Author Topic: Need expert car mechanic help....my Toyota might be possessed by demons  (Read 1874 times)

intellectsucks

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 235
My 04 Toyota sienna is having a bunch of weird issues that I can't even begin to diagnose.  Everything except the check engine started yesterday, the check engine started about a month ago.

Circumstances: 170k miles, VERY cold today 12-15 farenheit. I barely warmed up the car before driving.

1. Turning the wheel while backing out of my driveway was much more difficult than normal.  I wondered if there were any issue with the power steering.
2. I swerved the car left and right to check steering while going about 15-20 MPH. At that point the brake light and tire pressure lights turned on. When I drove straight again they turned off.
3. When accelerating to passing speed, either from a stop or while moving, the car didn't immediately accelerate. The engine revved as if it was in neutral for a half second or so, then the car accelerated in a burst.
4. The radio was randomly losing power.
5. While driving over 40 MPH, the speedometer was dropping and then jumping back up. It would go from about 45-15 then back up in quick regular jumps. These jumps would happen every 3-4 seconds. While this was happening the check engine light would occasionally blink, but was not flashing steadily. During this time nearly every warning light was on: ABS, CHECK ENGINE, TRAC OFF, TIRE PRESSURE, vsc, little car with squiggly lines, brake.
6. I turned on the heater onto the auto setting (automatically adjusts air temp and blower speed to hit desired temp). It turned on full blast but then shut off a second later. The panel still showed it was on and going full blast with the correct temp but the fan had shut off. A few seconds later it turned on again.

Today, I drove it to Autozone to have them pull the codes and it drove fine on the way there, only the check engine light was on.  The pulled codes and the only code that came up was P0430.  I turned right out of the parking lot and all the same stuff started happening again.  I turned around to see if they could re-pull the codes now that it was happening again and the car went back to driving normal.  I drove around for a bit to see if I could get it to happen again and when I hit a bump while making a right hand turn, it happened again, this time I felt the car misfire as well.

Here is a brief video I was able to take while it was happening yesterday:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ate2jeuewSg

I'm happy to provide any other info or attempt any other diagnostics/tests.

lhamo

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 131
  • Location: Seattle
Re: Need expert car mechanic help....my Toyota might be possessed by demons
« Reply #1 on: February 16, 2020, 04:03:33 PM »
https://www.engine-codes.com/p0430_toyota.html

Is there some reason you have been ignoring the "check engine" light for a month? The car has been telling you it should be checked out.  Ignoring that may have done even more damage beyond whatever the original problem was.

v8rx7guy

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1614
  • Location: Bellingham, WA
Re: Need expert car mechanic help....my Toyota might be possessed by demons
« Reply #2 on: February 16, 2020, 04:25:48 PM »
Could it be that you just need a new serpentine (accessory) belt?  That would for sure explain the power steering.  Almost all of the other symptoms could be low battery voltage related which would be due to a broken serpentine belt since the alternator is not doing its job charging the battery. 

intellectsucks

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 235
Re: Need expert car mechanic help....my Toyota might be possessed by demons
« Reply #3 on: February 16, 2020, 05:03:50 PM »
https://www.engine-codes.com/p0430_toyota.html

Is there some reason you have been ignoring the "check engine" light for a month? The car has been telling you it should be checked out.  Ignoring that may have done even more damage beyond whatever the original problem was.

For the last month the code has been the same: p0430.  This is caused by a fault somewhere in the exhaust system. I've been replacing parts that could trigger from cheapest/easiest and working my way up. I replaced the air filter, MAF sensor and PCV valve over the last 4-6 months as time and money have allowed. I've been planning on replacing the easier of two O2 sensors, just haven't had the chance.

Anyways, it looks like I solved the issue, found someone on a car repair forum with the exact same issues that I was having.  Someone suggested he check/replace the negative battery cable; if it's loose it can jiggle around while driving and cause voltage fluctuations. I tried this and it seems to be running fine now. That guy fixed his by replacing the alternator, which I guess is my next step (or the timing chain as suggested by v8rx7guy) if it comes back.

