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My wife has an 01 Highlander Limited and recently it started acting up (approx. 90K miles). By this I mean that recently it just would not start. Oh it would crank but then not start... Then, just as suddenly, it turned over and ran as normal.

OK...no answer discovered.

This PM she called me from her office and told me than she got in the car to drive home from work and the car would start...but then it would stall. It could be restarted...only to stall again.

Before I could get there she called AAA / SoCAL and the tow-truck dude indicated that he thought it was bad gas. He started the car and rev'd the engine...he drove it around the parking garage and then suggested that she fill the tank with some quality gas and dump some fuel line cleaner into the tank.

OK, so I show up and the car is running...I followed her home...car's running just fine.

Just as a preventative measure I added topped off the tank (it was at 1/4) with premium and dropped in a bottle of Techrolene (sic).

SO...how many fuel filters are in the Highlander? Do they ever need to be changed (I searched the owner's manual and did not find anything to indicate it needs to be changed)?

I'm thinking this sounds like a fuel related issue.

Thoughts?

Comments?

Thank you
 

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Is this a i4 or v6? Does it stall at idle/low rpms when braking or moving from a stop. Hopefully not when you're moving.

I've experienced a similar issue with older higher mileage i4 toyota's (camry's) stalling at idle or low rpms. It was due to a dirty or nearly clogged idle control valve. I don't know where it is exactly on the highlander, but it should be near the throttle body at the bottom of the opening. Remove the lines going to it and spray it down with like carburetor cleaner. Scrap the opening if you have a brush that is small enough. Not into the TB, but the valve openings.... You will see it.

That's just one cause, which I've seen on some toyota's, but there could be some others.

If these symptoms, don't apply to you, post exactly how and when it stalls.
 

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Firstly, a tank of bad gas is not going to ruin the fuel filter or the injectors. If you looked thro a service manual for "stalling", there are tons of reasons for stalling. If I were you, this is the following steps I would to tackle the problem,

1) Run the vehicle with a full gas of gas + Techron.
2) Its time you got the fuel filter replaced, in many of the newer vehicles the filters is inside the fuel tank. Though the user's manual details it is not to be replaced, I think it is a must to replace them atleast every 100K miles. This is a tricky job and I have done it on my maxima at 100K and the filter (inspite of 15% ethanol which is a good cleaner) was dirty as hell...
3) Get a injector service done.
4) Recheck ground for the starter, they can get corroded or become loose.
5) Also, check you EGR housing (valve and tube) it may be clogged!!!
6) Also clean any oil/acid residue between +ve and -ve terminals of the battery, current can jump with oil as a medium between terminals if there is residue on the battery.:)
7) Only then you go to the IACV, MAF etc which can cost you dearly..

Hope this helps.
 

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After the obvious stuff posted ealier, try cleaning the MAF with MAF cleaner. Couple of sprays. And monitor results. Then Bench test the MAF per service manual if it isstill questionable.

LT
 

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I just edited my previous entry and added 2 more items to check, one related to battery current jumping across terminals and EGR housing.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
I called my friend at the dealer and he suggested (as t3mp indicated) that it's likely not bad gas but instead a dirty idle control valve. He said that Highlanders will sometimes have problems with them. He gave me some suggestions for dealing with it until I want to spend the $230 to have it cleaned (maybe) or the $330 to have it replaced. Some choice....

Thanks everybody!
 

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We have a 2002 Highlander that has about 150,000 miles that is having similar problems. In the past 6 months it has happened 3 times to my wife, and today it did it to me for the first time. The vehicle starts but will not idle. After starting if you push down on the accelerator pedal it will run perfectly smooth at various RPMS, but as soon as you let off the pedal it instantly drops to a very low RPM and dies. After starting, reving, and dying a number of times I tried turning the ignition key completely off, waited a minute and then re-started, and that seemed to cure it, although it still idled a bit slow but it did not stall. That made me think this is not a fuel problem, but rather some sort of electical sensor issue that is not reading that the engine is not yet warmed up or otherwise not reacting to a cold engine.

I called two local Toyota dealers and they both told me that unless the check engine light came on, there would not a problem code registed for them to dowload and diagnose. They also both told me that unless it happened to do it to them while in the shop, they would not be able to figure out what was wrong.

In checking my Haynes manual for this SUV, it appears to me there are two likely possible culprits. The screw in coolant temperature sensor, known as the ECT, which runs about $30 for a new one, and is easily accessible...... or the Idle Air Control valve (IAC) which runs about $250 new for a non Toyota brand, and I think I read it costs $350 from a Toyota dealer. I've read a few posts here and elswhere saying you can possibly clean that valve. It is located underneath the throtle valve assembly, which means you have to take the entire throttle body valve off, which appears to be a bit time consuming.

