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Toyota Avalon Brakes, ABS, VSC, etc.

rcegglrceggl Posts: 31
I have the extended 100,000 mile bumper to bumper on this car. Presently, 38,000 miles. At regular service last week, I was informed that the next service should include a Power Flush on both the Automatic Transmission and the Brake line. Reason, "condensation has added moisture to especially the brake line". The brake line is a sealed system and it seems to me that if there is moisture in it, then there is something wrong with the system and should be covered by the warranty. Honestly, I do not believe there is any moisture in the system. Am finding Toyota to be suspect.
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Comments

  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,726
    Common practice: charge for those power flushes. They cost $150 instead of $30. But if you ask them which they include in their standard warranty-level maintenance, it is the $30 dealie, so you probably just have a service advisor there that is either trying to spike you for some extra $$ or honestly does not know what he/she is talking about.

    And you are right, if there were moisture in the brake system, that would indicate a problem that requires a repair, which would be under warranty if your 100K is a bumper to bumper.

    By the way, the power flush is just a way of getting more of the old fluid out of the system, on the transmission. It can't hurt, but is probably a waste of money.

    Try a different dealer?

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

  • fritz1224fritz1224 Posts: 398
    I have a 2k accord and it has a 3yr/45k requirement for brake fluid change. And moisture is the reason. As for being a sealed system. That may be true if just considering the lines, wheel cylinders and other parts that are filled with brake fluid and do not have an exposed surface to outside air. But the master cylinder is not air tight and moisture(in the form of humidity) can get absorbed into the fluid. This moisture when heated to the typical temperatures in a brake system will turn to steam with air being one of the components. Now we all know air in the brake system is a bad thing.(Air is compressable). This would result in less braking ability.
    Follow the owner's manual recommendations and keep your warranty valid. And that goes for the tranny as well.
    Well, that's my guess anyway. Sounds pretty good to me. And then there's also the sludge thing which would be especially bad for cars with ABS.
    If you have the extended warranty, one sure way to have Toyota deny a claim would be to not have the fluids changed according to the maintenance schedule in your owner's manual.
  • swschradswschrad Posts: 2,171
    I've had my exploder for two years, and the hydraulic fluid is getting darker. I decided to flush the lines in my 90 ranger after 5 years, and gawd, was the old fluid nasty, dirty and red! brake fluid is very hygroscopic, if there is any air exchange possibility to the resivoir that fluid will suck up the water. the rest of the story is an old one.

    the stuff needs to be changed when it is noticeably not see-through any more -- original fluid is variously mildly honey-colored to clear depending on the phase of the moon and the width of ties.
  • alcanalcan Posts: 2,550
    Water does not get into brake hydraulic systems through condensation:

    http://www.batauto.com/articles/brkfld.html
  • pluto5pluto5 Posts: 618
    Brake fluid doesn't wear out so you probably don't need to change it unless you think water got into it. Dealers have their own maintenance schedules which have all kinds of ripoffs like engine flush which are not recommended by manufacturer. Best to find an independent shop and let them follow factory maintenance schedule. That way you are protected under warranty. Independents often have better techs with more experience and prices are usually lower.
  • 8u6hfd8u6hfd Posts: 1,391
    When peforming a brake pad replacement, the master cylinder reservoir may be opened up when the tech squeezes the pistons in to get the caliper back onto the rotor. That would be where the moisture may come from.

    Flushing the brake fluid is a cheap insurance for brake system reliability.

    Automatic trans flush. A simple drain and refill of the ATF only replaces about 80% of the old fluid.
  • mamatrahanmamatrahan Posts: 2
    I have a related question about Avalon brakes. I currently own a 1999 Avalon. I bought the car because it came so highly recommended, by members of Town Hall, Consumer Reports, etc. However, I am having problems with the brakes squealing nearly all the time.

    I have taken it to the local Toyota dealer, where the tech has twice told me that the problem is because the asbestos was removed from brakes, they squeal alot more. If this is the case, why doesn't every car on the highway have squealing brakes? He further stated that every couple of months I should do a "panic stop" in order to clean the brakes and reduce the squealing.

