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Uh-Oh - Looks Like The Dreaded Autobox Ecu Failure!


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I fear that our 5-door auto has contracted the lurgy.

On Monday the drive started slipping intermittently when moving off and then the normally smooth gear selection became really harsh - it also seemed that it didn't know which gear to go into. I booked it in to Mr.T the next day and, as is usual in these things, it behaved perfectly whilst they had it. No codes & the road test was perfect. They suggested that the ATF could be changed as it was now 11 years old; of course, the clutches could be wearing out and the ECU might be on the way out as well but until it actually breaks down and they can diagnose the problem accurately, there's nothing they can do. At least they didn't charge (seems only fair given the amount of business we give them!).

Since then it's behaved perfectly but I suspect that the changes just don't feel "right", if you know what I mean - then again, it may just be psychological given that I'm now pretty convinced that there is a problem lurking in the gubbins.

So I can trade it in now before it goes bang, wait for it to fail completely so that the dealer can diagnose it accurately (if that's possible bearing in mind the several tales of woe on this forum in this regard) or replace/re-flash the ECU now in the hope that that is in fact the problem.

Alternatively I could have the ATF replaced but somehow I can't see the fluid being the cause of the randomised gear-changing that I experienced.

Any advice from the good folks on here would be welcome as we really love the car & would prefer to keep it, if possible.

If I go for an ECU re-flash are there any views on whether the Derby folks are as good as the New Yorkers?

All advice gratefully received.

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How dare wan of your weans go on the sick, Jamesy......!!

Outside stab......any recent Battery disconnections or inadvertent discharging.....?

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How dare wan of your weans go on the sick, Jamesy......!!

Outside stab......any recent battery disconnections or inadvertent discharging.....?

Yea, ungrateful little swine!!

No, absolutely nothing out of the ordinary. My son washed it on Sunday but he doesn't hose out the interior anymore, so it can't be moisture. :laughing:

I did ask Mr.T if there was any point in disconnecting the Battery for an hour or so to effect an "ECU re-set" but he didn't think it would have any effect.

It does have nearly 85K miles up now so my small worry that it might happen eventually seems to have materialised..

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I can't speak highly enough of ECU Testing at Heanor, Derbyshire!

I removed my Rav's ECU Monday morning, in post that afternoon. Text from Heanor, advising reciept of unit 10:00hrs Tuesday, further text at 16:00hrs, unit allocated to an engineer.

Text on Wednesday 15:00hrs confirming faults, followed by phone call seeking instructions. Paid the sweet young thing, (less 10% discount for TOC members arranged by Anchorman, yonks ago, thanks Don!) Sweet young thing suggested would be posted that evening? and did duly arrive on Thursday 10:00hrs !!! installed before lunch.

Totally different vehicle! No bumps, bangs, slips or adverse noises. Don't delay, get it done!

Other than being a very satisfied customer, I have no connection with this company.

If your ECU is fitted with security fasteners, you will need a five pointed bit with a recess dimple! They are obtainable on e-bay, though when I attemped to use mine, because the Japanese clearly employ rock apes on the production lines, the bit broke off! I used an angle grinder (very carefully!!) to remove mine! Other than that and a few scratches gained, I have big hands!, not a problem.

And get the Oil changed by a reputable transmission overhaul company who know what they are doing, not the daft lad at the local Toyota Stealer...................!

Good luck, let us all know how you get on.

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I can't speak highly enough of ECU Testing at Heanor, Derbyshire!

I removed my Rav's ECU Monday morning, in post that afternoon. Text from Heanor, advising reciept of unit 10:00hrs Tuesday, further text at 16:00hrs, unit allocated to an engineer.

Text on Wednesday 15:00hrs confirming faults, followed by phone call seeking instructions. Paid the sweet young thing, (less 10% discount for TOC members arranged by Anchorman, yonks ago, thanks Don!) Sweet young thing suggested would be posted that evening? and did duly arrive on Thursday 10:00hrs !!! installed before lunch.

Totally different vehicle! No bumps, bangs, slips or adverse noises. Don't delay, get it done!

Other than being a very satisfied customer, I have no connection with this company.

