Last post on May 18, 2013 at 5:41 AM
You are in the Toyota Highlander
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Toyota Highlander, SUV
#2738 of 5314 Re: steering wheel vibration [kman49]
Jun 08, 2005 (5:57 pm)
I haven't checked any of the Highlander forums for awhile, and I just happened back for a visit. I've had a vibration problem with my 2001 Highlander V6 AWD almost since it was new. It starts around 65 mph, and comes and goes while you're driving. Nobody knows what causes it or how to fix it. Of course, they balanced the tires and performed alignments at least a dozen times.
Bridgestone replaced two of the original Dueller tires, a dealer claimed to replace a front half-shaft (although I later found out they didn't, because the tech claims he didn't have the right tool for the job), the dealer replaced all of the original tires with Michelin Cross Terrains, another dealer attempted to diagnose it by pulling a new Highlander off the lot, then switching parts with mine, including both front half-shafts plus the main driveshaft to the rear wheels, and nothing worked.
Then, the dealer took off the factory steel wheels and put on a set of factory alloys. That made the vibration go away . . . for awhile. Now it's coming back. This tells me all they did was mask the symptoms; they didn't really solve the problem.
Toyota did try to fix it, so I have to give them credit for that. However, they haven't been able to do so, so I've decided to dump it. It's a shame, because it only has 38K miles, and it's been an exemplary vehicle otherwise. This has not been a happy ownership experience.
For me, I notice the vibration first in the steering wheel. If you lift your hands off the wheel, you see it shake from left to right. Then you can begin to feel it through your feet, in the floorboards, and finally, the seats start to shake. This comes and goes as you're driving on the highway. Eventually, the CD cases start rattling in their holder, which is what it was doing before they installed the factory alloys. The only way to make it stop was to slow down to below 55. Now, the steering wheel is starting to shake again, so I know it's coming back.
Anyway, my suggestion to you, if you want, is start an arbitration process. When Toyota officials start calling you, asking if you'd like to give them a chance to "fix" it, say "no." Once your vehicle is past the 3-year, 36K warranty period, you are no longer eligible for arbitration, which is where I'm at. I suppose I could go to court, but that would be on my dime, whereas Toyota pays for the arbitration process.
I phoned Toyota today, and they say there is no service bulletin regarding this problem on this vehicle. So, if they in fact know that a problem exists, they still don't know how to fix it.
Good luck to you.
#2739 of 5314 Re: steering wheel vibration [retropia]
Jun 09, 2005 (5:19 am)
What have the dealers done with the brakes? My humble opinion is that this is a brake rotor issue, gets worse as the rotors heat up, changes a little each time they remove and replace a wheel because of the new torque from the lug nuts. Why are your rotors heating just driving along? Faulty caliper(s) causing the pads to keep in contact with the rotors. Why does it go away? Once the rotors 'wobble' enough they push the pads back into the calipers (just a little tiny bit) and the rotors cool down.
'Course, maybe the dealer who swapped parts swapped these brake parts, too.
Driveshaft vibration wouldn't come and go, or get worse the longer you drive.
There have been many posts about warped rotors on this forum, and my 2001 will exhibit signs of warped rotors if I get the brakes hot.
I'll bet yours is an extreme case, and that new rotors and calipers would fix it.
And beware the often stated advice to properly and evenly torque the lug nuts.
#2740 of 5314 Re: steering wheel vibration [jrfiero]
Jun 09, 2005 (9:43 am)
No dealership mechanics have said anything about the brake rotors, about a possible problem with them or having tested brake parts from the donor Highlander. It's going in tomorrow for a final service, so I'll ask the service mgr. However, unless there's a factory bulletin on the issue, I'm not sure I want them to do any further experimenting. They might inadvertently make the vibration worse, which would make it difficult to sell, and since it's past the original warranty period, I'd likely be the one paying for the new rotors and calipers, which might or might not resolve the vibration.
After four years of diagnosis experimentation, with nothing better than a temporary cessation of symptoms, I'm tired. I want out of this relationship.
But thanks for the suggestions . . . it might help someone else. If there is some miracle epiphany at the dealership tomorrow, I'll come back here to report.
#2741 of 5314 Re: steering wheel vibration [retropia]
Jun 10, 2005 (8:14 pm)
Isn't the drivetrain warranted for 5 years? I can't remember if the rotors are included in the drivetrain, but a quick check of the warranty should delineate what constitutes the drivetrain for warranty purposes.
jrfiero, excellent deduction on possible cause -- I was trying to theorize the cause myself but wasn't able to come up with anything that would explain why replacing the wheels would only temporarily resolve the problem until I read your post!
#2742 of 5314 Re: steering wheel vibration [landdriver]
Jun 11, 2005 (8:31 pm)
It's the standard 3-year/36,000 mile warranty, which I'm now past. Supposedly my vehicle is covered under the extended 8-yr/100,000 mile warranty due to oil sludge problems, but only problems related specifically to oil sludge. If I remember right, the only parts covered to 5-years/50,000 miles are things related to polution control, like the catalytic converter.
