Toyota 4Runner Maintenance and Repair

steverstever Guest Posts: 52,454
edited December 2013 in Toyota
Toyota 4Runner Maintenance and Repair


  • rharverharve Member Posts: 3
    I believe there have been some discussions about a rattling noise connected to the sun roof but has anyone actually been able to have the problem corrected and what was done. I have an 03 Limited with about 2000 miles on it. Thanks
  • 69mach169mach1 Member Posts: 60
    Here's the TSB from Toyota on this problem. My 03 Sport has this problem and it's driving me crazy. I haven't brought it to the dealer yet. 01590-2488.pdf
  • rharverharve Member Posts: 3
    69mach1, thanks for the info on the sunroof. I'm going to bring my 4Runner to the dealer in the next couple week and will post the results.
  • tfm1tfm1 Member Posts: 5
    My brakes don't seem to work like other vehicles. They stop ok but there seems to be excessive pedal travel and the pedal is soft, almost as if the brakes need bleeding. Does anyone else notice this?
  • oscarz2oscarz2 Member Posts: 153
    I've got 500 mi on 03/2WD/SR5/V6. Braking was strong initially but master cylinder had to be replaced because of an electronic vibration problem in the brake pedal.

    This cured the problem but afterward, I had excessive pedal travel with weaker braking. I took it back again. They said air was in the lines so they bled the brakes.

    Braking and pedal travel are normal now, but I still think braking was a little better the first couple of weeks. Maybe pads are a little dirty.

    One thing that still annoys me a bit is a faint "popping" feel in the pedal that occurs intermittently during braking (usually at slow speeds). Someone in another forum also has this gremlin and described it as a "snapping" feel. Don't know what it is and whether it's inherent in the design or not. I'll have dealer check it out next time.
  • great4runnergreat4runner Member Posts: 6
    I took my 03 4Runner SE to dealer two weeks ago. They did not know about the TSB!!! Thank God I brought a copy with me. After reading the TSB they ignored it! After a test drive with me, the dealer wanted to replace the entire Moon roof assembly. Naturally I refused, since it involved taking practically the entire car apart, and them keeping the car for over a day! As much as it annoys me, I am going to try to live with it. Other than this problem, I love my truck!! If they had the charcoal interior on 04 models I would have replaced it.
  • 69mach169mach1 Member Posts: 60
    great4runner, perhaps you should contact a Toyota Representative and ask him for a reference to a new dealer familiar with the TSB.

    I'm like you, I don't want my vehicle torn apart by some mechanic, but at the same time I don't want that rattle, because it bugs me. I plan on contacting the Toyota rep before I take mine to a dealer, because I want it done right.

    Meanwhile I've actually started driving my old reliable 92 Honda more so that I don't have to listen to the rattle, sad isn't it
  • tacovivatacoviva Member Posts: 116
    Any fix for the stink, besides pushing it off a cliff. Peeeyyyeeeewwwww
  • oscarz2oscarz2 Member Posts: 153
    Mine only smelled for a few days, which I described as a rubbery/sulfury type stench. Don't smell anything now, other than a fading "new car" scent. Granted, I'm still driving it like an old lady and keeping the back window up.

    400 miles to go and I'll treat it like a used car and drive it like I mean it.
  • pep420pep420 Member Posts: 1
    I recently bought a 1988 4Runner and replaced the stock stereo with my own personal cd deck (aiwa 517). however, i've been having problems with wires shorting out the fuse box, which is causing my tail lights/parking lights not to work. the problem has been narrowed down to my stereo and the wires that were originally connected to the stock deck. ultimately, i'm curious if anyone might know the color codes for those wires so that i can figure out exactly which wire is actually causing the short that is blowing the fuse. thanks.
  • b1rd0gb1rd0g Member Posts: 11
    I had the headliner rattle. First time I brought it in for service they placed some foam tape in the most ridiculous places and said it was fixed. It wasn't. The second time, a regional rep worked on it...and fixed it. Don't know what he did though. When I asked, I got the "deer in headlights" look from the service mgr. Shortly afterward, my sunroof BROKE! The plastic guides jammed and prevented the sunroof from closing. Good thing it wasn't raining. They fixed that as well.

