1998 Toyota Avalon


Elaine5431
04-06-2008, 03:37 PM
As long as I can remember, the check engine light would come on when I would reach speed between 30 & 40. The car would seem to stall at that speed like it is stuck and in a few minutes it would kick in and increase speed. It happens only once in a while and then not for 3 or 4 months. I had the car check out and the mechanic said the wire under the spark plug is the problem. When I took it in to be fixed, he said the car was fine. It keeps happening. The shop were I had it check out is no longer in business. In the past when the check engine light lit, it would stay on for a couple of days. Now it comes on and as soon as the car starts to regain speed, it goes off. Has anyone had this problem? I heard a lot about the oil sludge problem and wonder if that is my problem. I have had my car serviced regularly. I have 80,300 miles on it. I am wondering if I would just trade it in and get another car as I am afraid I will cause an accident. Would love to hear from someone. Thanks

Clint7
04-09-2008, 08:13 PM
Have you checked with your Toyota Dealer concerning a Recall on the oil sludge problem? I just bought a 1998 Avalon and I was told that the bottom half of the engine was replaced by Toyota because of a recall concerning the sludge problem.

Elaine5431
04-30-2008, 11:40 PM
Have you checked with your Toyota Dealer concerning a Recall on the oil sludge problem? I just bought a 1998 Avalon and I was told that the bottom half of the engine was replaced by Toyota because of a recall concerning the sludge problem.

Hi Cllint,
I have heard about the sludge problem. I will take your advice and check with Toyota. Thank you for taking the time to respond. I will let you know what I find out from the dealer.

Elaine:)

CupCate18
05-07-2008, 07:35 AM
Any luck with Avalon yet? The car is a great car and really worth keeping. If you trade it in, you would probably get an extremely low offer. It is generally worth much more than any dealer will offer you. If it is the recall that is the problem, the car is definitely worth keeping, and getting Toyota to fix the sludge issue.

Brian R.
05-07-2008, 09:13 AM
Your problem sounds more like an ignition problem than a sludge problem. Get the ignition checked. If you wish to do it yourself, just ask.

Elaine5431
05-15-2008, 10:52 PM
Any luck with Avalon yet? The car is a great car and really worth keeping. If you trade it in, you would probably get an extremely low offer. It is generally worth much more than any dealer will offer you. If it is the recall that is the problem, the car is definitely worth keeping, and getting Toyota to fix the sludge issue.

Hi,
I took my car to a mechanic and he said the wires under the spark plugs were bad because the valve cover gaskets were leaking. He replaced the wires and the sparks plugs and fix the valve cover gasket. He said the oil from the valve cover leaked on the wires. When I picked up my car it ran really good. The second day the check engine light came on. I call the mechanic and he said he replaced everything with toyota parts so he didn't know why it came on. I brought it back and he said he went over the repairs again and everything was good. On the way home the check engine light came on again. He said that the timing belt needs to be replace and seals. The car is running good. However, Saturday I had to go to Rancho Santa Margarita about 25 miles from my home. I had the air conditioner on. It ran fine while I was on the freeway but when I was driving up a hill it seemed to run ruff. It was hard to increase speed. So I don't know if I should go ahead and have the additional repairs done, timing belt and seals.

Like you said it is a good car and I won't get anything for it from a dealer. I would like to keep it if it will be a dependable car. Any thoughts from you will be appreciated.

Thanks so much,
Elaine

Elaine5431
05-15-2008, 10:59 PM
Your problem sounds more like an ignition problem than a sludge problem. Get the ignition checked. If you wish to do it yourself, just ask.

Hi Brian,
I haven't checked out the ignition yet. Had the plugs, wires under the plugs replace & the valve cover gasket fixed. It is running good but the check engine light came on. The mechanic said he fixed everything. He said the timing belt needs to be replaced and seals. I still don't know why the check engine light came on.

Elaine

Elaine5431
05-16-2008, 10:38 PM
Hi Brian,
I haven't checked out the ignition yet. Had the plugs, wires under the plugs replace & the valve cover gasket fixed. It is running good but the check engine light came on. The mechanic said he fixed everything. He said the timing belt needs to be replaced and seals. I still don't know why the check engine light came on.

Elaine

You mentioned that I could check out the ignition myself. How would I do that? My knowledge on auto repair is very limited.

Elaine

Elaine5431
05-20-2008, 08:48 PM
I had my Avalon check out and found that the check engine code is P0325 which said to check connector and wiring to sensor or the knock senor is defective. I had the valve cover gasket replaced, wires under the spark plug replace, and replaced the spark plugs. To replace the knock senor will cost just over $1,000 quoted by the dealer. I need to replace the timing belt and fan belts. I was also told to replace the water pump at the same time.

