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Toyota 4Runner Maintenance and Repair



  • I have a '94 runner that had exact same problem. Replace the x-valve and both electrical controls just for insurance. Parts cost was slightly over $100. Your tech will have to evac the system and refill. The labor to perform this service will be a lot more than the parts, but this fix will solve your problem. Good luck!
  • Hi all, I need some advice on this. I took my 2005 4 runner to the dealer Saturday to get oil changed. Long story short the dealer emptied my oil, replaced the filter, cap, oil plug, but forgot to put oil in the vehicle. they started the vehicle, brought it around for me and said it was ready to go. I got in, started it and drove about 1/4 mile before the oil light and engine light came on while the vehicle simultaneously shut down. Dealer has admitted fault, they say there is a VVTI sensor that shut the engine down before any damage was done. They say they know no damage was done because all of the diagnostics show the engine is fine, the master mechanic drove it 20 miles and they dropped the oil pan to be sure nothing was in there? I'm no mechanic so I don't know exactly what that means. Anyway, they are offering to extend my powertrain warranty to 100,000 miles. I need to know if this is acceptable and ideally I would like to hear from someone who had a similar thing happen and learn how the it was handled.

    couple quick points: the vehicle had no oil in it. I bought it new at this dealership and have had my oil changed at this dealership 6 times in the 24k miles I have on it. I've been advised to contact toyota corporate and will do this in the morning. Is the dealers offer fair?
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,726
    Reverse is always the "crunchiest" gear. Will it go in if you shift into a forward gear first and then go directly to reverse without allowing the truck to move? Or, when it won't go in, will it go in if you use a forward gear to move the truck slightly? If it will under those circumstances, that is probably just the normal "crunchiness" of reverse gear on an older truck.

    If not, then will it go in with the engine off?

    If it won't even then, you may have a broken or bent linkage between the gear shift and the transmission itself. That is not a very expensive repair.

    OTOH, if it will only go into reverse when the engine is off, or will never go in and is hard to put in first as well, you have to ask yourself how many miles your clutch has on it - could it be time for replacement?

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

  • andrew17andrew17 Posts: 26
    Thanks for your advice. Since the mechanics at the dealership could not diagnose the problem with the 1995 4Runner SR5, we finally had given up on the issue and traded it in. I just found out that the expansion valve (or the orifice tube meter) was the culprit, that would shut off the regrigerant flow at 86 F and above. I suggest everybody who encounters this problem tell the A/C mechanic to check this aspect of the system; and Do NOT AGREE to have the whole A/C unit replaced!

    I also assume, that in the southern states and in California, A/C mechanics in Toyota dealerships are more experienced then here in Virginia. By the way, it was a good SUV, it served us fine during the long years - it had never broken down. I will miss it...
  • What are you gonna trade it in for? A newer 4Runner? That would be sweet. Haven't you ridden a newer 4Runner yet? I have - and it's much less crappy than my 2000 LTD 4WD (though some say they cut through corners and have an overall lower-quality part comprised vehicle).
  • jbolltjbollt Posts: 734
    To install a new rear side marker reflector (the one in the bumper), passenger side, is it installed from the bottom from under the bumper, or must the taillight assembly be removed and then install from the top?
  • bobgordonbobgordon Posts: 156
    I've been in the auto/truck industry for over 30 years.
    Yes, I'd say the dealers offer is acceptable.
    Just by removing the oil pan, NO technician can visually tell if any bearings have been damaged due to the lack of oil. Bearing caps (crankshaft) would have to be removed and bearings would have to be measured, all of them. The camshaft would have to be inspected also. These are just a few internal engine parts that would need to be looked at.
    Make sure it's spelled out in a legal contract (extended warranty) that they (the dealer) neglected to fill to the proper level of engine oil. And that any and all internal parts of your engine are covered for the specified mileage.
    I'd definitely call Toyota Customer Service and Corporate and tell them of this issue and make sure to tell them the work order number on the service receipt.

    Sorry to hear of your experience, hope it all works out.
  • andrew17andrew17 Posts: 26
    We traded it in for a 2006 RAV4 V6. I wanted one without sunroof, and without the fancy radio package. After getting the final price on paper at the previous Toyota dealership in Virginia, we took it to the Fitzgerald Automall ( in Gathersburg, MD, where we negotiated a better price/color. (We live in Virginia).

