I hate rats - chewed wiring. Can you identify the part? (pic) - Toyota Nation Forum : Toyota Car and Truck Forums
2nd Generation (2000-2004) Specific discussion of the second generation Toyota Avalon

 
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#1 Old 01-22-2012, 03:34 AM
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I hate rats - chewed wiring. Can you identify the part? (pic)

Hi All - I hope I'm not screwing up my first post, and apologize that it's a problem/request for help. Anyway, here goes:

TLDR: Rat chewed same wiring in engine compartment for second time. Trying to fix on my own. How do I remove from vehicle (toolless via tab?) and what is it?

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So my parents (who live in another state) leave their car at my house. It is rarely driven, and in the rural area that I live in we have lots of wildlife, including rats. The rats have chewed through wires in the engine compartment. This is the second time that rats have chewed through wires, and from the looks of it, they chewed through the exact same wires both times (I can see splices that I assume were from the first repair job at the Toyota dealer).

In an effort to save money, I'd like to attempt the repairs myself. I have already spliced two wires but am having a heck of a time reaching the other two, and the car won't start (no electrical activity at all).

Can anyone tell me what I'm looking at and how I can (hopefully easily) remove it to strip the insulation and begin a splice? From the electrical wiring diagram, it appears that the item is C1 - "Camshaft Position Sensor - Left Hand". I assume this isn't preventing the car from providing basic electrical functionality (lights, etc.), but probably would prevent normal operation.

So how do I remove this? It looks like there's a tab but I can't get it to release. I'm taking the battery in for testing/replacement but would like to fix this wire regardless.

Thanks in advance for any information!

The close-up:


Wider angle - the air filter is in the bottom of the picture, and I'm assuming that's the alternator to the left?

Last edited by lame; 01-22-2012 at 03:54 AM. Reason: add pics
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#2 Old 01-22-2012, 07:29 AM
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There may be a tab on the back side, too. Try squeezing the sides to release those tabs, while releasing the back tab with a finger or screwdriver. I can't go look at mine right now.

It might be squirrels instead of rats, if it makes any difference. Of course, they are rats with a bushy tail. And tastier too.
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#3 Old 01-22-2012, 01:08 PM
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Moth balls

When the car is going to sit, take a couple of plastic containers (like cottage cheese or sour cream comes in) and fill them abouit half way with moth balls, and place them near your wiring harnesses. They should help keep rodents away to prevent you from going through this a third time.

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#4 Old 01-22-2012, 02:58 PM
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If you have "no electrical activity at all", perhaps the problem is a dead battery.
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#5 Old 01-22-2012, 07:47 PM
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Hi All - Thanks for the info and suggestions!

I'm pretty sure it's a rat since I've never seen a squirrel in the 9 years I've lived here. Guess I need to get an outdoor guard cat to guard the car from rats or anything else that wants to eat it.

The battery was dead. I thought it was only ~18 months old but turns out it was 4.3 years old.

I ended up removing the engine air filter, battery, and throttle? assembly in order to reach the C1 harness. Still couldn't unclip it so I unscrewed the sensor itself and pulled the whole thing out. Didn't realize it was dripping oil everywhere, but was able to strip and splice the wires and put it back in.

So with everything put back together, I can turn the ignition to ACC and get all electrical items to power up but once I turn the switch to start the engine turns over and then stops right away.

It hasn't been started since late August, so I'll let it sit until morning and try again. I'm going to guess having gas/oil/other liquids and a vehicle that hasn't moved at all in 6 months isn't the best thing that could have been done.

Oh well, hopefully the morning is better. If for nothing else, I've learned a little more about the Avalon and how simple some maintenance is.

Thanks again for the advice! I'll post more pictures in the morning in case anyone else has a similar problem in the future.
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#6 Old 01-22-2012, 08:01 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lame View Post
So with everything put back together, I can turn the ignition to ACC and get all electrical items to power up but once I turn the switch to start the engine turns over and then stops right away.
Please clarify what you're trying to say here. When you say "stops right away", that implies it has started. Is that true? If yes, how does "right away" relate in time to your releasing the key from the "start" position?
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#7 Old 01-23-2012, 08:17 AM
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That looks like thin gauge sensor wire, and once the engine is running the DTCs should kind of pinpoint what/where things should be addressed.
Not running, though, is a different thought schedule. You have to check fluids, belts, pulleys, battery charge, stale fuel, fuel delivery and anything else that will prevent the engine from running and giving you the electrical diagnostics.
Stay at it, keep posting and we'll all see how it turns out.
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#8 Old 01-26-2012, 01:30 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TedL View Post
Please clarify what you're trying to say here. When you say "stops right away", that implies it has started. Is that true? If yes, how does "right away" relate in time to your releasing the key from the "start" position?
Sorry, I'm not doing a good job of describing the sequence, and my attempt at recording the audio didn't work out so well.

So I get in the car, turn the key to start, hear the starter and it sounds like the engine starts, but as soon as I release the key from the "start" position the engine dies (within a half second). No warning lights or any indication of trouble (except in "acc" position, where a number of lights display - but I believe this is normal).

Friends have suggested fuel issues, and to check and/or replace the fuel filter. The car sat with a nearly full tank of gas for about 5 months.

It was suggested that I first check fuel line pressure before replacing anything else, and I understand that I'm looking for a schrader valve on the fuel line which I should open/bleed out first, then turn the key to "acc" a few times to get the fuel pump to pump fuel and re-pressurize the system.

I should then check the valve again to verify the system is pressurized. I guess if it re-pressurizes then the fuel pump is working, and depending on the valve's location on the fuel line, perhaps even the filter is fine (if the valve is between the fuel filter and engine). I know that the fuel filter is supposed to be located under the engine air filter assembly, and I've removed that once to splice the chewed-up wiring, so I'm comfortable going that far.

