木 2009 Toyota Sequoia Build Thread 木

#1
Say hello to my "new to me" 2009 Toyota Sequoia.

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This vehicle is replacing my 2016 Toyota Tacoma TRD Sport 4x4. Yes I know I traded down which is a cardinal sin when it comes to car buying. Oh well, I'll get over it.

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The Tacoma was an awesome truck, quite capable off road and a head turner around town. At the end of the day though it wasn't a well researched purchase (an impulse purchase actually) that ended up being simply too small for my needs and the needs of my family. With a larger towing capacity and infinitely more cargo and people capacity this Sequoia should work much better for us. Oh, and it was 1/2 the price.

First, a little information about Sequoias. Introduced in 2000 the Sequoia is based on Toyota's Tundra full size truck. It was initially designed to complete with the likes of the Ford Expedition, Chevy Tahoe and Nissan Armada. At a time when gas was cheap and huge SUV's were in demand Toyota went big with this SUV.

In 2008 the Sequoia received a redesign to match the new Tundra models. Unlike the Tundra, however, the Sequoia sports a fully boxed frame, independent rear suspension and a center locking differential. Available with either the 4.7L V8 with a 5 speed transmission (as mine has) or the 5.7 with a 6 speed transmission it has plenty of power to move down the road.

The Sequoia has continued unchanged from 2008 until now with a redesign slated for 2018. Slotted between the 4Runner and the Land Cruiser the Sequoia strikes me as having just the right amount of polish without fading into luxury overkill (and an $80,000 price tag) like the Land Cruiser.

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First impressions:

1. This thing is smooth! The Tacoma, with it's KO2's and cheap dealer installed 3inch lift, was always a little harsh to drive for long distances. Cruising 400 or 500 miles in a day would leave you a little fatigued. The Sequoia is the equivalent of stealing your Dad's favorite Lazy Boy chair and fitting it with tires and a steering wheel. The IRS soaks up anything the road throws at it and simply delivers comfort.

2. There's room for days in this thing! My daughter has taken a page from my genetic structure and, at age 12, has outgrown both my wife and my 21 year old son. The Tacoma just wasn't practical for family trips or even runs to the grocery store any longer. Continually readjusting seat positions to accommodate longer and longer legs had my wife sitting on top of the dash in the front seat. Not a problem in the Sequoia. At 6' 4" I can easily sit in the second row and have plenty of room to spare. If forced someone my size could even fit in the third row if need be, although it will probably remain folded down for the foreseeable future.

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3. More Power! Obviously when comparing it to the Tacoma we're talking about a V6 vs a V8, but this thing has some get up and go. The 4.7 is spec'd to produce 285 HP (the 5.7 was spec'd at almost 400!) and the 5 speed transmission seems to have good spacing between the gears. Even with 143,000 on the clock it shifts and runs very smoothly.

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4. Excellent interior layout. All of the controls make sense and I think they're appropriately placed. There are persons on the interwebs who complain that some of the controls are too far away from the driver. They must be short people as this thing simply fits me. Plenty of OEM spots for electrical expansion and enough little nooks and crannies to house all sorts of camping and adventure equipment.

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Negatives?

Well, it's a thirsty V8 so there's that. But it'll be paid for shortly and then who cares. I'll just reallocate funds into the petrol bucket.

It's black. It was well maintained but black paint shows everything so as soon as I get home from my next work trip there will be a 3 day detailing event I'm sure.

It has Michelin street tires that are in too good of shape to get rid of immediately. So they'll stay on there until I wear them out and then there will be a rim/tire package installed with a more off road slant.

So what are the initial plans? Well there's going to be quite a bit of maintenance done first, which I'll detail here as the thread goes on. As far as modifications go, here's the current list:

MODIFICATIONS:

1. Stereo upgrade. The factory unit is 8 years old and lacking plus this boat needs a backup camera.

2. Gobi Stealth Roof Rack

3. Rock sliders (have to find a shop to fab these).

4. 2.5 to 3 inch lift

5. Rims / tires

6. Weather Tech liners

After that we'll just use it and see what happens.
 
