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3rd Generation Toyota 4Runners 1996 to 2002



  • kreuzerkreuzer Posts: 117
    Thanks for your reply...was hoping to hear from someone soon. Are you pretty good mechanically with autos in general? I see your name in a lot of the topics here at Edmunds. I've never had any problems what-so-ever with the tranny on this 4Runner and really think it was a glitch. No problems since that incident and the fluid was at the proper level and "looked" clean, so maybe like you said that it just needs changed. I'm not sure when the last time the fluid was changed, but I bought the truck when it had approx. 84,500mi. and it now has only 92,300mi. Thanks again for your reply!
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,687
    These transmissions are super-solid from what I hear (and what CR says). Me, I have a manual however.

    I have had a couple of automatics in the past, which I have fixed myself, but I am by no means an expert. The older ones could begin to get out of adjustment as they aged, meaning they weren't in gear even though the shifter inside the car looked like it was in drive. These days, the light on the dash should tell you if it is in drive or not, as it is all computer-controlled now.

    Pay attention to the way it shifts for a couple of weeks. Look for hard or abrupt shifting, or further delays in going into gear when you shift it. If you can't detect any further problems, then I think you're right: it truly was a one-time glitch.

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

  • kreuzerkreuzer Posts: 117
    Thanks, nippononly. I think that's good advice. Happy Holidays!
  • Did you ever get your transmission questions worked out? I ask because I recently purchased a '98 automatic 4Runner. I noticed a similar problem to yours during some of the cold and snowy weather we have been experiencing here in Colorado. I am going to check the transmission fluid and look into a flush and fill but I wanted to see if you had come across any more information or what your experience has been since early December.

  • bumbarbumbar Posts: 2
    Same problem here with the alarm and the cig lighter. '96 limited. That's probably my only complaint though, 168k and runs like the day it rolled off the lot. Been offroad several times, at one point went through 4 feet of muddy water for about half a mile, and came out with not a burble or a shake. Anyone else have any suggestions on how to strengthen the alarm I would like to know.
  • I have a 1998 4 Runner and have been very impressed with it's capabilities off road. I have a 3 inch suspension lift with 33"x 11.5" BF Goodrich all-terrains. I removed the running boards for extra clearance and a better look. I haven't been stuck yet (knock on wood). On several occasions I have came to the rescue in snow and even mud. I even pulled a F-250 out of a ditch in the snow. Impressive for a vehicle as small as the 4 runner. My rear differential locker can come in handy now and then but have only used it twice. :)
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,687
    I previously had a '90 with a 2-inch lift and 32" tires, and of course I had long ago removed the running boards. I haven't got around to doing anything with my current Runner, but my future plans for it are similar to how I had my last truck. :-)

    My '00 doesn't have the factory locker, and I wonder if the factory part can still be ordered and installed by the dealer at this late date.

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

  • ">Hello, I purchased a 2002 SR5 4WD at a Toyota dealer. I just love everything about them. It had 73K on it last September when I got it. Very clean and runs amazing. I love the auto 4WD!!

    Does anyone have any good places to get parts and accessories for my truck? I believe the stock wheels on it are 15", what do you guys recommend? I'm thinking of getting 17". Also it does not have Keyless entry and I really am trying to figure out if I can get it or not. I wanted the Toyota kit so I can remotely roll down the back window. Any ideas/thoughts are much appreciated!
  • I have a '98 SR5 5 speed 4runner. I have done every TRD option accept the supercharger. Sadly, it does not have the RR diff lock (though if anyone has info for installing one it would be helpful) but as yet have not needed it. One of my friends has a new FJ cruiser and to be honest, I will keep my 4runner. Visibility in the FJ is bad to say the least. Entry and exit of the rear seats is not fun. Cargo room does not seem as much as the 4 runner either.
    As for performance, mine is quicker than his despite the smaller engine in the 4runner. And for off-roading, well, my Dad taught me to drive off-road and he taught me that the driver makes more difference than the vehicle. I stand by this to this day.

