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Fried The Engine Computer


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We had our first big rain of the season here in Norcal on Friday. We had 2" of rain in a matter of a couple of hours (I know, this is trivial compared to some areas), with 60 mph winds gusting to 105 mph. Lots of branches and debris all over the place and lots of homes without power (luckily we didn't lose power). I hopped in the RX that afternoon to run a quick errand, and was greeted with a host of error messages: "Check hybrid system", "Check tire inflation", "VSC off"... the car was not a happy camper. I called the dealership and they told me to bring it in on Saturday. I got a call today and the engine computer is toast. Geez, I knew that the RX wasn't a real SUV but this thing hates inclement weather even more than I thought. :wacko: Anyone else experienced rain/snow/water related issues with their electronics?

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We had our first big rain of the season here in Norcal on Friday. We had 2" of rain in a matter of a couple of hours (I know, this is trivial compared to some areas), with 60 mph winds gusting to 105 mph. Lots of branches and debris all over the place and lots of homes without power (luckily we didn't lose power). I hopped in the RX that afternoon to run a quick errand, and was greeted with a host of error messages: "Check hybrid system", "Check tire inflation", "VSC off"... the car was not a happy camper. I called the dealership and they told me to bring it in on Saturday. I got a call today and the engine computer is toast. Geez, I knew that the RX wasn't a real SUV but this thing hates inclement weather even more than I thought. :wacko: Anyone else experienced rain/snow/water related issues with their electronics?

"..I called the dealership and they said to bring it in on Saturday..."

On a flatbed...??

Or did you drive it in?

Did it drive normal except for all the indicator lights..?

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Are you sure it was related to the weather? Sounds like you just had rain and wind. I would be very surprised if the computer was not in a tightly sealed casing. But it does seem odd for a computer to fail like that.

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We had our first big rain of the season here in Norcal on Friday. We had 2" of rain in a matter of a couple of hours (I know, this is trivial compared to some areas), with 60 mph winds gusting to 105 mph. Lots of branches and debris all over the place and lots of homes without power (luckily we didn't lose power). I hopped in the RX that afternoon to run a quick errand, and was greeted with a host of error messages: "Check hybrid system", "Check tire inflation", "VSC off"... the car was not a happy camper. I called the dealership and they told me to bring it in on Saturday. I got a call today and the engine computer is toast. Geez, I knew that the RX wasn't a real SUV but this thing hates inclement weather even more than I thought.:wacko: Anyone else experienced rain/snow/water related issues with their electronics?

"..I called the dealership and they said to bring it in on Saturday..."

On a flatbed...??

Or did you drive it in?

Did it drive normal except for all the indicator lights..?

I drove it in. It drove normally other than the warning lights. I was watching the energy screen to make sure I wasn't discharging the high voltage batteries since the "check hybrid system" warning was on. Also, since the VSC was off and there was plenty of standing water all over the road I was taking it really easy.

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Are you sure it was related to the weather? Sounds like you just had rain and wind. I would be very surprised if the computer was not in a tightly sealed casing. But it does seem odd for a computer to fail like that.

Yes, it seems odd to me as well, but it's the only thing I can think of. I drove the car home Thursday night and it was fine. Our driveway is pretty steep and I had backed it in with the nose pointing down, so the only thing I can think of is that the angle of the car allowed water to run down into places it wouldn't normally go if the car was level. Just speculation on my part...

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Your title says the 'computer' is fried. There actually are multiple ECU's. Which one is fried? ... or are you simply assuming. Some conditions WILL cause multiple warnings. Has it been detrmined whether or not, this is not the case? Using this forum, we discovered some of the, "check system" warnings can happen for as little as 'recomended' maintenance ... and not even 'required' maintenance. With that in mind, and personal experience driving the 400h for over 2 years (and our Prius for nearly 4 years) I can tell you that Toyota has made certain, that if the system shouldn't run, you can be darn sure, that it will not run. To protect itself, it will shut down. So if you can still drive it, and get it to the shop, it's likely that it still ok to at least get it that far.

That being said, we've driven the 400h in very nasty slush, rain, freezing rain, snow, sub zero temps, etc up in Montana. It does get worse MPG in freezing and cold rain, but no ... those conditions by their self, is not an automatic condition that brings about tons of bells & whistles.

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Your title says the 'computer' is fried. There actually are multiple ECU's. Which one is fried? ... or are you simply assuming. Some conditions WILL cause multiple warnings. Has it been detrmined whether or not, this is not the case? Using this forum, we discovered some of the, "check system" warnings can happen for as little as 'recomended' maintenance ... and not even 'required' maintenance. With that in mind, and personal experience driving the 400h for over 2 years (and our Prius for nearly 4 years) I can tell you that Toyota has made certain, that if the system shouldn't run, you can be darn sure, that it will not run. To protect itself, it will shut down. So if you can still drive it, and get it to the shop, it's likely that it still ok to at least get it that far.

That being said, we've driven the 400h in very nasty slush, rain, freezing rain, snow, sub zero temps, etc up in Montana. It does get worse MPG in freezing and cold rain, but no ... those conditions by their self, is not an automatic condition that brings about tons of bells & whistles.

