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Toyota Avalon, Interior, Sedan
#3475 of 3629 P0420 code CEL on 2000 Avalon
Mar 28, 2008 (4:33 pm)
I had the check engine light come on in my 2000 Toyota Avalon XLS (85000 miles) and I took the car to autozone and my local mechanice both of whom diagnosed the error code as P0420 - Catalyst System Efficiency Below Threshold ( Bank # 1). My mechanic said this problem was common on avalons and attributed the reason to the catalytic converter failure. He said it would cost me $ 630 /- for parts + $ 100 /- for labour to replace. Which In my opinion is too high. Has anyone faced a similar issue before ? There is no effect on the performance or MPG of the car. What could've gone wrong and how much will it cost me to fix ? Is it really the Cat conv or the O2 sensor ? Incase its the cat, can I buy one from junkyard ? Also will it have any effect on the car in the long run ( besides failing the DMV Inspection) if I continue to drive without addressing this issue.
#3476 of 3629 Re: P0420 code CEL on 2000 Avalon [njavalonguy]
Mar 28, 2008 (5:07 pm)
I got the same problem and was able to fix it.
It is very easy to fix and just matter of $99+ tax (on $99).
Let me tell you exactly what needs to be done, based on the code P0420 you need O2 sensor before catalyst. I bought BOSCH made O2 sensor in autozone for $99.99 (part# 13355) link: http://www.autozone.com/selectedZip,07029/initialAction,partProductDetail/initia- - lpartType,00117/initialR,APP230038/shopping/selectZip.htm
It is very easy to replace before cat than after cat, you can take help of autozone guys to show where it exactly located or you can search online, there are several websites guides how to replace it. Sorry, i am in a rush but thought to let you know so that you can easily fix over this weekend.
Again, this part is like plug n play installation. There are other universal models available where they price 30 to 40 dollars cheaper than bosch made but installation takes more time than Bosch. If price is not a constraint you can buy Bosch and install it yourself. You have to run your car for 2 miles before you change it but dont over run because it will over heat the part and difficult to replace it as it becomes too hot.
It will fail DMV inspection if you dont fix it. Also, DONOT take it to DMV inspection until you drive the car for 1000 miles and put fuel injector in fuel tank.
Hope this helps you and good luck.
#3477 of 3629 Re: P0420 code CEL on 2000 Avalon [njavalonguy]
Mar 29, 2008 (6:18 am)
There are 3 posible answers here: The UPstream O2 sensor is bad, the DOWNstream O2 sensor is bad or the Cat Converter is bad. You cannot really tell without diagnostic machines or scanners and an understanding of how the system works. (But a bad sensor may produce a different code in addition to this one.)
Before doing anything: fill up and drive at the legal limit+ for at least an hour. Load the car with people and turn on the AC. Fill the trunk. Find some hills. Make the engine work. You may be able to burn off buildup on the Cat filter surfaces and fix the problem. Try this several times. You don't drive a lot (8 years, 85k) so the converter may be able to fix itself if you get it hot enough for a while.
If this fails and the light is still on, there are various electronic tests that compare voltage between the sensors. These tests are helpful but you must start with a cold engine and take some time...money wasted if the converter is in fact bad. Both sensors probably cost less than the test if the test is done properly.
Do not use a salvage converter. You have no idea as to the condition and cannot measure it prior to installation. You can't pass inspection with this code showing but the car will drive ok. There may be no good solution except to replace the Cat converter. Hope this helps....
#3478 of 3629 Re: P0420 code CEL on 2000 Avalon [fin][kpraveen]
Mar 29, 2008 (7:20 am)
Thanks fin and Praveen for your quick responses, what you are saying perfectly makes sense to me...