#3
2009 Sequoia Broken Door Locks

The Sequoia shares many of it's parts with the Tundra, including the door lock actuators. From what I've read on the good ol' interwebs these things break at regular intervals. The problem is that the small motors driving a worm gear inside the actuator don't hold up well and eventually burn out. What Toyota would like you to do is to change out the entire actuator mechanism to the tune of $275 each. All you really need though are $3 electric motors.

First we have to determine if the motors are indeed the problem or if there's a wiring issue somewhere. At one point I had a 2005 Ford Explorer that developed door lock problems as the wire harness that ran from the body to the door would break over time as it flexed each time the door was opened and closed. So let's rip open a door panel and play with the electrical pixies!

So here we go.

Pull the door panel off. Plenty of youtube videos of how to do this, but basically:

- Pull the small panel off at the top right of the door (drivers side). Do this by grasping and pulling, it's held on by retention clips.

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- Pull the retention pin in the upper right of the main door panel. Or if your used vehicle is missing this pin go pick one up at autozone to replace it when you reinstall the panel.

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- Pull the liner out of the inner door grab and remove the screw underneath.

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- While you're in this area pull straight up on the trim panel that contains all the power window and door lock buttons. Unplug the buttons and lay them off to the side.

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- Pry the plastic cover off that's located behind the interior door handle. You should do that using the nylon interior trim panel tools that you can't find any where. If you look again and still can't find them then order new ones online and just use a small screw driver. Be careful not to scratch things up or you'll hate yourself later.

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- Then remove the screw you just exposed.

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- Then use the V-notch interior trim tool that you can't find but just ordered to start prying the bottom of the door panel off. If Amazon didn't instantly deliver that tool via drone service just use your fingers. Don't pull too far though as you have to unplug the light at the bottom of the door panel.

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- Next pull the panel away from the door so that the rest of the retention clips either pop out or break completely because they're old and brittle. Order new ones via Ebay because the BMW ones in the garage won't fit and they're cheaper on Ebay than Amazon. Then lift straight up on the panel, but not too far because you have to disconnect the door lock and door handle cables:

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- Now lay the door panel somewhere safe, like the roomy interior provided by your folded flat third row seat. You can then unplug the connector that runs to the power door lock actuator.

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- Now search online for 20 minutes to find a reliable wiring diagram for a 2009 Toyota Sequoia. When you find three different ones that all have different color wires listed for the power door locks give up and just test the two largest gauge wires in the plug (blue and white) as they're the ones delivering power to the actuator. (The rest are signal wires for door ajar and sending the pulse to autolock the doors when you get going a certain speed).

- Next up you want to shove a couple of probes into the connector to look for a signal pulse using your oscilloscope. What's that? You don't have an oscilloscope? Well, me either. Let's use a cheap Radio Shack multimeter instead, heck it's considered vintage since they went out of business! How hipster!

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Plug that switch panel back in and press the lock or unlock buttons. Depending on what probe you've placed where, you're going to get two different voltage values; one positive and one negative. Who cares what the polarity is or what those values are, we just want to see that the pixies are moving. If that number doesn't change you're going to have to hunt down a short in the wiring or the lock/unlock button itself is faulty (probably wiring, these buttons are fairly foolproof.)

So you're getting pixies through the wires but the door doesn't lock/unlock? That means the little motor in your actuator is shot. You'll need to order new ones and pull the actuator out, disassemble it and replace the motor.

Want those part numbers? Want me to show you how to do that? Want to watch me repair three Sequoia actuators? Yes?

Well so do I, but I had to fly to Houston for a week so you're going to have to wait just like I am. Hang in there, during the next installment we're going to play with moisture barriers and butyl adhesive!

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Trump

Adventurist
Senior Staff
Founding Member
#4
The problem is that the small motors driving a worm gear inside the actuator don't hold up well and eventually burn out. What Toyota would like you to do is to change out the entire actuator mechanism to the tune of $275 each. All you really need though are $3 electric motors.
This is a design Toyota has used for ages it seems. The actuators on my Land Cruiser use the same principle. I'll be interested in your source for the motor and if there's a 24v motor that will fit my application.
 

bob91yj

Adventurist
Founding Member
#5
Be careful putting the probes off of your multi-meter into the connectors, you can spread the terminals causing poor connections when reassembled. I keep paper clips (unwind them) and heavy gauge sewing needles in my Fluke case for probing connectors. I've got alligator clip leads that I connect to them.
 
