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Toyota Tacoma: Problems & Solutions



  • I have a 2002 double cab 4x4 TRD with 12,000 miles that recently started rattling behind the dash. I took it to the dealership 4 times. The first time, they put some sort of foam behind the radio. That didn't work, so then they claimed to have tightened some airbag bracket. That didn't work, so they took it in and again "couldn't find the problem." I pushed them further and they installed some sort of noise reduction kit. I now have a the same exact rattle, albeit a little more muffled by the foam.

    The sound seems to come from the lower dashboard in 2 places - 1 is behind/to the right of the radio, and the other seems to come from the bottom right side of the glove box. Possibly something related to the airbag?

    The sound isn't always consistent - I haven't found anything that always triggers it. I'll drive a few days without hearing it, then suddenly, it'll chatter unstoppably for minutes on end.

    I appreciate any ideas any of you have. I've read through past postings and I'm wondering if anything new has come up.



  • tistevetisteve Posts: 142
    My rear u-joint started making a high pitch squeal noise when no load is on the drive train (coasting or easing off accelerator). Only occurs at speeds above 25-30 mph. Sounds like a loose fan belt, very high pitched.

    I lubed it up at all the zerk fittings and the noise goes away for a day or so and then comes back, tried several times. Seems worse when cold. I did neglect lubing it until 30k miles. Now has 39k. Joint seems tight and no excessive play. What could be causing this? Did I fry it buy not lubing it sooner?

    Any advice appreciated,

    '99 Tacoma 4x4 TRD 5-spd 4 cyl
  • lariat1lariat1 Posts: 461
    Sounds like the u-joint is going bad, If you are under warranty have the dealer replace it if not they are cheap ($10-$25) and take about half an hour to replace. As a warning you are much better off replacing the universal now because if it fails while you are driving it can cause a lot of damage.
  • I have 2003 trd dc prerunner 3.4 V6. I have been getting under 14MPG and drive with a light foot. What are you guys getting?
  • sc0rpi0sc0rpi0 Posts: 897
    They may sing the "breakin period" song, but don't bulge. Gas milage is about 1mpg less during break-in period, not 5. Just stand firm and have them run diagnostics on the engine. If could be many things, really: bad gasoline, low tire pressure. But if problem persists and you fill up at different gas stations, then definitely take it back.
  • My 2002 4 cyl 2.4L tacoma has 6000 mi and now has a very noisy engine at idle. it almost sounds like a diesel, but depends on how hi the idle is and how much the engine has warmed up. [no noise when cold or partially warmed up] No problems with starting, acceleration, smoothness etc.
    Oil was changed at 2400 and 5800. The dealer did the last one; no idea what oil he put in but it's probably 5w30.
    Should I be using a different oil than 5w30?? Is this even a problem?
    Thanks for ideas.
  • (1) I need the low down one the air filter problem that everyone is having. Is putting a K&N air filter going to hurt my MAF in the long run? Would a TRD one be better?

    (2) I have read all the post on the Air Bag compartment rattle that my truck and many others are having. I am taking back to the dealership this weekend, hopefully letting them know that it is just not my truck would help them out. Is there any thing else I need to know about this be fore this weekend?

    (3)I have a pinging coming form my my engine while it is in idle. I have a 2002 V6 Tacoma and I have already taken it in once before and they told me that it was just wires in the engine bouncing around, but I know for a fact it's coming from the engine block.

    I just bought a supercharger and plan to have it installed in a couple of weeks. I'd really like to have all these problems fixed before I do anything else to the truck. That's why I'd really like to know what the deal is with the air filter and MAF. Should I change it or leave it alone.

    One last question. Does anyone out there know from experience or otherwise if it is a good idea to add headers and change my exhaust. If I should change my exhaust, should I go with the TRD cat back or a after market like Flowmaster.

    I would really appreciate the advice.

  • sc0rpi0sc0rpi0 Posts: 897
    1. Oiled airfilter: there are mixed opinions on this. Some people never had problems, some people had throttle body engulfed in oil. I guess putting too much oil on the filter could be a problem. I think regular cleaning of the throttle body/MAF might prevent it.

    Charger: have the dealership install it. That way it'll be covered under warranty. Headers are PITA to install by yourself, but they are nothing bad. Ditto for the exaust. If you install it at the dealership, they'll just cover it under warranty. TRD will just cost you a lot more than Flowmaster/Magnaflow. I had a shop put in magnaflow for $130 alltogether.
  • First off let me say thank you Sc0rpi0. You are by far one of the most helpful people on this message board.

    Going back to your response about he exhaust. You have a Magnaflow, right. What kind of performance increase have you seen on your truck? Also, do feel that Magnaflow is better that Flowmaster. The Flowmaster store was asking me if I was interested in replacing the entire exhaust system or just after the catalytic converter, basically the muffler. What do you think?

    Do you use a after market filter? If you do, what steps do you take to maintain it?

    Also you wrote the the headers are PITA, I'm sorry but I didn't understand what you meant what you meant by that.

    Do you have a supercharger on your truck? If you do, how do you like it and what other modifications have you made?

  • sc0rpi0sc0rpi0 Posts: 897
    I only have a catback system...replacing the cat would have been too much $$ for me. I went with Magnaflow because it sounded better: Flowmaster is simply too loud and harsh for me. Magnaflow has roar, but it's quieter. It's fine for me: up to 3000 rpms, you can't really hear the engine, it's all exaust. After 3K engine noise takes over. I imagine with Flowmaster you'll just hear exaust.

