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Toyota Highlander Maintenance and Repair



  • nvbankernvbanker Posts: 7,285
    Ok, if someone gives you a Ford, give it to me, I'll take it.

    All I'm saying is, on the Ford Escape Hybrid forum, there are no complaints, and plenty here.
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    When I board an Alaska airlines flight my expections of how well things will go, how well I will be treated, are a lot higher, a WHOLE lot higher, than when I board a NWA flight.

    Were I to purchase another Ford my expectations of quality would be nil as would be my expectations of responsiveness to the quality problem.
  • nvbankernvbanker Posts: 7,285
    Yes, and conversely, since I drive a Lexus, I expect pretty much no funny noises, grinding sounds or any of the other problems prevalent here on this board. But alas, the board is replete with quality concerns. Unexpected for a Toyota.

    I'm beginning to wonder if Toyota is getting a slight case of GM fever, taking over the world like they have. It would be a shame....
  • mdhuttonmdhutton Posts: 195
    Aside from this one issue, NVBANKER, I'm totally satisfied with initial quality and would recommend the vehicle to anyone.

    Since the original post, I have discovered the following: I had Sirius radio installed by the dealer after I took delivery. The antenna is mounted high up on the glass and the antenna cable is run under the trim and down behind the dash to the back of the head unit (nav) to the Sirius "brain." In removing part of the dash for this cable run, the technician most likely didn't re-attach the cable. I therefore am chalking this up to a technician's mistake rather than Toyota quality.

    I've already made the decision to drive this vehicle 10 years and would buy again tomorrow. You won't be disappointed should you decide to buy.
  • I took my wife's 2008 SR5 into the dealer today to have them determine why the rear passenger side is 1/2 inch higher than the driver side. The dealer measured 6 more on the lot and they were all the same.

    Is this a known issue or a design feature?
  • 2004hl2004hl Posts: 21
    My 2004 Highlander V6 is due for a timing belt change and I'm interested in doing it myself - partly for economic reasons and partly for trust issues.
    I've done timing belts before but are there any specific issues or difficulties with the V6 Toyota that I should know about? Scale of difficulty? Brute strength required?
    I plan on doing the water pump and the seals while I'm in there as this is a long-term keeper.
    Thanks all!
  • yohohikryohohikr Posts: 4
    I am seeing some fluid in my 2005 at 43K miles. Would you have a link or info about the TSB RE; this. I just shelled out 2600K for something that was no longer under warrannty for the 36K warranty. Overall its been reliable, but the Subaru I had before wwent 188K with very little going wrong so this is not what I expected being a Toyota. thanks
  • webgoodwebgood Posts: 95
    First off, I'm not an expert or a mechanic. I'm fairly mechanically inclined, but don't have many of the "car guy" tools or know-how. IMHO I'd NEVER attempt to do the timing belt thing. I once watched a small part of the process being done by a Toyota dealer mechanic and marveled at how having the right tools, training and the experience made such a difference. Plus there's other parts (rollers or guides) that need to be replaced in the process.
    If you get the satisfaction of standing back and proudly smiling after successfully completing a difficult job like that, go for it. If you want to absolutely avoid the searing aggravation of finding the anti-freeze leak at the mall parking lot, having it towed to the dealership/mechanic, and paying for all over again...hhmmm.
  • 2004hl2004hl Posts: 21
    As I said I have done them before and was just looking for someone who has experience with this specific model - wasn't really looking for the don't do it you'll ruin the engine and cause plagues of locusts to appear response.
  • bikeman3bikeman3 Posts: 85
    I had mine done at dealer w waterpump 535.00 plus tax plus free rental car for day.
    Warranty on parts and labor vs doing it your self GOOD LUCK
  • webgoodwebgood Posts: 95
    Didn't intend to impugn your mechanical abilities. I have an acquaintance who is top mechanical engineer for a large manufacturing company and does complete frame-off restorations and engine rebuilds of classic muscle cars. He won't touch his wife's Acura. Like me, he just doesn't want the phone call, "Honey, I'm on the freeway and it's leaking something."
  • nvbankernvbanker Posts: 7,285
    Yes, it is. There is no fix for this. Just ignore it. Once the driver sits in the car alone, it levels out anyway. :blush:
  • At what mileage does everyone recommend changing the timing belt? I have a 2002 with 80K.

  • webgoodwebgood Posts: 95
  • bikeman3bikeman3 Posts: 85
    90k but can go to about 97k highly recommend water pump too and all other belts will sound as good as new
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    Absent having accured in excess of 150,000 I will not consider replacing the timing belt in my '01 AWD RX300. The timing belt that was removed from my '92 LS at 153,000 miles looked as if it was ready for the NEXT 150,000 miles.