Thanks for the advice guys!!

v8rx7guy

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1614
  • Location: Bellingham, WA
Re: Need expert car mechanic help....my Toyota might be possessed by demons
« Reply #4 on: February 16, 2020, 07:28:32 PM »
https://www.engine-codes.com/p0430_toyota.html

Is there some reason you have been ignoring the "check engine" light for a month? The car has been telling you it should be checked out.  Ignoring that may have done even more damage beyond whatever the original problem was.

For the last month the code has been the same: p0430.  This is caused by a fault somewhere in the exhaust system. I've been replacing parts that could trigger from cheapest/easiest and working my way up. I replaced the air filter, MAF sensor and PCV valve over the last 4-6 months as time and money have allowed. I've been planning on replacing the easier of two O2 sensors, just haven't had the chance.

Anyways, it looks like I solved the issue, found someone on a car repair forum with the exact same issues that I was having.  Someone suggested he check/replace the negative battery cable; if it's loose it can jiggle around while driving and cause voltage fluctuations. I tried this and it seems to be running fine now. That guy fixed his by replacing the alternator, which I guess is my next step (or the timing chain as suggested by v8rx7guy) if it comes back.

Thanks for the advice guys!!

To be clear... not timing chain, serpentine belt is my suggestion to look at.  Serpentine belt is like a $100 job, timing chain $1,500 job, if that engine even had one?

intellectsucks

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 235
Re: Need expert car mechanic help....my Toyota might be possessed by demons
« Reply #5 on: February 16, 2020, 08:03:37 PM »
https://www.engine-codes.com/p0430_toyota.html

Is there some reason you have been ignoring the "check engine" light for a month? The car has been telling you it should be checked out.  Ignoring that may have done even more damage beyond whatever the original problem was.

For the last month the code has been the same: p0430.  This is caused by a fault somewhere in the exhaust system. I've been replacing parts that could trigger from cheapest/easiest and working my way up. I replaced the air filter, MAF sensor and PCV valve over the last 4-6 months as time and money have allowed. I've been planning on replacing the easier of two O2 sensors, just haven't had the chance.

Anyways, it looks like I solved the issue, found someone on a car repair forum with the exact same issues that I was having.  Someone suggested he check/replace the negative battery cable; if it's loose it can jiggle around while driving and cause voltage fluctuations. I tried this and it seems to be running fine now. That guy fixed his by replacing the alternator, which I guess is my next step (or the timing chain as suggested by v8rx7guy) if it comes back.

Thanks for the advice guys!!

To be clear... not timing chain, serpentine belt is my suggestion to look at.  Serpentine belt is like a $100 job, timing chain $1,500 job, if that engine even had one?

Understood. Sorry if I used the wrong terminology, I thought that Toyotas didn't have serpentine belts.  As you may or may not be able to tell I'm a bit of a noob when it comes to car repair.

v8rx7guy

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1614
  • Location: Bellingham, WA
Re: Need expert car mechanic help....my Toyota might be possessed by demons
« Reply #6 on: February 16, 2020, 08:25:48 PM »
https://www.engine-codes.com/p0430_toyota.html

Is there some reason you have been ignoring the "check engine" light for a month? The car has been telling you it should be checked out.  Ignoring that may have done even more damage beyond whatever the original problem was.

For the last month the code has been the same: p0430.  This is caused by a fault somewhere in the exhaust system. I've been replacing parts that could trigger from cheapest/easiest and working my way up. I replaced the air filter, MAF sensor and PCV valve over the last 4-6 months as time and money have allowed. I've been planning on replacing the easier of two O2 sensors, just haven't had the chance.

Anyways, it looks like I solved the issue, found someone on a car repair forum with the exact same issues that I was having.  Someone suggested he check/replace the negative battery cable; if it's loose it can jiggle around while driving and cause voltage fluctuations. I tried this and it seems to be running fine now. That guy fixed his by replacing the alternator, which I guess is my next step (or the timing chain as suggested by v8rx7guy) if it comes back.

Thanks for the advice guys!!