    Any light anyone can shed on this would be most appreciated... it drives me crazy!!!
  • fritz1224fritz1224 Posts: 398
    Did you buy it new or with mileage. If not new, then it may have had a brake job where they did not use Toyota pads. The lifetime pads are much harder than OEM and will cause squealing. I just had the pads on my parents altima replaced for the squealing. They were like brand new, but the squealing was horrible. Had nissan pads put on and it's now as quiet as can be.
  • mamatrahanmamatrahan Posts: 2
    Bought the Avalon a year ago with around 34,000 miles on it. The tech says it still has 70% of the pad left. Will check and see if they are original Toyota pads. If not... may get that brake job after all... Thanks for the info.

    (Still driving me crazy...)
  • Does the pads on your Avalon have the proper shims installed on them? The shims cost as much as the pads ($30 to $40) so sometimes they are not replaced when a pad replacement is done. Switching to soft, so called 'organic' pads will stop the squeak, but they must be replaced more often. The cheap 'organic' pads, however, will not wear out the rotors as fast, saving some money on rotor cutting or replacement.
  • 8u6hfd8u6hfd Posts: 1,391
    Just wondering, are these the OE pads?

    If replaced, are they the Toyota OEM ones? Do I have to assume it was a dealership job?
  • I just bought a 1999 Toyota Avalon and it needs to have a brake job (front and back and rear rotors) and the struts done. What is a reasonable price for this work.

    Thanks,

    Mike
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,726
    figure $450 or so for the brakes including rear rotors. Suspension work varies a lot - they use a standard book to determine the amount of time it will take, and you can buy the struts yourself ahead of time at the best price you can find, and just give them to your mechanic.

    Prices vary a lot by region.

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

  • csv1csv1 Posts: 3
    My dealer replaced the rear pads on my 2001 Avalon at only 22K miles. He said they had only 1 mm left, whereas the front pads are only 1/3 worn.

    Why so soon, and why such unbalanced wear? Anyone else had a similar experience?

    I'm no leadfoot - on my previous car (1992 Camry) the pads lasted 50K miles or so.
  • csv1: My last car was a '99 camry and I had a similar experience. As part of reg. 30000 mile service they adjusted the emergency brake. They over did the adjustment and damaged (excess wear) the rear drums and pads. They did the repair free of charge but would not admit any mistake on their part. It is also possible in your case that the emergency brake is not releasing completely and causing a drag on your rear rotors and pads. Also check the self adjusting system which could be the source of the problem.

             tmp89169
  • finfin atlantaPosts: 594
    This brake pad wear problem is not unique to Toyota. My daughter drives a V6 Honda Accord. Same thing. The rears brakes went out BEFORE the front. Honda dealer suggested the emergency brake did not fully release. It happens, usually with no warranty.
  • eelpeelp Posts: 6
    where have my brake fluid gone. I have pour in about a pint of brake fluid in the last four, months. I checked all 4 wheel for leaks, the master, the everything, couldn't find any. My pads are still at 50%. Has anyone had this problem? thanks
  • alcanalcan Posts: 2,550
    As pads wear, caliper pistons move outward and more fluid from the reservoir is required to fill the caliper bores.
    Also, remove the master cylinder from the booster (leave lines attached) and check for presence of brake fluid. A leaking m/c rear seal can allow fluid to be drawn into the booster and eventually burned in the engine.
  • csv1csv1 Posts: 3
    Thanks for the two responses to my post on excessive rear brake pad wear.

    The owner's manual for my car says my parking brake is a 'drum-in-disk type', and further refers to 'brake shoes' which need 'bedding down' when either the shoe or the drum is replaced.

    From this description it appears that the parking brake is separate from the rear brake disks and pads. How then does improper adjustment of the parking brake affect rear pad (not shoe) wear?

