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Sulfur Smell from Toyota 4Runner



  • renshorensho Member Posts: 42
    We are all for and somewhat against you here on this one. ;-)
    I am right there with you on principles. The MFG has to fix ALL known issues in a reasonable and timely manner.
    Pucky is speaking good stuff here. It is totally about cost VS benefits.
    If this issue were about failing engines or problems without potentially very easy fixes, we'd all shut up and cheer you on.

    I'm one of the ones that suggested you try the $10 pipe fix earlier. Either extend, or divert to the side. You yourself above believe the Borla solves the problem. The solution I'm suggesting is in no way voiding any waranty, AND is completely reversible. So maybe think of it as, try it and hope it works, drive the car like that, save your health, continue to fight Toyota for us, and we'll all win.
    I wish i had the sulfur issue so I can try the fix myself. Or i'll send you $10 just to satisfy my own curiousity.
    BTW, to my point earlier about sulfur being here to stay, the guys on the miata forum are complaining about this as well. The point still is it shouldn't get into the cabin. The miata guys deserve the smell being so happy driving their zippy cars around. ;-) (i own one)
  • tacovivatacoviva Member Posts: 116
    Thanks for all the help, and I'll probably end up putting a Borla on to fix it. However, I do intend on testing it prior to putting it on, just to see what the levels are.

    Rensho, Even if you don't smell the sulfur, that doesn't mean there isn't a problem...right?

    I'll say it again. During my arbitration Toyota said that the vent on the rear is sucking exhaust into the cabin. They also said it's up to me to prove it's a hazard. Based on what I know, I think it is. I could be totally wrong, but you never know until you look at the data.

    I agree it's an easy fix, but what about all the other people? If it's a common problem, Toyota should fix it. The burden of proof is on the consumer. Or we could just all accept it and move on.
  • coranchercorancher Member Posts: 232
    tacoviva, I respect your right to choose how to take on this battle, even if I'd do it differently myself. Sometimes folks choose a harder road because of the principles involved, and thereby do a service for others in righting a wrong. This may be one of those times.

    I see a potential barrier to solutions in this case, and it has do do with different assumptions on the part of you and Toyota. I believe you are assuming (1)that you're getting a lot of exhaust in the cabin, and (2)that the fact that you can smell the sulfur means that you're getting an unhealthy dose of exhaust gases there. I think you are also assuming (3)that you aren't/haven't been getting any exhaust in the cabin of other vehicles because you can't smell it.

    I'll bet that Toyota shares none of these assumptions with you. The only specific reference I found on the detectability sulfur exhaust smells asserted that you can detect them at levels far below those that are a hazard. Carbon monoxide is just the opposite, of course, and I'll bet we all occasionally get a big dose from a car or truck in front of us that isn't running right, even if we don't smell anything. Once they're warmed up and operating correctly, many gasoline vehicle engines don't seem to smell at all, so detectable odor isn't much of a guide to hazard level or to the amount of (yours or somebody else's) exhaust in the cabin.

    These different assumptions don't make Toyota's position or behavior or assertions *right* of course, but they make it hard for them to justify resolving the problem in a way that suits you.

    So please let us know what happens here, and what you learn. And to be conservative about the health of your wife and child in the meantime, I humbly suggest you try keeping the fan on and the air intake on fresh instead of recirculate.
  • renshorensho Member Posts: 42
    "Rensho, Even if you don't smell the sulfur, that doesn't mean there isn't a problem...right? "

    Totally agree. That is why i'm cheering you on, and don't want you to give up. ;-)

    I'm saying since i can't smell it, it is tough for me to try fixes. Without a CO or other gas analyzer that is.
  • forestergumpforestergump Member Posts: 119
    I agree with you on your desire to make Toyota acknowledge and correct the situation. But if my wife and 4-year-old son were at risk, I would certainly spring for the extension or the Borla - no questions asked. And then try to pursue it from there. And actually, I owe you and the others fighting this battle a thank you, because I am in the process of purchasing a new SUV, and am glad that I am aware of this potential problem prior to making my purchase decision. Good luck to you!
  • rcgatorrcgator Member Posts: 22
    We bought a Sequoia in June of this year. I noticed a sulfur smell shortly after buying it, but didn't think much of it the first time. Then it happened a couple of times more, and I started getting very concerned. Yesterday I took the car in to Toyota and they checked the exhaust system and told me there is no exhaust leaking into the car, but at the same time they gave me their service bulleting stating that the sulfur smell is from the gasoline/exhaust system. So what am I supposed to think?!? If the sulfur smell is getting in (with windows closed and a/c on recirculate), then how can the CO not be getting in as well? I am horrified at this as I drive around with my four kids in the car, the youngest being only 2 months old!

