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Toyota Tacoma: Problems & Solutions



  • oregonboyoregonboy Posts: 1,653
    The fuel filter seems like a logical, and relatively inexpensive place to start. If it hasn't been changed for a long time, or if you got a tank of particularly bad gas, it could be obstructed.

  • I have an '86 toyota 2 wheel drive pickup that has lasted me all through high school and college. I've had minimal problems with it, replacing the clutch a few times, one thermostat and after 217,000 miles the starter finally got bad enough that I replaced it. Currently it has an oil leak and the synchronizers have been going bad for the last 50,000 miles. This truck has even been totaled and I brought it back to life. I ought to make a commercial!

    Now that I've graduated and working, I'm thinking about getting a new tacoma 4x4 limited TRD. From all the postings here, I'm starting to worry. Maybe it wouldn't be so bad to just suck it up and keep mine.

    One question I have about all these problems is the quality of the work. I've done all the work on my truck, because I don't trust anyone else to do it. I'm also a firm believer in regular maintenance and quality oil and gas. I use Delo 400 in my 4 banger and Chevron products exclusively. Do most people not do the proper maintenance, or just have worthless people doing it?

    The one thing I've liked the most about my truck is the dependability. I know it's not going to leave me anywhere, so I was going to go with Toyota again. These postings are scaring me.

    Does anyone know the percentage of trucks that are having these problems, or are they just isolated cases for the most part. Any opinions would be appreciated.
  • sc0rpi0sc0rpi0 Posts: 897
    If only more people were thinking rationally like you.
    Yes, all trucks have problems. Yes, some Tacomas have problems. Yes, there are idiots who take those problems and blow them out of proportions.
    There are currently no significant problems with the current gen of Tacomas. I4 has been around for more than 10 years, V6 has been around for 8, they are still running. THere were problems in first 2 years, but nothing ever since. Yes, some people will try to tell you that "Toyota engines are sludging up". Yes, but it's 3.0L from Camry/Sienna. There are occurences of the 3.4L V6 sludging up, but in almost 2 years I've been around the boards here and TTORA, I've heard of just one.
    There are some occasional problems with transmissions. A guy from TX chapter of TTORA (it's a national offroad club for Tacoma owners, had to go to court b/c Toyota refused to replace his transmission under warranty. He won.
    The main concern these days is with customer service and dealers. Yes, Toyota does not make trucks as good as it used to, but I'll say that they are still heck of a lot better than what the competition puts out.
    Look around the board and see what problems people come up with. You'll see "My fender flare gasket is coming off" a hoo. Dealers can fix it, and it won't leave you stranded on the road.

    My experience: I bought a 2002 V6 5spd 4x4 18 months ago. I put on 20k miles the first year, right now I'm coming up on 25k. Done some offroading, truck's been lifted slightly. So far I've had no mechanical problems whatsoever. Yes, the 1st to 2nd gear shift is notchy, and yes, leafpacks squeak (which is probably the result of me putting an AAL in there), but I've learned to live with it. I drive like a maniac, and still get at least 17mpg in the city and usually 18mpg mixed city/hwy.
  • moparbadmoparbad Posts: 3,868
    There do not seem to be significant problems with Tacoma. Reliability is great. Two minor problems that are present and my truck has both of them is the rattle prone squeaky dash and the tailgate that bends easily on the removable panel on the inside surface of the tailgate. The early Tacomas (pre 2000) were not known for these two problems but the 2001, 2002, and 2003's have a reputation for these two issues. There is no other truck I would exchange my Tacoma for, but it is REALLY irritating to listen to the squeaks and rattles from the dash.
  • plutoniousplutonious Posts: 799
    I have a 98 Tacoma TRD 4x4 Ex-Cab V6 with manual transmission. I never thought about the "notchy" transmission from first to second because I always shift using a finger or two. If I grab it and shove it into gear, yeah, it's notchy but I take it easy on the thing.

    I have almost 60K miles on my truck and the ONLY problems I've had are the master switch in driver's door (for power windows and locks) going out. Actually, the only thing that went wrong with the unit was the switch for the passenger window, but the whole unit had to be replaced ($180.00...). The only other problem is the sometimes squeaky clutch which doesn't affect driveability at all.

    Anything complex and mechanical is going to have problems, especially these newer vehicles which have gotton overly complex, IMHO. In fact, that's why I keep my 5 year old truck with 60K miles, because I'm turned off by all the un-necessary complexity and doo-dads of the new ones (which some Libety owners think is a plus, BTW). I prefer a tried and proven design.

    Do some reliability research. The Toyota comes out on top. Look at the competition - every year or two they offer different engines. Why can't they get it right the first time? I drive a lot of different vehicles (all "domestics") at work. In comparison, my Toyota's a class act.

    These sites, especially the "problems" threads, are full of anectodal tales. Do some research and look at the big picture. Toyota is hard to beat.
  • mtngalmtngal Posts: 1,911
    I strongly dislike my 2000 Taco, but mainly because it is uncomfortable for me. The seats do not fit me right.

