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Toyota 4Runner



  • vodgutvodgut Posts: 162
    I know some of you had been asking for offroading stories. Took my '03 V8 LTD offroading today northwest of Ft. Collins, CO. Suffice to say I was quite impressed with it's offroad abilities.

    We did two trails, the first rated on the more difficult side of 'Easy'
    by the guide book. It had some steep parts, but wasn't too rocky. The
    second was rated about the middle of 'Moderate'. I wouldn't want to do
    anything too much more difficult than this one, mainly because of my own reluctance and fear of damage. Very rocky in some
    spots, managed to hit the skid plates or frame once or twice. No
    damage, though. Needed a spotter a couple times, but again
    the guide book suggested this might be necessary. High centered it a
    bit coming down off a little drop off, but locking the center diff,
    backing up, and going back slightly further to the one side got through
    it just fine. There were some somewhat steep or rutted places that were
    muddy, too, and some stream crossings.


    The pictures don't do some of the rocky spots justice. You don't get the 3D perspective.

    The two trails were 'Old Flowers Road' and 'Sevenmile Road'.
  • bcmalibu99lsbcmalibu99ls Posts: 625
    Keep'em coming :-)
  • kbhockeykbhockey Posts: 29
    Took the 03 SE for it's first long trip last week, broke 1000m mark. averaged 23mpg way out and 20mpg way back. mileage down on way back due to heavy cross winds, i think.

    taking it in for TSB service for cold start 'squeaking' will post TSB detail and info when I get it. I have seen the TSB# on this board, but it doesn't match with what I saw at the dealer.

    anyone have any recommendations on protecting/cleaning the grey cladding? mostly trying to prevent bugs from sticking/embedding.
  • terrafirmaterrafirma Posts: 212
    3rd row seats: The GX470 shares a platform but the roof is a few inches taller than the 4Runner making some differences in the interior layout. Personally, I think 3rd row seats would be a small-child punishment only type seat. I can't imagine it being anything more than swing-away jumpseats for 2 more people.

    vodgut: Thanks for sharing! There are"other" 4Runner forums out there to learn from. Many 03 4Runner owners are doing some crazy off-roading and even though the truck just came out, already talking about lifts, bigger tires, etc. Keep it up!

    Grey cladding: Wax is not good for the grey and I hear, believe it or not, gritty peanut butter is good to "polish" out any dings. I believe a good spray of ArmorAll is all that's needed for daily care.
  • suvowner1suvowner1 Posts: 33
    cool pics........does your 4runner have the x-reas or the air lift suspension ?? I noticed you mentioned you high centered once, that is on of the downsides of independent front suspension vs solid axle just a bit more tendency to high center in severe off-road situations, but it seems that the x-reas would help minimize the tendency to high center an ifs vehicle in some situations ??
  • rentschlrentschl Posts: 69
    So now that it's been in the 90's almost every day here on the Colorado Front Range, my '03 V8 Limited has adopted a problem that my '97 Jeep Grand Cherokee had.

    Whenever it's really hot (like mid 90's or greater) the engine is not quite as powerful. When it is behaving this way, it also had a distinctly different sound. The sound is almost like a choke valve is partially closed. It's kind of a lower tone sound than normal. I realize that it may not even have anything like a choke plate, but that's the only way I can describe it. It's got about 11,000 miles on it.

    It was painfully obvious when climbing up Rabbit Ears Pass yesterday at about 60 mph and have it downshifting to 3rd gear. I normally leave it in 4th for this, in order to not have to have it keep going between 4th and 5th. But here it was going between 3rd and 4th!

    To top it all off, I can't find anyone else on the web who's seen this problem. I'm worried that it will be a chore even getting a dealer to admit that there's a problem. If others had the problem I could just point to that problem and say I've got it.

    Has anyone seen or heard anything about this type of problem on '03 4Runners?

  • nedzelnedzel Posts: 787
    All normally aspirated engines (i.e., not turbo-charged) generate significantly less power at higher altitudes than at sea level. It's no surprise that the 4Runner would feel signicantly less powerful at altitude.
  • rentschlrentschl Posts: 69
    I'm not talking about sea level versus altitude. I'm talking about the same everything (truck, location, altitude, number of passengers) except air temperature.

    Also I'm not talking about slightly less power. It was much less power.

    Rabbit Ears Pass is only around 9,500 feet. I've been over it many times with this truck. I was pointing out that I normally put it in 4th to avoid having it shift between 4th and 5th ON THIS PASS WITH THIS TRUCK.

    When in this funny "high outside air temp" mode, it was shifting down to 3rd gear at times with all other facctors the same other than temperature. I've been over this pass many times with this truck at similar speeds and never had it downshift to 3rd (unless I was really punching it to pass). Note that before I got home, as the tempeature dropped, it switched back to "normal mode" with full power.

    I have also seen it behave this way down here in Fort Collins (~5,000 feet) during the day while it's hot. Then it goes back to normal, full-power mode as temperatures drop later in the evening.

    Also note that I've had the truck through Eisenhouer tunnel on I-70 (~11,000 feet) multiple times durring the late winter and was always very happy with the power. I had healthy acceleration on the uphill while travelling between 85-90 mph at altitude.

