Started the day with a 2+ mile run on the beach. Sherman stayed close as we went left to beach end at the cliffs. On the way back he started chasing birds. Seagulls. Ravens. A small swallow like bird. This little bird teased him. As he got close it took off and started flying low enough to the ground that it was easily in his running eye line. As he’d get close it would speed up or turn and he’d follow. The bird led him around the beach for what seemed like a minute. I’d never seen that before.

They have these signs along the beach numbering the access points. Very nice, as  many of the access points look alike.

Breakfast and then to the Toyota dealer.

Crossed this cool bridge on the way.
The person checking me in said she didn’t know when they’d be able to look at the van. There schedule was completely full. I said I’d been there on Saturday and talked to Ted, the Service Manager. He’d said to come in and they’d fit me in. Perhaps she should call him. He had a specific person in mind to look at the van. She did and was told to call a specific mechanic to come and do the van right then. Wow! Been a while since I’ve been taken care of like that.
I got what I needed from the van and the mechanic took it in to do diagnostics. I told him the odd things it was doing:

  • the instrument panel blinking
  • no starter engagement – no starter noise
  • all other electrical work: windows, lights, horn, door locks…
  • phone not always charging even though I’m getting the little lightning bolt saying it’s charging
  • occasional “this devices may not be compatible with this iPhone” message

I also told him that it had an aftermarket alarm installed, that had been disabled by cutting the wire to the alarm horn. He said he would guess that there could be a problem with the aftermarket install. That frequently those were jury-rigged into the system with sloppy wiring, etc. He’d take a look at that.
I talked with my dad last night. He’s an engineer and has worked on his cars since high school, I think. A long time anyway. He was asking the question, what would have to fail for everything to work and there not be any power to the starter? His guess is the starter solenoid. I told the mechanic that and he dismissed it saying he didn’t see how that would cause the instrument lights to blink.
So, they ran the diagnostics and everything tested perfect. Of course… He’d also disconnected the aftermarket alarm system.
I paid and asked if it was ok to stay for awhile and get some other work done. It was.
I got the Delorme INReach activated and went to put it in the van — it needed to be exposed to open air to update — and discovered that the keyless entry no longer worked. It was part of the aftermarket alarm system. That freaked me out. I am VERY dependent on having a button to push to lock and unlock the doors. How odd. Keys alone were good enough for me for many, many decades. Now they are a total inconvenience.
I went in to talk to the mechanic about it. He showed me how the wiring looked. Yep. A rats nest with lots and lots of electrical tape on it. Normally the connection goes directly from the ignition to the starter. With an alarm the wire goes to from the ignition to the alarm box to the starter, so that if the alarm is triggered the car won’t start. Yea, good. How about the keyless entry? He said he could try to get that part of the rats nest working if I’d like. All I could see was dollar signs. So, I asked if I could just get the another of the original key and fob that came with the car? Shouldn’t that be programable to work? He thought so and got me the part number. I wanted it shipped to a dealer further north so I could pick it up in a few days. He thought that would be possible and gave me the name of the dealer furthest north in Oregon.
I called them. First the woman I got in the parts department wanted to verify the info I was given. She looked it up and found there were actually 3 fobs that worked with my model, depending on the time of year it was manufactured. Really? Toyota changed the electronic door lock fob two times during one model year? Evidently yes… She transferred me to the Service Manager to see what would be involved. He thought this would be easy. Get the correct fob and program it to the car. He went to get his premier electrical guy. He got on the phone in a 3-way call and said, no, it wouldn’t work that way. When they put in an aftermarket system like that they actually replace the door locking motors so they will work with the aftermarket fob. Now I’m really confused. Is this a racket? I go to a car stereo place where they install aftermarket alarms and in the process they need to replace the door lock motors and the motor on the power side door? He says the best thing is to go to a good car stereo shop and have them look at it. AND.. we have no idea if this has anything to do with the electrical anomaly that started us down this path. He has a shop near them that he recommends. He likes the owner and says he’s real good with the electronics and quality of wiring, etc. So… I’ll call him tomorrow to talk and see about having him look at the van when I get to northernmost Oregon.
We gotten to the dealer at 10. They were done with the diagnostics by noon. I worked until 3, then had the original Toyota key idea. Gathering the initial info and the phone calls took us til 5. I did get some other stuff done during that time but the main activity was around original Toyota keys for my 2002 Sienna Symphony van. What a dance!
In the meantime, poor Sherman was stuck in the Toyota Cafe. He barked a few times to announce other dogs in the showroom. And he told me he needed to pee and have a drink. Twice he said he needed to sit on my lap for awhile. For a 7 hour stretch of pretty much total boredom, he was fabulous.
We got in the van and I looked at where to stay. There was a Forest Service site about an hour north. Or 20 minutes back to the beach. Decided to go north. So we are now at Dry Lake Horse Camp. There’s a nice trail here that we’ll probably go on in the morning for 4-5 miles. Then go north old man and young dog!