Check engine light 2001 Toyota Avalon


#1

2001 Toyota Avalon V-6

I have used all of the electrician’s tape in Up-State New York to repleatedly cover the red warning light on my dash board. I have exhausted the brain matter of two Toyota dealers. Need your help. Yes,the red “Check Engine” light keeps coming back on. Every time I reset the light to default it stay off for seven days. Re-lights on the eigth day.I have reset set it no less than a half dozen times. Problem started in March 2008 while vacationing in Florida. Toyata dealer , Lighthouse Toyota in ST. Augustine, replaced Vacuum valve SWI, PN 90910-12199. Eight days later light came back on . They replaced gas cap. Now have spent $185. Light comes on again on the eigth day. Dealer advises that it is ok to drive back to NYS since they light has to do with some EPA emission standards and not engine funtion. After returning home to Up-State NY. I am pleased to find the average daily temperature is now 40 degrees. This is an vast improvement as compared to the -20 temperature of February which caused me to vacation in Florida.

Back to the issue. My local Toyota dealer, Glens falls Toyota, Glens Falls, NY., diagonises the problem and replaces the "fuel filler neck’. Cost $470. Guess what happens on eight days. Yes, light back on. I go back to the dealer. They replace the same Vacuum valve as Florida dealer did, My local dealer tried to fill me with some BS that he replaced a different valve. I showed him work order from Florida . He gave my money back. Bottomline is I have spent $655. Have a friend that returns every 8 days. All I know is that diagonostic codes PO-446 and PO-440 keep popping up durning dealer trouble shooting.My Vehicle is a 2001 Toyota Avalon with V6 3000 Four Cam 24 VVT gasoline engine.VIN # 4T1BF28B11U129928. What do you think the problem is? Should I apply to the Federal Government for economic stimulus money to buy a new car?


#2

How about the actual error code. I believe your car should have a code in the format [P1234] That would help a lot.


#3

Here are the descriptions of the two error codes.

http://www.obd-codes.com/p0440
http://www.obd-codes.com/p0446

As you can see, they are both sort of hazy and you can spend a lot of money trying to fix them. As I see it, you have a number of bad choices.

  1. Find a competent mechanic who understands evaporative emissions systems. Shouldn’t be impossible, but I don’t have the slightest idea how you find this paragon.

  2. Do a lot of reading, buy some tools, figure out what is wrong, and fix it yourself. (Do try not to drop the car on yourself while doing this).

  3. Ignore the check engine light. Does NY have state inspection? If they do, this one is out.

  4. Spend $60 or so for a basic DTC code reader that you can use to check the codes when they pop up and to clear them. As long as you get a week between the light turning on, you can possibly get past an inspection. And if you get a new code, you can get it checked out.

  5. Continue to stimulate the economy by hanging often expensive new parts until they find the correct part through brilliant analysis, sheer luck and/or perseverance.

  6. Buy another car.


#4

I think if you find a competent mechanic that starts from scratch you might be able to find a fix. He has to read the codes and test all the relevant components in the system. It seems like so far they have just changed the likely suspects without testing to prove the component is at fault. When it is a $5 gas cap you might be able to get away with trial and error new parts. When more $$ and labor is involved, then some one has to know what they are doing.


#5

Do you buy gas on the NJ turnpikes etc. from the full service stations?

A lot of those pump jockeys like to top off gas tanks until they’re nearly running over. This could be the root of your troubles.

Have you had the charcoal canister replaced?


#6

I’m going to take a wild guess here.

Clearly the codes are indicating an EVAP system failure. This can be caused by failure of one of the components in the links that VTcodger posted, by insufficient vacuum, or by excessive vacuum in the system. A leak is simple to troubleshoot with a smoke machine, so I’ll rule that out because it’s been looked at so many times.

One of the difficulties with these codes is that if your system is developing excessive vacuum due to the inability to breath, attempts to look into the problem usually involve some physical action that “breaks” into the system and relieves the vacuum. The code can then reset even of no part is changed. The code(s) can actually be set by a sensor that measures pressure (vacuum) in your gas tank.

I’m going to guess that your system is not breathing in properly, and attempts to correct it have “broken” the vacuum making troubleshooting difficult. The breathing in is done through a bed of activated charcoal in the charcoal canister under the hood and through a vent line that goes from there to your tank. Inability to breath in may be causing excessive vacuum to develop as the gas is pumped out. Excessive vacuum in the tank will trip EVAP codes.

The week’s lag time is probably the amount of time it takes you in your normal routine for sufficient gas to be pumped out and your vacuum to rise high enough to trip the light.

Try a test. The next time you get the light, remove and replace your gas cap. If you hear a loud whoosh and the CEL resets, the CEL light is almost certainly being caused by either a plugged/saturated charcoal bed or a plugged/kinked line to the gas tank.

I repeat, this is a wild guess from a crazyman. Post back with your results.


#7

I have same problem with my 01 avalon its runs great and getting 26.9 mpg so i’m just forgeting about the light.5years ago went to dealer minor problem got a bill for 1200.00 they guessed replaced 3 sensors. a list of stuff i’didnt ask for i make the crooks mark off but still payed over 800.I just do not trust dealerships anymore