Electrical wiring problem in steering column of 2009 Toyota Sienna
My 2009 Toyota Sienna had battery issues for the first few years after purchase. Dealership replaced battery twice, but "could not find" any other problem. About 2.5 years ago, more intermittent electrical problems starting cropping up. Key fob stopped working, replaced battery, reprogrammed, still didn't work. Then neighbor told me my car alarm was going off. Weird - I don't have a car alarm. But, sure enough when I went out to car it was making noise. I turned it on and off and it stopped. Last, the car would intermittently play dead. When I turned the key I got no response - no crank, no electrical, nothing. Dad said sounded like dead spot on alternator. Had it towed to mechanic who investigated the sloppy fuse box dangling under the dashboard that I had always wondered about (Toyota just isn't this sloppy). He dropped steering column and found that, along with the aftermarket navigation system the dealership had had installed (prior to putting it out for sale), they had also had an aftermarket alarm installed - and IT was shorting out the wiring in the steering column. Mechanic removed the alarm and I had no problems after that (and no more hanging fuse box).
A few weeks ago, my channels on the radio/nav system started randomly changing - weirdness. I though maybe the nav-radio-cd player-BT system was going out. The other day my DD's boyfriend got into driver's seat and in preparing to drive the Sienna, adjusted the steering column up. He immediately could not shift out of park. When I got in to inspect I noted that the A/C, radio and windows were not working, despite the engine running. An acquaintance looked at the fuse and said it looked okay - but didn't have a tester. He looked through the manual, and the outages appeared to be all on one system fuse. The headlights, brake lights, slider doors, dash lights all work.
He removed the cover for the shift interlock override and showed me how to change gears. I was able to drive the car home, but although the dash lights came on, none of the instruments on the panel were working.
I think this is related to loose wiring in the steering column (again/still) but have no idea of how/what to look for... and when I called 3 highly rated mechanics they all said that it might take hours of investigation to discover problem.
Please tell me there is an easier, more affordable way to get the wiring on the right track.