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3rd Generation Toyota 4Runners 1996 to 2002



  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,726
    it is a separate attachment on the back of the stereo. Unplug the wire from the radio that tells the antenna to go up and down, and it will stay in whatever position it was already in after that.

    2014 Mini Cooper (stick shift of course), 2016 Camry hybrid, 2009 Outback Sport 5-spd (keeping the stick alive)

  • rcobrcob Posts: 4
    I have a '01 4runner,won't start I'm pretty sure it is the pressure regulator, It's located behind and underneath the intake manifold. can anyone tell me if they have attemped this and how much of a @!#$% this task will be?
    OK, It'll start to turn over when the key goes from "off" to "start" but from "on" to "start" I get nothing but the starter turning. I feel the initial turning of the key is pressurizing the line(via the "new fuel pump") and from the "on" to "start" manuver there's no pressure.

    any ideas? anyone? anyone? Bueller? Bueller? :confuse:
  • I have a 2000 4runner SR5. My ignition key is sometimes hard to get in and out of the keyhole. Also the steering column does not lock in place after the key is removed. I had a new key made and I still have the same problems.Do i need to replace the ignition switch????Or do I need to take it to the shop???
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,726
    almost a year of having my truck and just getting its feet wet (and no more) off the pavement, I finally got off the road and then off the trail in it yesterday for the first time. It was really a blast. I was in a BLM-run OHV recreation area, so you could pretty much go anywhere, and there were some really fantastic views if you could get high enough up on the ridge, not to mention you could find lots of solitude if you got away from the established trails.

    Didn't break anything, found the stock suspension to have as much travel as the modified offroad suspension I had installed on my older Runner. Yet despite having better travel it also had better control, so the ride was less jittery even when I was just pounding across open scrubland. I was originally intending to replace the stock suspension and lift it just as soon as the payments were done (another year), but now I am thinking I might wait a while on that.

    Another pleasant surprise was the steering. They switched from recirculating ball (truck-style) to rack and pinion (car-style) after '95, and I had heard that the more precise r-and-p was nice on the road but kicked back too much off the road and especially over the rocks. However, I found it to be more damped than expected. The only question mark in my mind is the long-term durability vs recirculating ball, where more play is built into the system so that it doesn't take quite such a beating over the rocks. My old truck was on its original steering except for the pump at 220K miles.

    All that, and it managed 21 mpg for the day, where my old truck (also a V-6 4x4 manual) would struggle to break 17 mpg in a full day of four-wheeling.

    2000 V-6 4WD, last year of the manual shift.

    2014 Mini Cooper (stick shift of course), 2016 Camry hybrid, 2009 Outback Sport 5-spd (keeping the stick alive)

  • Nippononly, sounds like we are close in a lot of ways. Mine is a 2002 w/multimode + ATRAC, but I've taken it offroad and loved it. Never broke anything, and only a litle scraping on the underbody skidplates. I do sometimes wish I had the 5-spd (not avail in 01 & 02) but other times (traffic, and crawling offroad) not. Payments are done in 11 months :) . I too had thought about a lift at that point, but I'm not so sure I'm ready for that kind of investment. Where do you live?
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,726
    Toyota never made the manual available with the ATRAC, so if you had really wanted the stick you would have had to settle for the part-time 4WD I have. Which I am perfectly happy with, BTW. :-)

    I am in northern California. There's a lot of fun to be had in the mountains north of here, or the Sierra of course. I like going over on the Reno side and looking for old mines on the enormous stretches of BLM lands on that side. :shades:

    I don't commute in mine, so there's no worries there. I have always preferred the stick offroad, but I know that everyone's personal preference will be different there.

    My little trip last weekend reminded me I have to take off the running boards at the earliest opportunity! I know, I know, DUH, right? But I kinda like the look of them on there - I saw another 3rd-gen with them off and short people can see right under this truck with them off. I never noticed that effect with my old one.

    Anyway, I am thinking that if/when I get back into rock-hopping, I will definitely lift it and put on larger tires than the 32"ers that come standard. But I don't think I will be doing anything like that AT LEAST until the payments are done. For everything else, seems like factory stock suspension and tires will mostly get the job done without getting anything damaged. Toyota used to give you a heck of a lot of offroad capability right out of the box in their SUVs. Now I guess you have to buy a Tacoma TRD to get to the same level.