    Is the CO in my car as well?!? I am very worried about my kids. What damage could have happened to them already without my noticing? Is the exhaust leaking in there all the time, or only when I smell the sulfur? I am very worried.
  • tacovivatacoviva Member Posts: 116
    If you smell it inside, why are they checking outside for a leak. Even after finding that there wasn't a leak, they shouldn't simply stop and blame it on the gas, they need to find out how it's making its way back in to the cabin.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    I think it comes down to whether or not you are willing to take on the role of martyr/reformer, and suffer the consequences. This is a vortex from which you may not emerge for years. It is almost a monastic calling, fighting a car company.

    If Toyota has thus far failed to remedy your situation for you, I would simply fix the car myself, and take into account what has happened to you next time you buy a new car.
  • rcgatorrcgator Member Posts: 22
    We bought a Sequoia in June of this year. I noticed a sulfur smell shortly after buying it, but didn't think much of it the first time. Then it happened a couple of times more, and I started getting very concerned. Yesterday I took the car in to Toyota and they checked the exhaust system and told me there is no exhaust leaking into the car, but at the same time they gave me their service bulleting stating that the sulfur smell is from the gasoline/exhaust system. So what am I supposed to think?!? If the sulfur smell is getting in (with windows closed and a/c on recirculate), then how can the CO not be getting in as well? I am horrified at this as I drive around with my four kids in the car, the youngest being only 2 months old!

    Is the CO in my car as well?!? I am very worried about my kids. What damage could have happened to them already without my noticing? Is the exhaust leaking in there all the time, or only when I smell the sulfur? I am very worried.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    Actually it is worth worrying about to a certain extent but new cars are so pollution free it would take a long dose to hurt you. You'd almost have to run the tail pipe into the car and tape the windows shut.

    So I wouldn't freak out about it, but CO is nothing to fool around with, you are certainly right about that.

    To give you an idea of how clean cars are getting, in London a new Saab was tested and the air coming out of the tailpipe was cleaner than the air going into the engine from the outside.
  • toyotastinkstoyotastinks Member Posts: 1
    Hello to everyone with the same problem I am having. I just bought a new 4 runner V8 two weeks ago and have had nothing but a bad smell ever since. My seven year old does not like to ride in the car due to the smell and to tell you the truth I don't like being in it myself. I returned to the dealership and got the same song and dance as all of you that it is the gas and not the car. (They told me it was a regional issue with the gas producers in the TN area but from all that I have read it's all over the US). My question is why when I rode in 02' 4runner did I not smell it. I was told there where new systems in place on the 03's. I made a service tech ride in my car and the end of the ride he told me that I have a big problem and Toyota is going to do nothing for now. He told me he would be very upset if that where his car. He called Toyota for me talked to the higher ups and they told him to tell me roll up my windows and close my sunroof "which rattles when closed that will be my next topic" and resec. the air so I won't smell it as bad. I say BS I paid for a sunroof so that I could have it open. Not happy at all.

    I am not a person that goes out looking to stir things up I usually take things at face value and move on but I just can't stand for this. I am in sales and travel in my car several hours a day over long distances and the smell is killing me not to mention the health ricks involved?? I also ride motorcycles and I can promise you I have never smelled things like is on the bike and you can smell just about everything when you are in traffic on a bike.

    Sorry to go on so much but very upset. Has anyone gone to their local media and tried to alert the public of this. I am going to contact the local news 5 on your side and see if they will air something on this. I know taking on a big company is next to impossible but if I can slow sells in my area maybe Toyota might start looking into this I will let you know the out come. If anyone else has already done please let me know how it turned out.

    One last thing if you have not already done so please call 1-800-331-4331 and lodge a formal complaint with Toyota. They will record it and pass it along to Corp.

