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Toyota 4Runner Maintenance and Repair



  • 2walker2walker Posts: 9
    I took my '03 2wd V6 4Runner in to the service dept for its 15k tuneup and asked them to look into a loud clunking noise in the suspension/steering components which happens at or near the end of the steering travel on a slow, tight U-turn to the right. The service tech verified the problem exists and claims it is "normal for all SUV's". Sounds fishy so I thought I'd ask a larger audience for their opinion. Thanks!
  • bmw323isbmw323is Posts: 410
    My 4Runner does not make this noise, but my old Ford pick up did after a few years. Have Toyota fix the problem. Don't let them give you the "they all do it" line. Ask to take a new one off the lot and see if it makes the noise. I didn't get my pick up fixed under warranty, and was always sorry that I didn't.
  • In my 2004 4Runner, the driver's seat would 'thunk' when I would accelerate or stop. The dealer replaced it with a new seat; problem solved. This was Burt Toyota in Denver.

    Now, if only they would deal with the low-powered stereo system. I expect that when I fade it all the way to the rear in an empty vehicle, the volume will be reduced from my standpoint in the front seat. But the stereo really becomes virtually inaudible when faded to the rear. The dealer's response on this one was - we went around to the other new 4Runners on our lot, and they all sounded the same. Well, maybe instead of showing that this is 'normal', it shows that they all have the same problem.

    I also told them that the trip computer which calculates gas mileage and range is off by 10%. Their response - that's within tolerance. I wish my bosses at work were so understanding when I write computer programs - there, the tolerances are a lot tighter!
  • 69mach169mach1 Posts: 60
    I live in Evergreen and I took my 2003 Sport to Burt Toyota complanining of the same problems.

    I did tell them that the amplifier in my JBL was hissing when it was cold outside and they replaced the amplifier per a TSB. The JBL is a little better, but you still have to set the fade to 5 o 6 to get the surround sound effect. If you set it toward the front, most of the sound comes front the center speaker.
    The trip computer and front seat problems have been noted before, but it's "normal and they all do it" is the responce.

    I wonder if we all got together we could start a class action law suit?
  • giblergibler Posts: 2
    I purchased my 2004 V6/SR-5 4Runner in January this year. In March i drove 1200 miles from New York City to Tampa Florida. About 175 miles into the trip on Rt.95, the Check Engine Light comes on. Car still felt good driving and continued the trip to Florida. When i arrived in Tampa, i took it to Toyota Service and they cleared the light and test drove it. They claimed the sensor put out some kind of Bank 1 Lean Code. On the way back to New York, as soon as i fill-up for the firt time in Georgia, the light trips on again. Took it back to the dealer where i purchased the vehicle, they told me it was a bad Oxygen Sensor and ordered a new one. Fine up until last evening coming home from work on the expressway, the light activates once more!! I'm a little disgruntled at the fact that this is going on with my BRAND NEW TOYOTA!! I just filled up with gas yesterday morning and i'm wondering is it the gas? Does anyone else have this same problem with their 2004/V6/SR-5 4Runner?
  • my2centsmy2cents Posts: 20
    Correction on above instructions. You do not have to replace your turn signal bulbs. In fact you can't since the DRL and non-DRL bulbs use different sockets, and they are not compatible. However, this modification really works well with your original non-DRL bulbs. I think the non-DRL bulbs burn slightly less bright than the DRL bulbs since there is a difference in wattage but the visual difference is not that great. Also you do not have to disconnect anything from the fuse block to access the relay as I had previously mentioned. The lower dash comes apart very easily and goes back nicely. No rattles or squeeks....just like new. Hardest part is just getting the old relay off its slide mount. Trick is to place a small thin screwdriver underneath the left hand side of the relay and slide it out to the left at the same time. Now the front turn signal lights are on all the time (blinks off to indicate a turn. They turn off when you switch "on" your headlights. The running lights remain on when you switch to parking lights only. Kind of a cool look with only the running lights and parking lights on (both orange) on a black 4runner. Once again if anyone needs more help with this I can give an even more detailed account of how to do it (exact step by step), just let me know.
  • A class action lawsuit may be overkill, but I like your spirit! Perhaps if we keep pressing these issues, we'll get somewhere, especially since we are starting to learn about our mutual issues and each others' existence.