    By the way, you are right: the new 4Runner V-8 is great! (Excelent accelaration and curb stability.) Very good SUV - but it is pricey.
  • I've got a '91 SR5 4X4, great truck, but it's becoming more difficult to shift gears - takes a firm push - and there is grinding and vibration shifting into reverse. It'll go into reverse, with or without the engine running, but requires a jamming it in, grinding and vibration with the engine running
  • drex1drex1 Posts: 41
    My 1999 4Runner fits my Yakima bike rack just fine, but is a bit short (hits the spare tire) on my 2003 4Runner. My '03 4Runner was also produced in April 2003 and still has the problem with the hitch. Does Toyota have a fix for this? Are there any companies that produce a bike rack which fixes this problem or do we just have to cut a 1/2 inch off the rack mount?
  • canddmeyercanddmeyer Posts: 410
    In so many words or less, get it in writing what you are being offered.
  • jmtreetopjmtreetop Posts: 130
    There is a TSB out for the sunroof issue although I don't know what years it affects. I just had my sunroof replaced on an 05 4Runner for a similar problem. The sunroof would close but at the last second it would suddenly drop, creating a gap in the rear of the sunroof, as if it were too low. I could manually raise it to create the seal.
  • iwangs04iwangs04 Posts: 22
    It's been a long time. I posted this over heating problem on my 95 4runner about this time last year and my problem had been going on for months without resolution. I finally got it fixed while ago but haven’t gotten back with what was the problem. So here it is…
    The problem turned out to be the radiator. It clogged and wasn’t enough room for water circulation. Few months ago I took the car to a small shop where my friend works. A technician looked at the car and his first impression was also thought the fan clutch issue. I told him that wasn't it. He then test drove the car until the temp started to increase over the normal level. He used a laser temperature detective gun or some sort of device and shot at the radiator. The device shows in different temperatures on the radiator, where the top area is extremely high tempurature and lower section is suprisingly low. That was how the problem uncovered. I replaced with a new aftermarket radiator, cost under $200, and it has been running great.
    BTW, if you have the radiator clogged problem, mind as well replace it w/ a new one. The flushing may not fix the problem and it is not cheap either.
    I almost felt for the dealer, that they thought it was the head gasket problem, to work on the wrong problem.
    I’ve learned a long the way on how the fan clutch works during this experience. When the car is over heating, the fan clutch is dead too. That means it is very weak, with no resistance but that doesn’t mean the fan clutch is bad/broken. When the car is running in the normal temperature, the fan clutch should turn strong and you could hear it with the humming sound when accelerate. Samething when you start the engine while it cold, the clutch should hum, running strong & fast. Otherwise, it is a truly bad clutch. That is my opinion.

    Happy driving…
  • biglatkabiglatka Posts: 78
    Hello Wangs04,

    Glad you got back to us with the solution. As I remember I was guessing, based on what you reported, that it was something with the head and/or gasket and recommended a cylinder leak down test. It's good to hear that the fix was something as simple as the radiator, much easier to replace. I guess if one didn't have an infrared tester you could feel around the radiator for temperature differences, being ever so careful of the fan of course :).

    Well, now after all you've been through with your overheating problem, you can be our resident expert in this area :D.
  • I've had the same cluck for 6 months before I had it fixed. If it is same problem this is my fix. The problem first of all is an annoying clunk. No rhyme, no reason. But mainly when the stopping and starting. It litterally feels like you are pulling a utility trailer, or someone rear ends you slightly.

    I've tried the Grease, and read everything on this site.

    My dealer changed the driveshaft 3 times. No [non-permissible content removed]! Between the dealer, and the Toyota rep. they somehow managed to change the shaft 3 times. The second time was because I asked if they replaced the shaft with same part number. They coulding be sure, so the changed it. The rep then called back a month later and offer another shaft. Different number. It didn't work.

    I eventually found something on the net that says Lexus has similar problem. I printed the info and gave it to my dealer. He was sceptical and still insisted they've tried everything.

    2 weeks later, they offered to replace the shaft with a Lexus Part.

    It now works perfectly. No [non-permissible content removed]! For the last 8 months, I hated the vehicle. Now I like it again. Do a search on any Lexus Forum. I believe Lexus actually has a TSb.

    If you have the same problem as I describe, gor get the Grease! It didn't work.