    I now have a creaking sound coming from the right side rear passenger area. Can't figure that one out.
  • john609john609 Member Posts: 10
    We have an 03/V6 Ltd. We too have a creaking noise or popping sound that seems to originate behind the seat or under it. With only 1100 miles, I am trying to avoid a dealer "technician" performing a science fair project on it.

    If it helps, no one has even ridden in the back seat yet (i.e. no kid toys, etc...). Thanks in advance.
  • meyersejmeyersej Member Posts: 13
    I just noticed this weekend that the paint on the roof of my 03 (built in July) is starting to crack. It's barely noticable and you have to look very closely to see it, but it appears that the clear coat is cracking/fracturing. I found one other person on another discussion forum that had a similar problem. Anyone else having this problem or do I have an isolated defect?
  • 69mach169mach1 Member Posts: 60
    No cracks in clearcoat, but I've found debris in the paint on the hood and roof.
  • toyotacubtoyotacub Member Posts: 1
    I had the same problem, A rattle in the back right area of my 03limited First i thought it was the headliner but later found it to be caused by the second shelf in the rear cargo area. there is a pivit joint that allows the shelf to lift and be put in place, In this joint there is a spacer that is allowed to slide and rattle, if you put a C clamp in next to the spacer that adds just enough space to keep the thing from rattling. I did this on both sides and havent haD a problem since.
  • terrafirmaterrafirma Member Posts: 212
    The noise is from a loose rear seat latch (the latch that you release to fold the seats down)

    It is loose on one side and an easy fix for the dealer. A couple people mentioned this and fix.
    Or if you want to avoid the dealer, they have wrapped a strip of electrical tape around the metal U-hook and the noise disappeared.
  • klaudnycklaudnyc Member Posts: 36
    I took my 2003 4Runner SE to the service department of the same dealership where I purchased it two months ago (Hempstead, NY). I go in at 8:30 am and ask them to:
    1) Change the oil
    2) Fix rattle in sunroof
    3) Fix brake pedal vibration (ref: Oscar)

    Pop quiz: Which one was completed in 5 hours? Just (1)

    I offer to provide the TSB# for the sunroof, but the assistant service manager vehemently refuses. Well, 1:00 PM rolls around and they can't find the correct TSB on their own. After I provide them with the correct #, they tell it will be an all-day job and I have to come back.

    As for the brake pedal vibration; the mechanic personally explains to me that the brake system on this particular vehicle has a hydraulic system that automatically re-pressurizes the brake lines every few pumps. That vibration I feel is the system pressurizing itself. Sounds plausible to me so I leave it at that.

    Oscar, you wrote about a similar problem that required the master cylinder to be changed. Let me confirm the condition: The vibration is a soft buzz that lasts for a few seconds, regardless if you're braking hard or soft, and even occurs when you are stopped. It occurs almost every other braking and is completely independent of road conditions. Is this correct? I refuse to believe this is normal.
  • chetdudechetdude Member Posts: 5
    I too have that annoying moon roof rattle in my 03 Limited. After downloading the TSB fix, I too fear a "science fair" project by a mechanic. If anyone knows how to short-circuit this with toyota for a dependable fix, please advise. It's very annoyng
  • john609john609 Member Posts: 10
    What paint color(s) were involved in the clear coat & paint problems in messages #14 & #15?
  • oscarz2oscarz2 Member Posts: 153
    That buzz is not normal. I test drove several 4runners and none of them did it, except the one I bought of course and I only noticed the buzzing the following day. I'm certain that if they all did it, it would be driving people batty, like the sulfur issue.

    At any rate, they replaced the master cylinder assembly and there is no more buzz at all, not even during startup.

    However, there is a faint (intermittent) "pop" or "snap" that I can feel in the brake pedal every few times I brake. Don't know if this is what your mechanic was referring to but it annoys me. I'm taking the car in tomorrow for this and vibration in the steering wheel at freeway speeds.
    It used to have a shimmy but they rebalanced wheels and that took care of the shimmy but there's still a vibration.

