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Sulfur Smell from Toyota 4Runner



  • My problem was intermittent also.There was a chance that it wouldn't happen if the lemon law arbitrators drove the vehicle. When I advised them that the problem was intermittent, they decided not to drive the vehicle, but made their decision on the facts of the case and witness statements. Toyota kept saying it was the brand of gasoline, but I documented trying at least 8 different brands and grades. If the replacement of the cc did the trick that's great, Toyota wouldn't even do that for me, that's why I went to arbitration.
  • slralslral Posts: 1
    I'm having the cat converter problem with my 2003 4 runner and the dealer is telling me that he can't just replace it - that I should try low sulphur gas. My argument is that a 3-year old car should not smell like sulphur and that they just need to replace the failing part. Any suggestions??
  • scoti1scoti1 Posts: 676
    Ask your dealer to check again for TSBs. The initial TSBs on the sulfur smell problem stated to advise the owner to change grade of gas. There is another TSB that came out that actually calls for replacing the cat. converter. I had it done for my Sequoia and it worked in elimating the odor. If i recall correctly, the TSB came out in the summer of '04. I can't say if it applies to the 4-runner (you can try to look it up at or, but if they found a fix for the Sequoia cat. converter, why not the 4-runner?

    -------------Editting to add:
    I just read an earlier post in this forum that states the following (i.e., there is a specific TSB for the 4runner):
    ’03 – ’04 4Runner (2UZ–FE)
    Technical Service
    June 14, 2004
    Some customers may complain of excessive sulfur dioxide odor on 2003–2004
    model year 4Runner (2UZ–FE) vehicles under the following conditions:
    �� Stop and go driving.
    �� Heavy acceleration.
    In order to reduce the sulfur dioxide odor, the Electronic Control Module (ECM)
    (SAE term: Powertrain Control Module/PCM) fuel cut control logic has been modified and
    a new catalyst is provided. Follow the repair procedure to reflash the ECM and replace
    the catalytic converter assembly.
    For more complete understanding of the root cause, refer to TSB No. EG003–03
    “Sulfur Odor From Exhaust,” dated February 24, 2003.
    �� 2003 – 2004 model year 4Runner vehicles equipped with the 2UZ–FE engine
    produced BEFORE the Production Change Effective VINs shown below.
    V8 2WD JTEZT##R#40016279
    V8 4WD JTEBT##R#40037525
    V8 2WD JTEZT##R#48004215
    V8 4WD JTEBT##R#48015016
    EG4004 Recalibrate ECM (PCM) Engine 0.8
    17410 50360 60 99
    Combo A R & R Catalytic Converter Assembly 0.2
    17410–Applicable Warranty*:
    This repair is covered under the Toyota Specified Major Emission Control Component
    Warranty. This warranty is in effect for 96 months or 80,000 miles, whichever occurs
    first, from the vehicle’s in-service date.
    * Warranty application is limited to correction of a problem based upon a customer’s specific complaint.
  • yes, it does apply to the 4runner. I had it done in June 2004 on my vehicle, after smelling the sulphur smell for a few months after I bought it new. They replaced the CC and problem solved. My dealer did not give me a hard time about it, and fixed it for free.
  • agnostoagnosto Posts: 205
    Yes, indeed, I experienced this awful almost throwing up smell like a rotten egg yesterday on stop and go traffic. I have a 2006 4Runner LMT V8 4WD with a little over 1000 miles driven so far. I will definitely call Toyota and dealership to remedy the issue...

    I just finished talking to the Toyota dealer and guess what bad news... there is a new TSB EG004-06 that does cover the 2006 4Runners... I am going to the dealer to let them check it out...
  • agnostoagnosto Posts: 205
    I just came back from the Toyota dealer which he told me is bad quality of gas, but I told him I do not experience it on my other Toyota and it is the same gas... anyhow, he did not insist much and I will be replacing my dual CC in my 2006 4Runner LTD V8 4WD in a couple of days. I will post and let you know if the smell of SO2 goes away afterwards...

    Thanks to all of the posters that contributed to the sulfur SO2 issue... it makes it easier to trouble-shoot issues when information is exchanged...

    In conclusion, Toyota is not addressing this issue since it is a costly one (over $2k) to fix it and relies on a per case ("if you got the smell then we will take care of you").
  • agnostoagnosto Posts: 205
    The bad news is that 2006 4Runners are under the sulfur SO2 issue... The TSB for 2006 4Runner V6 is EG004-06 and 2006 4Runner V8 is EG005-06.
  • scoti1scoti1 Posts: 676
    It baffles me that Toyota continues to use the same catalytic converter when they know it causes this problem. I have a Sequoia that was fixed by the TSB a couple of years ago. It must be more costly to modify the existing cc across the board than to just replace them when people complain. Could it be that they don't meet federal emission standards with the modified cc? Anyone in a state with emissions testing had a replacement cc put in and still pass testing? Just curious.
  • agnostoagnosto Posts: 205
    Oh, I am sure it passes the emission testing control and so on. The reason is what you just said and also questioned Toyota dealership and stated the same reason to be the HIGH COST over $2,000 to replace my two CCs and Toyota will honor ONLY if customer complains, so I took advantage and fixed it right away w/o much hassle...

