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Toyota Highlander Hybrid



  • PF_FlyerPF_Flyer Pennsylvania Furnace, PAPosts: 7,748
    I like the list! Especially the one about "setting priorities" on the computer messages. While thre are moments when washer fluid can be ALMOST as important as gas (remembering being stuck behind a semi on a slushy road as the fluid ran out) it would be nice if the display was smart enough to stress the critical stuff and just give reminders on the less important items

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  • There already is a 12 volt converter. The irony is that you need the 12 volts to run the computer before the high voltage system is activated.
  • Thank your for this reply "need 12 volts to run the computer" You answer is far better than the Toyota HH electrical manual. Please read if you wish.

    Please recall that my goal is to get a car started during a cold Minnesota winter day or night (ex. at minus 20F or lower) with when the auxiliary 12V battery is weak or dead.

    If and only if 12V of relatively little DC power is need to run the HH computer(s) - to activate the high voltage system to get 12V from the large capacity 288 V HH batteries - then the 12V DC power from one of those small "jump starter battery kits" might have enough power, again to only run the onboard computer; one brand is the Michigan Industrial Jumpstarter; there are many other brands; these contain small 12V lead gel type batteries in the 5 AH to 8 AH range; I have replace the lead acid gel battery in mine.

    While these "jumpstarter batter kits" do not have enough power to turn a starter motor, these starter kits should have enough power to run the onboard computers.

    In other words, there may a solution to what I am trying to do. :) Or am I missing something?

    Yes, I bought two of the five Toyota Highlander Hybrid manuals, the first manual on the engine and the electrical wiring diagram manual. In the electrical wiring diagram manual, it is clearly stated that this is a 12 V converter beneath the DC/AC inverter. Then this manual states on how to jump start a HH, using the same method that you use for other cars (find someone else willing to jump start your car from their car). This is really "interesting engineering" or an oversight. There is no mention of the 12V need to activate the onboard computer(s) to activate the 288 V DC high voltage system to activate the 12V converter.

    Perhaps, the people who design the HH AND the people who write the HH electrical manual need to experience a car not starting at -20 F, especially with a HH that has plenty of hybrid battery power. :mad: Maybe a good north wind at 20 MPH at -20 F would convince them of making a few minor changes, perhaps just a few more sentences in the owner's manual AND the electrical manual.

    BTW, even the Minnesota Toyota dealer did not mention your ideal - when I specifically asked and discussed this scenario.

    Or you are quite smart :)

    Oh well . . .
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706

    It is a really good well thought out design aspect...!!

    How would you feel if leaving the headlights on, etc, etc, resulted in discharging of the 12 volt battery to the point that the DC-DC downconverter started recharging it to the point that the hybrid battery also became discharged?
  • Perhaps you are or may think like the YotaToy design engineers. Perhaps you are the YotaToy design engineer who decided where to put the oil filter in the HH ICE. This is the best hidden oil filter I have seen yet.

    Goal: Allow HH to start if there is sufficient battery power in the 12V battery OR the 288V hybrid battery. Car should be startable if there is the battery power.

    while considering your thought (well, we do not want to discharge the 288V hybrid battery if a foolish driver leaves some accessory on while the car is turned off).

    Let's put a little thought into this while trying to keep this as simple as possible, and at least cost and maximum reliability.

    Do you think there could be a manual override switch, allowing the converter to allow electricity to flow from 288V battery to the !12V side, thereby energizing the HH 12V system by the hybrid battery. BTW, this is what is done normally by the converter.

    The switch would be controlled by yet another ECU (there are plenty of them already in the HH now). After five minutes (or some determined time), this "manual override" would automatically disengage (it is a ECU). This ECU would get its power from the 288V side (yes, this would have to be a special ECU to handle 288V).

    Or maybe this is how the ignition would work normally - that is when you turn the key to "start" the hybrid, it gets electricity from the 288V; this 288V ECU is what actually starts the car.
    1. Turn key off; only the 12V auxilary battery works.
    2. Turn the key to accessory; only the 12V battery works.
    3. Turn the key to ignition, the 288V battery starts the car.
    There are many more design considerations to be consider. This is just an outline.

    But nooooooooooooooooo . . . instead you YotaToy engineers decide we consumers need to enjoy jump starting our YotaToy HH just like everyone else . . . and carry around battery jumper cables . . . just like everyone-else (this is documented in the electrical manual) . . .
    or we should freeze to death . . . just like people in regular cars . . . as we cannot start our HH because the itty, bitty 12V battery is too weak and cold . . . meanwhile the 288V mighty hybrid battery is safely warm beneath the passenger seat and will survive . . . unlike us.

  • Realizing I am not a HH certified Toyota technician, this appears to be a malfunctioning onboard computer(s). I do work in the computer business though. From I know of the HH, this appears to be a drive by wire car. In other words, if one or more onboard computers do not work in this car, a HH cannot be driven. Your experience seems to indicate this. This is just like new, commercial airplanes and even the NASA space shuttle. No computer - no go.

