Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Toyota Sienna XLE Limited - JBL Navigation Problem

Puzzled by the inoperable navigation system, i decided to do some research. A little history first. On very rare occasions, the JBL head unit would not come on at all. We experienced this problem less than five times in the 2 years we've owned this van. The unit would not come on for a few minutes after starting the vehicle, but would eventually become operable (usually after 5 minutes). Two weeks ago, the unit would not come on at all. Every button was unresponsive. The rear entertainment system worked fine, however no audio was heard thru the speakers due to the head unit being off. After looking at several RAD (radio) fuses in the engine compartment and driver's side fuse panel, as well as removing the head unit and ensuring proper connections, the JBL navigation unit suddenly began working again. It word for less than 1 day before returning to the dreaded "black screen". I found a list of all radio fuses from Sienna.org and inspected all of them. They all appeared to be in good condition. After re-installing the fuses, the radio again began to work.

My understanding at this point is that there is some poor connections in the fuse box that is prohibiting the correct amount of current to be supplied to the JBL head unit. This could be due to rust or not properly seating the fuses. Either way, the problem appears to be solved. BTW, the JBL head unit costs $3,700 from the Toyota dealer. Glad this didn't require a replacement!

Now, if I could just figure out how to fix the heated driver seat problem without taking the seat apart or going to the Toyota dealer for service.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

TPMS Lights-up Again

After a week in the airport parking lot, my SC430 alerted me upon return that the tire pressure was low. I checked all the tires the following day and found that the pressure was around 30 psi for all 4 tires. I increased the air pressure up to 33 and the light turned off. Very sensitive. A cold front went thru the area and that probably reduced the tire pressure. All is well.

Just 2 weeks later and the light came on again. Again, cold front came thru over the weekend and the car was sitting outside. I started the car up on a cold Monday morning and, bingo, the light is on. I have not checked the pressure in the tires again, but will take a look later in the week. Just a major design flaw. These TPMS' are not what I expected.

USER ERROR! Actually, the tire pressure was low in one of the tires. It was only a few psi below normal, but did require me to put some air in it. The roller coaster ride continues.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Side Mirror Install - SC430

When I bought this car, the driver's side mirror was working, but the electro-chromatic glass was damaged. Only half of the glass actually changed brightness at night due to a small chip on it. Using Ebay, I found a used one and won the bid. It was shipped within 2 weeks and arrived last week while I was in San Francisco at the Oracle conference.

The mirror install took less than 1 hour and works as I expected. I had to remove the driver's door panel to access 2 of the 3 screws holding the mirror assembly to the door. There was also a wire that needed to be disconnected inside the door panel. Very easy to do and now the new mirror is ready to go.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Oracle Open World 2008

This week I've spent my time at the Oracle Open World Conference in San Francisco California. Over 43,000 people attended this huge event. It lasted a total of 6 days, of which I spent only 4 in the conference sessions and exhibit floor. Oracle announced their entry into the hardware business by creating a new Database Server. They're partnering with HP to build the hardware, but Oracle will market and sell it under their name. Oracle did a good job of having plenty of sessions, entertainment, and exhibitors. However, they might be loosing focus now that they're into so many different things.

While visiting the EXPO center at the show, I saw 3 cars on the show floor. A F1 racecar at the Accenture booth, A 1980's Delorean, and a 2008 Lexus SC430. I dropped by and registered to win it, just for grins. Didn't win, but don't care really. I have one at home :)

Tuesday, September 16, 2008


Tire pressure monitoring system. That is the most recent issue with my car. After leaving from work, the TPMS warning light on the dash lit up and remained on until I turned the car off. I checked all the tires and they looked fine. I also checked the pressure in each tire and they were all a little low. Read around 29psi where the owners manual states 33psi. I added the air and re-started the car to see if that fixed the warning light. DID NOT. I read the owners manual section on the TPMS and learned about a switch inside the glovebox. This switch allows you to select a MASTER set of sensors and a secondary set of sensor for a second set of wheels equiped with TPMS. I togged it back and forth and returned it to the master setting. I re-started the car again... same light still on.

The next morning, I started the car. NO LIGHT. What a surprise? I expect that either a sensor is about to fail (battery life) or the tire pressure was a little low and the sensor needed time to re-register the new pressure. Either way, the light is off!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Battery Replacement

Bought a new battery for the Lexus SC430 yesterday. Set me back about $125.00. Hopefully this is the only "maintenance" i have to do for a few months!

I noticed the battery was starting to die over the last few months. It became evident when the starter cranked with a little less vigor than normal.

Purchased an Interstate MTP-91 as the replacement.