    Thanks for your time and I hope we can get something done.
  • atruantatruant Member Posts: 2
    I recently inquired at Toyota Canada what was causing the overwhelming odor that occurred under hard acceration, or on climbing a hill in my 2003 V8 4Runner. The following response arrived quickly:

    "The smell that you are referring to is caused by the high sulphur content in Canadian gasoline. The smell is in fact indicative that your 4Runner is operating properly. This is not an uncommon
    situation with most manufacturers today.

    The sulphur contained in the fuel transforms into sulphur dioxide which is then transformed into sulphur trioxide by oxidation and accumulates on the catalyst resulting in hydrogen sulfide by
    reduction. This will generally occur when the vehicle begins to run rich, such as when you are stopped, climbing a steep hill, or braking
    hard to slow down. The hydrogen sulfide is expelled from the exhaust pipe all at once. It is the hydrogen sulfide which is responsible
    for the odour.

    This odour is particularly strong when your vehicle's catalytic converter is new and dissipates gradually as the vehicle gets older.

    We thank you again for taking the time to contact us and for allowing us the opportunity to comment."

    While there is no solution offered here, except time, I found by making sure my back window was closed, I would not get the odor. I often had the window lowered slightly (against owner's manual warnings) when I had my two large dogs with me. I have not experienced the odor with windows closed and/or air conditioning on.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    When a window is cracked open, this creates negative pressure inside the car and is more likely to suck in fumes.
  • vaughn4vaughn4 Member Posts: 106
    Again, the problem is not that the car has exhaust odor(s) - all cars do. The problem with the 4Runner is that the odor makes it's way into the cabin regardless. That is a problem!
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    I think if an odor is strong enough (like gasoline for instance) any car would have to admit the odors into the passenger compartment. I don't see how you could keep such an obnoxious odor out without suffocating yourself.

    Makes me think all the more it's a combination of certain types of fuel plus the design of the vehicle plus certain driving conditions.

    This is the only way to explain why it doesn't happen 100% of the time to 100% of the cars---unless we could somehow show it is tied closely to certain VIN numbers. That would be interesting, huh?
  • tacovivatacoviva Member Posts: 116
    Toyota says that the vehicle is operating as designed. Therefore, sulfur and exhaust inside the vehicle was a design objective? Sounds crazy, because it is. Listen, Toyota simply didn't test for this condition. Do you think if they did test for it and found that there was a problem like this they would say it's acceptable? No car manufacturer would ever do that. This is simply a "gotcha".

    I think the question is...

    Is this normal? The answer has to be no.

    Is it "normal" for a vehicle to consistently expose the occupants to exhaust? It certainly is an unpleasant condition for those who are affected.

    I was told to put an exhaust tip on, drive to a different county to get gas, and not accelerate to briskly. If you were told this when you bought the car, would you buy it? By the way, I live in an area where the gas is already re formulated and it still does it. So even if the EPA does change the rules concerning Sulfur content, it won't help me. But then again, sulfur isn't the issue. It's repeated exposure to exhaust for years.

    I've scheduled a Lemon Law hearing and we'll see what the State has to say. If they rule in favor of Toyota, then I'll sell it out right maybe to the same dealer who said there was nothing wrong. I'm going to subpoena the factory rep who said that the vents where placed too close to the tail pipe.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    If that's your argument, you'd better be able to show a CO content in the cabin then. "Smell" is a very subjective thing, kind of like "back pain". You can't see it.

    They might end up treating you like one of those people who are "sensitive to scent products" and demand that the movie theater be cleared lest they faint.

    I know that is not your case, but you can see how the argument could be turned against you if you base it only on an offensive odor that does not occur in all vehicles of the type.

    I don't believe your case is strong enough yet for a buy-back, but I could be wrong and I hope I am for your sake.

    It's also an interesting question you pose regarding why this didn't show up in testing. The reason WHY it didn't show up is also possibly the clue as to what the problem is.
  • zueslewiszueslewis Member Posts: 2,353
    just because your nose can detect it, it doesn't mean it's at harmful levels.

    Like I said before, my nose (because of my throat) is extremely sensitive - I can smell a cigarette in the next car over at a light.

    It doesn't mean that I have high Marlboro levels in my vehicle, though. The proof is in the pudding - or the test equipment.

