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Toyota Highlander Maintenance and Repair



  • I don't want to loose this thread. There are too many of us having this problem to let it go and we are getting new members everyday that might not be aware.

    So file a complaint if you are experiencing the hesitation problem with the '04 Highlander here;

    Click on "secure submissions" and fill out the simple form. When you get towards the end of filling out the form, you'll be asked the component. Click/highlight "POWER TRAIN:AUTOMATIC TRANSMISSION." Some have posted under "VEHICLE SPEED CONTROL:ACCELERATOR PEDAL" so file where you want.

  • Does anyone know if the 02 or 03 3.0L V6 Highlanders have the hesitation problem that some people are experiencing?

  • I've read with great interest the postings on this issue. I had a 2001 Highlander, with no problems, and now drive a 2004 with no sign of the problem. While I'm convinced it's a significant problem in some situations/with some cars, I'm wondering if there isn't some point to the explanation that drivers need to adapt to the new acceleration technology. To me, it may be the equivalent of the change to anti-lock brakes. Those of us of a certain age grew up slamming the brakes. With the new brakes, this action disarms the anti-lock system. We've adjusted to pumping instead. I also think the break-in period is significant. The owner's manual warns against full-throttle acceleration during the break-in. I wonder if this is part of "training" the software. Just a few thoughts. I really love the Highlander and hope the problem can be resolved for all that experience it.
  • You have it backwards. The non ABS brakes had to be pumped on slippery surfaces to keep the wheels from locking and causing a skid. The ABS does this "Pumping" very fast and keeps the wheels turning just enough to prevent the lock-up, so the driver has a better chance of maintaining steering control. The proper way to brake with ABS is to push hard and steady, and DO NOT PUMP.
  • bdymentbdyment Posts: 570
    Post 1973 has it right. Do not pump ABS brakes.

    The dealer spilled some oil from the last oil and filter change, on my 2004 V6. It ended up in a groove in the shield under the front bumper and dripped on the garage floor. While I was cleaning this up from the shield I tried to find the filter. OK, I give up. Where did Toyota hide the oil filter on the 3.3 V6?
  • Yes, where is that oil filter. I looked under the HL once with a flashlight but did not see it. I'll bet it is a [non-permissible content removed] to replace and I usually do my own oil changes.('04 3.3 V6)
  • Yes, of course. Thanks for clarifying my early morning, pre coffee error. The concept, I think, remains, however, that as technologies change, so must our driving habits--and even instincts.
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    Is very well hidden under the exhaust manifold in the front facing side of the V6.
  • bdymentbdyment Posts: 570
    Thanks! Just found it. What an impossible thing to get at.
  • tommyg12tommyg12 Posts: 158
    I too have read the hesitation postings with great interest. I currently own a '01 Highlander also. After 38k miles, I just had my first problem: leaking rear main seal. I dropped it off for repair on Monday night, and was pleasantly surprised to find that my loaner is an '04 HL-v6 with 11k miles. I've put about 300 miles on it since, trying to produce the hesitation. I cannot. Can someone shed some light on how one might duplicate the problem? Acceleration so far is impressive.
  • jcorjcor Posts: 1
    Found this site after seaching the web on this issue. My 05 V6 2WD Highlander has 1-2sec hesitation when coasting at 10-20mph then accelerating. It's so un-nerving that my teen will not drive it because of the hesitation. It's certainly annoying and possibly dangerous particularly at intersections and turns with oncoming traffic. I plan to bring it up as a major issue at my upcoming 1000mi service, but want to be prepared for the service mgr. After reading all the posts on this, I'm still confused. Is there really a "fix" that Lexus has for the 05 Rx330 that would work on the Highlander, or is this just speculation. Does Toyota or Lexus acknowledge this problem even exists? Has anyone had this problem sucessfully fixed by a Toyota dealer? If so, what was done? Thanks.
  • junepugjunepug Posts: 161
    My 03 V6 FWD does not have the hesitation problem. In fact, my 03 Highlander, with 25,000 miles, has absolutely no problems.
  • The filter is a pain in the a$$ to get to from the engine compartment but there is a easier way if you feel like doing a little modification.

    What I did was cut a square hole in the black air deflector under the the bumper. "Eye ball" where the filter is in relation to where you will cut and cut a 5 inch square out. This plastic is very soft so a utility knife will do the trick. Get some speed nuts (4). Speed nuts are made for thin metal and are "U" shaped. They have a hole on one end and a off center hole on the other to "grasp" the threads of a sheet metal screw. Drill (carefully) 4 holes in a little at the corners from where you cut the plastic out and slip in the speed nuts so the holes align.
    Next get a piece of sheet metal, 6 inch square. Drill (again carefully) 4 holes in the sheet metal that will line up with the speed nuts you installed. Sand and paint the sheet metal black. After drying, screw four sheet metal screws though the holes into the air deflector and you are done.

