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Your Toyota Guy
Your Toyota Guy, Certified Toyota Master Diagnostic Technician
Category: Toyota
Satisfied Customers: 591
Experience:  I have been/am a Toyota technician for 15yrs+.
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Toyota Highlander: I have been trying to fix 2011 Toyota Highland

Customer Question

I have been trying to fix 2011 Toyota Highland with 3.5L engine. Below are the symptons/problems with this vehicle:
Beginning last week - the electric power steering did not work at low RPM, VSC and check engine lights came on, both the RPM and the temperature gauges were also malfunction - did not move at all, stay at the lowest point. I took it to Autozone and Advance Auto Parts for them to scan, but both places shown "link error" - I guess the scanner couldn't communicate with the ECM. I drove it home, and all instrument panel lights went out. I suspected there was the problem with the alternator. I took out the old alternator and took it to both Autozone and Advance Auto Parts, and both places indicated that the alternator is bad. I installed a new alternator, (I also replaced the thermostat as well) and could get it to start up but within a minute or so, it stalled. I tried pressing the gas pedal, but that did not help much, it still stalled. I disconnected the battery to clear the check engine light, but it would come back on shortly after started it up. I checked the voltage between the scanner socket pin #16 and the ground, and it shown more than 12 v. I hope you guy can help me solve this problem and I also hope that ECM is not the problem.
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Toyota
Expert:  Pete replied 2 years ago.
My name is ***** ***** I am a professional here at Just Answer. I noticed that your question was not getting a response and thought I would see if you still need help with this.I apologize for the delay and I hope I can still assist you with this here.
One common component that can fail and can cause all of these issues here is the electronic ignition switch itself.I have seen one or more of its contacts that send signals out of this switch fail or act up and can cause this fault here.I have also seen a weak battery with low battery voltage cause this as well or loose or corroded battery cables and had to correct the cable fault.
If the cables have not been checked this needs done and if a fault is found with the cables this will need corrected.If the cables are found to be o.k. I would have the electronic ignition switch tested to see if it needs replaced.
Thanks Pete
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
I had the battery checked at Auto zone, and it's still good. I cleaned up the battery connections. I checked the ground points, and they all look good.How would I test the ignition switch?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Where is the electronic ignition switch normally located? Is it not in the same location as the ignition key?Thanks,Abe
Expert:  Pete replied 2 years ago.
Below are a couple of links you can copy and paste to a new web page or web tab to view the ignition switch.It is located behind and below the ignition key cylinder itself.This will need tested with a scan tool and a multi meter.
Thanks Pete
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Can you give me testing details?I do have a multimeter, and an OBD2 scanner. However, when I hooked the scanner, it indicated "Link Error". How would I utilize the scanner for this test?Thanks,Abe
Expert:  Pete replied 2 years ago.
Does the scan tool communicate with any computer and has it worked on your vehicle In the past?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
This scan tool is on loan from Autozone. Also, Autozone and Advance Auto Parts had used different scanner to check and both tests indicated "Link Error". They told me that those scanners worked fine for other vehicles.Thanks,Abe
Expert:  Pete replied 2 years ago.
The link below is the connector for the ignition switch.Since you cannot communicate with a scan tool on your vehicle a scan tool will not work for testing here.You will have to test this with a multi meter with the meter set on DC volts with the meter ground connected to a ground point on the vehicle and the power lead testing the wires at the connector with the switch plugged in.
The AM1 and 2 should have voltage at all times key on or off.If these do not let me know.
The others below test as shown.
ACC with key on or in accessor mode
IGN 1 and IGN 2 with key all the way on
ST*****2 with key held in crank position
If any of these do not have the voltages this indicates the switch is at fault needing replaced.
Thanks Pete
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
I did test the ignition switch per your instructions and all terminals/connectors do have voltage.One more thing I did was I removed the air inlet tube before the throttle and started the engine. When my helper pressed the gas pedal, the throttle did not open or move much and the engine stalled. If I kept spraying the carb cleaner into the throttle while my helper was pressing the gas pedal, the engine kept on running at high RPM with the throttle not opening or moving much.Thanks,Abe
Expert:  Pete replied 2 years ago.
This is a difficult question for me myself to answer here.I will have to open this question up for others here to see if they can assist further on this as someone else here may have more info on what to check or do with this issue.I hope you can get this resolved with ease.No need to reply to my last post here unless it is a last resort as it will keep your question locked to me and others will not be able to view it.
Thanks Pete
Expert:  Your Toyota Guy replied 2 years ago.
Hello, my name is Noël. I am not only a current Toyota Technician but I also lead a team of technicians as well as being a tech instructor.
Have you checked all of your fuses (under the hood and under the dash) with a multimeter (don't remove them but test them in place by checking both metal tabs on the back of each fuse for power, a bad fuse will have power only on one side.)
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
I checked each fuse per your instructions, and all are good.I had also removed the throttle body and cleaned the throttle valve with carb and injector cleaning fluid/spray.I added fuel system cleaning fluid to the fuel tank before I started up. When I started it up, the idle was rough and stalled a couple time. If I stepped on the gas pedal, it stalled. After 10 minutes or so, the idle was smooth and when I stepped on the gas pedal, the engine revved up as normal. I tested drive it but it lack the power. For the last couple of days I was able to started the engine and it ran normal.However, that all changed earlier this afternoon. I started the engine and it ran normal for couple of minutes, and then it stalled and it also stalled when I stepped on the gas pedal - basically, it returned to the same condition as before the last couple days.Thanks,Abe