ECM/Transmission problem for 2001-2003 RAV4 - Page 42 - Toyota RAV4 Forums
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#411 (permalink) Old 12-20-2012, 10:52 AM
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Problem fixed

Two weeks ago I wrote up an accident I had involving my 2003 Rav 4. It had gone backwards over an embankment when I had expected that it would go forward. It went down sideways coming to a stop facing a tree about 4 feet ahead of the car. In the 2 or 3 seconds it took for me to think how lucky I was that it did not hit the tree, the car surged forward into the tree, i.e. it was in drive at this point.

It was a costly repair involving both lots of mechanical repairs underneath, replacement of 2 tires and wheels and body repair of the front end of the car and components behind the front bumper. The insurance paid for almost all of it, i.e. minus the deductible and 2 extra tires/wheels to have 4 of the same kind.

When I got the car back, I took it to the Toyota dealer, told them the basic story. They put in a new ECM free of charge under the warranty no questions asked (the enhanced warranty of 10 year, 150,000 miles) I have a half year to go under the warranty and only 70,000 miles on the car.
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#412 (permalink) Old 12-28-2012, 06:29 PM
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Hi,

I had this problem with my 2001 Rav 4 in 2009. We had the transmission rebuilt in July 2009, then re-built again in Feb. 2010. Toyota reimbursed us for the repairs. My wife was driving it yesterday and it was in drive but not going then it jerked ahead. We were planning on going on a trip last night so I took it to our mechanic who told me the transmission is going out again. Our trip was cancelled. I just called Toyota and they said since it is outside of the 10 year/150,000 mile warranty there is nothing I can do about it. The car has 162,000 miles on it. He said even if I had brought it to Toyota it wouldn't be covered because the repair is only good for a year.

I was just searching the internet and came across this forum and thought I would post to let people know. I still plan on seeing what I can do to have Toyota help me. If anyone has any ideas please let me know!

Thanks for reading.
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#413 (permalink) Old 12-28-2012, 06:39 PM
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Originally Posted by rrivers4 View Post
Hi,

I had this problem with my 2001 Rav 4 in 2009. We had the transmission rebuilt in July 2009, then re-built again in Feb. 2010. Toyota reimbursed us for the repairs. My wife was driving it yesterday and it was in drive but not going then it jerked ahead. We were planning on going on a trip last night so I took it to our mechanic who told me the transmission is going out again. Our trip was cancelled. I just called Toyota and they said since it is outside of the 10 year/150,000 mile warranty there is nothing I can do about it. The car has 162,000 miles on it. He said even if I had brought it to Toyota it wouldn't be covered because the repair is only good for a year.

I was just searching the internet and came across this forum and thought I would post to let people know. I still plan on seeing what I can do to have Toyota help me. If anyone has any ideas please let me know!

Thanks for reading.
If I were in your situation, I'd send the ECM to CHKENGINE in Brooklyn and have it repaired for $220 or so (see latest pricing on eBay). They did mine 2 months ago (while flooded out by the hurricane) and it has run perfectly ever since.
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#414 (permalink) Old 12-28-2012, 06:45 PM
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Originally Posted by Keninblaine View Post
If I were in your situation, I'd send the ECM to CHKENGINE in Brooklyn and have it repaired for $220 or so (see latest pricing on eBay). They did mine 2 months ago (while flooded out by the hurricane) and it has run perfectly ever since.
Most definately send it to Sergei @ chkengine...

Best $2XX.00 I ever spent.
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#415 (permalink) Old 12-28-2012, 08:43 PM
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Originally Posted by rrivers4 View Post
Hi,

I had this problem with my 2001 Rav 4 in 2009. We had the transmission rebuilt in July 2009, then re-built again in Feb. 2010. Toyota reimbursed us for the repairs. My wife was driving it yesterday and it was in drive but not going then it jerked ahead. We were planning on going on a trip last night so I took it to our mechanic who told me the transmission is going out again. Our trip was cancelled. I just called Toyota and they said since it is outside of the 10 year/150,000 mile warranty there is nothing I can do about it. The car has 162,000 miles on it. He said even if I had brought it to Toyota it wouldn't be covered because the repair is only good for a year.

