Toyota Sequoia Maintenance and Repair

mmcgregormmcgregor Member Posts: 33
I posted this on the other discussion board yesterday but this seems like a more appropriate spot. Don't get me wrong. I love the truck, especially when it's warm outside.

Well I hate to say it but it's PISTON SLAP and Toyota knows it. It looks like tloughr was right. I forget where all of the previous discussions ended but here is what I have found out (from a Toyota service rep).

The pistons on the V8 engines have tolerance problems than can lead to piston slap depending on how much
the tolerance is off. A TSB has not been generated yet but I hate to think of what a TSB for piston problems
might say. I don't like the idea of paying $40k+ only to find out that Toyota wants to fix a prevoiusly known
problem by having to rebuild my engine.

I have heard about some engines that are very loud when first started but quiet down once warmed up. I'm not
sure what the definition of quiet is but this is the scenario that Toyota is looking in to.

My noise is not quite so severe. It's an annoying tick that seems to be related to outside temperature and not
engine temperature. Does anyone know if the computer changes any of the engine settings based on outside
air temperature? Does anyone else have this symptom?

It appears that this V8 engine has four versions:
1 - quiet
2 - ticker (fuel injectors)
3 - tapper (?)
4 - knocker (pistons)

Are others hearing these noises or am I the exception?


  • debbiev1debbiev1 Member Posts: 10
    I also posted on another board & suppose this would be a more appropriate place to write.

    Mmcgregor, I have not noticed any type of loud engine noise, or any ticking sound with my new Sequoia....... but then again, I haven't seen it since 48 hours of owning it.
    We purchased it on 4/7/01 with 39 miles on it, drove it home the next day (bought it out of state). Pulled in the driveway & it was smoking and leaking, what turned out to be oil, something fierce. Oil was also splattered on the inside of the hood. I brought it to a dealer the next day (with about 325 miles on it) & haven't seen it since. It has now been there 10 days. I received 1 phone call from my service guy 8 days later to tell me the part (cam shaft) is on back order.(by the way, I call them every day.... I'm sure they love me)They also tell me they have no expected date when the part may come in. "I'm sorry ma'am I don't know what else to tell you, we'll call you if we hear anything."

    I made a formal complaint with customer relations on Mon the 16th & was told I would hear back from a manager no later than the end of the business day on Thurs the 19th. As my luck would have it, no one has returned my calls. (This is also just a basic overview, there is a little more to the story. As some of us have mentioned you spend 40K+ on a vehicle, you don't expect to have problems....especially serious ones!!)

    I am by far at my wits end with Toyota, which is very unfortunate because, basically, I am happy with everything else. Our 5 hour ride home was extremely comfortable & amazingly smooth compared to the Chewy SUV I traded in. It is also 100 times soother than our vette, which surprised me considering it's a "truck". Love it!!

    Anyway, if anyone has any advice, suggestions, or a similar problem.... misery loves company
  • mattw7mattw7 Member Posts: 4
    Wow, debbiev1, Sounds like you've got a terrible mess on your hands. I'd be extremely pissed if I were you! I would do everything I could to make them replace the vehicle even if that means getting a lawyer to represent you. Be sure to get everything documented in writing and if you need a reference for a good lemon law attorney, I've got one.

    Like mmcgregor, I've got a ticking SEQ that absolutely drives me nuts in cold weather. I have tried having the injectors insulated as described by another owner posting on - it didn't work. It was a very popular topic about a month ago at but now I can't generate any interest in it for some reason. Everyone wants to complain about their booming base and poor fitting carpets. Go figure!!!!!

    I truly do feel sorry for you and I hope you keep us posted on your progress.
  • ka5ljbka5ljb Member Posts: 7
    I have a Sequoia SR5 with 6K miles on it. I noticed that when I make a somewhat sharp turn and step on the accelerator instead of getting a power boost it seems to fade first and then accelerates; same thing happened when I went over a bump. However, its the acceleration fade that concerns me when I go around a corner making a 90 degree turn. Anyone else have this experience?
  • fishcarfishcar Member Posts: 18
    Sounds like the active traction control "rev limiter" is cutting in as your wheels spin going around the turn or over a bump...there has been a pretty active thread on this topic on the Sequoia solutions message board. it's a bit too long to paraphrase here, so you might check it out...
  • debbiev1debbiev1 Member Posts: 10
    Not much in the way of good news for me. We did finally talk to a factory rep who had no answers for us, but claimed he would by Monday. We'll see. We've tried the replacement thing but no go. We have to give it a little more time, see how long this part is on back order. They would have to have my Sequoia for another 20 business days, according to the book, before we could file under the lemon law. I hate the thought of having to take it that far.

