and that the manufacturer stands behind it.

    Good luck to all you new Av owners.
  • tmeframetmeframe Posts: 80
    Hi Mackabee - Nah, you're not a wise guy. The whistle was present the NIGHT I drove it home. I didn't think much about it at the time, except that I'd need to get it fixed. The other defects showed up over the first 2 or 3 weeks of ownership. Believe me, if I'd known what the "whistle" was at the time, I'd have been back in a heartbeat. BTW, the original cause I have listed for this whistle is wrong. I received another call from the Service Manager today to check up on me and to fill me in as to the source of the problems. It turned out that the whistle was coming FROM the hole that the missing hose was supposed to go through to the outside world below the car, to be harmlessly pouring condensation water through it. Remember that the drain hose had popped up back into the interior of the car.

  • tmeframetmeframe Posts: 80
    Hi Folks - One last point. I want it clearly understood that I never intended to skewer the dealership Toyota of Fort Worth by mentioning their personnel by full name. Quite the contrary - I was PROUD of them for taking a monosyllabic-Neanderthal like myself, who in the throes of anger, frustration, and dread could chant nothing but "replace my car, replace my car, replace my car" ad nauseum into someone who realizes, as if seeing the light for the first time, "Wow!, you fixed it."

    However, I did intentionally intend to skewer Toyota, who as a standard procedure, dumped my case back into the dealer's lap to handle Toyota's manufacturing defects. I know it's supposed to work that way, but it doesn't mean it's right.

    I also know for a fact that several Toyota Engineers monitor this forum, and on occasion, get this feedback back to the powers-that-be at Toyota.

    Hey Guys, fix the center console, OK? No squeak is GOOD. Also, ad a retaining clip to the evaporator drain-hose so no one else will have to go through what I went through.

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