    I feel your pain.
  • 69mach169mach1 Member Posts: 60
    My 2003 Sport is Stratosphere Mica with paint debris on the hood and roof. Debris on hood and roof is about the size of a sand grain.
  • 69mach169mach1 Member Posts: 60
    My 2003 Sport has the X-Reas System, but to me the vehicle doesn't handle very well. It really leans in the corners and becomes a handfull if you drive too fast. Any body with similar experiences, how about ditching the shocks and putting on KYB's?
  • pat84pat84 Member Posts: 817
    What speeds are hitting in the corners. I have the same vehicle and I'd rate it as extremely solid in handling, even in the corners. You may have a leaking shock.
  • rogers12rogers12 Member Posts: 140
    Sounds like your truck is not handling properly. Assuming it is under warranty, bring it to a dealer and have them look at it. Get it handling like it should before you decide to spend money on aftermarket shocks.

    (Sorry pat84 - didn't see your post.)
  • rogers12rogers12 Member Posts: 140
    Anyone know if the optional 17-in wheels will fit on a 3rd generation 4-Runner without modification?
  • deloiddeloid Member Posts: 18
    Twice now I have been in park (motor running) on a slight uphill. When I shift to drive and transfer my foot from the brake to the accelerator pedal the car slips backwards and makes a grinding noise below me (transmission area). The fix was braking then trying again immediately afterward.

    called the service dealer who said its the first he has heard of this and since their were no alarms or lights it was probably a gear slipping. He also said that to fix it he would have to replicate the problem. I have had difficulty in replicating the problem myself....ideas?

  • coranchercorancher Member Posts: 232
    deloid, I think you may have (by rolling backwards when the transmission is in drive, if I remember correctly) inadvertently activated the "Hill Start Assist Control" function. If so, you should probably have heard some buzzing from the vicinity of the dashboard/firewall, and would have seen an indicator light in the dash. The feature is apparently using the ABS hardware to do its job.

    I've accidentally done this a time or two myself, and it's an odd feeling if you're not expecting it. Frankly, I don't remember the details of the feature, but it's covered in the manual. I'm sure it's useful in some situations, but I havent' actually needed it yet.
  • Galileo757Galileo757 Member Posts: 37
    Does anyone have any information on how to remove a 2003 4 Runner Windshield with electrochromic/compass rear view mirror? I
    just received a stone chip on the windshield and the auto glass company will replace it tomorrow, just in case they are not familiar in removing the trim and the wiring connection from the electrochromic/compass rear view mirror. The rear view mirror looks like it is part of the windshield, just need info on the trim around the rear view mirror and the wiring connections.
  • nippononlynippononly Member Posts: 12,555
    check out or other sources to see if the offset and bolt pattern are the same - I believe it is the same on the third gen as on the second, which has an offset of 8 (I have one).

    There is plenty of clearance in the wheel wells, so that should not be the problem if there is one. I have seen lots of third gens with oversize tires on them without lift.

    Don't forget, if you put on the 17s, you will be reducing the torque you can put to the ground. You might be a candidate for consideration of installing the S/C.

    2014 Mini Cooper (stick shift of course), 2016 Camry hybrid, 2009 Outback Sport 5-spd (keeping the stick alive)

  • 69mach169mach1 Member Posts: 60
    Truck has 3000 miles on it and shocks don't leak. I've noticed a hose that goes into the shocks, I wonder if there's a reservoir for fluid that might be low, just a thought.

    I'm taking the corners at resonable speed, but it just seems to lean a lot. Maybe I was expecting too much after reading about the X-Reas System in the 2003 Toyota brochure.

    Guess there's another trip to the dealer in store.
  • terrafirmaterrafirma Member Posts: 212
    If it's a chip, I would strongly recommend getting a liquid repair by a reputable shop. It is invisible and very simple.
    Replacing glass is often done improperly which can lead to leaks, windnoise, less impact protection (windshield is a part of the structure). It is also often not glued in properly. If the edges of the glass are touched, it's not going to be glued properly.
    You need Toyota glass, not aftermarket glass. Cheap glass can have distortion, inferior quality, fit and longevity. Also, regluing the mirror almost always leads to it falling off in the future.
    Toyota 4 runner glass also is water repellent and UV protected. Aftermarket glass is not.
  • deloiddeloid Member Posts: 18
    Thanks for the thought but I did consider that possibility. There was no audible warning sound and no lights going off on the panel....other ideas?