The dealer service rep said that if the rotors were warped, I'd feel a vibration on braking, and I don't. He said the calipers wouldn't be contributing to the problem. He said they have a test they can perform, where they place a micrometer on the rotor, then spin it, to see if it's warped. The test costs $75, which would come out of my pocket, and he said he wouldn't recommend it if I'm not feeling any vibration on braking.
The service rep said the technician drove it, and he claimed it felt like a wheel was out of balance. (Every technician always says that.) They wanted to perform a $63 wheel balance, which they said was the only thing they could do. Of course, the wheels have been balanced dozens of times before without eliminating the vibration, so why bother.
I just wanted to confirm that there were no factory bulletins on the problem, and the rep said there are not. I didn't want a dealer technician continuing to experiment, especially since I would now have to pay for it, and the odds of anyone ever figuring out the problem are slim.
It's time to get rid of it; good luck to any of the rest of you experiencing similar symptoms.
#2743 of 5314 Re: steering wheel vibration [retropia]
Jun 11, 2005 (10:24 pm)
Not to belabor the point, but I checked the warranty booklet for my '01 while out driving today and the drivetrain is warranted for 5 years or 60,000 miles, so my take is the warranty should cover your problem since its obviously a drivetrain issue and your HL only has 38K miles.
#2744 of 5314 2001 Highlander High Oil consumption
Jun 12, 2005 (5:07 pm)
I have a 2001 Highlander 3.0 litre V6 4WD. This car has been great except for one problem that I am about to go to the dealer with for the second time. At highway speeds, (above 2700 RPM on the tach) it uses oil like I owned an oil well.
Back in Sept 2004, after a year of "monitoring" the situation, the dealer replaced the piston rings and valve seals on the engine. They told me that the oil rings were seized. I accepted that explanation since it sounded reasonable.
I don't do all that much highway long distance driving so it was not until this last week during my family vacation trip that I found out that the problem is not solved. A 1200KM trip required 6 quarts of oil.
I found it down 2 quarts at the first fuel stop, which was after about 300 miles at 65-70 mph (2700-3000 rpm). One more quart went in at about 450 miles.
I then experimented a bit on a side trip one day and kept the speed down around 55-60 for 180 miles and it did not use a drop of oil. On the return leg of that trip, I let the speed move up again to my normal cruising range of 65-70 and sure enough, another quart of oil disappeared. It took 3 more quarts to get home. Right now, its down at least one quart, since I wanted the dealer to see that there is oil missing since they did oil and filter about 1800 miles ago.
Can anybody comment on what is going on with this engine? I don't know enough about the internals to make an informed argument with the dealer who I will be visiting tomorrow. I still have warranty (60000 mile/ 5 year power train) and Im pretty sure they will have to do something, but since they have already DONE a partial rebuild and not fixed the problem, what should I suggest they look at since its obviously more than rings and valve seals. Having the car laid up for a week or more at a time with no loaner is a PItA.
Any advise or insight would be greatly appreciated.
#2745 of 5314 Re: steering wheel vibration [landdriver]
Jun 13, 2005 (5:54 am)
Re the warranty, anything you requested be fixed during the warranty period that Toyota has been unable to fix is covered forever, in my humble opinion.
Example: I had a driver's door power window noise which was different than the other windows, but it still worked. I noted it every time I went to the dealer, and they always said it was fine. Warranty ran out, noise got worse, dealer said I needed a new regulator assembly, I pointed out my previous complaints, and Toyota paid for fixing it.
Also, a front wheel bearing replacement was covered under the 5yr/60,000 mile warranty, which isn't to say calipers and rotors are, but it's close.
You don't have vibration under braking? Does it go away under braking? Curious.
#2746 of 5314 2001 HL oil consumption
Jun 13, 2005 (12:40 pm)
Here are a few more reasons for high oil consumption:
Worn or damaged main bearings,connecting rod bearings,camshaft bearings and crank shaft journals.
Distorted cylinders, clogged PCV valve, worn valve stems and guides, dirty cooling system and worn timing gear chain.
You are a good candidate for a new engine. Toyota cannot check these possibilities without a complete engine tear down.
Hope you kept good service records, especially the oil changes. Take your records with you and demand a new engine. good luck.
#2747 of 5314 Re: 2001 Highlander High Oil consumption [skutflut]
Jun 13, 2005 (1:25 pm)
Are you sure that the oil is not leaking out?
Are there any puddles under the vehicle?
You might try having someone drive behind you at highway speeds to see if they can see any leakage.
Is there smoke coming out of the tailpipe?
If you are using this much oil, if it was going through the rings, you would get a lot of smoke.
I'm a little skeptical of the "oil rings were seized" story.
Rings can wear or crack, which will cause oil consuption, and will also cause a lot of smoke, but I've never heard of seized. If anything involving the rings seized, I would think that this would cause cylinder wall damage that just replacing the rings would not fix.
I would push for a new engine or complete overhaul.
I have a 2002 that uses no oil between changes.