    For others' consideration, would a freeze frame from the OBD II indicate which computer failed? Yes, a computer would have to be connected to the OBD II. Would something like a ScanGauge II, which can capture this data, work?

    Note: I would buy this car and drive - after I identified which onboard computer(s) failed and replaced the malfunctioning computer.

  • katzjamrkatzjamr Posts: 146
    it is my feeling that the toyota engineers were more worried about protecting the main traction battery than providing it as a source for starting the vehicle if the 12 volt battery should fail. in doing research during vehicle development the two most important issues on customers minds were, dont make the vehicle look wierd like the first honda hybrid, and make the battery last the life of the vehicle. the colder the climate the less benefit there is in having this toyota system. would there be a garage available so your batteries are not subjected to this extreme cold?
  • cdptrapcdptrap Posts: 485
    We have an OBD II CAN enabled reader. It can extract pending and posted error codes but it cannot extract freeze frame data. You may be able to find one on-line that can get the freeze-frame data.

    The codes will identify various devices and systems that generate error codes. From there, diagnosis will be necessary to identify the true cause. The Feds has a set of pre-defined codes that everyone uses. Each manufacturer then also has a custom set. You can probably find that list somewhere on-line and see if they say anything about "computer" failures.

    As for drive-by-wire, I believe the mechanical "back-Up" will work up to a point. Steering and brakes are likely still operable though they may demand more physical strength to execute. There is no power so the only option is to coast to a stop safely and hopefully, traffic allows this to happen.
  • My wife and I generally keep a vehicle 5-6 years. We have grown accustomed to the usefulness of an SUV but would like better fuel mileage. Time to let the Jeep Liberty Ltd. go. We finally decided upon the Highlander Hybrid Limited with 3rd row seating and navigation. Once we finally got past the $42K sticker shock, we felt that this would be a car worth having for years to come.

    Upon further investigation before departing with the $$, I find that this expensive vehicle and techno advanced vehicle was still in the dark ages. Blue Tooth technology is not available in the 2007 Highlander. However, it is offered in many of Toyota's lesser vehicles. What in the world are they thinking????? If you visit Toyota's website, they offer an extensive education on their navigation system as found in the Prius but only offer a piece of junk nav system in the Highlander as a $2,000 option. HELLO

    I am still in shock and awe. I voiced my thoughts with the dealer, put my checkbook back in my pocket and left. Sorry Toyota but you lost my business.
  • Protecting the 288 V hybrid traction battery would understandably be a top design goal for a HH. Providing some means of using the 288 V hybrid battery to emergency start the HH could had easily been done. But it was not. :(

    Another example of how this could be done.
    (no additional ECUs, no fancy switches, no way to discharge the 288V battery by accident): Put in a cable (yes, one of those orange cables) from the 288V system to a 12 V transformer. Put this 12 V transformer next to the 12 V battery. Put 12 V output on this transformer, perhaps special Toyota connectors that require a special $$ Toyota cable - something). Put short jumper cables with these special Toyota $$ cables in the rear well (where the jack is).

    Charge extra for this. Call it an cold climate option pack. $$ Charge customers far more than this costs to install. Make additional $$. :(

    Require the customer to know how to jump this. Put directions in the owner's manual. If the customer does not read this manual, he will not know how to use this.

    Dangerous? No more dangerous than jump starting a HH from another car. But you have to disconnect the 12 V transformer after the HH is started. Hmmm, this is just like after jumpstarting in the regular way. And with this new method, Toyota could stop the electricity to the 288V to 12V transformer, as the 288V to 12V converter is now running. All onboard computers are running. Car running, shut off the electricity to the 288V transformer. The electricity can only be shut off once the onboard computers are running. This means the car is started. Dangerous to have 12V live when the car is off. This is what is always present with the 12V battery. What if the 288V to 12 V transform shorts. Use something called a fuse to blow, just like in the 12 V battery. :)

    What to do with the current situation. (besides rant on bulletin boards). :(
    Put on good, insulated rubber gloves

    Connect one of those small "jumper starter" kits (gel lead acid battery) to the 12 V positive battery pole and ground. The onboard computer may be able to receive enough necessary 12V DC power to start the HH. The 288 V to 12 V converter now works. Disconnect the "jumper starter kit".

    Note: The discharged 12V battery may draw too much power from this "jumper start kit" . Then the procedure could get really interesting. The positive pole of the 12 V battery may have to be removed and re-attached. As this can be quite dangerous for anyone who is not careful, I not writing this procedure here.

    Why might this work in a HH, but not regular car? The 288 V battery is available to turn the generator/starter. This does not exist in a regular car.