    If there's no proof in the test equipment, the rest is just semantics and treading water (and getting tired) when you could safely swim to shore.
  • klaudnycklaudnyc Member Posts: 36
    I was poking through the compartment where the jack is located (rear left) and noticed a long, clear-plastic tube running downward towards the bottom of the rear bumper. Does this mean the air intake port is located under the rear bumper?
  • chrisad27chrisad27 Member Posts: 3
    I have had my 4Runner for about 2 months now. I have the Sport Edition v8 4WD. At first the smell was horrible and would not go away. I noticed it more throught the air vent whether the windows were open or closed. It seems to have dissipated a bit, but to me it is still very noticeable during hard acceleration. I have read many postings here, and wish I had before I bought the vehicle. I too, am in sales and spend many hours a week inside my SUV. I have used every brand of gasoline in SW Ohio, some from Kentucky, Indiana, Chicago, Detroit, and Canada. Needless to say, I have not noticed any change from brand to brand. I have not spoken to my dealer yet because A: I figured it was just a 'new car thing' and B: judging by what I've read, I am not quite sure which angle from which to approach this subject. I am only 24 years old and have not had to deal with this type of situation. What are all the options available to me? I don't want to be an arbitration martyr based on principles, I don't think I could afford it. Like I mentioned, it seems to be going away, but what if it gets worse? Any ideas?
  • tacovivatacoviva Member Posts: 116
    Read my previous post on odor threshold. If you can smell, it is hazardous levels.

    I just don't understand how anyone could think that breathing exhaust ona daily basis is "OK". No matter how low the level.

    Why do we have emission standards? To limit the amount we have to eventually breath. Given that, how is this acceptable? There is no "safe" level of emissions that you can breath.
  • zueslewiszueslewis Member Posts: 2,353
    "If you can smell, it is hazardous levels" just doesn't hold up in court - you need evidence, like the national standard is xx PPM and my vehicle, according to this here test equipment, has xx PPM - higher than allowed.

    You allegations hold up fine here at Edmunds, and I understand you point - lawyers and judges, however, don't care how well you're understood on Edmunds.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    I'm afraid don't see the relationship between smell and a hazard would hold up as evidence either. It's a very thin argument and if you had a clever opponent they would probably demolish your theory, sad to say.

    Unless you can show a hazard level, all you may have is a concentration of CO that may in fact measure as no worse than anyone breathes everyday on the highway. Bingo, you are dead in court.

    Smell is more related to the organic compound itself rather than the concentration I think. One can smell a skunk, or so I've heard, up to 3 miles, (!!)but obviusly the level of concentration is very very minute at the three mile limit.

    Sulphur is a very powerful and pernicious odor. A little goes a long way, like skunk-stuff.
  • tacovivatacoviva Member Posts: 116
    OK, here goes....read the link

    Sulfur Dioxide (SO2) is formed when fuel containing sulfur is burned.

    Sulfur Dioxide has an odor threshold. What this means is that if you can smell it, the concentration can be determined. According to the Canadian Center for Occupational Health and Safety, the instant you smell Sulfur Dioxide the concentration is known to be 3-5 ppm (parts per million).

    Reference: Canadian Center for Occupational Health and Safety
    High concentrations of sulfur dioxide can result in temporary breathing impairment for asthmatic children and adults who are active outdoors.
    Short-term exposure:
    o reduced lung function
    o wheezing
    o chest tightness
    o shortness of breath
    Long-term exposure:
    o respiratory illness
    o alterations in the lungs' defenses
    o aggravation of existing cardiovascular disease
    People affected include children, the elderly, and those with cardiovascular disease or chronic lung disease.

  • tacovivatacoviva Member Posts: 116
    According to OSHA, The STEL (Short Term Exposure Limit) is limited to 5 ppm over 15 minutes of exposure. Therefore, if the odor threshold is 3-5 ppm and the STEL is 5 ppm, then if the smell is present in the vehicle for 15 minutes of driving, then the Government standard for exposure has been exceeded. This has occurred on a regular basis since delivery of the vehicle.
    Reference: Safety and Health for Engineers, Roger L. Bauer, ISBN 047128632-X
  • swschradswschrad Member Posts: 2,171
    can't believe they didn't get you anywhere in the hearing. I guess those were "not-hearing"s.
  • vaughn4vaughn4 Member Posts: 106
    All I can say is that Toyota should be ashamed of the defective product they have put out and then not taking responsibility for it! Shame, shame, shame on Toyota!
  • zueslewiszueslewis Member Posts: 2,353
    all that eloquent and statistical information doesn't mean squat unless you have equipment-produced test data that proves that your vehicle is unsafe.

