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Sulfur Smell from Toyota 4Runner



  • suvowner1suvowner1 Member Posts: 33
    I have also considered buying a new 4runner and the sulfur smell is def a negative factor.....I did some reading about gasoline and posted a while back, but essentially as more cars are built to be ultra low emission vehicles they will all have the sulfur smell based on the current non-reformulated gasolines.....I spoke with the air quality office in my home state arkansas, and they told me that the reformulated gasoline has as requirement to have a lower sulfur level, whereas others do not, and in other gasolines the sulfur content may vary from batch to batch, i.e. oil from africa vs iraq vs russia vs the gulf may have a higher sulfur content to begin with, so the base stock can make a significant difference.....as you may have read diesel fuel has a lot of sulfer and will be under new requirements to reduce this significantly, the oil companies have argued that this will be technologically very difficult and expensive...my hope is as this technology improves so wil the ability to remove sulfur from conventional gasoline......

    Below is a map of reformulated gasoline areas, the scoop as that air quality is down in alot of other major cities, and the list of places requiring reformulated gasoline should grow significantly in the next few years........
    http://www.eia.doe.gov/oil_gas/petroleum/data_publications/wrgp/r- eformulated_map.html
  • swschradswschrad Member Posts: 2,171
    by 2005, EPA has mandated that there will be essentially no sulfur in gasoline nationwide. certain additional areas not on that map may be served by refineries that have already made the changes, and are boasting of it. in the twin cities, for instance, holiday is selling "blue planet" gas from flint hills resources, sulfur-free.
  • tacovivatacoviva Member Posts: 116
    Thanks for the map, but I live in the Dallas Fort Worth area and I have this problem. But according to the map, it's reformulated. Sulfur free isn't the issue though. It's repulsive, but the bigger issue is the exhaust entering the cabin itself. Toyota says that the sulfur thing is an industry problem and they are correct. However, the exhaust accumulation inside the 4Runner is a Toyota problem. All cars get the stinky sulfur smell, but only the 4Runner has it consistently on the INSIDE. Don't let them fool you. It is a Toyota problem and it will be expensive to fix. I'm getting air quality checks performed on my vehicle and will share the results on this forum. With the results in hand, I'm taking them to Lemon Law in Texas. I'm sure Toyota is doing their own testing now, but most manufacturers do this sort of thing ahead of vehicle release. Don't get me wrong, this is a great vehicle but it has a nasty habit of smelling and a dangerous problem. It really is a costly mistake for both the consumer and Toyota. It's unfortunate that Toyota has taken up the finger pointing game and left its consumers to solve their engeering problems.

    It's my opinion that simply upgrading the exhaust to a dual port side exit design would virtually eliminate this problem. But why should we have to pay for it????

    In the interim, I'm going to have the dealer verify that the vents in the rear were installed correctly, then do the air quality test. I don't want them to say in court "did you verify the vents were installed correctly?"

    So if your in the market for an SUV, look for one that doesn't stink. I mean you don't put your trash can in your closet, right?

    Go to www.nthsa.gov and look up the complaints on the 2003 4Runner. I think about half are related to this problem and it's in the top 10 "most complained about vehicles for 2003". What an honor. Not the response Toyota was hoping for I'm sure.
  • suvowner1suvowner1 Member Posts: 33
    I don't think reformulated gas is sulfur free, but it is controlled to a greater degree than non-reformulated............def the issue of the smell getting into the cabin is of concern, b/c obviously the carbon monoxide is getting in as well.........long term carbon monoxide exposure is def not good for your health......it works by attaching to the heme molecule in your red blood cells and effectively making it impossible for the red blood cell to ever transfer oxygen again.....considering all things I am prob going to just get another jeep, I really like the 4runner but I think it needs a couple more years of debugging before I will get one.........jeep is certainly not without its problems, but I have a great dealer who really does take care of it customers with a great service department......prob it is one of the better jeep service departments in the country, b/c it is at one of, if not the largest volume jeep dealer in the country, there service dept sees it all.......
  • coranchercorancher Member Posts: 232
    I finally got the chance to spend a few minutes looking for the rear vents--where the cabin air is supposed to leave the 4Runner. I looked around the interior to see where the vent passages might begin, but never could figure it out for sure. I think the vents begin somewhere around the floor, behind the rear seats, but that's all I know for now. Maybe the vent inlet is actually a long groove or gap in the floor trim.

    The more interesting part is where the air exits the exterior. This was no more obvious, so I tried an experiment. I closed up all the windows, turned the cabin air to fresh, and turned the fan up to high. Then I prowled around the vehicle, feeling for rushing air. Turns out that the air exits inside the rear bumper, outboard of the frame rails, and perhaps a foot forward of the end of the rails. You can first feel the air at the level of the bottom of the bumper, but if you feel around more you'll find that the actual exit is in the area behind the wheel wells, up above the level of the frame.

    So what does this mean? [For the moment I'll leave aside the question of which engines and vehicles produce the smell, how bad, how often, and under what conditions.] I suspect that the smell is coming in from the right rear cabin exhaust vent, which is very close to the engine exhaust tip. The problem may be worse with the cabin air on recirculate, and maybe at its worst with the fan off entirely.