    There is my two cents.

    Anyone have info on adding the rr diff lock to a 98 5 speed please let me know. I know with some toyota vehicles with options like this, they actually install the hardware (such as the locker in the pumpkin itself) on all vehicles but leave the switch and wiring harness out then charge alot to install the switch and harness. They did this on a few options on the FJ.
  • chiefjojochiefjojo Posts: 39
    I have the same model that you have. Stock rims are 16". There's tons of posts and info on parts and accessories at also Most of the yotatech info is off-roading related, but t4r is pretty good too, and there is a wealth of information. Try doing a search on those sites, and I bet you'll be able to find what you want.
  • jpac811jpac811 Posts: 1
    Im into off roading. I used to do it a lot with my '02 Tacoma. I recently got a 2WD SR5 4Runner. Could any body tell me the strong points about this truck and what i should be aware of.
  • nonunionnonunion Posts: 11
    My wife's '99 4 Runner has had to have the "mass air flow sensor" cleaned twice in three years to fix the "check engine" light. My almost identical '99 4 Runner has never had a problem like this.
  • nonunionnonunion Posts: 11
    Make sure that each time a wheel is removed that each lugnut is torqued to 83 lb. Rotors are easily warped by over-tightening the lugnuts.
  • nonunionnonunion Posts: 11
    My local Toyota dealer no longer sells the OEM part that suppies juice to the trailer hitch light hookup. I had to take mine to a local hitch specialist. It wasn't expensive but now I'm using a new hookup cable separate from the original outlight that is at the hich itself.
  • autohound1autohound1 Posts: 45
    I'm planning to buy a used 4-Runner of this generation, but would like to get one with traction control on it. I know they started offering it standard in 2001, but I was wondering if it was ever available as an option before that model year? I've seen an "ECT" button on the dash of some pre-2001 models, and wondered if that might be the traction control. For those of you who have it, do you feel it makes a significant difference in wet-weather traction on pavement? That is my biggest reason for wanting it. Ice is sometimes a concern for me, but not often, and snow is never a concern where I live. Also, aside from traction control, does anybody feel any particular years between '96 and '02 are more desirable than others? Thanks for any insight you can offer.
  • I have a 1999 4Runner SR5 4x4 with the hilander pkg(sports pkg with the key colored bumper's, hood scoop, 4.10 dif and what not) I have the ETC button, but it is not traction control. It is 'Electronic Controlled Transmission' which moves the shift points to a higher rpm for more gusto.(its a nice thing to have :) )

    I have used my truck mainly in Minnesota. I've been through 8 winters, travled to Big Sky montana a couple times in the middle of winter, started the thing in -35F temperature, been through blizzards, some back-country roads of Idaho and Texas tropical storms. I currently have Michelin LTX M/S tires on there and have had no problems. They ride great, quiet, and feel rock solid on the road. No flats either, the Dunlop tires the truck came with sucked and had numerous flats(pop'd sidewalls) and lost control all the time in wet weather. I feel traction control is more of a mind safety thing. How cautious you are driving is your best bet. Don't count on 'traction control' to save you if you are spinning out at 70mph. :surprise: If you hit black ice you're screwed no matter what. Best advice is to have a good set of tires(Michelin LTX MS) and use the 4high accordingly. For the times I am on wet ground and its in spring or fall with potential of ice formation I will run on 4High if I feel the truck may slip and disengage it when I make slow sharp turns. Not having traction control for me hasn't been a problem. I have driven both versions and various other 4runner setups since I used to be a New/Used Sales rep for Fred Haas Toyota World in Texas. Traction control should't be a determining point in your purchase. Engine, transmission, 2 vs 4x4, milage, truck history, price and cosmetics would be more of a concern I should think :D

    I do recommend getting a 1999 or newer 4Runner. There were some suppension changes after the 1998 model to solve the 'sagging' butt end of the truck and made it a lot smoother of a ride.