    2014 Mini Cooper (stick shift of course), 2016 Camry hybrid, 2009 Outback Sport 5-spd (keeping the stick alive)

  • cbhoocbhoo Posts: 4
    I have a 2000 4Runner with a 3.4L 6-cyl engine that has been regularly serviced by my Toyota dealer (Kings Toyota in Cincinnati) since I bought it new in 1/00. I have 78,000 miles, and it was just serviced (oil change) at the dealer 1 month before my engine failure.

    Three weeks ago I was driving on the expressway, when I accelerated to change lanes, the car began to shake and the engine lost power. The engine light came on. When I pulled off the road, the oil light came on too. The engine quickly seized up and stopped. There was oil and radiator fluid mixed together on the road under the car.

    I had it towed to the Toyota dealer (Kings Toyota in Cincinnati) where I bought it new and which did my service. I suspected a blown connecting rod. The dealer confirmed that the engine must be replaced. Incredible!! I bought this 4Runner for its advertised quality and reliability. I had a Jeep for 140k miles before this. Also had Honda, Nissan, Toyota and Chevy for 100k+ miles.

    When the problem first surfaced (which initially I thought was only a blown engine), I called the Toyota Customer Care toll free number in CA. This (or any) engine does not fail after only 78,000 miles unless it is defective or not cared for. I had all service according to the manual at the dealer. I am the original owner. Toyota Customer Care told me I must work through the dealer Customer Service Rep. So, I immediately contacted the dealer Cust. Service Rep, who then had the Toyota District Sales and Parts Manager (DSPM) (Ron) for my area look at the car. Two weeks ago the Toyota DSPM apparently inspected the car and told the dealer he would give $1000 toward a new engine -- net $8000 installed per my dealer. A used engine is only $4500 so I chose to go with the used engine and continue to try to work out with Toyota.

    This week they started to remove the old engine and I learn that I need a transmission too -- another $3200! The dealer is telling me that the connecting rod broke, was thrown through the block and into the transmission -- needs both an engine and transmission (~ $8k). I went to see it 2 days ago and met with the mechanic and service manager. When I asked what would cause this premature failure (I already knew) the mechanic said that he did not want to accuse me of anything but did I ever change the oil. It was easy for me to say yes -- the dealer (you) changed it over the years including 3 times this year in Jan, May and 30 days before the failure! He said that's about the only way he knew it could fail.

    I immediately spoke to the Customer Care rep at the dealer (Kings Toyota in Cincinnati) who told me to call the Toyota Customer Care person in CA again because the dealer could not do anything more. The Toyota Customer Care person told me that I must resolve this with the dealer or the Toyota DSPM for this area. Toyota also told me no one, not even the CEO of Toyota could overrule the decision of the DSPM -- ridiculous. The dealer told me to work through Toyota so I am getting jerked around. My neighbors and friends -- some who bought Toyotas from my dealer at my recommendation -- are shocked that Toyota will not take care of this problem.

    I need to contact the Toyota DSPM; I know his first name is Ron, but nothing else. Toyota Customer Care said they did not know who the DSPM was for my area but to contact the dealer and it could tell me. I have left messages at the dealer for this contact info but now radio silence. Anybody have any names/address/phone of a person at Toyota where they had success resolving a problem?? Any other suggestions for getting help from Toyota?
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,726
    explain that your assistance from the DSPM so far has been inadequate. I believe the next level is the regional rep, but I forget. You may get more assistance that way.

    Do you do any fluid checking yourself, or leave it strictly up to the dealership? The reason I ask is I am wondering if you know whether the last service was perhaps done improperly. The quickie lubes at Toyota dealerships are not done by the staff that do the other maintenance and repairs. They are done by high school kids to keep the cost and time down so they can compete with Jiffy Lube and the like. Negligence on the dealer's part would be my guess, although it is certainly possible you got a bad engine. It IS an engine series well-known for its durability though, so that would be a surprise.

    edit...PS it is probably worth the price of a tow to get a second opinion, if you haven't already done that. But wait until you get the regional rep to look at it first.