    There's definitley somnething funny going on.

    Hope that clears up what I'm trying to point out.

  • vodgutvodgut Posts: 162
    Yes, my 4Runner has X-REAS, but not the rear air suspension.
  • tacovivatacoviva Posts: 116
    I had my LR and RF shocks replaced under warranty. I did request an invoice and it was 1100 for two shocks. Ouch! They better not need replacing for a while. Also, I got the Sulphur smell with the windows up and A/C on recirc after merging on th freeway. Toyota District office is looking in to this as a health concern (I have a newborn).
  • bulychbulych Posts: 10
    to kbhockey
    the mileage numbers ? are they for a v8 0r v6.thanks
  • kbhockeykbhockey Posts: 29
    Hey Bulych-
    mileage numbers are for a V6-currently with 1400miles on it-

  • uktruckeruktrucker Posts: 14

    I too have noticed that in temps near to 100 fan roar appears to increase noticably and the truck moves slower. I assume this is the engine or possibly transmission being force cooled because of the heat, although the temp gauge looks fine. Once on the fan seems reluctant to switch off, even when on the highway, but an evening restart sees a return to normal. Maybe Toyota are being overcautious in their temperature settings.
  • rentschlrentschl Posts: 69
    uktrucker: It's nice to NOT be the only person with a given problem;^)

    Which fan are you referring to?

    I ask this since unlike many cars today that have a motor powered cooling fan, the V8 Toyota's fan is right off of the crankshaft (like it's been done for a long time). I don't think this fan is controlled by anything. It just turns at the crankshaft speed.

    I haven't looked into any details yet and I think your "forced cooling" idea is worth further consideration. The service manager of our local Toyota dealer is checking with the factory rep. tomorrow if he's heard anything about this problem. I'll post what I find out here.

    As far as the bad gas theory, that's a good point. When I first noticed the problem I switched from the 87 octane that I had been exclusively using, over to the 91 octane. It didn't make any difference for 2 tanks so far.

    I haven't paid alot of attention to exactly which gas station company I was using. I know that there has been talk of gas stations with bad gas and that could be an issue.

    All ideas/comments appreciated and welcome.

  • aheckaheck Posts: 36
    Hi group,

    Been on the phone with a dealer who just "happens" to have gotten in the truck we want - Black SR5 V6 with the minimal options (like runing boards, rear spoiler, JBL stereo, etc). He is giving the speach that they really need to sell cars by the end of the month and I told him I won't pay any higher than $500 under their invoice. At first he said that no dealer would touch that price and then I said "well, thanks anyway for trying" and then all of a sudden he can probably do the deal if we come in this week. :)

    Anyway, the dilema....we have 2 cars right now and don't have the immediate need for a truck, although I would like one sooner rather than later. The wife wants to wait another month or two and put some more $$ in savings (other cars are paid off) and I'm hoping that Toyota comes out with a 0% financing deal in August. You think that's possible?

    The salesman also seems to think that he can get us a better deal with us buying this month, rather than waiting until the end of next month. I don't know how that could be possible. It's really gambling, cause they have pretty much the exact truck we want. Wish I knew how much longer they'll have the 2003's and what the August Incentives will be......

    Just rambling,

    P.S. By paying $500 under invoice, is the dealer still making $500 because of the $1000 that Toyota is giving to the dealers? Is that how that works?
  • sacstate1sacstate1 Posts: 189
    Yes, agree on the lowest price and then subtract the rebate/incentive. Don't mention trade-in, etc. keep the two transactions separate. The dealer will make more than you think, typically there is a 3-4% manufacturer holdback that the dealer makes for selling a car. This typically is not communicated to the 'average' car buyer. Don't worry if the dealer is making money, if it wasn't they wouldn't be talking to you. I got my vehicle for $500 below invoice and right before we started to sign the papers, I remembered an additional $500 teacher rebate they were offering, wife is a teacher. Kabam! The dealer was not happy with that, but hey, hold your cards until the end. The dealer will make a killing on you with service and warranty bill back to Toyota.
  • aheckaheck Posts: 36
    If Toyota is giving $1000 to dealers (which I understand is the current deal), theoretically, you could buy the truck for $1000 under invoice, and they'd still be making their holdback?

    On a side note, has anyone ever put the tan leather in the black truck? If so, how does it look? Are the insides different (carpet, trim, etc) based on the color of the seats? i.e. if I want the tan leather seats do I need to look for a truck with the tan cloth seats first?

    Thanks group - you guys are great!

  • azrunnerazrunner Posts: 16
    I too have noticed the engine "growl" at temps above 98 degrees F. The first time I heard it while driving through Phoenix, AZ I thought the engine had a problem.

    Now I realize that it always happens when the outside temp is up near 100. I guess it is some sort of fan/cooling mechanism.

