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Unread 02-11-2008, 05:16 PM   #1
chiplee
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Default Check engine light, VSC Trac, VSC OFF

I have a Check engine light with VSC TRAC and VSC OFF. Took it to autozone and the code is P0500 "Vehicle speed sensor malfunction" is present.

The dealer's first diagnosis tonight was as follows:

"vehicle has oversized tires. Vehicle speed sensor will not fix or cause this problem. Replace oversized tires with stock tires to fix this problem."

I almost lost my mind. I made the guy explain to me how the truck knew the tires were oversized. I asked him how the oversized tires could possibly do anything but make the speedometer read slow. I pointed out that undersized tires would make the speedometer read fast to which he had no reply. He even went so far as to claim that the vehicle stability control required stock ride height and attitude to which I replied that I had reset the zero point calibration but it would have been completely unnecessary considering the vehicle allows 1% error in zero point from initial setting. That basically means that unless you lift the back 5 inches and the front none at all, you won't mess up the VSC with a lift. He threw out "yaw rate sensors" and even mentioned tire pressure sensors once but I wasn't taking it.

To this point they had not even read the error codes which I almost considered grounds for walking out, but the next closest dealer is like 15 miles away so I didn't have time.

After reading the codes at my behest, and verifying what I told them, that the VSS had malfunctioned, they insisted that they would need 2 hours to diagnose the problem, shoot wires, check connectivity and locate the faulty wire. They didn't bother to appologize for the initial errant diagnosis.

I asked what made them think it was a faulty wire and they stated that since the speedo works, the VSS can't be bad. I said "this is a toyota dealership correct?"

I asked for an explaination and they basically stated that the instrument cluster had an electronic device that converts the analog cable signal from the transmission to a digital signal and sends that signal to the ecm/ecu and that since the speedo was working the VSS couldn't be malfunctioning, or something like that. I was lost in the mumbo jumbo which I think was their intent.

I suggested that the truck didn't need the VSS for the speedo to work and asked if they could unplug it and try it, to which they replied, "we can't, it's inside the transmission". Now I was really ready to leave but I decided to enjoy the jackassery a while longer. I didn't know anything about the VSS, other than that it was wells part number SU5526 at autozone and could be had for $82.00. I had seen one on the internet one time, when I looked it up.

I asked to speak to the service manager who happened to also go by Chip so we bonded immediately. He started throwing acronyms and mech speak at me attempting to shut me down. I was bored with chip rather quickly and I asked if I could just buy a VSS and install it myself. He said "you mean a whole new cluster?" I said no, a vehicle speed sensor, you know, the one inside the transmission. After some quick double talk with the fella who told me it was inside the tranny he insisted that this part was not the problem, dispite the P0500 VSS Malfunction code.

So, utterly bewildered, I left, and paid nothing.

When I got home I unplugged the VSS on the 'outside' left side of the trans and drove the truck to autozone where I had the codes checked. No new codes appeared and I ordered the new VSS which is a one connector, one bolt install. The similar/identical looking sensor on the right side of the trans caused the truck to fail to shift at all when it was pulled but the speedo still worked. I think the truck compares several signals for the speedo, including all of the ABS speed sensors.

Now to my question. does anyone see any reason why this won't fix my problem.?
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Last edited by chiplee; 02-11-2008 at 05:20 PM.
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Unread 02-11-2008, 05:34 PM   #2
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It depends on why your computer thinks there is something wrong with the VSS. If it should be getting a signal voltage, and isn't, then it could be a bad VSS, or an open circuit in the wire, bad computer, or something wrong with what ever spins the VSS from inside the tranny.

There could be other reasons. It just depends on what the computer is receiving or not receiving, in the data stream.
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Unread 02-11-2008, 05:39 PM   #3
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You have most probablt broek one the wires on the front that connect the wheel speed sensor to the ECU. It is very commen when folks install a new front suspension.


Normally the trouble code should identify the wheel with the problem.

You can but a whole new wire that connect rom the hub to the inner fender. Or you can open the wire and try to repair it. Search for ABS wire repair as a few folks have done it in the past.

Did you accidently strecth one of the wirs while installing? Feel with your hands to see if there is something broken in the wire sleeve.

Not really a ig deal, fix the wire, disconnect the abttery and you should be fine.

The dealer is full of beans about the tires. Many folsk running 35s on 4Runner and FJC with no such problem.
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Unread 02-11-2008, 06:27 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bulldog View Post
You have most probablt broek one the wires on the front that connect the wheel speed sensor to the ECU. It is very commen when folks install a new front suspension.


Normally the trouble code should identify the wheel with the problem.

You can but a whole new wire that connect rom the hub to the inner fender. Or you can open the wire and try to repair it. Search for ABS wire repair as a few folks have done it in the past.

Did you accidently strecth one of the wirs while installing? Feel with your hands to see if there is something broken in the wire sleeve.

