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Toyota Tacoma: Problems & Solutions



  • mtngalmtngal Posts: 1,911
    I always end up buying the extended warranty simply because we put so many miles on a vehicle. I took it in for a couple of problems, one they "couldn't duplicate" (and that did disappear before I got around to taking it in again) and one they repaired (replaced radiator). Was it worth it? Not really, but it did give me coverage (and peace of mind) for about 2 1/2 years. My 3 year and 3 month old vehicle has over 140,000 miles on it and has not had any more problems.
  • My new 2004 double cab, 4 cyl. Tacoma, has problems with the gear shift. If I park facing down a slope, it is possible to jar the gear shift between park and reverse and the truck will roll forward. My dealer is telling me this is normal for this model for all years 2001 through 2004. Is anyone else experiencing this problem? I think it is dangerous and should be taken care of by Toyota.
  • I was waxing my white 2003 Tacoma a couple of weeks ago and looked underneath the door to wipe down the bottom and discovered grey primer coat showing through the white color coat under both doors. I took it to the dealer who called the "official Toyota rep" and set up an appointment to meet there at the dealer. On the big day the "suits" showed up and my truck was put up on a hoist to view. They agreed it wasn't all covered by the white color coat. We then went to the lot and looked at other white Tacoma's, and lo and behold, they all had primer showing through the color coat under the doors. I was summarily sent on my way with the information "that's the way we make them now, sorry". Do any other Tacoma owners have this "feature" on a 2003 Tacoma ?
  • sc0rpi0sc0rpi0 Posts: 897
    just because the suits agreed, doesn't mean it's actually primer. Those people have business (read: bend customers over) training, what do they know?

    All Tacos come with lower portion of the body textured. It's still painted, but it has textured feel to it. It's not primer, it is the way they do it to avoid paint chipping, or something. Maybe that's what you saw?
  • Sorry, I've been unclear. The bottom of the actual door itself has color coat voids along the stamped ridges. Like a machine sprayed across the bottom instead of spraying straight up from underneath. In the misc trades that I have worked in where painting and lacquering were done, we called them "holidays". (obviously a slang term)They were mostly attributed to apprentices or rookies who didn't want to get on their knees to get far enough underneath a low surface with the gun to cover. I know the undercoat that you're talking about under the rails of the body.
  • sc0rpi0sc0rpi0 Posts: 897
    Call Toyota, complain, ask to speak with the divisional rep. Dealers won't do jack for you about this problem, since "They all come this way".
  • Thanks, I did just that. They were VERY careful about how they handled the call and kept trying to set me up as someone issuing a dealer complaint. I told them that I just wanted an official confirmation that Toyota is now selling trucks with color coat starvation in hidden area's as complete, finished, new trucks. I also mentioned that I'm in touch with web-based news groups that would be interested in the answer to that question as well. If what the dealer told me is true, I'm done with their products. They are going to "get back to me" and I'll post the answer when I get it.
  • sc0rpi0sc0rpi0 Posts: 897
    check with TTORA guys ( They may know more info on how to fight Toyota and dealers, I know we had some people who have done successful court cases against Toyota for warranty issues.
  • Gidday....this problem is driving me nuts! Could really use some advice.
    I have a 98 Tacoma 2.4L, 2WD 72K miles. What is happening is at light accelerator settings or when releasing the accelerator the engine stalls for just an instant and then catches itself. It does not do this consistently and happens more often when driving in the rain. It's like a miss-fire or loss of fuel to a few cylinders.

    I have:
    Replaced the plugs
    Replaced the plugs leads and wires
    Replaced the fuel filter
    Had a fuel injector cleaning done

    My mechanic says I need the air induction system cleaned but I'm skeptical...I think it's a bad injector, distributor or leak in the air induction system.

    Anybody out there had this problem? If so, please respond as this problem is getting very expensive and aggrivating.

    Thanks, svgair01
  • My dad had same engine, same problem, only the truck was an '88. Changing the distributor cap and the rotator inside solved the problem. It seems that when it gets wet moisture gets in the distributor and messes up the spark.
  • I have a 2000 Tacoma Pre-Runner that I bought used. I have had the fuel needle down to the "E" several times but no fuel light has come on. I am not sure if there is one on this model. Can someone tell if this has a fuel light or not? Thanks.
  • sc0rpi0sc0rpi0 Posts: 897
    I'm pretty sure that all trucks come with fuel low light (it would actually be a liability to Toyota not to have it). The bulb may be burnt out, or maybe you didn't go low enough? I have to get it almost level with E to have the light come on. In fact, the light comes on at about 15.6-15.7 gallon mark.
  • mtngalmtngal Posts: 1,911
    My 2000 2WD Tacoma 4 banger has a fuel light. I've only seen it a couple of times because it comes on so late and I usually don't let it get that low.
  • oregonboyoregonboy Posts: 1,653
    I've never had a low fuel light come on in my '96 LX V6. I had concluded that I didn't have one, although the LX V6 was the top-of-the-line 2wd model back then. My owner's manual implys that not all '96 Tacos got the light.