  • rogers12rogers12 Member Posts: 140
  • dushma1dushma1 Member Posts: 8
    I am looking to buying V6 Limited 4X4. I want to know about 4 Speed vs 5 Speed that how much it makes a difference machanically and how?
    I am aware the 4 speed is with V6 and 5 speed is with V8.
  • Galileo757Galileo757 Member Posts: 37
    The stone chip received a few days ago, but just started to crack yesterday. I heard a loud bang on the windshield, but I have heard louder without any windshield breakage before on the 1998 4 runner. I even cleaned and inspected the glass after the incident, never noticed a chip or crack. I made sure that the windshield was OEM Toyota, called Rite-Way Auto Glass to order and change the windshield. I spoke with the installers, they do a lot of Toyota dealership windshields, (can you image taking your vehicle to a dealer repair shop and they farm it out to the contractor and pay more for the I decided on this company and used before since they specialize in this type of work. The electrochromic/compass rear view mirror was removed with a star tool at the base and wiring disconnected. The wiper arms and the plastic underneath was also removed. They had to open the hood to do this and popped opened the gas filler panel by mistake too. They used a chisel tool to remove the sealant from the bottom of windshield, then lifted the window shield off, applied glue and sealant for the new windshield, took around 2 hours. Hopefully no water or wind leaks!
  • deloiddeloid Member Posts: 18
    Twice now I have been in park (motor running) on a slight uphill. When I shift to drive and transfer my foot from the brake to the accelerator pedal the car slips backwards and makes a grinding noise below me (transmission area). The fix was braking then trying again immediately afterward.No lights on the audible alarm.

    I called the service dealer who said its the first he has heard of this and since there were no alarms or lights it was probably a gear slipping. He also said that to fix it he would have to replicate the problem. I have had difficulty in replicating the problem myself....ideas?

  • meyersejmeyersej Member Posts: 13
    John, mine is Titanium metallic that is cracking
  • canddmeyercanddmeyer Member Posts: 410
    Yesterday, my AM & FM broadcast nothing but static. I suspected the antenna had been disconnected somehow. Then next time I go to use the radio it works as good as the day I got it. Today, while MLB & NFL are in full swing, my radio craps out again. Then I get a weak FM signal but no AM. Now everything works fine again. Obviously I'm going to the dealer for this, but I gotta ask, who's had radio failure issues & what has been your solution? The CD & Tape Deck work fine. The only thing I can relate this to is the ignition. Once I lose it, it's gone for good til the vehicle isn't restarted for awhile. I cannot induce the trouble by cycling the ignition. Start it & sometimes I have a radio, sometimes I don't, but its usually two hours or more since the ignition has been cycled before the condition goes away. Anyone know if the radio, A/C, & ignition is somehow on the same computer, resistor, or ground? Is this a computer reprogramming issue or an electrical issue?

    I mention A/C bcuz this a.m. the auto-program decided (for the 1st time) that the floor was where the A/C was going, then it blew hot air. After pushing the mid-level button more than a few times I finally got my Auto-A/C back where it belonged. I hate electrical issues.

    Thanks for any input.
  • asif1asif1 Member Posts: 49
    Sadly my 2004 4 runner got stone ship on the windshield right after i was driving back from dealer. got it fixed with liquid repair and it is hardly noticeable. the stone did'nt hit very hard and i had my other vehicles (99 camry) being hit by stone many times but never got a chip or crack. Does the new 4 runner have brittle windshields due to extra treatment for clearity or what ever....mine was a seed size chip.. which you usually get on brittle materials like tungsten carbide....The windshield should have fair balance b/w strenght, and brittlnes. i know the wax treatment for water drop should'nt have any impact on brittlness..
    i hope my chip wont spread....but Did you use original Toyota Windshield and how much it cost you?. Do you feel any difference b/w factory fitted and what you have now.?. i hope they did'nt mess with your dash board from inside..
  • Galileo757Galileo757 Member Posts: 37
    Sorry to hear about the stone chip, it's a bummer when it's so new. Seems like they don't make windshields like they use to, looking at the windshield after it's off the vehicle, it looks thinner and lighter, then again, I'm no expert on windshield technology. I know it looks awful when I try to clean and dry it with windex, now I just use a wet paper towel on the windshield and let it dry naturally. I replaced it with a original OEM Toyota Windshield, in the state that the vehicle is insured, it's 100% windshield damage coverage, I did not ask for the cost of replacement, maybe I should have out of curiosity. The windshield installers had to go inside the vehicle to use a chisel tool underneath the windshield to loosen the seal where the front of the dash meets the windshield, they did not have to remove any part of the dash, they were very careful since I was watching the whole So far so good, no water leaks, wind noise or rattles.
  • zmoyota06zmoyota06 Member Posts: 1
    Does anybody notice or hearing any ticking sound coming from the engine on their 4Runners? Also, I have this annoying rattle somehow coming from the front passenger side door, either on the door or the vertical bar where the seat belt is attached to. I've been to the dealer twice and they said they fixed the problem. It's still there. Can anybody help me on this one? Appreciate it.
  • canddmeyercanddmeyer Member Posts: 410
    The radio is defective. I started the vehicle today with the radio already on. I turned off the radio, then turned it back on & had no AM. Dealer confirmed radio is defective & ordered a replacement. As for the A/C issue, who knows, maybe I screwed up, but it works fine now.