    This is also frustrating because it took a couple bad trips to get it in the first place. We attempted to drive to the U.P. about a month ago and I stupidly (accidentally) left my purse in a restuarant and didn't realize it for about an hour 15 min later. Within that hour 15 min, my husband got pulled over for speeding & got a $180 ticket. (we just went home because it was Sat.)
    2 weeks later we attempted it again, this time we ran out of gas on the way up......we are just a comedy of errors!!! At that time my husband said it was an omen not to get this vehicle. Now this.

    I was kinda bummed today. It got to the 80's here in Chicago and I so badly wished I was in my new SEQ w/the windows down & the moonroof open.....maybe next time.

    Hey, this ticking /piston slap, I've heard a few of you mention it's mainly in cold weather. How cold are you refering to? I'm wondering because when we left the U.P. it was about 40, but by the time we reached Chicago it was 79 degrees.....are you talking colder than 40 degrees? Because I don't recall hearing any ticking. Maybe I lucked out in that department????
    KA5LJB, on the main board, I've heard the fading acceleration was an issue with someone and there was a response somewhat similar to FISHCARs
  • mmcgregormmcgregor Member Posts: 33
    My "ticking temperature" is about 60deg. I can hear it from the top of the engine. It sounds like it comes through the vents on either side of the radio.
  • slickrockslickrock Member Posts: 60
    That's VCS trying to keep you from spinning out. It can be pretty annoying in 2WD, but it seem to be less of a problem in 4WD because the rev limiting works differently (i.e., VCS relies more on the brakes in 4WD). You might want to try 4WD and see if it's better. Also you can turn off VCS (and rev. limiting) in 4WD -- I can't figure out how to turn it off in 2WD.

    I wish I could help with the ticking. A question about the temperature-sensitive one that seems to come through the air ducts: is it regular and varies with RPM, or is it random and varies more with road conditions?
  • mmcgregormmcgregor Member Posts: 33
    My ticking is strictly RPM related. And it's outside temperature dependant not engine temperature. I'd love to get my hands on some of the code in the computer(s).

    Anybody know if there's a way to read out ignition timing settings from the computer?

    Anti-knock control?
  • beantown3beantown3 Member Posts: 7
    I have an sr5 and what I noticed is the transmission doesn,t want to let go in 1st gear,ya know, from a stop to about 10-15 miles an hour when the automatic transmission shoulld now go into 2nd gear and up.Has anyone else noticed this????? it is not slamming into 2nd gear but it doesn,,t want to let go much for silky smooth as I have read everywhere in magazine write ups,and I too think the audio is awful; whats the word ? is it the speakers or the radio that makes it sound awful,
  • lcd1lcd1 Member Posts: 147
    I don't have a transmission problem but my radio/CD changer sounds AWFUL. No matter how I adjust the bass, treble, midrange, it sounds no better. Like I've said before, if I had my way, somebody at Toyota would be spending time working in Siberia! As for me, I feel kinda stupid paying so much for the radio option that has less than natural sound, no automatic volume compensation, and no steering wheel control of the radio.
  • beantown3beantown3 Member Posts: 7
    I went to a hi fi store and sorted through car speakers,I found a nice pr. of Boston Acoustics but with installation costs it would be about$525.00 not including an amp!I don,t know what to do,it makes me sick to spend around $750. for decent sound in a 40k vechile.What if it,s the radio that stinks and not the speakers???? To say I,m disappointed with Toyota is an understatment,We are not talking about a stripped down Tercel here. Geez
  • nighter50nighter50 Member Posts: 127
    Are the sound problems with both the regular 6 speaker package and the 10 speaker upgrade? Sounds like the problems are both bass and volume levels. Is that correct?