#6
Be careful putting the probes off of your multi-meter into the connectors, you can spread the terminals causing poor connections when reassembled. I keep paper clips (unwind them) and heavy gauge sewing needles in my Fluke case for probing connectors. I've got alligator clip leads that I connect to them.
Excellent point Bob! I've had friends ruin some automotive connections this very way.

I forgot to mention that this particular connector had space above each of the internal connections to place the probes. They actually squeezed closed a little when the probes were inserted this way. I keep a couple short lengths of small gauge solid wire around and will generally insert them into the back side of the connector so as not to warp the internal connections at all when I have to do this sort of thing. Got lucky with the design of this connector.

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#8
So while we're all waiting on me to return home from Houston and finish repairing those door locks, let's take some time to talk about door handles. I'm on kind of a door maintenance kick right now.

At some point in the past door handles on vehicles went from being actual handles with a push button to disengage the door latch to these cheap plastic pull things we all have today. Are they more aesthetically pleasing? Sure. Do they hold up to the wear and tear like the older generation? No. I once had a 1985 Ford Ranger with over 600,000 miles on it. The door handles never failed once. I've replaced or serviced door handles on more modern vehicles with as low as 50,000 miles. Part of this has to do with the design of modern handles and the amount of rain and other elements they allow inside. All 4 handles on the Sequoia work just fine, but they have a "dry" feeling to them when you operate them. Let's take a look.

Start by pulling the little rubber plug off the door that conceals the torx head screw inside.

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Then loosen that screw up as much as possible. Three small teeth on a connector around the screw prevent it from fully backing out and falling inside the door where it will be lost forever. If you check first and find that those three little plastic teeth are missing I'd suggest getting a magnet and some prayer ready to keep it from becoming a permanent baby rattle in your door.

After this screw is loose pull firmly on the door lock portion of the outside handle, it should slide right out. If it doesn't, pull more firmly and try wiggling it.

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(See all those speckles on the paint? That's Georgia Pollen trying to kill me!)

Once that's out of the way set it off to the side and focus on the door handle itself. To remove it grasp it in your hand and pull it toward the now vacant area where the door lock used to be. It'll slide over and pop right out.

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Congratulations! You're holding a $48 piece of Toyota plastic in your hand! If you look closely at the image above you'll see a tiny bit of yellow residue on the "bump" on the top right of the handle and a little more on the far right side. That's what's causing our "dry" feeling when operating the handle. Those two tiny amounts of reside are the only grease left on this plastic. Some fella back in February of 2009 slathered plenty of grease on there before installing the handle, but years of use and exposure to the elements have worn it all away.

When I return home from Houston (see a pattern developing?) I'm going to re-grease all four door handles with white lithium grease. If I can come across it locally I'll be using white lithium grease with teflon to maximize it's elemental (water) resistance. That is unless someone here has a better suggestion.

I also can't seem to find any documentation on exactly what areas of the handle need to be greased. I'm going with:

1. Anywhere there's old grease residue (after cleaning it off of course)

2. Anywhere there's evidence of plastic on plastic friction (ie, scratches)

On BMW handles I've serviced in the past there was a diagram from BMW documenting (in extensive detail) exactly where to place the grease, how much grease to use and where to source the grease from. Deviating from these guidelines caused the BMW to spontaneously combust and your bank account to drop to zero. I can't find anything like this for the Sequoia or Tundra...but then again I'm too cheap to buy a service manual, maybe it's in there.

Hopefully random amounts of lithium grease will return the handles to their factory state of a lusciously wet and slick feeling when being pulled on. Yep, you just read that.
 
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#9
Great thread and awesome vehicle build. Your gnats ass level of detail and engaging storytelling are a winning combination!