    As for the windshield issue mentioned by other posters, mine got chipped the 2nd day I owned it when something flew out of an uncovered garbage truck container. Its maybe an 1/8 of an inch diameter circle, & I'm contemplating as to whether or not I should have it repaired since its so small & not star shaped.
  • steverstever Guest Posts: 52,454
    My auto insurance (and it's not alone) pays 100% for a glue repair. I think they figure the glue will prevent the chip from spreading and will save the cost of replacing the entire windshield.

    I've had 3 done in the last 2 or 3 years with good results, and all free (no premium increases either).

    Steve, Host
  • Galileo757Galileo757 Member Posts: 37
    I would rather have the windshield repaired than replaced if the stone chip on the windshield did not start cracking and in the line of vision. Repairing a stone chip on the windshield as soon as possible due to vibration could cause it to crack, then it's a replacement.
  • nwrollernwroller Member Posts: 24
    Another bit of info many of you probably already know...

    If you live in an area that gets cold during the winter, the transition of tempatures between below freezing level and above freezing level will cause a chiped window to crack... very quickly. (especially if there is any moisture on the window).
  • nedzelnedzel Member Posts: 787
    is correct, as I've unfortunately found out...
  • bad4runnerbad4runner Member Posts: 1
    Why does the owners manual tell you not to use this feature that often due to the possibility of causing problems?

    I tried this once and after 5 seconds the 4Runner rolled backward and then it sounded like the transmission gears were getting stripped out. Is that was Hill Assist is supposed to do? All my previous vehicles when in Drive without foot on the brake would stay in place on gentle slope while my 2003 4Runner rolls backwards after 5 seconds and sounds like it's stripping the gears in the transmission.
  • oscarz2oscarz2 Member Posts: 153
    Does anyone out there have a vibration problem felt mainly in the steering wheel? I initially had a shimmy (shaking steering wheel) at freeway speeds but they balanced the wheels and that fixed it.

    I still have a vibration though and it's present at just about any speed. Of course last visit to dealer was a "could not duplicate" scenario so now I'm stuck with an annoyance with no apparent fix.

    The dealer does have the GSP9700 Force Balancer but that's about all I know. I'm gonna see if I can get them to move the wheels around and balance again but I have to see the Toyota Rep first. It might be another cause altogether but if I can't get them to acknowledge an abnormality, I'm stuck.

    Wheels are the 17" alloys with Michelin Cross Terrains. Had 35psi in them and tried 32 with no difference. Also, I've slipped the gear into neutral when driving and the vibration doesn't change.

    I just can't figure it out but I'm thinking either they didn't do it perfectly the 1st time (based on what I've read, perfection is a requirement in this area for 4runners), or I've got a tire defect somewhere.

    Anyone have a suggestion? Thanks
  • urbsurbs Member Posts: 1
    I recently bought a 2004 4runner, within the last week. The new instrumentation panel is is set up in a recessed tripod manner. Although it is sleek looking, i was wondering if it was standard that these gauges were illuminated at all times, even without the lights on. No, I do not have daytime running lights. Is there anyone out there with a 2004 4runner that can help me out.
  • alfster1alfster1 Member Posts: 273
    If you are referring to the red instrument needles that glow, then yes, that is standard and operating normally. If you are referring to the white/yellow illumination for the speedo and tach, then no, they should not be illuminated when the headlights are turned off.
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