    The greatest amount of gas that I have used to fill-up is 14.2 gallons. Tank capacity is 15.1 gallons.
  • 2k1trd2k1trd Posts: 301
    I'm guessing that your miss-fire problem is from low compression in one or more cylinders.The 4cyl in the Tacoma has some history of burning valves in the #1 cylinder.I have actually repaired one myself.What happens is that the exhaust valve gradualy sinks more and more into the seat with use untill finally losing all lash and hangs open and causing miss-fire conditions.
  • paul_ppaul_p Posts: 271
    Try changing the distributor cap and rotor.

    Btw, I've noticed on my 1993 22RE the #1 spark plug becomes fouled before the others, and I have to clean it about every 7,500 miles. Usually I switch it with another plug to minimize wear. I've been doing this for 90,000 miles and otherwise there has not been one sign of wear from this engine. Current mileage is 189,622. The exhaust system is the original, and I expect it to make it to 200,000 miles. Every summer I bang it with a hammer, and every summer it responds with a "bing."

    The drill for maintaing my truck - every 15,000 miles:

    1) Change plugs with new. Gap according to manual (mine says .031")
    2) Shake out (or replace, if really dirty) the air filter.
    3) Take the air intake off the fuel throttle body, spray a *little* bit of gumout inside. Open the throttle plate manually, and carefully brush with an old toothbrush. Carefully wipe with a clean rag.
    4) Put the air intake back on, and spray gumout on the throttle linkage. Wait for it to dry, then spray it real good with WD-40. I test the throttle by hand to ensure proper operation for safety before driving.
    5) Remove the distributor cap and rotor, and scrape the metallic contact points lightly with a screwdriver to remove corrosion. Replace if it looks really bad.
    6) Check the oil, antifreeze, brake, clutch, and power steering fluid levels.

    I also try to replace all fluids including the antifreeze, manual transmission oil, brake/clutch fluid, and differential fluid at least once every two years. I adjusted the valves at 134,000 miles. Probably should do that again, and change the power steering fluid this summer at 200,000 miles.
    Though not recommended, I periodically spray WD-40 into my front end and suspension points. There used to be a front end squeak at 140,000 miles but it went away when I started doing this. I've heard this procedure could cause the rubber to wear faster, but at almost 190,000 miles - so far so good. Makes it much easier to steer and more responsive. And no more annoying squeaks.

    In the winter I use 5w-30, spring and fall 10w-30, and summer 10w-40 weight oil. This seems to work well for me in central New England's climate.

    Hope this helps,
      - P.
  • tommctommc Posts: 68
    You mean to say they actually had factory people come and take a look at thin paint in this hidden location? You realize that if you had a Chevy or Ford you couldn't get a factory rep interested if the engine blew up and burned the whole damn vehicle up/down. Get a can of spray paint touch up and do the job. With the zinc primers and galvanized body panels, there will be no problem with rust anyway. I'd be tickled to death if my GM vehicles had only similiar problems.
  • jmf2jmf2 Posts: 2
    I have read in #904 from sc0rpi0 something relating to a break in alignment for the Tacoma. I have an 03 Quad Cab, V6 with auto and it pulls to the left.
    Is there such a thing as a free break in alignment from the dealer that is covered under warranty?
  • sc0rpi0sc0rpi0 Posts: 897
    I don't exactly remember how long you have....I think it's 10K miles, but your first alignment within that period that you do at the dealer is free, b/c truck is settling down and will go out of alignment. It is covered under warranty.
  • Can I replace the stock rear view mirror in my 2001 Tacoma with one from 2004 4-Runner which has Auto-Dimming and Electronic Compass functionalities? I don't know if the mirror needs an electric connection or runs of batteries.
    If not, can I replace it with mirrors from other makes like Ford or GMC which have the same functionalities?

