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Toyota Highlander Maintenance and Repair



  • wainwain Posts: 479
    I under stand - but if you go read the sludge topics many many people who changed at 3500 or 4000 or 5k never had a problem. the 7500 change semed to be linked (my opinion) in all the discussions ofsludge. of course some people in the early days presented proof of regular oil changes in one case the repair shop receipts were sequentially numberred (probably by a relative) oops!

    what do you care? - change at 3 4 or 5 k and problem goes away
  • mikefm58mikefm58 Posts: 2,882
    ((I suspect, strongly, that youre somehow misreading your owners manual.))

    Not at all wwest....5K is the interval. It does talk about shorter intervals for vehicles that tow or are in the desert. I like that better then the old "normal" vs. "severe" definitions.
  • litlit Posts: 3
    Just received a toyota OEM hood protector. I would appreciate comments from anyone who has installed one of these. I was suprised the only thing protecting the hood from the metal end clips was a thin urethane pad, which is nothing more than the equivalent of packaging tape. Has anyone had problems with the metal end clips damaging the paint on the hood over time. I already put a small nick in the paint just lining up the metal clips to determine where the urethane pads need to be applied. Any experiences to share would be appreciated. I have held off installing until I am comfortable this urethane "tape" is adequate.
  • desertguydesertguy Posts: 730
    I installed the hood protector a couple months ago with no problems. The urethane pads should do the job. If it is tightened properly it won't move around on the hood and the pad should hold up in the weather. To be honest, I wasn't too concerned as I tend to leave this type of accessory on the vehicle when I sell or trade it.
  • litlit Posts: 3
    Thanks for the reply. Are you happy with the fit (no vibration?), quality and look of the protector. I had one on my previous SUV, but was not sure if it looked right on the Highlander given the Highlander does not have the tough SUV look of others.
  • fvpfvp Posts: 147
    I installed the same hood protector last August and it works great. If installed properly, there will be no vibration or rattling.
    I agree with desertguy - it is on there to stay as it provides good protection for the hood against flying debris. I have a Bluestone HL and the smoke protector looks fine.
    I also have a similar deflector for the sunroof and have had no problems with either product after almost a year.
  • desertguydesertguy Posts: 730
    I also have the sunroof deflector. I mainly wanted it to cut down on the drumming sound when the roof was open at 30-35 MPH. Does a good job of taming the noise. I think the smoke looks great on my Sonora Gold Pearl. As you said, no vibration. The hood protector seems to keep a good percentage of the bugs off my windshield. (or is it just my imagination? :-)
  • jayrjayr Posts: 2
    What's the best way to transport 4 bicycles on a 2003 6 cylinder 4WD Highlander? 2 adult, 2 kid. Long and short distances. I've got the towing prep package (no hitch) if that makes a difference.

  • fvpfvp Posts: 147
    The hood protector does keep bugs off the windshield, however, my main concern was preventing chips on the hood. With the protector installed, there are no chips or marks that I can see. I bought a Sienna van last year and did not install a hood protector - big mistake. There are a number of chips on the hood now that I need to take care of. Granted, the hood has a more severe slope than the HL hood but I think a deflector helps steer small stones away.
    As far as the sunroof deflector, I agree with you - it does a great job of cutting down on wind noise.
  • loucapriloucapri Posts: 214
    You get the towing prep package but no hitch?
    So what's in the package?

    I put my bicycles in a bicycles rack that attach to the hitch. That's the way to go.

    Don't even think about putting your bikes on top of the roof.

    I think you really need to get the hitch.
  • desertguydesertguy Posts: 730
    Since you asked:

    "Towing Prep. Package
    Includes upgraded radiator, transmission oil cooler, 130-amp alternator and trailer prewiring, 3,500-lb. towing capacity, engine oil cooler, 160-watt fan coupling and power steering oil cooler."
    This is from the Edmunds Toyota options site. The Class III hitch is another $415. Too expensive to buy just to hang a bke rack on IMO.
    Of course a Class II after market hitch would do for bike hauling.
  • jayrjayr Posts: 2
    I searched through existing posts and it is quite confusing what I would need. How do I obtain a Class II after market hitch? Any other related parts needed with Towing Prep Package? How difficult to install myself?

    Thanks for your help.
  • wainwain Posts: 479
    do not buy a class two hitch.
    buy a class 3.

