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jgkolt
Premium
join:2004-02-21
Avon, OH

1 edit

[Help] 1999 Lexus ES300 "vsc activity light" and "vsc off" light

Does anyone know why the car's vehicle skid control activity light and vehicle skid control off light both turn on when i go up a 15 degree hill near the top when it slowly starts to level off almost every time. The car has driving up this hill for years fine but just started.

sometimes it turns off by its own after the car is turned off and on again.

Before the check engine light and those lights would come on and it said bank 1 sensor error saying it was running too lean. As the code read i fixed it the way recommended by replacing the O2 sensor on bank 1 (by firewall for those googling and finding this).

so now only the vsc lights come on. the funny thing is my car would never activate the skid control there and i go the same speed every time (i check).

Anyone have an idea what it could be? users manual says bring into the dealership and the local car repair facilities wont touch it. firestone says try replacing the speed sensor but they have no clue what is wrong they are just guessing. the car was brought into firestone to see whats wrong but the light wasn't on of course at that time so they could see the problem.

i do see this

Component Description:
13. OTHER
Bulletin Number: BR00100
Bulletin Date: JUL 2000
Vehicle: 1999 Lexus ES 300

Summary:
SOME VEHICLES MAY EXHIBIT AN INCORRECT VSC LIGHT ON AND VSC OFF LIGHT ON AT THE SAME TIME. ( NHTSA ITEM NUMBER - 614066 )

But i cant read the full bulletin. can anyone help with the details of this bulletin or suggest a fix/details.
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Cho Baka
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Re: [Help] 1999 Lexus ES300 "vsc activity light" and "vsc off" l

Please start with posting the DTC.

Shotgun diagnosis is a waste of time.
That car isn't difficult to fix. If you replaced the sensor on the rear exhaust manifold with an Oxygen sensor then you have done yourself a disservice. That car has A/F sensors (basically wideband type) for B1 S1, and B2 S1.

The B1 S2 sensor is fairly common, especially if it gets hit by debris.

I could continue guessing, but I will stop now...
--
Striving for Parfection.


jgkolt
Premium
join:2004-02-21
Avon, OH
What do you mean I did myself a disservice? What would I have done better. Odbc code was P0171
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Cho Baka
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If you installed a conventional O2 sensor where the A/F sensor goes (they are the same basic size and shape), then you did yourself a disservice.

In addition, the most common cause of P0171 on those is an airflow meter. It is often associated with lack of power and pinging.

What are the current DTCs?



mark2353

@northropgrumman.com
reply to jgkolt
Sorry I have similar problem I will be driving along and the "VSC OFF"light comes up nothing visible happens. I am not moving high speed or any strange. If I shutdown and restart it will go away! What is the problem? I do not have any codes. I did have something funny happen last which the radio was doing on and off. But replaced the battery and now that is goan.
appreciate all the input.
thanks Mark


jgkolt
Premium
join:2004-02-21
Avon, OH
reply to Cho Baka
The error code is P0171 which says bank 1 reports too lean. That's the only error codes the scanner at autozone came up with.
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Cho Baka
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Where did you get the replacement part that you installed?
If possible, please tel me the part number, I would like to check if it is correct.


Cho Baka
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reply to jgkolt
Click for full size
Here is how to check VSC codes.

If there are any, please post them.

Please note that an engine malfunction disables the VSC as a failsafe measure.

If the MIL (Check engine) and VSC lights all come on at the same time, and there is no VSC code, then the root cause is the Engine DTC.
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jgkolt
Premium
join:2004-02-21
Avon, OH

2 edits
reply to Cho Baka
I purchased the replacement part from autozone and it was the bosch 15217 oxygen sensor. I replaced the back o2 sensor (back of engine before cat) but not the front one side o2 sensor (also before the cat). Maybe I need to replace the front one. I dont hear any suction as if it was a vacuum leak. I am not sure how to check the vsc codes as you mention. The only codes i have is when autozone hooked up the odb2 scanner to the car and it only read "the PCM has determined that during testing the fuel system for bank 1 was too lean." P0171. Is there 2 different types of codes i should check?