    Can anyone explain what the process of appeal is when dealers don't fix problems with cars under warranty? In the Toyota hierarchy, who is over the dealers' heads? This is my first new vehicle ever (I'm 51!), so - even though I've been an activist on other issues - I could use some insight into the regional/national Toyota hierarchy and who to go next.

  • saksak Posts: 2
    2004 SR5 4Runner purchased September 2003. Noticed noise in driver's seat a couple of months ago. Took to dealer. They could not reproduce. I went into service area to reproduce noise for them. Service person at desk told me that they have only seen this problem ONE other time and that they had to contact Toyota for authorization to replace the part as it was a $3,000.00 track (did I mention this is the SR5? Manual seat. They were just replacing just the track - not the seat.) Toyota authorized. Vehicle was left at dealership for THE DAY as they told me they had to have it for an entire day to repair. Approximately 1 month later I am now hearing noise in the seat. Took it back to same dealer. CASHIER told me "No charge. You're ready to go." No one explained what was found and/or corrected. Cashier read receipt that said "Noise in seat is inherent and cannot be fixed." After then asking service person at counter to get involved, she reiterated same statement. I asked, "If they replaced the track because the track was bad, why don't they replace the seat since the seat is bad?" She said, "It's inherent. The next seat will do the same thing. Toyota doesn't have a fix for it. If they do, we'll send you notification." Did I also mention that my car was in and out of the dealership within 20 minutes - and washed???? I have had my 4Runner to other Toyota dealers for other items as well for which they couldn't repair. I have found Toyota service to be the least desirable of all vehicles I have owned. Has anyone had similar problems with the seat. (I did see a posting from bradklafehn and it sounds like it may be a similar problem.) I find it very hard to believe my vehicle is only the 2nd the dealership has seen and I find it even harder to believe it was a $3,000 repair. I am in the Pittsburgh, PA area. If anyone can comment back, I would greatly appreciate so that I have references when I return to the service dept. Thank you very much for your time!
  • toyboxxtoyboxx Posts: 150
    On another site I saw that one person had their 4runner bought back under the Lemon Law because of his seat. People didn't believe him that it was bought back but he produced a PDF of the the legal doc's associated with the buy back. Document your problem, save your receipts and start the arbitration process. Here it is:
  • bmw323isbmw323is Posts: 410
    I'm not sure if we are talking about the same seat noise, but my drivers seat bottom rocks slightly. Such that when I shift my weight on the seat (by taking a sharp corner, or braking quickly) the seat moves and makes a small noise. I asked my dealer about it and was told that the seat height adjusting mechanism allows for this slight movement and could not be corrected. It isn't a big problem for me, but you wouldn't think a rocking seat bottom would be something the manufacturer would tolerate.
  • but the thing is as soon as I got out on the road after being at the Toyota service dept., I noticed that the "VSC Trac" and "VSC Off" warning lights were lit and stayed lit. I was hoping it would go away so I drove home, but since it was still lit I called the Toyota service dept. and alerted them.. They said I should bring it in tomorrow for them to look at. Has anyone else had this happen after going in for the exhaust fix under that new TSB?
  • rvalc43594rvalc43594 Posts: 31
    Exactly what did they do? Did they re program the ECM and change the catalytic converter.
  • my2cents, after your postings I ordered the relay and the 4157NAK bulbs. I guess I will not be able to use the bulbs, but I am now worried that the current draw might be too high with the stock light bulbs. Are sure this is safe to do? Do you know the difference between stock light bulbs and 4157NAK? Is there any way to use the 4157NAK’s? I would also appreciate the detailed instillation instructions.

