Toyota Repair Problems? Ask a Mechanic for Answers ASAP
The diagnostic trouble code is P1349 - vvt system malfunction
Toyota had issued a technical service bulletin for this code, it says to replace the camshaft VVTi gear assembly, this requires removal of the camshafts.
Here are the part numbers:
'01-'02 ECHO 13050-21040 Camshaft gear
'00 - '02 ECHO 11213-21011 Gasket, Cylinder
Head Valve Cover.
What the VVTi does is change the camshaft timing while the engine is running to increase performance when needed and better fuel economy, it's an expensive repair so I don't blame you for not wanting to do this at this time, nothing will happen to the engine other than maybe a loss of performance and possibly a small drop in mileage. The downside is that if you live in a state that requires emission control or other inspections it won't pass with the light on.
What I would recommend is to change the oil and filter, turn the light off by disconnecting the negative battery terminal then drive it and see if the code even comes back, the reason I suggest changine the oil and filter is that sometimes it's possible for small dirt particles to clog the oil pressure passages or the control valve that needs the pressure to activate the vvti system.
The repair can easily cost near $800 parts and labor.