This is my way of sharing our new experiences with the rest of you. Some of the items mentioned may be old to you or something that has you stumped. I have added some of the more recent items and would like to have others share what they are seeing.

We know that the tech line and TIS are limited by what they can say regarding problems. I would like this page to be an alternative source of tech info, supported by Toyota techs around the country.

I only ask that if you submit an article that you know it solved the condition and if you could, provide as much info as possible  (I love pictures).

You can also post problems you don't have answers for, and they will be posted in the hopes as this grows other techs may know the answer.

Sienna Gas Tank SSC. The repair is not too bad. The only thing you may be struggling with is the removal of the fuel from the tank. During our first one we looked at it and the tech was going to take the fuel neck hose off. Now that can get messy pretty quick so I came up with a faster and cleaner way. Since Toyota does not want the tanks back just make a hole in the lower rear of the tank and catch the fuel in a funnel then into the Gas Buggy. It will save you time and make the SSC easier to meet the time. 9/03

Tundra emergency brake shoes. Under no condition take them off or you will wonder who thought up this cluster. We had a leaking right rear axle seal so the repair is to take the axle out like the old days and the seal is in the housing. Sounds easy - Wrong. You need to, or think you need to take the emergency brake shoes off to get at the bolts that mount the axle to the rear end housing. Your first experience is that it takes two of you to get them off and that's the easy part. Putting them back on will ruin the rest of the day. Since we also were going to replace the left side also we found it easier to unbolt the ebrake cable and take them off without removing them from the backing plate. It made the job go easier and you can make some time. 9/03

Late Model Avalon, Camry and Corolla squeaks from the rear. We are just starting to see customers coming back after delivery with squeaks or noises from the rear of the vehicle that plague the domestic makers. In three cases we found that the rear struts are the cause. For some reason when assembled the upper bearing mount is touching the body and making the contact and the resulting noise. Toyota actually came out with a TSB for the front Corolla struts but the same applies to the rear. Taking then side off that is making the noise and applying some insulating material (your choice) takes care of the problem. 7/03

04 Sienna Right Sliding Door. You would have to know something was up when a service bulletin comes out the day one of these doors self destructs in front of the new owner at delivery. My guess is that the TSB was a result of factory not routing the cables as described. In any case the parts are on intergaltic back order but this is not the point of the article. If you are lucky the door will open so you can get the door panel off. You see the panel comes off quite easily as long as it is open. You take off the two screws at the handle which removed the power door switch plate then the rest just pulls off (not so fast nothing is that easy). Toyota must have felt that just in case the door won't open they needed to put one remaining attaching screw on the lower right corner of the door panel that is accessible only when the door is open (just a gift from them to us). From that point on the motor is easier to service than in the past but more on that when the part shows up. 7/03

04 Sienna Front Door Panel Removal. Normally I focus on the big items but we had a chance to replace a broken left outside mirror and the door panel removal was "interesting". I also found out for you flat rate guys that you don't need to take the panel off to unplug the mirror, pulling back on the door panel will allow you to unplug and plug-in the connection. When Toyota designed the door panel it looks like they felt they missed some attachment points so they stuck them in odd places. The shop manual shows only three points (other than the normal retaining clips). In reality you have more to find. The pin type on the outer edge is easy along with the door handle and the two screws in the left arm rest. Then you need to pull up on the left arm rest where the pocket goes into the door panel. Once you pull up on this you will see a retaining spring clip on the left side of the arm rest cover and pushing in on the exposed tab will release the retainer and you can pull it up and out of the way. Then there are two more screws to remove under the arm rest cover then one large screw in the center of the door panel. Just when you think you are free, they attached the door handle with cables that need to come off. Remember that the green one belongs on the bottom. Once the cables are off the handle the panel is free to remove. Word of caution here: do not pull on the bottom corners of the door panels. For some reason Toyota decided to make it a two piece panel and you can break the lower panel attachment points making your manager crazy. Putting it back on is easy except that getting the cables attached requires someone to help you since I could not see over the panel to attach the cables to the handle (maybe it was me). Good luck 7/03