    I installed the chromatic mirror and homelink garage door opener (Both purchased from partznet, great service BTW). After DRL, I will only wish for side impact air bags, which I need to wait for my next 4Runner purchase. Thank you for your help.
  • my2centsmy2cents Posts: 20
    Sorry for the misinformation on the bulbs. As far as the current draw using the stock bulbs, that is a non-issue since the stock bulbs are a lower wattage (21 watts vs. 27 watt DRL bulbs). That is why they will appear a little less bright than the stock DRL bulbs. Once you get the 4157NAK bulbs you will see that they are a dual element bulb. I've checked other forums and the opinions are that either both elements burn all the time or the brigher element(27 watts) burns during the daytime DRL mode and the 8 watt element burns during the night time turn signal mode. Jury is still out on this one. None the less you do not have to lose sleep on this subject. As far as I know there is no way to use the DRL bulbs since they slip into a different socket connected to a 3-wire harness vs. the 2-wire harness that you have. I'm still looking into adapting the sockets but this will take some time to figure out. As it is this modification worked great on my car!! I'll make a list of exactly how I did it and post it over the next few days. I just want to make sure I don't miss anything or confuse anyone.
  • yes, they did both to my knowledge. I had it in first on the 30th of June but they didn't have the parts for the exhaust so all they did was reprogram. They said I was their first customer to come in for this fix, by the way, I hope I am not the guinea pig. Otherwise I have had good service in the past on my old Camry. Anyhow, I took it back yesterday to get the catalytic converter installed and they mentioned having trouble entering the PCM which they had to do again for some reason. This morning coming into work I had the 2 VSC lights and the Check Engine warning to boot!!!! I hope this will be resolved shortly as I am going over to Toyota around 8am to see about this.
  • oldnavycdroldnavycdr Posts: 17
    There are a number of postings recently and going back to last year identifying this problem. Like others, I have sought a fix from the dealership and was told, "they all do it." The movement/noise seems to emanate from the manual seat adjustment ratchet under the left front portion of the drivers seat. It is not a safety issue so much as it is a matter of quality/design/irritation. I would be curious if those of you with the electric seats (Limited) have this problem or if it is just us "poor folks" with the SE?
  • My toyota service dept. seems to have fixed the problems with the warning lights. If I am reading this invoice right, the check engine light had something to do with the 02 sensor heater control shorted against the body,......they repaired the wiring harness. The VSC Off/Trac warning lights were due to the Decel Sensor Undone. They recalibrated the Decel Sensor. I hope it lasts, I haven't driven much since coming home with the 4runner due to severe thunderstorms in my area. But everything seemed OK on the way home.
  • Just picked up my new 4 runner sport last week and I've had it back 3 times already for a shimmy in the wheel at 60 mph. Turns out to be some kind of out-of-round problem with the tires. At first they didn't want to replace them, saying the problem was between me and the tire company. I explained that they delivered a defective product to me and that any dispute was between Toyota and the tire company. Now they are replacing 3 tires. Let you all know what happenes. Apparently this is not an uncommon problem with Toyota though.
  • stove1stove1 Posts: 53
    What brand , model are the defective tires ?
  • Galileo757Galileo757 Posts: 37
    My 2003 4Runner with Moon Roof started to rattle at 11,300 miles above the front passenger seat with the Moon Roof closed at the head liner, open it was fine. The solution to my rattle was to install 2" vacume hose in length small diameter and slice one side of it to fit between the right side rod that connects to the wind deflector as a vibration dampener. Hope you guys find this information useful, Happy Motoring!
  • my2centsmy2cents Posts: 20
    Part needed: (1) #81980-35020 Flasher Relay. The new flasher relay replaces the original relay that is part #81980-50030.
    1. Disconnect battery. Better to do this since you are moving the fuse block around. Don’t forget you will have to reset your auto-up-down features on your window, moon roof, tailgate window, etc. (refer to the manual for procedures).
    2. Remove the bottom two screws located on the lower part of the drivers side dash.
    3. Tilt the bottom part of the dash up a little and slowly pull the top half of the lower dash panel straight out. It will snap right out. Don’t pull it out too far since there are wire connectors and cables still attached to it. Also, there is a trim ring where your ignition key is inserted. This should pop out also (it came out by itself for me).
    4. Disconnect any electrical wire plugs from the dash panel. I left the cables for the hood latch and gas cover releases on and allowed the panel to lay on a small box that I placed on the floor which was just high enough to get the panel out of my way but not too low such that the cables were strained.
    5. Remove the two screws that hold the metal shield in place that is behind the panel you just removed and completely pull off the shield.
    6. Remove the 3 screws that hold the fuse block in place. The right and top screws are easy but the lower left hand one is more difficult since the fuse block bracket rests behind a metal bracket. I found it easier to remove the metal mounting bracket on the left side also (one extra screw to remove-total of 4 screws). You will probably have to slightly pop out the left side plastic kick panel near the foot well to get to this extra screw out.
    7. Now your can slide the fuse block out a couple of inches toward you and tilt it just enough so that you can reach the relay on the back side of the block. I did not remove any connectors from the block. You may have to slide some wires around to tilt the fuse block more easily.
    8. On the backside of the block you will see a beige relay about 1.5" wide that has a short wire harness connected to it. The relay and wire harness are mounted on slide brackets on the backside of the fuse block. Both of these parts must be removed. Note that the short harness is connected to the standard lighting harness, which you will use to directly connect to the new relay.
    9. To get the old relay and harness off, place a small thin screwdriver underneath the relay on the left hand side of the bracket holding the relay, and push it in underneath to the right while sliding the relay out to the left at the same time. Use the same procedure for the short wire harness. Hard part is over.
    10. Connect the new bigger relay (2.5" and black) to the lighting harness you removed from the short harness connector and slide the new relay to right on the bracket where the old relay sat.
    11. You may want to temporarily reconnect the battery and start the engine to make sure the DRL’s come on. The DRL lights should turn on as soon as you start the car and should stay on until you either turn on the headlights or turn off the engine. If you want to run the engine without the DRL lights on you have to set the parking brake before you start the engine.
    11. After you are satisfied, disconnect the battery again and reverse the above 1-7 steps to get things back to normal. Good luck.
  • mojaymojay Posts: 8
    I am about to purchase an '03 limited, v8, 4x4, with X-REAS, rear air suspension, and side curtain airbags. I have been looking for a used one with this set up for 9-10 months. I keep reading about the TSBs for certain problems and am wondering if there is a website to search thru all TSB for the 03-current 4runners. In case I notice a problem I would like to be able to search and find a solution for Toyota to fix appropriately. Any help?
  • steverstever Posts: 52,572
    We have TSB summaries and recall information here:

    Edmunds Maintenance Guide

    You can also find them at the site. (that's the right URL, so it's www dot nhtsa dot dot dot gov - leave it to Uncle <g>).

    Full text is available at for a price; some libraries subscribe and you can get the full text that way for free.

    Steve, Host
  • biglatkabiglatka Posts: 78
    A search on the Edmunds maintenance site produces (inaccurately) no TSB's or Recalls for a 2004 Toyota 4Runner 4WD V6. There are several TSB's and one recall I know of.
  • steverstever Posts: 52,572
    We get them from the NHTSA but I don't know why we miss some. They show 13 TSBs, but no recalls.

    I don't see anything for Toyota for 2004 at Alldata except for the Sienna.

    Maybe submitting a Contact Us form will help get the TSB files updated.

    Steve, Host
  • rogers12rogers12 Posts: 140
    ABS? if so equipped makes the brakes seem as though they pulsate could this be the popping you feel in your brakes. Applies pressure and releases many times per second this leads to pulsating or popping feeling in the brake pedal
  • sconisconi Posts: 4
    Recently purchased a 2004 4Runner Sport. Had the dealer install a Auto-dimming Rearview Mirror with compass, because it was not available as an option on the Sport. It works most of the time, but shuts off for about 3-4 minutes soon after starting engine, then coming back on and working fine, and the compass flashes whenever a car approaches from behind with lights on at night. If I shut off the dimming feature, the compass wont flash. My question is, is the mirror defective, or are there problems with simply installing these mirrors on the Sport? Thanks!
  • pat84pat84 Posts: 817
    My 2003 Sport V-8 had the auto dimming mirror installed as an option from the factory. I bought mine off the lot with it already in My compass works fine, doesn't flash whether I have the auto-dimming feature (with little green light on) or not. It also starts right up with the ignition. You may want to have the dealer look at yours and then start one up on the lot that came from the factory.
  • sconisconi Posts: 4
    Recently purchased a 2004 4Runner Sport. Had the dealer install a Auto-dimming Rearview Mirror with compass, because it was not available as an option on the Sport. It works most of the time, but shuts off for about 3-4 minutes soon after starting engine, then coming back on and working fine, and the compass flashes whenever a car approaches from behind with lights on at night. If I shut off the dimming feature, the compass wont flash. My question is, is the mirror defective, or are there problems with simply installing these mirrors on the Sport? Thanks!
  • rjlaerorjlaero Posts: 659
    I just sat inside of a brand new 2004 4Runner. It was the base model with manual seats. I immediately noticed that the front drivers seat "rocked" back and forth. It would no doubt drive me crazy to be riding around in a $30,000 truck, and the seats don't work properly. There's no excuse for Toyota to be selling 4runners like this. It's a design flaw that should have never made it to production.
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