To be clear... not timing chain, serpentine belt is my suggestion to look at.  Serpentine belt is like a $100 job, timing chain $1,500 job, if that engine even had one?

Understood. Sorry if I used the wrong terminology, I thought that Toyotas didn't have serpentine belts.  As you may or may not be able to tell I'm a bit of a noob when it comes to car repair.

You're thinking of a timing belt.  A serpentine belt is a small belt that runs all your vehicles accessories.   Power steering, alternator, water pump and sometimes AC (though that can be a separate belt.  If it weren't for your Power Steering being out, I'd believe the ground cable theory... but since the power steering is out in addition to all the things, my guess is your need a new serpentine (accessory) belt.  Did jiggling the ground cable fix the power steering?

lthenderson

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1545
Re: Need expert car mechanic help....my Toyota might be possessed by demons
« Reply #7 on: February 17, 2020, 07:25:25 AM »
I don't have a solution for your problems but I used to get P0430 errors all the time among my Toyotas and Hondas. Then on advice of some repair guys, I stopped using ethanol blended gas and that problem went away. Not only did they go away, but I haven't had the error reappear in five or six years (in the same vehicles) since I stopped using the ethanol blended gas. I think something with the ethanol gums up the O2 sensors causing the P0430 error.

lutorm

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 154
  • Location: A large island in the middle of the Pacific Ocean
Re: Need expert car mechanic help....my Toyota might be possessed by demons
« Reply #8 on: February 17, 2020, 10:49:39 AM »
Could it be that you just need a new serpentine (accessory) belt?  That would for sure explain the power steering.  Almost all of the other symptoms could be low battery voltage related which would be due to a broken serpentine belt since the alternator is not doing its job charging the battery.
Agreed, the other problems definitely are electrical... but what about the transmission? I don't know what an automatic trans would do if the voltage sagged.

Did the alternator warning light go on at any point? Were there any other signs of low battery, like slow cranking?

The reason I don't think it's the serpentine belt is because if there really was zero charging, the van would have died shortly after it started, not just magically fixed itself. Since the problem is intermittent, I'd look for bad connections on the battery, ground strap, etc. Wiggle any of the large cables and make sure they're not loose in any way. Also not a bad idea to measure the battery voltage when the engine is running to see that you get 14.x V to make sure it's charging.

v8rx7guy

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1614
  • Location: Bellingham, WA
Re: Need expert car mechanic help....my Toyota might be possessed by demons
« Reply #9 on: February 17, 2020, 10:54:17 AM »
Could it be that you just need a new serpentine (accessory) belt?  That would for sure explain the power steering.  Almost all of the other symptoms could be low battery voltage related which would be due to a broken serpentine belt since the alternator is not doing its job charging the battery.
Agreed, the other problems definitely are electrical... but what about the transmission? I don't know what an automatic trans would do if the voltage sagged.

Did the alternator warning light go on at any point? Were there any other signs of low battery, like slow cranking?

The reason I don't think it's the serpentine belt is because if there really was zero charging, the van would have died shortly after it started, not just magically fixed itself. Since the problem is intermittent, I'd look for bad connections on the battery, ground strap, etc. Wiggle any of the large cables and make sure they're not loose in any way. Also not a bad idea to measure the battery voltage when the engine is running to see that you get 14.x V to make sure it's charging.

I've been shocked in the past how long a vehicle will run without charging... especially if you're not running the high voltage users like the lights and such.  I might be exaaggerating, but I feel like I've gone over 30 minutes before in a pinch.

Wrenchturner

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 961
  • Age: 32
  • Location: Canada
Re: Need expert car mechanic help....my Toyota might be possessed by demons
« Reply #10 on: February 17, 2020, 11:46:50 AM »
bad grounding/bad electrical connections are your main culprit.  The transmission issue could be related to bad grounding/low voltage but it could be something else like low fluid/transmission wearing out.

serpentine belt is easy to inspect and should be easy to tell if it's involved.  stiff power steering could have simply been caused by cold weather.  should be relatively easy to isolate variables(fix wiring at battery, charge/replace battery, test alternator output, check power steering in warmer weather, etc).

lutorm

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 154
  • Location: A large island in the middle of the Pacific Ocean
Re: Need expert car mechanic help....my Toyota might be possessed by demons
« Reply #11 on: February 17, 2020, 03:08:58 PM »
I've been shocked in the past how long a vehicle will run without charging... especially if you're not running the high voltage users like the lights and such.  I might be exaaggerating, but I feel like I've gone over 30 minutes before in a pinch.
Yeah I agree, but the OP is talking about driving around for days, with multiple starts. I don't think that's likely.