    I ask this question because I can't see the parking brake when I peer under the car, and because I'm planning on taking the car to another dealer soon and request an inspection and adjustment of the rear brakes. I want to be prepared beforehand for any glib explanations I get from the service rep about what they've found and what they've done for me.
  • eelpeelp Posts: 6
    I'll check it out.
  • alcanalcan Posts: 2,550
    You're welcome. Let us know what you find.
  • eelpeelp Posts: 6
    Took my 03 XLS (bought it in Aug 02) to the dealers today and told them what you said. Serv Mgr called said tech couldn't find anything either. SMgr kinda asked where I was out the brake fluid. I had a chuckle, told him in the radiator..Ha Ha. Said they'll do more checking.
    Lo and behold that booster was soak and wet. I can't believe the master went bad. This started around 4 months ago. Thanks again
  • alcanalcan Posts: 2,550
    You're welcome. Glad to hear you got it resolved.
  • '00 'valon. When I'm on the freeway (usually the 405) and have to step on my brakes the steering wheel wobbles back and forth. So I'm thinking I should probably get the rotors machined and maybe put some new pads on. Then I was wondering if there might be something wrong with the calipers because the steering wheel shakes pretty badly so it might be more than warped rotors.

    My question is, can I rotate the back rotors to the front the same way I do the tires? Should I clean my calipers by soaking them in denatured alcohol? Should I change the pads too while I'm doing any of this? Thanks.

    -LIdoShuffle
  • My experience has been that if the rotors are no longer true (warped) they need to be replaced. If they are hot spotted they sometimes can be machined, but if the spotting is more than mild replacement is needed.

    Common causes for rotor problems are brake pads that are too hard and over or uneven lug nut torque. Driving conditions that cause heavy brake use can also cause heart related problems with brakes too.
  • Do you know what the torque settings should be for the lugs?
  • For my 1996 it is 76 lb ft. Look in the specifications section of the owner's manual.

    In general, most cars have about 80 lb as the spec. I've had one with 65 and one with 100. All of the rest have been around 80.

    When an air impact wrench is used to put the lug nuts on there is a greater chance they will be over torqued and or the wheel will not be mounted with even torque all the way around. I've observed many tire store people that use a torque wrench do not use it properly.

    I've watched as the torque wrench was used to make sure a lug nut was as least as tight as required rather than using the wrench to make sure the lug nut was not tighter than (and at the correct torque). Fortunately there appears to be enough slop in the spec that a little over torque doesn't hurt most of the time - except when one tries to change a flat tire using the little lug wrench that comes with the car.

    Some shops have torque limiters for the impact wrenches, but I have found the results to be uneven at best, with some over torque common.
  • nomad56nomad56 Posts: 134
    lidoshuffle-YES! It is probably warped rotors. The amount of "shake" is usually a factor of how badly warped they are. Not necessarily the calipers.

    NO! You cannot switch front and rear rotors, though this would be self evident once you pulled 'em. They are different sizes and the rears have the emergency brakes (drums) in them.

    I would NOT replace the pads without changing or "turning" the rotors.

    If you do the rotors (change or turn 'em), NEW pads are a must.

    ...once you've gotten this far a brake/caliper rebuild kit could also be done. This should take any "play" out of the calipers.

    FYI-my smoothest braking came after the rotors were "turned" ON the car. -nomad56-
  • I'll machine the rotors when I change the pads then.
  • abfischabfisch Posts: 591
    Lidoshuffle:

    I usually agree with Nomad56 as he is one of the most in the know about Avalon. However, from my experience, with Hondas and Toyotas now, I NO LONGER have any rotors "turned". What they do, is flaten or take a small slice from the top much as a Deli counter take a slice of meat or cheese from a big loaf. No bad in and of itself, but HEAT is the #1 problem with braking, ESPECIALLY in Front Wheel drive vehicles. Everything is done on the front wheels. Too add insult to injury, the freakin Avalon, being moderate in weight and having soft shocks, tends to "front dive" when you have to suddenly brake or brake harder than normal. What do you think this does over time???? Heat up those rotors till they almost glow and warp the metal in the process.

