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Toyota highlander – to fix it, follow the smoke! – Auto Repair Chat

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In this video we have to look at a 2005 Toyota Highlander that was towed in as a stalling, ABS/Brake light, no speedometer, not shifting, cooling fan stays on and can't get out of gear complaint... oh did I mention it is not charging either and the battery is dead?! After an initial assessment we focus on one issue and it quickly goes "up in smoke" leading us right to the problem. -Enjoy!
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48 thoughts on “Toyota highlander – to fix it, follow the smoke!”
  1. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars D Barnes says:

    Purge!!!!!! Horn

  2. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars J Kaehler says:

    I can pretty much theorize what happened to this Toyota Highlander. I would say it either got hot or one of the fan relays went bad causing it to run constantly drawing too much power causing the wires to overheat and melting at connector. Because what happens to a wire when it's overloaded it always melts at its weakest point which would be the connector and then once it shorted it was The snowball effect from there. I'm not sure I would have fixed it like that because there are quite a few times that you do have to pull a fuse box to do other things. And it would be very frustrating to have to cut and redo those because you have the benefit of the connector and diagrams and if it needs to be addressed again it's just a wad of wires. And it would be almost impossible to get those connectors from Toyota more than likely I would have just went and got them from a junkyard or found them. Even if it wasn't the same year or model just as long as you have enough pins just change the whole connector. But this was the quick and easy fast and dirty more than likely it would be okay it just personally bothers me to take something modular and hardwire it. Because also who's to say whatever caused it before doesn't happen again now you don't have a failure point of the connector because it's hard wired now it's going to shift the problem probably melt the whole box if not catch the engine on fire. I'm not knocking it but I would have tried to replace the connectors.

  3. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars V Matt says:

    An Intermittent wiring problem can be fun to find.

  4. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars Scott Stephens says:

    Air raid?

  5. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars Ed Chenal says:

    Oh, so interesting to watch you troubleshoot this issue. Good Work.

  6. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars stone river says:

    Well done.

  7. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars Jacob Godfrey says:

    EVER THOUGHT OFF DOING A FACETIME WALK THRU SERVICE SINCE YOU ARE THE SENSI

  8. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars MountainSalsa says:

    Thank you.

  9. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars Roger B says:

    I would like to add to your list of possible wiring faults – wires can become leaky due to corrosion – either to other wires or to ground. This can lead to weird problems like drifting gauges, dim lights that should be off, and high resistance causing unreliable circuit operation. These problems are not always at connectors – sometimes insulation on wires is worn through or melted, then wet with salt spray. These problems may only appear in rainy weather or slushy conditions, then clear up in fine weather.
    Back in the late 60's, (I was a VW mechanic then) Volkswagen had an urgent recall due to a miswire in the fuel gauge circuit on a few US cars. Instead of being connected to a low voltage, limited current source, the fuel level sensor resistor was erroneously powered between +ign and ground. When the fuel in the tank was low, the sensing variable resistor was no longer covered (and cooled) by fuel in the tank. Exposed to air, the resistor wire overheated and could eventually burn through. If it sparked when it opened, you can imagine what could happen. The gauge worked more or less normally in spite of the error.

  10. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars John Craig says:

    Great Video, and as usual, your Diagnostics are Supreme. I just looked up the cost of the Snap On Vantage Pro, what a shock!!! MSRP: $2,795.00, do you feel it really worth that kind of money? I have a 50 year old Tektronics Oscope that tells me a lot about Electronics but it is 24 inches long, 12 inches thick, and weighs 40 lbs. not portable like that one.

  11. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars Todd Sculley says:

    The low idle was vibrating those wires and they rubbed through each other

  12. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars John Kelly says:

    👍process of elimination on electrical problems thanks

  13. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars Dan Z-MAN says:

    I WAS WONDERING WHAT KIND OF AUTEL YOU HAVE. IM USING A AUTEL MAXICHECK MX808. YOURS LOOKS BIGGER THAN THE ONE IM USING AND MAYBE YOU COULD DO A VIDEO ON ALL THE KINDS OF DIAGNOSTIC TOOLS YOU HAVE AND WHAT YOU USE CERTAIN ONES FOR AND WHY YOU PREFER THAT TOOL FOR THAT JOB TODAY IS MAY 10TH 2022 THANKS DAN ZEMAN FROM ZEMAN TIRE TOWN IN DOWNTOWN CEDAR HILL MISSOURI

  14. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars tom TKE says:

    would a junk yard connector have been a choice??

  15. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars Vincent Resciniti says:

    Hi Erick I love your channel I've been a mechanic for over 45 years and I'm still learning from you, I was just wondering why you don't use weather pack connectors to make repairs when you have plug issues.

  16. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars arthur says:

    Your an excellent machanic, but just my opinion , connectors, and pigtails are there for a reason . But I've done the same thing and temporary bandaid .

  17. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars stone river says:

    I have done the same thing. If done with care will last for ever.
    Well done as usual.

  18. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars Don's Junkmail says:

    Its vaping

  19. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars Don's Junkmail says:

    Car alarm works

  20. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars John M says:

    The repair was like you said the logical fix, 2005 why spend money when a wire patch job the right way works fine. I am sure the lady will be tickled to death that she got her car fixed for a few hours labour. All the best.

  21. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars Paul Albright says:

    What kind of swab did you use to clean the throttle body, looks easier than using a rag and spray.