    I put on a hidden hitch I bought on the net for 140.
    took 20 min -
    takeoff towing eyes (2 bolts each) bolt on hitch - 3 bolts per side.
    hook up toyota connector (do a search here about $40 from toy dealer) and you are done will tow 3500 pounds. also see tundrasolutions . com about highlanders
  • wainwain Posts: 479
    does a 6 cyl with the Tow package have a bigger water capacity radiator? or just more fins?
  • vargvarg Posts: 12

    Although I have enjoyed our Highlander for eight months, the delayed acceleration or hesitation has become unbearable. Search the board and you will find others who experience the same problem. I finally took it in to the dealership to see what they can do. I was surprised when they acknowledged that there is a hesitation! However, it is a design issue since other Highlanders do it. Below is what is delineated on my work order.

    Concern: Customer states vehicle hesitates on acceleration check and advise.
    Cause: Verified concern with customer
    Correction: Delay response verified with customer road test. Compared with STK ##### compared the same.

    Since there is no way to repair the vehicle, service department gives my Toyotas phone number to start the arbitration process. This took me to a meeting with the district service and parts manager from Toyota. I thought he was very nice and professional. He acknowledges that this problem exists with the Highlander and Solara. Toyota engineers are at the beginning stages of finding a way to rectify the issue. However, he did not know how far along in the process they are in finding a solution. Below is his write up on the work order from him:

    Concern: Customer states vehicle has hesitation or delayed acceleration while driving.
    Cause: 0
    Correction: Had factory rep inspect – see notes
    Tech Notes: Test drove vehicle with customer; there is a hesitation while accelerating. Advised that Toyota is aware of complaint. Advised that dealership will complete an MDT report including their feeling.

    They will not acknowledge that it is a design defect or a safety issue. Therefore, any manufacture buy back will have to be ordered through arbitration. Today, I applied for arbitration.

    I try not to be too materialistic and dwell over things that really have no meaning to my life. However, when you pay over $30k for a vehicle and you have no recourse, it can be upsetting. Anyway, I thought I would post this to help others who may need the info.
  • mfullmermfullmer Posts: 819
    I have this same delay in my '04 RX330 and it almost caused me to get into a wreck a couple of weeks ago when I was turning in front of someone. Normally, (in my Tahoe or any car that goes when you put your foot on the gas) I would have had plenty of time but the hesitation was very unnerving.
  • cmunizcmuniz Posts: 604
    I had a class 3 hitch installed for $215 by a 3rd party. Hitch mounted bike racks have the most capacity,easiest to load/unload and most stable. They are also most expensive if you have to get the hitch installed, too. Roof racks are next best, but difficult to load unless you're over 6 ft. Rear hatch racks are cheapest, but for 4 bikes I wouldn't think they would be stable enough for long trips, although I see them all the time on minivans that are loaded to the hilt with vacation equipment. I have one for short trips locally, but prefer to use the hitch mounted one for longer trips.
  • mikefm58mikefm58 Posts: 2,882
    I too noticed our 04 HL 4 cyl has the same problem. Is your's a 4 or 6 cyl? I rarely drive it, so it's not a big deal to me and so far it hasn't bothered my wife. But it would drive me batty if I drove it every day. I've noticed it's not that bad if the a/c is off.
  • loucapriloucapri Posts: 214
    So the towing pkg doesn't come with a hitch? How much does it cost?

    My HL is 01 4cyl rwd and it has a hitch already when I bought it used. It works great when I carrying 2 bikes.

    If someone want to carry 4 bikes, just get a bigger bike rack, I am sure it will work fine. The weight shouldn't be a problem, 4 bikes+the rack, maybe 150 lbs? just like having one more passenger.
  • vargvarg Posts: 12
    Below is some important information I left out from my original post:

    My HL is a 2004 V6 AWD with approx. 9k miles on it. The factory rep said it applies to those vehicles with “fly” or “fly wire” acceleration. I cannot recall the exact verbiage he said (I will need to know for arbitration).

    Test: Drive 30/40 miles an hour and imagine a large truck pulling in front of you. You slow down quickly to about 10-15 miles an hour. While slowing down you look over your shoulder to see it the lane is clear to go around the truck. You have a nice gap to accelerate into in the next lane and you “punch” the gas to shoot the gap. I will always get a very significant delay while doing it. Please note that you do not need to floor it. Another test is just imaging merging onto traffic.

    On several occasions I thought my vehicle would stall. I can create the delay at anytime, however, the severity of it is hard to create. I feel it is a very serious safety issue. I have seen the delay the near two second mark.