    Experiments to improve things: First, turn the air to fresh instead of recirculate. Second, keep the fan running, at least on the low position. Third, consider extending the exhaust tip at least a couple of inches rearward and/or to the side. The Borla or similar exhaust systems may improve things, too.

    I hope this information can help someone. My V6 doesn't smell except on heavy acceleration, and I can't detect the smell inside unless I leave the rear window down. So I can't test much of this myself. I'd welcome any feedback or further information.
  • tacovivatacoviva Member Posts: 116
    thanks for the info. I'll be looking there tonight.
  • otown_29otown_29 Member Posts: 7
    Ok, I'm looking at purchasing a 4-Runner but obviously this discussion is making me think about it.

    I am looking at a Sport V6... does this problem only occur on the V8? Someone please clarify.

  • msparks3msparks3 Member Posts: 2
    I came across this website tonight while searching the internet for any information on the sulfur smell I have experienced from DAY 1 from my 2003 4Runner. Had my 4Runner checked out and was told nothing was wrong with it, to use "better" gas in it. Didn't help. Going back to Service Department on Monday with same problem. I called Toyota today and I was told nothing was wrong with my 4Runner. My comment to them was this problem was not acceptable to me, that I paid too much money to have to put up with this. I asked how many other complaints had they received and the representative just dodged the question and wouldn't give me a straight answer. Just responded that he had heard of this complaint before. I then followed with how many complaints of this nature did he receive in a day's time and there was no response. I was told my next step would be call Arbitration and hire an attorney, but I wasn't given the number for Arbitration even though I asked for it many times.

    I have read a lot of the postings. My 4Runner is a Sport Edition V8 2WD. It has a sunroof that is useless. Can't stand to ride with it open. It causes the smell to intensify. This smell has made me physically sick and, on long trips, makes my eyes burn and sleepy. Even with all the windows up, air on, sunroof closed, can still smell the odor. And don't even think about stepping on the gas. If you do, you leave a stink trail. I have had people pass me on the highway holding their noses!!! So, this is affecting me and my family as well as others traveling behind me. COME ON TOYOTA!!! Clear your name.

    Was hoping to get some responses from the other people that have gone to arbitration or had a hearing about their outcome. Also, for the folks that have had hearings, I am curious if there was a court reporter present and a transcript made of the hearing. Would certainly make for some interesting reading, especially due to the fact that I am a court reporter.

    I plan to call a person I know at the Attorney General's office tomorrow and anyone else I can think of about this problem. Don't get me wrong. I absolutely love my 4Runner except for choking on sulfur. I had a '99 4Runner that I traded in on this one that didn't have ANY sulfur exhaust related problems.

    Anyone else out there had any problems with the driver's seat or the molding on the top? Had the molding replaced on mine and the driver's seat fixed once. Going back in on Monday to fix again. And the Toyota dealership that I am going to has the nerve to ask me to pay for a rental car!!! YEAH RIGHT. What a joke!!

    I think all of us should come together on this problem. I feel Toyota should step up to the plate on this one and fix the problem. Being told by a Toyota Service Department Advisor and a Toyota Representative that there is nothing Toyota can do is NOT acceptable to me and I don't plan on living with this problem. Toyota should fix this problem before someone falls asleep from carbon monoxide poisoning and kills themself and other innocent people and then is in a multi billion dollar lawsuit. They may be anyway if enough of us come together on this and file a class action suit.

    I would welcome any comments or responses from other 4Runner owners that have had hearings or perhaps have worked out this problem with Toyota. I don't want another vehicle. I just want this one fixed so my family and I don't have to smell the odor. And when you pay $32,000 for a vehicle, you shouldn't have to put up with this type of problem. My husband even works for Toyota.

  • swschradswschrad Member Posts: 2,171
    I have been behind a couple new explorers in the past few weeks that are moderate sulfur burners.

    I strongly suspect the catalytic converters out there these days are wimpy little gutless things, cheaped out due to the economy, and that's a big part of the problem.

    but I have no evidence that would hold up in court.
  • tacovivatacoviva Member Posts: 116
    I just finished the Toyota sponsored arbitration and lost. They even admitted that "we have a problem with exhaust entering the cabin on the 4runner". The arbitration company, NCDS, is paid by Toyota. There's an inherent conflict of interest so I would use the STATE Lemon Law in KY. I've performed an exhaustive (hehe) safety analysis and it was totally disregarded. I'm currently filing through my state Lemon Law. It's a real pain. Initially, I was told that it was a breakin smell. Then they said they didn't smell anything at all. Then, after Toyota admitted to the exhaust problem, they started smelling it. After I get rid of this vehicle Toyota will never get another cent from me. It really has nothing to do with the vehicle. It's how they treated me. I'd rather take a Ford or GM to the shop once a month than have to put up with the BS from Toyota.

    During my hearing Toyota recommeded that the dealer verify the rear vents are installed correctly. I would say go to your dealer and ask them to do that. Then you'll need to do some testing to prove that exhaust is present.

