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Toyota Tacoma: Problems & Solutions



  • 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.
  • I have a 94 Toyota pickup. Three of my spindles snapped off on one wheel last year. This all happened within a matter of hours because I noticed one of my lug nuts lying in the road in front of our house which prompted my inspecting the truck and grounding it until I took it into the dealer. The shop said that I must've torqued the nuts too tight. They recommended 80 ft.lbs. my driving, fixing, and maintaining cars over 34 years THAT was the very first time I ever had that happen. I had the shop take all the studs out of that rim and replace all of them with new ones. Upon MY inspection of the studs, it appeared to me that the metal failed.

    None of the other wheels had the problem and I haven't had anymore problems since.

    My question is simple: how can one detect this problem before endangering everyone on the road? Are there some characteristics to look for?

  • Thanks for the response to my spindle complaint. However, I think you are describing your lug nuts failing. Spindles are the small front axles that are not ever known to fail. Lug nuts are not supposed to fail either but they do. And while that is very very serious, that failure is tad bit less serious than an axle snapping. It seems to me that when researching the spindle problem I found a recall for certain model yr toyota trucks for lug nuts. Also check out You can register your problem with the National Hiway Transportation Safety Admin and search their files also.
  • I stand corrected.
    I assume that since you were out of warranty Toyota is leaving this to you to settle on your own accord?
  • sc0rpi0sc0rpi0 Posts: 897
    There is one simple way to avoid having stud problems: always torque the lugnuts yourself. Don't leave it to some idiot highschool dropout at the local Discount Tire to "torque" your lugs down with airtools, do it yourself, and you won't have any problems. 80lbs fo torque sounds good.
  • Just bought a 03 taco V6 4x4 I have had two other vehicles with ABS. When the ABS kicks in it is quite violent both in pedal pulsing and pulsing noise(almost like a quiet machine gun). Just wondering if this was normal, on my durango more of just a pedal pulse with little or no noise. Thanks for the help!
  • I currently own an '02 Tacoma, Double Cab Prerunner. In reading the posts I have had nearly every rattle, molding, intial build quality problem listed here. The vehicle has been back to the dealer several times but the service dept seems to be rather dull. They can't resolve any of these problems. I noticed that many of you stated there were service bulletins related to your problems (especially the ever-present air bag rattle). The service dept I deal with must be waiting on their new carrier pigeons because they're not getting these bulletins or are just simply too stupid to read them. Does anyone know how I can get my hands on these bulletins so I can take them in and show these guys? If I have to maybe there will be enough info on them to repair some of things myself.
  • are correct that the Tacoma is out of warranty. The truck is a 98 with 63,000 miles on it. Was in great shape. Every engineer or a mechanic finds it unbeliveable that Toyota considers it normal wear and tear for the spindle to snap and the wheel, rotor, brakes, etc to fly off at 65 mph. My insurance has paid for the repairs and after determining in their opinion that it WAS a manufacturing defect is now going after Toyota for reimbursement. Meanwhile I am pursuing other options. My biggest disappointment is how Toyota handled this...just like a domestic car company.
  • Subjugation doesn't always work. Your insurance company in going after this is setting a precedence for the "next" time. The good point is that this shouldn't affect your premiums. We had a Semi rear-ended a pickup on the highway and it "slingshot" into the parking lot to total our "parked" 93 Camry (it was empty when he hit it in the parking lot). I was covered by Farmers and the subjugation failed. The trucking company was self-insured and the adjuster they hired wanted to "cut" the Camry in two and weld a junkyard rear to the front. Farmers was angry with this guy and simply told me to not worry. They totalled the Camry SE and I (hang my head low on this move: bought an Explorer) They will be waiting for next time they deal with this clown.
  • jbh60jbh60 Posts: 3
    Anyone having problems with windshield cracks? My 03 Dcab w/500 miles took a hit from a small rock and cracked the windshield!
  • That sounds like dumb luck to have the rock hit it after only 500 miles. Guess that rock saw you coming and decided to wreck your day. Your insurance should cover it. And those rocks hit hundreds of windshields the same day yours was hit. The window did its job.

    However, be sure to replace the windshield! When your airbags deploy, the windshield is designed to take the impact of your face hitting the airbag. If the windshield is defective, you defeat the design employed in the inflation and you might end up inside the steering wheel.