If your ECU is fitted with security fasteners, you will need a five pointed bit with a recess dimple! They are obtainable on e-bay, though when I attemped to use mine, because the Japanese clearly employ rock apes on the production lines, the bit broke off! I used an angle grinder (very carefully!!) to remove mine! Other than that and a few scratches gained, I have big hands!, not a problem.

And get the oil changed by a reputable transmission overhaul company who know what they are doing, not the daft lad at the local Toyota Stealer...................!

Good luck, let us all know how you get on.

Thanks for that testimonial, Annawong. I've just got back from Screwfix having bought their bit set to get the bolts out.

I may drive the ECU over to ecutesting (only an hour away) depending on whether they have a replacement for my series in stock.

I'll keep you posted.

thanks again.

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The Screwfix kit wasn't suitable at all - only £5 so not a big deal. Got one of the Laser 5031 kits from Machine Mart this morning and it worked a treat. Having said that though, the ECU itself was really reluctant to come away with any of its bracketry stll attached (although disconnected fully from the body shell). Had to dismantle all the brackets in situ before it could be manouvred past the various bits of wiring loom. Gonna be fun putting it back.

Can't imagine why Mr.T has fitted 3 Torx type screws and the rest just common Phillips or captive bolts & nuts - all Phillips would have made life a heck of a lot simpler!

At least the part number ties up with the suspect ones on ECU Testing's website so it looks like the ECU is the source of my problems. Hopefully ECU Testing in Derby will be able to swap it for a recon unit on Monday/Tuesday.

Oh, the joys of motoring!

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I can't speak highly enough of ECU Testing at Heanor, Derbyshire!

I removed my Rav's ECU Monday morning, in post that afternoon. Text from Heanor, advising reciept of unit 10:00hrs Tuesday, further text at 16:00hrs, unit allocated to an engineer.

Text on Wednesday 15:00hrs confirming faults, followed by phone call seeking instructions. Paid the sweet young thing, (less 10% discount for TOC members arranged by Anchorman, yonks ago, thanks Don!) Sweet young thing suggested would be posted that evening? and did duly arrive on Thursday 10:00hrs !!! installed before lunch.

Totally different vehicle! No bumps, bangs, slips or adverse noises. Don't delay, get it done!

Other than being a very satisfied customer, I have no connection with this company.

If your ECU is fitted with security fasteners, you will need a five pointed bit with a recess dimple! They are obtainable on e-bay, though when I attemped to use mine, because the Japanese clearly employ rock apes on the production lines, the bit broke off! I used an angle grinder (very carefully!!) to remove mine! Other than that and a few scratches gained, I have big hands!, not a problem.

And get the oil changed by a reputable transmission overhaul company who know what they are doing, not the daft lad at the local Toyota Stealer...................!

Good luck, let us all know how you get on.

Hi Annawong,

Mine's with ECU now & they've txt'd to say it's in the process.

Question: when you got yours back, did you then get the ATF changed? Reason I ask is that there's been some debate on here recently about the risk of damage through dislodging crud in the oilways etc. and maybe best not to take the chance. Certainly Mr.T says that unless the car is operating in adverse conditions, the ATF shouldn't be changed.

I'd appreciate your comments.

Thanks,

Jim

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I am having my ATF changed on a regular basis. I know what the UK mob at the Toyota Stealers say but it's ballocks! Would you let your engine, or diffs run for ever on the same Oil? would you like the aircraft you fly in use the same Oil for ever in the engines, or the railway engines you travel on use the same lubricants for ever ?

I think not and if you happen to link up with the USA, there the Toyota dealers say change at around 20, 000 miles. They also say the diffs. at 24,000, so I have both jobs done together and by a transmission specialist, NOT the Toyota Stealers! (I am a retired Diagnostic Engineer and have seen far too many bearing and gear failures due to contaminated Oil to last me, thank you very much!) Off topic but the front diff. is difficult to fill correctly unless up in the air and being hand pumped in. It must be filled from the top of the box, NOT the level hole in the side................! There are channels inside, high up which need to by filled with ATF.

