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Sulfur Smell from Toyota 4Runner



  • Of course it can be. Different refineries will produce gasoline with varying amounts of ethanol. I had a VW Jetta with the exact same problem and was able to correct it by changing fuel brands. The smell is the converter burning off is not the CO2 itself.
  • Any update to you plight? I've just purchased a 2005 4x4 V6 Sport and have the same problems.
  • mrwhipplemrwhipple Posts: 378
    the tsb works great. usually takes the dealer a couple of days to get the parts. once they do, it only takes them about half a day to replace the items and reprogram the computer. then you're good to go.

    the fix works just fine and it's fully covered by the warranty.
  • Okay, I have read many of the responses and it seems that the nay sayers are the ones that have never experienced what you are talking about, just too much time on their hands and respond just to be negative. I have a 2003 4Runner Limited and experience the smell almost daily. They apparently have never been exposed, because if they had ever experienced it, they would sing a different tune. When you are driving down the road and your vehicle "farts" and it smells like you are driving thru a very active sewage treatment plant on a hot day and you can't breath, there would be no question that something is seriously wrong with the vehicle. It is bad with the windows closed and even worse with the windows open. I took it to the dealer and they gave me something from Toyota that said there was no manufacturer problem, but a gas problem. Soon after that a TSB came out saying how to fix the problem. No problem, why do you need a TSB. I took it back to the dealer, a different one and wow there is no problem again, because it didn't stink for them. Sorry we can't fix it if there is no problem (duh, I gave them he TSB, must be a problem). It is in the shop today, I called the owner of the dealership I purchased the vehicle at. I said, remember the 2001 Corvette convertible I traded in on this vehicle, I need you to do something about my car farting (he drives the Corvette, by the way). He said bring it in and we will take care of it. Toyota knows there is a problem, otherwise no TSB. If the vehicle is under warranty, fix the damn thing. Enough said.....
  • SylviaSylvia Posts: 1,636
    A reporter is looking to speak with owners of Chrysler, Saab, Toyota or Volkswagen vehicles who did all the scheduled maintenance on their vehicle and still experienced engine sludge within the warranty period within the past year. If this describes your situation, please respond by 6pm Eastern on Monday, May 23, 2005 to
    Thanks for your consideration,
    Jeannine Fallon
    Corporate Communications
  • seanlhseanlh Posts: 2
    I've been having the sulfur problem as well, but my dealership refuses to fix it. They claim they would wind up putting the same part in since the 2004 part will not fix?!?

    What method did you use to fix this problem, and do you have a 2005 Model? If so, do you know what part number your dealership used?


  • marchanmarchan Posts: 3
    I own toyota 4R V6 2004 with miles on it,this week I drove to PA from New York 117 miles ,and we started suffering that terrible smell on and off .the thing I noticed was that when I used the cruise control the smell did not come on, I changed the air filters but nothing happens the smell is stronger then ever,that is to say toyota did nothing for the 2004 model.
  • busaturbobusaturbo Posts: 2
    I too, like the rest of you have the ever-annoying sulfur problem. However, I am becoming ever more aware of the presense of what smells like burning isopropyl alcohol, or perhaps methanol, this occurs, like the sulfur, under increased acceleration, ergo it leads me to believe its origins are shared with the H2S produced by the CAT, any help?
  • mah1mah1 Posts: 3
    I have a 03 4 runner v8 limited. This SMELL has literally made me ill......but (a little slow) it took me a while to realize my illnesses and the smell were related. My dealership Santa Monica Toyota has been totally non responsive and I am seriously at the boiling point!!!!
  • alize2004alize2004 Posts: 9
    Did Toyota ever help you? I didn't know that this smell was a 4Runner problem until I checked out Edmunds last night. Of course it's more noticeable now that I roll down my windows. I purchased in the winter when it was less notiecable. I called the dealership and was told that the "check engine" light would need to be on before they would do anything.
  • I an having the same problem with sulfur coming in my car through the a/c vents. It happens periodically with out windows open but if I have the back window cracked the whole car fills up with that smell. I taken my 04 v6 4Runner in for the 3rd time. Toyota sent out a specialist and they couldn't fix the problem. They Still have the same story they say they can't do anything for it other then the tsb. So they opened a case with Toyota and said I can open an arbitration with them. If you all are having the same problem with bad customer service my advice to you is call toyota. Don't wait for the dealerships. They dont have the equipment to fix it or they would have done it already. If the people who have the problem come forward and hold toyota responsible they loose enough money from buying back these suv's. They will finally do something about it. I will keep you all posted on how the arbitration goes. Who ever username is bsg. I was wondering if I can get some specifics from you arbitration to help me with mine. Your help would be greatly appriceated.
  • gwallgwall Posts: 1
    I'm getting ready to purchase an '05 SR5 V6 tomorrow (6/29). Is this sulfur problem a widespread issue with the '05 models as well??
  • rvalc43594rvalc43594 Posts: 31
    I traded my v6 2003 limited for a 2005 v8 sport and i am still experiencing the sulfur smell. I hope it's because of the break in period there after it will go away. :confuse:

    I really like the v8 over the v6 and what's even more surprising I think that I am getting better gas mileage with the v8. :surprise:
  • polartoypolartoy Posts: 18
    I also traded by 2003 V8 4r for a 2005V8. Though the smell can still occur, with all windows, vents closed, it is a lot less, and not too severe. I have 9000 km on the truck. They obviously made some changes to the catalytic converter, but have not solved it completely. Problem was diagnosed long ago to be with the location of the exhaust at the back and the proximity to the through cabin exhaust vent. Would be easy to solve if Toyota had some good conscience and really cared.
  • dpr1dpr1 Posts: 7
    I had the sulfur smell in my 05 Sport. It was only noticeable at high RPMs, like driving up a mountain pass. I was told by the dealer to use BP gas- I have not noticed the smell since I made the switch. I would give it try. Hopefully, it will work for you.
  • rvalc43594rvalc43594 Posts: 31
    I too use BP and it still have the smell upon heavy acceleration. :(
  • dpr1dpr1 Posts: 7
    I will be interested to see if this carries over to the 06 models. If it does not, I would like to know what Toyota did to fix it, and if does, Toyota is not reading these forums...
  • sdzcsdzc Posts: 1
    Any ideas if this sulphur issue can cause any short or long term damage to the vehicle?

    For example, the cabin air filter? Would this cause the filter to need to be changed prematurely?

    As for long term effects, I would be concerned about damage to the engine itself?

    Any thoughts?
  • neumie2000neumie2000 Posts: 133
    First, it seems like everyone is comparing different "smells." Any car or suv, whether it be Toyota, Ford, Chevy or Dodge, will smell like rotten eggs if you floor it. If the vehicle smells going up a steep grade while you are pushing 4-5,000 rpms, this is completely normal as the catalytic converter is heating up to burn off excess emissions. So to those who have posted saying that their vehicle smells at high rpms, that is perfectly normal.

    Now, others, like myself, who have a similar smell while sitting still in traffic is a whole different story. The explanation that I received is that when the 4Runner was redesigned, they used a new material in the catalytic converter that was supposedly safer for workers to handle when building the vehicle. This new material has been causing some excess sulfur smells, especially depending on the type of gasoline you use. There are no long term adverse effects, whether for your cabin filter or otherwise. Just keep the back window up and enjoy your 4Runner!!
  • mah1mah1 Posts: 3
    I understand and accept the information posted on this forum. My concern, and perhaps I am alone on this: I have become Ill from the smells inside of my 4 runner. I have asked others to drive my vehicle and they too have reported the smell of amonia as well as the sulpher. Maybe there is no damage to the car.......but how about injury to the riders???? This has only happened in the last 6 months....previously I have not had any problems. FYI I have owned Toyota cars and trucks since the 1980's, everything from Camrays to Land Cruisers and other 4 runners......

  • It is not a whole different story. I dont know about you but I didnt pay $30,000+ just to get a nasty smell in my suv regardless if I am going 45mph or 75 mph. I work to hard for my money to throw it away on something that is not working the way it is designed. The sulfur smell that is entering my suv is crap. If it is all makes and models that this is happening to then my 04 dodge ram should be doing the same thing. My mom and dad's 01 f-150 or 98 mustang should be doing it. my sister 05 sunfire. I can go on and on. It boils down to a few cars from each make and model that have defects in them. These cars are making the smell. People shouldn't have to just except a bad product. Especially fromToyota which is know for making quality vechiles. Which they make you pay for by higher prices for their cars and trucks. Then you buy what you think is a great car and it starts making this smell. That is not qaulity to me. People work hard for their money like myself and when I buy something that expensive. I demand qaulity and for you to say just keep the back window up is stupid.I paid for all the features of my car to work. Not being able to use my back windows is unexceptable. Someone has to hold the car makers responsible for putting out bad products. Also for this problem to carry over for the last 3 years shows you that they have done nothing to correct it.
  • chawk1chawk1 Posts: 2
    I just got a 2005 4runner and I am wondering if a tailpipe extension putting the exhaust out at the side of the car would help the sulfur smell problem. I have an appt. at the dealer next week to check things out, but am not expecting much from them. Is there anything that works? I hate to say it, but the back window was one of the main reasons why I bought the truck in the first place, so not using it is pretty pointless to me for spending the extra $ on a 4runner in the first place.
  • neumie2000neumie2000 Posts: 133
    I think you missed the point of my post entirely. What I said was that there are two different smells that are being associated with the new 4Runners, one of which is a problem and the other is not. Any vehicle (including the ones you mentioned) will smell like rotten eggs when the engine rpms are above, for example, 4K. When you follow a vehicle up a steep grade, you will tend to notice a rotten egg odor. Again, this is the catalytic converter doing exactly what it is supposed to do. Because none of the vehicles you mentioned has a rear window near the exhaust that opens, you will not smell the odor that your vehicle is producing. Only the person behind you will.

