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Send it out and get it repaired. Don't give Toyota any money to fix their mistake. It is not difficult to replace. Try and access it and see if you think you can take it out and put it back in.

Transmission seems to be fine on these cars that replace the computer. Don't keep driving the vehicle.

http://rav4ecm.net/ I used these guys and got it back to me in Canada fast. There are others you can use as well at other price points but these guys seem to do it right.
 

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I've owned my RAV4 since buying it new in 2002, but it's low mileage because I was lucky enough to live just 1.3 miles from work for all of that time. Last month at about 47,500 miles I finally got hit with the ECM failure problem. The automatic trans. shifting went bad exactly like they all do.


I knew what the problem was, though, because I browsed this forum way back when I first bought my car, and the problem was new then, but it was already occurring in the vehicles that were being driven a lot.


I parked the car, came back here, researched more about this history of the problem. Figured out that the extended warranty was no longer available to me or to anybody else now, after 10 years. Read the offerings of a few of the places offering fixes, be it repair one's original ECM, buy a new one and have it programmed for my vehicle, or buy one already "remanufactured" while trading in my ECM.


Back in the day, if I recall, the Brooklyn New York shop was about the only one who offered a fix, I think. I decided that my ECM, like everything about my RAV4, with low mileage probably has less wear on it than one I'd buy re-built. Saw that Sergei in Brooklyn now charges only $225 for the fix, and part of that's return shipping. And decided to go that route, after confirming his shop is still doing this.


Everything went as advertised. I Fed-Ex'ed Check Engine Etc. my RAV4’s ECM on a Tuesday, they repaired it apparently immediately after receiving it on Wednesday, and I got it delivered back to me that Thursday morning before 11 am. I re-installed it and plugged it back in the same day. And the repair has worked perfectly. My ECM didn't seem to even need time to "re-learn" how to send signals that my transmission could use. It's been about 3 weeks, and has been shifting probably better than it has been for the past several years.


I will say that whereas most sources and the couple of youtube videos I watched say that pulling your ECM is easy, it wasn't that easy for me, I'm not that mechanically inclined. I found no easy trick to taking the paneling off down in front of the door; there must be one but I just sort of wrestled with it until I forced it off. The bigger problem though was getting access to all the screws that needed unscrewing, in such limited space. The screws were in pretty tight and ones I could get a screwdriver head into, I couldn't apply enough force turning them, and started stripping the screw heads. Wound up plugging the ECM back in, driving to a gas station, and a guy who had a tool that could be clamped onto the damaged screw heads in order to start to loosen them got the stubborn/damaged ones started for me. After that, it went easily enough. I will offer one minor pointer, that whereas it looks like it's probably impossible to work the ECM down and out with two brackets still screwed into it, one still on the top as well as the one on the bottom, in fact with enough maneuvering, you can get it out with the top one still attached, too. (That's the attached bracket that otherwise requires a really short screwdriver to get it into the dashboard and into the screw head.)


Initially, with the trouble taking it out, I'd been skeptical I'd be able to remember everything necessary to work the repaired ECM back up under the dash into place. But, in fact, reinstallation did turn out to be easy.

In my experience my RAV4 has been a great vehicle -- I've never owned another vehicle for 13 years before -- but for the ECM with the weak solders in it. I agree that probably every single 2001-2003 still out there that has yet to experience this major problem, eventually probably will. So for those probably relatively few owners who this late still haven't encountered it yet, I too would recommend what others have: going ahead and taking care of the problem before it happens, at some time of your own choosing.
 

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Go to Toyota owners online, register with the VIN and see the repair history:

Toyota Owners Official Web Site: Service Coupons, Owner's Manuals, Service Scheduling And More
I know this is an old thread, but wanted to say thanks for the link. Funny, found out the ecu has already been replaced way back in 2011. I bought this 2003 about 9 months ago and had the ecu sent out for repair. Humm... wonder if replaced one's could also mess up and cause that hard shift problem?
 