Infact I have a few more inputs to add since I have been facing this problem for almost a month now. The light had turned itself off after I changed the gas station and started filling Exxon instead of Shell..just to return back "on" during a long trip > 120 miles last week....so I am really confused .what exactly is the problem...
fin - is there a simpler test like an emissions test or something done which I can get done for much lesser cost which can definitely tell me whether the CAT is indeed performing sub optimally or no.
praveen - do you also have a 2000 avalon and did the problem get solved just by changing the O2 sensor ? coz my mechanic tells me that if the O2 sensors are faulty then I should be getting some other code besdies P0420
Eargerly awaiting your replies
#3479 of 3629 Re: P0420 code CEL on 2000 Avalon [fin][kpraveen] [njavalonguy]
Mar 31, 2008 (12:29 pm)
I have 1995 avalon with 169k miles on it. There are no other codes displayed besides P0420 for before cat O2 sensor.
I also experienced the same way that the check engine was going on & off for few weeks but after a month time it was on for long time. I did not fix it the check engine for almost 6 months but when inspection time was near i had to fix it.
#3480 of 3629 Re: P0420 code CEL on 2000 Avalon [fin][kpraveen] [njavalonguy]
Mar 31, 2008 (4:58 pm)
The OBD system is a constant test of all parts of the car. And it's free. Other tests, to check on the OBD error code in this case, are not worthwhile if you pay full price for them.
If this were my car and it was doing OK otherwise, a good car, and I intended to keep it for some time, (and driving for an hour at freeway speeds with injector cleaner has not solved the problem) here is list of things you might consider:
1. Get the 90k service. Clean the injectors off the car. Replace the plugs. Then drive the car. If the CEL is still on and will not go off on the highway, replace the O2 sensors.
2. If none of this gets the light to stay off and no other codes appear, replace the Cat converter.
Some people replace the sensors at 100k anyway. They heat to the same temp as the converter and won't last forever. But they are much cheaper to replace if they go bad and you don't really need a converter. Good luck!
Apr 03, 2008 (2:51 pm)
I am looking to replace my 96 Avalon XLS that has 196,000 miles. I am looking for a 2000 thru 2004 XLS. I am limiting my years because of the pricing of these vehicles. I am very satified with the performance and reliability I have experienced in the last 4 years with this 96, so I am going to be a repeat buyer of a vehicle for the first time in my life. (I have owned lots of vehicles)
I have a question about using a 2003 or 2004 XLS steering wheel on a 2000-2002 XLS. Will the 2003 or 2004 XLS steering wheel match up to the 2000 thru 2002 XLS wheels? The 2002 thru 2002 XLS wheels are fully leather-wrapped and have a tendency to deteriorate where my hand or wrist rests. The 2003 and 2004 wheels are partial simulated wood. Does anyone know if the colors are about the same and if the mounting apparatus is the same?
I am still looking for that 2nd gen Avalon and can't wait to upgrade.
#3482 of 3629 Re: Avalon repeat buyer [deanoavalon]
Apr 03, 2008 (5:48 pm)
My 02 would fit the bill, but my old cars bring repeat buyers so I would have to be coaxed to part with what I considered my best car with 66700 miles and I'm 80! I'm IL.
#3483 of 3629 Re: Avalon repeat buyer [deanoavalon]
Apr 04, 2008 (4:31 pm)
There seems to be a loyalty to the 2nd generation Avalon that may not exist in the 3rd. We leased our 2003 XLS for 4 years, and then purchased it. We are paying, for a 5-year old car, probably more than if we leased a brand new model of almost any mid-size vehicle. Of course, in 3 years when the payments are over, we will still have about $9000 of equity, so the comparison is not exactly fair.
Our Avalon has not been trouble free. Repairs have totaled $1400. Nevertheless, my wife - who views any used car with complete suspicion - is enchanted with the comfort, the relatively strong performance and, amazingly, the looks. Every time we get into a 2008 car or SUV we find ourselves comparing them unfavorably with the 2003 Avalon.
We have owned a wide variety of cars including three Saabs, a Buick Regal GSE (probably our favorite after the Avalon), a VW Jetta, an Olds Aurora, a Maserati and, for fun, a restored Nash Metropolitan. Never in a lifetime would I have thought that an Avalon would capture our imagination and loyalty.
Good luck with your search!
#3484 of 3629 1995 toyota avalon rear door
May 07, 2008 (2:13 pm)
I am unable to open my back door on the 1995 toyota avalon. How do I fix this issue?