I'm not assuming anything. As I stated, I received a call from the dealership yesterday and was informed that the "engine computer" (their words) had malfunctioned and they needed to order a new one which will take several days to get. I'm quite familiar with the extremely annoying yet benign warning lights that pop up for everything from required maintenance to low washer fluid. This was quite different from those. Imagine every warning light on your dash on, and the LCD screen cycling through various "check xxxxx" messages.

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I'm not assuming anything. As I stated, I received a call from the dealership yesterday and was informed that the "engine computer" (their words) had malfunctioned and they needed to order a new one which will take several days to get. I'm quite familiar with the extremely annoying yet benign warning lights that pop up for everything from required maintenance to low washer fluid. This was quite different from those. Imagine every warning light on your dash on, and the LCD screen cycling through various "check xxxxx" messages.

Got it. Well, looking on the bright side ... Lexus IS known for it's high quality, according to consumer reports, and other types of consumer groups. Had you perchased (for example) a Caddy SUV, the liklihood of your satisfaction would have been less ... as reliability reports are not as favorable ... and, your MPG would be worse, too boot. We have had our other hybrid'd dash lights, light up like a christmas tree, when it was about a year old. It wouldn't even run. Then, after about 8 minutes, it WAS able to reboot, so I simply took it to the shop. There was a service bulitin published about it, so we weren't totally surprised when it happened. Over 60K miles later, that was the only major thing that has happened. That was in '05. That's the price of newer technology, sometimes. It takes several years, and hundred of thousands of those models to be put on the road before you know whether or not 1/2 of 1% are going to suffer from certain anomolies. I for one, wouldn't want to dump the car, for one thing only, but everyone's different. Good luck on what ever decision you make.

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I for one, wouldn't want to dump the car, for one thing only, but everyone's different. Good luck on what ever decision you make.

I wasn't necessarily considering dumping the car due to one malfunction (though I have several other issues with the car that I've mentioned in other posts). I was mostly curious if anyone else has experienced similar issues.

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Mmmmmm, based upon your multitude of complaints, earlier, I would be so bold as to guess that you are, in fact, a Mercedes dealership owner........ :chairshot:

Seriously, this type of problem is not uncommon with Corvettes and usually, the culprit is either a bad EBCM (Electronic Body Control Module) or a frayed wire harness in the driver's side door harness bundle.

This is the first I can recall seeing anything to this effect. Most likely, it is not a harbinger of things to come.......unless you really ARE a Mercedes dealer..... :cheers:

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Mmmmmm, based upon your multitude of complaints, earlier, I would be so bold as to guess that you are, in fact, a Mercedes dealership owner........

Nope. Just a happy MBZ owner. :cheers:

Edit- actually, that's pretty funny. I would have pegged you for a Lexus employee in some fashion as you're alway coming across as a Lexus apologist.

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....a happy MBZ owner - a rare bird, indeed!

Well, I'm a much happier MBZ owner than Lexus owner at the moment. I went to pick up the RX at lunch today and found TWO dings in the driver's door. One on the edge of the bump strip that had taken all the paint off, and another on the door itself near the edge. It's about 1/2" in from the edge where the sheetmetal folds over on itself and they can't get a tool in there to remove it "paintlessly" so it now needs to go back in to be repaired and have both drivers-side doors painted. :censored:

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....a happy MBZ owner - a rare bird, indeed!

Well, I'm a much happier MBZ owner than Lexus owner at the moment. I went to pick up the RX at lunch today and found TWO dings in the driver's door. One on the edge of the bump strip that had taken all the paint off, and another on the door itself near the edge. It's about 1/2" in from the edge where the sheetmetal folds over on itself and they can't get a tool in there to remove it "paintlessly" so it now needs to go back in to be repaired and have both drivers-side doors painted. :censored:

That is ridiculous and unnecessary damage, considering that your vehicle should have been only been driven and parked by Lexus employees. One should feel safe in assuming that his vehicle is not parked in some general parking area where any bozo can park adjacent and bang his door against your vehicle.

Tom

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Are you sure it was related to the weather? Sounds like you just had rain and wind. I would be very surprised if the computer was not in a tightly sealed casing. But it does seem odd for a computer to fail like that.

Yes, it seems odd to me as well, but it's the only thing I can think of. I drove the car home Thursday night and it was fine. Our driveway is pretty steep and I had backed it in with the nose pointing down, so the only thing I can think of is that the angle of the car allowed water to run down into places it wouldn't normally go if the car was level. Just speculation on my part...

There was another person on this site who had experienced this condition as the result of water intrusion. You can search for it under Rear Hatch or Weather Striping...

In short, there is a "brain" component mounted in the rear cargo area such that even a small instrusion of water from the rear hatch will flood and short this component.

Given your "hatch up" orientation of the car in your steep driveway, and the heavy rains, I can easily envision some kind of leak past the rear hatch weatherstriping that would then run down into this compartment where the "brain" component is situated.

I purchased the rear cargo liner that has the raised lip so that wet cargo will not contribute to this problem, but now I will be careful not to park nose down on a steep grade when a hard rain is expected

Nor, I guess, drive backward really fast in a driving rain :chairshot:

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