    2014 Mini Cooper (stick shift of course), 2016 Camry hybrid, 2009 Outback Sport 5-spd (keeping the stick alive)

  • kreuzerkreuzer Posts: 127
    I have a question about a '99 4Runner V6 Auto. 4X4. Can anyone tell me if this sounds like a glitch or more serious problem. The other day I backed my 4Runner out the driveway and placed the truck in drive. The truck wouldn't move but the RPM gauge went up to about 2200rpm as I gave it gas acting as if it was in neutral. The day was pretty cold at 10 degrees. I didn't give the truck any time to warm up at this time and noticed the automatic choke was still running high as usual until the engine warms up. So, I sat there for about 5 minutes in park and when the auto. choke allowed the engine rpm's to relax, I placed the gear shift in drive again and everything worked great and have had no problem since. Since that day, 4 days ago, I haven't had any problems with it and the temperature has been consistently cold. I checked the trans. oil and it had the typical pink color and was at the proper level. There are no leaks under the truck as I sit it outside on a cement driveway. Any suggestions or do you think it was just a glitch? Thanks! :confuse:
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,726
    I suppose if it happened only once, and conditions have been similar in the days since, and it hasn't done it again, then it just might have been a "glitch". Thing is, transmission "glitches" rarely just happen the one time, never to reappear. I would probably get it in for a fluid flush if I were you. First thing that happens when the fluid is dirty and old is it will have trouble going into gear when the weather is really cold.

    2014 Mini Cooper (stick shift of course), 2016 Camry hybrid, 2009 Outback Sport 5-spd (keeping the stick alive)

  • kreuzerkreuzer Posts: 127
    Thanks for your reply...was hoping to hear from someone soon. Are you pretty good mechanically with autos in general? I see your name in a lot of the topics here at Edmunds. I've never had any problems what-so-ever with the tranny on this 4Runner and really think it was a glitch. No problems since that incident and the fluid was at the proper level and "looked" clean, so maybe like you said that it just needs changed. I'm not sure when the last time the fluid was changed, but I bought the truck when it had approx. 84,500mi. and it now has only 92,300mi. Thanks again for your reply!
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,726
    These transmissions are super-solid from what I hear (and what CR says). Me, I have a manual however.

    I have had a couple of automatics in the past, which I have fixed myself, but I am by no means an expert. The older ones could begin to get out of adjustment as they aged, meaning they weren't in gear even though the shifter inside the car looked like it was in drive. These days, the light on the dash should tell you if it is in drive or not, as it is all computer-controlled now.

    Pay attention to the way it shifts for a couple of weeks. Look for hard or abrupt shifting, or further delays in going into gear when you shift it. If you can't detect any further problems, then I think you're right: it truly was a one-time glitch.

    2014 Mini Cooper (stick shift of course), 2016 Camry hybrid, 2009 Outback Sport 5-spd (keeping the stick alive)

  • kreuzerkreuzer Posts: 127
    Thanks, nippononly. I think that's good advice. Happy Holidays!
  • Did you ever get your transmission questions worked out? I ask because I recently purchased a '98 automatic 4Runner. I noticed a similar problem to yours during some of the cold and snowy weather we have been experiencing here in Colorado. I am going to check the transmission fluid and look into a flush and fill but I wanted to see if you had come across any more information or what your experience has been since early December.

  • bumbarbumbar Posts: 2
    Same problem here with the alarm and the cig lighter. '96 limited. That's probably my only complaint though, 168k and runs like the day it rolled off the lot. Been offroad several times, at one point went through 4 feet of muddy water for about half a mile, and came out with not a burble or a shake. Anyone else have any suggestions on how to strengthen the alarm I would like to know.
  • I have a 1998 4 Runner and have been very impressed with it's capabilities off road. I have a 3 inch suspension lift with 33"x 11.5" BF Goodrich all-terrains. I removed the running boards for extra clearance and a better look. I haven't been stuck yet (knock on wood). On several occasions I have came to the rescue in snow and even mud. I even pulled a F-250 out of a ditch in the snow. Impressive for a vehicle as small as the 4 runner. My rear differential locker can come in handy now and then but have only used it twice. :)
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,726
    I previously had a '90 with a 2-inch lift and 32" tires, and of course I had long ago removed the running boards. I haven't got around to doing anything with my current Runner, but my future plans for it are similar to how I had my last truck. :-)

    My '00 doesn't have the factory locker, and I wonder if the factory part can still be ordered and installed by the dealer at this late date.

    2014 Mini Cooper (stick shift of course), 2016 Camry hybrid, 2009 Outback Sport 5-spd (keeping the stick alive)

  • ">Hello, I purchased a 2002 SR5 4WD at a Toyota dealer. I just love everything about them. It had 73K on it last September when I got it. Very clean and runs amazing. I love the auto 4WD!!