As to re-fitting the ECU. What I did was to fix the long bracket before bringing the ECU to the vehicle. (for sure you can't get at the fasteners when it's in it's location!) Feed the unit in from underneath the dash, such that the ECU is loosly in place and retained, by the long bracket's bottom stud, though not tightened yet! Then, having bought a few 5mm hex. headed set screws of the correct length, 10mm. I think? I loosly mount the top bracket to the single stud in the bodywork, then fasten the front (top) brackets onto the ECU with the hex. head setscrews, using a ring or open ended spanner to tighten. (which you couldn't do with Posi screws, no room!)

Once all in place, tighten all the fasteners. No great force needed, it 'aint going anywhere! Fit the electrical plugs starting with the bottom one and working upwards, I found to be the easier way. Finally re-fit the clamp plate over the plugs, with the Posi screws you didn't need for the top bracket and chuck the security fasteners into the waste bin! !Removed! stupid idea that by Toyota!

I hope this is helpful to you Firemac & others, let us know how you do with it and how the RAV behaves when all done.

Cheers!

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Question: when you got yours back, did you then get the ATF changed? Reason I ask is that there's been some debate on here recently about the risk of damage through dislodging crud in the oilways etc.

I have never subscribed to that theory either, auto trans are not made so that you cannot change the Oil, there should never be crud in it to start with, auto boxes are super clean places, even when very old, change it Jim,

Kingo :thumbsup:

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Reminds me of when I bought a brand new Rover SD1, many years ago. The auto box started hunting through the gears randomly, because the fluid was leaking out. For a few days I had to keep a 20litre can in the boot, and stop to fill the gearbox up on the hard shoulder. Oh, the joys of motoring with British Leyland!

DavidW

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What was the outcome Jim?

Kingo :thumbsup:

Hi Kingo,

Been away for a long weekend and only got back last night. ECU was here from ECUtesting and I re-fitted it (despite the best attempts of whoever the kamikaze designer was at Toyota who dreamt up the fittings for the box! What a complete b@stid it was to fit!!). Good service from ECUtesting and thanks to Don for negotiating the discount on TOC's behalf.

Warmed the car up & took it for a gentle, stop-start, up-through-the-box test drive for 20 minutes or so as instructed by ECUt and I'm pleased to say that smooth, normal changes appear to have been restored. Out on the school run this morning and it seems fine apart from the idle speed fluctuating a bit, but I guess that will settle down as the ECU "re-learns" all the driving parameters.

Going in for MoT on Friday and may get them to replace the ATF although I am loath to mess with it when everything seems to be working just fine. I realise that I am a bit of a luddite sometimes but the recent debate on here about fluid changes in transmissions didn't provide any strong conclusions one way or the other. I'll think on it a bit......

One thing that does intrique me though is the number of circuits monitored - there are 177 connectors in the ECU's sockets (I counted them - saddo or what?). I can't imagine what systems it's monitoring; even if there is a separate circuit for each (i.e. signal out & return) that's still 88 systems. If there are two circuits for both out & back (i.e. yes/no options) then that's still 44 systems. Apart from fuelling, ignition, temp (ambient & engine), road speed, revs, gear position, throttle position, Oil pressure, charging output and Battery drain, I can't imagine what else is being monitored. Considering that this model's design was probably signed-off in 1995 or so, that looks like some pretty impressive electronics, even by today's standards,

But in the meantime, all seems good. Thanks to everyone for their comments and suggestions.

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Coolio!

Several of those connections go directly to GCHQ and MI5, you are being monitored daily :D: :D:

Would be interested to know what happens with the ATF change

Kingo :thumbsup:

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Coolio!

Several of those connections go directly to GCHQ and MI5, you are being monitored daily :D: :D:

Would be interested to know what happens with the ATF change

Kingo :thumbsup:

Maybe that explains the occasional suspension noises - I always thought it was the tyres....

Re the ATF, i'm still unsure. The label on the dipstick says "do not change the fluid" and having dipped it this morning, it is still red - dark red admittedly but definitely not black. I agree that in virtually every other case it has to be right to renew fluids, especially oils under pressure but I can't help wondering why it hasn't been specified for regular changes by Mr.T and can only assume that there's a good reason why it says not to change it. As it now seems to be back to it's lovely old smooth self, I don't want to inject a further possible issue unnecessarily.

Oohh! A bit of a Frank Spencer moment, Betty..................

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