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3rd Generation Toyota 4Runners 1996 to 2002



  • fmonkfmonk Posts: 1
    I'm hoping someone can shed some light on an issue
    we've been having with our 2001 4Runner. After
    switching off the ignition, the car refuses to
    release the ignition key. The key can be turned
    almost but not quite all the way to the left, and
    cannot be removed.

    I believe that I am being tripped up by some sort
    of safety device--although the transmission is in
    park and the dashboard indicator agrees, some sensor
    thinks the car is in gear and won't allow the
    ignition to turn all the way to the left.

    I am able to release the key by removing fuse #35
    (AM1) which controls part of the starting system.

    Is anyone familiar with this problem? Is it indeed a
    sensor, or the ignition itself, or what? And is
    it fixable by an incompetent shade tree mechanic
    (yours truly) or do I need to take it to a shop?

    Thanks in advance, and sorry if this is covering
    old ground.
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,669
    If removing a fuse cures the problem, I have to agree with you that the problem is the mechanism that stops you from removing the key until the gearshift is in park. If it were the ignition itself, I would think that removing a fuse would make no difference.

    This is probably a sensor somewhere, rather than a hardware problem, I would guess. It is probably the kind of thing you should take to a shop, rather than trying to fix yourself.

    2013 Civic SI, 2009 Outback Sport 5-spd (stick)

  • markamo1markamo1 Posts: 2
    My 00 4runner with 130k miles,has no external leaks. The problem is that I am using a ridiculous amount of oil. My oil was filled at a garage on thursday, drove about 400 miles over the weekend and on sunday was 2quarts low...

    Once in a while at start up, there is a huge puff of smoke,(big enough that people nearby would think it was the biggest clunker on the planet), that goes away in a few seconds. Never smokes while driving.

    Other than that the truck runs perfectly

    I changed the pcv valve last week and had no improvement. I was also told that I do not have sludge in the engine...

    Other than replacing the engine, what are my options?

    Please give me some hope!!!
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,669
    that sounds a lot like worn rings. I am surprised, given the thing only has 130K miles - have you owned it since new? Did you follow proper break-in procedures?

    And that huge puff of smoke? That is where your oil is going, every time you start the thing, even at the times when it does not puff or smoke during driving.

    2013 Civic SI, 2009 Outback Sport 5-spd (stick)

  • markamo1markamo1 Posts: 2
    I have only owned this car for 6 months, so I am a little cranky about it.I really don't have much info on service for the vehicle. From it's overall condition I would say that it has been cared for. Is worn ring something that can be fixed without replacing the engine? thanks
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,669
    if it is the rings, they can do a ring job, but sometimes if there is a used engine available, that is a cheaper option.

    They can test it to see if in fact that is where the oil is going, but short of you missing a MASSIVE leak, there really aren't many other places it could be going...

    And by the way, I should add it is quite likely it was already doing this when you bought it, and in fact that's probably why they were selling it. This isn't a problem that comes on overnight. So if you bought it from, like, a family member or something, you should go give them heck!

    Did you ever check your oil before you noticed the problem last week or whatever? If not, you may have been running around almost dry at times.

    Oh yeah, and before anything else, be sure you are following proper form. The truck should be level when you check the oil, and if you have just run the engine, you should let it sit a couple of minutes so that the oil can drain back into the sump. Lastly, if you had a recent oil change, check that the drain plug is properly sealed, and that the oil filter was not improperly installed and is not defective. If either is leaking at the kind of rate you have described, there will be fresh oil all over the place near those items.

    2013 Civic SI, 2009 Outback Sport 5-spd (stick)

  • chiefjojochiefjojo Posts: 39
    I know the FJC has the advantage in engine power, departure angle (30 vs 28 I think), tires (32" vs 31") and 4WD traction goodies (4R had either ATRAC or rear locker, but not both like FJC). They are both similar dimensions, but the 4R is narrower, nimbler, lighter, has 4 full doors, more storage space, and is arguably more attractive. Thoughts?
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,669
    Go for the classic! :-)

    The 3rd gen Runner is more versatile for carrying cargo, has proper carpets and insulated panels instead of hard plastic or rubber everywhere, and is much more maneuverable in tight spaces. Plus it has timeless good looks, where the FJ will be "Look at me. No, really, LOOK AT ME!" for a few years and then will be a fad past its prime.

    The only serious advantage of the FJ is its Torsen vs the center locker or ATRAC of the older Runners.

    And hey, despite the 31" vs 32" thing, didn't the Runner have better static ground clearance than the FJ does?

    2013 Civic SI, 2009 Outback Sport 5-spd (stick)

  • chiefjojochiefjojo Posts: 39
    I'm not really considering the FJ, as my 02 4R is nearly paid off. I just wanted to gauge people's opinions. For me, it's tough to justify forking over another big chunk of change for the FJ, when I have a rock-solid utility vehicle already. I've never had a single issue in 51k miles. I would like to have 32s and rear locker (I know I CAN get one added on from an old 97-00 4R though) and I actually like the idea of plastic floors, as it much easier to clean! (I have the Husky liners, which work very well, but still leave some carpeted areas that can get muddy.) The 4R might give up some stats to the FJ, but I do like the classic look, visibilty, cargo room, manuverability, 4 doors, and I have the auto + multimode 4WD that I can use in 2H for normal driving, 4H for heavy rain or snow, and 4H locked (cntr diff) and 4L locked for off-road use.