Any advice as to what to do? Is it a good idea to put all that money in a 1998 vehicle? Any advise will be appreciated.

Thanks,
Elaine

Elaine5431
05-21-2008, 03:13 PM
Your problem sounds more like an ignition problem than a sludge problem. Get the ignition checked. If you wish to do it yourself, just ask.


Hi Brian,
You are correct it was the ignition coil. I had the ignition coil replaced and the car is running good. Total cost $230.00. Much better than the $1,000. to replace the knock sensor quoted by the dealer. I feel so much better knowing that my car is "better" now. Thanks

Elaine (:)

Brian R.
05-21-2008, 03:50 PM
You're welcome. If you still get the P0325 code, it is much more likely to be the wiring or a bad/loose connection to the knock sensor than the sensor itself.

Elaine5431
05-22-2008, 10:32 AM
You're welcome. If you still get the P0325 code, it is much more likely to be the wiring or a bad/loose connection to the knock sensor than the sensor itself.



Hello again,
Well the check engine light came on yesterday. So back to the mechanic this morning. He said when the valve cover gasket was replaced the mechanic may have knocked the wiring loose. That is be best case! Worse would be the knock sensor is bad and needs to be replaced. So more to follow...........

Elaine

Brian R.
05-22-2008, 01:06 PM
Knock sensors almost never die. They are really sturdy. To prove it's quality, check for continuity between the connection and the body. There should be no continuity (infinite resistance) between these points.

Elaine5431
05-22-2008, 02:24 PM
Knock sensors almost never die. They are really sturdy. To prove it's quality, check for continuity between the connection and the body. There should be no continuity (infinite resistance) between these points.


Never say never because mine died. The mechanic called and said they failed the test. So since avalon's have two, the total came to $898. ouch!!! They are selling for $220 in CA.

Elaine

Brian R.
05-22-2008, 09:59 PM
They both died? Someone is fooling someone...

I would not go to that mechanic any more.

Elaine5431
05-23-2008, 11:33 AM
They both died? Someone is fooling someone...

I would not go to that mechanic any more.


I really don't know who to trust. One mechanic tells me one thing then another tells me something completely different. I asked one to check my timing belt and he said oil leaked on it and I whould replace it ASAP. The other one said there is no way to check by just looking because it is enclosed. The other one said it looks good and shouldn't need to replace it for awhile. What is a woman to do???? Now that I have put in lots of $$$ I hope my car will last awhile.... New brakes, hoses, spark plugs & wires, ignition coil & knock sensors.

Elaine

Brian R.
05-23-2008, 02:51 PM
I know your "What is a woman to do?" question is somewhat rhetorical, but they are not alone. Men, whether they know it or not, are subject to a similar problem. Women are seen as easier targets, but unless you babysit the mechanic, it is very difficult to judge a lot of opinions or recommendations made by mechanics.

Here is an article in the Camry FAQ thread:

http://www.automotiveforums.com/vbulletin/showpost.php?p=4090471&postcount=53

Here's one part of it, under "Warning Signs?" that applied to your situation:

"Does your mechanic claim you need more than one part to repair a given concern? If so it is questionable. While it is possible to have multiple failures contribute to a symptom, it is more likely a single part or condition is at fault. Occasionally you could have one component failure cause another component failure but that is also less likely. Always ask for a detailed explanation of what the root cause of the failure was. Beware of the parts swapper who wants to change every part that he thinks may be causing the problem. A typical example would be an EGR system. Many mechanics will claim that the EGR valve and sensor should both be changed if either is faulty. This is generally not true. There were cases in the 1980's when redesigned valves would not work without a redesigned sensor but generally either one or the other is the problem, not both. Sometimes the mechanic will recommend several parts but only 1 may be associated with your original concern. That is OK as long as he explains what all the parts are needed for. Often times he is trying to sell you maintenance work or has found worn parts that do need replacement. There should be a reason for every parts that is replaced."

Elaine5431
05-23-2008, 04:01 PM
I know your "What is a woman to do?" question is somewhat rhetorical, but they are not alone. Men, whether they know it or not, are subject to a similar problem. Women are seen as easier targets, but unless you babysit the mechanic, it is very difficult to judge a lot of opinions or recommendations made by mechanics.