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Hey Bartleby.... Just wondering if your ecu is still working ok? I sent mine out to Circuit Board Mechanics a couple of weeks ago. Ran fine for the first 3 trips I made in it, now it's back to the hard shift problem.
Discovered (in post above) that in 2011 the ecu had been replaced because of the recall. I didn't know about that until today. Just wondering if replacement ecu could also mess up?
 

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are you sure the ECU was replaced back in 2011 versus Toyota just reflashing it? I think that was one "fix" they did for the issue.

And yes, a replaced ECU can be bad as well. That's why they usually offer 1 year warranties on the replaced ECU. I had the same issue with another company. But that one went bad in a few days. They expressed shipped a second one, and that one has been going fine for a while now.
 

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are you sure the ECU was replaced back in 2011 versus Toyota just reflashing it? I think that was one "fix" they did for the issue.

And yes, a replaced ECU can be bad as well. That's why they usually offer 1 year warranties on the replaced ECU. I had the same issue with another company. But that one went bad in a few days. They expressed shipped a second one, and that one has been going fine for a while now.
Hey typo! I was reading here on the forum earlier today, when I ran across a post saying one could go to this website: https://ssl.toyota.com/owners/login?#
and see a history of repairs/services that had been done. A list of services and repairs came up alright... kind of cool really. And it say's that on 10/4/11 the ecu has been replaced as per recall. I'll try to post a pic of it, if I can. It's under service order #2. Now who knows if they "really" replaced it or just flashed it? But that was one of the last service records on my vehicle.
Can I have your opinion?
A few months after I bought the car, it started to have that hard shift problem. I took it to the tranny place and they said they thought it was the seals. So I just parked it for a few months. I read about how it could be the ecu, so I sent my ecu off to Circuit Board Medics. They have an +++A BBB rating, so I thought what the heck. 200 bucks and a few days later I got the ecu back and put it in. My car ran like a champ until the 3rd or 4th time I drove it. Then back to the same old same old. Now it's parked again.
I contacted circuit board medics today (as I have a 1 yr warranty) and they said it's probably the tranny, but to send it back in.
I'm suspicious because it ran just like new at first. If it really did have a tranny problem, it wouldn't have run well at first, right?


 

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my guess, the transmission is ok. When my second ECU went bad, really weird things happened. It would only go in one gear, even if I tried to force it into another gear. A code popped up that when I looked it up, made me worried that something was wrong with the car beside the ECU. The code was P0758 - Shift Solenoid "B" Electrical. But I put my original ECU back in (I didn't send it back yet) and those symptoms went away, but I still had the shifting issues. After I got the third ECU, things weren't perfect until I drove it for a few days. I had one code pop up: P0300 - Random/Multiple Cylinder Misfire Detected. But I chalked that up to me pushing things too soon after putting in the third ECU. I cleared that code, and it's been good.

Worse that can happen when you get the third ECU, it's the transmission. But it's free to try the third ECU.
 

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I guess all we can do really typo, is to cross our fingers and hope our fixes work, lol. It's just been one thing after another with this car (2003). Very disappointing to say the least. Guess I'll keep trying... until I give up :doh:
Thanks for your help. Much appreciated.
Forgot to ask.... but codes. I've never had a code pop up. But... what does pop up mean? Do they show up on the dash somehow, or do I need to have a code read with a meter thingy. When I took it to the tranny place, I asked them to read the codes, but when I picked it back up, they never mentioned reading any.
 

