Toyota 2.4L misfire, HERE'S A GOOD ONE TO FIGURE OUT.

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#1
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MAKE: Toyota
MODEL: Highlander
YEAR: 2004
MILES: 140,000
ENGINE: 2.4l
DESCRIBE ISSUE.... Sporadic misfire / power loss during low-end acceleration / power application: The "hesitation" happens just off-idle when the vehicle is stopped and the accelerator is applied for a normal acceleration, but only at the first quarter of the pedal. If you accelerate a little harder, you can "push past" the "dead spot" and no hesitation occurs. Likewise, if I accelerate in an easy way, there is no problems. This issue also will sporadically set the following codes: P0300, P0301-4, P0420, P0430, The misfire faults (P3001-4) jump from cylinder-to-cylinder, and the CAT efficiency code (Po420/P0430) jumps back and forth between bank-1 & bank-2. The problem rarely occurs when the engine is cold, and is more likely to happen during the warm/hot summer months. I have replaced the MAS (Mass Airflow Sensor, all 4 coils and plugs, and ran several fuel-injector cleaning treatments with no noticeable improvements. There is no other misfire or hesitation at any other power settings, only during initial acceleration from stop. Also, if I "power-brake", I can induce the problem, but it doesn't always result in setting any of the previously mentioned fault codes.
 
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kev2

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#2
Welcome we love a challenge.
Do you have a scanner showing live data - FT's MAP etc etc?
Vehicle is STOCK - no mods and you use only TOYOTA parts?

Have you looked at basics -
fuel pressure, pressure drop KOEO, maybe graph TPS smooth consistent voltage change.

I think mass air flow acronym is MAF sensor
 
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#3
Clear the codes., Disconnect the battery for about 5 to 10 min. But Just asking...Have you cleaned out the throttle body. See if there is gunk in there. Clean with throttle body cleaner only. Also check for vacuum leaks. Also check to see there is a leak inside (rare case) inside the vacuum hose leading to the mastser cylinder.
 

nickb2

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#4
Yeah, I am with Kev2 on this, first thing to check is that TPS for a flat spot. If the throttle position sensor fails the ohm test, but your scanner may see that in percentage. Also, I find using a multimeter better than a scanner as sometimes, the bus line is slower than my fluke and I may interpret a lag of communication for a flat spot.

As for the missfires and cat efficiency going from one bank to another, this is indicative of a low fuel pressure, or an air intake duct with a crack in it or something to that effect, and also may account for the for bad MAF readings leading you to have swapped that part for no reason. I am just throwing ideas out there. When confronted with multiple varying misfires and cat codes that vary like you describe, that points to fuel or air starvation.
 

nickb2

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#5
Several indicators of your initial post point to a air inlet duct that is cracked. That is the first place to look. You say it will do it when power braking, on acceleration but will not do it when a slow and steady acceleration is applied.
 
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#6
Welcome we love a challenge.
Do you have a scanner showing live data - FT's MAP etc etc?
Vehicle is STOCK - no mods and you use only TOYOTA parts?

Have you looked at basics -
fuel pressure, pressure drop KOEO, maybe graph TPS smooth consistent voltage change.

I think mass air flow acronym is MAF sensor
Welcome we love a challenge.
Do you have a scanner showing live data - FT's MAP etc etc?
Vehicle is STOCK - no mods and you use only TOYOTA parts?

Have you looked at basics -
fuel pressure, pressure drop KOEO, maybe graph TPS smooth consistent voltage change.

I think mass air flow acronym is MAF sensor
kev2, I have a basic OBDII code reader. it does have a "freeze-frame" feature for me to capture a limited amount of engine parameters, but I am unable to determine any given "value" without a graph to base it on. You might be onto something with the voltage. If I hold the accelerator in the "dead zone" for about 2 seconds, it will suddenly "catch" and accelerate normally. Vehicle is stock with all OEM original parts
 
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#7
Clear the codes., Disconnect the battery for about 5 to 10 min. But Just asking...Have you cleaned out the throttle body. See if there is gunk in there. Clean with throttle body cleaner only. Also check for vacuum leaks. Also check to see there is a leak inside (rare case) inside the vacuum hose leading to the mastser cylinder.
AV, Yes, all codes have been cleared... multiple times. I have spray-cleaned the throttle body, also. I have went through checking all vacuum lines and electrical connectors as best I can. I appears to me that this is an eletrical/tempurature problem due to the way it responds.
 
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#8
Several indicators of your initial post point to a air inlet duct that is cracked. That is the first place to look. You say it will do it when power braking, on acceleration but will not do it when a slow and steady acceleration is applied.
A cracked duct is also what I kind of suspected, but, if I hold the accelerator in the "dead zone" for about 2 seconds, it will suddenly "catch" and accelerate normally. I would think that with a cracked duct I would have this problem at almost any throttle setting, unless the ECM starts compensating for the fuel/air ratio. (feedback from the CAT?) Plus, wouldn't a cracked duct problem also manifest itself in other scenarios like when I'm doing a quick acceleration to pass someone? When I induce the problem with power-braking, the engine WILL NOT "catch" and start accelerating normally. Instead, it continues to stumble. Sometimes it will set one of the above mentioned codes, but mostly not
 
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nickb2

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#9
So, then it would be easy to check the air inlet duct, and also a flat spot on the TPS with an ohmmeter. Then once that is put aside, try to find or buy an elm 327 device so can have live data and follow the fuel trims and o2 data and also the maf data to catch that glitch. Also not forgetting you can graph with an elm 327 making it easier to spot with a live capture recorded snapshot of the entire event without having to just have a freeze frame.

Palmer performance has a great live capture recording option that allows you to create indefinite recording of an event. The palmer performance works great with a laptop and the elm 327 device/interface.
 

nickb2

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#10
A good thing you can use from the freeze frames is calculated load and maf data and fuel trims. Since a freeze frame is recorded at time of event, you will not have data from before or after the event, but may help.
 
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#11
So, then it would be easy to check the air inlet duct, and also a flat spot on the TPS with an ohmmeter. Then once that is put aside, try to find or buy an elm 327 device so can have live data and follow the fuel trims and o2 data and also the maf data to catch that glitch. Also not forgetting you can graph with an elm 327 making it easier to spot with a live capture recorded snapshot of the entire event without having to just have a freeze frame.

Palmer performance has a great live capture recording option that allows you to create indefinite recording of an event. The palmer performance works great with a laptop and the elm 327 device/interface.
Nick, Kev2, Alex, and everyone on this thread: I have just ordered an ELM327, and will be using the TORQUE app to check out the data . Once I get it and am able to get the additional parameters that it offers, I will be back with my findings. Thanks again for all the support and suggestions.
 
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#12
SO, There I was driving down the road, minding my own business, and a SHINY NEW CAR caught my eye... Bottom line.... I traded in the '02 Highlander for a '17. and never figured out what caused the hesitation/stutter. I had just ordered (off Ebay) the ELM327, so I have that for future endeavors. THANKS again for everyone who attempted to help.. Tony
 

jd

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#13
That repair should work! Congratulations!

Friends recently traded a Jeep Cherokee that developed electrical problems that nobody could figure out...
 

nickb2

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#15
Haha, late again on response, yup, trading in for a new truck is certainly a fix.

Hope you like the new highlander. I find they are a blast to drive. Have fun, and as eric the car guy say's in his videos, be safe, and stay dirty.