:clang
Thanks Dave! Providing written descriptions of the bumps on gnat's asses was one of my first entry level jobs. I'm finding there's very little information about Sequoia service or modification out there (it's an under served market) so I'm trying to provide as much helpful information (and lies) as I can to assist people on down the road. As a bonus it'll drive traffic here to the forum and make everyone involved famous and filthy rich! It's a win-win.
 
#11
Ok, let's finish up those door locks!

Step 1: Fly home from Houston. With that done it's time to pull out those actuator mechanisms...

First off remove the three bolts that hold the mechanism into place.

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This is the driver's side door and you should go ahead and pull the outside door lock mechanism off as well. It makes it easier to put things back together later as the rod on the end of the door lock meshes into the mechanism you're pulling now.

Next up loosen the two bolts that hold the window track in place inside the door. You'll need this track to push back and away from the inside of the door skin to give the actuator mechanism room to come out. I found the best way to maximize the amount of movement was to completely remove one of the bolts and then re-thread it into place two or three turns. Then loosen the other bolt so it's sticking out about the same amount. This will enable you to push the track back without loosing the alignment needed to put the bolts back in place.

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Now reach in and pull that actuator mechanism out. You'll need to drop it down about 4 inches first in order to separate it from the rod that attaches to the outside door handle. Then pull it toward the opening and twist it out around the window track.

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Now let's tear into this thing. Here's a video on what we're going to be doing:


The instructions that fella gives are pretty much spot on, but he's a little vague in a few spots (especially when he turns the camera off...) The biggest hints I can provide are:

1. Make sure EVERYTHING lines up when you put the clamshell back together. If you pull apart the mechanism very carefully you can take a picture of where everything is sitting and then put it back together exactly the same way. If done right the only mechanisms inside that will really move are the two rods on the top of the clamshell and they're very easy to line up when putting things back together.

2. In the upper right portion of the picture below there's a series of metal leads and a small gear that sits over top of them. This gear sits on top of a small alignment fitting but nothing holds it in place. Make sure it's seated properly before snapping things back together (in this photo it's already popped off and leaning to the side a bit). This mechanism is what locks and unlocks the door using the outside door lock. It's important that this works if all you have a is a single key for the vehicle and no key fob......ask me how I know. This area is also covered in dielectric grease, not the regular grease that's everywhere else. Make sure you don't push any regular grease over that way as it will inhibit the electrical signals.

3. In the video he removes both cables. I found that wasn't necessary, but you do have to open the cover over the second cable in order to pull the clamshell apart.

4. Go slow and don't break any of the tabs that hold the clamshell together. He uses a pick in the video but I found a small flat screwdriver worked fine while putting tension on one side of the shell with your thumb to keep it spreading apart.

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Once you're inside it's an easy matter to pop out the bad motor.

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Pull the worm gear off and put it on the new motor you've sourced. Pop it into place, put everything back together and you'll have working door locks! (On that door...I've got two more doors to do in my case.)

I sourced my motors here:

4 x 10mm FLAT D SHAFT FC-280PC-22125 Car Door Lock Motors New Repair For Mabuchi

Apparently there are 10mm and 20mm versions. My Sequoia used 10mm. If you're not sure which you need you could probably order both, I only paid $4 each for mine.


A few other tips:

1. When reassembling the doors make sure you have plenty of those door clips that I broke when removing the door panels.

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Because I forgot a few things (I'd been awake for 22 hours at this point in my day) I had to remove the door trim a few times as I remembered to button things up. The new clips broke almost as easily as the old clips did even when using trim removal tools and working carefully. I'm going to need to order a bulk bag of these for when I get around to installing new speakers...

Toyota Door Trim Panel Retainers 90467-A0005

2. Make sure you remember to tighten up those two bolts that hold the window track into place. If you don't you'll have to pull the panel and re-tighten them...this will break more of the clips listed above...

3. Make sure when you reinsert the actuator in the door that you position it lower than where it mounts and then bring it up to guide the rod for the outside door handle back into the receiver on the mechanism. This is easy to do in the front doors but harder in the rear doors where the rod is shorter.

4. While you've got the door panel off you should hand your OCD wife some cleaning supplies and let her do her thing.

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We also used 303 Aerospace Protectant wipes to clean out the inside of the door panels. I had ordered replacement panels that house the window/lock switches and used the wipes to clean up the hidden portions of the switches while I had them out. Good as new now!