    Unfortunately, the burden of proof is on us, the consumer. Toyota knows this and that's why they are so evasive. I think it stinks, literally.

    go to http:\\www.nhtsa.gov and file your complaint.
  • msparks3msparks3 Member Posts: 2
    Just spoke to friend of mine in AG's office in Kentucky. I was told the arbitration hearing is the first step before I can file a Lemon Law. Lemon Law applies to any vehicle where the value or use is affected. Well, definitely the value is affected. Who else would want the stinking thing? The use is affected. My kids don't want to ride in the thing and, to be honest, I am almost afraid of it. Especially if I have to drive very far.

    AG's office is sending me some pamphlets on arbitration and a complaint form. I was advised to contact the Dispute Settlement Operations Center (apparently this center is just used by Toyota and not owned and run by them) at 800-777-8119. I have not done this yet. I was also advised to send a certified letter to the manufacturer which I plan on doing.

    I was also told that sometimes dealers will offer a "trade assistance" program if you complain enough which will allow a person to upgrade and get, for example, a 2004 4Runner. Wonder if they have the same problem? I would think they do.

    I am also attempting to get through the Open Records Act any and all complaints or concerns expressed by other 4Runner owners in the state that I live in. I think it will be interesting to find out how many other people in Kentucky have experienced this problem with their 4Runner. Also would give me more weight when I present my case to arbitration.

    Anybody else posting on this website from Kentucky? Would love to hear from you.
  • tacovivatacoviva Member Posts: 116
    Do not use the Toyota Dispute program. It's a huge waste of time, but a good primer for the Lemon Law hearing. I may end up selling mine just to rid myself of the stinch. I like the car, it's just the stink and danger of emissions. If you hold out, I think they'll recall the vehicle.
  • renshorensho Member Posts: 42
    Have you thought further about blocking off one of the rear vents? You seem to know where they might be. If you could drive it without the smell via using some ingenuity, is it worth it to you?
    How about trying that very simple extension of the exaust tip? Go to Pepboys, buy a $10 muffler tip. It attaches via a screw. Extend the tip past the bumper.
    Or buy one that puts the tip out to the side. Just try it. It might lower your blood pressure.
    I do agree that you shouldn't have to solve the problem for Toyota, but right now, you are either spending time in court...might as well spend much less time with these experiments.

    It is sad to hear Toyota being so lame in this case and losing another customer, as well as the losses due to word of mouth.
    Real shame. What state are you in? Let me see if I can run this by the western states service director for Toyota. I wonder if he could help.
  • forestergumpforestergump Member Posts: 119
    As a prospective purchasor of a 4Runner in the next two months, I confess this issue is beginning to concern me. Although I really like the 4Runner, I will not put my family in harm's way if there are potentially dangerous emissions entering the interior of the vehicle. Toyota's resistance to recognizing this problem is troubling, to say the least. There are plenty of other SUVs out there to choose from.
  • tacovivatacoviva Member Posts: 116
    I know a little about automobiles. I'm an engineer and a former auto mechanic. This is simply an engineering error on Toyota's behalf.

    I've been here for a while (on Edmunds) and I respect your suggestion. However, I don't work for Toyota and I refuse to solve this problem. This goes beyond a smell problem. In my world (the engineering world) this is completely unacceptable. I buy a 30k vehicle and have to buy a $10 part to fix a problem that Toyota didn't have enough engineering insight to identify?

    My political Science professor once told me "Know one cares until they're pinched" Toyota needs a pinch.


    save your money. This is a great vehicle with a fatal flaw. If you buy one, you'll need to get a Borla exhaust system to correct the problem.

    It's my opinion that Toyota will recall this vehicle for this problem...soon.

    ps: Edmunds: Kudos on the spell check and everything else in this forum....well done. You should build cars!
  • swschradswschrad Member Posts: 2,171
    over what features to put in the Edmunds Cruiser ;) they can't try and please us all with a 0-60 in 3.9 convertible that tows 8000 pounds, takes hairpin turns in stride at speed, including wallowing through the mud pit in the middle, and has heated/cooled seats and steering wheel along with a missle rack on the roof :-D
  • sequoiasoonsequoiasoon Member Posts: 223
    Does the LT/EXT version have the flat folding third row, nav, rear dvd and full passenger compartment air bag bubble? If you can keep it below $15K I'm in!
  • swschradswschrad Member Posts: 2,171
    if edmunds DOES build a car, you got your features in the list. however, that might mean a date in the ring of public opinion if anybody else wants seats that stick up and can't be made comfy. and doesn't the air bag - uh, mother-in-law - go in the trunk, haw haw haw??
  • alfster1alfster1 Member Posts: 273
    Hmm, I was looking for that particular model, but they were out of stock. How typical! LOL
  • lynleytlynleyt Member Posts: 11
    Looks like the lemon law approach is a challenge.

    What about taking Toyota to small claims court, on the basis of fraud. The manual says exhaust in the cabin is a problem; there is no disclosure by Toyota on sale of any sulpur odor; no warning that some brands/grades of gas will be problemmatic.