I was just searching the internet and came across this forum and thought I would post to let people know. I still plan on seeing what I can do to have Toyota help me. If anyone has any ideas please let me know!

Thanks for reading.
Was the ECM ever fixed? It almost sounds like that you kept on having the transaxle repaired but the real issue was never corrected. You can't expect a manufacturer of any product to cover everything for life. They would go out of business.
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#416 (permalink) Old 12-29-2012, 06:29 AM
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Was the ECM ever fixed? It almost sounds like that you kept on having the transaxle repaired but the real issue was never corrected. You can't expect a manufacturer of any product to cover everything for life. They would go out of business.
We did have the ECM fixed.

Thanks for your sympathy though.
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#417 (permalink) Old 01-07-2013, 05:44 PM
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Confirming that re-soldering resistors works!

***Confirmed that you can re-solder yourself and it works! Read on for full details!***

I'll try my best to keep this short since my saga has been told by countless others. I have a 2001 Rav4 with just over 100,000 miles on it and a few days ago we experienced the dreaded thump into reverse and what appears to be the car attempting to start in 3rd gear (no power and lots of slipping, along with a lot of erratic shift decisions when you can get the car going. So far, Toyota has denied my request to have this covered by the extended warranty program for this issue, claiming I've exceeded the 10 year limitation.

I wasn't about to pay the dealer $900 to replace the ECM to test whether the transmission was damaged with no promise of my money back if the ECM didn't fix the issues so I looked for alternatives and I came up on this site. I'm still in disbelief that the dealership doesn't keep a spare ECM on hand for proper diagnosis but that's a whole different story...Moving on.

Like many, I was tempted to send my ECM to our popular Brooklyn friends for "repair" when I came across the earilier post with the youtube video claiming that you can fix the issue by yourself by re-soldering the 6 resistors highlighted in the video. I'm the adventurous type so I decided to give it ago, figuring I had nothing to lose since my ECM was already broken. I honestly didn't think it was going to work.

I'm happy to confirm that YOU CAN fix the ECM yourself, provided you're comfortable soldering. I re-flowed the solder on the 6 resistors found here. I also decided to touch up the grounding solder spots as they looked ineffective as well.

The interesting thing is that I had access to industrial magnification so I checked out the solder connections for the resistors and they all looked perfectly fine, even before I re-flowed the connections. This begs the question of what makes the connections go bad. In hindsight, I should have used a solder sucker to remove the factory solder and add fresh solder but I was trying to do it quickly to be able to test. We'll see what this does for longevity but I literally fixed it by simply re-heating (re-flowing) the original solder connections.

Now for some questions to those who have had this fixed...

1. Anyone know how these repair services are "resetting the transmission adaption tables?" I don't assume these small shops have Toyota diagnostic computers so I'm guessing it's both obvious and simple, but I don't know the procedure. I assume the Transmission will relearn over time and that resetting it is just a time saver. I'd like to save time.

I have an OBDII code reader so I used the "erase" function, which to my knowledge just clears the codes if there are any but since my ECM wasn't showing any codes and it still allowed me to "erase" I assume it may be doing a reset on the ECM or portions of it? I don't know if this clears the elusive "transmission adaption tables." Any ideas? I called around to both dealerships and local shops and couldn't get passed to someone who knew the answer. The Toyota dealership wanted to charge me $250 (2 hours of labor) to reset the computer...stating that "we won't know what else we could get into so we have to bill you for 2 hours to start with." No thanks...

2. The reason I'm asking about the adaption tables is my Rav is hesitant to shift into 3rd now, even after "fixing the ECM." I'm trying to determine if this is a "learning issue" for the system or if I have damage done to the transaxle. The car seems to be driving well, especially the 1-2 shift, it's just 3rd where it sort of sputters before it fully engages. It's also possible one of the resisters still has a bad connection?