    When I test drove I did not notice the sound being terrible or any ticking noise in engine and
    I stood there for five minutes with hood open while salesman explained engine.

    May purchase today or tomorrow. These are the major complaints that I have seen on this board and others. One thing I noticed was that black box by passenger's leg area. That is a bad place for that box. What is this box? Are there any other known problems? Thanks in advanced.
  • mmcgregormmcgregor Member Posts: 33
    The stereo sound problem seems to be associated with the "upgraded" package.

    As far as the ticking goes, mine didn't do it at first. And it still isn't noticeable when standing next to the truck while it's just idling. What was the temperature outside when you test drove it? Much like many things in life it's a roll of the dice, so good luck.
  • beantown3beantown3 Member Posts: 7
    Jump in.. the waters fine! it,s a great vechile,tons of room,excellent ride,nice touches like the rear window going into the door,super in the snow. It,s true what everyone here is talking about though,the engine noise is kinda loud,I was going to look for a hood insulation liner myslef which would help and the radio/speakers stink(don,t know which one though)but it,s rare to find a perfect vechile.You will like this suv
  • nighter50nighter50 Member Posts: 127
    Thanks for the feedback. I think I will take the plunge, if not now perhaps in a month or so.

    Thanks again.
  • lcd1lcd1 Member Posts: 147
    As much as I've been griping about my Sequoia and the things it should have for the price paid for the truck, I would still recommend it to anyone who is looking for a BIG suv. I've not have the chance to drive it much to use up the first tank of gas so I don't know what kind of mpg it gets. However, the computer gives an average reading of 15mpg.
  • rruck1rruck1 Member Posts: 91
    beantown3 - I have noticed a lag in shifting to 2nd on occassion. I assume you are from Boston? Maybe it's the weathahh up heahhh.

    nighter50 - I have the basic stereo package and the bass problem is here as well. Perhaps it's worse in the 'better' package, but I've never heard the 'better' system. The stereo is not horrendous, in fact it sounds pretty good at high volumes.

    No ticking for me so far - 6500 miles.

    By the way, the Sequoia handles great in the sand. I've had it on the beach a few times this year - the extra clearance and low range 4WD help alot.
  • beantown3beantown3 Member Posts: 7
    yup, from Boston,today was 90 degrees and I had the Sequoia out and ya know what? no lag in shifting..this is defintely weather related,shifted smoothly all day long.When it was 50 out which was just recently it doesn,t want to let go of 1st gear. What would that be ??
  • lcd1lcd1 Member Posts: 147
    I have the same problem of the transmission stuck in 1 gear. It happened only a couple of times, though.
  • budjetbudjet Member Posts: 1
    very strong engine noise comes thru on am band only. when engine is off everthing is says this is normal on all sequoia's.can anyone help?
  • gpm5gpm5 Member Posts: 785
    This is common in many vehicles. You need a line filter on the 12v to the radio to reduce it. Probably not an easy fix though because it would mean pulling out the unit out of the dash.
  • gillygangillygan Member Posts: 17
    OK. This is the situation.
    When the car comes to a stop at a traffic light, your foot at the brake pedal, depressed, and after a few seconds or so, you can feel the brake pedal moves down a little bit. Is this normal? Is this indicative of a faulty master brake cylinder/system? Anybody else have this experience?

    Thanks a bunch.
  • gpm5gpm5 Member Posts: 785
    Sounds like air in the brake lines. Have your dealer bleed the brakes.
  • slickrockslickrock Member Posts: 60
    I've had exactly the same thing happen, and the pedal is rock solid both before and after. If it's spongy (i.e., more pressure makes it go down further), then you probably have air in the lines and need a bleeding.

    In my case, it is a definite step change that occurs with no increase in pedal pressure some number of seconds after stopping. It may correspond with a reduction in engine rpm (maybe with the A/C cycling), but I haven't paid that much attention.

    I wouldn't worry about it unless it gets worse (i.e., the pedal drops more than 1/4" or more than once at onea stop). It's probably like the two clicks when you start up.
  • gillygangillygan Member Posts: 17
    Thanks for the reply, gmp5 and slickrock.

