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Skyvisions, ASE Certified Technician
Category: Toyota
Satisfied Customers: 14324
Experience:  Toyota Master Diagnostic
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2000 Avalon: a timing belt change..000 miles..diagnostic..highway

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My wife's 2000 Avalon with a v-6 just went in for a timing belt change at 210,000 miles. We also asked that they run a diagnostic on the car as it has been idling rough in the past few weeks after warming up and it also "surges" while driving at a normal sustained highway speed.

They told us that the variable valve timing (VVT) device was creating errors that recurred every time they were cleared. The Service manager mentioned that it might be due to sludge damaging or blocking the VVT. I've since learned that this model was included in a class action suit because of sludging.

What should my next step be? I'm not sure how to find the recall from Toyota or what attitude I should take with the dealership. They've done nothing wrong but if I can get this fixed under a recall I certainly want to do that.

There was not a recall on this year Avalon for sludge. Do you have pulled specific code number that they pulled from the system to verify that the VVT I was not functioning properly? Has the valve cover been off to inspect? The front one is easy to remove to inspect for sludge. If you have This vehicle well-maintained and get your oil changed regularly sludge will not be an issue even with his high mileage.



Edited by Skyvisions on 12/9/2009 at 12:49 AM EST
Customer: replied 6 years ago.
Please look at the following link:

The Toyota dealership said that they cleared the codes and drove the car. When it started running badly they pulled the codes again and it was the V.V.T.

The local garage owner that I visited with this afternoon said he had a client who had a 2001 Avalon and was going through the same thing. With enough pressure brought to bear by the customer, his engine was replaced.

The Toyota dealership had the front valve cover off and said that there was some sludge but it didn't look too bad. He also indicated that the sludge was normally worse in the rear valve train, which incidently seems to be where the V.V.T. device lives.

I read the article that you linked to above it is basically the same old story that has been going on and on and on. Now Toyota is agreeing to approving some of the claims that were previously denied as far as a warranty repair but to my knowledge there is no service campaign or recall so to speak. Toyota appears to be extending the warranty which will be helpful for some consumers. I can tell you that I have worked on some of these engines that have had in excess of 200,000 miles with no visible signs of sludge and the engine ran perfectly. There is one the VVTI actuator per cylinder head. There also is one OCV or oil control valve per cylinder head to control the actuator that is attached to the end of the camshafts. I can give you more detail if you know the code number. As far as getting any kind of assistance from Toyota it never hurts to ask but given the information and the mileage on your vehicle is not likely that you would get anywhere with it but then again if you don't ask you will not know. There are many things that can cause these actuators to stick, slugging is just one of many things there could be wear in the actuator or there could be one of the OCV sticking. When the actuator sticks in the retarded or advanced position it will cause the engine to run rough.



Edited by Skyvisions on 12/9/2009 at 1:43 AM EST
Customer: replied 6 years ago.
I'll have Toyota's report on the car tomorrow. It's still in the shop tonight. Can I pick up this string tomorrow night when I have the codes?

Yes that would be fine. Gather the code numbers reply back to this post tomorrow evening I will get back to you.



Customer: replied 6 years ago.
Super, I'll do that. thanks for all your help. Talk to you tomorrow night. I'm off now

Sounds like a plan. I will speak with you tomorrow you could reply then when you have the information.



Customer: replied 6 years ago.
Good evening. I hope you're on line tonight but if you aren't you can certainly answer at your convenience. I had to go out of town on a three day trip and just got back last night or I would have gotten back on earlier.

The diags from Toyota state:
DTC P1349 VVT System Malfunction (Bank 1)
DTC P1354 VVT System Malfunction (Bank 2)

After doing a little research on this, am I correct in assuming that it could be either the VVT, the OCV or the ECM?
Is there a greater likelyhood of one of these going out over the others?
Is it possible that cleaning the filter in the OCV might clear up the whole problem?
Are we damaging the vehicle by driving it in this condition?

Thanks for your continued input. Looking forward to your answer.

The VVT system constantly adjusts intake valve timing based upon operating conditions. The ECM system controls the Oil Control Valve (OCV) with a variable duty cycle. The Oil Control Valve then supplies oil to the advance or retard side of the VVT Controller. The oil applied to the VVT Controller will cause the intake cam to advance or retard depending on the position of the Oil Control Valve. The ECM verifies that the desired camshaft angle has been achieved by monitoring the camshaft position sensor. If anything has happened to the camshaft position sensor or if a timing belt has been on this car recently there could be issues with the wiring going to the sensor or the timing belt. If these factors can be ruled out then you're probably looking at the VVT controller sticking or binding not returning back on a retarded or advanced signal. This would explain the rough idle or misfire situation.


All of this being said. You have to assume that the dealership got a timing belt on correctly mainly because the misfire and the check engine light was on previously to the timing belt being placed. It is not likely a computer problem they rarely go bad the weakest link is the OCV or oil control valve solenoid there are screens that could be plugged up. The actuators are built into the camshaft and are very expensive to replace. I would have the OCV solenoids cleaned and tested and pull the screens from the cylinder heads to have them cleaned and checked. If the actuators are not advancing or retarding as designed by the computer it is not going to hurt anything although you will lack performance and possibly compression if the cams stay at the full max retarded or advanced position. If money is tight my suggestion would be to disconnect the OCV solenoids electrical connectors when the engine is idling at its best so that the actuators cannot be advanced or retarded. This basically will set the engine back to the old style engine where the cams have to stay positioned where the actuators are. The Check engine light will remain on. Provided The cams are not retarding or advancing you shouldn't have any issues with performance.



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Customer: replied 6 years ago.
Wow! That clarifies a lot and what a great temporary work around to disconnect the OCVs.

I'm planning on gettin my son over to help me with the parts testing and replacement. He got me to help him put a new engine in his Kia and convert the tranny from auto to std. I think he owes me a little wrench time.

Thanks for your help. I'll certainly accept this. You've more than earned what I paid.

You're welcome. If you need anything in the future just as for me, skyvisions, in the question and I will get back to you.




I hope everything works out for you. It is always best to draw on help of others.

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