    Your recovery would be limited by the dollar limit of small claims, but it might be worth it.

    Damages could be compensation for suffering the offensive odor (52 times in a month for me, but who's counting).

    Any thoughts?
  • zueslewiszueslewis Member Posts: 2,353
    the lemon law approach on this subject is a waste of time.

    Also, going to small claims court with no legal backing (case law on the matter) will waste your time as well.
  • tacovivatacoviva Member Posts: 116
    Did you smell it when you did the test drive? If so, tell them to fix it BEFORE you take delivery. Is yours a 6 or 8?

    It doesn't matter if you sign that document, it's worthless. Just make sure they fix the problem first.


    I think presenting the case based on a sulfur smell would be a mistake. However, if you show up with data from and independent 3 rd party test showing exhaust(not just smell) and then present the Toyota manual which is explicit about exhaust inside the cabin, I think he may have a shot.

    I may just sell mine, be vocal about my problem, and never buy from them again is far worse than trying to pry a few thousand dollars from some creedy corporate a-hole's hand.
    If one person doesn't buy because of bad publicity, then that's 30k loss for them.

    I'm purchasing an air quality monitor. If the results show anything abnormal, I'll post all the info and how you too can show that there's a problem.

  • zueslewiszueslewis Member Posts: 2,353
    that's really the only successful shot at any type of litigation.
  • b1rd0gb1rd0g Member Posts: 11
    I posted this recently on another forum and is based on my first-hand experiences. Hope this helps some of you.
    In order to hold Toyota accountable for problems
    such as these, the consumer must be vigilant.
    You've got do be prepared to express your
    displeasure with your purchase. More importantly,
    you've got to express it to the right resources.
    I know, I've been through the ringer with Toyota
    and perhaps my experiences can help some of you.
    However, I cannot guarantee that you will get
    results. The actions provided below are some
    of the things that I did to try to resolve
    my issues and may not be the right actions for
    you in your situation. However, some of this
    may help you. I also stress that some states
    require you do do things in a certain order.
    Do your homework before taking any action.

    1) If you don't already have one, purchase a
    decent digital or video camera. Record your
    problem any way you can. You know the story
    with service..."unable to duplicate" or
    "no problem found". Make sure you record the
    date and time on every recording. Record at
    least three separate occurrences. You won't
    believe how much this helps your case.
    I had an issue that service could not duplicate.
    After recording it on video and showing them,
    they had no other alternative but to address it.
    Every dealer has a conference room with a VCR.
    Ask the service manager if you can show your
    video to him and their best tech. Or better yet,
    some dealers have VCRs in the showroom. Pop
    your tape in and show it to the public.
    Note: If you don't want to get thrown out of the
    dealer, don't do this. Just a little humor!
    2) Service
    - Submit your service requests in person and in
    writing. Make sure that you read your list of
    items with them to make sure they understand
    your concerns.
    - Verify that they have written up your specific
    concerns and service requests in their computers
    as you stated them. Too many times I pickup
    my vehicle and review the service invoice only
    to find things I've never asked for or reported.

    Case and point, I have a front seat issue where
    the seat does not retain the height setting.
    They replaced the front seat for me. When I read
    the invoice, it stated I had a front seat squeak.
    I never reported a squeak but that's what appeared
    on the invoice. Now, if Toyota does a search on my
    issue, it appears as if it was never reported.

    - Test your vehicle with a service tech to verify
    that your issue has been resolved. If not, do
    not pay for it and do not accept it. This is not
    easy to do since we all want our vehicles back.
    - Purchase a binder and a three ring hole punch.
    Place all of your service records in this book.
    Include the list you discussed with your service
    department as well.
    - Document every conversation with times dates,
    and names, what they said, what you said, anything
    and everything. I can provice an easy Word or
    Excel format to help you.

    If after three tries your problem still exists, call
    the 1-800-(call us if you want to, we still don't care)
    Customer Service line (sorry, sarcasm wreaks a little)
    and request that a service resolution ticket be opened.
    Ask for the case # and retain it. Each time you have
    an update, call the 1-800 number and make sure you have
    them update the record for you. They will assign the issue
    to someone in Toyota to look at your problem, Get that
    name and call frequently for updates.

    If no action is being taken, ask why not and document

    Yep...this is a lot of work. But remember the price
    tag on your vehicle and the payments you continue to
    make. It's worth it!

    That's the end of part #1!

    Part #2

    OK...now you're pissed. The issue you've reported three
    times is not resolved, being addressed, or worse yet,
    being ignored by your service department.


    Re-read the above statement.

    If you do, it will hurt your case. Simply state that
    what they are telling you is unacceptable and that
    you as a consumer will not stand for inferior service
    or products. Restate to them why you purchased their
    product and what your expectations are. Always give
    the dealer and/or service department as much help as
    you can. Provide TSB info, other owner experiences,
    become an allie, not an enemy. Ask them what they would
    do if they were you.

    At this point, Toyota should be working with a rep
    from your regional distributor on your case. If not,
    you need to push them to act.

