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2000 Toyota Avalon p0171–My Story

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This topic contains 4 replies, has 5 voices, and was last updated by Bria Bria 2 years, 11 months ago.

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  • #615558
    Bryan Umberger
    Bryan Umberger
    Participant

    Hello All,
    I wanted to share my story and ultimate fix for this issue. Sorry this is going to be long winded but it has been going on for 3 years. This is a 2000 Toyota Avalon V6 with 128,000 miles on it.

    3 years ago my CEL came on and it had a code of P0171 and P0135. Bank 1 too lean and Oxygen O2 Sensor Heater Circuit Malfunction (Bank 1, Sensor 1)

    At the time it was my dads car so he took it to a local indie shop. The where unable to replace the O2 sensor because it “was spinning in the manifold” they quoted us 800+ in labor just to remove the manifold to fix it. Dad declined said he had no driveablity issues. Well a year later I own the car and it is stumbling all over the place. So I take it to another shop knowing that I am walking into a huge bill for this one sensor. To my surpise they were able to replace it for less than $400. Issue resolved? I think not. About 30 days later P0171 came back on with no Drive issues. I just dealt with it till I had the money to find out what was going on. During this time I also had a leak/seep in my valve cover gaskets. Awesome, according to alldata the number one cause is air induction issues so I can change the gaskets and the air intake manifold gaskets as well as throttle body gaskets all at once and check for vacuum leaks. So I set off and wham broke a bolt in the head from the valve cover. I know sucks right??!! Now the oil leak at the rear bank is much worse (pouring out) so off to the shop it goes for that freaking bolt. So after a head gasket job and a machine shop charge that I thought was crazy I now no longer have a leaking gasket and no CEL. Yay they fixed it right??? Wrong a week later CEL came on. Same Friggin code. I am pissed. Shop says it is not related to the job they did so they want to rediagnose and charge more money. So I let it be.

    A year goes by and now I notice issues with MPG. So I start searching online and come across Eric the Car Guys youtube videos. I must admit that I am hooked on them. I must of watched every one of them although almost none of them have to do with my current issues. I did find one about vacuum leaks that I try on my car to no avail. So I dont think I have a vacuum leaks.

    I reach out to another forum before I come here cause even though it is in the videos I didn’t really realize it was here. A Toyota Tech said 99% of those problems have to deal with mass air flow sensor issues. No DTC pointing to that.

    Any ways long story short. Took the MAF out to check it and clean it. Guess what CEL is gone has been gone for quite a while and MPG is back to normal.

    All that pain and money for what ended up being a dirty MAF. Granted the O2 sensor needed to be replaced and the valve cover gasket was seeping oil and needed to be change but I would have waited on the gasket till it got worse and then I would have been smarter about torques (Watched enough videos to know better I now own a Torque wrench) and maybe not broke that friggin bolt. You live and learn. banana:

    My only question is why did the MAF only cause one bank to run lean instead of both?

    Sorry this is so long winded but I thought I would share my struggle.

Viewing 4 replies - 1 through 4 (of 4 total)
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  • #615605
    Austin
    Austin
    Participant

    you had multiple issues that were thought to be related. Your o2 sensor failing, has nothing to do with your lean code. First thing that should be done with a o2 heater code is check the o2 wiring, if its good then replace the o2 sensor. Next a smoke test should have been done on the intake system to look for any leaks. As far as air causing valve covers to leak, it’s called blow by. And it’s not just valve covers its any gasket. What happens is over time your piston rings wear down as well as your cyl. wall bore increases. When this happens compression sneaks past the rings into the crank case and pressurizes it. Anytime you can get your hands on an old old engine, take the oil cap off start the engine and put some paper over the top of it. Blow by will make the paper flutter like crazy. You can drive a car like this, but it’s a sign that the engine is worn out and it will burn oil. As far as the MAF, who knows. maybe one sensor picked it up when didn’t either way it’s fixed and I wouldn’t worry about it until it comes back.

    #615606
    dan
    dan
    Moderator

    it is possible that the MAF sensor was off just enough too cause a lean condition that only one O2 could pick up, that is if you have two upstream sensors…

    this is a good example as too why its a good idea too diagnose before replacing components, live and learn yes that is a good part of working on cars 🙂

    #615919
    EricTheCarGuy 1
    EricTheCarGuy
    Keymaster

    With multiple problems like that it’s hard to say. It was probably a combination of things that led to those issues. I actually cover MAF sensor cleaning in this article.

    http://www.ericthecarguy.com/faq/solving-automotive-performance-issues

    Thanks for sharing your story. I’m sure it will help a lot of people

    #888609
    Bria
    Bria
    Participant

    [b]I am going thro something very similar to this right now w my 00 Avalon.
    Someone once told me these engines are bad about sludge. My gaskets are all shot to hell because it didn’t get proper oil changes. I imagine all my piston rings are hard and nasty also. Not to mention it’s vvti system is totally peeved.
    So it started w a vvti code and bucking, stumbling, etc. After new valve cover gaskets n pcv, etc and an engine flush she’s no longer throwing a code. She runs smooth n sounds quiet. Till u press the gas pedal. Then the stumbling is back.
    Did i mention the last time it acted like this, w the stumbling n buck n no code, that it was a spun bearing! Bad yota.
    I’ve noticed i have smoke from
    my oil cap fill… so I’m thinking that the engine is in very bad shape. She only had 170k miles.
    Any additional thoughts? [/b]

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