Sequoia A/C compressor failure. Just a note regarding the TSB for repairing the a/c problem with the Sequoia. As detailed as the service bulletin is it seems that Toyota has failed to learn from the past. In the bulletin it states that even though the compressor had failed we are to remove the rear expansion valve, inspect for debris. Then blow air into the lines from the front and see if any debris comes out. If we see debris there is a series of additional repairs made, which is good. The problem is that when there is no debris we are instructed to leave the rear expansion valve in place. Guess what, remember P01, the expansion valve still can stick and the rear unit will not cool. Since there is no way to really determine if the rear unit is working or not, except by using the feel test, I have to suggest that the rear expansion valve be replaced every time. We had one that no debris was found, the expansion valve was not replaced. We started the unit and the pressures were fine, the front cooled great but the rear was warm. There are no gauge ports for the rear so the only conclusion is that the expansion valve is stuck. Indeed it was so more time was needed. This is the 3 to 4th one we have done but the only one the rear valve was not replaced. It will be the last. 7/03

V-8 engine sludge. We just had our first sludged V-8 engine. The motor was actually seizing on the customer or they would still be driving it. The usual cause is lack of any or many oil changes, since the customer could not remember when they were done, but he's sure he did some during the last year. In any case we are now the bad guys since we won't warranty the repair so he is just going to turn in his lease vehicle and get another. He may have some surprises when that happens. Since we have not seen many have any of you out there had more experience and what was needed to clean it up. 6/03

2003 Highlander and Sienna Power Steering Pumps. These are starting to fail on low mileage vehicles. Some change must have been made since the front pump seal is leaking. If you see one of these you may need to order a new pump pulley since the pump gets so hot it may damage the original one. 6/03

01-03 Avalon, Camry, 4Runner air mass meters failing. More and more is these are failing. Most are out of warranty the only good news is that they don't cost a lot. Toyota really did not warn us about what causes this to happen. If you took the Scion test you were told that too much oil in the engine would foul the sensor in the mass air meter. When we see this problem a look into the throttle body usually shows oil. We then clean the throttle body along with intake using BG upper engine cleaner then replace the PCV valve as insurance. 6/03

Prius - What we are learning. As these are sold in larger quantities we are seeing more show up for repairs. Right now there are only a couple of things I want to share and depending on where in the country you live it may help.

Prius starting batteries. In the last week (March 03) we had 3 calls from Prius owners who had not driven the vehicle for 10 days or longer. These may have gone to warmer climates for a vacation or due to the snow storms just did not use the vehicle. In any case they would not start. In doing some research we found that the 12 volt starting battery in the trunk has a CCA of about 275 which makes is the lowest capacity of any battery I know of in a Toyota product. The vehicle had the normal computer and electronic draw that others have when left idle but now add a battery of even lower capacity and you can do the math. A call to the tech line confirmed our assumption in that they feel left unattended for 10 to 14 days will drain the battery. I think that they were caught by surprise and at this time have no definite plans to increase the capacity of this battery. Since the battery can only be charged when the vehicle is driven or put on one of our "deep chargers" the customer is normally not really thrilled with this knowledge. Make sure that you speak to the sales people who may sell one of these so that the customer can be educated regarding the possibility of a no start if they return from a trip of that duration. 3/03

Prius check engine lights for starter drag. As it got colder we learned that unless you use 5w-30 oil in the engine the drag from a thicker oil, even 10w-30 will create enough drag in colder weather. Not a big deal but we finally bit the bullet and swapped over to 5w-30 for our bulk oil. 3/03