    Contact an attorney in your area who specializes in
    automobile arbitration cases . They are an invaluable
    source of advice.
    I worked with one for about two weeks via eMail and
    was never charged for his service. They sympathize with
    your issues and will help you as much as they can.

    Let Toyota know that if they do not act to resolve your
    issue, you will be contacting consumer agencies for
    help. Here are some of the agencies you can contact;

    Local state attorney general
    - Write a letter detailing your issues and provide
    copies of all of your documentation

    Consumer Protection Agency
    - File a complaint

    Better Business Bureau
    - File a complaint

    National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
    - File a complaint

    Local TV stations and newspapers
    - Write a letter and ask for news coverage

    Your Congress-person
    - Write a letter explaining your situation

    And last but not least,

    Yoshi Isaba, President and CEO
    Executive Team
    Toyota Motor Sales, USA
    19001 South Western Avenue, WC11
    Torrance, California 90509-2714

    You can contact one agency at a time or all at once.

    Be professional in all of your correspondence.
    Detail what you've done, what you are going through and
    how it is effecting your life.

    Note: Even though Toyota says you must go through their
    arbitration process, in reality, you don't. If you
    feel you have a case, then you can file a law suit.
    Be sure to check your local state laws and your attorney
    in this regard FIRST.

    If necessary, pay your attorney to draft a letter of intent
    and send it via registered mail to the Toyota Executive Team
    at the address above.

    There are no guarantees that any of this will help you.

    However, if enough of you start taking actions to alert
    Toyota of your issues, and include the agencies and
    government personnel that are there to
    protect you, they may actually start doing
    something about them.

    If I can provide any direct assistance to any of you,
    please contact me directly.

    Good luck!

    PS...now may be a good time to keep JDPowers and Edmunds up to speed on your issues as well. They are certainly not hearing from the users of this forum.

    2003 Titanium 4Runner
    SR5 4WD iForce 4.7L V8
    18" Enkei Wheels
    Kumho Ecsta STX 265/60-18 Tires
    Borla Dual Exhaust
  • ohelloohello Member Posts: 27
    I have rented a 4Runner for a week to see if I like it enough to buy it. I have a CO monitor for the basement, and stuck it in the car last night to see if it picks up anything. Last night it registered 20ppm of CO during a 30-minute ride on busy city streets in the rain. (This one has had no sulfur smell, but as many have pointed out the sulfur is the least of the worries.)

    Has anyone else tried doing this? The CO monitor is about the best they make for in-home use and only cost about $50 at Home Depot. The battery backup lets me use it in the car.

    Any insight from this? I have no idea how much CO is supposed to be allowed inside a car, nor what would be expected on busy city streets, so no frame of reference for this. This might just be the exhaust from other cars. Thanks.
  • zueslewiszueslewis Member Posts: 2,353
    whether it came from the 4Runner or from other's vehicles. In my vehicle, I can smell people cigarettes/pipes/cigars in the next car over - it certainly isn't coming from MY vehicle (avid/hard-core, activist-type non-smoker/cancer survivor).
  • ohelloohello Member Posts: 27
    This is exactly my point. If someone who reads this board happens to know, for example, that ambient CO concentration is about 2 ppm, well then this 4Runner might have a problem. However if the ambient CO ppm on city streets is 30ppm, then this 4Runner has no problem. That could be generalized, so that one could say, "an average car should have an interior CO concentration of ___ ppm." No doubt some agency has done this measurement/calculation and developed car interior CO guidelines.

    SO, to rephrase more clearly: Does anyone happen to know the average ambient CO ppm on city streets or have any other non-subjective frame of reference for this interior CO concentration of 20ppm? Does anyone know that maximum allowable CO concentration inside a car, or any regulations about this? Thanks.
  • tacovivatacoviva Member Posts: 116
    Was the A/C on recirc and were you traveling, and if so, at what speed? All these need to be answered. I'm hiring a company to go do this sort of testing. Your info could be critical in helping me move forward.
  • tacovivatacoviva Member Posts: 116

    this has the ambient levels.

    According to this, about 5ppm

    According to OSHA, the TWA is 35ppm. However, the EPA says that exposure should be less that 9ppm and only once per year!

    If you have 20 ppm inside your vehicle on a daily basis, I would consider that dangerous. It's been my contention that the vehicle suffers from a poor design.
  • coranchercorancher Member Posts: 232
    A quick web search reveals a variety of opinions on just how much of a concentration is a concern. It also depends heavily on how long one is exposed, since the real measure of hazard is the concentration of hemoglobin in the blood that is bound up with CO. Unfortunately, CO binds better than oxygen by a factor of more than 200, so it accumulates in the blood and is slow to leave.

    Anyway, the standards seem to vary between 10-50 ppm for exposures of 1 hour to 8 hours as a threshold for concern.

    Here are some links: http://www.health.state.ny.us/nysdoh/indoor/co.htm
    The World Health Organization recommends that indoor air levels for CO be kept below an average of nine ppm for any eight hour period, and below 35 ppm for any one-hour period.

    The Australian Standard: The current standard set by the National Occupational Safety and Health and Safety Commission (NOHSC) limits exposure to 30 parts of carbon monoxide per million parts of air averaged over eight hours, or 34 milligrams per metre cubed.