    I keep hoping for the vehicle to really fail me sometime and give me a reason to take the big hit I would take if I sold it. But it doesn't. It is still depreciating faster than I can pay it off, but that might have something to do with the 104,000 miles I have on it...
  • moparbadmoparbad Posts: 3,868
    Tacoma has the best resale and retained value of any compact truck. Depriciation is not a problem on Tacoma. No one else even comes close.
  • kbtoyskbtoys Posts: 62
    104,000 miles on a 2000!!! I thought I was bad on miles with 64000 on my 99 tacoma.
  • sc0rpi0sc0rpi0 Posts: 897
    If there are no other things you dislike about it, how about doing a seat swap? There is a number of seats that fit Tacomas fairly well, and they can be picked up at a decent price. Why live in such discomfort when seats are the only thing that's stopping you from liking your truck.

    And yes, your truck depreciated so much because of 104k miles on it.
  • bstoutbstout Posts: 38
    The dealership where I purchased it had it for three days and couldn't locate the problem. They replaced the fuel and air filter and it made no difference. They did not do this for free of course. A co-worker of mine drives a Dodge truck and this same thing happened to him and it turned out to be the catalytic converter gone bad causing the oxygen sensor to send mis-information back to the main computer.
    I scheduled another appointment with another local dealership for this coming Monday. It will be interesting to see if they can find the problem. This dealership is willing to let me take the technician for a test drive while he hooks up an analyzer under the dash on the passenger side of the vehicle.

    Both of these shops are authorized Toyota dealerships.
  • Thanks for all the info. I still think I'm pretty much set on a new tacoma though. Can't stop thinking about the limited badging!

    My mother is a die-hard Chevy fan. It's not that she's so much of a fan, as that she wouldn't think of buying any other brand because of the small town relationship she has with the local dealer. She has all sorts of problems with her Chevy's, though. Even had the dealer take one back under the Az lemon laws. So I guess all manufacturers have their problems. I've seen enough Toyota's to believe in them.

    But it's nice to hear other people's opinion on it. Exactly what I was wanting to hear. Again, thanks.
  • mtngalmtngal Posts: 1,911
    I've put off looking at a seat swap because I really would prefer to have AWD or 4x4 in my daily driver, and my Taco is only a 2WD. It is also a 4 banger which is adequate, I guess, but I get tired of having to downshift to 4th to make it up the steeper parts of my commute at 70 (and having little low end grunt - makes getting on the freeway at my entrance difficult sometimes). At the moment I just drive the Wrangler in when the roads get bad, rather than mess with chains at 4am (which also means that if I had a 2000 4x4 I would probably have at least 115,000 miles on it).

    What other seats would fit the Taco that wouldn't require drilling etc.? Next month the Wrangler is paid off so I'll have something extra at payday to do things with.
  • Hey folks. I've noticed that in my '02 Toyota Tacoma DoubleCab v6, when I've got the O/D off and I punch the gas at around 70, the engine pulls good to about 73, then mildly cuts back (all the while the speedo keeps rising) to about 78, then the engine feels like it's at full power again. Any thoughts? Is it something peculiar with my lock up torque converter or something? Under the exact same conditions with the O/D on, the engine just keeps pulling till I let off the gas.
  • saddaddysaddaddy Posts: 566
    torque converter I believe. Nothing out of the ordinary, maybe yours is just more noticeable or something. I had all that shifting stuff explained to me once but forgot it. It really gets kind of complicated when you think about O/D, then the t/c, and then with the ECT on or off. Talk about a mess to discuss via the keyboard. Hehe, have a good one.
  • I'm thinking that the t/c is all that it is. But before I take it to the dealer and have them mess with it, I was just looking for a second opinion. Thanks, saddaddy. I was wondering, though, if anybody actually had the problem, or is it just me?
  • tsmith16tsmith16 Posts: 16
    kirbyt, there is a technical service bulletin for some tacomas that deals with this (BO 011-01 seat belt tongue plate stopper-new parts).
  • I have a 99 Taco 4x4 and the only gripe I have is that the emergency parking brake light is on even though it is off. This is the second time it has happened and seems to be a winter thing. Anyway the problem is only minor and the truck has always been a reliable truck.
  • bstoutbstout Posts: 38
    I've got my 2000 taco in the local dealership at this moment. I took the technician for a test drive and could only make it do it once while he was along. When I'm alone I can't make it stop doing it. I notice that when I wash the truck it seems to do it less. Maybe something on the under carriage gets cleaned or unplugged or wiggled from the car wash spray such as a funky molex connector. This is going to take more than a computer geek type technician to repair, its going to take a REAL MECHANIC. Something from the past!
  • smgillessmgilles Posts: 252
    Are you blowing any fuel pump fuses when these things are happening? Why I ask is because I had a Nissan that would cut out everytime I washed it. I thought it was the fuel filter so I replaced it, well it kept doing it. I eventually found that the wiring harness on top of the gas tank going to the fuel pump was shorting out, which was tripping the fuses. I know it's a long shot but I think you are to the point of long shots.