    Since rotors are a relatively cheap item, the labor is the deal. Unless you can do it yourself, which isn't too bad, but if you cannot, then the labor is the deal.

    Bottom LINE: Do not cut rotors. Replace them with Better than OEM rotors (Premium rotors and new pads). There are many online companies or places selling them. Have the Brake Fluid all sucked out and replaced with NEW fluid(should be done every 3 years, REGARDLESS of mileage.) Cutting the rotors thins them, and you will get warpage again, much sooner, having to do the process all over again, but now you will have to replace them anyway.

    Good luck. Feed the forum.

    abfisch
  • danbethdanbeth Posts: 17
    Hi nomad56, I have another question for you. A couple months ago you helped me with heater/ac problem which worked out very well with your advice. My question today deals with replacing the front brake rotors which are warping. When you remove the brake caliper do you have to disconnect the brake hose banjo bolt fitting? I know the caliper bracket has to come off but I would prefer not to open the brake fluid system(ABS).From what I understand the sealing washers have to be replaced if this is done. Also since this is my first attempt on rotor removal on a Toyota how difficult is the process of rotor/caliper/pad replacement. Give me as much detail as possible. Is an impact wrench necessary? thanks danbeth
  • nomad56nomad56 Posts: 134
    NO! You definitely do NOT have to uncouple the caliper from the brake line. No, you do NOT need an impact wrench, but a torque wrench is necessary. Especially, for re-installing the wheels! Do the wheel bearing also! This is a relatively simple project. Funny that you ask, I am doing mine next week! -nomad56-
  • abfischabfisch Posts: 591
    Danbeth:

    Here are some helpful hints.

    1. The brake rotors come off, or should come off rather easily. Make sure the car is secure on a lift or other device, not a jack but jack stands.

    2. Get a Haynes service manual or the Toyota serice manual.

    3. No, you do not have to disconnect any brake lines to service the rotors.

    4. There should be two bolts that mount the califper to the axle and another two bolts that hold the caliper together. Get a couple of wire hangers to hang the caliper to the coil spring or strut. Never hang the caliper by its rubber line.

    5. It may take a couple of swift bangs with a rubber hammer to loosen it if it is an older model.

    6. IMO!!!! Never cut the rotors. Replace them with premium rotors. If you can take it, get SLOTTED rotors and use premium pads, ceramic or semi metallic, if you can take the brake dust. You will notice your Avalon now stops much better.

    7. Use brake caliper grease on the outer squeal shims and other places to revent vibration and noise.

    8. What else. I cannot think of right now. Take your time. Do not do it if you just ran the car or the brake rotors may be hot.

    9. Again, you do not have to take off the brake line and this will not interfer with the ABS. However, you brake fluid should be changed every 3 years, REGRADLESS of mileage. It soaks up mositure and leads to a spoggy feeling pedal. It also deteriotes over time secondary to the heat produced by the braking system.

    I hope this helps.

    "Feed the forum"

    abfisch
  • danbethdanbeth Posts: 17
    Abfisch/nomad56, Thanks for the detailed helpful hints. I find it always helps to confer with the people who have experience in completing this type of project. I will give it a whirl and let you know how it turned out. thanks danbeth
  • danbethdanbeth Posts: 17
    Abfisch, I just completed the rotor and pad replacement on the Avalon. It took about 3.5 hours. I ordered the Brembo blank rotors and the Toyota OEM pads. The pads were the premium version but did not come with new shims. I had to clean the shims and reuse them, but it turned out pretty much how you described it. Thanks again for your help. danbeth
  • abfischabfisch Posts: 591
    Danbeth/Ecoguy

    It always makes me feel good, giving real advice and someone taking it and it working out well. This substantiates all of these wonderful forums. Congradulation. I am sure it was stressful the first time, but the second time and third times you will cut down your time and you have the satifaction of doing it correctly!! And you know what you did. In the future, you may try the following: If you desire more stopping power, slotted discs with semi metallic pads. The trade off is a vibration when hitting the pedal and brake dust if you are on the brake alot. Remember to suck out the fluid every three years, and you will never have a spongy pedal other than leaks elsewhere in the system. Brake fluid degrades via heat and time through absorbing moisture. It is a little messy but Griot's garage, sells a manual pump to suck the brake fluid out. Look that up on the internet. Also use brake caliper grease so prevent squealing. Thanks for the response made. It was worth my time to tell you how to do it.