»www.obd-codes.com/p0171

It is nice to know the vsc disables if there is an engine malfunction. Since I didn't see any codes for vsc i hope it is just this one error code problem talking about it running lean.

I don't mind working on cars but I am no expert so bear with me.
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Cho Baka
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It appears that Bosch specifies that as a wideband type sensor.
Theoretically, it should work.

They are a step more precise than conventional o2 sensors, so hopefully the vehicle can handle the non-OE part.

You need to find either of the connectors shown in the previous post and connect the indicated terminals. Then count the flashes of the VSC light.

DLC1 is located under the hood.
DLC2 is located above your ankles (above the pedals).

As for the lean condition, I am afraid the next step isn't that easy.
You need to check some of the live data values in the engine control computer while the engine is running. (Short and long term fuel trim values) If they are both high (say over 20%), (bank one and bank two), then it is something common to both banks that is the cause. It is a fairly good bet that your airflow meter is inaccurately measuring the amount of incoming air.

The easiest method of confirming this is to swap in a known good part and re-roadtest the car. The difference is usually readily apparent via increased power and changed data list values. There are additional tests that can be performed, but a known good part and recheck is by far the quickest and most definite method of confirmation.

Some report success using a spray cleaner to clean the airflow meter, some do not. Replacement may be necessary if that is the problem.
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miscnick

@verizon.net
reply to jgkolt
It sounds stupid, but, the first thing to check is tire pressure and condition any time a VSC light does anything it's not supposed to.

If you have 1 low tire, or 1 abnormally worn tire it will play havok on the VSC.
It's related to the ABS and the individual wheel speeds....1 wheel not registering the exact right speed will kick the lights on.
When I say exact i mean it, 1% difference is enough.

By all means check the codes...but check the tires too.


jgkolt
Premium
join:2004-02-21
Avon, OH
thats a good idea to check the tire pressure. ill do that today too.


jgkolt
Premium
join:2004-02-21
Avon, OH
well the tsb says to replace and O2 sensor and they should be changed under normal maintenance anyways. changed both front o2 sensors and changed the spark plugs. made sure tires were filled appropriately. still haven't checked the DLC1 for codes.

My bet is a vacuum or exhaust leak. testing the car again going uphill at the point the light normally comes on (not always) it is at or past high rpm (4k maybe) and speed and it has switched gears. I hear a slight rattle if i stick my head out at the time. ill jack it up and try to listen for leaks again tomorrow.
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Cho Baka
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You need to exercise some judgment.

Simply because a bulletin exists does not mean that it is the source of your problem.

You (now) mentioned a rattle noise. I previously mentioned pinging as a consequence of a bad airflow meter.

Connect the dots.

The car has air fuel ratio sensors as the front sensors. The bulletin mentions this. These sensors do not normally need replacement as maintenance.

If the light is coming on/after higher loads and higher engine speeds, then you can basically rule out a vacuum leak.

You need to take some concrete steps toward diagnosing this.
Jacking it up and looking for a vacuum leak isn't the first step.
Please check these and report back:
»Re: [Help] 1999 Lexus ES300 "vsc activity light" and "vsc off" l


joako
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reply to jgkolt
Ok I read the thread... but what does O2 sensor have to do with VSC?

Is VSC not Vehicle Skid Control, the Lexus trade name for "traction control"?

Do what the other poster said and get the VSC code.

FWIW what AutoZone has is a generic OBD-II code reader. The sole purpose of OBD-II is emissions, thus anything that is not related to emissions is not reported by OBD-II. So you might have had two unrelated problems. Bosch sensor is fine... if you went to AutoZone and gave them the car you got the right part... period... if the check engine light went off then you certainly did fix THAT problem. If it was the wrong sensor you would still have an illuminated MIL.
--
09:F9:11:02:9D:74:E3:5B:D8:41:56:C5:63:56:88:C0


jgkolt
Premium
join:2004-02-21
Avon, OH

1 edit
3SGTE:

The slight rattle noise is barely audible and i was listening very closely today trying to see if i overlooked anything when i tried to get the error to come back on. Maybe we didn't see eye to eye on the pinging part. I was thinking pinging would have been a loss of power and coming back which doesn't happen at that time. The slight rattle might just be the heat shield on the cat. Not sure if it was relevant but wanted to mention it.