    Good luck in 4runner hunting and lemmie know how it goes!
  • chiefjojochiefjojo Posts: 39
    Traction control was first available in 2001, and continued on the 3rd gen until the last model, 2002. I happen to own a 2002 SR5 4WD, and I can tell you that the TRAC along with vehicle skid control (VSC) are quite handly when dealing with the slippery stuff. I live in NC, so we don't get much snow, but it performs flawlessly in either heavy rain or snow, although certainly quality tires play a big role as well.

    BTW, VSC-equipped 4Runners (on other Toyotas too) have sensors that measure yaw rates (sideways movement) at each tire and brakes the wheel(s) that are in danger of sliding, helping prevent the driver from losing control.

    I'd definitely pick a '99 or later model. The dash was restyled, fenders redesigned, and some suspension tweaks made.

    The '99 & '00 SR5 models are only part time 4WD, which means you can only use 4WD off-road; these models don't have TRAC or VSC. Some of these SR5 models came with a manual tranny, although its quite rare.

    The '99-'00 Limited models had a first for the 4R model, a multimode 4WD system. In normal driving, select 2wd, in wet or snow, there is a selectable "full-time" 4WD mode (with a center differential) where you can drive on pavement. Fiunally, there are the traditional 4WD part-time settings for high and low-gear ranges (center diff locked), only for off-road use. Some of these models came with a rear diferential locker, which is only for serious off-road use IMO. The Limited models also are more luxurious with a leather int, auto climate ctrl, rear heater, and painted fenders.

    The '01 & '02 4WD models (SR5 & Limited) all came standard with the same mutlimode transfer case, 2WD, "full-time" 4WD mode, and part-time 4WD for high and low ranges. The added bonus of VSC and TRAC makes the '01 & '02 models a bit more safe IMO. Toyota eliminated the 5-speed tranny option and rear locker for these years, much to the chagrin of the hard-core off-road set, although the off-road version of TRAC, ATRAC, actually is a nice traction goodie for off-road use as well.
  • brian124brian124 Posts: 38
    According to the Insurance Insititue for Highway Safety which studied 199 models, the 2001 4runner had fewer fatalities per million registered vehicles than any car manufactured between 1999 and 2002 except for the Mercedes E-Class sedan. The 01 4Runner had a death rate of 12 per million vehicles. Compare that to the similiarly sized Chevy Blazer which had a rate of 308 driver deaths per million. Most of these deaths were due to rollovers. Stagering.

    The 2001 4Runner was one of the first moderately priced SUVs to make stability control standard. I would not buy a SUV without VSC unless safety is not a concern.
  • Thanks to the great info I received from my questions on this forum, I finally made a decision and ended up buying an '02 4Runner Sport Edition, 2wd. I think the color is Thundercloud (dark silver metallic looking). I was torn on the whole 2wd vs 4wd and the tc/vsc or not issues. What ended up swaying me the most was the deal I was able to get and knowing I won't ever take it 4-wheeling anyway. I was most concerned about handling in the rain. It does have fairly high mileage for the year, but for $9k w/ a good service history and in excellent condition, I couldn't walk away from the deal. Plus no sales tax in my state, since it was from a private party. This truck seems so well-built and absolutely rock solid and very tight driving/handling for a truck.

    I was surprised how nice the cloth is on the sport seats. Very durable and breathable. It uses two different types of cloth material. It's different than the cloth in all the internet pictures I saw while looking at various models. Maybe it was a new material for 2002 or maybe it comes on the sport? I don't know, but I do like it (even though I originally had wanted leather). Also, I found that insurance is very affordable on this vehicle, even with generous coverage -- cheapest I've ever been able to get on any vehicle I've ever owned. That was a pleasant surprise. Anyhow, time to enjoy her now. Thanks again to all on this forum for the great info provided.
  • My throttle respnse isnt what it should be and i have a sneaky suspicion that it might be the fuel filter. Any recommendations on how easy to replace or where exactly the fuel filter is?!?('98 limited edition 4x4)
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