  22. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars Jason Lundy says:

    Love it keep it up ! # 1 fan !

  23. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars Frank Heiss says:

    This was One of the Most Interesting,,,Videos,,,I have seen THE OWNER IS LUCKY IT WAS BROUGHT TO YOU,,,WITH MULTIPLE PROBLEMS N LITTLE BACKGROUND INFO TO GO ON,, I THINK U MADE A WISE CHOICE TO JUMP OUT THE CONNECTION, OTHERWISE GOING TO TOYOTA FOR NEW WIRING MAY HAVE TOTALED THE CAR ,,SHORT OF GOING TO SALVAGE YARD N CUTTING OUT ANOTHER HARNESS TO PATCH WHAT U DID MADE GOOD SENSE WITH AN OLDER CAR,, I HAVE SEEN THIS A COUPLE TIMES WITH ,, WATER N SALT CORROSION BEING DOWN IN NJ ,,BUT OTHER PROBLEMS LIKE THE FAN RELAYS REPLACED,,WHICH COULD HAVE OVERHEATED WIRING,,AND LOW IDLE DUE TO DIRTY THROTTLE-BODY ,, WHICH U CLEANED TO GET A PROPER IDLE TO ACHIEVE GOOD RPM FOR ALT TO CHARGE CORRECTLY ,,,,WAS REALLY A GOOD SCRATCH YOUR HEAD FIX ,,,,TO CHECK OUT N GO WITH BASICS FIRST ,,THANKS ERIC

  24. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars Robert Hicks says:

    Woulda gone to junkyard to get another connector

  25. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars Rick Carran says:

    Sometimes when your working inside and something goes out for example the garage door goes out, I unplugged it then plugged it back in don't know if car batteries work like that too! Just a wild guess, sounds like you bout got it!!!

  26. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars Chris Bentley says:

    2005 model. That's exactly what I would have chosen as the option if you had phoned me as the owner. Brilliant diagnosis and perfect fix. 2005 paintwork sucks though lol. Great video, as they all are.

  27. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars Phil Vourtsis says:

    Watching your videos I feel like I’m your apprentice. Your explanations and handling of the camera are top notch.

  28. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars boostedsil40 says:

    My gf nissan frontier will not charge if the battery light circuit doesnt work even though it just a non ecu controlled circuit that goes from fuse box to battery light to alt and alt causes a ground side open to shut off the light.the fsm says nothing about how important it is and couldnt figure out why it would create a no charge situation but 100% confirmed it will not charge without that circuit during bench testing.

    but why?any idea how this circuit works?its really frusterating how the fsm doesnt disclose the importance of this circuit and im sure many people would assume it has no relation to a no charge costing many people money all because the lack of info from our fsm.

  29. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars W Greathouse says:

    You did the same thing that I would have done, but I would have checked a little farther up into the harness.

  30. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars Jamison Winchel says:

    If you disconnect battery… toyotas have to relearn idle rpm. Turn key on and off 3 times… then start motor and let sit for about 10 or 15 min.

  31. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars LEOPOLDO MENDOZA says:

    Muy bueno amigo!….Unlike others who falsify their diagnostics!..way to go!

  32. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars TheBenjammin5150 says:

    If you can do it I can do it….with thousands of dollars of scan tools and subscriptions.

  33. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars TheBenjammin5150 says:

    3 most over rated people in history…
    1. Will Ferrell
    2.Stephen King
    3. Kurt Cobain

  34. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars Van DuBose says:

    Scotch 88 is a good tape as well.

  35. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars Louis Harris says:

    Good old smoke test,. That's old-school,cool

  36. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars David Farmer says:

    Good fix. Soldiering the wires was the way to go. No reason to buy the connecters, you solved the problem as you say by tracing one problem. You saved the customer money and did a classic fix. You are the man…

  37. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars James Ross says:

    You always say when there is alot going on with multiple circuits to pick one and work that through and mostly you will resolve all the others as well. In this case you did exactly that and once again it was a success. Regarding the repair well I would have made that the customers call and I think nearly 100% of the times they would have gone for the repair you did. Picking the alternator fault was the obvious one to go after as it wss the most basic circuit to follow. As usual, a master diagnosis and repair.

  38. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars Jerry E. Hamby says:

    I would have to take a hammer underneath that thing

  39. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars Jerry E. Hamby says:

    You need a back brace

  40. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars Jerry E. Hamby says:

    Something must be loose to make it burn or something broke. Duh I know you can fix it

  41. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars Coy Carlson says:

    Like I say , Like I say , what do you do 🤔- Yes indeed , I have been there 😳😐

  42. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars Jay DeGelder says:

    You did good , i would have done the same with those wires, with the age of the car. Keep it up!!!!

  43. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars chris cash says:

    Is that the Putin alarm ? I'm sure he will hit New York first thinking Trump is there . lol

  44. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars John Glasgow says:

    Why do car company's have exposed connectors (especially power) to get corroded? They should at least put silicone sealant where the wires are and and an O ring at the connection point. We all don't live in the sun belt.

  45. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars mike marshall says:

    #1 rule in electronics troubleshooting > Don't let the smoke out! 🤓🤓

  46. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars David Brenton says:

    i had one tonka truck new kept it four months what a junk wagon i will NEVER have another

  47. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars Gilbert Schultz says:

    Zz

  48. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars Mechanicsville804 says:

    John 3:16
    For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son that whosoever believeth in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life.

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