I think I am going to try purchasing the $30 temperature sending unit first, as it is the cheapest and easiest to replace, and see if that cures the problem. If not, I may try the IAC next or just wait until it does enough to make the check engine light come on..... by the way, sometimes I see this IAC valvle refered to as a "motor", but I am thinking they are one and same device. If anyone has any direct experience in fixing this low idle / cold engine stalling problems on 2001, 2002, or 2003 Highllanders let me know. [email protected]
 

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Futher up on this post thread you may see where I indicated that I had the same problem with an 02 Highlander early in 2007. Sometimes it would start, but would not idle unless you kept your foot on the accelerator. If you took your foot off, it would stall. It would easily re-start again, but would continue to stall unless you kept your foot on the gas until it warmed up. This problem would only occur once every few months. When I called two local dealers, and spoke with both service managers, they said they never heard of anything like this, and would have to hook my Highlander up to their anaylizer. When I told them the problem was intermittant, and did NOT result in a check engine light coming on, and asked if their analyzer would tell them what was wrong, they admitted it probably would not. I therefore did more research and reading on my own, on line and via repair manuals, and I concluded it was likely that my Idle Air Control Valve was not acting properly. I did in fact decide to check out the Idle Air Control Valve, which I have seen sometimes refered to also as an Idle Control Motor. This Valve was a bit challenging to get to, and it did require removing the entire throttle body assembly, connecting air hoses, fuel line, etc. You can't gain access to the Idle Air Control Valve without removing the throttle body assembly. As I recall some of the hoses were color coded and I made notes so I would reinstall the air hoses correctly. Some of the nuts and connections are tough to get to as they are underneath or behind the throtle body assembly, and if your level of experience with tools or engines is limited to just basic oil changes and air filters only, or you don't have a decent selection of sockets, wrenches, etc. you may not want to attempt this on your own. Also, if you don't already own a repair manual, get the Haynes 92095 for the Highlander. It has a section with photos on the Idle Air Control Valve, so you can see exactly where the IAC is located. After removing the throttle body you can remove the valve - mine was attached with four small screws. When I got the valve off I could quickly see it was dirty - just normal dark colored film. As I recall it appeared to have an open sliding valve / port type of set up. I used normal generic carburator spray cleaner and an old tooth brush, etc. to get it cleaned up. I considered actually disasembling the valve unit to get inside it for a 100% cleaning, but decided against that and just cleaned as much as I could get to from the outside without taking the actual valve apart. That was over six months ago and the problem has never appeared again. My 2002 Highlander has 150,000 miles on it, so my guess is that as more and more 01's and 02's start to get up there in miles, this is going to become a very common problem and dealers will become familiar with it. The fix me took a couple of hours of my time, and saved me at least $200 over what any dealer would charge in labor to clean it. I doubt that any dealer would actually agree to "clean" the valve, but instead would sell you a new one and with an hour or two of labor - probably closer to $500 total repair cost.
 

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I have a 2001 Highlander 4cyl with 135k on it and I just got back from the dealer with the same problem. It would be fine for a few days and then act up and not let itself idle. It ran fine when it was getting gas. Dealer said it was a bad idle air control valve. I am heading downstairs after this to dig up my Haynes manual that is packed away in some box getting ready for us to move. I already have the toothbrush and SeaFoam to go at it...

First "major" problem with this car in 130k+ miles... gotta love Toyotas...

As a sidenote... the dealer wanted to charge me $495 to fix it. I told them to beat it...
 

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I want to thank everyone for their comments on this site. I also experienced the low RPM/ Stalling issue when not in motion or when coming to a stop. I cleaned the IAC, as talked about here, and the problem is now gone. I used the Haynes manual to determine how get to the IAC, which tells you how to remove the throttle body to get to the IAC - the book listed everything correct with the exception of omitting the fact that you need to remove one throttle body bracket bolt from the rear of the unit. I also took advantage of having the throttle body removed to do a spark plug replacement (this seemed easier than waiting for a later time and having to remove the upper manifold instead). In total, took me, an inexperienced person for repairs, about fours hours total for both jobs - time well spent because the vehicle is purring. Thanks again!
 

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Did anyone have the dirty IAC issue with the V6? it sounds like everyone with this problem had an I4?
Yes an old post... but those interested will note that this happens to V6's also.
The author of this thread in fact had an HL Limited...all Limited's had the V6.
Smart to change the rearward bank sparkplugs if yu are removing the intake manifold to do the IAC... yu are there already!:tu::tu:

LT:happy:
 

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Note that you don't have to take the IAC off in many cases to correct the sticking issue. The IAC intake port is a slot at the bottom of the throttle body throat, which you can see when you take the air cleaner tube off.

Spray THROTTLE BODY CLEANER (not carb cleaner) into the port with the engine off, let it sit for 15 mintes and start car.

Then have someone crank the steering wheel al the way one direction and spritz the port while that person turns and holds the wheel slightly against the limit, and then releases. The IAC moves kicking up, then reducing the RPM's when the steering pump pressure increases and decreases, and with the cleaner spritzing will usually clean itself nicely.
 

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Dealer and others could not diagnose the intermittent 2002 Highlander stalling. This car is a 2002 four cylinder Highlander with 170,000 mostly highway miles with all home DIY maintenance. After reading the various reports and suggestions by others in Tundra we developed a solution that should prove very simple and effective. Simply removed the air inlet tube at the carburetor body (only) setting it inches aside for access to the carburetor throat and throttle plate value. With my wife at the started key and no foot on the accelerator I had her crank the engine as I sprayed in Carburetor fluid in short bursts in the black rectangular hole just over the throttle plate valve located in the carburetor throat. So the engine vacuum pulled the cleaner though and burned the junk. Since then all is well with no parts expense or real labor.
 
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