Here is an article in the Camry FAQ thread:

http://www.automotiveforums.com/vbulletin/showpost.php?p=4090471&postcount=53

Here's one part of it, under "Warning Signs?" that applied to your situation:

"Does your mechanic claim you need more than one part to repair a given concern? If so it is questionable. While it is possible to have multiple failures contribute to a symptom, it is more likely a single part or condition is at fault. Occasionally you could have one component failure cause another component failure but that is also less likely. Always ask for a detailed explanation of what the root cause of the failure was. Beware of the parts swapper who wants to change every part that he thinks may be causing the problem. A typical example would be an EGR system. Many mechanics will claim that the EGR valve and sensor should both be changed if either is faulty. This is generally not true. There were cases in the 1980's when redesigned valves would not work without a redesigned sensor but generally either one or the other is the problem, not both. Sometimes the mechanic will recommend several parts but only 1 may be associated with your original concern. That is OK as long as he explains what all the parts are needed for. Often times he is trying to sell you maintenance work or has found worn parts that do need replacement. There should be a reason for every parts that is replaced."


Thank you for sending me such good information. The mechanic call and he now said there is another code EGR system. He said it won't harm my car but there will be more emisions from my car. I said "so that means my car won't pass smog." He said "YES". He said the light when off but he wants to make sure it doesn't come on again, so he will have it driven a few more times and let me know. I am so up set because I told him I didn't want to dump a lot of money in my car because it is getting old. I wish he would have said more things can pop up after the knock sensors are replaced but he didn't. I would have said not to repair it but I was not given the option. I am sure he knew this might happen. What is your opinion???

Brian R.
05-23-2008, 09:00 PM
Listen to his opinion and get your car back immediately afterward. At this point, for any further work, get a recommendation from a good friend (and hopefully one that is knowledgeable about cars) for an honest and good mechanic. There are many out there. If you can, the first time you go to that mechanic for anything, try and bring your friend along to provide both a feeling of security and to impress the mechanic that a customer of his has recommended you and supports you.

IMO, the best thing you can do in the long run is learn about cars, particularly engines. The more informed a conversation you can have with a mechanic, the less likely he would be to try to do something totally without merit.

Elaine5431
05-24-2008, 11:27 AM
Listen to his opinion and get your car back immediately afterward. At this point, for any further work, get a recommendation from a good friend (and hopefully one that is knowledgeable about cars) for an honest and good mechanic. There are many out there. If you can, the first time you go to that mechanic for anything, try and bring your friend along to provide both a feeling of security and to impress the mechanic that a customer of his has recommended you and supports you.

IMO, the best thing you can do in the long run is learn about cars, particularly engines. The more informed a conversation you can have with a mechanic, the less likely he would be to try to do something totally without merit.

Hi Brian,
I got my car back last night and so far the light is off. The mechanic said to bring it back if the light goes on and he will fix it. I guess that says he is not dishonest.

I am an Insurance Agency and when I sell someone a policy I explain the different limits offered and let them pick the level of protection they need. I try to educate them on what the policy covers and help them determine what they need. I wish auto machinics would do the same. I know there are always unknow things that pop up. An experienced mechanic propably knows what to expect from a car.

You are so right that I need more education on how cars run. I guess that is my problem which causes a lot of miscommunication all the way around. I guess I expect people to be up front and honest so that I can make my decision. I have to remember we live in a broken world. I will be a little smarter next time, ask more questions and do the best I can.

Thank you so much for all you advice and suggestions. I do very much appreciate the time you have spent in helping me. If you would like me to keep you up dated as to what happens, let me know. If you are tired of my drama, I understand.

Thanks again,
Elaine

Brian R.
05-24-2008, 01:32 PM
Just remember that auto mechanics have a conflict of interest when troubleshooting your car. The more they find wrong, the better for them. This is a bad situation since it may eventually lead to an honest mechanic crossing the line and becoming untruthful in order to buy his new boat or make the down payment on his house.

Although many are trustworthy, it pays to remember that this conflict of interest exists; in mechanical work, dentists, home improvement, etc. After every recommendation is received, you should try to balance the risk with the benefit in a knowledgeable way. It is always your option to just walk (drive) away.

Elaine5431
05-25-2008, 07:58 PM
Just remember that auto mechanics have a conflict of interest when troubleshooting your car. The more they find wrong, the better for them. This is a bad situation since it may eventually lead to an honest mechanic crossing the line and becoming untruthful in order to buy his new boat or make the down payment on his house.

Although many are trustworthy, it pays to remember that this conflict of interest exists; in mechanical work, dentists, home improvement, etc. After every recommendation is received, you should try to balance the risk with the benefit in a knowledgeable way. It is always your option to just walk (drive) away.

It is too bad money has to stand in the way for honesty. Good things come to us through honesty. Next time I till take more time to, as you said, balance the risk with the benefit.

So far so good with the check engine light.

Have a great Memorial Day.

Elaine

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