Not really a ig deal, fix the wire, disconnect the abttery and you should be fine.

The dealer is full of beans about the tires. Many folsk running 35s on 4Runner and FJC with no such problem.

they didn't happen together. I had the VSS before I swapped the donahoes in yesterday.

also,it is specifically VSS "A" which is the tranny one.
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Unread 02-11-2008, 07:33 PM   #5
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Hmmm maybe I should read the whole post

I will try to have a look at the AT and trouble codes tonight.
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Unread 02-11-2008, 07:47 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bulldog View Post
Hmmm maybe I should read the whole post

I will try to have a look at the AT and trouble codes tonight.

no worries, it was as stupid long post.

I checked the NAV maintenance screen, you know the one you get to by turning the headlights on and off three times while holding down the info button with the key on, and the pulse count is Zero while rolling so the signal is definitely not getting to the NAV.

I ordered the VSS from autozone since it's so easy to install. If it fixes it, I'll return it and make the dealer own up to their stupidity and fix it. If not, I'll roll the bones with the dealer diagnosis time.
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Unread 02-11-2008, 08:10 PM   #7
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OK, a couple of points to note. The 4th Gen doesn't use the transmission sensors to determine vehicle speed, it uses the 4 ABS sensors on the wheels. So the trouble code is correct it would point to the transmission or transfer czase on older models, but not on the new one.

Which leads me back to the original point, check your front wires from the ABS sensor and see if they still work properly. You can feel, but also use a multimeter to check continuity.

Below is the factory procedure for the for the given trouble code P0500 on the 4th Gen. Nowhere does it point to the transmission, but rather the 4 wheel ABS sensors. So before going wild with spending money check the front wires (yeah I know I sound like a broken record).
Attached Files
File Type: pdf cip0500.pdf (30.1 KB, 106 views)
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Unread 02-11-2008, 08:25 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bulldog View Post
OK, a couple of points to note. The 4th Gen doesn't use the transmission sensors to determine vehicle speed, it uses the 4 ABS sensors on the wheels. So the trouble code is correct it would point to the transmission or transfer czase on older models, but not on the new one.

Which leads me back to the original point, check your front wires from the ABS sensor and see if they still work properly. You can feel, but also use a multimeter to check continuity.

Below is the factory procedure for the for the given trouble code P0500 on the 4th Gen. Nowhere does it point to the transmission, but rather the 4 wheel ABS sensors. So before going wild with spending money check the front wires (yeah I know I sound like a broken record).
uh, yeah, awesome. thanks ton for looking into that for me, now how do I get my grubby hands on that entire pdf?

I don't buy that procedure already and I'd like to keep reading. It says that if the speedo is working then the vehicle speed sensor is working.

Well I disconnected the VSS on the side of the trans and the speedo kept working. Then I disconnected the one on the other side of the trans and the speedo still worked but the truck wouldn't shift gears. wonder where I'm going wrong here.
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Unread 02-11-2008, 10:34 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chiplee View Post
uh, yeah, awesome. thanks ton for looking into that for me, now how do I get my grubby hands on that entire pdf?

I don't buy that procedure already and I'd like to keep reading. It says that if the speedo is working then the vehicle speed sensor is working.

Well I disconnected the VSS on the side of the trans and the speedo kept working. Then I disconnected the one on the other side of the trans and the speedo still worked but the truck wouldn't shift gears. wonder where I'm going wrong here.
The speed sensors are NOT on the transmission, the 4th Gen uses the wheel sensors to determine speed and for VSC, etc. The trouble code also has nothing to do with the transmission on the 4th Gen.

The speed sensors on the transmission is used by the transmission for shifitng purposes only.

So check your wheel sensors. That is why I posted the PDF for the 4th Gen. which is very different from older models.

You can go to the Toyota techinfo site and download all the pdfs for $10 a day if you want.

I would bet money that one of your front sensors are the problem and most likely the wire that runs to it. Start by checking the side you have the noise on.

Good luck.
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Unread 02-12-2008, 06:21 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bulldog View Post
The speed sensors are NOT on the transmission, the 4th Gen uses the wheel sensors to determine speed and for VSC, etc. The trouble code also has nothing to do with the transmission on the 4th Gen.

The speed sensors on the transmission is used by the transmission for shifitng purposes only.

So check your wheel sensors. That is why I posted the PDF for the 4th Gen. which is very different from older models.

You can go to the Toyota techinfo site and download all the pdfs for $10 a day if you want.

I would bet money that one of your front sensors are the problem and most likely the wire that runs to it. Start by checking the side you have the noise on.

Good luck.
I'm with you, and again, I can't thank you enough for your time, but why then do I not have an ABS light?

edit: with the speedo working perfectly, and the truck working exactly the same whether the left side "transmission VSS" is plugged in or not, I have to suspect that sensor being the issue.

The NAV maintenance interface shows no speed pulses reaching the nav unit while moving. I'm tempted to just swap the right side and left side sensors because they appear to be identical but I can wait a day for the new one to show up.

