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Toyota 4Runner



  • I've been trying to decide between V6 and V8 models and I think nhopper1 and sween77 make some good points. After driving both types (unfortunately about a month apart) I noticed one thing about the V8 I drove. When transitioning from braking to acceleration at a low speed (such as almost coming to a stop) it was very difficult to accelerate smoothly. Even when being careful about it, it was tough to avoid a bit of a jerk. I don't remember this happening with the V6, but it was a short test drive and I may have always come to a complete stop during that drive.

    My concern may seem nitpicky, but I noticed it right away, and it may have been the reason that the V8 felt a little more "clunky" to me than the V6 version did. I'll have to drive both versions again to see if this was simply a defect in my impressions or if the V8 I was driving wasn't working quite right. It had only partly warmed up at the time. Otherwise, I'm concerned that the V8 will always feel a little more clunky.

    If this is consistent behavior, I'm wondering about causes. Could it simply be the effect of the extra torque of the V8 at low revs? Maybe made worse by a lower first gear (if the 5 spd vs 4 spd difference means that the V8's first gear is actually lower)? Maybe the more "drive-by-wire" nature of the V6 allows better throttle control and coordination of engine and transmission?

    I like both versions of this vehicle, but I don't trade cars often and don't want to go off in the wrong direction. I'd appreciate hearing any other perspective or experiences on this.
  • beagles3beagles3 Posts: 132
    Awhile back I posted some questions concerning the VSC and the drivetrain differences between the 99 SR5 and the 02 Limited. Well, I am noticing that when in two wheel drive (in the rain) I am sliding (fishtailing) a little more often when going into turns and I was just wondering if that's inherent of the different drivetrain that I am getting use to? I just remember in my 99 that I just didn't slip/slide as much? Is the new system telling me that I need to drive in the 4-wheel mode in the rain? Am I just imagining this?
  • peter78peter78 Posts: 284
    I just saw the SR5 Appearance Package. I really liked it. The side molding looked smooth, no more bumps, the back bumper looked just like the Limited. Heck, the whole thing looked like a Limited. I really liked it. Sorry about the quality of the pictures. It was in the back lot and it was raining and it was getting dark. The model was a SR5 4WD, black.
  • I purchased a black SR5 V8 on Jan 2, 2003. As a result of reading the articles in this forum, I asked the dealer if color matched clading was going to be an option in the near future. He told me that he heard nothing about this. Well, 1 month later, the color matched clading is available! I'm a little mad about this given the fact that I could have waited a month. Anyway, does anyone know if I could have the color matched clading installed at the dealer? If so, do you have any idea how much it would cost?
  • Ok -- have '03 limited 2400 mi. with air bags -- does anyone's seats (driver/passenger) squeak? sounds like leather rubbing against internal airbag and other noises -- also creaks when push on the back of the seats (like when accelerate, etc.) -- otherwise GREAT truck, but can they fix this or is it a design thing??
  • I have been trying to find a V8 2WD Nav Sport Titanium in Houston and Texas, but I have been told by no less than 5-6 dealers that the vehicle is unavailable in this 5 State area. In fact Gulf State Toyota says that no Navs are available at this time in any package. Has anyone in Texas purchased a vehicle with Navigation. Any help finding the above vehicle greatly appreciated. Will consider 4WD, but it would not be my 1st choice. The rep said that I can put in a prefrence request, but it might take 3-6 months for the vehicle to arrive. Thanks!
  • jaredmsdjaredmsd Posts: 127

    This has been discussed earlier in this thread and the, now 'read only', new 2003 4runner thread. In fact after a quick search I see that it was YOU who asked about this in the "New 2003 Toyota 4Runner" discussion in December, and I also actually found a reply to your same question in there that was also in December. Yeah, so I can stop the RTFM attitude, I'll just post the answer that was given in there from klc5610 in post #358:

    "There are several posts awhile back complaining of squeaks in the seats. I have 2500 miles on my V8 Ltd and was having similar squeaks in the passenger seat only. On calling the dealer they reported getting a bulletin from Toyota and a kit to fix the problem. The air bag is rubbing against the leather causing the noise. The kit includes a thin felt piece that is placed around the air bag opening. They installed the felt, got the seat back together perfectly and the noise is gone."

    I think the edmunds hosts should know that their search does work great.