    Despite this unusual procedure, if you have certain religious beliefs (I do), do not curse the YotaToy engineers (after all, you bought this car with this design feature). Some religions (mine) consider this cursing a sin (or even the thought of this cursing).

    Garage . . yes I have a garage for my HH. There are times when I actually park this HH outside during winter for many hours, like when I go to work - to make $$ to pay for this HH. There are days when the HH is outside at -10F or -20 F below for many hours. As I live here in Minnesota, I actually drive the HH on weekends for winter recreational activities. Again, the HH is parked outside for hours or days.

    This is just like the HH oil filter location. Workaround . . remove the splash guard . . as this is the only way to get the HH oil filter . . this summer when it is warmer here in Minnesota . . remove the splash guard (again; it must be removed each oil change) cut a door (cut plastic, put hinges on it) on this splash guard. Bolt splash guard back on with the door. I can then now get the oil filter without unbolting the splash guard each time . . BTW, this feature is already built in in many other SUVs . . Look if you wish.
    Again, do not curse the YotaToy engineers (yep, a sin)

  • I am an owner of a new 2007 Highlander Limited Hybrid, otherwise a technological wonder. I had a frustrating experience with the check engine yellow warning light that appeared on my dash. The owners' manual only said to take it to a dealer. A snow storm intervened, so it took two days to get to the dealer. They had to connect the engine to the diagnostic computer to interpret the error code. I decided to wait to see what the problem was, so after over an hour, a young woman announced that my car was ready. "What was wrong?", I said. She does not know and says I will have to talk to the service manager. So what was the big problem that gave me so much grief for two days? The gas cap was not tightened! (In Oregon we are not allowed to pump our own gas, so a gas station attendant left the gas cap loose!) The service manager explained to me that this was a federal government requirement to prevent gasoline vapors escaping into the air, adding to air pollution. He further explained that it takes the engine 12 to 14 hours to sense that the problem is corrected and to reset the warning light!

    My feature that I would like to see: Have the engine's computer interpret these engine error codes and write a human understandable interpretation on one of the two displays of the Highlander. It does this for other simple problems. Why not the engine errors? And make the reset time faster.
  • I wish I'd had that on my Mercedes ML when it happened to me. Dealer told me the same thing. So it goes...
  • The new Highlander will be shown at the Chicago Auto show on Feb 13, 2007 See press release at:
  • kdhspyderkdhspyder Posts: 7,160
    I heard exactly the same comments from one who also has seen the new model. Dramatic
  • Sorry if this is redundant, but can a HighToy Hybrid run when out of gas? In other words, what happens if I run out of gas? Does the battery allow me 3 miles to get to a station, or am I FORD? Thanks. :sick:
  • kdhspyderkdhspyder Posts: 7,160
    If it's like the Prius, then the computer will probably shut you down before you run out of gas, just so that you don't actually run out of gas. I've had it done to me twice in my Prius. It looks and feels like you've run out of gas but you're just limited to low power to get safe or make a U-turn and go back and get gas. I've driven about a mile in this low power situation. Filled up with 11.2 o/o 11.9 Gal and continued on my way.
  • cdptrapcdptrap Posts: 485
    Twice, we unintentionally ran our HH fuel-level down to where the warning light came on and I pumped in 15.5+ gallons of gas. If I remember correctly, the capacity is 17.1 gallons. That meant we were within 1.5 gallon of hitting empty. So you can run it pretty low but risky though.

    Even if the car lets us drive on battery power only, it depends on how much energy it has and how far and how fast it needs to go. The battery can deplete itself well before the car can reach a gas station.

    It is safest to just pump some gas.
  • I recently had to replace the touch screen on the nav system, after less than a year. The dealer said this is a pretty common problem. Should I worry about this after the warranty runs out?
  • kdhspyderkdhspyder Posts: 7,160
    I've never been a proponent of Extended Service Agreements. I think I've been proven correct through the 90's and early part of this decade.

    Now I'm not so certain. The powertrains are still good as gold well in excess of 100000 mi in just about every vehicle now. It's all the rest of the new electronic stuff that might go wrong that's a ticking bomb for all the vehicle makers. It used to be power window motors ( rarely a problem now ) or HVAC ( almost never a problem ) or.....

    But now it's the electronic controls of all of these mechanical items that might need replacement/repair. Your laptop or desktop cost what? $300? $800? $1400? There are about 10-20 of these in every vehicle these days.

    I just had a vehicle with an electronically controlled transmission that was balky and throwing an error code. The solution: replace two controllers ~ $4800 + labor. These were not part of the transmission they were controllers for it and only covered under the 3/36 Basic Warranty.... and I work at a Toyota store and sold it to myself!!! I traded it in on another vehicle.

    Moral: Get the Extended Service Contract which will cover everything for 100,000 mi and rest easy.
  • I'd like to make two of the suggestions a reality. Has anyone wired a switch into their car for control over the daytime running lights? I'd love to kill those sometimes.