    I work in this environment - a vehicle owner IS NOT going to be allowed to testify as a chemical engineer.

    If you can't prove it, you're done..why the argument. Prove it or give up.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    Yep, this is a dead end I'm afraid. They will kill you in court with this type of claim. People smell at different levels of capacity. It's a totally subjective claim made by an un-credentialed person.

    Go get the tailpipe extensions OR have an independent laboratory test your car for harmful levels of SO2 and issue you a report That's the only two reasonable alternatives I see that will possibly produce some kind of satisfaction for you. Otherwise I think you are wasting your valuable time in a fruitless enterprise.
  • zueslewiszueslewis Member Posts: 2,353
    sounds harsh, but it's true - I've testified in 147 various proceedings - arbitrations in PA and NJ, trials in PA and NJ, and two Federal trials. Still each time, I have to go through examination and verification in order to be allowed to testify as an "expert in automotive repair and maintenance, automotive appraisal and dealership sales and service policy/warranty administration".

    It's an uphill fight, every time, just to be able to give an appraisal number on a lemon law case. And I have the experience, licenses and qualifications - I still have to fight to be able to testify.

    A guy off the street hasn't got a prayer. Either get some testing equipment results, or forget about it.
  • reddfishreddfish Member Posts: 54
    You do not need a lawyer. Read your lemon book you got with your purchase of your vehicle. Follow the rules to the letter. Document and keep records of all conversations and repair attempts. Try to note the times and date and names of people that you speak with. The lemon law process is set up for the consumer that has an unsolvable problem with their vehicle and can't get anywhere with the company. 70% of cases are settled before the actual arbitration, but be ready to go when you get your arbitration date. My witnesses were 2 family members and 2 Toyota service managers who experienced the smell personally. I proved lose of value, use, and most importantly , the safety issue. You don't have to be a lawyer to do this, just some time and research. I beat Toyota's lawyer and so can you. Look up Toyota's own TSB on the sulfur smell and use it as evidence. Don't give up. Use the state sanctioned program.
  • zueslewiszueslewis Member Posts: 2,353
    exception to the rule - totally.

    I'm glad you were successful, but you know what Abraham Lincoln said about someone representing themselves....

    Again, I attest that I've yet to see a successful "sulphur smell" case in my contact with 6,000 cases (3,500 of which I handled).
  • renshorensho Member Posts: 42
    Why people keep arguing this point with you I'll never know. It is not like you don't want them to succeed with their case; just simply a better chance at winning. But they keep arguing with the advice.
    Pretty simple. Courts and judges do NOT like/hear subjective things from laypeople. They rarely like to hear it from expert witnesses. Facts. Just the facts.

    Raw hard #s are going to win here. How do you argue with that? Toyota can't do it either.

    And yes, Shame on you Toyota. Shame, shame shame.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    Well I can see one possible reason he was successful...he played totally "by the rules of the game"; in other words, he read the book and followed it precisely.

    My experience with arbitrations or legal proceedings is that on the one hand the consumer comes to the table with cries for "justice" and "satisifaction" and other very personal issues while the corporate entity on the other end is just looking at the whole thing as numbers in a column.

    If they "beat" you, they don't gloat over it as a victory, and if you "beat" them they don't slink away and think of it as a defeat. It's just numbers in a column to them, and if the black numbers far outweigh the red numbers at the end of the year they have accomplished the corporate mission. You are either a profit or a write-off to them. Of course, individuals in a corporate entity might very much wish to help you, but even they are still obliged to follow the rules.

    So BY ALL MEANS contest any "wrong" done to you---but all I'm suggesting is that you understand the "system" and play within its rules.

    The Lemon Laws, which vary state to state, were instituted to make this somewhat easier for the consumer, but again, the rules of the game are precise and you have to follow them.