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After spending an hour and a half or so on the drivers door (and forgetting to tighten things so I had to open it up and do it again) I tackled my passenger doors front a rear. Each of these took me about 15 minutes each. Things go much faster once you understand what you're doing. The mechanisms are very similar as you move to the other doors and the same basic instructions apply.

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#12
While the door locks were a huge success, greasing the door handles turned out to be a bust. I picked up some white lithium grease from the local O'Reilly Autoparts and tried to match up where the residue was on the original handles (after I cleaned it off of course.)

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What I found was that only a few parts of the handle actually make contact with the mount inside the door. Most of the grease was pushed out of the way when using the door handle. It almost seems like what needs to happen is some sanding of the contact points of the handle so that the areas are smooth and slide with less friction. I took the opportunity to clean up underneath the weather seals (and the seals themselves) and added a little grease to the tracks the handles contact on the inside of the door. I only did the driver's door as the improvement was marginal at best...I may try something different with the other door handles. Cleaning everything up seemed to have the greatest effect.

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The mount inside the drivers door on my vehicle was a little loose. To correct this you tighten the T-40 screw that you can see inside the door from the inside trim side.

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After I finished up the doors and had everything working I moved on to wiper blades...this is the most exciting build thread you've ever read, right?

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I'll spare you the gory details...just know that they're on and they're awesome. I highly recommend Bosch Icon wipers.

I ordered a new rear wiper through Toyota as it has some specialty rubber stopper things on it to hold it off the vehicle. The old ones were beginning to dry out and the old wiper blade in the back was making contact with the paint. I also ordered a rubber stop for the rear to lift the wiper up off the body when it's not in use. Swapping it was as easy as pulling the old one, cleaning underneath and pushing the new one into place.

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This, ladies and gentlemen, is the real life behind the scenes reality of overlanding vehicle prep! Eat your heart out YouTube overlanding stars!



Can someone explain to me why these three images show up at the end of the post and I can't get rid of them?

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bob91yj

Adventurist
Founding Member
#13
I find amusement in the stupidest things. Your first pic has a great shot of your VIN plate, I get a kick out of people that put their whole life on Facebook, then obscure their license plate numbers in pictures. I'm sure some never-do-well that has watched too much Forensic Files could do something mischievous with that information if they really wanted too...risking a jail sentence for ANYTHING that I own would be borderline stupid!

Your attention to detail is phenomenal, wish I had that trait.
 
#14
So what's the next vehicle modification? Well that's easy. No true adventure vehicle is complete without a lit check engine light!

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Look at that amber lit goodness!

This is the second time I've had the CEL come on since buying the vehicle. Both times have been during the following conditions:

1. Just put gas in the vehicle. (I've checked the tightness of the cap, seems good)
2. Around town style driving. There was no CEL during the 3 hour interstate haul when I brought it home.

It's been the same code both times, P0420 Catalyst System Efficiency Below Threshold Bank 1. The first time it happened I wrote it off as the vehicle having sat for almost a month at the dealer and not being driven. I hoped things were just burning off and had affected the O2 sensor. I cleared the code and it didn't return until a week later when driving to town for pizza. Again the vehicle has sat in the driveway for a week without use since I wasn't home.

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This morning I pulled out my tablet, fired up Torque Pro and went for a ride to get some readings from the O2 sensors. In my mind I should be able to compare the readings from the Bank 1 sensors and compare them to the Bank 2 sensors to determine if something is wrong with the O2 Sensor. What I've found is that sensor 2 in bank 1 seems to have some very different readings from sensor 2 bank 2.

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It's my understanding that this sensor is after the catalytic converter so I'm assuming it's one of the following:

1. The cat is bad...this seems unlikely since the vehicle is running great. No trouble starting, no loss in acceleration performance and the MPGs seem to be on target.

2. The O2 sensor is bad. This seems to be the most common problem when this code shows up. I think this may be where I start to tackle this problem.