    After paying attention (and it's pretty hard, the Sequoia has a quiet engine), looks like the brake pedal drop is related to the AC compressor cycles. A split second before the compressor kicks in, the pedal would drop a little. Otherwise, it seems okay (i.e., it's not spongy).
  • gillygangillygan Member Posts: 17
    OK. The Sequoia is my first SUV - my first *good* vehicle in general - so there are things that I'm not accustomed to. :)

    I noticed that around 1500-1600 RPM, the engine seems to vibrate more and sounds rougher compared to when it runs at lower or higher RPM. Is this normal in the Sequoia? Should I be concerned?

    Thanks for any insight on this!

  • gpm5gpm5 Member Posts: 785
    I have not noticed anything like that. Could you explain more. Is this when you're going along in drive/4th gear?
  • gillygangillygan Member Posts: 17
    It happens when driving, I'd say mostly in 3rd and 4th gear. When the tachometer hovers around 1500-1600 RPM, or when it has to pass this "magic zone" during acceleration or deceleration, the engine isn't as quiet and I could feel more vibration on the floor.

    The closest that I could explain is (my Camry goes through this everytime I drive in rush hour and have to climb that damn section of the city where it's hilly):
    It feels like when you're on 4th gear, driving along nicely, then you have to climb a little hilly road, your speed drops, engine RPM drops, and the car doesn't quite want to switch to 3rd gear, and you get this low noise thing going.

    Below 1500 is fine and smooth and quiet, the same if it's over 1600. *shrug* It gets annoying after a while, especially when you're trapped cruising on the highway in rush hour and the engine revs in this magical zone.

  • gpm5gpm5 Member Posts: 785
    You may want to take it to the dealer and have them check out the system. With all this computerized stuff maybe something isn't quite normal or set correctly.
  • jrsequoiajrsequoia Member Posts: 1
    The wife and I just bought an SR5. It is an amazingly smooth and quiet vehicle but when we first start taps like crazy and continues to do so for 10 or 15 minutes. Then the engine is practically gone...silent...and the truck is amazing. I thought it was odd that when we went to test drive the truck, the salesman took about 15 minutes to bring it up when it should have taken about 2 minutes. I remember being a little pissed because I brought the wife, three kids (and 2 car seats) out to the (very cold) parking lot thinking we would be in the truck in a couple of minutes. After reading these postings, I wonder if the 15 minute "lag-time" (that wiley salesman) was to allow the Sequoia time to be on its' best behavior. (It was SILENT on the test drive!!) For my piece of mind, I had a remote starter installed in our baby so it gets the tapping out of its' system while we are in the house finishing our coffee. It would really get under my skin to think I spent 40k on a truck that (for the 1st 10-15 minutes) sounds like my 84' Reliant from High School (the babe magnet!) It also helps since my wife is under 5 feet tall and would have a big problem scraping the windows in the winter. Sorry for the long post.
  • suvsroksuvsrok Member Posts: 4
    Interesting comments on the radio noise. My limited with premium sound system has a buzzing noise from just the rear speakers only when the engine is on. First noticed on am talk radio but now aware even on CD's and audio tapes, especially when no music is playing to drown it out. So far the dealer has replaced one of the speakers and the radio without help. Has anyone else had this problem? The dealer has commented that it might be "normal" and has also tried to blame it on an entertainment system we had installed (but after the buzzing was first noted).
  • 2001seqowner2001seqowner Member Posts: 6
    Does anyone notice a bad oder or stink from your Sequoia when accelerating hard? I just started notice this on my Sequoia with the windows down. I've never really paid attentioned to it, but it would stink pretty bad when I accellerate hard up a hill or something. I called the service department and they said that it's normal. Anyone know what the heck I'm smelling?

