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Toyota 4Runner Maintenance and Repair



  • I just bought a 4Runner in Los Angeles but will require maintenance in San Diego. Are there any locals who are highly satisfied with a particular location? Thanks if you can help.
  • idntnvuidntnvu Posts: 251
    Hi guys, I'm fed up with Ford and my '99 Explorer, and I'm pursuing the Toyota/Nissan venue. Tonight I drove 2 4Runners, an '01 with 59k miles on it, which I liked, and a '99 SR5 Sport that I fell in love with. Only thing is, it has 138k miles on it, but it's "Certified". I know these things are made for 300k, but will it go that far without anything major? I've only got 50k on my '99 Explorer, but it's having problems that one with 100k would be having. Would any of you be leary of buying one and committing to spending 5 years paying for it, if it had 138k miles on it? It's in EXCELLENT shape, and has been babied tremendously. The price on it is pretty good too, $12,650. It's the cheapest 4Runner I've found.


    What are the known problems with these, things that happen to most all of them? I heard a kind of knocking sound in the front end and the dealer told me it was "slack in the driveshaft, at the universal joint. Happens to all of them, but won't be a problem." Is this so? Or is he just trying to make a sale? Unfortunately, I can't get an extended warranty on it because of the mileage.


    Also, what is the service schedule for 4Runners? For example, my Explorer had to have the transmission fluid changed at 30k. The dealer said that this one was just serviced, new timing chain, water pump, etc. I know it was gone over pretty well since it's "Certified," or at least I'd like to think it would be.


    Bottom line, would this be something I can rely on for the next 5 years or better to only have to change the oil and put in gas? Or will major things start happening to it around 150, 175, and 200k? All your comments, suggestions, ect are greatly appreciated. Thanks!!


  • Hello tangman:

    I have the same problem with my '94 4Runner.The antenna motor is making "grinding" noises. Both the manuals (owner and Chilton) show it is located on the passenger side. I looked underneath the dash boad, I don't realy see how to get access to it. Would you tell me how?



  • I have an '04 Sport Edition and just replaced the stock sun visors with a set of Limited sun visors which have lighted vanity mirrors. The installation was fairly simple, but I'm VERY disappointed with how dim the mirror lights are! The lights turn on just fine, but even at night they hardly provide enough light to see your face. They could never be used for checking makeup or looking to see if your teeth are clean! Would some of you Limited owners look at your lighted mirrors and see if they seem to be as dim as I described? I checked the hot wire voltage before connection and had 12.17 volts, so there should be enough power. Thanks in advance for your help!
  • alfster1alfster1 Posts: 273
    The vanity mirrors in my 03 4Runner are pretty bright. I don't have any complaints with them. Perhaps the bulbs in your visors are not correct or they are not receiving enough "juice." You may want to consult a Toyota dealer or a local shop.
  • drex1drex1 Posts: 41
    The weather turned very cold recently, when I noticed a slight hesitation when starting my '99 Toyota 4Runner a few weeks ago . . . it hesitated, but it started fine. Then, just recently I would turn the ignition key to START and it sounds like the starter does not turn (like it hits a dead spot), then I turn the key again and the starter catches and turns the motor just fine.


                I don’t think it is the engine, because when the starter turns, the engine starts just fine. I also don’t think it is the battery because the battery is only 6-months old and they lights/clock never drain down while starting. I also believe I can hear the solenoid click initially when I go to start, so I am inclined to think the starter may be dirty or has some dead spots internally. Also, this does not seem to happen when the car is fully warmed up, but tends to happen when the car is sitting for a bit (and the weather is pretty cold). Does this sound an issue with the starter? Is there anyway to verify it is the starter that is not working properly?


    I have not repaired a starter in about 20 years, is it difficult to repair?
  • stove1stove1 Posts: 53
    The descriptiom matches my starting problems and every time its the battery. There are some trashy replacement batteries out there.
  • I had a similar problem with my 98 limited at 70K miles or so. I first have problem only during cold start. Problem persisted and got worst. A later stages, some times the starter would continue to crank (grinding noise) afer the engine had started. At one point, the engine continues to crack even when the (ignition) key is removed! I suspected and over time, replaced the battery, the ignition switch, and starter relay. In the end it was the starter. The starter solenoid plunger and contacts were worn down and the body cavity full of dust. I replaced it with the 1.8KWat heavy duty starter (Toyota PN 28100-6030-84). It was fairly easy job to do.
  • drex1drex1 Posts: 41
    Thanks for the information. I first had the battery check--it was fine. Next, I talked with the Toyota Dealer today and he immediately knew the problem immediately on the '99 4Runner--the starter (obviously fairly common). I plan to replace it myself. Yes, according the to NAPA, the 1.8KW starter is the prescribed starter for the 3.4L automatic. Did you use the Toyota part or other (NAPA)? Any gotchas in the repair procedure?


