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Toyota 4Runner Maintenance and Repair



  • I see some questions about a certain "tapping" or ticking noise from the 3.0 v-6. I own the 93 sr5 4runner.Lately it has gotten noticibly when i pull up to macdonalds along a wall i can hear a ticking but not deep like a knock.I can't really pinpoint where it all comes from..the injectors have always ticked..but now i have come to the conclusion that i need to switch to synthetic oil..i think lubrication has alot to do with it. I also have had a 3 inch body lift and the little rubber mat that is in there around the steering shaft has been moved away and ever since then i have heard every little tick of the the engine running. it bothers me to hear any ticks, it has over 141,000 and still really puts out the power with 5/88 gears and 33's it tows and runs great except for those stupid ticks that drive me crazy.
  • Hi, I'm going to be buying my first vehicle in the next few months and right now I'm looking at 4Runners from around 1994. Basically, I'm hoping for a vehicle that will last me about 3-5 years. Can anyone tell me if there are any common/major issues with this vehicle or my expectations of it?


  • buying a 98 limited 2wd, 147,000 no leaks engine quiet. has vibration at 60 .looked at the u joints and front has thrown grease above it has fitting for lube. is it bad once thrown grease or could it be unbalanced tires. some grease on the rear u joint also. any ideas why

    no vibration at lower speeds. also drivng lights won't come on switch lights up, is there a fuse and where, will check bulbs asap. mainly need help with the drive shaft
  • Not sure about 94's but do a Google search for ALLDATA recalls for 1994 4Runner and other searches on 4Runner Headgasket problems.
  • I have a 2001 factory manual and the illustration that identifys where the block coolant drain plug is ....well... sucks. The radiator plug is obvious. Can someone point me in the general direction/side of block for the plug ?

  • If Park or Reverse won't lock the wheels get it checked !!!!!!!!!!!!!! pawl/gear problem
  • I have the 2004 repair manual for 4Runner and the diagram is probally not much differant. There are 3 drain plugs shown. You know about the first one. My diagram for the v6 shows that there is one which appears at the top of the engine, near or under the air intake. the other is located on the drivers side somewhere under or near the oil filter and either above or below the exhaust manifold. On the v8 engine, the plug location is near or under the air intake and the other plug is also on the drivers side somewhere near or under the cylinder head. I think the ones on top are meant for venting to allow the lower plug to drain efficiently. You may find it helpful to use a mirror to look for the side plug. I don't know if there were any big changes in engine design for the model year 2001 to 2004. So its possible that your plugs may be located differently.
  • When the temperature is 4 degrees F or lower my two yellow VSC lights come on on my '03 4Runner V6 Sport and my VSC is actually disabled (flooring it on my snow covered driveway quickly tells me this). If I turn the truck off and turn it right back on the lights go off and the VSC works. I have made appts. to have this checked out at the dealership, but they have to have the appts. a week in advance and the weather never cooperates (it's always too warm). It's not a huge deal, but I'd rather get it fixed while it's still under warranty and before it turns into something worse. Any ideas about what could be causing this? On those same cold days my rear wiper doesn't work correctly. It's delayed in working by about 30 seconds and makes a humming noise. You can also respond to too. Thanks
  • I have a problem that I can't seem to solve. At about 2m rpm's and about 48 mph in 3rd or 4th gear, when given the gas to go around someone, it seems like the cylinders or something makes a pounding sound in the engine.I use 89-91 octane gas. need to know how to set timing different. Was told that the timing is set by the computer. Need to override the computer and fix problem. Please help.
  • The vent cable on my '97 SR5 has become unattached in the defrost position, disallowing me to change the flow of air to the vents or to the floor.

    How big of a job is this to fix?

    Is this a Dealer only job?