    As far as performance increase....I figure my truck is right around 200hp now: just the muffler and deckplate mod (basically, take the airbox and cut a hole infront of it, before the filter. It allows for much more air to go through). Look around on (TTORA New England chapter) site, they may have dyno results for non-charged trucks with exaust, deckplate and airfilter mods. I know there was one done about a year ago.

    I don't have a costs too damn much, and with the lead foot I have, it's the last thing I need. I hear it feels gggoooooooooddddd :)

    I use Amsoil foam filter instead of KnN. It's same idea of using oil, but tests show (and this is a huge controversy) that Amsoil filters better. As for maintaining it.........I've had it in since day 1, for a year now, and in 22K miles I haven't replaced/oiled it. I would just pop it out after particular nasty offroad trips (dusty roads, etc), beat the dust off of it, pop it back in and go on. I'll be reoiling it when I do my 30K service.

    Adding headers is a pain in the *** (PITA), that's the general consensus. Easier to have it done by the dealer, and you get the benefit of having it covered by warranty.
  • smgillessmgilles Posts: 252
    DO NOT use the TRD or K&N or any other type of pre-oiled drop in filter, especially if you are going to be S/Ced anyway. I ran a K&N with my S/C and then switched back to OEM paper filters. The paper filter is much better at filtering fine dust particles, plus you don't have to worry about killing your MAF. ($300)!

    For the S/C I installed a tranny cooler since I have an Automatic and switched all fluids to sythetic in the entire drivetrain. I have had my S/C on for 20,000 miles and have had zero problems (knock on wood). Just make sure you use premium fuel, try to find 92 octane or higher if you can. I run a catback exhaust (Gibson), but you would be just fine with just the S/C because I didn't notice that big of a difference when I installed the exhaust.

    If you have anymore questions just ask.
  • I just got back from the dealership. They tore apart my dash and drove around until they found the source of the rattle. They said it wasn't from the airbag itself, but from the computer that sits near the airbag. Something about its brackets? I'm not sure, but they put some foam around the computer and the noise is gone, so I'm happy for now. I just drove it for the first time, and so far so good.


  • saddaddysaddaddy Posts: 566
    My extra cab 2000 Prerunner v6 also got about 15 mpg the first summer I had it. The last time I checked it was after a 200 mile drive with an average speed of about 63 mph; I got 23.5 mpg. Man was I stoked. After the first year my truck finally starting averaging around 17mpg, and about 3 months ago I bought a K&N filter and the mileage jumped up an average of 2 more miles per gallon. If I could make myself drive 50 mph everywher I could get better than 25 mpg I bet.

    It has been my experience that 3 things hurt mileage more than anything:
    1. A lead foot - On a lonely straight away last nite I stomped on it and got up to 85 in a very short time and then slowed right back down, and the trip I was on took noticeably more gasoline to complete
    2. Short trips - driving several 1.5 mile trips a day to class keep my mileage at an average of 17.5 when there are no long trips mixed in.
    3. Sustained high speeds above, say, 70 mph - this doesn't hurt the mileage, just prevents it from being 22+.

    Also make sure your tires have a decent amount of pressure in them. And I would highly recommend an aftermarket air filter. I had heard reports that they didn't help mileage at all, but I have seen the exact opposite.

    Hope this helps guys.
  • The dealer replaced both front fender flares on my 2001 DC a month ago, but the trim is coming out again. Additionally, now the left rear trim (around the gas tank) is coming out. Is there a permanent fix for this? Someone posted that this issue was addressed in the 2002 model year. Is that true? Does this happen to owners of Limited models (ie, is the design the same on those flares). As long as keeps coming out, I'll keep taking it back - but it does become a PITA leaving your truck for a two days (1 day to "diagnose" the problem, 1 day to fix it)
  • I bought a 2002 Tacoma, V6, double cab, TRD with 300 miles. I use to own a 99 Tacoma V6. The new double cab seems to shift with alittle jerk, every time it shifts from gear to gear(especially under high rpm's) compared to the previous Tacomas I have owned. I now have 5000 miles on it and it is becoming very annoying. My previous Tacomas shifted very smoothly and I never had any problems like this. I took it to the dealers and they told me it needed to be broke in! Weirdly enough, the doulbe cab shifts very smoothly in four wheel drive and also with ect. I figured the 2002 would be a better riding vehicle than a 99. Any suggestions? Thanks
  • Recommend that owners of Tacoma pick up trucks take vehicles in to have wheel bearings repacked and spindles inspected on regular basis. Here is the situation: Driving down the highway at 70 mph in my 98 "Quality" Tacoma and the right front spindle snaps and the wheel flies off including brakes, rotor, and brake line. No injuries. Toyota sent a representative to investigate and provided this short explanation. "They could find no indication of a design or manufacturing defect." This implies that a properly maintained Tacoma by a Toyota dealership can expect to have its spindle snap at 60,000 miles under normal wear and tear. Hence my recommendation to all Tacoma owners. Any specific questions on this send to me at
  • I have a 1998 tacoma and when I went to go to work this morning the key would not turn at all in the ignition. It is Sunday and no service departments are open. Does anybody have a clue on the cause? Did the 1998's have a computer chip in the key? If it did, is it possible that it lost the code? Spare key won't work either so what can be checked on the truck. HELP. I do have the alarm system installed but it is disarmed when I attempt to start it.
  • This probably sounds obvious, but have you tried wiggling the steering wheel back and forth while turning the key in the ignition?
  • Yes I have tried that. The key will turn approximately 1/4 inch but will not turn any further. The steering wheel is not locked. I did find a key that I had made as a spare that had previously worked and it does not have a chip in it so we can rule the chip issue out.
This discussion has been closed.