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Toyota Tacoma: Problems & Solutions



  • I have a '02 Tacoma with TRD 4WD. It has developed an annoying squeek in the rear springs. When you get out of the truck, just slight movement produces it, it sounds like an old GM product with worn out front suspension when you drive it slow. I asked the dealer about it and they said another customer had complained, but they had not yet seen his truck to know about a fix. Any ideas other than soaking springs with oil (and attacting dust).


  • sc0rpi0sc0rpi0 Posts: 897
    One suggestion is to pry the leafs apart, clean it up and put some lithium grease/WD40 there.
    Dealer won't be able to fix you'll have to live with it. My truck squeaks, even after lift, so does everyone elses'. Turn up the radio and keep driving :)
  • I own a 2003 tacoma 4X4 and I am scared to take it off roading because with the slightest rub on the truck it scatches or dents. The tailgate is so thin and weak you can't even sit on it. I would think with what they cost and being offroad they would be more durable!!
    Also why do they sell 4X4 trucks with street tires on them?? The first thing I did was by some mud tires. Other than that toyota trucks are great.
  • sc0rpi0sc0rpi0 Posts: 897
    1. Scratches and dents: you sure? I offroad mine, and so far all I got is TX pinstriping, a barely-noticable scratch in clearcoat that I can't buff out from when I backed into a branch that was sticking out on a trail, and it dragged itself on the side of my truck for 3 feet.
    2. Do everyone a favor: lose some weight :) I'm 200, and I stand on the tailgate with no problems.
    3. 4x4s come equipped stock with RoughTrail (or something) because you don't spend all your time 4x4'ing, and instead spend it on the road. Selling a Tacoma with BFG MT is a waste of time, b/c as trucks enter mainstream, more and more idiots buy them. Mud tires are slick in rain, and provide a lot less control. With RoughTrails, you get best of both worlds. They can stand up to some abuse on trails, and are good onroad.
  • Not that its your business but I only weigh 175. All I am saying is that the trucks are not at durable as they advertise them to be. I do agree with you on more idiots by them and half of them don't even go offroading. Thanks for the comments.
  • dustykdustyk Posts: 2,926
    Are you sure that the squeak is coming from the leafs of the spring?

    If that's the case, take it to a spring shop and ask them to break the leafs apart and install silencers. These are usually very thin fiberglass reinforced nylon or some other material that fit between each leaf of the spring. These prevent metal-to-metal contact and will likely eliminate any noise.

    Good luck,
  • alkoalko Posts: 13
    I had the same problem. Drived me crazy for a month. Here is how I fixed it - Used car jack to lift up the weel which leafs were squeaking and sprayed WD40 in between the leafs.
    That's all.
  • sc0rpi0sc0rpi0 Posts: 897
    If that's all you weight, I don't know what the problem is. I stand on my tailgate without problems. I did hear of people bending it while putting motorbikes into bed, but standing on the
    I figure that no automotive company (unless you're buying Lexus and above) tells the complete truth about their vehicles. There aren't that many alternatives to a Tacoma, the only truck that even comes close to it is Ranger, but I'll take a Taco over it any day.
  • This post is for the benefit of the users of this board and not intended to blast Toyota or their servicers. My check engine light recently started coming on with a P0171 error code(too lean). I stopped in to an unauthorized servicer who swore up and down the front O2 sensor was faulty. I purchased one from the Toyota dealership for $127.00 and installed it myself. This did nothing to solve the problem. I went to an authorized dealer who charged me $88.00 to diagnose a faulty MAF sensor or meter. MAF meter $147.00 + $88.00 diagnostic charge. I installed the MAF myself since it was only two screws and a plug in connector and took less than ten minutes. The authorized dealer wanted additional $50.00 if they had to do this. This also left them a way out if it didn't fix the problem which it didn't. The check engine light came on next day. Here we are almost $400.00 and NO results. Went back to Toyota dealer and they found a hose off. That WAS the problem all along, everybody knows it, nobody cares including Toyota proper. No refunds, poor service practices, sloppy company in general to do business with.

    I wouldn't buy another Toyota again, not even on my worst day!
  • My tailgate must be weak, too. I was hooking up a trailer to haul a big mower and failed to secure it to the ball. When I drove the mower up the ramp, the trailer tongue popped up and whomped my tailgate and put a huge dent in it. Flimsy, flimsy, metal. Or it could just be me in a hurry and being a MORON! Live and learn, I guess.
  • moparbadmoparbad Posts: 3,868
    The weak tailgate is a recognized problem on the current Tacomas. Model prior to the Tacoma had sturdy tailgate. On the Tacoma the weak tailgate and poor quality seats are negatives, rest of the truck is great. If there is a better alternative out there I'd like to know about it.
  • My 2001(4 cyl, 2.7) raps for a few seconds when starting cold. This is not noisy valves but a deep rap down in the engine. If I load the engine, the noise gets louder. After about 2 minutes it goes away. The truck has 50,000 miles and has been very well cared for. It has been doing this for about 5,000 miles and has not gotten worse.
    Any ideas what this might be. Is this common to the breed?
    Otherwise, its is a great vehicle, the best value on the market.
    Thanks for the help.