    The issues of "what's fair" and the 'company's duty" are certainly important in theory but all they do is cloud up the matter at hand--which is for you to either dump or correct a car that is annoying the hell out of you.

    You have to approach this as you would laying down a new driveway for your house. Know what you are doing and keep emotion out of it.
  • tacovivatacoviva Member Posts: 116
    I am a degreed and certified Safety Engineer. I'll be glad to send you my credentials. I do this sort of thing for a living. The fact is that SO2 does have an odor threshold of 3-5 ppm. Go look it up. To take in to account differences in olfactory systems from person to person, they have assigned a range, 3-5ppm. But don't take my word, convince yourself. If you look at the data (MSDS and OSHA regs) it can't be dismissed. It's the very same data that Toyota uses to produce the vehicle in the first place. It's all in black and white. You can assign an odor threshold if it's highly repeatable. They do this to save time and money. By the same token, maybe the Toyota engineer who did this test can't smell. Either way, the smell is there and it's Toyota's fault period. Nothing of my doing causes the exhaust to find it's way to my nose. And lets all agree that this isn't just an unpleasant odor. It's exhaust and do you agree it should be OUTSIDE the car???


    Have you ever used the MSDS for SO2 as a basis for your case?
  • zueslewiszueslewis Member Posts: 2,353
    I haven't, simply because from a "big picture" perspective, so many cars and trucks emit these same odors, it takes the individuality of the vehicle as applied to the lemon law completely out of the picture.

    Also, since it's not a condition I'd devalue a vehicle over, the lemon law and Mag-Moss don't apply.

    Specific to the V8 4Runner, I haven't seen a case like yours yet - we'll cross that bridge when we get there - with 80 hours and 50 cases a week, I definitely don't need to look for more work than I'm assigned, especially since my opinion on the issue is that I'd be chasing my tail. Or exhaust pipe.
  • ohelloohello Member Posts: 27
    I rented 03 4Runner SR5 V8 for just over a week. I put a battery-operated home basement-type CO monitor in it for the entire time to see if CO was a problem inside this car. This meter displays in units of 10ppm, so when it detects 9ppm the display reads 0, when it detects 10ppm the display reads 10,when it senses 11ppm it reads 10, and so on.... Not exact, and not certified by zeuslewis, but better than my nose and tending to err on the low side.

    The first night driving 20 or so minutes in the rain with defrost on - from inside DC to the suburbs - I registered 20ppm. This alarmed me and I put a post here just over a week ago. There was a discussion of this CO concentration, essentially many helpful posts citing various agencies with the upshot that this is not a safe level, and zeuslewis offering his opinion (yet again) that only he really understands.

    Over the course of the next 6 days we drove the 4Runner constantly, spent more time than I would have liked in stand-still rush hour traffic, took a 5hr trip out and 5hr trip back, and never registered CO again.

    My feeling is that this exhaust entry into the car the night of the 20ppm was not from the CO that happened to be sitting there on the road. Sure, that is theoretically possible, but exceedingly unlikely on a windy, rainy night - particularly since 1hr in 4 lanes of standstill traffic on a stifling day registered 0. I think that some combination of speed, defrost, weather, and bad luck caused it to enter into the passenger cabin. We never replicated those conditions.

    My impression is that this problem has something to do with the somewhat unique shape of the 4Runner (particularly the square back, and maybe the spoiler), some bad luck on Toyota's part with exhaust and vent placement, and who knows what else. If they had just put on a catalytic converter from 2002 on those 4Runners, no one would ever have known. Unfortunately they put in catalytic converters more suited to 2005 than 2003, made a sulfur stink, and thus highlighted an otherwise invisible problem that may or may not exist in other cars.

    As far as I am concerned, a stink out the back that will disappear in a year or so anyway is not a big deal. Exhaust in the cabin is a big deal. I think that anyone following this forum has reached that same conclusion. My experience is that the conditions that cause the exhaust to come in are quite complex and will be virtually impossible to track down without a substantial research budget. Tacoviva made this point a week ago. Intermittant problems are extremely difficult to diagnose, and when they involve exterior airflow they become quite complex.

    zeuslweis, I suppose that it is now time for you to chime in and list your incredible range of skills and tremendous depth of knowledge.... I am only a PhD researcher running 11 businesses in 4 countries, so probably cannot possibly understand the complex world you live in.
  • tacovivatacoviva Member Posts: 116
    What can I say....Bravo. It sounds like the most thorough analysis to date. I thought of performing the very same test, but with a CO monitor having a little better resolution, while recording the entire test for court.