    Hope this helps.
  • wainwain Posts: 479
    is everyones with this problem a AWD model?
    and v6?
  • cw1cw1 Posts: 3
    Good LUCK! Took my 2004 HL to arbitration for the vibration in the brake pedal and steering wheel when stopped (other postings on this subject here). First the Toyota rep was a half hour late, told me that is 'normal' in the vehicle so it is acceptable to Toyota so they won't try to repair of change for future years. Bottom line, arbitrator said 'vibration felt similar to other such vehicles' even though he didn't drive the vehicle. I agree about the $. A vehicle is one of your most expensive purchases and once you drive if off the lot your STUCK. Let us know how it goes.
  • bobgordonbobgordon Posts: 156
    Varg, I've been trying to duplicate the problem you are experiencing on my '04 V6 and at this time, I can't.
    I've tried it with O/D "on" and "off". Have you tried turning "off" the overdrive and see if the problem still exists?
    Even at the MPH you state, that would be below the speed the the overdrive would actuate.

    Just trying to narrow it down for you.
    Good luck!
  • mikefm58mikefm58 Posts: 2,882
    Thx for the add'l info., mine is different. Mine is a delay from a standing start.
  • ddpstcddpstc Posts: 44
    Hello experts:
    I bought a HL 4 Cyl. AWD last week without the towing package.

    Please verify that this new wiring set (part number 33425) from allow me to connect the wiring to the tail light (not directly to the battery) and that there is no need to get the converter from Toyota dealer. Your advice is greatly appreciated.


    Part number 33425: for wiring without tow package re_Code=E&Product_Code=33425&Category_Code=VWH

    It seems that the converter from Toyota is not needed by using this part and you can connect the wiring to the tail light socket.

    This is what etrailer said:

    "Fits Toyota Highlander without the tow package.

        * Each vehicle specific connector is pre-wired and uses original OEM connectors for water tight protection, a guaranteed fit, and a great look
        * No cutting or taping
        * 16 gauge wire
        * 4-Pole connector includes dust cap
        * Easy to follow instructions with pictures are included
        * Each kit includes everything needed to complete a 4-wire flat installation
              o Kit includes wire, fuse and connectors necessary for power supply hook-up at the battery
        * Powered converter with circuit protection is included in a weatherproof double-molded design
              o Circuit Protection guards the tow vehicle and the converter itself from trailer shorts
        * Max Draw: 8 Amps

    Can be used with 5-pole, 6-pole or 7-pole adapters.

    Plug-N-Tow™ Wiring Connector plugs in behind each tail light on the Highlander.

    For 01-03 Highlander models with the tow package use part # 18245."

    What do you think?
  • loucapriloucapri Posts: 214
    I kind of notice that too.
    Mine is a 4cyl fwd. compare to my camry, I am sure the problem is there. my 4cyl camry will go when you step on it and the HL? NO. I do feel like "man, what's going on?"

    the HL I have shouldn't be that heavy compare to the camry and that acceleration is something that really bothers me.

    I guess we just have to be more alert when driving our HL?
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    It might very well be the VSC helping to "stabilize" the vehicle. Suddenly increasing the engine torque output while simultaneously turning the steering wheel off-center would potentially "upset" a FWD vehicle, or any vehicle for that matter.

    But on a FWD you are increasing the lateral stress on the front tires at the same time as the longitutnal stress, were the traction surface only slight slippery.....

    I can readily envision an engineer/programmer thinking " gee, what a neat idea".
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    of the FWD torque stear kind....

    FWD Caddy with Northstar, two lane road trapped behind farm equipment, checked for on-coming traffic then pulled out and floored it.

    Scared me silly!

    Torque stear took over and almost put us into the ditch. I got off the gas and pulled back in behind the farm equipment while my shakes subsided.

    Didn't help that my wife yelled "what are you doing" right in the middle of the almost excursion off the road.

    Does torque stear have a more pronounced effect with the steering wheel off-center? I have very religiously avoided FWD in the wintertime since.

    The about experience was on perfectly dry concrete hwy.
  • racerx1racerx1 Posts: 35
    I've got an 04 HL AWD 6-cyl. with no hesitation problems.
  • desertguydesertguy Posts: 730
    "Does torque stear have a more pronounced effect with the steering wheel off-center?"

    You bet it does. That is when you really notice it. Some manufactures have tamed it better than others.(Toyota being one). I rented a new Nissan Maxima and the torque steer would almost rip the wheel from my hands if you stepped on it going around a corner. Also had a VW GTI that had horrible torque steer. On straight ahead acceleration most mfgrs have eliminated it.
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