PrairieBeardstache

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 65
Re: Need expert car mechanic help....my Toyota might be possessed by demons
« Reply #12 on: February 18, 2020, 09:54:52 AM »
bad grounding/bad electrical connections are your main culprit. 

This was my initial thought as well. Could be a bad ground strap. Could be bad battery cables. Could be bad alternator and voltage regulator.

It's somewhere along that chain.

acepedro45

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 232
Re: Need expert car mechanic help....my Toyota might be possessed by demons
« Reply #13 on: February 18, 2020, 12:07:34 PM »
Could it be that you just need a new serpentine (accessory) belt?  That would for sure explain the power steering.  Almost all of the other symptoms could be low battery voltage related which would be due to a broken serpentine belt since the alternator is not doing its job charging the battery.
Quote
Sorry if I used the wrong terminology, I thought that Toyotas didn't have serpentine belts.

Not to be an internet know-it-all, but the 2nd gen Sienna (I have one of similar mileage too) uses a belt to drive the power steering pump and then a different belt to run the other engine accessories. Toyota doesn't call the second one a serpentine belt since it doesn't really "snake" around the engine compartment - it just loops around the alternator and the air conditioner. I'm only pointing it out because it decouples power steering issues from all the other issues the van is having and makes it unlikely it's a single belt that's the issue. For most cars with a traditional serpentine belt @v8rx7guy 's comment would be spot on.

On mine, I've been having spotty power steering on cold days right at startup lately, but it goes away once the engine is warmed up. I was thinking of replacing the power steering belt.

I also once had my van go dead completely because of a loose negative battery terminal. I tightened it up and had no further troubles.



acepedro45

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 232
Re: Need expert car mechanic help....my Toyota might be possessed by demons
« Reply #14 on: February 18, 2020, 12:17:02 PM »
Quote
3. When accelerating to passing speed, either from a stop or while moving, the car didn't immediately accelerate. The engine revved as if it was in neutral for a half second or so, then the car accelerated in a burst.

Thinking about this a little more. I'm still troubled by what you report as #3 and will be curious to know if it recurs. Someone else said maybe voltage could play a role here.

Quote
1. Turning the wheel while backing out of my driveway was much more difficult than normal.  I wondered if there were any issue with the power steering.

Your #1 problem is similar to what I have (and I think it's an old PS belt that needs replacing but I'm not sure myself).

I think every other item on your list can potentially be explained by the bad connection to the battery. ETA: Except the check engine light - but that's one that could be tackled separately and I doubt it's related to your other issues.

Let us know what symptoms recur if any.
« Last Edit: February 18, 2020, 12:20:35 PM by acepedro45 »

Car Jack

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1527
Re: Need expert car mechanic help....my Toyota might be possessed by demons
« Reply #15 on: February 28, 2020, 07:02:45 AM »
I believe you have exactly 2 unrelated problems.

P0430:  I call this the "I'm a Subaru" code.  It's saying that the downstream O2 sensor sees the same or similar OX signal as the upstream.  Causes could be a bad cat, an upstream exhaust leak or problems in the engine running in general.  I would recommend you have a "real" mechanic diagnose this.  There are lots of hack fixes that do nothing.  I've tried them all.  The diode in the downstream O2, the spark plug eliminator, the resistor/cap in the downstream O2.  You really need to know what the sensors are reporting back to the ECU.  This is easy with a scan tool.  If you're not able to do that, get it to someone who can.  If your state doesn't check this for inspection, you likely can just drive the car without issue.  You just won't be able to use your cruise control.