    Has anyone hooked up a trailer hitch? Any suggestion on best price? (I want mine for a bike rack as well, therefore the cheaper/lighter the better)

  • cdptrapcdptrap Posts: 485
    You can buy an OBD II Code reader for $149 on-line. This OBD II reader can be connected to all newer cars (post 1996??) to read the error code.

    Our SIenna had a check-engine light ON a while back too and error code matched that of gas cap problem. So I bought a $15 gas cap to replace the old gas cap and reset the light. The light never came on again. That saved us a day at the dealership and a minimum charge of $85.
  • Stupid question for a hybrid novice. What happens when it is 10 degrees outside and you start the car, and just are driving around town? Does the engine run for a bit to heat up the cabin?

    Related to this, what if its 98 degrees out and you are only driving around town. Does the electric power the AC well enough?
  • cdptrapcdptrap Posts: 485
    The ICE (gas) engine always comes on to heat up the catalytic converter and the engine oil upon start-up regardless of outside temperature. Normally, it runs for at least 30-seconds. At 10-F, it may run longer to reach normal operating temperature.

    If we use hot air for the cabin, the engine will run more often to heat the air for the cabin. Mileage will suffer a bit but it beats getting frost-bites. We have heated seats so we turn those on.

    When it is hot, the initial 30-sec burn is still the same. A/C gets the cabin cool relatively fast. We have driven in 110-F weather (southern CA desert) and the car was comfortably at 70-F.

    You should be comfortable in this car.
  • There is an easier method to get a HH running if the 12 V battery is dead - easier than what is listed in the HH manuals.

    Using a 12 V battery, like in one of those "auto jump starter" devices sold at auto stores and other stores, I unintentionally proved that a HH can quickly be started with just a small amount of 12 V DC electricity at - 10F (Minnesota, 2/5/2007).
    My "jump starter" device has a small 8 Amp hour lead acid gel battery.

    I can easily pick and hold this small battery in one hand. It weighs less than 10 pounds.
    1. Attach small battery to the battery under the hood.
    2. Put in key, this is now 12 V to the HH hybrid ECU (computer).
    3. Start and go (no waiting); no jump starting with another car and no jump starter cables.

    Plugging this "jump starter" into the cigarette adapter in the HH may work.

    1. This small battery supplies 12 V DC to the Hybrid ECU.
    2. Turn key; hybrid ECU turns on the converter (288 V DC to 650 V AC inverter AND the 288 V DC to 12 V DC converter)
    3. Start HH and go, using the 288 V HH battery.

    So I found a way to what I listed at
    #3394 of 3401 Jump starting a HH, just wonderful by sebemismnusa Jan 11, 2007 (3:12 pm)

    Keywords: jumpstart dead battery
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    Be aware that Ford was just awarded a patent concerning two techniques apparently developed for use on their Escape and mariner hybrid FWD (of necessity) SUVs.

    The first technique involves dramatically reducing the level of regenerative braking as the OAT declines toward freezing and below. The second technique involves disabling regenerative braking entirely the instant ABS activates.

    In freezing climates the potential for encountering a slippery roadbed increases and the first technique will help to alleviate the number of accidents from loss of control due to inadvertently braking (like engine braking for non-hybrids) of the front wheels in those climates.

    Obviously with ABS activation there is the potential for regenerative braking (or engine braking for non-hybrids) to interfere and not allow the wheels to rotate even with no braking.

    Soon coming, undoubtedly, to a hybrid Toyota near you.
  • nsxwesnsxwes Posts: 84
    Check this out. Looks like Toyota has been listening. It looks really good.

  • stevedebistevedebi LAPosts: 4,098
    "Obviously with ABS activation there is the potential for regenerative braking (or engine braking for non-hybrids) to interfere and not allow the wheels to rotate even with no braking."

    I can't speak to Ford, but the problem with the Prius (with a similar hybrid system) was that the CPU was not allowing the wheels to spin. I don't know if it was the central computer or the traction control that was to blame, but they were trying to keep the electric motors from over heating.
  • stevedebistevedebi LAPosts: 4,098
    If it doesn't offer an I4 with the hybrid, they are still on the wrong track. With the electric motors, it doesn't need the V6.

    At 500 extra lbs, unless they up the electric HP, that thing is going to get worse (real world) MPG than the current model.
  • nsxwesnsxwes Posts: 84
    I agree that a I4 would be a nice option. An I4 plug-in hybrid option even better. But, I personally enjoy the performance aspect of the HH and the increased power, larger size, better options and what appears to be pretty impressive styling looks good to me too :-). I suspect that sales will be quite good. Wes
  • Can you please tell me where you bought that jump starter and who manufactures it. I,ve looked in a few stores and I can,t seem to find it! Thank You Frank M.
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