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Toyota 4Runner Maintenance and Repair



  • Tough one. If the engine crapped out under normal driving, I'd probably say get another engine, especially if the vehicle is a 4x4 in good condition. A two wheel drive I'd most likely unload. If the bearing spun due to high rpm's and spirited driving (abuse), then the replacement engine may suffer the same consequence.

    (Edited by poster) After going online, I'd have to concur that $5000 is the expected price for a V6 replacement. A four cylinder should come in about a thousand less. Ouch. Toyota engines are expensive. The other option would be to consult a local high school or community college that has an auto shop. They may take your vehicle for training their students and do the work for free as long as you purchase the long block and any ancillary items (oils, filters, clutch where applicable, etc.) The vehicle would be down longer, but the repair would be free of labor charges.

    Of course if she doesn't really need a 4Runner, the money would probably be better spent on a late model Civic, Corolla, Elantra, or Sentra WITH a warranty. Just remember any loan will require full coverage insurance. Good luck.
  • Thanks for the advice ... I may check with the high school or JC auto shop.

    (The engine failure was caused by lack of oil because she didn't keep an eye on it. However either the car was very low on oil when she bought it or it was leaking/burning oil at a rapid pace for some other reason ... we'll never know at this point)

    We did help her buy a replacement car (2003 Neon) and, yeah, she'll have full insurance coverage as she did on the 4Runner - but of course that insurance doesn't cover mechanical problems.
  • I had something similar. It happened on my 2004 V8 after I took it in to have the sulphur smell fixed under the TSB. Right after they did the fix for that, I noticed my Check Engine Light on, and the VSC and TRAC Light on. They said the Check Engine light was on due to the Sensor Heater Control Circuit Low. The wiring harness to the 02 sensor shorted to the body. So they repaired the wiring harness and did it under warranty ($70 otherwise).

    As for the VSC and TRAC light, that was because the Decel Sensor was undone. So they recalibrated the Decel Sensor under warranty ($84 if not under warranty).

    I don't know if this would apply to your vehicle and the reason your lights are on, but I hope it helps.
  • I too have a Toyota 4 Runner Limited V8 (2003) with the same "thud" problem. At first I thought it was the brake calipers sticking or the slider pins on the calipers because the problem occurred when the brakes were released. Toyota has not been able or has not desired to fix this annoying problem. My regular mechanic (he does not work for a Toyota dealer) drove the vehicle and immediately said it might be the pressure in the transmission lines or the air suspension. I will now go back to Toyota with this knowledge and hopefully they will fix my truck!!

    If anyone has further insight I'd be interested to know.

    :mad: P
  • As I approached work this morning, I lost power steering. I'd driven the freeway and made numerous turns, and suddenly I didn't think I could make the left. I ended up making several tough lefts (good thing there's no traffic on the road at 4:30 am!) and doing some turning to the right, but there was no power to the steering. Do you think it's the pump? I've checked prices online and found 2 for under $200; if it's the pump, what might the labor run me?

    It's a V6, 2WD; over the last 8 years we've replaced, through warranty and maintenance: water pump, head gaskets, radiator, timing belt (getting close to another one though), and master cylinder. Its only problem is a slow engine oil leak (1 qt. every 1000 miles - maybe every 4-6 weeks) which hasn't changed since we found out about it. We only drive it for short (>20 miles one-way) in-city trips. Though we're talking about replacing it, for financial reasons I'd like to keep it another year and have more saved for a down pmt. Is this worth repairing or should I give in to my hubbie and hit the dealerships?
  • From the other thread there is a recall on your vehicle, specifically, the power steering.
    More info here:
    I'd try to get a dealer to fix the problem for free. If they play hardball, mention something about your almost accident. If they continue to stonewall, tell them how the local newscasters would love to here your story about someone's apparent lack of concern, when it comes to safety.
  • Hmmm...I'm getting my 1995 4Runner 4x4 3.0L V6 EFI totally remanufactured for 2600.00 Labor everything!!

    I blew a head gasket. The local ship wanted 2500 just for the gasket...I'm getting the total engine for only 100 bucks around!!

    Where I took mine:
    Motor Machine and Supply, National City Ca. 619-474-9366
  • Hi,
    We have a 1999 4Runner with 91K and it's time to replace the timing belt. Some of the shops I've called recommend just checking the water pump and tensioner pullies and only replacing them if bad, others say replace 'em all at once. I think I may have them do the water pump just to be safe, but is it worth taking a chance that the tensioner pullies will make it till the next timing belt change if they still look OK now?
  • Hello all,
    I have a 95 4runner V6 and is getting over heating problem when driving 25-30 mins on the stop & go road. When I drive on the HWY, it seems ok, and when I get on to the local road again, the heat starts to rise. I was told that it was the fan clutch problem. I replaced it with an after market one from Autozone. It was no good, problem still persists. A week later, I found a used fan clutch at a junkyard from a year older 4runner. I replaced it and drive for a few days, problem is still there. Can anyone tell me what kind of problem do I have here? How can I tell if it’s a bad fan clutch or something else? The water coolant looks good and full. I don’t think this is the thermostat problem? Could it?