    Thanks in advance for any and all help on this.
  • I just had this problem last week with the VSC lights. The dealership told me my catalytic converter needed replaced. In the mean time I did some checking myself, it turns out the gas cap solution that I had found on somebody's post may have fixed my problem. Does anybody with this problem fuel up with the engine running? Just wondering if that may have lead to the error.
    It seems like this VSC error code can have several possible causes.
  • I had this msg in general 4runner forum - thought I 'd try the audience here as well:
    My Problem:
    I had my valet key (grey) stolen from my 03 runner. I am looking for some advise as to next steps to take. I was told by dealer that I can have my master keys re-programmed to prevent valet key from starting car. However I believe that the valet key can still open the driver side door and trunk. Would I need to replace the lockset and thus have new keys mades?

    As I can't get into the dealer for a few days..I was told that the valet key only allows truck to be driven for limited this true? As I have no garage I am a bit worried, and hate to have to sleep with one eye on the vehicle at night.
    Any advise/experienced info on this would be greatly appreciated.
  • I've got the same problem on my 2004 6cyl 4Runner.
    However, my tires are the originals, not substitutes. So far they have replaced the receiving computer and one of the tire-pressure sensors. I'm on my way back to the dealer tomorrow for the fourth time on this problem, with rapidly diminishing patience. Did your repair--i.e., replacement of receiving computer and all five tire-pressure sensors--continue to work? That stupid little flashing indicator light drives me nuts. Otherwise I love this vehicle.
  • Can a toyota service dept. change things in the on board computer such as the timing?.
  • Simbah,

    Had the same problem before the best solution I did (i think ). Went to a locksmith and what they had done is they just reshaped all cylinder bolts (ignition,doors and trunks) and then they reshaped my existing keys to match. It's about a days work and it cost me $275. Forget about taking it to the dealer cause before I did the locksmith I asked around dealerships they want anywhere from $600 to $ 700.
    I was paranoid at first cause their charge was cheap so I lied and told them I lost valet and other keys except the one in the car. I originally lost valet key but kept spare. After it was all done my spare key wouldn't work, so I went back two weeks later and told them I found it and they reshaped that same key to match my car. It's been 3 months now and not a single problem.
    Hope this helps.
  • tangmantangman Posts: 127
    Some 4-Runner writeup say the 2004 has a water repellent windshield made of hydrophilic glass. I am having my windshield replaced and want to be certain that it is the water repellent version. My Toyota dealer's parts department never heard of such a thing. But, my broken windshield acts as if it has rainex on it and I never put it on.

    Does anyone know if all 2004 4-Runners have water repellent glass. How do I specific it, so my insurance company will replace it if it differs from the typical glass most glass shops use.

    You input to this would be very beneificial. Thanks in advance.


  • tomh12tomh12 Posts: 240
    I have an '04 sport V8 that I bought new in May of 04. Wonderful vehicle except for a couple of minor comfort features and an engine noise that began with the beginning of cold weather. First, I have the dealership change oil and filter every 3750 miles. I now have 39,000 miles. I have used Mobil 1, 05W30 since 7500 miles. The noise I am concerned about only happens on cold start after several hours of not running. It sounds just like a 2001 GMC 6.0L I owned...basically sounds like pistons hammering until the engine warms up, but only does it when the vehicle is in gear (under load) and NOT when sitting at idle, out of gear. This noise is very loud and anyone near the street when you are accelerating will notice it. It is definitely engine sourced, as the noise is same speed as engine, even if sitting still, in gear, with foot on brake while revving engine.
    Anyone else have this problem and how have you been able to resolve it?
    Your help is appreciated.
  • tomh12tomh12 Posts: 240
    I would like to know if anyone else with the 4.7L V8 is experiencing a cold engine "knock" or piston clatter for the first few minutes of driving. My dealership acts like they never heard of it and can not duplicate it until I leave it over night. I will do that soon, but would like to know if this is unique to my vehicle, or something others are experiencing.
    I have searched this topic and several others including and have not seen reference to this problem.
    If my 4.7L V8 is unique with this problem, I will push hard for warranty coverage extension or repair. If this is a common problem, it may well be like the GM 6.0L and just be a nuisance, with no long term consequences for engine life.