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As mentioned before in another post, I was having trouble with my ecu. So I sent it off to Circuit Board Medics for repair. They sent it back and it ran like new for a few days, then bam... back to the hard shift.
I contacted them and they said they think it's the tranny, but I'm not convinced. After all, it ran like new for a few days after installing the repaired ecu. Why would it run fine if it was the tranny?
Here is a copy and paste of the email they sent me yesterday:
I'm sorry to hear you are having trouble again. These ECMs have a adaptive shift process. This means it learns to shift as you drive it (the faster you accelerate, the faster it shifts through the gears). If you have driven for a few weeks and then it starts to show a harsh shift, there may be a problem with your transmission. It sounds like your vehicle may have a learned a harsh shift again due to a bad transmission. We can bring your computer back in for testing to see if we can replicate the harsh shift if you would like. Let us know what you would like to do. We'll try to help in any way we can.
How would it learn a hard shift again, if it was running smoothly?

Can you all take a look at a copy of their warranty, and see what you think? I am most interested in the part that states that they will replace the whole circuit board or refund the cost of the repair "at their discretion".
What is their discretion mean exactly? If I had it repaired by them once, and sent it back, why then would they not just replace the whole circuit board? This warranty is what made them appeal to me to begin with. They make it sound like a win win, no matter what.
Am I wrong about that?
Posted below is a pic of their warranty:


 

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when I say a "code popped up" on the second ECU - I had a check engine light. The code for the third ECU didn't trigger a check engine light, I saw that with an ODB reader.

If you want, you can reset the ECU just by disconnecting the battery for 15 minutes or so. Then it'll have to relearn everything. If that doesn't work, then work with them on a replacement/repair. Most of these guys seem friendly for instances where the first replacement may be faulty.
 

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when I say a "code popped up" on the second ECU - I had a check engine light. The code for the third ECU didn't trigger a check engine light, I saw that with an ODB reader.

If you want, you can reset the ECU just by disconnecting the battery for 15 minutes or so. Then it'll have to relearn everything. If that doesn't work, then work with them on a replacement/repair. Most of these guys seem friendly for instances where the first replacement may be faulty.
Thanks typo.
I am going to do the battery disconnect. I am also noticing new things happening even with the so called ecu repair. Now my gas gauge is acting crazy. Blah... one thing after another.
 

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I would definitely replace the ECU then. I didn't think that solenoid error I had would be ecu related, but it was. So try that. And definitely report back if a third ECU fixes the gremlins.
 

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Ive posted here about 5 years ago, 2001 Rav4, tranny shifts hard into 3rd, took it to the Brooklyn guy, that was about 80,000 miles ago. It's now doing the same thing, flushed tranny twice since first episode, and just recently. It shifted better but now back to the problem. Saw the people from Puerto Rico who says they will fix it for good? Anyway, a year ago I had the catalytic converter replaced and now I'm wondering if maybe they had to do something with the ECM, and now it needs to be reflashed again? Any thoughts, is Puerto Rico legit? Or just stick with the Brooklyn guy?
 

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I have a 2003 Rav4, bought it used in 2011. Never had a minute's trouble until this past week... seems to possibly be the same ECM issues many of you have dealt with. It does a little jolty thing as it changes from 1st to 2nd.

I'm ready to have my husband take it off and send it to Brooklyn, but he (being a mechanic... and extremely leary of internet forums) wants to wait and pay Toyota to figure out what's wrong with it. What can I tell him to give him peace of mind about just going ahead and getting it done? I need my car back on the road. TIA.

I've owned my RAV4 since buying it new in 2002, but it's low mileage because I was lucky enough to live just 1.3 miles from work for all of that time. Last month at about 47,500 miles I finally got hit with the ECM failure problem. The automatic trans. shifting went bad exactly like they all do.


I knew what the problem was, though, because I browsed this forum way back when I first bought my car, and the problem was new then, but it was already occurring in the vehicles that were being driven a lot.


I parked the car, came back here, researched more about this history of the problem. Figured out that the extended warranty was no longer available to me or to anybody else now, after 10 years. Read the offerings of a few of the places offering fixes, be it repair one's original ECM, buy a new one and have it programmed for my vehicle, or buy one already "remanufactured" while trading in my ECM.


