Last post on Oct 01, 2013 at 4:33 AM
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Toyota Avalon, Sedan
#88 of 119 1998 Toyota Avalon starter caused a fire
Dec 13, 2008 (2:41 am)
Well, after having a week or two of intermittent starting issues, (i.e. . 1. turn key nothing happens, turn key second time car starts; 2. turned key car started, driving down street spinning sound coming from under hood but went away after a couple of minutes). Wife started the car at work yesterday and the car went up in smoke within a minute or so after it started. It appears right now that the starter either shorted or somehow stayed engaged. After she turned the key off the motor stopped but the starter keep spinning or so she thinks. Parking garage was filled with smoke, fire department was called and they said it appeared to be an electrical wiring and fire issue in the area of the starter. After looking at the car just below the starter, there is what appears to be burnt oil or plastic melted all over the frame and mounting rail for the cruise control module. It appears the starter may have gotten so hot that it caused the housing of the CC module to melt. All electrical circuits are non functional, so I believe the fusible link is shot as well. Battery is less than a year old, (replaced the original after 9 Years), cable from battery to starter seems to be okay, wiring around starter appears to be okay, Car was towed to local Toyota dealers for an estimate of repairs, but I am sure it will not be pretty. BTW - car is one owner with 76K miles. Have a 2004 Tundra quad with over 90K, and have really had nothing but routine service issues on either vehicle up until this event. After this event, the wife was so scared she is afraid to buy another Toyota. From reading all the web info, it does appear that the starters on the Toyotas are their weakest link. One would think that a fuse would pop or the fusible link will go before the starter would get so hot that it would cause a fire to surrounding items . Oh, yes, I checked all the fuses and everything is okay including the one for the starter circuit. Unfortunately, the lead going to the starter only has the fusible link, I suspect.
#89 of 119 Re: 1998 Toyota Avalon starter caused a fire [WhiteAv]
Dec 13, 2008 (1:05 pm)
Well, it turns out I was luckier than I expected. The starter was toast and needed to be replaced. It also took out the battery. Battery was a year old and was covered by warranty, so there was no charge to replace it. Total cost $220 labor and $330 for a Toyota REBUILT starter. Charging system was checked out, all electrical items seem to be working as expected. I kept the starter and when I torn it apart the inside of the armature was melted unbelieveably. Only remaining issue is the smell from the burning plastic, windings, etc. The home garage smells of an electrical fire with the car sitting in it. I suspect I will need to steam clean the engine area and wait a few weeks to get rid of the foul smell. My suggestion to anyone coming across this post, is to replace your starter if you begin to have similar symptoms. It appears to me that the average mechanic could replace the starter in less than an hour. There is only one power plug and two bolts holding it in place. I would have done it myself but I was concerned that other wiring may have been burnt as well. Luckily it wasn't.
#90 of 119 Re: 2006 Avalon cranks but won't start - HELP! [rbarbot]
Jan 31, 2009 (1:39 pm)
Did you ever find out what the problem was and more important how to fix the starting problem. I am now having the same problem with my '99 Toyota Sienna.
#91 of 119 Toyota Avalong won't recognize key or start
Feb 04, 2009 (10:11 am)
My dad's car needed charging. After i charged it, the car won't detect the key. When I get in, and press the button, nothing. The no-key icon keeps flashing. It is really cold with like 6" of snow on the ground. Anyone know why this is happening and how to fix it?
#92 of 119 Re: Toyota Avalong won't recognize key or start [frook2008]
Feb 04, 2009 (3:32 pm)
Have you checked the battery in the key?
According to the owner's manual (do you have one) if the key battery is dead touch the Toyota logo on the key to the start button. This is supposed to start the car. All this is on page 395 in the 2008 manual under section 5/2. Also, do you have 2 keys and are both inoperable.
#93 of 119 starter problems 95 avalon
Sep 21, 2009 (6:35 pm)
My avalon has been having trouble starting for awhile now, at first I thought it was just because it was cold, but its did it throughout the summer as well. I didn't think much of it and jumped it to get it going, but one day while driving it just turned off on me and I lost all power steering and brakes! All I had to do is jump it and it turned on immediately. I took it into a shop and they said they checked all the wires for me and if it did it again it was the computer that would have to be fixed. It started fine for a few months and then the other day after a 18 hour trip it just died again in a parking lot. When I turn the key all the normal lights come on, including the "door open" ding but when I turn the key it ticks and thats all. My sister and I messed with it this afternoon, took off the battery connections and cleaned them and just took a look at the wires and it suddenly started just fine. Then four hours later I went out to start it and it wouldn't start. I just don't know what to think about it, I doesn't make sense to me that messing with the wires and jump starting it would have anything to do with the computer.
#94 of 119 Re: starter problems 95 avalon [annamj5]
Sep 22, 2009 (5:10 am)
Sounds like a poor connection to the battery. But this is 14 year old car and electrical problems could be anywhere. If the battery is good you might try replacing the cables that go to the starter and various other places. Corrosion was a big problem in the first generation Avalon. You have indicated that cleaning the cables helped.. but the cable itself may be failing after all this time. Just a guess, others may have more ideas....
#95 of 119 Re: starter problems 95 avalon
Oct 09, 2009 (12:40 pm)
I had the starting system checked and the battery, starter, and alternator all checked just fine. I've tried looking at some of the wires connecting to them and they look fine to me, no corrosion. I have been having to start it most of the time now with a jump box and only occasionally does it ever start on its own. I changed to battery in it today and it did not start over. When I use the jump box it takes a minute or two of before it starts and I have to turn the key at least four or five times. It has not stopped while driving so far, and seems to drive just fine even when lights, AC, and radio are on. I always try to start it before jumping it and a few times it has tried to start but then quits. Pretty much at a loss right now, the only explanation I've come to is it is possessed- by what I do not know.
#96 of 119 Key won't turn
Oct 16, 2009 (12:15 pm)
I have a 2000 Avalon XLS w/76,000 miles. It is garaged and receives regular maintenance. Yesterday, I tried to crank it and the key would not turn in the ignition, the spare key would not turn either. I played with both for a while, removing them and trying again and it finally started. This has never happened before, but I am a little concerned as I am about to take it on the road for an 800-mile trip and don't want to be stranded away from home. Has anyone else ever had this happen? The keys just did not turn--no sound, just as if I had put the wrong key in the ignition. THANKS
#97 of 119 Re: Key won't turn [funtally]
Oct 16, 2009 (1:50 pm)
This happens to my wife's Sienna once in a while. All that has to be done is take the steering wheel and forcefully turn it left and right (even though it's been locked). Actually, it just happened to me today in her car and the situation was quickly corrected.
I was told to do this by my Toyota Service Department.