    Please, anyone with knowledge about this engine noise, give me some replys.
    Thank you,
  • I too have the 4.7 in my '04 SR5. When it is cold, 30 degrees or colder, the engine does make a slight knock at startup, just as the engine revs up for the first time. It goes away quickly, within 3-5 seconds. I have not noticed any such knock or ping when driving however, as it only occurs immediately after start-up when the engine is at a high idle. I'd be interested to hear what the dealerships take is on this. By the way, I only have 5000 miles on I would also be interested to know whether the noise got worse on yours as the mileage on the vehicle increased.
    Good luck!
  • tomh12tomh12 Posts: 240
    Thanks, Neumie2000 for the reply. I believe what you are experiencing is a slight "tick" that my engine also has immediately on start up. Like yours, on my engine that noise goes away in seconds. I am not concerned about that noise.
    My concern is a noise that is LOUD and can best be described as sounding like deisel engine clatter, but seems to be confined to one cylinder, if that is the source. It is not evident when the vehicle is in park or neutral whether revved, or at idle. If you allow the engine to run for several minutes...long enough for the heater to become will not make the noise when put in gear.
    I am open to the possibility that it could be tranny or transfer case related, as it only happens when you put the vehicle in gear, BUT it does not require movement of the vehicle and is in time with engine speed whether moving in forward or reverse, or sitting still. Once you start driving, the noise is loud while accelerating, then unnoticeable if coasting. The noise will stop completely within 1 mile of driving.
    This started with the arrival of cool nights when the temperature would get down in the 40's. I probably had about 25,000 miles by then. Even now, with 39,000 miles, when I travel in the South and temperature over night stays warm, there is no noise.
    Thanks again for your reply.
    I would still like feedback from anyone who has this problem or has an idea of what may be causing it.
  • markjennmarkjenn Posts: 1,142
    If the noise is low-pitched, booming, and presists for a minute or two, it's probably piston slap. If more clattery and goes away more quickly, then it's probably something in the valve train such as cam chain tensioners or lifters.

    Probably not a consolation, but I bought a V6 Pathfinder ten years ago that made cold-engine piston slap noise from day 1 - it went 60K before I sold it without any problems. So it's not typically a huge reliabilty concern. At the time, I thought it was normal cold engine noise, but an experienced mechanic later diagnosed it as classic piston slap.

    BTW, I bought the vehicle new, but the dealer traded with another to get the color and options I wanted and when it showed up, it had nearly 300 miles on it. I was not happy but I did the deal anyway. So abuse during the break-in might have been the problem.

    I now avoid buying cars with high demo miles and avoid having dealers find cars on other dealers' lots. I either want a zero-mile car fresh off the truck or one that is sitting on the lot locally so I can drive it myself and confirm how it runs.

    - Mark
  • p53mustang
    Thanks for the advice with the locksmith alteration(which I may be reproducing as well).
    The dealer informed me that the transponder and master key codes could be reprogrammed, thus eliminating the use of the stolen valet key. So in theory even though the valet key will still engage the driver door and trunk cylinder, the doors will still remain locked due to mismatched code signal. So I had this done at a cost of $230.00 including new valet key. I'm still a little dubious about it to say the least..and may have the keys physically altered ultimately.