    Good luck
  • Recently, the driver door on my 2003 4Runner has been intermittently failing to unlock via keyless entry, even though all other doors respond to the remote control. Not sure if this is an electronic issue or a mechanical issue, but would be curious if others have had this problem. The truck is just out of warranty, so I would prefer not to take it to the dealer and have them search for an intermittent problem. Any insight on possible causes and fixes is appreciated.
  • Your description of your previous sunroof issues sounds exactly the same as mine. I'll look for the TSB. Thanks for the info.
  • drex1drex1 Posts: 41
    My '99 4Runner Limited is finally about to need new tires in the next 6 mo. Can anyone recommend a good set of tires which produce low road noise, good wear, and decent for occasionally off roading? Thx.
  • I have a 2006 V8 Sport that I would like to put a new "after-market" stereo into... the question is, "will the steering wheel audio controls work with a new unit??? :confuse:
  • Did you get this problem fixed? We are having similar problems on our 2001 4Runner. We've replaced the mass air flow sensor, the 6 injectors, and put in iridium spark plugs. It still loses power randomly, on surface streets and the freeways, and at all speeds. It's getting very annoying and costly. Will be curious to hear if yours got fixed.
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,726
    They are an old standard, but still seem to be some of the best out there for my needs: Michelin LTX M/S's. If you do actual offroading, like NO ROAD, then you should go with the A/T's instead, otherwise the M/S's will take you everywhere you need to go. Every set I have had over the years has got me 40-50K miles, and they are smooth and quiet on highway trips. They also have good traction in the wet and snow.

    You pay a lot for them up front, but you get your money's worth IMO.

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

  • It all depends what you want.
    I'd start at Crutchfield. Give them a call and tell them what you'd like to do. They are always very helpful.

    Good luck!
  • When braking on a surface with snow or ice my 4runner will make a grinding noise toward the front drivers wheel, and NOT STOP!! it will slide for several feet while the brake is engaged and just grind. This is only in snowy conditions though, otherwise my 4runner runs great even on really wet roads. I am wondering if anyone has any potential solutions or what area of repair I should be focusing on. Thanks so much.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 57,354
    Sounds like normal ABS operation unless I'm missing something here....

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  • Howdy. I have a '05 4runner. I need to replace the passenger side mirror assembly and was wondering if anyone could direct me on how to take the door panel assembly apart without breaking any plastic parts in order to have access to the bolts connecting the mirror assembly. Any help will be much appreciated!
  • :cry: Hello I need help,
    My 1999 4 Runner SR5 with 140,000 miles backfires it seems out of the engine or right under the passenger front seat.

    It only happens after i have been driving for awhile. As it backfires i lose most of the power. I can only go about 5mph as it backfires. If i dont press down on the gas pedal then most of the time it would stall.

    it is rapid backfiring and bucking. Then the strangest thing happens, After about 5 min or so the problem goes away and it drives like nothing is wrong.

    The check engine light doesnt come on. A mechanic told me nothing is showing on his diagnostic machine.
    He stated that a intermitten problem is very hard to detect unless it happens while he is operating it or its hooked up on the machine.

    Of course it doesnt happen while in the mechanic's care, proberly because he doesnt have an hour or so to drive around with it until it happens.

    There is no foul smell from the cat conveter.
    Gas cap is on tight.
    Only premium fuel with dry gas is used.
    Please tell me what can possibly cause this bad bucking, backfiring and sometimes stalling.

    Thank you
  • I have a 03 4Runner Sport. Love the vehicle. Just recently found out there was the consistent cable problem with the sun roof. I know there were bulletins but I never received them nor was I ever advised by the dealer. I had the vehicle in earlier due to a rattle in the sunroof. They did advise there was a factory bulletin and it was repaired, but nothing about the cables. I can't close the sun roof if I open it unless I manually pull the glass and push the "spoiler" on the front. The dealer quoted me $1250.00 to replace it since I am way beyond 36K miles and 3 yrs. I have filed an incident report with Toyota because I consider this a defect and I think Toyota should repair/replace the sunroof. It isn't too difficult to search the Internet and find the issue.
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,726
    Are you sure it is backfiring? Sounds like a clogged fuel filter or plugged up exhaust. Unless the check engine light (CEL) is broken or something. Because there are lots of problems that might manifest like this that would trigger the CEL, but without that it seems like it has to be gas supply or exhaust. But those shouldn't cause a backfire, which is usually caused by a misfiring engine, which would most certainly trip the CEL or at least leave codes on the computer for the mechanic to see.

    I think it's worth a replacement fuel filter to see if anything improves, and if not you may want to look at the catalytic converter - they do get plugged up, especially at higher mileages like your truck has.

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

  • thank you for the reply nipponoly:

    We found out what can cause backfiring and stalling without setting off the cel.

    He replaced the spark plug wiring set. It runs perfectly now. Even has more power then i thought it would have.

    Mechanic told me the only cause for backfiring and stalling without a cel is:

    Spark plug wiring, coil pack, clogged cat, fuel filter,all this can cause misfiring and cause backfiring with stalling and not set off the cel.
  • Dear Friends! I just bought from KMart a set of 4 window hanging cupholders for $2.89. These fit fine into the oversized cup holders. Each has variable perimeter and inward oriented claws to accomodate your narrow/ tapered plastic/ metal coffee mugs - just cut off the window hanging extensions!
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