We really only drove the car 2 times undiagnosed, 1st when it originally happened, a second time for me to test what my wife was reporting around the block a few times. I then drove it two more times to take it to and from the [completely unhelpful and un-knowledgeable] local Toyota dealership. We probably put less than 20 miles on the car and really babied it driving to and from the dealership, unless the dealership did damage for their "testing". I'm doubtful that the transaxle suffered much damage, if any but I don't know how to verify. The fluid looks good but did smell sort of burnt the first time I drove the car after we knew about the problem (for testing). Since I was trying to test, I wasn't as gentle as I probably should have been but I was trying to verify my wife's claims of abnormal shifting.

I've read reports of people saying it took time for the ECM to relearn proper shifting but is what I'm describing sounding normal?

3. Should I pay to have the transmission fluid flushed? I figure it certainly can't hurt and the service interval has been met. It's just still rather expensive to do and if the transaxle is in fact damaged, I don't know how helpful new fluid will be over the long haul or how worth it it will be in the end to throw much money at this issue.

Your thoughts and experiences are welcomed. If nothing else, I hope my post adds some legitimacy to the fact that you can in fact fix this yourself if you are adventurous. Not sure how long the "fix" will last so it may still be worth buying the updated factory ECM, if in fact it has been updated at all beyond newer solder, I'm not sure.

I'm thankful it is at least fixed in the short term although I do have concerns over the general safety going forward. Sort of feels like a ticking time bomb, sadly. Look forward to replies!
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#418 (permalink) Old 01-07-2013, 07:18 PM
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Mine took a couple weeks or more to learn and there was certainly some late and odd-seeming shifts.
It is as good as new again and has been months.
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#419 (permalink) Old 01-07-2013, 07:22 PM
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Mine took a couple weeks or more to learn and there was certainly some late and odd-seeming shifts.
It is as good as new again and has been months.
Awesome. Thanks for the reply. That's exactly what I'm experiencing. Overall it seems like the transmission is good because it's not slipping off the line, it makes quick and decisive downshifts now and it holds so much better than it used to under heavy acceleration. It's just the 2-3 shift that seems to take it a moment to make, especially higher in the rev range under more steady acceleration. If you drive more gingerly, it seems the hesitation is much less noticeable.

I wish I had a helpful local dealership that would hook up the factory scan tool and reset the ECM adapts for me, I'd even pay them .5 hours of labor for their 5 minutes of work.
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#420 (permalink) Old 01-08-2013, 03:30 PM
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Well, I think I may have finally got a local dealer to agree to reset the ECM adapts. I realize that repair shops are in the business of making money but when did they lose sight of helping a customer? The countless places I called that wanted upwards of $250 to reset my ECM are out of their minds but their excuse is that they have to "look over the car and see what they are getting into." As the OWNER of this vehicle, when did I lose the right to tell you what I want you to do to MY car, nothing more, nothing less.

Honestly, in hindsight, I wish I would have demanded to ride along with the Toyota technician to make sure they weren't doing additional harm to my transmission in the name of getting a transmission job out of it! At this point, knowing that I only drove the car twice, I'd be shocked if damage was done but I don't know how the dealership treated my car during diagnosis.

I hate to be skeptical but this whole ordeal has left a really bad taste in my mouth. It's shocking that the dealerships can't think outside the box. Maybe it affects their bottom dollar too much to think?

For example, the local dealership is CONVINCED that they cannot keep a donor ECM on hand for proper diagnosis because the ECM they claim is "VIN specific and we must order the right part for each vehicle. Once we write the VIN to the ECM, it becomes married to the vehicle." Sure, this may be true for newer cars that are even more dependent on the ECM for pretty much everything but I'm nearly positive the VIN is not written to these ECMs, manufacturers didn't start doing this until the 2005 model year and it's mostly for smog verification reasons...

I even had one shop that refused to quote me a price for a fluid exchange because they wanted to "diagnose the car first." It's my car, I want you to do a fluid exchange and I'll sign a waiver that if a fluid exchange at the manufacturer's recommended interval is detrimental to the car, I won't sue...

Sorry for the rant but honestly, this is ridiculous. It's no wonder I make every attempt to do all service on our cars and repairs to our home by myself. You simply cannot trust anyone to do the right thing these days. I tell you though, it gets tiring to try to do everything yourself, there simply isn't time for it!

Last edited by WRXFanatic; 01-08-2013 at 03:33 PM. Reason: clarification & grammar
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