    And the issue of replacing the water pump is nothing more than an "old wives tale". Long ago water pumps often failed due to failure of the internal seal protecting the "nose" bearing, the ONLY bearing, from failure due to coolant getting into it. To help prevent that all water pumps have a "weep" hole/opening so the small amounts of coolant getting past the seal can simply drain away onto the street. Basically the improvement in those seals over the years has resulted in such a low water pump failure rate that replacing them as a preventative maintainance measure is a waste.
  • rodonnellrodonnell Posts: 37
    My 2 cents. I have changes timing belts in a variety of cars, nothing too difficult. Bought the Haynes manual for my 07, and nothing jumps out as glaringly difficult. I have a little benefit with the Hybrid in that I have no belts, P/S, etc to remove from the front of the engine.
  • I would not recommend that a novice attempt to replace the timing belt, it is a job for an experience mechanic with a complete set of tools and equipment.
    See messege # 4319 and a few meseges afterward for my comments when I bought my 2004 Highlander V6, 3.3L.
    See messege # 4330 for my comments about changing the timing belt. It is not the hardest job I ever did, but it is a full day of hard work. If you are less experienced, it may take you two days.
    Skill Level Required = High
    Water Pump = Yes replace, even though the water pump seemed fine, mine had signs of deterioration on the pully. The pully is pressed on as part of the pump assembly. All pullys must be smooth, brite and clean.
    I put in a timing belt, water pump, alternator belt and power steering belt. That was months ago and no sign of any leak, runs perfect.
  • edhedh Posts: 246
    I thought the 2004 highlander 4 cyl had timing belt but the v6 had a chain???????
  • nvbankernvbanker Posts: 7,285
    Most Japanese engines use belts to keep the NVH down. I believe your 6 also has a belt.
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    Not having experienced a pulley failure, EVER, can you tell me what signs of deterioration I, we should look for..??

    Pulley bearing failure, YES, many times.
  • What I said in messege #4331 is EXACTLY what I meant, take it litterally word for word. If you are not familiar with this type of work, I would strongly suggest that you do not attempt it. I am an old man, and I've been doing this all my life, I've worked in many Dealerships and shops, AMC, Chrysler, Chevrolet, Ammco, etc., and I have a well equipped garage.

    The cogged sprockets are on the inside of the belt and are on each camshaft and the crankshaft. The SMOOTH PULLYS are on the outside of the belt and include the idler pullys, the tensioner pully and the water pump pully. They must all have a smooth, clean, bright finish. My water pump pully was showing the first signs of wear and deterioration, getting noticably dull, Compare it to the new one, and you will see what a big difference there is. I could see many small pit marks with a magnifiying glass and I could see "wear patterns" or "wear markings" begining to form on the surface of the SMOOTH PULLY. You need all the pullys to be in good shape, because you need this job to last a long time, you will not want to be doing it again anytime soon!

    You will need a few special tools, and you will be working in some very tight spaces, so a 1/4" or 3/8" compact sized air ratchet will prove VERY helpful. You will need a 10 mm hex bit, 3/8" drive to unscrew the Tensioner pivot bolt. This is a common size and is used to remove head bolts on some engines. You will need a harmonic balancer puller to pull off the Harmonic Balancer, it will have to have metric bolts. You will need a jug of Toyota Red Coolant and mix it 50% with distilled water, to replace what you loose when you pull the water pump off. You can minumize your coolant loss if you put a pan under the engine just before you knock the pump loose, and not get any contaminates in the coolant. I strained the captured coolant through a stocking and poured it back in the engine, so I only needed to add about 10 or 12 ounces of new coolant back in.

    Before you start, look the job over VERY well. get a good book, a Haynes manual, at the least, and prepare yourself with as much information and tools as you can. Buy the Belts and water pump before you start, try to have everything that you can think of that you might need, BEFORE you start.

    A picture is worth a thousand words, so I have posted the link below that will take you to the photos. The photo site is for photographs of all types, and the basic service is free, pictures can be stored on albums there for free. They only charge if you buy photos from them. If you are not registered, you can simply register to gain acess to viewing the pictures. Simply type in your e-mail address in place of mine, then type a password of your choice and then register for free. After you register and hit enter, you will be taken to the photos, there are about 145 of them, replacing the timing belt.

    Pictures DSC08140, DSC08141, DSC08142 Smooth idler pully.
    8118 Timing Belt going around Tensioner Smooth Pully.
    8120 Timing Belt going around Water Smooth Pump Pully.
    8131 Timing Belt going around all the pullys.
    8161 & 8164 Tensioner Pivot Bolt comes off with 10mm allen hex bit.
    8166 Water Pump comes off.
    8167 through 8175 Dull worn water pump smooth pully with some worn spots.
    8066 shows the NEW WATER PUMP PULLY, see how it shines.