I don't know where the fuel line schrader valve is, and my google searches so far have been fruitless. I'll have to try and dig up a repair manual or do a visual inspection when I get home tonight.

Thanks for any additional information or advice you might have.
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#9 Old 01-26-2012, 02:05 PM
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Before you start replacing parts, check for the two basics. Spark and fuel in the cylinder. Don't assume you can see all the damaged wires.
Turn key to run position, and listen for fuel pump. If positive, hold finger to fuel injector while someone cranks. Feel for pulse.

If no spark tester or timing light, remove one plug, connect to ground and plug wire, have someone else crank & you look for spark.

While 5 month old fuel isn't the greatest, it's simply not going to immediately and totally clog up a fuel filter.

Last edited by TedL; 01-26-2012 at 02:08 PM.
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#10 Old 01-26-2012, 03:37 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TedL View Post
Before you start replacing parts, check for the two basics. Spark and fuel in the cylinder. Don't assume you can see all the damaged wires.
Turn key to run position, and listen for fuel pump. If positive, hold finger to fuel injector while someone cranks. Feel for pulse.

If no spark tester or timing light, remove one plug, connect to ground and plug wire, have someone else crank & you look for spark.

While 5 month old fuel isn't the greatest, it's simply not going to immediately and totally clog up a fuel filter.
Thanks for the info and suggestions - you're correct that I should check these things before replacing anything. Also good to know that the fuel shouldn't be causing this problem.

Stupid question - how loud is the fuel pump, and when you say "run", won't the fuel pump also operate when the key is in the "acc" position? When in the passenger compartment with the door open and the key in the "acc" position, I hear nothing at all. I'll try tonight and listen more carefully, perhaps with the hood up.

Is the fuel pump located underneath the rear seat? I assume it doesn't run continuously? Wouldn't it only need to run when fuel is being actively consumed by the engine?

I may have to get a friend or neighbor to drop by, as living alone makes performing some of these troubleshooting steps difficult...
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#11 Old 01-27-2012, 12:57 AM
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You say it's been sitting since late august. I would be concerned about the gasoline in the tank. Today's alcohol laced gas starts to break down after only 30 days in a tank. It may lack the combustability to actually keep the car running once started. I've had cars fire on old gas but not stay running once started. I'd suggest if there's room in the tank to dump some octane booster and a little fresh gas in it. That gas is going on 7 months old if it was put in right before parked...could be older. I'm sure once you get it running the exhaust will smell mighty sweet. That's just my thoughts unless you've already freshened the gas with a little new stuff....Once started you need to drive all that old stuff out pretty quick and refill.

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#12 Old 01-27-2012, 01:50 AM
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Hmm, well I'm not sure what to think on the gas issue now...

I checked the car again tonight when I got home - it actually does start, but the engine stalls out within .5-2 seconds. Oddly, if I press the accelerator pedal down it stalls more quickly than if I don't.

I don't hear any noise from a fuel pump, but am not sure what I'm listening for and don't recall hearing it anyway when the car did run.

I noticed two other issues while inspecting the engine compartment - one of my splices from a wire coming off the brake fluid container came loose. I can't imagine this would affect engine start, but I'll fix it tomorrow nonetheless.

I also noticed that the engine coolant is almost empty - right on the "low" line. Not sure how that happened. I'll get more tomorrow. I'm utterly confused as to how engine coolant flow works - the only inlet/outlet that I can see is on the top of the container. I would have figured it would operate using gravity for flow. What am I missing?

So Friday's checklist: engine coolant top-off, re-splice brake fluid wire, purchase fuel stabilizer/octane booster?, borrow a friend/neighbor to help check fuel injector and spark plugs... anything else?
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#13 Old 01-27-2012, 03:38 AM
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Your bottle could be low, but the engine can still be full....look just left of the engine cover(from your point of view in front of the car)and you'll see the radiator cap at the engine end of the upper radiator hose....open it up and check it there. It's likely still full. I wouldn't be that concerned with the bottle unless the engine is empty as well. I'd top up the bottle and at the cap(if it's low too) and just keep an eye to see if it keeps dropping. If I were a betting man I'd put some importance in the stale gas and your starting problem. I bet you'd get it running with some fresh gas and octane booster. I've been messing with older cars for years(some sitting for years) and every one with stale gas has acted this way. Fresh gas can do wonders.... Octane booster may not be enough so I would add at least 3-5 gallons of fresh gas to that list if you can. Also, if you get it running...take it out on a long drive(at least 30 minutes or so) so that you can burn the condensation out of the engine oil thats been collecting moisture for all this time.


Jeff
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#14 Old 01-27-2012, 07:49 AM
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Coolant at the "low" line of overflow bottle is normal when car is cold (as yours certainly is)! Coolant will also look "low" in radiator, but it isn't. That is unlikely to be your issue.

Octane booster/some fresh gas an excellent idea. Fuel pump probably does not power up in "acc" position, since engine is not running in that mode. You can usually hear a brief whine/hum when you turn key to "On" as fuel pump pressurizes system; pump itself is in fuel tank.

Repair all the electrical connections carefully; all modern engines are totally computer controlled and one bad sensor wire can disable them.

Goof luck.

2002 Avalon XLS; Black with grey interior; no mods; 2nd owner; 215K+ miles - starting to use a little oil between changes.
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#15 Old 01-27-2012, 01:20 PM
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watch your tach

When you start the car watch the tach. If it drops fast and suddenly when the engine starts to stall, the problem is electrical. If it is slow to fall or is eratic, look for a fuel problem.

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