    I drive this car for 8 years, haven’t had this problem before. I recently changed the timing belt and all other belts over a month before this happened. After the belts were changed, I notice the engine runs smoother and seems helping a bit on gas.

    Any hints/tips to fix the problem that would be very helpful

    Thank you
  • chuck1chuck1 Posts: 1,405
    That's really cheap. Will they put IN WRITING that it will pass the smog test?
  • I'll take a stab at this. The answer is: it can be lots of things. Your thermostat may not be opening all the way. Your belt replacement may have resulted in belts that are too loose, causing slippage. Of course I've heard over tightening belts can also cause the water pump to fail, although I've never seen or experienced it. Fan clutch of course, but you’ve eliminated it. The radiator may be internally clogged, but I doubt it. There may be a blockage in front of the radiator you have overlooked. Plastic grocery bags are notorious for this. A hose may be collapsing, causing it to restrict water flow. The lower radiator hose is usually the suspect. The temperature sending unit may be failing. The gauge may be failing, but I doubt it based on your post. And if your luck is really getting bad......a head gasket may be failing.

    Other posters can elaborate on other causes, but I'd go with the replacing the thermostat. If that doesn't help, then I'd recommend taking it in for service.
  • Hi Canddmeyer,
    Thanks for the tips. I am going to replace the thermostat, flush radiator and check out the hose this weekend. I notice one of the belts, steering belt, is a bit loose. Mind as well adjust it too. Hope this will fix it.

    I really don't hope it's head gasket failing. Is there way to check if it is head gasket?
    About the fan clutch, when the car is running and still cool, the fan runs very strong. But when the car is hot, the fan clutch is very soft and no resistant. That's how i see it when i test with increasing the gas to check the fan turn, even with the one i replaced. Should it be strong all the time?
  • I wouldn't be too quick to dismiss the fan clutch as OK. They can appear to turn but have no power behind them. My mechanic showed me by sticking a piece of a 2 x 4 in the fan to slow it down and stop it very quickly. Once it was stopped, you could hold it easily with the stick. It should have some decent resistance when you try to stop it. The aftermarket you bought could be junk. Take it from someone who had to replace two head gaskets because of a bad fan clutch.
  • I don't know how a defective head gasket is determined. A web search reveals several different tests that are used. As for testing the fan clutch, I don't know that either. My original reply was based on things that can go wrong. Isolating the trouble is another issue. That's why I recommend changing the thermostat on suspicion and letting a pro take it from there if the trouble doesn't go away.
  • Canddmeyer pretty much covered the possibilities. If the thermostat et. al. doesn't cure it, I would begin to suspect the head gasket(s). The simplest way to check it is cylinder leak down test (similar to a compression test). You probably don't have the tools for this so I would take it to a pro that can do this for you. Hope this helps.
  • Hi, i own a 2003 Toyota 4Runner, V-6 4WD. I have this problem. The problem is that i hear a ticking sound when my truck is in park, and when i accelerate or put it in reverse i can hear the ticking until ai reach a high speed. I think it is coming from underneath, but i don't know where. I took it to the dealer, and they always tell me they fixed it but i still have the problem. They told me it was the exhaust, but they put a new one in and it still does the same thing. Can Any1 help? :confuse:
  • I just got my 03 Limited back from the dealer. Last week a cable broke in the moonroof, so allegedly they couldn't replace just the cable..they had to replace the motor because the cable spools up in the motor...then they had to replace the frame because it was allegedly bent...all totaled after 4 days in the shop it cost me $2300 to fix..of course to my luck the warranty was up. $1500 for parts and $800 for labor on a two year old moonroof..
  • kld1kld1 Posts: 1
    My engine is very tempermental in starting as of recent. The engine will always start but make take two turns of the ignition...just a hard start and you have to turn and hold hold the key longer than usual. I have taken the car to the dealer and they cannot figure out the problem as it is not the starter, battery, or ignition. The dealer suggested going to to a different dealer and refunded my money after thinking that cleaning the IAS Valve was the easy fix (didn't work). Anyone had a similar problem?
  • Toyota wouldn't give you any help ? What did they have to say?