  • sushahsushah Member Posts: 1
    I think the smell normal and comes from the catalyt convert. It should go away over time.
  • erikadaviderikadavid Member Posts: 1
    We have our Sequoia since April and the air conditioner never worked right. After first being told that nothing was wrong, a few days later the whole air conditioner blew up and they replaced the compressor and who knows what other parts? It seemed to be working OK for a few days, but then it started blowing warm air instead of cold air especially on hot days (90s). They tested the out coming temperature and it was 57 instead of 40 degrees. They have not been able to fix it so far.
    Does anybody else have the same problem? We are seriously considering pursuing the lemon law option.
  • gwkisergwkiser Member Posts: 326
    As a Highlander owner, I can't vouch for sure but I remember that a member here ( lcd1) had a/c problems and I think they found a faulty heater control valve. You might want to browse the main Sequoia (SUV Board) and start here and follow the messages for a while:

    lcd1 "Toyota Sequoia (SUV Board)" Jul 22, 2001 1:27pm
  • mmcgregormmcgregor Member Posts: 33
    Take a look at There is a lot of good technical discussion there.
  • shortlidshortlid Member Posts: 50
    All Toyota's have a switch in the trany that does not allow them to go into OD before the vehicle reaches a certain temp. It's because of emissions laws and the emissions system working better when the engine is at operating temp. So, to cut down on harm full emissions they get it to warm up faster. I wonder if the sift lag is related or PLANED!
  • rockchiprockchip Member Posts: 2
    I got the word today that I need to hand over $300 to fix my Sequoia's brakes. Pads wear, I know, but does this car have a bad habit here? The rotors need resurfacing at 8,000. This seems ridiculous. The vehicle is credited with strong brakes, I agree, but at what cost?

    Also, the VSC is way too sensitive in my truck. It comes on over bumps at times, always on washboard roads and over slippery patches on uphills, where you most want to maintain momentum. This is a feature I do not like and do not want. When it activates, it is bad enough to make me to sell the car. Comments? Thanks
  • toyseqtoyseq Member Posts: 8
    Anyone else have a creaking noise from the top of the dash? I can't tell if it's at the base of the left hand pillar, the bottom of the windshield, or the dash. The dealer has tried three times, and now has it apart again.It's pretty annoying.

    I bought mine on Nov 4, 2000, and have been REALLY happy until this event. My experience with the brakes at 15k miles, was like others, resolved by adding a little fluid - pad life is about 40% now.

    Any help on the noise would be greatly appreciated - although I may be leading the contingent with milage and age.
  • rockchiprockchip Member Posts: 2
    I bought my Sequoia in November, 2000 also, the 24th to be precise. The windshield has started creaking in the past month. I now have 16,000 miles on the vehicle. The dealer could not find the problem.
  • curtcurtisscurtcurtiss Member Posts: 1
    There are times when I need the extra wheel spin while off roading but traction control get in the way. Has anyone found a way to easily disable traction control selectively?
  • bigtoyfanbigtoyfan Member Posts: 2
    I'm new to posting but here goes. I just test drove a Sequoia and we had the air on and were cruising down the road. One of my kids rolled down the window next to her and then her sister did the same thing. The driver/passenger windows were both still closed. The problem I knoticed was that the entire car seemed to shudder and vibrate from the wind access from these 2nd row windows being open. It was pretty dramatic and I told the salesman about it. We took another Sequoia out fro a drive and let down the 2nd row windows and the buffeting vibration/shudder started in earnest again. I love the car, but am concerned about this problem. By the way, if the front driver or passenger windows are rolled down, the horrible vibration/shuddering goes away.

    I then went over to a Ford dealership and drove the Explorer and the expedition and did the Window test. They too vibrated slightly but not nearly like the Toyota Sequoia we had just driven. In the case of the Expedition, the 2nd row windows only roll down 2/3 of the way and that might be the solution.

    Has anyone here had this problem or even noticed it?
  • gpm5gpm5 Member Posts: 785
    Yes this is normal if you only put the back windows down. It is found in other vehicles to differing degrees.
  • dgraves1dgraves1 Member Posts: 414
    I test drove a Seqouia recently and was amazed at how bad this is. Try it with one rear window down! My son rolled his (driver's side) window down and noise was incredible. I noticed the roof liner moving up and down and put my hand up to see if it was just the liner. It wasn't. The entire roof was visibly flexing up and down. The astute salesman's response was to not roll the rear windows down. Brilliant!
  • lcd1lcd1 Member Posts: 147
    It's a physical phenomenon that happens to all cars. With one window down, the interior acts as a resonant chamber. Try blowing air across or into an emty coke bottle, you'll see. All the four-door sedans that I've owned have that problem. Even my former two-door BMW suffered from that problem.