    In regards to a vibration at engine speed, not at car speed, I am stumped. Never heard this complaint. But....... this is NOT NORMAL, and they do not care. It is not their problem. So...get the Toyota service manual, to see if they have an alogorithm to engine vibration, not speed vibration or brake pedal. Take it to an independent mechanic. Make a compliant on the internet to Toyota corp. and document three attempts at the dealership (Lemon law) or check your states requirements.

    NOMAD 56 Any ideas???? I honestly have not heard of this but someone needs some direction.

    "Feed the forum"

    abfisch
  • abfischabfisch Posts: 591
    Nomad56:

    Need to change my brake fluid. Three years almost up and starting to get spongy pedal. How many liters do I need. Can I get away with 1 liter or do I need two???

    Thanks

    abfisch
  • nomad56nomad56 Posts: 134
    abfisch-I have NO idea what the actual capacity of the brake system is (Good question). I usually do mine at my buddy's shop and fill from a BIG DRUM, so it is less than 55 Gallons!! I am sure you'll want at least two liters on hand, though! Even if capacity was published, there is no way you could ever add THAT much and GO! You HAVE TO bleed the lines... and, you will lose fluid, when you bleed the system. I even looked in my service manuals, and the "capacity" is left blank. And, any instruction that refers to filling the brake fluid, mentions "bleeding." -nomad56-
  • abfischabfisch Posts: 591
    Nomad56:

    Manual, I believe, states DOT3. DOT 5, synthetic, obviously should NOT be used as the properties are much different. Going to try though DOT 4, ATE Blue Something; remember the name. Brake pedal starting to get spongy after 2.5 years and 43K. I let the forum know how it goes once I bleed the lines and refill the reserve.

    Thanks.

    "Feed the forum"

    abfisch
  • abfischabfisch Posts: 591
    Nomad56/Forum:

    I had the fluid changed (after 3 years)for the entire brake system (resevoir and lines). We were able to do it with 1000ml (l liter) bottle.

    Energy suspension has a new PU bushing for the lower front suspension arm. The arm attaches to the ball joint and the frame. What benefit do you think this would have on the steering, response, and what how do you think this would negaively impact the ride/vibration. There are only 1 or 2 rubber bushing on that lower front suspension arm, and I am wondering if it would correct somewhat for the Avalon's rather "light and fuzzy" steering feel. I am sure it will not correct the feel as far as being over assisted but it might make the steering more precise albeit letting a little more vibration into the cabin. The part number is the same in the 2000-03 models as it is for 1999-1997(6). I want to have the front suspension mounts (which one is squeeky) replaced with the new ones redesigned, and since I will have to realign the front again, I thought I would get some input from you regarding this small modification.

    Any thoughts??? Any experiences?????

    thanks.

    "Feed the forum"

    abfisch
  • abfischabfisch Posts: 591
    Nomad/Forum:

    Ever use the Russell Performance Speed Bleeders to bleed the brakes for you Avy???? I had a friend who used them on his Sienna van and liked them for 1 man ease of changing the fluid.

    Any comments??

    "Feed the forum"

    abfisch
  • abfischabfisch Posts: 591
    Nomad56/Forum:

    Does anyone know if the order in which you bleed each brake is different for ABS brakes.

    I read on the internet that for a Honda, you do RR,LF,LR, and then Right Front.

    Usually the order is Right Rear, Left Rear, Right Front, then Left Front.

    The service manual is not keen and only says perform the rear brakes before the front ones.