    Can you imagine $2,000 X 100k customers more or less = $200 millions...
  • tidestertidester Posts: 10,110
    Can you imagine $2,000 X 100k customers more or less = $200 millions...

    Yes, but compared with the $30,000 X 100K = $3 BILLIONS they paid for the vehicles makes it small potatoes! ;)

    tidester, host
  • scoti1scoti1 Posts: 676
    Yeah, but my question is, why do they even need to replace them on 2006 models? This problem has been around for a while and the new cc's have been available for several years to correct the problem. Why not put the new cc's in right on the assembly line? Something else is at play here.
  • user777user777 Posts: 3,341
    an astute question. perhaps margin / profit?

    if the part number is the same then the issue is manufacture / quality control. it would be interesting to know if the part is being replaced with a different part number.

    if the part number is not the same, while it could also be manufacture / quality control, most likely it is expense because of superior design, tolerances, materials, size, etc etc.

    the number of TSBs across a range of models... perhaps its a matter of manufacturer / supplier lot related QA issues...

    outsourcing issues?
  • agnostoagnosto Posts: 205
    I was told it is definitely different part number.
  • I was hoping someone could help me here -- is there an acutal TSB for a 2003 4Runner V-8 SR5 with the sulfur smelling exhaust problem? I found it for the V-6 model but not the V-8.

    I was at the dealership today and I feel like I'm getting the run around. I was told to change gas stations -- been there, done that. The dealership has known about this problem for at least two years and I told them I would remind them every time I came in. My service advisor said he'd provide me with the TSB that acknowledges the existence of a sulfur smell but that there is no fix for it. When I checked out with the cashier she did not have the TSB and said my service advisor did not provide her with one. She said I could check with another service advisor because mine had gone out for lunch. :mad:

    Thanks in advance.
  • user777user777 Posts: 3,341
    Backing up / then "moving forward" ;)

    TSB EG003-03

    Some owners of Toyota vehicles may experience a sulfur like or rotten egg odor from the exhaust system. Sulfur is a natural component of crude oil from which gasoline is refined and the amount of sulfur can be decreases through the refining process. The amount of sulfur in fuel in CA is regulated, however gasoline sold in other states can have substantially higher sulfur content. Sulfur content also varies considerably between gasoline brands and locations.

    Applicable vehicles:
    All models

    Repair procedure:
    A sulfur odor emitted from the vehicle tailpipe does not necessarily indicate that there is an issue with the engine’s condition, but is most likely directly related to the fuel. If the vehicle is exhibiting an excessive sulfur odor, the following checks should be performed:

    If the MIL light is ON, check for DTCs and repair as necessary

    If no trouble is found after performing the above check, recommend the customer try a different source of fuel.

    Replacement of oxygen sensors, air/fuel ratio sensors or catalytic converters will not reduce the odor and therefore will not be considered warrantable.

    That was amended with:

    And for the V8 there is this:
    TSB: EG020-04:
    Title: Excessive Sulfur Dioxide Odor
    Models: '03-'04 4Runner (2UZ-FE)
    Date: June 14, 2004

    Google with the following to get a copy:
    +"4Runner (2UZ-FE)" +sulfur
  • Thank you very much -- next question:

    my VIN# is not in that range. I have a 300 series VIN


    I bought the 4Runner in VA but now live in Southern California and I still get the sulfur smell -- which I describe as an ammonia smell - it's acrid - burns my nose. My dad had a Buick Regal in the '70s that had that rotten egg smell which is different then what I'm smelling from my truck. My service advisor had the nerve to tell me to close the windows when I'm driving uphill to which I replied: then why do I have windows that open and close? so that I can keep them closed?

    Thanks again.
  • user777user777 Posts: 3,341
    I believe the last TSB which I suggested you google (read and print it!) indicates that the applicable vehicles are those with that engine, V8, 2WD and 4WD which were produced BEFORE the VINs listed (the word BEFORE being important to you).

    Are you sure sure your VIN doesn't fall into the range convered by the TSB? It implies that for vehicles of the provided VINs moving forward in production, there is no issue (implying they caught it and fixed it or had otherwise switched parts), but for those *BEFORE* the VINs listed, there is the issue.

    OK, I'm not a VIN decoder expert. I may be wrong. ;)
  • Is there such a thing as VIN decoder expert? :-)

    OK - I re-read the printed TSB you provided and yes, I would think my 300-series VIN would come before the 400-series VIN but without my decoder ring I can't be sure.

    We have a new Toyota dealership here in SoCal so maybe I will give them a call for my next service.

    Thanks again.
  • user777user777 Posts: 3,341
    umm, yeah - anybody in the biz of buying, selling, or insuring cars is probably pretty good at it.

    here is some information:

  • agnostoagnosto Posts: 205
    I thought after replacing both CCs the smell of SO2 will go away, but to my surprise it is still there. I placed a call to the Toyota dealership where I had the dual CCs replaced and he told me if I still use the same gas... waiting to hear back from him if there is anything else that can be done...

    My conclusion is either dealership did not do the job right or the gas brand Murphy USA is causing this issue.

    Has anyone else experienced the bad smell SO2 on a 2006 4Runner LTD V8 4WD even after replacing the CCs?
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