I'm not trying to be contrary, but I've looked at the wires for the abs sensors. I don't have an abs light in the dash which the truck would surely throw if it had a bad wheel speed sensor, or bad wire to one.

I don't know, I'm just trying to think of the simplest possible explaination. Wish I could see the wiring for the speed pulse wire behind the nav, and determine exactly where it gets its signal.
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Unread 02-12-2008, 12:50 PM   #11
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I think you need to draw up a trouble shooting process of elimination. Then work through it step by step.

I posted the complete wiring diagram of the 4RUnner here
http://www.toyota120.com/forum/showthread.php?t=2772

Go through it and see what makes sense to you. Unfrotunately the complete diagnostics is a bit too large, but you can download what you need at the techinfo site.

I do hope it is just a wire or sensor and not one of the ECM's that have the problem.

You might want to see if you can get a scope to check the sensor inputs, use the wiring diagram.

I know for a fact that a lot of part staores are way behind the curve on the understanding of the newer vehicles and especially their electronics, so I would be very carefull taking their advise.

Good luck. At least at the end of this you will have a very good undersatnding of the ABS,VSC,TRAC system of the 4RUnner
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Unread 02-17-2008, 12:38 PM   #12
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Made any headway with this problem?
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Unread 02-17-2008, 12:52 PM   #13
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Made any headway with this problem?

no, I was wrong on the sensor I ordered from Autozone. I swapped it in and erased the codes but the p0500 code came back in a mile and I have all the same lights back.

I'm probably going to buy a set of stock wheels with used tires already mounted so I can bolt them on before taking it to a different dealer.

The beauty of the DR CO's up front is that I can lower them and make it look as stock as possible before I go in. If they want to prey on my ignorance, I'll return the favor.

I've been wanting some sequoia/tundra 5 spoke stockers anyway.



wouldn't mind two sets of tires to swap out for long trips too.
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Unread 02-17-2008, 01:55 PM   #14
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Keep us posted when you find out what the problem is.

If you lived in Nor Cal you could have borrowed my stock wheels with Revos.
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Unread 02-17-2008, 02:14 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bulldog View Post
Keep us posted when you find out what the problem is.

If you lived in Nor Cal you could have borrowed my stock wheels with Revos.
yeah that would rock. I wish there was someone near by with a set of stockers in the garage but I only really know crozhawk and he doesn't have his stock wheels anymore, nor is he even in town.

anyway, thanks for asking and I'll post up when it's sorted out.
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Unread 02-17-2008, 05:33 PM   #16
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Where are you at I will have stock wheels in a couple weeks you can borrow
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Unread 02-17-2008, 07:53 PM   #17
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Where are you at I will have stock wheels in a couple weeks you can borrow I am ordering tires and wheels next week. Or why dont you check with the fj bruisers I think they are close to you maby they could help you out
woodbridge va, yeah I might check with those guys I guess.
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Unread 02-18-2008, 04:20 AM   #18
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Im in southren york county pa a bit of a drive but if you need them like i said there here but you have to wait till my new ones get here.
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Unread 02-18-2008, 06:41 AM   #19
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Im in southren york county pa a bit of a drive but if you need them like i said there here but you have to wait till my new ones get here.

I really appreciate it man. I'm from Chambersburg, PA and I come home pretty often now that I'm in northern VA. I need to tow my car up there for some paint work soon. Maybe I could combine the trip or something. I'd be able to strap them to the trailor to get them home, then I'd only put about 20 miles on them, and I could return them to you when I pick up my car. We'll see what comes up between now and then and either way, thanks a ton for the offer.
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Unread 02-20-2008, 08:10 PM   #20
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another dealer had the nerve to say that the cause of my CEL and TRAC/VSC problem might be the spacers or the oversized tires I have on there. I said "can I have my keys? I'm in the wrong place. I thought I came to a facility that employed people who were at least as mechanically inclined as myself. What you just said is a physical impossibility. I could see you making such a claim if I had 4 different sized tires on it, or even one odd ball tire, but the sensors have no way to know how big the tires are, or that there are spacers installed. I imagine some of your regular "mechanically illiterate" customers would buy it hook line and sinker and write you a blank check, but I'm going to consider it sufficient grounds to never walk in this place again, so please, my keys, before I lose my temper"

It was actually fun, he tried to backpedal by saying "I'm not trying to sell you on a line of bs, it's just that we need more time to figure it out"

I said "don't bother, you picked the wrong guy to lie to, my keys, quickly."

I'll be writing toyota about both of those dealers but I think the guy in springfield will be for me. He seems the most knowledgable over the phone but he's the farthest away.

This is another example of why I have zero qualms about changing over to stock sized tires before I take it in. They're either dumb or liars and neither is acceptable.
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Last edited by chiplee; 02-20-2008 at 08:13 PM.
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