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Occasional Advisor
Posts: 11
Registered: ‎06-12-2012

Battery or Alternator

I have a '95 Lexus LS400 with 122,000 mi. Just got the check engine light, with the code "ECM - Battery failure." Battery checks out at 12.7V static and 13.6V running, with no load. But with lights, radio, and AC on, it is down to 12.4. One shop tells me to replace the alternator, at $400. Another says replace the battery (possible weak cell). Also having occasional shuddering with the trannie, upon deceleration.

 

Should I replace the battery or alternator, and should it be ASAP? Can another test be run?  

Honored Contributor
Posts: 1,275
Registered: ‎09-02-2009

You may have both! The battery OCV or open circuit voltag...

You may have both! The battery OCV or open circuit voltage should be around 13.2 v and the alternator should be putting out right at 14.2v at idle. I would charge the battery and retest the system and compare the new readings with the values I provided.
Occasional Advisor
Posts: 11
Registered: ‎06-12-2012

Clarification

Does that mean, after the charge, that test readings below 13.2 and 14.2 (batt./alt., respectively), say replacement is required? During the test, should accessories be on? Any need to check fuses and belt tension?

Honored Contributor
Posts: 1,275
Registered: ‎09-02-2009

The battery after charging needs to be up around 13.2v af...

The battery after charging needs to be up around 13.2v after charging. If not it is weak and should be replaced. With a fully charged battery, the alternator should put out 14.2v at idle with no accessories on. Sorry for not being clear.
Occasional Advisor
Posts: 11
Registered: ‎06-12-2012

Coolant Temperature Sensor

Before this ECM Battery failure code, I got a coolant temperature sensor bad code, and replaced the sensor, thinking the problem was resolved.

 

I had two Autozones test the car and tell me the battery and alternator were fine. And the ECM etc. code did not re-occur. However, the coolant temperature sensor code did. The shop doing the repairs has put in two new sensors, and a new sensor connection, to no avail. I still have a check engine light, hard starting, and an erratic idle as low as 400 rpm.

 

Only now, after six weeks of this, does this shop tell me there is something called a computer "readjustment" (aka "flash") that only Lexus can do.

 

Are they correct? What do you recommend?

Honored Contributor
Posts: 1,275
Registered: ‎09-02-2009

That is partially true. Many manufacturers sell subscript...

That is partially true. Many manufacturers sell subscriptions so their information to be used in the independent market. It sounds like your shop does not have that subscription. You can either go to the dealer or find a shop that has made the investment in factory subscriptions.  My suggestion at this point would be you may need to go to the dealer.

Occasional Advisor
Posts: 11
Registered: ‎06-12-2012

ECM/ECU Replacement

A local AAA shop finally told me (after putting in a new CT sensor and catalytic converters, under warranty) that the problem, all along, was the computer, sending low voltage to the CT sensor, an O2 sensor, and the fuel pump delivery system. They wanted $600 to install a remanufactured computer, and conveniently gave me nothing written in the way of test results.

 

I want to do it myself, having some writeups. Can I remove/replace it without messing up my keys (or anything else?).

Honored Contributor
Posts: 1,275
Registered: ‎09-02-2009

It is doubtful. Most ECM's have to be "flashed"with the l...

It is doubtful. Most ECM's have to be "flashed"with the latest software for your particular vehicle.
Occasional Advisor
Posts: 11
Registered: ‎06-12-2012

What about repair/rebuild

Is Autozone then misleading me? They said if I bring my ECM to them, they can send it to Bluestreak for repair/rebuild ($350/ten days). They claim it will not require additional programming.

Honored Contributor
Posts: 1,275
Registered: ‎09-02-2009

It has always been my experience that the dealer (represe...

It has always been my experience that the dealer (representative of the manufacturer) has the most updated information and software updates UNLESS the repairer has a manufacturers' subscription for connectivity to the information.

Occasional Advisor
Posts: 11
Registered: ‎06-12-2012

Take a Lexus to Lexus

Pete

 

I finally took this car to Lexus when I moved to Georgia. Apparently the two mom-and-pop shops who worked on this car took short cuts in the cooling temp sensor installation, damaging the sensor and some other parts. Nalley Lexus did a great job of fixing it, taking off the parts that first needed to come off (rather than bending them out of the way), and installed heat shrink (?) on the individual wires, then around both of them. The car now starts great. 

Valued Contributor
Posts: 130
Registered: ‎09-06-2013

RE: Take a Lexus to Lexus

,

 

That's good to hear.  Often the dealer is the best solution to a repair problem.

 

Thanks for the feedback.

Occasional Advisor
Posts: 11
Registered: ‎06-12-2012

Cost Estimate Overruns

I have a question of the AAA gurus re: cost estimates.

 

My 95 Lexus LS400 had a P.S. rack leak. Steering was fine, but sick of the leaks. The local Toyota Service dept. quoted $1100 and $2400 for generic/OEM replacement, respectively. Because they said generic would be fine, I had them do it. It didn't work - the steering froze and I had to go with the OEM part to also get a replacement valve/solenoid. I was without a car or loaner for 13 days. After the fact, they said, "Well, what do you expect with a 20-year old car?"

 

Both the steering and the overall leakage are now a bit worse. They think they did me a big favor by not charging me for the second installation and returning the generic rack. I think their lack of expertise helped me waste $2400 (I would have just let the rack blow up).

 

The Maine AG tells me I may have a case for arbitration, but I'm not sure. Can a cost estimate be overrun like this by saying (as they did), "Well, the estimate didn't include that part" (the valve/solenoid)?

Valued Contributor
Posts: 130
Registered: ‎09-06-2013

Hi again brwneyes53,   While I am quite familiar with the...

Hi again 

 

While I am quite familiar with the automotive laws in my home state of Michigan, I'll have to refer you to local experts on this one.

 

See the links below.

 

Chapter 11: Consumer Rights When Repairing Your Vehicle

 

Office of the Maine AG: Consumer Complaints or Questions

 

In Michigan, a repair facility cannot go over an estimate by more than $10.00 or 10% (whichever is lower).  Maine may have similar laws.

Occasional Advisor
Posts: 11
Registered: ‎06-12-2012

AG

Ray

 

I've already read Ch. 11 and contacted the Maine A/G. Their response: "It appears to be a situation that is appropriate for our free mediation services." Whatever that means.

 

Please - don't respond to this.

 

Joe

Occasional Visitor
Posts: 4
Registered: ‎07-06-2016

A VERY GOOD ANSWER...YOU SEEM TO KNOW ABOUT ELECTRICAL IS...

A VERY GOOD ANSWER...YOU SEEM TO KNOW ABOUT ELECTRICAL ISSUES...
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Valued Contributor
Posts: 130
Registered: ‎09-06-2013

Thank You for the compliment!

 
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