    Presentation with summary of numbers, other references: siri.uvm.edu/ppt/ucfihco/ucfihco.ppt
  • tacovivatacoviva Member Posts: 116
    Looks like this could be the thing that Toyota won't be able to blame on the Gas.
  • ohelloohello Member Posts: 27
    Thanks for the flood of information! For what it is worth, I had the recirculation OFF with the defrost on. About 5 minutes in stop-and-go traffic then at about 30-45mph for the remainder of the trip.

    The reason that I did this at all was that I started feeling light-headed over the weekend after about 1.5 hrs of driving. I remembered all these posts here on the forum and this seemed easy enough to test.

    I realize that a home CO meter is not likely to stand up in court, but if the 4Runner has consistently higher CO readings than my other car, I am certainly not going to buy one.
  • zueslewiszueslewis Member Posts: 2,353
    a Solara convertible, think of all the contaminants you'd have.

    I really think you guys are chasing your tails - but if that's what blows your skirt up, have at it.
  • ohelloohello Member Posts: 27
    I do not think that you are being helpful here. The point is that if the 4Runner CO concentration is HIGHER THAN NORMAL OUSIDE AIR AND ALSO HIGHER THAN INSIDE ALL OTHER CARS, it has a problem. I do not see how your quip about a convertible has anything to do with this, unless you are simply refusing to pay attention. A convertible would be FULLY exposed to the outside air, and if what we are all saying turns out to be proven, the air INSIDE a 4Runner is WORSE than outside air.
  • zueslewiszueslewis Member Posts: 2,353
    I pay attention to lemon law and breach of warranty cases for a living. Now here's what I know about the whole thing, and these are the facts:

    1) There are a HUGE amount of V-8 4Runners in my area. The firm I work for handles cases in PA, NJ, and DE. There are HUGE amounts of new 4Runners. Conicelli Toyota, in nearby Plymouth Meeting, PA can't keep 'em on the lots.

    2) Toyota owners, like Honda owners, are some of the pickiest vehicle owners there are - because of Toyota's and Honda's great track record, Toyota and Honda owners are especially over-sensitive to problems with their vehicles. They let nothing slide.

    3) Given Toyota owner's propensity to be overly picky, I would have seen literally HUNDREDS of complaints on this subject by now, considering that it only takes a month or so to recognize a problem.

    I pay attention just fine - I just feel that if there was a significant problem with these vehicles, the office would be overwhelmed with calls, given the number of these vehicles in the area and the standard response of Toyota owners to form a lynching party for Toyota execs if they get a dash rattle.
  • coranchercorancher Member Posts: 232
    I'm interested in what people find about inside vs. outside CO concentrations, but I don't think this is actually going to turn out to be a problem specific to the 4Runner. The CO level in the exhaust is probably pretty low if the engine is running ok, and I suspect that only a small amount of it gets into the cabin, and then only in certain circumstances (probably when the air is on recirculate and the fan is in the low or off position; heaven knows what happens in auto mode).

    My guess (only a guess, unless/until we get hard data) is that this isn't actually a health issue, except perhaps for a vehicle that has a functional fault of some kind that brings an unusual amount of exhaust into the cabin. A little exhaust in the cabin in some circumstances is probably inevitable in any vehicle, and if you're not getting any of your own exhaust, you might be getting some from the person in front of you.

    I do wonder what makes certain vehicles stink a large portion of the time, and why Toyota chose to put the exhaust outlet so near one of the cabin air outlets. I wonder if some of these vehicles that seem to stink bad almost all the time are actually broken somehow, running so rich that they are producing the sulfur smell a lot. Incidentally, this overly-rich mixture would be more likely to produce excessive CO. I wonder why Toyota isn't driving really hard to precisely identify the conditions and causes here, since it doesn't appear to be only the fault of bad gas.

    I also wonder why people with the problem aren't more interested in trying simple mechanical fixes. I want to make clear that I'm not dismissing this problem, and I agree it would be a major pain to smell that sulfur on a regular basis. But a serious smell problem seems to affect only a small minority of 4Runners (my opinion, based on my reading of these discussions), and if I had such a problem I'd be experimenting a bunch with changing air circulation and exhaust outlet locations, etc. Toyota is a big corporation with lots of inertia (even when they're trying to the right thing), the legal and regulatory systems are cumbersome and slow, the problem doesn't seem to affect that many people, and most folks have many other priorities to contend with, so they won't boycott Toyota or write letters or complain to the authorities, etc. It just seems to me that in many cases positive resolution is more likely when a person takes as complete control of the situation themslves as possible. Like many people, I'd like to punish an offending seller, but mostly I just want to fix the problem and I know that I care about my own situation more than anybody else ever will.
  • swschradswschrad Member Posts: 2,171
    seems that if they have some SuperClub, 5-Star, Award of Merit, or whatever they call their certified ten-out-of-ten dealers, they could issue a service interrogatory and offer a trial in which those shops could fiddle a bit with the issues in the field and see if anything useful develops.

    what good is a gold plaque and the front table at the regional dealers' meeting if it doesn't carry some useful status in the real world? first to tee off at the "team buiding" exercises after the rah-rah for the quarterly sales goals doesn't register on my screen at all, but a little plaque by the cash register saying "Fumblebutt Motors Co. Service is hereby recognized for leadership in customer satisfaction and assistance in rectifying after-sales errata recovery," or some such folderol, would give me warm fuzzies.
  • sacstate1sacstate1 Member Posts: 189
    I agree completely with what you stated.

