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Toyota Tacoma: Problems & Solutions



  • Well, the "clicking" began to get worse last week, so after parking on a hill for a month I decided to change the starter on my 98 Tacoma 3.4L 4x4 Extra Cab. You have to disconnect the battery, pull off the front right wheel, remove the liner on the inner fender well (4 clips), unplug one pigtail and unscrew one nut. Then you have to jack the vehicle up higher, get a 3' breaker bar and a boatload of extensions and swivels, and wheeze till you turn blue to get the bracket that is in the way (three bolts) and the two bolts that hold the starter to the bell housing to loosen up. Steel bolts in aluminum threads, some form of light corrosion seems to keep them at the factory original torque of however-much-the-impact-gun-will-hammer-them-in. After two hernias and enough WD-40 to float an aircraft carrier, they will finally come out. Then you just have to be the monkey boy from the freak show to get your human sized arms to grab the little beast and wiggle it out without poking holes in any ABS type lines. I put it back on much the same way, except without the use of an impact gun, and with some anti-sieze on the threads. About three hours for those of you so inclined. I got in the truck and hit the ingition/starter switch, and it actually STARTED! No clicking, no piddling around, just cranked right up. I figure if I can get another 167,000 out of this one, I'll be doing all right. Oh, and it does have a lifetime warranty!
  • Hello All,

    + I have a 2000 Taco Ext. Cab 4X4 2.7 4Cyldr 5 Speed.

    + Never had any problems, had dealer service at 25K and 48K. All oil changes under 5K miles, most near 3K.

    + Check engine light came on at 75K.

    + Brought it in to the dealer for diagnosis of CE Light and next scheduled maintenance.

    + Dealer asked me if I had a valve adjustment at 60K, I told them "No, didn't know it needed one." They said it absolutely must have one done then or you can have major problems with the valves, etc. I talked to other 4Cylndr. Tacoma owners they never heard of this, but it is in the manual.

    + After diagnosis they said "Cylinder 1 had a misfire, thus the CE Light". They said the valve in that cylinder was pretty far out of spec, so they did an adjustment and they said they "saved it" by bringing it back in to spec. They said they needed to "shim" the valve to bring it back within spec. They also did my maintenance (plugs, fluids, etc).

    + Drove it away, 4K Miles later (79K), Check Engine light came on again. They said same cylinder had a misfire but their technician put in the wrong spark plug in that cylinder. They replaced all spark plugs, and I drove it away.

    + 2 Days later, Check engine light came on again, they reported that the valve is out of spec again (0.06 accepted range is between 0.10 - 0.15). They said they "Don't know what is wrong with the engine, but in order to find out they need to do a TEARDOWN.

    + Dealer turned off Check Engine Light - at 82K Miles it came on again.

    + Dealer saie teardown of engine will cost $1,000 just to diagnose the problem. This seems weird that they can't diagnose the problem without tearing down the entire engine first. They said they may have the rebuild the top end of my engine.

    + My truck drive absolutely fine with no performance or fuel efficiency difference. Lately however it does seem to be idling a bit rough.

    Has anyone had a similar experience to this with their Tacoma? Any ideas about what is causing this misfire or what an "out of spec valve" can do to my engine?

    Any suggestions are greatly appreciated.
  • I have an 03 Tacoma Pre-Runner, D Cab V6 (1100 mi) that also occasionally starts hard. At first I thought it was my imagination, but after reading some of these postings (I am new to the board), I am convinced the problem is real.

    Also, the mileage sucks. I have been pampering the vehicle through break-in period yet I am getting 16-17mpg. I increased tire pressure to 32 psi from factory 27 psi. Comments?
  • 1of4, my experience with my tacoma (2.7 manual) was that the mileage started at about 17-18mpg for the first 3000 miles or so, then gradually moved up to between 22-23mpg. The break in on these engines seems to take a little longer.
  • sc0rpi0sc0rpi0 Posts: 897
    You're not through the breakin period yet. Have patience. Also, do not be hoping for more than 18-19 mpg have a V6 and a tall truck. My 4x4 gets 18mpg in mixed city/hwy driving, or was until temperatures dropped. Winter driving is here, gas milage goes down b/c of fuel additives and colder air.
    Realistically, you'll see 17-19 in the city, and on average, 19-20 on highway.
    Things you can do:
    1. Increase tire pressure. After the increase, do a chalk test to make sure your tire is wearing out correctly (although at 32 you're fine. I run 35 in my BFG AT)
    2. Switch to synthetic oil. It may be a myth that synthetics increase gas milage, but you get such benefits as better wear, longer time between changes. Overall, it may just come out to be the same $$ (if I don't have time to change my oil, I go to a dealer and bring my oil, you get a discount on the service since you're not using theirs). I run synthetic in the front/rear diffs, T-case, tranny and engine.
    3. Get better air filter. This is a tricky one, and you shouldn't do it unless you really want to. I'm talking about oiled filters, like Amsoil or K&N. There is some risk of throttle body sensor damage associated with them (seen a few people complain about it, but majority doesn't have problems). Oiled filters have a higher air volume specs (Allow more air through), which supplies more air to your engine, thus ECU reduces amnt of gas it needs to mix.
  • I bought a New 2002 Tacoma Xtra Cab with automatic transmission.
    I do alot of weekend driving in the mountains and use the transmission as much as possible to slow the vehicle down when needed.
    At 10K I started to feel vibrations in the front end of the truck. At 15K the dealer smoothed the rotors and told me to stay off the brakes. Today at 17K the truck is back in the shop for the same vibrations in the front end, my guess the rotors.

