It just needs an oil change 🤨

Joined
Oct 7, 2012
Messages
5,561
Location
Staten Island, NY
It's never just an oil change when a car comes to me 🙄
Lets take it from the top and have some laughs, otherwise I might cry 😭
2011 Avalon Limited, 3.5 2GR V6, 62k
I remember this car when it was new, at one point it was reasonably cared for and loved
It has fallen somewhat from grace
Death by a thousand cuts as I call it
I picked it up and was told I could have it until the end of the holiday weekend
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No idea how the grille emblem went AWOL, but it looks ghetto AF without it
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That's better 👀
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Drivers seat belt buckle stopper missing
That's trifling 😒
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Power rear sunshade stuck permanently up
That'll have you reversing 👨‍🦯
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Not sure how you even break that
But it's staying that way
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OE parts 🥰
First things first, the rear blind
I decided it's not worth putting money into, and how lowering it and then unplugging it would be the best option
If they would've told me sooner, I probably could've nudged it closed and pulled the fuse
But no, now it's seized up, and it makes machine gun sounds when you shift into reverse
I've had this parcel shelf out before, about 5 years ago, to replace the LED CHMSL that's a common failure on Avalon
It's significantly more difficult to remove with the blind stuck in the vertical position
So I pulled the pillar trims, and fought with the shelf trim
Those two bolts holding the blind mechanism in were a real PITA
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The motor was badly seized
I didn't really want to wait on a gear to attempt a repair, and cheaper Chinese motors are out of stock
So I just unscrewed it, the blind retracted, and bolted it back together
Sans electrical connector
 
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Installation was still a moderate PITA
Wait, is that Project Milan and Daily Driver Camry 🧐
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That's better 👀
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I literally just finished putting the weatherstripping back, closed the door, turned around, and the skies opened 🌧️
+1hr for lunch
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Heavy leakage from a power steering line, so I gave it a quick degrease so I could try and locate it
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A bit dusty under here, but otherwise in reasonable order
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No more groping around for the seat belt buckle 🤌
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Air filter was nasty, swapped it and cleaned the MAF
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Cabin filter was also nasty, and the glovebox door damper moderately damaged
I repaired it to reasonable function, and reassembled
I'm famous for my A/C refresher services, but I'm abstaining this time due to budget
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A quick hit with some PlastX brings the shine back to these eyes (left vs right)
After which I discovered underneath the haze, both marker lights were out
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If you want this stupid little W5W light to work
 
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You gotta pull the wheel well liner and fish your arm through the fender
Not fun at all
Once that was done, I turned to the TPMS light
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One of the 5 isn't transmitting anything, even after re-initialization
So I'll probably order 1 Denso unit, and have my tire shop figure out the dud, swap and program
I'm not equipped to do either
Onto the main reason this car is here, an oil change
This is my first time dealing with the Toyota cartridge filter
It was a non issue, but I suspect very few of any people before me used the oil filter housing drain plug with the plastic standpipe
It wouldn't come loose, I had to drop the whole unit as 1
Once I had the filter housing out, I had to use the M12 impact to separate the plug from the housing
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The crud that accumulated in the bottom suggests to me no one ever really uses the drain port
All new o rings are included in the package, a nice touch
Toyota OE filter, and 6.something qts of PP 5w30 went in
No leaks that I could see
After tightening the filter housing and drain plug, I have no idea how people overtighten these things so badly
It threads so nice and freely, then it just dead stops, barely any further to go before your way past the torque spec
Hand snug with a 3/8 ratchet seemed more than enough for me
 
Then I set tire pressures, went to check the spare in the trunk
Found out it was low, plus all the spare tire/jack hardware were strewn through the trunk
Literally no car I've ever seen other than mine has the spare and tools correctly bolted down
WHY DOES MY CAR RATTLE
The rattle:
So another half hour of trunk reconstruction and tool stowage
Found the hold down bolt, and the locking lug nut key
...kinda useful to have at the ready 🙄
Most of this was fairly comedic, because I'm slowly learning to expect less from "shops" around here
But this really had me punching air
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Instead of installing a handfull of plastic clips, and one or two missing bolts on the front splash shield
LET'S JUST ZIPTIE IT TO THE OXYGEN SENSOR 🤬
What a disgrace

Cue a half hour or so of ramming Amazon special clips, and some miscellaneous Toyota hardware I had laying around in, until the front splash shield/bumper is sturdy

No leaks, the way I like it
 
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I thought since I couldn't help the TPMS light, I'd have another look at the power steering leak

So it looks like someone (not me) added a hose clamp on the reservoir side of the hose, in an attempt to stop the leak
But further investigation leads me further down that hose
Apparently it's been leaving stains on the paver driveway, and they've been topping up heavy and often, judging by the 6 bottles of Fram power steering fluid I found in the trunk
Now I know that rubber hose is probably deteriorated, but that entire line is $150+ from Toyota
And I know constant tension clamps are technically superior, but in the moment they're being a constant failure
We're going for cost effective here
So I dashed to the local Advance and asked for the finest stainless clamps they had
I pulled the torque strut mount, and evacuated the fluid from the reservoir
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While not ideal, it's stopped the bleeding leak
I evacuated and refilled with Dex VI a few times, as I think that's closer to the cap recommend Dex III than store brand PSF
I'll thoroughly degrease tomorrow and recheck
 
I thought since I couldn't help the TPMS light, I'd have another look at the power steering leak

So it looks like someone (not me) added a hose clamp on the reservoir side of the hose, in an attempt to stop the leak
But further investigation leads me further down that hose
Apparently it's been leaving stains on the paver driveway, and they've been topping up heavy and often, judging by the 6 bottles of Fram power steering fluid I found in the trunk
Now I know that rubber hose is probably deteriorated, but that entire line is $150+ from Toyota
And I know constant tension clamps are technically superior, but in the moment they're being a constant failure
We're going for cost effective here
So I dashed to the local Advance and asked for the finest stainless clamps they had
I pulled the torque strut mount, and evacuated the fluid from the reservoir
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While not ideal, it's stopped the bleeding leak
I evacuated and refilled with Dex VI a few times, as I think that's closer to the cap recommend Dex III than store brand PSF
I'll thoroughly degrease tomorrow and recheck

They ought to give you a medal for all the work you did!
 