    Again thanks for the help!
  • The starter I used is a Toyota part made by Denso. It was around $200-250 with $30 core charge from the dealer. The originally one was a 1.4KW starter which came standard on the with 2WD limited. The Toyota parts listed both 1.4K and 1.8K as replacements. I opted for the 1.8KW heavy duty one. The coil body was a little longer but no problem with clearance. Everything else between the two parts is the same.

    No gotcha's in in the installation - at least on my 2WD.

    Good luck.
  • gtwgtw Posts: 46
    Just replace the 2 brushes in the starter for like $12. I have the original starter in my 1991 4Runner and replaced the brushes once. Works like new.
  • tangmantangman Posts: 127
    If you hear a grinding noise, usually the antenna mask cable (nylon) is stripped. You have to access the motor through the wheel well, by taking the liner our. In my 4-Runners (96&99), the antenna and the motor are on the passenger side.


    If you only have to replace the cable, you do not need to access the motor. When you unscrew the outer nut on the mask, and turn the radio off, then on, it will usually expel the cable. You can then check the cable to see if it is striped. I am a novice mechanic, only fixing mine, so some else in the forum may want to add more detail.


  • waid10waid10 Posts: 21
    I just noticed a small tear/rip (about 1.5 inches) in the side of the driver seat on my 2001 4Runner.


    Does anyone have suggestions on the best approach to fixing this tear?


  • ghabbghabb Posts: 2
    I just purchased an 04 4runner V8 and cannot get it in to 4wd low.

    I turn the dial on the dashboard to go into 4wd low and the light on the dashboard blinks and I hear a beep but they both never stop. Any suggestions. Do you need to be in a specific gear to get into 4wd low? Speed?
  • rjordanrjordan Posts: 30
    <Do you need to be in a specific gear to get into 4wd low? Speed?>

    Your question indicates that you are trying this while the vehicle is moving. Read your owner's manual and you will see that Toyota states that to shift from H4 to L4, you must bring the vehicle to a stop and with the brake held down, shift into neutral and then turn the drive control switch fully clockwise.

    Repeat this procedure to go from L4 to H4 and turn the drive control switch counterclockwise. Toyota's instructions also made a mistake in using the words "Clockwise and Counterclockwise" as instructed as the words should be reversed. If the light still blinks, then don't use the 4wd and take it back to the dealer for a checkup.
  • ghabbghabb Posts: 2
  • Hi idntnvu,

    I bought a 4Runner( 1999 4WD SR5) in last August ,at 77,000 miles .I paid 16,499 $., so yours is a very good deal.Mine was fully serviced before delivery,timing belt replaced and all transmission fluids, flushed and changed.I have now used it for 5 months with absolutely no problems,Starts at first turn of ignition in the morning even after overnight snow.

    Go ahead and grab this puppy.

  • drex1drex1 Posts: 41
    Some problems with Starter Removal: Had my car on the lift, removed the starter (pretty simple two bolts), but I could not remove the old starter from the engine compartment of my 4WD 4Runner (3.4L) automatic. There are too many metal tubes in the way. What is the trick to getting the starter out of the engine compartment? It almost appears that I must drop the transmission drain pan!
  • jacobjacob Posts: 1
    I have a 99 4runner, 3.4l engine and when it is extremely cold outside there seems to be a "ticking" noise coming from the driver's side of the engine. Most noticeable sitting at a stoplight. The noise isn't always there, it comes and goes but only when it is way below freezing outside. Service guys said this normal. Anyone have any ideas? Also it is an auto transmission, does everyone drive in the city with overdrive on or off?
  • 89toy89toy Posts: 5

    Have 89 4R with v-6, 5spd. Great body. Compression is 165psi and hot idle oil pressure is 30psi.




    Started to bog at low rpm. Replaced fuel pump; cold start injector, diaphram are ok. Replaced ALL SIX fuel injectors (They were cracked and leaking), plugs, plug wires, dist cap, rotor.


    Is now burning rich; runs good when cold, then black smoke out tailpipe when it warms up and cylinders 5&6 periodically misfire. Plugs in 1-4 cyliners are black, but not oily.


    Have put $3,500 into it. Mechanic is going to check sensors and ecu with ohm meter. He seems in over his head. TELL ME WHAT TO DO!
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