All the other crap you see:  You've got an intermittent ground somewhere.  This is a hunt, pull, clean, reattach activity that you might find right away or you may never find.  Ground points are all over.

Good luck.

Kem

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 156
Re: Need expert car mechanic help....my Toyota might be possessed by demons
« Reply #16 on: February 28, 2020, 09:45:58 AM »
I've had similar issues in a 2001 Honda and a 1989 Blazer that was solved with the 'big 3 wiring upgrade'

A Frame location (in the case of the blazer), 2 locations on main body panels, and an engine block bolt location where cleaned down to bare metal.  In addition, the battery terminals/connectors and main fuse block terminals were cleaned to bright clean metal.

Connected 8 AWG as a chain from:
Main fuse block negative terminal to Main Body panel near battery
Battery Negative terminal to Main Body panel near battery
Main Body panel near battery to Engine block
Main Body panel near battery to Frame (on blazer)
Engine block to Different Main Body panel

Use high quality 8 AWG wire - the kind with chemical/heat resistant insulation, wrap it in TechFlex sleeve, heat shrink the ends, and use end connectors with a battery cable crimper.  Run cable and secure with zip ties to prevent movement into damaging locations. 

Use Stainless Steel bolts, lock washer, and star lock washer on body panel and frame.  Spray in clear coat once tightly fastened.

Connected 8 AWG as a chain from:
Alternator to inline fuse holder to battery positive
battery positive to inline fuse holder to Main fuse block positive terminal

I've also had similar issues in a 2006 Mazda which was not solved by the 'big 3 upgrade'. 
The issue here is that the ECU and harness is bolted to the side of the battery box and the proximity corrosion has repeatedly caused corroding connections.
Removed 2 harness blocks, shortened wires and crimped on new pins for the harness
Removed ECU, cracked open case, cleaned with rubbing alcohol and toothbrush, used flux pen & reflowed all solder joints.  cleaned with rubbing alcohol.  Spray board with battery corrosion protector oil, re-assemble.  Coat harness pin holes (internal and external) with copious amounts of dielectric grease.  Re-assemble.  No more issues. 

zolotiyeruki

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3429
  • Location: State: Denial
Re: Need expert car mechanic help....my Toyota might be possessed by demons
« Reply #17 on: March 02, 2020, 05:32:07 AM »
I can imagine a bad ground causing issues with shifting--if there's not enough juice to run the solenoids in the transmission, that'll do it.

Malkynn

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 2712
Re: Need expert car mechanic help....my Toyota might be possessed by demons
« Reply #18 on: March 02, 2020, 05:45:47 AM »
Have you checked it's not part of the latest recall?

I don't think it would be being an 04, but it can't hurt to check.

acepedro45

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 232
Re: Need expert car mechanic help....my Toyota might be possessed by demons
« Reply #19 on: March 14, 2020, 08:26:21 PM »
On mine, I've been having spotty power steering on cold days right at startup lately, but it goes away once the engine is warmed up. I was thinking of replacing the power steering belt.

If anyone is curious, I tightened up the belt on my van this afternoon and it helped my start-up power steering problems quite a bit. If the problems come back, I'm going to replace the belt.

ChpBstrd

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1896
Re: Need expert car mechanic help....my Toyota might be possessed by demons
« Reply #20 on: March 14, 2020, 09:26:51 PM »
Not to be an internet know-it-all, but the 2nd gen Sienna (I have one of similar mileage too) uses a belt to drive the power steering pump and then a different belt to run the other engine accessories. Toyota doesn't call the second one a serpentine belt since it doesn't really "snake" around the engine compartment - it just loops around the alternator and the air conditioner.


I was going to bring up the possibility of a serpentine belt tensioner that wasn't providing enough tension and intermittently lets the belt slip across the power steering and alternator - but this information would seem to eliminate that suggestion.