    Thanks.

    abfisch
  • alcanalcan Posts: 2,550
    Brake bleeding sequence is determined by whether it's front or rear wheel drive. ABS makes no difference in bleeding sequence.
    Rear wheel drive is RR, LR, RF, LF.
    Front wheel drive is RR, LF, LR, RF.
  • mcclearyflmcclearyfl Posts: 149
    Post 2687 under "Toyota Avalon" is in conflict with the advice under Post 417. Since 2687 quotes the Toyota manual, I suggest we follow 2687. It requires what Post 417 calls the 'rear drive sequence'.
  • fndlyfmrflyrfndlyfmrflyr Posts: 668
    Checked the Toyota repair manual for my Avalon and it does not give any order for brake line bleeding. All it says is repeat the procedure for the line to each wheel (page BR-6). Mine is a 96. Suggest one check for proper bleeding sequence for the specific model year
  • csaxoncsaxon Posts: 8
    The service manual is very specific, rr,lr,rf,lf. There's even a "NOTICE": page BR-4 of service manual.. Bleed air of rear brake first. If front is bled first, the rear brake air cannot be completely bled. This is for current generation Avalons from 2000 on.
  • abfischabfisch Posts: 591
    Forum:

    I emailed Toyota to get clarification on the debate above. The service manual does say rear first then front, but does not give the exact sequence.

    The response I got was (probably from a mechanical genius) that there is no scheduled service for brake fluid for our vehicle, therefore it is not needed. Additionally, changing brake fluid should be done, secondary to the danger, only by a qualified technician knowledgeable in this procedure.

    Don't ya just love the corporation and the arrogant propietary response to a customer's simple question. Even their own service maunal is incomplete. If you compare the service manual of a Honda car, there is a nice concise legible table of all serviceable items for that vehicle (my wife has a 03 Civic EX).

    "Feed the forum"

    abfisch
  • mcclearyflmcclearyfl Posts: 149
    It is increasingly common to find the "customer service" department not meeting our requirements, regardless of the industry. Humorous writer, Dave Barry of the Miami Herald, loves to dwell on this misnomer.

    Having said this, Abfisch, I am wondering what portion of some very specific posts on this subject you don't understand. Aren't you making rather a meal out of this? -- a humorous reference to your slogan "feed the forum'.
  • fndlyfmrflyrfndlyfmrflyr Posts: 668
    Agree with post 422. For me, it has become rare that a company customer service offers anything but frustration, though on rare occasions I still find some that help.

    Abfisch, don't call Honda and expect anything better than what you received from Toyota. Talking with Acura customer service has been like talking talking to a stone wall, with e-mails not far behind.

    My experience with Jaguar customer service was outstanding.

    I've found that some car dealers more than make up for poor manufacturer customer service.

    I looked in the service manual for my MDX and like abfisch said, Honda's service manual is better than my Toyota manual. Interesting that Honda wants brake bleeding (fronts first) opposite of Toyota (rears first).
  • abfischabfisch Posts: 591
    mccleary/Forum

    Funny. But not interested in dancing with you mccleary. Find someone else. Thanks for the offer. Just the truth which can sometimes be elusive. The parts department also stated "todays vehicles are complex and brakes should only be done by the service dept." Other references refer to rountine maintenence of brakes being included in a routine main. schedule, not eluded to well in the "shop manual".

    Multiple mauals on Brakes support changing the fluid (DOT 3) every 2 years or three years, taking care to ensure things are perfect before setting out.

    Thanks for concurring with my observation about the comparison of Honda vs Toyota Service (Shop) manuals. I am glad I am not the only one who purchases them and there are other owners who prefer to do at least some of the work themselves.

    I am gong to have the strut brackets., front, replaced on my 02, secondary to some tiny squeak from the R front, that is driving me nuts with the windows open. Going to replace the lower suspension arm bushing with PU, as Energy suspension makes them now for the 00-03 Avalon. Will report back with the pros and cons, as usual.

    "Feed the forum"

    abfisch
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