  • thanks, jared. i must've gotten it fixed before reading the old thread. i'm excited toyota is on the ball. i will get it done. my original posting turned out to be a DIFFERENT squeak. At 1100 miles I took it in because of a creaking in the driver seat, as if something were loose -- they re-adjusted the seat on the fore/aft runner and it went away, but then this leather noise popped up over the next 500 miles or so.
  • Yes, my LTD's driver's seat creaks like an old screen door (and I don't have the side airbags.) Problem is, it's intermittent, so of course it wasn't doing it when I had it in for it's oil change at 5K miles. It seems to be doing it more lately, so maybe they'll hear it now. Mine also seems to be slightly off-kilter, like it's not sitting level or something. Maybe it's just me...
  • steverstever Posts: 52,572
    And it does help to read the fine manual, but who wants to do that? :-)

    Steve, Host
  • lpaplpap Posts: 9
    I've been researching the 4Runners for about 6 weeks now, tracking the great comments on this board, and am very close to buying. I do have a couple of questions:

    Is the color keyed cladding available in white? From what I gather, that gives the same appearance of the LTD. Is this correct? How much are people paying ($300ish)?

    Also, does anyone have experience getting the leather seating w/out going through the dealer? I've seen Classic Soft Trim mentioned on this message board, but they won't quote prices until the car is purchased ( b/c of their contracts with the dealers). I would assume it's cheaper to buy it on your own and better quality leather, but I wanted to know what experience other people have had. Can anyone give me a price? I'm guessing the $1000-$1500 range. Quality? Thanks for any help.
  • steverstever Posts: 52,572
    I think there are some quotes posted in the Aftermarket leather upholstery discussion.

    Steve, Host
  • Go to

    They will direct you to a installation dealer in your area. Excellent leather and they also have seat heaters as well.

    I was quoted about $1050 for full install with leather. This included the center armrest. $1200 included leather on all 4 doors.

    The price will more than likely vary with different installation centers.
  • lpaplpap Posts: 9
    Steve & mrwhipple, thanks for the info.
  • I just bought a 2002 4Runner - Am I excited!
    I'm thinking of buying some aftermarket audio equipment from Does anyone have experience with them - good or bad. I'd like to know before I plunk down my hard earned $. Or can you recommend a good place to go for aftermarket audio & alarms.
  • Great question Fudge.

    I purchased a black SR5 V8 at about the same time as you. I also asked the dealer about color matching the cladding and was told that it was not an option for the SR5 model.

    Yes...I am not happy that I could have waited a month too for the new appearance package that is now offered for the SR5.Well, I recently called Toyota customer service to express my displeasure. I was told:

    1) That Toyota can make production changes, outside of safety, at any time without obligation to the customer.

    2) The new appearance package is a factory-installed option.

    3) Toyota has no plans to offer the appearance package to Toyota customers who purchased a 2003 SR5 without it.

    I told Customer Service that this was a major production change to a newly released vehicle, and that customers who previously purchased an SR5 should be given the option to purchase the new appearance package also. Most of what I was told was BS. The only thing of value I got out of my call was; if there is a large volume of LOUD complaints something may be offered.

    To all of you that are in this position, I suggest you call Toyota customer service at 1.800.331.4331 and file a complaint of your displeasure immediately. In addition, which I have done, is call the Toyota office of the President. That number is available through Toyota Customer service. Ask for it.

    You must call and be heard!
    Post your call results, and don't let up! Spread the word. Each person can make a difference.
  • djod49djod49 Posts: 12
    Fudge: I saw a millenium silver SR5 with dealer painted overfenders, bumpers & cladding at a Toyota dealer in Wichita, Ks. in December. It looked great & at first I thought it was a Limited. The cost was around $900. The salesman said it took a lot of prep work and they had to special order the clips to hold the fenders on as they thought they could reuse the old ones.They would not however warranty the paint. I have a 99 SR5 and held off on buying until the cladding issue is resolved and even though the appearance package is listed on the Toyota web site, the local salesman still are in the dark about when & how much. Hope this was of some help to you
  • Thanks for the great info martin45 and djod49. Something was telling me to wait, and I would have had the dealer given me any indication that the clading would be available.
    Anyway, I decided to buy then because I thought I was getting a great deal ($200 over invoice, SR5 V8, 4x4, JBL Sound, SR)and was afraid to pass it up. Anyway, it doesn't look that bad with the gray clading, but I would have MUCH preferred the black! I think I'll take you up on placing the phone call and voicing my opinion. Thanks for the help!
  • beagles3beagles3 Posts: 132
    Congratulations on the purchase of your '02..I love mine.. I don't know what part of the country that you are from?? I don't know about the specific audio place you mentioned,but, out here in Seattle I have always used a place called Car Toys....Good work and with good top end merchandise...
  • Anyone experience this problem. I have a 2003 SR5 V8, 4X4, @2000 miles. On 2/17/03 in the middle of a huge snowstorm (24"in NE PA) the heater blower motor failed to come on. I checked the fuse for the blower and found that it was good. I placed it back in the fuse holder and I heard the blower turn on. The next morning, same problem. I had to remove the fuse and place it back in (a few times) to get the motor to come on. I had dealer look at it. Of course by then it was working fine! The dealer said it could be the blower motor (obviously not certain!). They ordered an new one and will call me when it comes in. Just wondering if anyone else had a similar problem.
  • While I'm on a roll here I figured I would also share one other problem I had. I own a 2003 SR5, V8, 4X4 with 2000 miles. First of all, I must say I love this vehicle! Ride, handling, power. Much better than the 2000 Explorer I just got rid of. I just figured I would throw this problem out to all of you.