    I do use the transmission to slow the truck down when possible and I have not carried heavy loads.

    Has anyone else experienced a high level of maintenance on their brake rotors?
  • mtngalmtngal Posts: 1,911
    I have a 2000 5 speed Xtra cab Taco and I thought I was having rotor problems recently - the truck would vibrate as I was braking, mostly when I was slowing down at highway speeds above 60 mph. I had new rotors and pads put on since I was so sure that the problem was the rotors, but it turned out to be uneven wear on the driver's side brake pad!

    My driving is mostly highway with some mountain and a couple of stop and go spots occasionally on my commute home. I don't think I've had exceptional wear on the pads or rotors - both were original when I changed them out at 135,000 miles.
  • I am taking my 2001 Tacoma in to the dealer tonight for diagnosis of a engine noise. I believe the noise is a connecting rod bearing but whatever it is it is pretty serious.
    What is my drivetrain warranty? Does anybody have any advice for getting satisfaction out of the dealer? The truck has 53,000 miles and has been very well cared for. This ain't supposed to happen, I was goin for 200,000 with this baby, just like in the commercials.......

  • sc0rpi0sc0rpi0 Posts: 897
    Drivetrain warranty is 60K miles. Don't let the dealer give you any ... about how it's your fault. If engine is going bad, it's their problem, not yours. If you don't have detailed maintenance records, they may try to blame you, but remember that the only way they can refuse warranty on a part is if they can directly tie a mistake on your part to failure (like if you put a lift on and go in for broken CV boot, it is your fault since suspension lift changes CV angles. It does not, however, cause transmission/clutch/engine problems). So make sure you got all maintenance records (receipts if you did maintenance outside dealership) with you.
    It should not be a hassle, but unfortunately there are bad dealers out there. Most don't give their customers any trouble, hope you get one of those.
    If your dealer refuses warranty, go to another one, or go directly to regional rep.
  • I just bought a 2003 Toyota Tacoma PreRunner V6 3.4 Autotrans. When I am coming to a stop,while going less than 5 miles an hour it feels like the car is downshifting into first, or perhaps the brakes are grabbing, it feels like a downshift or a grabbing sensation. The dealer lubed the U Joints as they said they were dry and this didn't solve the problem. My truck has 840 miles on it. I have never had a truck do this. Advise. Thanks
  • I'm negotiating to buy a '99 Tacoma Xtra Cab 4WD with a 2.7L motor. One thing that raised a red flag is the Exhaust Manifold had to be replaced. The truck has 85,000 miles.

    Anyone know why this may have happened, if there is an underlying reason I should worry about.

    Also is there anyone who has had a similar problem with this make/model/year

  • I was in stop-n-go traffic and my truck just died. I have 96,000 miles on it. I have recently had the fuel injectors cleaned & the plugs changed. I noticed the truck running a little shaky while idleing and then a few miutes later it died. The truck started back up and hasn't failed again. Anyone have a clue if this is some sort of tell-tell for something bigger down the road?
  • twood2twood2 Posts: 11
    Read mine above "Bad Gas Mileage 95 Tacoma, Please help". May be something similar as I might be going on my 4th cat conv in under two years. Not one garage or Toyota shop can figure it out because it doesn't throw any ODBII codes. I am diagnosing it myself. I saw a site about timing and how it can ruin gas mileage and your fuel delivery/exhaust system so I am having a local shop check the timing today;

    I'll let you know the results of the timimg.

  • sc0rpi0sc0rpi0 Posts: 897
    Did you clean throttle body while you were doing everything else? It's probably not the reason, but it may help.
  • Hi,

     MY 1999 Tacoma Pre-Runner V6 is having problems shifting gears. The engin sounds fine, but it sounds like its working too hard for how fast its going. The engine will sound like 5 grand when its only like at 3.

    Getting on the free way is pretty tricky now. Going from 0 to 60 either takes forever or the enngine sounds like its going up hill. Once its in gear and I have speed its all good. Can some tell me what they think it could be. Serious or not Im gonna get it checked out.