    Here's the link. Click or paste to your browser: - =85874609

    Have fun!
    E.D. ISF
  • fversluisfversluis Posts: 2
    I am experiencing a problem with my 02 Highlander.After every rain, water accumulates in the fan area at the passenger side of the car and when I make sharp turns I can hear the water that has collected shift back and forth and its starts dripping down on the carpet on the feet of the passenger. I looks like the water also is getting to the dirver side of the car as my carpet inserts show lots of condensation.

    I don't think this is a aircondiitoning issue since I do not have this issue if I park my car indoors.

    I have read similar post in this forum on this issue but have yet to find a post explaining how this can be fixed ?

  • webgoodwebgood Posts: 95
    I don't know if there is one on the HL's, but many vehicles have a drain tube of sorts that carries water from some areas of the upper windshield cowling down to the lower carriage. There may also be a drain tube for condesation from the A/C assembly. The older a vehicle gets, or if they're subject to dirty conditions/debris droppings, the tubes can become plugged. Just a direction you might want to follow. Regards, BGood
  • phrosutphrosut Posts: 122
    I'd suggest you remove the fan and motor, and also the filter if yours is equipped with one. You can then look all the way straight up into the cowling area. It's a raised baffle section that prevents water from coming in.... yours seems to have a problem and likely you'll be able to SEE what the problem is when you look. If it's not obvious right away, have someone put a hose to the windshield while you are looking. It may only take a dab of silicone to stop the leak.

    I'm familiar with this because I had a mouse problem, repeatedly making their nest on top of the filter. I had to eventually put some screening on top of the baffle to keep the rascals out.

    The fan is removed with 4 screws and the hardest part would be the contortionist position you'll have to assume to look up to the cowl.

  • my_mr2my_mr2 Posts: 23
    I now have the same issue with my Highlander. Did the new actuator fix the problem?
  • edhedh Posts: 246
    I thought the 2004 4 cyl had timing belts and the v-6 engines had chains
  • The Toyota Highlander 4 cyl has a timing chain and the V6 has a timing belt.
    The scheduled timing belt replacement is every 90,000 miles. You can go farther than 90,000 miles before the belt breaks, but if it does break, it would be a major disaster, a very expensive repair, requiring both heads to be removed and reconditioned, due to the engine being an "interference" engine, meaning that the pistons can hit and bend the valves if the engine jumps out of time. It's best to get the belt replaced on time or very soon afterwards. My 2004 HL 3.3L V6 had 101,020 miles on it when I bought it, and it ran perfect. I bought it in Miami and drove it back to St Petersburg Fl in Feb 2008. When I replaced the timing belt, the old one looked almost perfect, it was the original Toyota timing belt. But you can't just go by looks because it can have hidden cracks or weaknesses that you can't see. That high milage along with the fact that the belt needed changing made for a good deal for me, when I bought it. I didn't mind doing the work and spending $150 to save myself more than a grand. The replacement belt was a Dayco #95257, which said on the belt "Made in Italy". I will not have to replace it again, as I intend to put about 70,000 miles on the belt over the next 6 years, then sell the car in 2014 with about 170,000 miles on the car. Next time I may get a Matrix or a Vibe or a Hybrid, depending on how the hybrid batteries hold up.
    If you have the 4 cyl engine, the chain will last a long time, the life of the vehicle, if you change your oil and filters as regularly scheduled and take care of the car with all scheduled maintainance. Use the proper weight Toyota engine oil, or quality synthetic motor oil such as Mobile One or Valvoline. Use only the Toyota Red Long Life Coolant in the cooling system, and dilute it 50% with only distilled water, never use tap water. What is the life of the vehicle? I would expect it to be well over 200,000 miles for a well maintained vehicle.
    Good Luck,
    E.D. ISF
  • grahampetersgrahampeters AustraliaPosts: 1,783

    It sounds as if the drain tube, dropping from the air inlet chamber is blocked. If you get under the vehicle, in the area between the front of the door and the front wheels, you will see several drain tubes. One leads from the air con and is a condensate drain taking moisture away from the chiller unit. There should be separate drains on each side for the air inlets. Sometimes these may be concealed in the fenders or otherwise hard to locate so it can help to pour a little water down the windcreen on the side where there is not a problem and then trace the water flowing out below. Match the similar drain on the other side..

    To clear the drain, get some fine slightly flexible tubing (I used 1/4" irrigation tubing) and poke it up the hooe gently. If you can fabricate a fitting to a water supply, so much the better as this will lubricate the tubing's passage up the drain and wash down obstructions.

    Usuallly, the problems is just some caked up mud at a bend in the drain but it could be something too large to pass down the tube.

    It is one of those fiddly jobs which is satisfying when corrrected


  • fversluisfversluis Posts: 2
    Graham, Thanks for the lenghty response. I will give it a shot this weekend!
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