    A few week ago, I left work and was on my way home on the interstate. It was very cold (+5 degrees). I went to pass a car and heard a back fire. Suddenly, it was as though the engine powered down. I couldn't go above 20 MPH and the RPMs wouldn't go above 1500. The car didn't stall, it bucked a few times but I eventually had to pull over. After a few moments sitting idle, I pulled out on the interstate again, and it did the same thing. Couldn't get the car to go above 25 MPH. The more I pushed the gas peddle, the lower the tach went, almost as though I was flooding the car (if thats possible).

    I made it home, turned off the car and called the dealer. They told me to start it again. (5 minutes later) It started perfect! No problem! I dove it to the dealer (30 miles away) without a problem. The dealer checked it out, no problem!
    The dealer said it could have been bad gas.

    I must admit that a few days earlier, I did get gas at a station that had 7 out of 8 pumps out of service. They said they were running out of gas! (Should have realized! Stupid me!) Anyway, its been running a month now without a problem, so I guess it could have been the gas.

    Any thoughts? Would bad gas (or water in the gas) exhibit these symptoms?
  • Fudge,

    Good move in deciding to call Toyota Customer service. Ask them for the number of the Toyota Office of the President, and follow with a call to that department as well. Post your results. Thanks
  • dmetzgerdmetzger Posts: 160
    Yes, bad gas can do exactly what you experienced. Had the same thing on my folks older car do the same thing, but it also quit. After a couple bottles of fuel cleaner additive, it worked fine.
  • khaugkhaug Posts: 64
    In cold weather when operating the HVAC system in Auto mode, it's normal for the blower to stay off until the coolant temp begins to rise. Then the blower will start and progressively speed up until the interior begins to warm. The blower speed will then diminish, ending up on low. The system will first direct all the air to the footwells, then turn on the dash vents when the interior is nice and toasty. This whole process takes considerable time, as much as 20 minutes, to complete

    If you don't like this behavior, you can deselect Auto mode or simply press one of the fan speed buttons.

    I agree you may have a load of bad fuel causing your running problems. I'd dump a couple of bottles of Isopropyl fuel antifreeze (DON'T get the Methanol variety) in your tank to chase the water away.

    -Karl, '03 Limited
  • I had exactly the same problem occur due to bad gas.
  • someone had discussed how to change the antenna mast. when i attempted to pull out the damaged antenna i found out the cord is not attached to the antenna. is this an error on my part---or do i need to take the car in to have this fixed by a mechanic? thxs
  • how would you say the katzkin leather compares to the "port installed" leather that one would get on an SR5?
  • You asked about the driveability of the V8 several days ago and I have not seen anyone respond so I thought I would offer my experience after 1500 miles of ownership. I bought a V8 4x4 Sport about 3 weeks ago and have 1500 miles of mixed highway and city driving.

    I have not experienced any problems with the engine's response to throttle changes at low or high speeds. I am very pleased with the well behaved manners of the engine/transmission. It appears that the design of the electronic throttle control has been well done as far as smoothness, ease of modulating the speed and mechanical resistance as you press the gas pedal. As a bonus, the cruise control maintains the desired speed within +-1 mph. Of course, both the V6 and V8 have the electronic throttle.

    I am not sure what you experienced on your test drive that made the V6 seem smoother than the V8 but my assessment is that the V8 powertrain works beautifully. I hope this is useful in making your decision. Good luck.
  • I have a 2003 4Runner Limited and I love everything about it...Now if I can figure out a way to prevent my front seats from squeaking. They really are quite noticeable. I have spoken to the dealership and they said that there is no word about this problem from Toyota.

    I remember reading something about this in an earlier discussion. Does anyone know any specific information? Is there a fix?

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