Model96

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 38
Re: Need expert car mechanic help....my Toyota might be possessed by demons
« Reply #21 on: March 23, 2020, 05:39:20 PM »
The Power Steering fluid in your Vehicle is likely to be as old as the vehicle, and not flowing well on startup on cold days, and so making the steering feel heavy until things warm up. Suck the old stuff out of the reservoir and replace with new.....most cars use transmission fluid, but some like Hondas use special stuff.

acepedro45

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 232
Re: Need expert car mechanic help....my Toyota might be possessed by demons
« Reply #22 on: March 25, 2020, 10:29:13 AM »
The Power Steering fluid in your Vehicle is likely to be as old as the vehicle, and not flowing well on startup on cold days, and so making the steering feel heavy until things warm up. Suck the old stuff out of the reservoir and replace with new.....most cars use transmission fluid, but some like Hondas use special stuff.

I am not the OP, but I gave the PS fluid refresh a try on my van to no effect that I could detect even before messing with the belt. The fluid I sucked out didn't look bad for an almost 14-year-old car.

Tightening up the belt helped - Theory 1 is that I may have inadvertantly loosened the tensioner doing some other engine work earlier. Theory 2 is that the belt is original and it's on its way out. In support of Theory 2, there was some cracking across the ribbing of the belt when I flexed it.

Call me a cheapskate if you will, but I tightened and hoped for the best, believing that even if I lose the belt entirely it only means the temporary inconvenience of no functioning power steering. I'd probably have replaced pre-emptively if the belt was a traditional serpentine set-up - that is, if it also drove the alternator and losing the belt would mean being unexpectedly dead in the water.

Model96

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 38
Re: Need expert car mechanic help....my Toyota might be possessed by demons
« Reply #23 on: March 25, 2020, 02:09:34 PM »
The Power Steering fluid in your Vehicle is likely to be as old as the vehicle, and not flowing well on startup on cold days, and so making the steering feel heavy until things warm up. Suck the old stuff out of the reservoir and replace with new.....most cars use transmission fluid, but some like Hondas use special stuff.

I am not the OP, but I gave the PS fluid refresh a try on my van to no effect that I could detect even before messing with the belt. The fluid I sucked out didn't look bad for an almost 14-year-old car.

Tightening up the belt helped - Theory 1 is that I may have inadvertantly loosened the tensioner doing some other engine work earlier. Theory 2 is that the belt is original and it's on its way out. In support of Theory 2, there was some cracking across the ribbing of the belt when I flexed it.

Call me a cheapskate if you will, but I tightened and hoped for the best, believing that even if I lose the belt entirely it only means the temporary inconvenience of no functioning power steering. I'd probably have replaced pre-emptively if the belt was a traditional serpentine set-up - that is, if it also drove the alternator and losing the belt would mean being unexpectedly dead in the water.

Doing both the fluid and changing the belt is a good idea......If the belt breaks it will possibly flap about and damage other belts, wiring, even the radiator on the way out.....

Wrenchturner

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 961
  • Age: 32
  • Location: Canada
Re: Need expert car mechanic help....my Toyota might be possessed by demons
« Reply #24 on: March 27, 2020, 03:58:41 PM »
The Power Steering fluid in your Vehicle is likely to be as old as the vehicle, and not flowing well on startup on cold days, and so making the steering feel heavy until things warm up. Suck the old stuff out of the reservoir and replace with new.....most cars use transmission fluid, but some like Hondas use special stuff.

I am not the OP, but I gave the PS fluid refresh a try on my van to no effect that I could detect even before messing with the belt. The fluid I sucked out didn't look bad for an almost 14-year-old car.

Tightening up the belt helped - Theory 1 is that I may have inadvertantly loosened the tensioner doing some other engine work earlier. Theory 2 is that the belt is original and it's on its way out. In support of Theory 2, there was some cracking across the ribbing of the belt when I flexed it.

Call me a cheapskate if you will, but I tightened and hoped for the best, believing that even if I lose the belt entirely it only means the temporary inconvenience of no functioning power steering. I'd probably have replaced pre-emptively if the belt was a traditional serpentine set-up - that is, if it also drove the alternator and losing the belt would mean being unexpectedly dead in the water.

I would change a 14 year old belt just on principle, especially if you recently tightened it.  They're like $10.