    Cheers and thanks again
  • tomh12tomh12 Posts: 240
    Thanks, Mark.
    The noise does last for a couple of minutes. Pitch is hard to describe, but it's lower than a "tick" but not a "boom." Definitely metallic. Think of the sound an older diesel engine makes...."clattering"....only this sounds like only one cylinder, rather than multiple....Does this description make sense?
    Does anyone know if these engines have aluminum pistons? If they do, and that is the cause of this noise, I would expect it to sound more like my 6.0L GM that clatters with all 8 pistons slapping when cold. This sounds just like that, but with a singular sound source, not multiple.
    BTW, I agree with you on wanting a car fresh off the truck. All owners manuals say to avoid "full throttle acceleration" for the first 1,000 miles, but who test drives a vehicle without doing exactly that? I don't even want to buy a vehicle that I test drive! LOL
  • nedzelnedzel Posts: 787
    I hear the same noise on my 2003 V8. Sounds like piston slap to me.
  • I have a 99 4runner limited. It has the electonic air controls and auto climate control. The past two months it has acted Sporadic. I dont ever use the auto climate. I cant even change it from fresh to circulate sometimes. The buttons will just not respond and I am not able to turn the ac on sometimes or even put on the front defroster. I know that you cant do some functions while other are on but this unit is just acting wierd. Sometimes I will get stuck in circulate mode when it is raining and my windows will fog up, I just cant go into fresh mode. Any ideas or do you think I might need a whole new unit? I imagine that a new air control unit is atleast $200-400 bucks. Do you think the clamp in the back is loose or the wires are to crimped or something? Thanks for the ideas!
  • tomh12tomh12 Posts: 240
    Thank you for your post about the piston slap.

    I just need to know if this is a common problem with this V8, or very unusual. If it's common, I am not too concerned about it....don't like it, but lived with a GM with the same problem with no apparent long term damage.

    I would still appreciate hearing from others with the 4.7L V8 to see how common this is.

  • polartoypolartoy Posts: 18
    The noise on cold starts appears to be common and nothing to worry about. I have two 4runners,2003,v8. Both have it. Almost 90,000 km on one, 23000 km on other, and no sign of problems. Engine oil extremely clean always. Have tried synthetic also, no difference on noise. Nothing to worry about imo.
  • tomh12tomh12 Posts: 240
    Thanks for the reply, Polartoy.

    I read this entire topic before posting my question and there was not one reference to this noise with regard to the V8. Therefore, I thought I might have an unusual situation that was cause for concern.
    My experience with piston slap is that it is not as bad as it sounds. And, I agree with you that synthetic or dino makes no difference....seems to be totally temperature related.
    I'll relax about what I'm dealing with, but it bothers me that my service department acted like they have never heard of the noise.
  • jjenkensjjenkens Posts: 26
    Don't get me wrong.. I absolutely LOVE my 4Runner. I've had it a year now, and it's an awesome piece of work.. haven't had a single problem with it, not one! But while up in Colorado recently, I had problems several times with it automatically doing the slippage thing on me. What I mean is, if I'm in a small bank of snow or mud, or on any ground that is slippery, instead of being able to power up and kinda spin the tires and work the vehicle up and out of the area.. it does that clicking sound, as (I'm guessing) the differential gives way until you regain traction. I believe they put that in place to detect and account for things like hydroplaning. But when you're in a vehicle like this (and you're using it to it's capabilities), you're going to find yourself in less than desirable off-road conditions from time to time. I live in Dallas, so I didn't really feel like I needed a 4WD.. and a 2WD would be fine if it just didn't give way when I'm trying to power up when the wheels can't catch traction. So my question is.. is there a way I can disable this function? If so, would I just lose out on that auto-detection of slippage, or would I be sacrificing some other major functionality? I found it pretty embarrassing when I was stuck in a small amount of snow, and I can't generate the HP to rock it back and forth and up and out of a hole or small snowbank. And the sound it makes inside the car always gets a "Whoa, what is that? That sounds terrible." comment out of any passenger. Thanks for any help on this!
  • olrockerolrocker Posts: 16
    I've had my LTD/V-8/4WD for about 2 1/2 years (it's out of overall warranty; has 45K miles on it), and a month or so ago noticed an undercarriage rattle. Today the dealer told me it was a leaking front shock, and that the X-REAS system won't let you replace just one shock...YOU HAVE TO REPLACE THE WHOLE SYSTEM! It was going to cost over $2,000! Fortunately, the distributor is going to cover it for me...but, damn!
    Word...if you get the X-REAS suspension, get the extended warranty. Your dealer and/or distributor may not be so customer focused.
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