    I've never read of a similar problem with a moonroof nor have I ever had any moonroof issues.

    $2300 ? That hurts big time.
  • Same problem with thud on 2003 V8. I wonder if Toyota will fix it.
    Does anyone has a fix to this problem. :cry:
  • I have a 2004 V8 Limited. Had the darnest time trying to figure what was going on. The thud seem more noticeable when starting and stopping. However, car did not necessariyl had to be rolling. After coming to a complete stop, at a red light, if you waited say 5 seconds, you'll get a thump. Weird. Passengers would always look at the rear to see if been nudged by another car.

    After some persistence with the dealer, Toyota Canada sent the dealer a new drive shaft. I'd tried to get some specifics as to what was the cause.

    The vehicle doesn't do the thuds anymore. There was a noticeable change. However, I'm still a little paranoid if they really fixed the problem.

    I'm not completely convinced because I may have some other problems with the car. In my limited knowledge of vehicle mechanics, I think the truck is too heavy for the brake system. The brakes always seems to struggle stopping the car smoothly. Very hard to explain.

    Perhaps that is the nature of the 4Runner. I can't be convinced that is the case after spending that much. :confuse: :confuse:
  • Thanks all for the tips,
    After flushed the radiator and checked thermostat over the weekend. Problem still persists, except it takes longer to get over heat, ran it w/o thermos.

    Based on what Squeakydeke describes, i'm like 80% certain it's a bad fan clutch. It has no resistance when the engine is hot and it can’t turn any faster when i increase the gas. I can even stopped it w/ my bared hand in effortlessness.
    it was difficult to decide if i should go ahead buy from dealer and replace it. But i am not 100% certain if it's the fan clutch problem for sure and if it's not, then i will lose the $ on part, because it can not be returned. If it is, then i could save big $ on labor.
    So, i decided to bring the car in dealer today to have them diagnose.
  • Hi Chuck,

    They give you a 12 month 12,000 warranty.
  • chuck1chuck1 Posts: 1,405
    They give you a 12 month 12,000 warranty.

    The warranty is great. However, I know many people who could not pass smog with these rebuilt motors. So-ask them, "Would you put in writing that this motor will pass the smog test when I have to go?
  • I am having the same problem on my 2000 4Runner, and I am going into the dealer on 9/19. I turn the key several times, get nothing, and then it always starts. On the phone, the guy said, "sounds like a bad starter." I hope they will refund my money if this is not the problem. Let me know if you hear anything.
  • That problem with the v-6 is the fuel line. Toyota 2003 v-6 engines had a recall, it's some component used to minimize emissions. just bring it to the dealer and tell them aboout the recall. i had the same problem and they fixed it.
  • Let us know what was wrong with it.
  • Brought it to the dealer yesterday, they couldn’t find what’s wrong. They let the car ran in idle for the test for a long time, but the over heating didn’t happen. They said the over heating should have happened if there is a problem. Since they didn’t see the problem, I assume that they didn’t check any thing else…

    With the flushing and changing coolant over the weekend, I thought that did the trick. But after I picked the car up from the dealer and drove home, it’s still happening shortly I got off the HWY. What’s a bummer!

    My gust still feels it’s got to be the fan clutch problem. So today I happened to bump into a mechanic guy and asked his opinion about a bad fan clutch. This is what he told me. “When the car is hot and if the fan clutch still turns 3 or more rounds after the engine turned off, then you can junk that clutch away”. I tested mine per his suggestion. It’s indeed, extremely bad.
    I’ve been calling the around Toy’s dealers for the part. Unfortunately, they don’t have it in stock, need to be special order and wait for couple days to arrive. However, NAPA has the part in stock and half price less than Toyota.
    Anyone has good experience with NAPA part? Do they make quality/reliable part?
    Do you think it’s a good idea to replace with NAPA clutch?

  • Wangs04, If it was me I'd buy the NAPA clutch because I was anxious to find a fix. Off course at 1/2 the price (I don't know how much it costs) that doesn't hurt either. It can't be a lot of labor involved, right? You could do the installation yourself! You did it once already, so you're an expert at it. :)
  • I am even more anxious than you. Yes, i'm very capable of doing it now. After taking it in & out a few times, i become an expert at it. Actually, it's very simple. Remove the fan cover then unbolt 4 nuts, remove old one out and put the new one in, that's it.
    I actually stopped by Napa and checked out the part. The Napa one looks & feels better than the one at Autozone, made in USA vs China, respectively. So i bought it and will take a shot at it tomorrow.
    FYI, Price at Toy's dealers range from $140-$170. Napa's $80
    I'll keep all informed of how it goes and hope it's gonna be a good news.

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