Kuddos to your time and effort. Talking to the wifey last week, we decided were gonna buy a 2022 Rav 4 next year/2023. Luv Toyota and sorry to see that Avalon with sooooo many issues. My Aunt has been buying new Camrys every 4 years since 1990.
 
Death from 1,000 cuts is a perfect analogy - I have ridden in cars like this where you see stuff and just ponder silently how was that even broken (like the seat heater and buckle stopper example you posted).
 
It's disappointing that there were so many problems with an Avalon, which is generally super reliable. I suppose that's what you get if you're rough with a car and never fix anything in 11 years. But at least they changed the oil.
 
So I degreased it some more, and then drove it some more
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I believe I've stopped the bleeding
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Cleaned and installed engine cover
That plastic panel above the grille was missing all the clips, got that put back together properly
Took it for a wash and vacuum
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That's a major improvement over no badge and yellowed headlights
But I can't fix everything, this car has been ruined IMO by shoddy and indifferent work over the years
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Why would you even do that, just living with the dent would've been a better option 🤷‍♂️
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All 4 wheels are curbed, shod with tires from brands I've never heard of, from countries that I didn't know could make tires
Mismatched because why not 🙄
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It got into a parking lot battle early in life, I remember the rear bumper being replaced and painted
One of the chrome exhaust tips has been askew since then
I pulled on it, it fell off
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But that's one less rattle 😒
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It's a plush comfortable ride, let down by presumed factory alignment and bogus tires
2GR V6 brings the power, and the cooled seats/AC make cruising the highway with the SiriusXM going easy
I've heard the Avalon branded as the Japanese Crown Vic, and I can agree with that
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The headliner is starting to go, which is disappointing
It's only 12 years old with 62k on it
My Camry isn't as bad, and it's 17 years old with 188k on it
 
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Don't keep up with the wiper blades, then let them scratch the original windshield
Be a car owner 💪 🙄
The rear sunshades been stuck up for so long, the inside of the rear glass got so dirty
Rear vision is much improved 🙂
I'm returning it to it's owner, I've done all I'm willing to do at this time
Mechanically, there's precious little wrong with it
That torque strut mount is getting a little tired, but that's not abnormal
And there's a stored code in the PCM for P0504, Brake Switch A/B Correlation
I mean, the brake lights work, the push to start works, the BTSI works
But it somehow feels there's a problem with the brake switch?
If all it needs is a torque strut and a brake switch @ 12 years old, that's not the worst IMO
 
This vehicle is proof that it's possible to ruin pretty much anything.

One of my (former) neighbours has the Avalon model that preceded this one. I've had my dibs in for it for a decade or more. It's basically perfect.

He had a lot of trouble with the driver's seat when it was new. After a couple of false starts the dealer just replaced the seat. As far as I know that's its entire history.
 
How did you de-grease that engine in your neighborhood??
A can or two of Gunk while out in the street
Luckily, everyone is working on their pools, so the gutter is a mess with DE earth and tree detritus
For the most part, no one complains about my activities
Because shortly after they'll need my activities 🤌
But I also try to be respectful
 
That’s not so much a sign of shoddy work as it is downright rawhide abuse. Teenager’s car?
It's original owners were a 65+ moderately well off couple
I've known the family most of my life, they had some real Brooklyn spec Caddys 🤌, a W204 C Class, they had an Infiniti M45 that I adored as a kid
Unfortunately, they're health deteriorated in the past 5 years or so, and the car became less of a priority
Eventually neither of them could drive, so it became more of a house car
Chemo and MS eventually stopped both of them from driving, COVID unfortunately taking them both in the past 2 years 🙁
Their daughter inherited it, altho she was it's primary driver in the end
I was barely out of middle school when this car was new, I didn't anticipate it being around 12 years, nor me working on it ⏳
It's not like they abuse it like a teen would, redlining it cold, lighting up the tires
it would get oil changes, brakes, tires as needed
But never more than needed
Mix in some indifferent get it done but not for too much 💰 mechanics, and I can see how the little things began to pile up
The last time it has a set of 4 matching name brand tires, was the POS Bridgestones it came with new
Because apparently $800 for a set of Michelin's is too much money
Its got 3 different tires, from brands I've never heard of, from countries that I didn't know made tires
But I don't feel bad about any of the work I completed, or the money I'm gonna charge
I'm into it about $220 in costs
Add + $100 for myself
Considering it was hot and rainy, it took up my Friday evening, all of my Saturday, and my Sunday morning, I don't think I'm being unreasonable
Many of the things I found I brought to her attention, she had no idea about, and was concerned
I'm not gonna dig into her too hard, but she will be heeding my guidance going forward
And I'm learning that I can't work for costs anymore, there has to be something in it for me
In 6 months, when it needs another oil change, I'll have it back and probably address that torque strut mount and brake light switch
 
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