I will check the vsc codes on the DLC1. The vsc lights don't stay on after i restart my car (1 or 2 times) unless the check engine light goes on.

I will also check the voltages on the mass air flow sensor voltages as mentioned in chiltons repair manual and see what i can find.I don't have access to check the live computer data so cleaning and possible replacing the MAF would be preferred.

You ruled out vacuum leak, but i am not sure how i would know to rule it out.

I mentioned the O2 sensor as maintenance as i read it should be changed every 100,000 miles. The car has 123,000 miles on it and has/had the original factory sensors.

Thanks for taking the time, by the way, to help me diagnose this problem. I don't normally do more than change oil filters but I like to learn.

JOAKO:

the VSC and Check engine light turn on normally at the same time going up this steep hill driven on daily. the check engine code was P0171 which mentioned that it was running too lean. That is where the O2 sensor a/f sensor part came in. the only original O2 sensor now is the heated one after the cat which i will find out how to test and possibly replace down the road tomorrow.
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Cho Baka
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reply to jgkolt
Please stop with the O2 sensors!

P0171 is a DTC that indicates the ECM is compensating for a lean mixture and has reached a certain threshold, one significant enough to justify setting a DTC (typically at a 20 to 30 % correction factor)

The primary purpose of the sensor after the cat is to monitor catalyst efficiency and to allow fine tuning of the amount of stored oxygen in the catalyst. This sensor is not responsible for feedback for primary mixture control and would not result in P0171.

As was mentioned previously, you need to look at all the inputs (the data) and make judgments.

If you must insist on shotgun diagnosis, then throw an airflow meter at it. Those are the most common cause of P0171.
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miscnick

@verizon.net
Actually the most common cause is a plugged fuel filter...maybe 10-15$.

Next common IS the O2 sensors, maybe 50$ each.

LEAST common cause is the mass airflow, cost about 300$.

Again we get fuzzy math, please stop it.

I've seen many more torn intake bellows on a Toyota than I ever have mass airflow sensors...but hey, that must be me, I WORK ON CARS.


jgkolt
Premium
join:2004-02-21
Avon, OH

2 edits
reply to Cho Baka
Well when i check the vsc codes as detailed above the dashboard idiot lights come on then turn off. vsc blinks 4 + 3 then 5 + 1. ABS Blinks 5 + 1. The abs light is not on when i normally drive just when i do this test.


miscnick

@verizon.net
Try this...
»toyota.justanswer.com/uploads/sk···hart.pdf

It's for an Avalon...but should cover you as well.

»highlanderclub.ru/files/manual/0···dtcc.pdf

Highlander, same.

»www.panavi.kz/4runner/215/NCF/br···tics.pdf

All model, same.

Starting to notice a trend ?


Cho Baka
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reply to miscnick
said by miscnick :

Actually the most common cause is a plugged fuel filter...maybe 10-15$.

Next common IS the O2 sensors, maybe 50$ each.

LEAST common cause is the mass airflow, cost about 300$.


I speak from personal experience repairing that exact DTC on that exact model.
I stand by everything I have said, and disagree with your opinions based on firsthand experience.

said by miscnick :

Again we get fuzzy math, please stop it.
It isn't funny math. The numbers are about understanding what the ECM uses to make the judgment whether to turn on the MIL.
Using them and the freeze frame data (stored with the DTC) or the live data are part of diagnosis.

said by miscnick :

I've seen many more torn intake bellows on a Toyota than I ever have mass airflow sensors...
Checking that is certainly valid. My whole point all along has been to diagnose the problem, not throw parts at it.

On that model I have never seen a torn 'intake bellows', but I have seen airflow meters cause this DTC (P0171).
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Cho Baka
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reply to jgkolt
I can't speak for the ABS DTC, but the VSC DTCs are related to malfunctions of other systems.
One indicates a malfunction in the engine control system (the P0171 DTC presumably)
the other indicates a malfunction in the ABS system (the ABS DTC)
I would clear the ABS DTC and see if it recurs before spending any time diagnosing it. (Alternately, just ignore it unless the light comes on)
If the ABS light is not on, then it is not likely that you have a problem there.