    No doubt the 3rd gen 4R is a great truck. :)
  • vanhalenvanhalen Posts: 1
    Just recently purchased a 2000 4R - I love it!
    But I've got a problem with the electric antenna. I know what the problem is - but I want to disconnect the motor feed for now so that it remains up all the time. Does anyone know how to disconnect the power to the motor. I checked the fuse scematics - but could not find one for it.
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,669
    it is a separate attachment on the back of the stereo. Unplug the wire from the radio that tells the antenna to go up and down, and it will stay in whatever position it was already in after that.

    2013 Civic SI, 2009 Outback Sport 5-spd (stick)

  • rcobrcob Posts: 4
    I have a '01 4runner,won't start I'm pretty sure it is the pressure regulator, It's located behind and underneath the intake manifold. can anyone tell me if they have attemped this and how much of a @!#$% this task will be?
    OK, It'll start to turn over when the key goes from "off" to "start" but from "on" to "start" I get nothing but the starter turning. I feel the initial turning of the key is pressurizing the line(via the "new fuel pump") and from the "on" to "start" manuver there's no pressure.

    any ideas? anyone? anyone? Bueller? Bueller? :confuse:
  • I have a 2000 4runner SR5. My ignition key is sometimes hard to get in and out of the keyhole. Also the steering column does not lock in place after the key is removed. I had a new key made and I still have the same problems.Do i need to replace the ignition switch????Or do I need to take it to the shop???
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,669
    almost a year of having my truck and just getting its feet wet (and no more) off the pavement, I finally got off the road and then off the trail in it yesterday for the first time. It was really a blast. I was in a BLM-run OHV recreation area, so you could pretty much go anywhere, and there were some really fantastic views if you could get high enough up on the ridge, not to mention you could find lots of solitude if you got away from the established trails.

    Didn't break anything, found the stock suspension to have as much travel as the modified offroad suspension I had installed on my older Runner. Yet despite having better travel it also had better control, so the ride was less jittery even when I was just pounding across open scrubland. I was originally intending to replace the stock suspension and lift it just as soon as the payments were done (another year), but now I am thinking I might wait a while on that.

    Another pleasant surprise was the steering. They switched from recirculating ball (truck-style) to rack and pinion (car-style) after '95, and I had heard that the more precise r-and-p was nice on the road but kicked back too much off the road and especially over the rocks. However, I found it to be more damped than expected. The only question mark in my mind is the long-term durability vs recirculating ball, where more play is built into the system so that it doesn't take quite such a beating over the rocks. My old truck was on its original steering except for the pump at 220K miles.

    All that, and it managed 21 mpg for the day, where my old truck (also a V-6 4x4 manual) would struggle to break 17 mpg in a full day of four-wheeling.

    2000 V-6 4WD, last year of the manual shift.

    2013 Civic SI, 2009 Outback Sport 5-spd (stick)

  • Nippononly, sounds like we are close in a lot of ways. Mine is a 2002 w/multimode + ATRAC, but I've taken it offroad and loved it. Never broke anything, and only a litle scraping on the underbody skidplates. I do sometimes wish I had the 5-spd (not avail in 01 & 02) but other times (traffic, and crawling offroad) not. Payments are done in 11 months :) . I too had thought about a lift at that point, but I'm not so sure I'm ready for that kind of investment. Where do you live?
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,669
    Toyota never made the manual available with the ATRAC, so if you had really wanted the stick you would have had to settle for the part-time 4WD I have. Which I am perfectly happy with, BTW. :-)

    I am in northern California. There's a lot of fun to be had in the mountains north of here, or the Sierra of course. I like going over on the Reno side and looking for old mines on the enormous stretches of BLM lands on that side. :shades:

    I don't commute in mine, so there's no worries there. I have always preferred the stick offroad, but I know that everyone's personal preference will be different there.

    My little trip last weekend reminded me I have to take off the running boards at the earliest opportunity! I know, I know, DUH, right? But I kinda like the look of them on there - I saw another 3rd-gen with them off and short people can see right under this truck with them off. I never noticed that effect with my old one.

    Anyway, I am thinking that if/when I get back into rock-hopping, I will definitely lift it and put on larger tires than the 32"ers that come standard. But I don't think I will be doing anything like that AT LEAST until the payments are done. For everything else, seems like factory stock suspension and tires will mostly get the job done without getting anything damaged. Toyota used to give you a heck of a lot of offroad capability right out of the box in their SUVs. Now I guess you have to buy a Tacoma TRD to get to the same level.

    2013 Civic SI, 2009 Outback Sport 5-spd (stick)

  • cbhoocbhoo Posts: 4
    I have a 2000 4Runner with a 3.4L 6-cyl engine that has been regularly serviced by my Toyota dealer (Kings Toyota in Cincinnati) since I bought it new in 1/00. I have 78,000 miles, and it was just serviced (oil change) at the dealer 1 month before my engine failure.