    My angle is that if the judge can see the monitor alarm when it reaches those levels, I don't think Toyota could say anything. Then it would be up to them to shoot holes in it with their own test results, which they apparently have yet to perform.

    If the CO monitors we buy in the store are good enough to save human beings in homes, they should be fairly reliable indicators of a dangerous situation in an automobile.

    Where did you place the CO monitor? If it was up front then it was probably a very conservative estimate. I think placing it in the back near the vent would yield a better reading.
  • zueslewiszueslewis Member Posts: 2,353
    I want to thank you for stepping down from your PhD to do some good ol' street cut downs - not bad, considering I've found a direct opposite reaction when common sense and PhDs meet - the more PhDs, the less common sense.

    My opinion is irrelevant to this matter and what anyone decides to do. What you fail to realize is that I've worked exclusively in lemon law cases for quite a time, and I know what works. Lawyers and judges don't want to hear what you think, how scared you are, or other semantics/dramatics - they want facts - without facts, there can be no ruling in your favor.

    In order for a judge to hold Toyota liable, he doesn't want to hear someone saying "I smell it, can't you smell it?"

    It HAS to be black and white, it has to be one heckuva lot closer in specification and reading than 10 ppm on a home testing machine and it has to be certified, in some way, before the court will recognize it.

    I could care less if you feel more important than I do - I'm trying to help with real world experience and advice - real world experience and my common sense outranks a PhD 2-1.

    Oh, and as of yet, I haven't been rude to anyone, but now you have. See, you DO have one up on me!
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    I think we are talking about two different things, is our problem here. One is about winning an arbitration and the other one is about facts. These are not necessarily the same thing, as the former is all about strategy, not truth or justice.

    For instance, the entire basis for believing in science is the replication of data, time and time again. No doubt Toyota would challenge that the data cannot be replicated, and that is a skull-crushing good point in an arbitration, IMO. Again, a strategy defeats what might in factbe a perfectly true fact. Another flaw in the strategy is doing the testing yourself seems to me.

    So you do all the work and they do all the strategizing and you get whupped,see?

    On the other hand, I have to admit that arbitrations and even courtrooms can be very wiggy at times, you really never know what the hell is going to happen.

    Speaking just for myself, I've done a lot better in arbitration when I've stopped trying to "prove" something and instead worked out a good strategy to undermine the opponent.

    I remember one case where I was sued for fraud for selling a Porsche---the engine blew up after a while, and the buyer claimed I "hid" something from him. Well, it was a used car I said.Gimme a break. But the buyer came in with all kinds of photos and testimony and mechanics and Porsche experts, blah blah blah, about why the engine blew, and theories about this and that---it was a STUPENDOUS effort.

    Then I told the court that the buyer had taken the car to a 3rd party for a complete inspection prior to purchase.

    "Oh",they said. "Since the buyer did not ultimately rely on you for the decision of making the purchase, we are throwing this case out".

    And that was that. It was all about strategy, about saying the right thing at the right time. Why the engine blew up had nothing to do with it. They got bad legal advice.
  • zueslewiszueslewis Member Posts: 2,353
    I don't doubt that many vehicles emit obnoxious odor, and many vehicles get exhaust inside the cabin - air currents, vehicle speed, etc.

    I know no one is hooking up a hose and duct taping the window over while the engine's running...although when I was in 5th grade one of classmate's moms did that - bad deal.