    HOWEVER, if your 4Runner has the odor all the time, whether in traffic, idoling, or otherwise, then there is an issue of concern. This is not normal. However, the explanation I have received is that the catalytic converter is now made of a new material that is safer for the workers who put your 4Runner together.

    So, my final point is this. Driving with the back window down is a bad idea in any vehicle because it will tend to suck exhaust back into the vehicle. There is no reason to drive with the back window down unless you are hauling something that will not fit. So your choice is this......continue to allow the smell to make you upset and spend lots of your valuable time at the Toyota dealership complaining, OR just put your window up. Whether you think that is stupid or not, those are pretty much your choices. Lemon law will not likely help you either, because depending on the law of your state, the problem usually needs to create a safety issue which, unless the smell is making you physically ill, is not present here.

  • tacovivatacoviva Posts: 116
    Folks, I posted this problem back in 03. It looks like Toyota is still in denial mode. I really feel bad for you guys and hope they will stand up and do the right thing, but it doesn't look like that will happen. After going through this I found only one solution: I sold the Runner and got the wife an Accord. For the last 2 years it's been trouble and stink free.

    BTW-If I still had this problem I wouldn't listen to the folks in here because they have never experienced this first hand. If they had they'd understand. Good Luck and if you give up, just don't buy another.
  • mjsyardmjsyard Posts: 1
    i went through the toyota arbitration. it was a waste of time. i highly recommend when you are offered the choice of presenting your case on paper or in person. do it in person!!! they told me both are reviewed equal and neither helps your case. i regretfully chose paper as not to miss anymore work. they said i didn't present my case. i had over 15 letters verifying the problem from witnesses, work orders, the toyota service bulletin and more. i have just contacted a lemon law lawyer to help. please let me know if you get any better results and how you did it.

  • tloke1tloke1 Posts: 185
    "Any car or suv, whether it be Toyota, Ford, Chevy or Dodge, will smell like rotten eggs if you floor it".

    I've owned a lot of new vehicles over the years and have never had this issue. I have owned Grand Cherokee's, Ford Explorer's, Chevy Trailblazer's, Honda Accord's and many more. Floored them all as I drive aggressively at times.

    Was looking to buy a 2005 or 2006 Grand Cherokee and in my research have never seen a single post about rotten egg smells, not even in the older models.

    It is INEXCUSABLE why Toyota has not addressed this defect. 2003, 2004 and 2005 models have the problem, and no doubt 2006 models will have it as well. In typical Toyota fashion the issue is being skirted. Sheesh, people tried to "warn" me about buying a Grand Cherokee, told me to get a 4Runner instead. Am I ever glad I did NOT take their advice!

    4Runner owners with the sulfur issue are pretty much screwed. You really have no choice but to trade it in and get another brand SUV, or to go out and buy gas masks for the entire family.
  • neumie2000neumie2000 Posts: 133
    You have been in other 4Runner forums bashing the 4Runner for months now. We know you like to defend your new Jeep. As I've said countless times before, any vehicle will smell like rotten eggs if you "floor" it. The reason you do not smell it is because it goes out the back of your only those behind you will smell it. The problem that has been expressed by less than a handful of people is a sulfur smell entering the cabin of their vehicle....this is a issue, however, it is very very isolated. Others have expressed a problem of smelling this sulfur odor when having the back window down because it seems to create a pressure difference which sucks exhaust in through the back. Come back and talk to us in a few years after your Jeep experiences the same failures that so many others have already reported and after your Jeep has experienced the sort of depreciation Toyota owners love to laugh at.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 57,604
    I think community members who don't own the 4Runner are certainly welcome to make a few comments but generally I would like to see this forum working for 4Runner owners who are trying to solve their problem. They already know that not all vehicles do this as badly (although some vehicles will do this under the right conditions).

    So please limit your contributions to helpful and constructive comments and solutions.

    thank you


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  • btarterbtarter Posts: 3
    right on the money! My 2005 does the same thing and toyota just doesnt want to do anything but blame the fuel. Good Luck
  • btarterbtarter Posts: 3
    what grade of BP. I use regular 87 and it smells alot. :mad:
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