    If it was such a big, bad all inclusive problem, Toyota would have issued a recall by now. The headliner rattle and driver seat 'movement' have been issued recalls. That is because something was incorrect in the manufacturing process to warrant a recall. And Toyota fessed up to it. Same with the visor w/no vanity mirror recall.

    My V8 has been perfect. No rattles, recalls, smells or vibrations. Great job Toyota!

    I empathize with everyone having this issue, but it is normal given the amount of sulphur in US petrol. Try sitting behind a Honda at a stoplight, that will gag you.
  • zueslewiszueslewis Member Posts: 2,353
    it was a train load of bunk, but because people flooded the internet with complaints of Toyota not replacing their engines, although most people didn't maintain them properly (Toyotas aren't THAT good)...

    Toyota initiated an extended engine warranty. For customer satisfaction.

    I get to work against manufacturers that abuse the vehicle's owners in lemon law suits and NEVER stand behind a product. Toyota isn't one of those manufacturers.
  • renshorensho Member Posts: 42
    We are asking for it not to get into the cabin of the same vehicle emitting it most or all of the time.
    Sitting behind a Honda for a short while is one thing, we can turn on the recirc.
    Driving the new 30-40k$ vehicle with the windows and snrf ALWAYS up and vehicle on recirc is totally unacceptable. I really feel for these folks.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    Am I understanding this correctly? Is this problem REALLY solvable by buying a $10 tailpipe extension.

    If in fact that is the case (and I really don't know but that is what someone suggested), then I would like to suggest people just go buy it and be done with the issue.

    I just can't see this as "the hill you want to die on".
  • coranchercorancher Member Posts: 232
    Perhaps it's only me, but I'm hungry for some real experimental info on this issue. Examples:

    It's hard for me to understand how Toyota (or a shop with a emissions analyzer) couldn't figure out why one vehicle emits the smell from the tailpipe most of the time, while others don't at all or only do so under hard acceleration. It sure seems like such substantial differences in behavior (presumably on the same gas) would be traceable to a technical factor that could be changed somehow. Has anybody who suffers from the problem badly actually gone to an independent shop with an emissions analyzer to see if they're running really rich or something like that? Anybody tried swapping out one or more oxygen sensors, just for grins?

    But since the question that several folks have been asking relates to smell and concern about exhaust gases in the cabin, I'm dying to hear from some who's performed one of these two experiments on a persistent stinker:

    First, drive down a road with few or no other cars around at 30+ MPH. Close all windows and sunroof and turn the HVAC system to manual. Select fresh air (not recirculated) and set the blower to medium. Drive, accelerate, accelerate hard, etc. If you smell significant sulfur in this situation, you'd make me think something is definitely wrong with the cabin air system. A separate issue from how much stink is produced.

    Second, drive around in a mode where you get the stink while in motion (and you have the rear hatch window rolled up). Extend the tailpipe exit 4-6" straight back and/or out to the side. Does this make a difference?

    I don't have this problem, and I'm very satisfied (and impressed) with my 4Runner. But I have a lot of respect for (most of!) the people in these 4Runner discussions, and I'd like for the discussions to yield something useful. Complaining about Toyota's actions hasn't produced very much so far, but some data might. Then again, I'm an engineer, and others may not share this attitude.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    Well if the $10 part cures the problem, it certainly tells you a lot about the SYMPTOM, but not about the cause.

    Probably there isn't one cause, but rather a set of conditions that have to occur simultaneously. This would explain why only certain vehicles are affected.

    Solving an equation for 2 or 3 unknowns sometimes isn't easy.
  • tacovivatacoviva Member Posts: 116
    I'm also an engineer and I have the problem. I don't know if a tailpipe will solve the problem. The bottom line is that exhaust is entering the cabin. This isn't my opinion, it was admitted by Toyota. Having said that, it is Toyota's responsibilty to address the issue.

    If you had a vibration or noise coming from the front of the vehicle (I do), would you spend your own time and resources trying to fix it when it's clearly Toyota's resposibility to deliver a defect free vehicle and honor their warranty?

    I was actually told that " the reason you have emissions INSIDE the vehicle is because you're using the wrong gas" "Did you change the type of gas you use?" The gas may eliminate the sulfur, not the other emissions.

    I just want Toyota to fix a design problem with the vehicle. I'm well within my rights to expect them to do that.

    If the tests come back normal and the levels are within the allowable limits, you'll never hear a peep out of me again. However, I have NEVER been in a car that had this much exhaust coming in the cabin. If you're exposed for 6 years on a daily basis, even at low levels, do you think that could have a negative impact on your health? After all, isn't that why we have pollution control on vehicles to begin with?