The ABS and VSC systems are not your direct problem.

The timing of the lights illuminating indicates that the Engine DTC is triggering the VSC to react to the Engine DTC.
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jgkolt
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join:2004-02-21
Avon, OH

1 edit
.


jgkolt
Premium
join:2004-02-21
Avon, OH

3 edits
reply to Cho Baka
I changed swapped out the mass air flow sensor and reset the check engine lights(which also turned off the vsc lights to thier normal stance). The MAF was extremely dirty which includes the sensor that looks like a diode in the back side. Checked the voltage to the MAF harness and it was within accaptable range.

Took the car for a test drive and I could NOT get the errors (check engine light and vsc lights) to error again. Ill monitor it and see if anything changes.

After unplugging the battery changing sensor and replugging the battery back when testing the error codes the vsc code was 43 and the abs was 51. same as before except the vsc code didnt blink the 51.

I am not sure how to erase those codes in order to test and see if they fault again.
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Cho Baka
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reply to jgkolt

Re: [Help] 1999 Lexus ES300 "vsc activity light" and "vsc off" l

Click for full size
downloadPRECHECK 99 ··· ABS.pdf 132,846 bytes
99 ES DTC precheck (ABS DTC clear procedure)
Click for full size
downloadVSC PRECHECK···99ES.pdf 123,696 bytes
99 ES VSC precheck (VSC DTC clear procedure)
Click for full size
download99 ES DTC Chart.pdf 42,468 bytes
99 ES VSC DTC chart
Just to confirm, the check engine light came back on after you replaced the airflow meter?

Did you replace it, or clean it?
If you replaced it, what did you replace it with?

Has the same engine control system DTC (P0171) recurred?

This is a bit challenging (over the internet) because I need to see real data and do some tests in person. I would have liked to check the fuel trim values before and after replacement.

The ABS codes will not be cleared by disconnecting the battery terminal. Please see the second HINT on page DI-267 of the 99 ES DTC precheck PDF that is attached. (This is for your model)

The procedure to clear the ABS and VSC DTCs is sometimes a little tricky to 'get right', especially if you have not done it before.

Check the engine control DTCs. Record it/them. Clear them using the tester.

If P0171 is present:
Start the engine and view the fuel trim values. (At this point I am going on your word that there are no vacuum leaks)
Record the fuel trim values.

Clear the ABS and VSC DTCs.
Confirm that the DTCs have been cleared.

Report back on the results of each of these steps.

Next, repeat your roadtest.
Report back here again.

Edit:
This was not meant to sound as abrupt as it does upon re-reading!

--
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jgkolt
Premium
join:2004-02-21
Avon, OH
The check engine (and vsc error) light does not turn on after i replaced the MAF.

The MAF was very dirty i may have been able to clean it but if i have less of a chance of this reoccurring in the future by replacing it ill do it (purchased a manufactured toyota one, i dont have part number handy).

I will erase the vsc and abs error codes stored tonight (and road test)if it doesnt rain. The engine control system dtc error did not reoccur. i tried going up and down the hill that almost always sets it off but no errors.

Looks good so far. I will monitor it and let you know if it changes. since for once I have a little free time I may change the brakes tonight.

Thank you for the diagrams. They are much more detailed and handy than chiltons.
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Cho Baka
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Glad to hear the light has not come back on.
Hopefully it stays that way.

If the MAF was very dirty, then also check the condition of your air filter. If it is a cheapo, or if it is dirty, replacing it would be a good idea. The OE air filter at the dealer is cheaper than some of the aftermarket replacements, so consider that as an option. (About $20.00)

One other maintenance item that is good to do on those is the PCV valve. It is about $8.00 from the dealer (IIRC).

This might be a weird request, but if you could post a picture of the dirty part in the airflow meter, it would be great reference for other readers in the future.

--
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