Toyota Common Repairs

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Common engine codes

Code Description
12 Engine speed sensor: no signal
13 Engine speed sensor: no signal at high speed OR incorrect signal
14 No "IGF" signal to computer, four times in a row
21 Oxygen sensor voltage did not change despite feedback correction
22 Open or short circuit with coolant temperature sensor circuit
24 Open or short circuit with intake air temperature sensor circuit
25 Open or short circuit in main oxygen sensor circuit
26 Strong variation detected in engine revs during idle-switch-on
and feedback condition (air-fuel ratio rich)
27 Open or short circuit in second oxygen sensor circuit
31 Open or short circuit in manifold pressure (MAP) circuit
41 Open or short circuit in throttle position sensor (TPS) circuit
42 Vehicle speed sensor output doesn't reach the computer
43 No starter signal sent to computer
52 Open or short circuit in knock sensor circuit
71 EGR open circuit OR EGR gas temperature too low

Engine oil

Many people change their oil far too frequently; General Motors, for example, reported that their research showed oil changes can often be done as late as every 10,000 miles! Dan Stern wrote that he ran a 2.2 liter Chrysler engine with 15,000 mile intervals using synthetic oil and found no appreciable wear or sludge after an extended period.

Synthetic oil is the best way to avoid engine sludge. Unless you drive a lot in dusty or dirty conditions, 3,000 miles is probably too short an oil change interval. Follow the owner's manual.

Engines past the break-in period should not be using more than about half a quart per 3,000 miles. (Even this amount is fairly high). Some companies use one quart per 3,000 miles as a benchmark for warranty action. Synthetic oil tends to disappear more quickly according to many reports. The main advantages of synthetic oil are its durability and its ability to provide excellent protection when the engine is first started - which is when most damage usually occurs.

Other engine issues

A loose gas cap will cause the engine to run rough, and may activate the "check engine" light.

We have also heard of some head gasket issues, where antifreeze leaked into the spark plug chambers, causing rough running.

Hesitation: David Fain noted that many things could cause hesitation, including a bad or clogged PCV valve; defective EGR sensor; dirty air filter; worn plugs or plug wires (on older cars, worn distributor caps or rotors); fouled injectors or clogged fuel filters. "Most of the stuff you can replace on your own. Fouled injectors can be cleaned with fuel injector cleaners. If none of the above fixes the problem, then it's time to bring it to a professional mechanic. The sum of all these parts will cost you under $100 except for the EGR sensor. The EGR should last up to 100k miles and would be the last thing I'd replace. Use quality aftermarket replacement components or Toyota factory parts. In the long run, its worth it. The average mechanic's rate is around $45 - $75 a hour. When they replace parts, they charge you straight retail if not more. ... Get the parts yourself, put them in yourself and if all else fails bring the car to a mechnic and tell him what's been replaced so he doesn't wind up replacing it a second time."

Coil testing and replacement: (written by fishexpo regarding a 1995 Camry but applicable to other vehicles): You should be able to probe the primary and secondary coils from under the cap or there might be a plastic shield that you can pry off from the side (don't remember). Timing will not be screwed up - unless you actually remove the distributor. But you should be able to test the coil without doing that. The resistance of one set should be low (~1K ohm) and the other much higher (10K-15K ohm). If they are both low (got a short in the coil) or very high (10M ohm or higher - broken lead or open somewhere inside). But they are pretty tough - if you're not getting enough spark energy or random misfires - I'd look into a grounding issue or clogged fuel filter - unless you know those are good.

Knocking noise, especially on startup. According to Matt (fishexpo), most knocking noises can be identified as:


Failure to start due to your inability to turn the ignition key may be caused by the steering wheel lock. Muscle the steering wheel to the center of the "free turning" area and try turning the key again. (This problem seems to afflict Toyota more than other makers).

Swaying in the wind can be aided by upgrading the tires (base tires are fairly poor). A second-generation shock-strut assembly may be installed in prior-to-1999 Corollas. A strut brace is now available as factory-installed equipment on Scions. We recommend strut braces.

Tire shimmy/shake - Matt (fishexpo) wrote:

Normally, tire imbalance gets worse with increasing speed, but low speed steering wheel vibrations and shimmies can be cause by a bent wheel, unusal out of balance condition of tire/wheel, tire pressure imbalance, worn suspension, worn brake components, worn steering components, loose wheel. If the car is new, I'd lean to the tire balance, mounting issue, or pressures being off. Quick way to determine what is wrong:

Other Issues and Tips

Rene noted that steering wheel vibration while braking can be the result of warped rotors. We note that vibration when not braking is often caused by one or more tires being out of balance, an easy condition to fix. It may be worth having a tire shop do the latter rather than wasting your time at a dealer.

David Fain posted the process for removing interior doors (e.g. to upgrade speakers). This is for Corollas but probably applies to most Toyotas.

  1. Remove the recessed interior door latch "plastic cup" held in place by 1 phillips head screw. Remove the 2 phillips head screws recessed in the door handle.
  2. Starting from the bottom of the panel, gently pull on panel until one of the plastic retainer clips pops loose from the metal frame. Keep working around the panel popping off each clip one at a time.
  3. After all retaining clips have been removed, disconnect the power cord line connected to the panel.

When a CD won’t come out, fleet mechanic “fishexpo” says:

If you hit the eject button and the CD does not come out, you may have some options. Most slot loaders [standard “push it in” CD players] have a manual eject switch; move the felt dust bristles out of the way in the slot and peer inside with a flashlight and you should notice a pinhole on the right edge of the opening. Pressing that will force the CD out - just use a straightened paper clip to get to it. This is assuming the CD is not hung up on the splindle or has is bent or warped in any way.

The manual eject inside the slot is just like a pin hole - behind it may be a switch (round or square) or sometimes it presses up against a spring tab. Most of the Camry single disc units are made by Pioneer, Fujitsu-10 (Eclipse), or Alpine - just rebadged. The pinhole is on the right side edge on my unit about 1/4" from the right.

The other method is to disconnect the power to the head unit for a few minutes and then power it back on. It should spit the CD out. Drawbacks of thismethod are dependent on what equipment you have on the circuit at the time and how you pull the power. Disconnecting the battery is the easiest method - but you will lose time, possibly lose ECM parameters (will run a bit odd until it "relearns"), if equipped with an alarm system (headunit, kill switch, pass keys, etc. - may do all kinds of weird things). To avoid those issues - just pull the fuse leading to the radio (should be listing in the operating manual). My fuse was located by the driver's side kick panel and was marked RADIO.

(performance tips)

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