    Does anyone have any good places to get parts and accessories for my truck? I believe the stock wheels on it are 15", what do you guys recommend? I'm thinking of getting 17". Also it does not have Keyless entry and I really am trying to figure out if I can get it or not. I wanted the Toyota kit so I can remotely roll down the back window. Any ideas/thoughts are much appreciated!
  • I have a '98 SR5 5 speed 4runner. I have done every TRD option accept the supercharger. Sadly, it does not have the RR diff lock (though if anyone has info for installing one it would be helpful) but as yet have not needed it. One of my friends has a new FJ cruiser and to be honest, I will keep my 4runner. Visibility in the FJ is bad to say the least. Entry and exit of the rear seats is not fun. Cargo room does not seem as much as the 4 runner either.
    As for performance, mine is quicker than his despite the smaller engine in the 4runner. And for off-roading, well, my Dad taught me to drive off-road and he taught me that the driver makes more difference than the vehicle. I stand by this to this day.

    There is my two cents.

    Anyone have info on adding the rr diff lock to a 98 5 speed please let me know. I know with some toyota vehicles with options like this, they actually install the hardware (such as the locker in the pumpkin itself) on all vehicles but leave the switch and wiring harness out then charge alot to install the switch and harness. They did this on a few options on the FJ.
  • chiefjojochiefjojo Posts: 39
    I have the same model that you have. Stock rims are 16". There's tons of posts and info on parts and accessories at also Most of the yotatech info is off-roading related, but t4r is pretty good too, and there is a wealth of information. Try doing a search on those sites, and I bet you'll be able to find what you want.
  • jpac811jpac811 Posts: 1
    Im into off roading. I used to do it a lot with my '02 Tacoma. I recently got a 2WD SR5 4Runner. Could any body tell me the strong points about this truck and what i should be aware of.
  • nonunionnonunion Posts: 11
    My wife's '99 4 Runner has had to have the "mass air flow sensor" cleaned twice in three years to fix the "check engine" light. My almost identical '99 4 Runner has never had a problem like this.
  • nonunionnonunion Posts: 11
    Make sure that each time a wheel is removed that each lugnut is torqued to 83 lb. Rotors are easily warped by over-tightening the lugnuts.
  • nonunionnonunion Posts: 11
    My local Toyota dealer no longer sells the OEM part that suppies juice to the trailer hitch light hookup. I had to take mine to a local hitch specialist. It wasn't expensive but now I'm using a new hookup cable separate from the original outlight that is at the hich itself.
  • autohound1autohound1 Posts: 45
    I'm planning to buy a used 4-Runner of this generation, but would like to get one with traction control on it. I know they started offering it standard in 2001, but I was wondering if it was ever available as an option before that model year? I've seen an "ECT" button on the dash of some pre-2001 models, and wondered if that might be the traction control. For those of you who have it, do you feel it makes a significant difference in wet-weather traction on pavement? That is my biggest reason for wanting it. Ice is sometimes a concern for me, but not often, and snow is never a concern where I live. Also, aside from traction control, does anybody feel any particular years between '96 and '02 are more desirable than others? Thanks for any insight you can offer.
  • I have a 1999 4Runner SR5 4x4 with the hilander pkg(sports pkg with the key colored bumper's, hood scoop, 4.10 dif and what not) I have the ETC button, but it is not traction control. It is 'Electronic Controlled Transmission' which moves the shift points to a higher rpm for more gusto.(its a nice thing to have :) )

    I have used my truck mainly in Minnesota. I've been through 8 winters, travled to Big Sky montana a couple times in the middle of winter, started the thing in -35F temperature, been through blizzards, some back-country roads of Idaho and Texas tropical storms. I currently have Michelin LTX M/S tires on there and have had no problems. They ride great, quiet, and feel rock solid on the road. No flats either, the Dunlop tires the truck came with sucked and had numerous flats(pop'd sidewalls) and lost control all the time in wet weather. I feel traction control is more of a mind safety thing. How cautious you are driving is your best bet. Don't count on 'traction control' to save you if you are spinning out at 70mph. :surprise: If you hit black ice you're screwed no matter what. Best advice is to have a good set of tires(Michelin LTX MS) and use the 4high accordingly. For the times I am on wet ground and its in spring or fall with potential of ice formation I will run on 4High if I feel the truck may slip and disengage it when I make slow sharp turns. Not having traction control for me hasn't been a problem. I have driven both versions and various other 4runner setups since I used to be a New/Used Sales rep for Fred Haas Toyota World in Texas. Traction control should't be a determining point in your purchase. Engine, transmission, 2 vs 4x4, milage, truck history, price and cosmetics would be more of a concern I should think :D

    I do recommend getting a 1999 or newer 4Runner. There were some suppension changes after the 1998 model to solve the 'sagging' butt end of the truck and made it a lot smoother of a ride.