    Three weeks ago I was driving on the expressway, when I accelerated to change lanes, the car began to shake and the engine lost power. The engine light came on. When I pulled off the road, the oil light came on too. The engine quickly seized up and stopped. There was oil and radiator fluid mixed together on the road under the car.

    I had it towed to the Toyota dealer (Kings Toyota in Cincinnati) where I bought it new and which did my service. I suspected a blown connecting rod. The dealer confirmed that the engine must be replaced. Incredible!! I bought this 4Runner for its advertised quality and reliability. I had a Jeep for 140k miles before this. Also had Honda, Nissan, Toyota and Chevy for 100k+ miles.

    When the problem first surfaced (which initially I thought was only a blown engine), I called the Toyota Customer Care toll free number in CA. This (or any) engine does not fail after only 78,000 miles unless it is defective or not cared for. I had all service according to the manual at the dealer. I am the original owner. Toyota Customer Care told me I must work through the dealer Customer Service Rep. So, I immediately contacted the dealer Cust. Service Rep, who then had the Toyota District Sales and Parts Manager (DSPM) (Ron) for my area look at the car. Two weeks ago the Toyota DSPM apparently inspected the car and told the dealer he would give $1000 toward a new engine -- net $8000 installed per my dealer. A used engine is only $4500 so I chose to go with the used engine and continue to try to work out with Toyota.

    This week they started to remove the old engine and I learn that I need a transmission too -- another $3200! The dealer is telling me that the connecting rod broke, was thrown through the block and into the transmission -- needs both an engine and transmission (~ $8k). I went to see it 2 days ago and met with the mechanic and service manager. When I asked what would cause this premature failure (I already knew) the mechanic said that he did not want to accuse me of anything but did I ever change the oil. It was easy for me to say yes -- the dealer (you) changed it over the years including 3 times this year in Jan, May and 30 days before the failure! He said that's about the only way he knew it could fail.

    I immediately spoke to the Customer Care rep at the dealer (Kings Toyota in Cincinnati) who told me to call the Toyota Customer Care person in CA again because the dealer could not do anything more. The Toyota Customer Care person told me that I must resolve this with the dealer or the Toyota DSPM for this area. Toyota also told me no one, not even the CEO of Toyota could overrule the decision of the DSPM -- ridiculous. The dealer told me to work through Toyota so I am getting jerked around. My neighbors and friends -- some who bought Toyotas from my dealer at my recommendation -- are shocked that Toyota will not take care of this problem.

    I need to contact the Toyota DSPM; I know his first name is Ron, but nothing else. Toyota Customer Care said they did not know who the DSPM was for my area but to contact the dealer and it could tell me. I have left messages at the dealer for this contact info but now radio silence. Anybody have any names/address/phone of a person at Toyota where they had success resolving a problem?? Any other suggestions for getting help from Toyota?
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,669
    explain that your assistance from the DSPM so far has been inadequate. I believe the next level is the regional rep, but I forget. You may get more assistance that way.

    Do you do any fluid checking yourself, or leave it strictly up to the dealership? The reason I ask is I am wondering if you know whether the last service was perhaps done improperly. The quickie lubes at Toyota dealerships are not done by the staff that do the other maintenance and repairs. They are done by high school kids to keep the cost and time down so they can compete with Jiffy Lube and the like. Negligence on the dealer's part would be my guess, although it is certainly possible you got a bad engine. It IS an engine series well-known for its durability though, so that would be a surprise.

    edit...PS it is probably worth the price of a tow to get a second opinion, if you haven't already done that. But wait until you get the regional rep to look at it first.

    2013 Civic SI, 2009 Outback Sport 5-spd (stick)

  • kreuzerkreuzer Posts: 113
    I have a question about a '99 4Runner V6 Auto. 4X4. Can anyone tell me if this sounds like a glitch or more serious problem. The other day I backed my 4Runner out the driveway and placed the truck in drive. The truck wouldn't move but the RPM gauge went up to about 2200rpm as I gave it gas acting as if it was in neutral. The day was pretty cold at 10 degrees. I didn't give the truck any time to warm up at this time and noticed the automatic choke was still running high as usual until the engine warms up. So, I sat there for about 5 minutes in park and when the auto. choke allowed the engine rpm's to relax, I placed the gear shift in drive again and everything worked great and have had no problem since. Since that day, 4 days ago, I haven't had any problems with it and the temperature has been consistently cold. I checked the trans. oil and it had the typical pink color and was at the proper level. There are no leaks under the truck as I sit it outside on a cement driveway. Any suggestions or do you think it was just a glitch? Thanks! :confuse:
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,669
    I suppose if it happened only once, and conditions have been similar in the days since, and it hasn't done it again, then it just might have been a "glitch". Thing is, transmission "glitches" rarely just happen the one time, never to reappear. I would probably get it in for a fluid flush if I were you. First thing that happens when the fluid is dirty and old is it will have trouble going into gear when the weather is really cold.

    2013 Civic SI, 2009 Outback Sport 5-spd (stick)

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