    This really is just common sense.

    I wonder if any 04's have this problem? Maybe they moved the vents and didn't say anything about it. Now that would be a smoking tailpipe.
  • puckyhuddlepuckyhuddle Member Posts: 52
    "If you had a vibration or noise coming from the front of the vehicle (I do), would you spend your own time and resources trying to fix it when it's clearly Toyota's responsibility to deliver a defect free vehicle and honor their warranty?"

    Absolutely, if I could quickly and cheaply.

    You're spending much more of your time and resources fighting Toyota. I don't know if a $10 pipe extension fixes the problem, but I certainly would be trying it. Life is way too short to be spending so much energy fighting an uphill battle, when there are possible alternative solutions. If I knew for sure that a borla exhaust system would fix the problem, then I would definitely shell out the few hundred bucks and be done with it. Now there may not be an easy solution and you may end up in the same battle, but shouldn't you try the easy road first? And you may end up helping many others with the same problem.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    I'm with pucky on this one. If 10 bucks and ten minutes really really does fix the problem, I'd do it in a heartbeat and the heck with wrassling with Toyota on this one. I'd tend to save my energy for problems with my vehicle that I cannot easily deal with on my own.

    I absolutely believe you when you say the problem is real. That's not something one would "imagine".
  • tacovivatacoviva Member Posts: 116
    This is the whole "choose your battles" thing. True, to an extent, but we shouldn't be so accepting of problems like these. The Borla will fix the problem, since it ports the exhaust in to the slip stream.

    If we do nothing then Toyota will never change. We have to object to things that aren't right.

    So, according to you we should first try and fix problems ourselves and then take it to the dealer. I don't think so. Why have a warranty? Just for the big stuff?

    If it's new then they need to fix ANYTHING that's not right, period.

    I think that it's far more productive to hold them accountable, then to just go off and try and fix yourself. Besides, if you try and fix it and fail, it may void the warranty. Then you would have to do it yourself. It's better left to them. That's why we buy a warranty.
  • sequoiasoonsequoiasoon Member Posts: 223
    You could get input from somebody that has Borla or TRD (single or dual) side exit exhaust. Do they have any issues? Can you do the whole air quality testing on yours and their vehicle? 99% of the fire depts (paid and volunteer) have CO meters with a removable wand so you can check closer to source. I like the get a "reference" sample outside and then test inside with windows up, air on recirc (so it would pull from any available source(vent by exhaust)) while the car is sitting on shop dyno at 40 mph. Maybe even at the dealer dyno!!!! Then maybe test it with a flexible metal hose clamped on the end to simulate a side exit. If "moving" the exhaust solves the issue, you can possibly get the dealer to pay for a side exit (free Borla for all?) just to get you out of their hair and solve the problem for everybody else at the same time. I know my FD has 4 meters, their is guaranteed to be a Fireman on the boards that owns a new 4 runner that might be able to help with this.

    Luckily my Sequoia does not have this problem that I can tell. I do get the sulfer smell after hard exceleration but only notice it after I stop with the windows down after hard excel. If a "simple, cheap" fix solves it I'd do it (design engineering issue or not) If it doesn't fix it, for mine and families life I'd ditch it and take the loss. I would definitely spend a couple hundred bucks at my own shop for my own health and piece of mind.

    If all the steamfitters knew or had a sense that the asbestos was causing their lung problems and could have tested it for a couple hundred bucks, would they have stayed in their jobs or would they quit? Would they buy a $20 respirator and stay in the "great?" job they had?

    At this point you know their is something wrong with YOUR particular vehicle. You can test it to confirm that a high exhaust level is inside (whoever pays), you can try a couple solutions to fix it and be safe and satisfied, you can do nothing to it and continue to drive it and complain and file lawsuits while you and your family are being poisoned, or you can say my life and family are more important and get rid of it and let somebody fight the uphill battle.

    I love my Sequoia, spent $40K on it, don't want a different vehicle, would try to fix it first for a couple bucks (even if dealer said "it's normal") and if I couldn't, my 2 month old isn't worth risking, it would be gone the next day.
  • puckyhuddlepuckyhuddle Member Posts: 52
    As a Jeep Grand Cherokee owner, I fully appreciate the value of an extended warranty!

    I completely agree that a dealer should fix every problem. But if I could solve most problems myself quickly and inexpensively, then I would never go to the dealer, just to save myself 20 minutes and the hassle of dropping my car off. Unfortunately I can't fix most problems, so I'm forced to go to the dealer.

    I admire a man that sticks to his principles, but you have to weigh the cost vs the benefits. At the end of it all you may have a truck that smells like a rose, but you may have fewer days to enjoy it because of all the stress you put yourself through. Good luck!
  • tacovivatacoviva Member Posts: 116
    I don't drive the vehicle, my does and my 4 month old rides in the back. All I ever asked from Toyota is to say that this is a safe condition. They never would. It made me uneasy and that's why I am so angry. You see it's not my safety, but my wife and childs longterm safety. If I have to I'll sell it. Want to buy a 4Runner...cheap?
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