  • It's been nearly a year and 15K and change with my Tacoma and I just wanted to relay my experiences. So far I can honestly say that I don't have one complaint. It's a 2002 4x4 2.7L manual 265/70R16. I absolutely love this little engine. It feels more responsive than the 3L 6cyl in the Ranger I had before this (probably due to the manual vs automatic, but still damn impressive for a 4cyl). I'm getting between 22-23mpg on every tank, better than what the sticker says. I've been very impressed with it's construction, especially after backing into a tree at a pretty good clip. The result was a dent on the bumper. I actually have to point it out before most people notice. I don't really care for the tires (BF Goodrich Long Trails), I think they are wearing too fast and have marginal traction. My experience with this truck compared to my old Ranger is amazing. At this mileage with the other truck I had been towed for a tranny leak, had electrical problems with the wipers, and the engine had begun its infamous pinging. I see myself keeping this truck as long as I can. If I need more room for a family or whatever, I see myself getting a nice big sedan for those duties and keeping this for myself.
  • I recently purchase a 2003 tacoma V6 and still waiting for the engine to break in and start properly. But at 900 miles still takes much longer to fire that it should. It cranks over fine. Dealer says they will check out the engine and electronics.
  • jlg69jlg69 Posts: 2
    had a squeak in the body/frame. put a jack under the frame to lift it up to rotate the tires. When i let it back down the squeak was no longer there. The only thing i can think is it must be in the body mount bushings. anyone else ever experience this?
  • rmanbike, I too have an '03 V6 tacoma (4x4) and at 5500 miles I'm still experiencing slow engine starts when I attempt cold starts. (avg 2-4 sec turnovers) I've also experienced my A/C going out on me. I was on a long drive from VA to OH and about 6 hours into the drive my A/C quit pumping out cold air. I shut the A/C off for about 45minutes and kicked it back on and everything worked again. It's actually the 2nd time it has happened to me. I believe the line may have been frozen but I don't know why the line freeze occured. Perhaps too much refrigerant in the line. Any suggestions or similar experiences would be greatly appreciated. I haven't been too impressed so far with my Tacoma.
  • First let me ask members if they can forward a link to buy a genuine, no kidding, 1998 Toyota Tacoma Factory maintenance Manual. I have seen the Chiltons and Haynes stuff, and am not impressed. Too general, include T-100 and 4 runner stuff too often mixed in with the stuff I need.

    Here's the problem: Occasionally, the truck (1998 Tacoma 4x4 extra cab 3.4L 5 speed TRD) will just "click" when I hit the starter switch. I thought it might be the clutch cancel switch, but moved floormats and all out from under and it didn't help when fully depressed. I have had it not turn before when the mat was up under the pedal after a bath. The power windows work with no sluggishness, as do all the beeps and squeaks associated with powering up. Headlights work too. This leads me to believe the battery is good and has a good charge. After several times "clicking", the engine will turn over and start normally, so I am thinking solenoid or starter. Local parts house has the combo for $130 or so with core, and can check it for me if I yank it off and take it in. How much trouble is it to get off a 4x4? I have a boatload of tools and from what my Haynes manual says, it should be two bolts, two wires and free, but it also says I MAY have to take off the front wheel and lower the inner fender well to get to it. Any experiences with this malady would be appreciated. Good news is, I can almost always park on a hill around here. Thanks in advance for any help.

  • Best price for original Toyota alarm is at:

    I installed this item on our new 2000 Tacoma. I note there is currently a discounted less than I paid. Complete instructions come from Toyota and it is imperative that one follow the directions exactly....checking ea. off as completed. The system took about one day to install (working slowly but carefully) and everything worked perfectly on completion. Go for it! You can do it. :-)
  • A/C and slow starting problems: the same happens in california on a hot day, it's the truck.

    Slow starting: please stay on your dealer, their job is to blow you off.

    sc0rpi0: i think you have a TacoDC4x4 as well. the issue i had was in 4x4, i left my truck in a dirt parking lot for 3 days in 4x4hi and in park. when i got back and try to drive the truck, it seems like it was not in gear, i had the brake down, put in drive and 4x4hi, the truck won't move, i then played with the 4x4 shifter putting it in lo, and neutral, and the parking brake line seems like it was stuck on the 4x4 gear shift. has this happened to you, is this the "norm". after playing for a while i was able to get on my way.
  • sc0rpi0sc0rpi0 Posts: 897
    I have an extracab 4x4 with a 5spd.

    I can't say that this has ever happened to be before, I never had any issues with putting truck in gear after offroading. If you play in mud, it is possible that it'll get into your brakes, cake up in there and it may take a bit of effort to break up the dirt in brakes. That's my theory. But since it was just a dirt parking lot, it doesn't hold much water.