    Good luck in 4runner hunting and lemmie know how it goes!
  • chiefjojochiefjojo Posts: 39
    Traction control was first available in 2001, and continued on the 3rd gen until the last model, 2002. I happen to own a 2002 SR5 4WD, and I can tell you that the TRAC along with vehicle skid control (VSC) are quite handly when dealing with the slippery stuff. I live in NC, so we don't get much snow, but it performs flawlessly in either heavy rain or snow, although certainly quality tires play a big role as well.

    BTW, VSC-equipped 4Runners (on other Toyotas too) have sensors that measure yaw rates (sideways movement) at each tire and brakes the wheel(s) that are in danger of sliding, helping prevent the driver from losing control.

    I'd definitely pick a '99 or later model. The dash was restyled, fenders redesigned, and some suspension tweaks made.

    The '99 & '00 SR5 models are only part time 4WD, which means you can only use 4WD off-road; these models don't have TRAC or VSC. Some of these SR5 models came with a manual tranny, although its quite rare.

    The '99-'00 Limited models had a first for the 4R model, a multimode 4WD system. In normal driving, select 2wd, in wet or snow, there is a selectable "full-time" 4WD mode (with a center differential) where you can drive on pavement. Fiunally, there are the traditional 4WD part-time settings for high and low-gear ranges (center diff locked), only for off-road use. Some of these models came with a rear diferential locker, which is only for serious off-road use IMO. The Limited models also are more luxurious with a leather int, auto climate ctrl, rear heater, and painted fenders.

    The '01 & '02 4WD models (SR5 & Limited) all came standard with the same mutlimode transfer case, 2WD, "full-time" 4WD mode, and part-time 4WD for high and low ranges. The added bonus of VSC and TRAC makes the '01 & '02 models a bit more safe IMO. Toyota eliminated the 5-speed tranny option and rear locker for these years, much to the chagrin of the hard-core off-road set, although the off-road version of TRAC, ATRAC, actually is a nice traction goodie for off-road use as well.
  • brian124brian124 Posts: 38
    According to the Insurance Insititue for Highway Safety which studied 199 models, the 2001 4runner had fewer fatalities per million registered vehicles than any car manufactured between 1999 and 2002 except for the Mercedes E-Class sedan. The 01 4Runner had a death rate of 12 per million vehicles. Compare that to the similiarly sized Chevy Blazer which had a rate of 308 driver deaths per million. Most of these deaths were due to rollovers. Stagering.

    The 2001 4Runner was one of the first moderately priced SUVs to make stability control standard. I would not buy a SUV without VSC unless safety is not a concern.
  • Thanks to the great info I received from my questions on this forum, I finally made a decision and ended up buying an '02 4Runner Sport Edition, 2wd. I think the color is Thundercloud (dark silver metallic looking). I was torn on the whole 2wd vs 4wd and the tc/vsc or not issues. What ended up swaying me the most was the deal I was able to get and knowing I won't ever take it 4-wheeling anyway. I was most concerned about handling in the rain. It does have fairly high mileage for the year, but for $9k w/ a good service history and in excellent condition, I couldn't walk away from the deal. Plus no sales tax in my state, since it was from a private party. This truck seems so well-built and absolutely rock solid and very tight driving/handling for a truck.

    I was surprised how nice the cloth is on the sport seats. Very durable and breathable. It uses two different types of cloth material. It's different than the cloth in all the internet pictures I saw while looking at various models. Maybe it was a new material for 2002 or maybe it comes on the sport? I don't know, but I do like it (even though I originally had wanted leather). Also, I found that insurance is very affordable on this vehicle, even with generous coverage -- cheapest I've ever been able to get on any vehicle I've ever owned. That was a pleasant surprise. Anyhow, time to enjoy her now. Thanks again to all on this forum for the great info provided.
  • My throttle respnse isnt what it should be and i have a sneaky suspicion that it might be the fuel filter. Any recommendations on how easy to replace or where exactly the fuel filter is?!?('98 limited edition 4x4)
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