Back in the day, if I recall, the Brooklyn New York shop was about the only one who offered a fix, I think. I decided that my ECM, like everything about my RAV4, with low mileage probably has less wear on it than one I'd buy re-built. Saw that Sergei in Brooklyn now charges only $225 for the fix, and part of that's return shipping. And decided to go that route, after confirming his shop is still doing this.


Everything went as advertised. I Fed-Ex'ed Check Engine Etc. my RAV4’s ECM on a Tuesday, they repaired it apparently immediately after receiving it on Wednesday, and I got it delivered back to me that Thursday morning before 11 am. I re-installed it and plugged it back in the same day. And the repair has worked perfectly. My ECM didn't seem to even need time to "re-learn" how to send signals that my transmission could use. It's been about 3 weeks, and has been shifting probably better than it has been for the past several years.


I will say that whereas most sources and the couple of youtube videos I watched say that pulling your ECM is easy, it wasn't that easy for me, I'm not that mechanically inclined. I found no easy trick to taking the paneling off down in front of the door; there must be one but I just sort of wrestled with it until I forced it off. The bigger problem though was getting access to all the screws that needed unscrewing, in such limited space. The screws were in pretty tight and ones I could get a screwdriver head into, I couldn't apply enough force turning them, and started stripping the screw heads. Wound up plugging the ECM back in, driving to a gas station, and a guy who had a tool that could be clamped onto the damaged screw heads in order to start to loosen them got the stubborn/damaged ones started for me. After that, it went easily enough. I will offer one minor pointer, that whereas it looks like it's probably impossible to work the ECM down and out with two brackets still screwed into it, one still on the top as well as the one on the bottom, in fact with enough maneuvering, you can get it out with the top one still attached, too. (That's the attached bracket that otherwise requires a really short screwdriver to get it into the dashboard and into the screw head.)


Initially, with the trouble taking it out, I'd been skeptical I'd be able to remember everything necessary to work the repaired ECM back up under the dash into place. But, in fact, reinstallation did turn out to be easy.

In my experience my RAV4 has been a great vehicle -- I've never owned another vehicle for 13 years before -- but for the ECM with the weak solders in it. I agree that probably every single 2001-2003 still out there that has yet to experience this major problem, eventually probably will. So for those probably relatively few owners who this late still haven't encountered it yet, I too would recommend what others have: going ahead and taking care of the problem before it happens, at some time of your own choosing.
 

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I clicked on the link and it says the Buy It Now price is $389. Wow! Has it gone up that much in a year's time?

They also have Ebay buy it now auctions. The buy it now price is $135. I made an offer of $125 and it was instantly accepted. You might be able to get it for less.

Hopefully, this link works:

automodulesource | eBay

After winning, I messaged them with the information needed and they ship it out from Florida by UPS ground with a return label inside the box.

Don't ship yours back until you're confident things are good. When you put in the refurb, start the car then just let it idle for 5-10 minutes, then drive around your neighborhood in stop/go traffic for a little bit.

My first one acted funny the 2nd or 3rd day and I contacted them and they sent me another one by UPS air with a return label. You then send your first refurb back immediately after getting the second one with the second return label.

My second one had a rough idle the second time I drove it. But it's been great since then.

Hopefully, you won't need to do that.

Replacing the ECM myself was worth it as a test versus bringing it to the dealer. $125 experiment, and it worked.
 

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Replaced ECM on Toy Rav4

I got an exchange ECM off ebay, and switched it out... worked like a charm for almost a month. Smooth shifts, even better than when I first bought the vehicle.

Suddenly now it's gone back to shifting hard 1st-2nd, and 3rd-4th. What??

Does this mean I now have a trans problem, or could it be ECM again?
Please help!!!

Thanks!
 

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after my first ECM replacement, it worked for a little while, then started freaking out. I contacted the seller and they shipped me another one and that's been fine since. So yeah, it's possible.
 
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