  • jbh60jbh60 Posts: 3
    Got it replaced, $180 for a genuine Toyota windshield. Not as bad as I expected!
  • Go to for the bulletin number.
  • With the O/D off in 'D' at about 65MPH, if I stick my foot in it, my truck accelerates great till 70, then just hovers there for about 3 seconds and then starts to climb again. Anybody else had that problem? It's an '02 DC V6 w/25K. The tachs way below redline and the posted speed limit is 70, thank you :) If I do the same test with the O/D on (usual driving position), my truck downshifts and accelerates without a hitch. Any thoughts?
  • Logging every purchase in the 20 months of my 2001 DC Taco V-6. 18.25 MPG. 70 mile round trip to/from work plus local driving. I'm stopping for fuel every 3 days and/or 270-290 miles.

    QUESTION: Does anyone make an aux fuel tank for our M/M of truck? The best I've found here in Dallas is a custom made 30 gallon, gravity flow bed mounted cell 650, labor 250, parts 100...$1000 total.
  • moparbadmoparbad Posts: 3,868
    There are many fuel tanks that can be mounted in bed of truck and cost less than $300. You can check for examples. These tanks are less expensive than a custom tank and you would have to pump fuel from the external tank to the truck tank. The safety of any add on tank in the event of an accident would be a question that I would not want an answer to.
    At 18.25 mpg you are doing pretty good. I am lucky to hit that figure with my XC.
  • Have 2002 Tacoma 4x2 Regular Cab, 2.4 liter, 4 cyl. engine with automatic trans. and ABS. A "topper" (150 lbs) is installed but do not carry anything inside. Purchased new 7/02, now with 4,441 miles on it. Vehicle was properly broken in and is carefully maintained, with tire pressures kept proper etc.

    Toyota/EPA mileage estimates were 22/25. (I am well aware that these are estimates and conditions will vary same. I primarily drive in city conditions, no undue idling periods, no fast starts/ let engine idle for one minute (when cold) before driving slowly off. I live in Rock Island, Illinois and of course, our weather varies from hot to cold via seasons etc.

    I have not had any "ck engine light" come on nor do I have any hot/dragging breaks (ck via careful touching), vehicle seems to roll freely and otherwise performs very well.

    My concern is a "decreasing fuel mileage condition". The following are MPG experienced in CITY conditions.

    8/02 = 21.9
    9/02 = 22, 22.1, 20.4
    10/02= 23.7, 21.7, 19.3
    11/02= 19.3, 20.4
    12/02= 18.4, 17.7, 19.7, 18.8
    1/03 = 18.3, 17.9, 16.9

    I would appreciate hearing from other Regular or Xtracab, 2.4 liter, 4 cyl, auto trans. Tacoma to what experiences they may be having with their MPG (and what part of country/weather obtained in).

    Would also like to know if any owners out there may have experienced any fuel mileage problems that were ultimately corrected via dealership etc. Pls. explain.

    Thank You!

    Ed M.
  • Whatnow2, I saw your post (#611) regarding difficulty shifting into second gear.
    I have a 2000 4Runner 5sp and I'm having the same problem. Does anyone know if the manual transmission on the tacoma is the same as on the 4Runner?
    Anyways, I posted a detailed description of the problem with my transmission on the 4Runner section of edmunds. The discussion is "'00 Toyota 4Runner 5 speed problem" (or something like that.)
    I'd be interested to know if you you got the problem with your truck fixed. There were a few suggestions from guys on the 4Runner board that you might be interested in.
    If you have time, check it out and let me know what you think.
  • oregonboyoregonboy Posts: 1,653
    Many drivers report increased fuel consumption during winter months. The prime reason for that is the change in the fuel "blend" from summer to winter. Typically, fuel in the winter contains alcohol, which has a lower energy content than gasoline. Your mileage should improve in the Spring.

    Also, your vehicle isn't fully broken in at 4,500 mile. There should be some improvement with additional miles.

    Check you tire pressure too. Lower temps = less pressure = lower MPG.

    Point of interest: I have a '96 extended-cab V6, 5-spd that consistently gets 22-25 MPG.

  • Last night, I started my Tacoma, put the heater fan on and was greeted with a loud and vibrating noise from the heater/AC blower. The noise stops when the fan is turned off. When I drove the Tacoma earlier that evening with fan on, there was no unusual sounds from fan. I know the fan assembly is visible under the glove box, but how easy is it to disassemble the fan to check it out? Is it possible that something from the glove box fell into the fan assembly and is making that racket? I cannot imagine the fan being bad since the truck is relatively new (40 K). Any help would be appreciated, thanks, jerry
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