    I'll agree 110% that there is a sickening odor inside the vehicle. All you have to do is prove it, and by other means than your nose or someone else's nose. Prove it in some way that you can show, on paper, exactly what's up. Without that, all you're doing is talking. We're listening, but the judge wouldn't be.
  • swschradswschrad Member Posts: 2,171
    they are motivated by precedent and process, and facts that don't flow in this stream are not going anywhere. I saw a local tech college assistant professor take bacterial culture samples from surface ponds around a city lagoon, pull up some impressive data, and try and whip a small city around with it in public hearings once. boy, did he get his bottom tanned.

    because he couldn't prove causation and couldn't show damages. today's subtyping and DNA technologies proving whatever-coli.strain-this equals what was in the lagoon still wouldn't prove causation (so what then is the source of each body of water's bacteria,) and damages (and what the devil difference does it make anyway.)

    if you don't have it all in a nice little row that flows through the right process, it's just paper. roll it up, tie with twine, and it makes a merry flame in the fireplace in the wintertime.

    whether or not it makes you sick or makes you barf.
  • mgabel2mgabel2 Member Posts: 37
    Has anyone solved the problem with that tailpipe extension that was mentioned in some earlier posts? If that worked, surely that's easier than going to court and forcing Toyota to put the tailpipe extension on (if that would fix it). And, why is this not a problem in ALL 4Runners? Are some cabins sealed better that others? If so, why? A dealer told me today that there should be no sulfur smell with everything closed and AC on recirculate. Have there been problems even then?
  • nwrollernwroller Member Posts: 24
    Has anyone in the northwest had a problem with the sulfur smell? I have heard from people in Canada, the mid-west, a few in california, but have not seen any posts from people in other areas. Just curious.

  • forestergumpforestergump Member Posts: 119
    I've resolved the problem. I will not be purchasing a 4Runner this month. I love every feature of the vehicle, but I will not tolerate the exhaust issues entering the cabin. We already have a Camry and are happy with it. Are you listening Toyota?
  • zueslewiszueslewis Member Posts: 2,353
    and something the defense attorney would ask: If a simple exhaust extension totally corrects the problem, how serious can it be?
  • tacovivatacoviva Member Posts: 116
    A rubber glove can save you from the ebola virus, but it still is a threat to life.
    Many dangerous situations are diffused by a simple correction. That doesn't detract from their severity, does it?

    I just dropped the car off this morning and asked them to check for exhaust entering the cabin. The service writer told me "we can check, but we won't find anything" I was floored. He said " we'll put problem not found at this time" I told the writer to call me and I'll show him and to pull the TSB on it. What a joke. Using canned responses when they know they have an issue here.
  • alan88alan88 Member Posts: 7
    I took a test drive in a 2004 SR5 V8 4WD yesterday, but could not smell any sulfur odor. I drove about 8 miles with speed up to 80 mph, tried speed up and braking hard a couple times but could not smell any odor inside cabin. After returning to the dealer's, I left the engine running and walked around the vehicle, still could not smell anything. I even tried to smell it from about 1 foot away from the tailpipe, nothing but warm steam, not even the "normal" exhaust fume smell. The salesperson even started a V6 model for me, no bad smell at all either. I really like the truck and was almost ready to buy, but this board still get me concerned. Does anyone know if Toyota has secretly fixed the problem for 2004?

    I live in Philadelphia area, and from a map I saw on this board, the gas we got here is already re-formulated. Could that be the reason? But then again it still concerns me if too much CO gets into cabin.
  • alfster1alfster1 Member Posts: 273
    I was wondering if the actual build date has anything to do with whether or not thee is a sulfur smell. Would anyone out there with an 03 4runner with a sulfur problem be willing to post their build date?

    I have an 03 4runner v8 limited built in June. I don't experience the sulfur smell at all with all of the windows up (and with the air set to "fresh" or "recirc." With the cargo window open, I can sometimes smell the sulfur enter the vehicle. As this is not recommended per the instruction manual, I don't drive with the cargo window open. That isn't a big deal to me, but it would be nice to use all of the features of this vehicle. I don't smell any sulfur emissions with the moonroof open either.

    It seems that the 04 4runners (v8) don't seem to have any sulfur problems as previously described. It looks like Toyota may have made some type of a fix in a surrepticious manner. Has anyone compared the 03 and 04 directly to see if there are any differences?

    I also find it interesting that on the Toyota.com page that Toyota is now offering a tailpipe extension for the 04 4runner. I am pretty sure it fits the 03 as well.
  • alfster1alfster1 Member Posts: 273
    Check out this site

    The old body style 4runner is compared to the new body style (03 04) 4runner with XREAS. Quite a difference. The handling has really improved over the previous generation with respect to rollover resistance.

    There is a video link as well.

    **endorsement neither expressed nor implied.
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