    Now you have an easy "covered" access hole to remove/install the oil filter.
  • I don't want to loose this thread. There are too many of us having this problem to let it go and we are getting new members everyday that might not be aware.

    So file a complaint if you are experiencing the hesitation problem with the '04 Highlander here;

    Click on "secure submissions" and fill out the simple form. When you get towards the end of filling out the form, you'll be asked the component. Click/highlight "POWER TRAIN:AUTOMATIC TRANSMISSION." Some have posted under "VEHICLE SPEED CONTROL:ACCELERATOR PEDAL" so file where you want.

  • Just remove the plastic only takes a few minutes once you get the hang of it. This will allow you to wipe down the oil filter mount flange,wipe down all oil drippings, and do a quick visual inspection. We have a 2002 V6 fwd.

    At least the highlander is fine with regular '03 turbo passat needs full syn oil...using mobil 1 euro 0-40wt oil...
  • The filter, at least on the '01 V6 AWD with tow-prep package, can be accessed from the top with minimal hassle IMO. Just reach in on the left side of the radiator (as you face the engine compartment) with the filter wrench, unscrew the filter, turn it upright, and carefully pull it out. (If changing when engine is hot (oil drains more readily), throw an old towel over the radiator and exhaust manifold to avoid burns.)
  • bdymentbdyment Posts: 570
    It appears that the 2004/05 3.3V6 has a more hidden location for the oil filter than the 3.0V6. The manifold obscures the location on the 04/05. I will let the dealer change it. Thanks to all those creative people who came up alternative ways to reach the filter.
  • edhedh Posts: 246
    the basic question is how does the dealer do it - tthey probably remove the plastic panel - easier with car on lift
  • bdymentbdyment Posts: 570
    I doubt that the dealer removes the plastic panel, because that is where my oil spillage was collecting, in the groove at the bottom of the panel. They must have a special wrench that reaches up into the hidden location.
  • Well I just checked my '04 V6 Ltd with tow package and you ain't taking it out on the left side of the radiator. The 3.3 must be different than the 3.0. I can reach in on the right side and feel the filter which is well hidden BUT, there is plenty of room to get a wrench on it and to pull it out the right side from the top. Thanks for helping me to locate it.
  • just a thought. using variable weight oil
    SAE5/30. Does it really drain better when hot since it is thinner when cold and thickens when hot? The oil changes on my 04 HL Done by Toyota always drip after a oil change. Service rep says that service changes the filter by feel and a little bit of oil drips and accumulates in that plastic shroud.
  • Actually I'm not positive draining oil with the engine hot is preferred; I just heard it somewhere and so that's always the way I did it. I mentioned it to my roommate a few years back and he said you should drain when cold to prevent the engine block from warping.
  • Obviously if it is 100 degrees in Phoenix, warming up the engine is not really necessary. But when I'm changing the oil and it is cold out, I will warm up the engine to make the oil flow freer and quicker. The hot engine mandate came when we were all using straight 30W oil or 20W50. People would not wait long enough for the oil to drain. With the advent of 5W30, I doubt it makes much difference. If you pour it from a can at 40 degrees it comes right out.
  • 2004HL Maintenence reminder light in dash came on at 10k miles
    cant find procedure to reset it. no mention of it in manual.
    BTW I was taught to change oil hot also, but this is ancient history. with the new oils I doubt it is necessary.
  • Check my previous post #1521. I have done it twice now. The directions are buried somewhere in the owner's manual.
  • Finally found it
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    before oil change will allow the oil to pickup and hold in suspension some of the particles that have settled into the bottom of the sump.

    So you not only drain quickly, you get more of the "sediments" removed.
  • wbaywbay Posts: 34
    I test drove an '05 HL LTD and was able to reproduce the hesitation every time. Pre-04 models evidently do not have the drive by wire system, and don't experience the hesitation. The Salesman hadn't heard of the problem, but was a believer after the test drive. Just turning a corner and punching the accelerator was enough to cause the acceleration. Even on a straight stretch punching the gas pedal produced a noticable delay. Also drove an '05 Tundra and experienced no hesitation whatsoever. Have resigned myself to living with the problem, but have learned to alleviate it slightly by depressing the accelerator about halfway rather than flooring it, and actually stepping on the gas before I'm out of a turn. Dumb to have to do this, but it works reasonably well.
  • edhedh Posts: 246
    on my test drivethere was this horrible vibaration when you pressed on the brakes salesman kept denying it was there.
    they also "have never heard of" any other pattern problems
  • You know it makes absolutely NO sense to me that some have this hesitation problem and some like myself don't. I tried to reproduce it in a large empty parking lot by going 15 -20 mph and making either a sharp left or sharp right turn and then flooring it and it had no hesitation at all. I'm grateful I don't have it but the question is, why don't I and many others have the same problem. I currently have 5500 miles on my '04 HL.
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