    Also, have you checked your plug wires or had them tested?
  • bstoutbstout Posts: 38
    Shane: I picked my truck up Friday night and they can't find the problem. You once made a comment about cleaning the massive air flow gismo right after the air cleaner before the throttle body. The mechanic at the dealership said this component was just outside its range and that changing it probably would not fix the problem.

    There are no fuses blowing or check engine lights coming on or anything other than crappy performance which makes the vehicle much less fun to drive and extremely unsafe in a passing situation.

    I don't know what to do. Neither does anyone else especially the dealerships!
  • bstoutbstout Posts: 38
    Since the factory authorized dealerships are unable to help I've contacted Toyota. I want to give them every chance to repair this potenially dangerous condition. They tell me they'll get back to me before 04/17/03. They gave me a number 200304140193. I asked the Toyota Rep (Sylvia) to e-mail me a confirmation of our discussion and she does not have the ability to do that. Toyota's e-mail system is limited to inside the company only and they can not e-mail out.
  • smgillessmgilles Posts: 252
    The only other thing I could think of is that you have a bad injector along the fuel rail. Let me know what Toyota does for you. Sorry I haven't been much help to you.
  • bstoutbstout Posts: 38
    Shane: Quite the contrary! You and everyone else one this board have been extremely helpful and best of all "Damn Straight!" Its great to have the support from you folks. I'll post any nuances as things move along.

    I'm hoping Toyota will send out some cracker jack mechanic. You know the type, they hardly ever say anything just smile!
  • davedave1davedave1 Posts: 45
    Some time ago i posted a message about some low-idle engine noise in my 2002 4 cyl 2.4L tacoma. It now has about 9000 miles on it and on it's third oil change. Started at about 5000 miles. Thought I'd ask opinions again.
      The noise sounds a bit like a diesel but only at low idle when hot. No other problems, just noisy.
      Dealer 1 couldn't hear it (maybe not hot enough); dealer 2 could and said maybe it was a problem and documented it. Said either valve train noise or exhaust noise, maybe. Couldn't see a reason to tear the engine down at that point. No noise when the engine revs up or when cold.
      Do any tacoma owners have such 'noise' in your 4 cyls.??
  • smgillessmgilles Posts: 252
    Does it sound like a ticking sound..? I know the V6's make this sound at low idle and is due to the fuel injectors. Some people mistake the sound for valves or an exhaust leak. I have a 2001 and put a stethescope on it and sure enough the sound was coming from the injectors. I don't know if it is the same for the 2.4's or not, but it sounds awful familiar.
  • bstoutbstout Posts: 38
    This morning on the way into work I went to pass a hay wagon and the engine died entirely once again except this time the "Check Engine" light finally, yes finally came on! I contacted the authorized servicer who has been trying to locate the problem. He is going to call me back. I also contacted Toyota last Monday and they're going to call me back also.
  • bstoutbstout Posts: 38
    Authorized servicer called back. He's to busy to look at it again this week. I called yet another(3rd one) authorized servicer and he can look at it tomorrow (Friday) morning. Hope someone can figure it out.
  • davedave1davedave1 Posts: 45
    Thanks smgilles,
      No, the noise can best be described as the same type of sound a 4 cyl diesel like some of the vw's. When i park next to a building wall, it really echoes and is noticable.
      When i first heard it, i was looking around at the stop light for the diesel i was near! It is not as bad (rattly) as a diesel but the same low-engine noise at idle (sort of a light rumble); it goes away on the taco as you rev the engine.
      I did ask the toyota mechanic if it could be low oil pressure at hot idle and he laughed... he'd never heard of a toyota losing oil pressure.
      I do hear light injector noise, but it's a higher pitched sound, i think...
       Appreciate your's (and everyones) feedback
  • bstoutbstout Posts: 38
    I took my truck into the last authorized Toyota dealership in our area this morning and it appears to be repaired. I'll know for sure by Monday after driving it over the weekend.

    Toyota never returned my call as they had promised. Not a peep!

  • To thehitcher, I also had the brake light on issue. It turned out that I just had to top off the fluid level. It was not that low but I added to the full line and the light went out. The parking brake light and the low level fluid light is the same, but use different circuits.

    davedave1, I also have the 2.4L with the ticking noise. Sounds like the valves ticking, I have a 1999 with only 18,000 miles. I figure it's not an Issue. For the most part a bullet proof engine.

    Now I have a question: When I shut my truck off and remove the key, the air bag light and the gear shift "P" (auto) lights stay on. The radio also works. It's like it stuck in ACC. position. I removed/installed the battery cable and it stops for awhile. Any ideas.
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