    There has been several postings on this subject.

    The saleman was absolute correct.

    I hope this helps.
  • dgraves1dgraves1 Member Posts: 414
    Yes, I know what causes it. But, I have been driving for 25 years in all types of cars and I have never seen anything like this. It is absolutely not normal. I have seen people complain about it many times on Seqouia boards. I have never seen one complaint about it on any other car or truck.
  • brando69brando69 Member Posts: 47
    I am shopping for a Sequoia and I am concerned about the wind buffeting problem. I have driven many types of cars in the last 15 years and have never come across what other Sequoia owners are complaining about.

    I'll be visiting my local Toyota dealer tomorrow and will be taking a Sequoia out for a test drive with the rear windows rolled down and see what happens. I will also test drive my neighbor's 2001 Suburban and see if his SUV has the same problem.

    I will post my findings and hope the Sequoia passes. I really like this SUV but if it is severe as what I have read on this board I may pass and look at a used 1999 or 2000 Land Cruiser or a uh hate to say it but a Chevy Suburban.
  • nighter50nighter50 Member Posts: 127
    In my Seq, with only the back windows down there is wind buffeting. It doesn't bother me because I don't drive with only the back windows down. I love my Sequoia, I loved my Trooper, and I think the Chevy SUVs are great. I don't understand however why this issue is so important - do a lot of you drive with only your rear windows down?
  • devokedevoke Member Posts: 33
    RE: Pedal depressing after stopped. My Sequoia has 14,000 miles on it now (purchased Jan '01) and is an excellent vehicle. I recommend it daily. It does not have the ticking engine problem, thank goodness, but it does have the problem of the brake pedal depressing further after stopped for a sec. I thought this was due to the brake assist function most Toyota's have. Basically, it is designed to sense an impending accident by detecting rate of brake application. It then adds more brakes (for lack of a better term) to shorten the stop since there is evidence drivers often do not apply enough to activate the anti-lock system. Mercedes has the same system and I believe the same pedal depressing problem at stops. Anyway, I thought this to be true until reading this bulletin board. Am I out to lunch?

    RE: Window Buffeting: The rear window buffeting will also occur under some conditions if the sunroof is opened to the full aft position. Jaguar actually put a two position switch in their older cars so you could open it to a position that did not buffet without having to search for that spot. The buffeting will immediately cease if you open the rear window. This also increases the airflow, which is usually the reason for opening the window in the first place.

    RE: Stereo: I have the limited version with the upgraded stereo and find it to work very well if turned loud. Its low volume dynamic range is certainly lacking and never Bose quality, but not terrible. I think the problem is the volume requires a very large number of turns to get to loud vice most cars where one full turn goes from off to LOUD. Maybe JBL wanted a more infinite number of volume steps from 0 to LOUD? I suspect the problem is not with the speakers since JBL has been doing those very well for many years.

    Thanks for the very useful info on this board.
  • dorene1dorene1 Member Posts: 75
    We purchased a handsome blue SR5 with gray leather/preferred package last May. It has been a very pleasant family car, however, we have been surprised with the degree of problems it is having given the Toyota name. We share the brake fluid/pads problems noted by others; with 12,5m we weren't expecting this- note to others - if your brake and VSC lights stay on, it is a sign of low brake fluid - wish we had known this before the two weeks it took for us to get to a dealer.Our back window and back windshield wiper stopped working - dealer was wonderful, and suggested that it should be fully covered under warranty - Our air conditioning/heating also has sensor problems, and is unreliable on auto settings.Our radio (upgraded) is distorted for the first five minutes of driving - it's very annoying. Seems like it need warmup time.In the very good news division, I was in a head-on accident with speeding high school students in a 95 Honda Civic. Although they were thankfully and miraculously not hurt, their car was demolished. Our Sequoia has a bent bumper with no other damage, and drove away from the accident with no adjustments needed. This offset all the other difficulties!
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