3. There's an exhaust leak causing air to get into the system before the sensor and causing the odd readings. It may be that the O2 sensor isn't sealed properly and the exhaust leak is minor and only affecting the sensor. Again I don't seem to have any symptoms of a major exhaust leak.

Any thoughts? Suggestions? Diagnostic guesses?

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bob91yj

Adventurist
Founding Member
#15
Generally speaking a P0420 or P0430 is a catalytic converter death code. Your sensor 2 readings are different because the bank 1 cat isn't doing its job. Sensor 1 readings being similar indicates that it's not an engine performance issue. To verify sensor operation, swap sensor 2 from one side to the other, if the conditions change sides, its the sensor, if they don't it's the cat for sure.

One precaution, keep in mind those sensors have been in their for 140,000 miles, countless heat cycles. It's not uncommon for them to gall the threads in the exhaust pipe when coming out. In theory it's a quick and easy job to swap them around...in reality there is the potential for a nightmare.

You have better diagnostic equipment than my dealership does with factory tools!
 
#16
I find amusement in the stupidest things. Your first pic has a great shot of your VIN plate, I get a kick out of people that put their whole life on Facebook, then obscure their license plate numbers in pictures. I'm sure some never-do-well that has watched too much Forensic Files could do something mischievous with that information if they really wanted too...risking a jail sentence for ANYTHING that I own would be borderline stupid!

Your attention to detail is phenomenal, wish I had that trait.
I thought about that when I posted that picture (because I'm a yahoo that blurs plates), but couldn't come up with a reason to blur the VIN. They're publicly available all over place: surf a dealership website or walk through a mall parking lot looking through windshields. I can't for the life of me come up with anything malicious to do with a VIN...if someone wants to run a Carfax they can be my guest. Applying a filter to license plates is just habit as my LEO Father always did it...I've never asked why.

Now you've got me paranoid about VIN numbers. Thanks Bob! :p
 

bob91yj

Adventurist
Founding Member
#17
In that case you forgot to blur your Montana plates in the first pictures. I've since recorded it. I'm going to use both to hi-jack your adventure travels...you get to keep your job, I'm just taking the good stuff!:cool:
 
#18
Generally speaking a P0420 or P0430 is a catalytic converter death code. Your sensor 2 readings are different because the bank 1 cat isn't doing its job. Sensor 1 readings being similar indicates that it's not an engine performance issue. To verify sensor operation, swap sensor 2 from one side to the other, if the conditions change sides, its the sensor, if they don't it's the cat for sure.

One precaution, keep in mind those sensors have been in their for 140,000 miles, countless heat cycles. It's not uncommon for them to gall the threads in the exhaust pipe when coming out. In theory it's a quick and easy job to swap them around...in reality there is the potential for a nightmare.

You have better diagnostic equipment than my dealership does with factory tools!
I've read some horror stories about pulling these sensors as well...to the point of having to tap new threads. I really don't want to do that. But if I understand correctly you're saying to swap the bank 2 after cat sensor with the bank 1 sensor and see if the readings move to the other side. If they do then it's the sensor, if they don't it's the cat. Correct?

Torque Pro is awesome, it's amazing the stuff you can pull from the ECM using just an inexpensive bluetooth adapter and a tablet. When you figure that almost everyone has a tablet or phone running Android or IOS you're only looking at paying for a $20 bluetooth adapter and a $5 app. This setup has saved me a fortune when working on the BMWs my wife and son used to drive.
 

Doug

Adventurist
Senior Staff
Founding Member
#19
Ok, let's finish up those door locks!

Step 1: Fly home from Houston.
That gnat's ass level of detail ought to confuse a few people on the internet.

Looking forward to this build. It's like the big brother to my little 4Runner, black paint and all.
 
#20
That gnat's ass level of detail ought to confuse a few people on the internet.

Looking forward to this build. It's like the big brother to my little 4Runner, black paint and all.
I've always liked the 4Runners, but they're just not big enough for my large American frame. My wife had an 09 4Runner for a bit (we don't keep cars long) and I didn't find it near as comfortable as the newer generations that I've had as rentals. The appeal of the Sequoia is that it's comfortable and hopefully as capable.
 
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