Prius check engine light code P3191. This code will be seen as the miles are put on the vehicle. To make it quick it's caused by the PCV system letting too much blow by into the carb. If you get one of these in the shop take off the air cleaner top and open the throttle plate while looking down the chamber with a light. You will probably see some small pools of fuel or oil. Toyota knows about the problem but at this time nothing can be done. It's a software issue where the engine sensors "see" the extra oil/fuel and translates that to a condition it is not designed to see (my guess is over rich) and will not let the engine start. They know that it's not a fatal fault but the software is not set up to accept those levels. The vehicle we had in last, with this problem had 73K so we changed the PCV valve. Word of warning that valve is almost impossible to get at and change. No solution here but it may help you get on to the next repair and make some money. 3/03

Tundra exhaust manifold noise. There have been reports of the V8 manifolds developing cracks. It's not specific to the left or right or even just one per vehicle. 3/03 This problem is larger than most of us know. The manifolds are starting to fail at a greater rate, maybe they used the same material as the Corolla of past. 6/03

03 4Runner Vehicle Skid warning light. We have a V6 model with the vehicle skid warning light coming on. It does set a hard code but no problem can be found. We have not been able to monitor the condition and since our GM is driving the vehicle we only see it when it comes on. Nothing seems to induce it and the tech Gods have not real information to help. They say that it's a software problem but they may be months away from a solution. 3/03

Tundra 4X4 transfer case problem. After the winter we had many of us are starting to see 4X4 problems we did not see in the past. This one came in making a noise in the transfer case. Instead of just replacing the unit we took it apart and found the cause. In reality the actual cause was easily repaired (in this one case) but may help save a customer a much larger expense when out of warranty. The owner shifted the vehicle from 2wd into 4wd when the wheels were spinning. Now the unit can be shifted on the fly but the speed of the front and rear wheels needs to be pretty much the same, if not the shift tries to happen but the gears are not synced. This action caused a burr on the actuator motor shaft that moves the shift forks. It went into 4wd but the burr would not allow the transfer case to return to 2wd and in essence was stuck in between making the noise. Taking the unit out and apart is not all that hard and looking at the shift row showed the burr then a file corrected the condition. 3/03

VSV / Skid Control warning light 01-02 Sequoia (MIL 1363). We are seeing this with more frequency lately. It carries a MIL of 1363 and is affecting the 01 - 02 Sequoia. We are finding that the brake light switch is out of adjustment. Since the system needs to see the brake light circuit activated then hydraulic brake pressure, shortly after, the misadjustment is the only problem. Once you make that quick fix the only other problem is convincing the owner of the Sequoia that there is no problem.

1ZZFE Engine (or any VVT engine) MIL 1349. This one was a little tricky since, as it turns out the shop manual is not all that accurate until the 2003 issue. The vehicle ran fine but the check engine light came on shortly after we inspected for any debris and cleaned the screen by the sensor. The customer did not maintain the engine at our dealership so we felt that the cleaning would take care of it, wrong. To make a long story short the sensors passed all the active tests and the problem was an internal wear condition on the VVT pulley PN# 13050-22011, here is a picture of what we found:

 The plate that the arrow is pointing to is where the locating pin rides that allows the movement of the VVT pulley. When it got worn the pulley would not return to the correct rest position the sensor was expecting and set the light. Now that was the easy part. You see the pulley is a little tricky to install. You have to really read the 2003 engine manual for this engine. If you don't and just bolt it on the alignment pin will not be indexed properly and the fun begins. You need to install it just like the 2003 manual lists (note the redundancy of this statement) and do not remove it once it's in place correctly, or you will have to get the alignment pin back to the unlocked position by blowing air into the passages on the cam (or take a 38 slug to the left temple). If all else fails you can take it apart (nothing flies at you) and reset the pin manually but there are no timing marks to act as a referral so it's kind of guesswork.

If you feel up to the challenge of sending something in that you are proud of solving, just do it. Use the Q&A button and let it fly. The more information we share the easier our jobs become and the more FRH you can generate.