    Please advise.
  • My 97 Tacoma with the 2.7L had very similar problems; (see post 891). I determined the cause was malfunction of the throttle position sensor (TPS). I liberally exercised the TPS and reinstalled. It's now 21K miles later and it has never hesitated since.
  • I bought a 2004 Tacoma SR5 Prerunner TRD last week and really love it. However, I've always driven cars and the truck really rides rough - you feel every little bump. I realize it's because of the TRD package, but I was wondering if there was any modification (like to the suspension) that can be made to improve the ride. Thanks in advance for any help.
  • dust90dust90 Posts: 169
    Did you check your tire pressure? The majority of new vehicles that I have picked up a dealerships had overinflated tires. Makes a big difference!
  • sc0rpi0sc0rpi0 Posts: 897
    TRD is fairly soft ride.
    Tire pressure makes the most difference. You should have stock tires set at around 28-30 psi (or whatever your door says).
    If you want to try and soften the ride, there are certain things you could do, like put softer shocks or springs on it, but it'll cost ya.
  • 2k1trd2k1trd Posts: 301
    I actually got the TRD option just for the softer ride! complaints here.
  • sc0rpi0sc0rpi0 Posts: 897
    When I bought mine, I testdrove both regular and TRD. TRD seemed softer, and with it's progressive coils, there's a reason why it is softer.
    Seriously, check your tire pressure. My Discount Tire once aired mine up to 50 (!!! I was back the next day talking to manager)....I felt every penny on the road.
  • walter99walter99 Posts: 10
    In my opinion the TRD suspension is so soft that it is inherently dangerous. My Tacoma had serious sway issues, and if I hit a dip while cornering at highway speeds the whole truck would oscillate repeatedly from front to back. Not a confidence builder. Installed an anti-sway bar and tires with a stiff sidewall. Huge improvement.
  • sc0rpi0sc0rpi0 Posts: 897
    My TRD never swayed. In fact, it was much like my old Blazer with only-God-knows-how-old shocks on it, which was like a brick on the road.
    Tacomas all come with antisway bars on the front. Maybe yours wasn't connected properly or something. Maybe you got a bad set of tires (stock TRD tires do have a 2ply wall, if I remember correctly) or tire pressure was down.
    Either's all a matter of preference. Good to see you got your TRD fixed up. People should take a truck on a nice testdrive (some dealers, like mine, allow taking a truck overnight. When I bought mine, I told the dealer I wanted to wait an additional week so I can make a larger downpayment, since truck arrived earlier than expected. Dealer gave me the truck for a week, with no purchase necessary afterwards, if I didn't like it) and check how well they like the suspension.
    At one point I wanted to buy an Isuzu Rodeo Sport, and testdrove there was some soft suspension. Nose dips every time you hit brakes, sway left to right, nose goes up at a rollercoaster ride :)
  • mtngalmtngal Posts: 1,911
    I agree that the longer test drive you can manage, the better. I didn't realize until about a month after I bought my Tacoma that the seats don't fit me well at all.

    I have the basic 2WD 4 banger SR5 and have found the suspension soft, but not that soft on the highway. It does "wallow" on a dirt road (not a 4x4 route - just a hard, tightly cornered mountain road) far more than I liked, but I've never noticed a problem while paved roads.
  • eomckameyeomckamey Posts: 26
    I replaced the stock mirror on our 2002 Std. Cab Tacoma...with a Gentex brand (the firm makes 90% of all those oem self-dimming/temp/compass mirrors). Purchased same at JC Whitney (ck their web site and catalog (free at the website)for any sale (ie. lower price, free shipping etc.) The reason (at least on our 2002 that such a mirror wasn't available from Toyota...was the replacement mirror is slightly wider and driver's sun visor & can not clear properly. Such is not a real problem ie. with careful positioning the driver's side visor can be maneuvered around any larger replacement mirror. The Gentex brand mirror (from Whitney) will be much less costly that buying same from any Toyota parts outfit (even with a 10% discount etc.). The mirror requires running a wire out to front grille area (for sensor), hooking a wire into the backup light wire (under seat allow the self-dimming feature to shut off when vehicle is in reverse), and making a connection to some wire that is hot with ignition switch on.
    Finally, you will have to remove the pillar trim on driver's side, pry loose the forward edge of headliner near windshield and run wire(s) up to center of frnt. windshield/inside at mirror area. I would also suggest that you go to NAPA store and ask for their windshield mounting kit (for rear mirrors...with cement etc. This kit is a quality version that is much better than one you see advertised at JC Whitney....Trust me on this). Finally, you can go to the following web site
    where you can view specifics of how such mirrors work and see complete installation instructions. You can do it!
This discussion has been closed.