2000 Avalon Steering Flutter


JF13
02-18-2006, 03:38 PM
During low speed driving, light acceleration, feel a slight flutter in the steering wheel in a left-right orientation. Problem is not severe and doesn't happen at increased speed. There isn't any vibration at higher speed and steering is not adversely affected. Has anyone experienced this flutter in the steering at low operating speed?

JF13
03-14-2006, 10:20 PM
I am the original owner. Problem is recent, has only been going on for a couple of months. Car has 42K miles and is on 2nd set of tires. First set was Michelin, now running on Goodyear. Could this be something in the wheels or brakes?

JF13
03-15-2006, 10:46 PM
Thanks for your insight. I'll get those things checked out. I really appreciate the graphic. By the way, I maintained the original tire size, but elected to buy a longer lasting tire than the original Michelins. They only lasted about 30K miles.

By the way, you mention a VSC in your discussion. Forgive me for my lack of terminology, but what is a VSC?

mrtwo
03-24-2006, 08:49 AM
I recently bought a 2000 xls with 61K miles on it. I noticed the same problem. I feel it is around the neutral steering direction. The flutter disappears if I turn the wheel slightly to the left or right. Also it is not noticeable at higher speed. From the list of equipment, I did not see VSC on there. So I am not sure if this is the problem csaxon talked about. Please let me know your results.

JF13
03-24-2006, 04:15 PM
Went for 2nd opinion on what csaxon has recommended. Two different repair shops interpreted my description as a tire problem. My local Toyota dealer had no experience with steering angle sensor adjustment and also thought the problem had to do with a front tire.

To eliminate the tire consideration, I took the car to the place where I bought the Goodyear Assurance tires last summer and described the flutter to the manager. He immediately said it had to be a tire problem. I asked him to rotate and balance the tires, which he did. The flutter was much improved, but I can still feel it, especially in the speed range of 22-34 MPH. The steering wheel "hunts" back and forth, slightly, near the zero steering angle, and fades out as the car speed is increased above 35 MPH.

My next move is to go to Toyota and demonstrate the flutter to the local Service Manager. I will make mention of csaxon's advice on the steering angle sensor in the VSC, but when I mentioned this over the phone, it was way over the Service Manager's experience base. I'll post my results.

mrtwo
03-24-2006, 04:36 PM
Wow, this begins to sound exciting. This could be a common problem of Avalon. What you experienced sounds almost the same as mine. JF, thanks for your information. Did you also do the alignment?

JF13
03-27-2006, 10:15 AM
Have not checked alignment yet, but I will ask the service folks to check 4 wheel alignment, as well as do the steering angle sensor calibration. It's not uncommon for service entities to not be aware of the less common tasks. If someone doesn't bring that kind of problem to be diagnosed and repaired, the information stays in the technical documentation, as CSAXON has mentioned, not in the minds of the folks who need to know about it.

How many customers do you think have bought a new set of tires due to this problem? I definitely think CSAXON has some technical background on this topic.

JF13
04-26-2006, 04:56 PM
I went to the trouble of making an appointment at my local Toyota dealer's service department, especially to have a Service Manager drive the car to demonstrate the steering flutter. I sent the car to the dealer with my wife and her trusty cell phone thinking that any questions that came up, she could call me and I would deal with them over the phone.

Once she got to the dealer, the Service Manager was out sick for the day and not available to diagnose the problem. Of course, she then fell into the trap of "Mom at the Repair Shop". They told her it was a tire problem, (flipped belt), and refused to consider the steering angle sensor calibration procedure, even though she brought it up, however they did offer to warranty the tire, until she told them we had bought the tires elsewhere. Then, they told her she'd have to take it back where we bought the tires, blah, blah, blah.

Next stop was at the local Tire Kingdom store, where I had previously had the tires inspected and rotated about two weeks ago. I knew what they were going to say, "It ain't the tires and the Toyota dealer doesn't know what they're talking about." They checked out the tires and put the car on their alignment machine which showed it was out of spec on three of the four wheels for both tow and camber. The front left tire was also low on air pressure. I told her to go home and took the car back up there the following Saturday to get the four wheel alignment.

The combination of correcting the low front left tire pressure and getting the four wheel alignment has taken 99% of the flutter out of the steering. No tires were changed out and no steering angle sensor calibration was attempted. I'll keep an eye on things and post any new developments, but for now, things are steering smoothly.

mrtwo
04-27-2006, 09:28 AM
Hi, JF
Congratulations and thanks for keep us posted.

JF13
06-24-2006, 04:32 PM
After several months of normal service, I can report that some of the flutter did return to the steering on the car. I checked the air pressure in both front tires and found that the left front tire was running at 23 psig compared with around 32 psig on the right side. I increased tire pressure to 40 psig all around and drove the car fully loaded with family and luggage on vacation to and from Destin, FL, about 325 miles away. No hint of flutter in steering, so apparently the front tire pressure is important to this condition. Recommend if you have this problem, whatever else you do, check the front tire pressure and make sure it's even and at or near maximum recommended inflation pressure, assuming tires are in good condition.
JF13

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