Dear Doctor: I own a 2002 Toyota Sienna minivan. After I replaced the battery the power sliding door stopped working. The dealer told me the power door motor needed to be replaced at a cost of $1,700. Is there a reset procedure for the power door after replacing the battery? Also where would the relay for the power door be located? I want to try replacing that first. Louis
Dear Louis: We use a web site company called Identifix for information on very complex issues. I looked on the Identifix direct hit and sure enough there is a Technical Service Bulletin on reprogramming the sliding doors (TSB#B0024-06). Factory time is 0.3 tenths of an hour to go through the procedure. If in fact the door motor is faulty then just disconnect the moving cable or chain if needed.
Dear Doctor: We have a 1997 Suburban that we use to transport rescue dogs. The SUV has a charging problem that our mechanic can’t seem to fix. It starts and charges slightly after starting, but when the air conditioning is turned on, it goes to discharge. The mechanic replaced the battery and he said he replaced the alternator and it did the same thing, so he put the original back in. We are reluctant to use the a/c for fear of getting stuck. Charles
Dear Charles: For an alternator to charge it has to have power entering it and a specific wire to excite the alternator to get it to charge. Most newer vehicles use the computer to regulate the charging rate of the alternator. A full check of the charging system needs to be performed. Sometimes a simple blown fuse or charging light bulb or connection will cause the problem.
Dear Doctor: My 2004 Nissan Pathfinder with 21,000 miles is running fine. Once in a while stopping for traffic or at a light, the engine suddenly starts racing. The last time I looked at the tachometer it had climbed to 3,000 rpm. This lasts about 4 to 5 seconds and returns to normal. My wife is leery about driving this SUV now because she is afraid she may hit someone when the engine starts to race. Have you heard of such incidents? Helmut
Dear Helmut: For the idle to rise up indicates there is a problem that is either computer-related or a lazy idle speed motor. This will cause the idle to rise without setting a trouble fault code. In some rare cases a slow-closing EGR valve can cause the idle to stay high until it closes. Go to a repair shop with a qualified ASE-certified technician. Make sure they work with Identifix for additional troubleshooting.
Dear Doctor: I have a 1986 Chevy El Camino with a 305 engine with the TH 200-4R transmission. The engine “lugs” at low acceleration when it shifts. It seems the torque converter is locking up when it shifts out of 1st gear. If I step on the brake pedal lightly it unlocks and the car shifts normally and the engine rpm goes up. I would like the lockup to work correctly to get better gas mileage. William
Dear William: GM did have many problems with the lockup torque converter in the 1980s. There are some aftermarket companies that offer a later converter lockup valve assembly. Check with the local speed shop for a list of aftermarket performance transmission parts that will solve your problem. You can disconnect the lockup wire on the transmission and not do anything or upgrade the transmission with the aftermarket parts.
Dear Doctor: I have a 2002 Chevrolet Malibu and have replaced the a/c control module twice. When I press the a/c button the green light blinks on and off. If the green light stays on the air is cold, but when it starts blinking the air gets warm. What should I do next? Bob
Dear Bob: This is a very common problem in the Malibu from model years 1999 to 2003. The control panel has failed. You will have to replace the panel assembly. — Junior Damato, Motor Matters
Junior Damato is an ASE-certified Master Technician.
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