    But let me say that this is not a normal behavior. Don't go to a dealer with it (Toyota is not known for it's great customer service with customers who are not offroading, think what'll happen to you :). I suggest you ask this in forums on , we have a bunch of guys with auto trannies who can help you out more.
  • I will try, thanks.
  • mnkyboymnkyboy Posts: 108
    Im trying to figure out what this could be. I first thought it was slipping of the clutch, but my friend seems to think is something wrong with the transmission. I bought a 1996 Tacoma 4cyl about 2 weeks ago. This is a weekend truck, so I havent driven it much since I bought it. When I first test drove it, it ran great, no problems. I then brought the truck to my mechanic the next day, again drove with no problem, great. The next day I brought it back to the owner, ran great. My mechanic did say the clutch had about 25% of its life left, and depending on how I drove, it may last up to a year. The next night after I brought the truck to the mechanic, we transfered the title in my name. When I drove the truck home, I started to get what I thought (or what it is) slipping of the clutch. Heres what happened. I would proceed to put the clutch in first, and the stick would "slip" or move back into neutral. This would happen as I release the clutch pedal. At first, holding the stick in the gear seemed to work, but then the gear grinded a bit, so that was a no go. I then tried second gear, and it worked fine. When I tried to go into third gear, it did the same thing. Someone did mention that I should check my transmissionn fluid. Is there a resorvior for this? If not, what do I look for?

    If anyone has ANY suggestions/comments, please post them. Thanks.
  • mtngalmtngal Posts: 1,911
    I'm no mechanic, but I once had an Opel Kadet that started doing something similar. Then it would pop out of gear (third) when I was just driving and did not have my foot on the brake. By the next day, and by the time I got out of Rocky Mountain National Park it was popping out of 2nd and 4th occasionally and wouldn't stay in 3rd at all. It turned out to be the forks in the transmission, so I had much of the tranny rebuilt. Based on my experience, definitely check the tranny fluid.

    I'll let the mechanics answer your question on where to check. There isn't a reservoir like for brakes, etc.
  • I have a 2002 Toyota Tacoma 4x4 double cab V-6 SR5. I bought it new and I have less than 10,000 miles on it. It has been a great truck with no problems until now. I noticed a faint rattle, almost like a diesel engine sounds when I am accelerating in the low rpm range. It is the loudest when I am on the highway and I slightly accelerate in overdrive. I took it to the Toyota dealership and they told me to put higher octane gas in it. They explained to me that this is some sort of spark plug detonation from using bad gas. I have tried putting 89 octane in and it seems to help a little, but I do not want to have to keep buying expensive gas just to keep my truck quiet. Can someone please help!
  • mnkyboymnkyboy Posts: 108
    I need to buy some clutch parts, but the Toyota dealer charges an arm and a leg (about $270). I found some parts online at, for about $154. They have 3 different manfacturers listed, ASCO/Asin, Exedy, and Advantex.
  • fpj2fpj2 Posts: 3
    I've got a 99 Taco bought it used and experienced the same problem. The floorboards were wet after it rained. Three trips to the dealership and several hundred dollars and it was fixed. They finally told me that there was a tech bulletin out that said the spot welds in the cowl were breaking causing the leak.

    The recommended fix I believe was a ton of silicone. Which I can see under the hood by the firewall. It did stop the leaking though so I guess I can't complain too much.
  • fpj2fpj2 Posts: 3
    I keep hearing about Cabin Filters. Does anyone know if there is a cabin filter on the Tacos. I have a 99 4cyl w/ A/C. I can't seem to find any info on it.
    If there is what is the recommended time to change it? Where is it located?
  • twood2twood2 Posts: 11
    Had a similar problem with my 95 Tacoma 2.7L 4 cyl 4X4. When I got my oil changed, I think they were only filling it with 5 qts of oil when the specs say 5.7 qts of oil.

    Don't know if this is it, but when I added another 1/2 qt to mine after the oil change, my knocks went away?

  • twood2twood2 Posts: 11
    Hi all,
    I posted a message last year about bad mileage and I'm still getting bad mileage. Repair shops (four to be exact incl two Toyota Dealerships) state that they cannot find anything wrong with my 1995 Tacoma 2.7L 4 cyl. 4X4 because it doesn't throw any codes.

    I have done all the basic tune-up steps (plugs, wires, distr., rotor, fuel filter, air, PCV). Still a problem.

    Intersting thing is when I bought the truck at 110,000 miles, it needed a new catalyctic converter. A year to the day, I had it replaced again (so three total since I've purchased it). Right after cat replacement, mileage went from around 14-16 to 19-20?

    Mileage has been creeping down again (in the 17s right now) and it feels like the cat is going again. Temps are going down as well as I live in New England. I've also read how raw fuel from a rich mixture can burn the cat out?

    I have no idea what could be causing this? It does run rough (shakes when idling). Fuel pressure regulator, MAF sensor, temp sensor, O/2 sensor, any sensor??? A hose that could be loose like one of the recently published articles on Edmunds (which hose)? Nothing's giving a reading. Any ideas?
  • sc0rpi0sc0rpi0 Posts: 897
    Were in a couple of categories:
    1. Cosmetic. Front grill changed that year, so all mounts did too.
    2. Brakes. In 2001 Toyota went to 16" rims b/c they put large ABS calipers on all their trucks.
    3. I think there were some safety changes.

    Should be no changes as far as drivetrain goes. I use a generic '95+ manual which includes T100, 4Runner and Tacoma.
This discussion has been closed.