  • The problem sounds similar to my truck and others where when stopping there is a thud in the rear like it was bumped. I think this is called "axle wrap" and is supposedly normal.
  • I was looking at getting a Grill Guard, Roll Bar and a LOUVERED FLO-THRU TAILGATE. The problem I am running into that they don't carry these items for a 2003 Tacoma. I was wandering if anyone knew where I can go to get these items.

    more info on my truck 2003 tacoma Xtracab v6 TRD
  • I think I've finally resolved the stuttering problem on my 1997 Tacoma, with the help of some postings here, and no help from my local Toyota service shop. My Tacoma started stuttering very interminently about 15K miles ago at hi way speeds and recently began cutting and surging at street speeds and accelerations too. It was awful to drive. It always starts great and idles fine. I changed the plugs, wires, pvc, airfilter; no change. So off I went to the dealership. They said the computer didn't show anything wrong. I resolved to my Haynes manual, and the internet. The symptoms pointed to many things, but the Throttle Position Sensor met all the symptoms. I found this link: it explains how to test it. Simply put, the TPS is just a potentiometer that measures the position of the throttle valve. When I put an ohmeter from the E2 to the VTA and rotated the sensor; somewhere in the middle, the needle jumped all over. OK, now I knew the TPS was bad. I remembered my high school electronics class and potentiometers; when they get scratchy, rotate them a hundred times to clean the contacts. I did. Reinstalled the TPS, and my problem is gone. I will eventually replace the TPS, but now I can wait till the snow is gone. I believe the same effect to clean the TPS could be achieved by repeatedly pumping the accelerator without the ignition on, thus cleaning the contacts. Let us know if it works, and I'll let you know if mine lasts till spring.
  • When you change your oil have the shop hit the drive shaft with a shot of grease. This will prevent the truck from feeling like somebody just bumped you in traffic. Do it everytime...
  • purchased truck new mar 01. 9900 miles notices power steering fluid leak and noise with pump. Dealer replaced power steering rack. 72000 miles it leaks again. Dealer now says $800 for a new p/s rack and it is not under warranty.

    Has anyone else had this problem. The truck is less than 3 years old. Very disappointed will probably sell, take loss and get another brand. Any help or suggestions? Clawsonflats
  • dustykdustyk Posts: 2,926
    Yep! I know two people that have had to replace racks in their Tacomas, one twice but with more miles.

    The one in our Avalon is starting to leak, too. I think you will find that some of the Toyota racks are made by Saginaw Gear (GM).

    Good luck,
  • My power door locks, sometimes, do not unlock when I disarm my security system. Re-arming the system and then dis-arming it again seems to correct the problem. I was wondering if anyone else with this factory system is experiencing this same problem.Thanks.
  • There is a TSB for this problem. My door locks do the same thing but I just live with it.
  • Would like to hear if the Tacoma owner who was on the way to the dealer to have the motor noise checked out got the problem resolved (Msg #881) and #852). Had the same problem with my '96 Tacoma
    when it hit 50K miles. My 2002's noise (rapping)started at 22K. I added 1/2 quart of oil to reach the 5.7 qt. level. No relief.
  • if you have a 6 cylinder i rember hearing something about #1 rod bearing bring to big from factory most likley would have been a problem at 2000 miles but you never know
  • I have written a couple of posts in the past about rapping from my 2001 Tacoma when the engine was cold. The dealer determined that it was a wrist pin and we made an appointment for the work to be done, under warranty. I took the truck in and they pulled the engine, tore it down and determined that the problem was the wrist pin in #4 cyl. I ended up with a new piston, rings, connecting rod, and crankshaft bearings (maybe just as a precaution?). The noise is gone and things seem back to normal. The only charge to me was .57 for a new taillight!! I checked everything external very carefully and they seem to have put everything back together properly. Time will tell....
    The #4 cylinder gets the least cooling and problems tend to develop there first. I wonder what caused this.
    Anyway, just to let everyone know Toyota honored its warranty with me, no questions, no hassle.

    Jon Aborn
  • Jon2001

    Thanks for the update: Hope that fix keeps you going past the 200k you were shooting for.
  • coni1coni1 Posts: 3
    I am about to buy an 04 Tacoma 4x2. The dealer is suggesting that I buy the extended warranty up to 100,000k. Should I? Is it worth the value, or is it just a dealer's ploy to make $$$? Please advise ASAP - today is the day for the purchase.
  • sc0rpi0sc0rpi0 Posts: 897
    Your warranty will cover it up to 60K miles. You can always buy warranty later. I've had my truck for 2 years and 31K miles (bought new), and in that time, I was at dealers 3 times:
    1. To get my "break-in" free alignment.
    2. Fix a rattle in a door when I closed it, a loose bolt in the window glass mechanism.
    3. Replace front rotor that warped.
    Everything was covered under standard warranty.

    You don't need ext. warranty. If you feel your truck has been giving you problems when you have 50K on it, then sure, go ahead. As of right now, you definitely dont need it.
This discussion has been closed.