    I have also noticed that our 2001 Tundra makes the same noise on a more regular basis.
  • micksdad1micksdad1 Posts: 32
    Thanks terrafirma for your postings thus far. I am looking at a 4Runner in good part because of the roll down rear window. I have a yellow lab who goes almost everywhere with me. He loves to stick his head out the windows of the second row seats of my Highlander but I've frankly have gotten tired of having to vacuum out the car every weekend because there is hair everywhere! I'd like to be able to stick him in the cargo area of the 4Runner, roll down the window and hopefully not generate too much hair throughout the rest of the vehicle. I am also looking at leather seats to make it easier to clean. I would love to hear whether your dog enjoys the cargo area of the 4Runner, the type of dog you have, how the 4Runner does with dog hair with the rear window open and what you do to minimize the hair problem. Thanks.
  • terrafirmaterrafirma Posts: 212
    I have a big (80lbs.) shorthaired dog. You can do a test drive but with the front windows down and the cargo hatch window down, it just feels like a great breeze through the cabin- no turbulence. I haven't done this above city speeds but so far so good. No hair flying everywhere.
    Yeah, it's perfect because the dog can stick his head out the back. When he's sitting down on his belly, he rests his chin on the edge of the hatch/open window-so you don't need to fold down the rear seats for him to get at an open window. There is plenty of room in the cargo area. I love the power rear window. You can open it from your remote too. A very nice feature is the auto-lock rear hatch so you just gently close the hatch and the latch automatically grabs and locks it! Very gentle and you don't need to slam the hatch down on your dog.

    Unless you do it aftermarket, you can only get leather in the Limited. It would be much easier to keep hair off leather than fabric, definite no-brainer. But for me that was like $3500-4000.00 upgrade just for leather. No thanks.
    The fabric is ok. The same as the Highlander fabric I suppose. I haven't had rampant dog hair issues, maybe because of the short hair.

    If you have problems with that, there are high quality seat covers you can buy for only a couple hundred dollars-front and back. I might do that just to save the seats from sweat/ use/sun.
    Also you can get great rubber, color matched cargo area protectors from Husky or Nifty (OEM spec-Toyota dealers carry Nifty)
  • rentschlrentschl Posts: 69
    OK so others have noticed this.

    98-100 degrees seems like a pretty low temperature to have to suffer reduced power output in my opinion. It would seem that in some areas of the south-west you would have this every day for a substantial part of the year.

    So first I'd like to get Toyota's opinion.

    As I said earlier, I'll post a followup on this when I hear what the Toyota factory rep tells our local dealer.

  • rokinkrokink Posts: 25
    In South Florida, the roar happens above 90 Degrees F. The truck does get "lazy" when it happens, but I do not consider it a problem, just normal operation of a big engine.

    I would like to know what causes it. Fan or air intake?
  • bmw323isbmw323is Posts: 410
    Eric, I wish I could remember more, but I have read about the high temperature power robbing issues on other message boards (not Toyota). It seems the discussion centered on the O/2 sensor and that it had to cut out fuel based on the sensors inability to match the correct oxygen content with fuel. Warmer air temperatures starve the engine of the correct air to fuel mixture. I know I've read that the optimum operating situation for any naturally aspirated vehicle is sea level and about 40 degrees Fairenheit. I think I'm missing a key point here, but I can't remember what it was. In any case, high elevation as well as high temperatures rob the engine of power.

    Vodgut, nice pictures. I live in Denver and want to take the 4Runner on some trails as well. However, like you, I don't want to damage a new vehicle. I have a guidebook for 4X4 trails and will try one in the next few weeks. I'm willing to takle some trails that are moderatatly rated. Last year I took a nice ride over Hagerman Pass (between Leadville and Basalt). Some large boulders, steep inclines, and a great stream crossing (good photo op) yet still easily passable with a good 4WD - and the views were great. Even had to drive through snow in July. Keep us informed on your adventures. It's great to see others use these vehicles off-road.
  • nedzelnedzel Posts: 787
    "Rabbit Ears Pass is only around 9,500 feet" Only? That high an altitude will create a dramatic reduction in power.
  • tfuzztfuzz Posts: 93
    I noticed this too. Over the weekend I was driving in Kansas with the outside temp reading 108. I thought the vehicle seemed just a little sluggish (not sure if it was noisier), for instance when passing. I also thought it was downshifting more on hills (more like it does when pulling the trailer) but didn't give it another thought until I saw this thread. I don't think it is a real problem, but I will pay more attention next time it is really hot.
  • erisareperisarep Posts: 16
    The fan clutch reacts to ambient temperature and slips when cooling is not needed. It locks when more cooling is necessary. When it locks, the rpm of the cooling fan is higher, thus the noise. This is not new technology and has been utilized for years. It is called a viscious clutch mechanism. I doubt that it has that much of an effect on engine output.
  • rogers12rogers12 Posts: 140
    Has anyone tried 93 octane fuel?
  • onyeiiionyeiii Posts: 25
    AFAIK, for all combustion engines, including cars enginers, combustion turbines, etc. power output is reduced at higher ambient air temperatures. This is because the air density decreases with increasing temps (this is why hot air ballons rise). There is a corresponding reduction in the amount of O2 in a given volume of air, resulting in less fuel input for even combustion, thus - less power. It makes sense that this condition would be aggravated by higher altitudes, which also results in a corresponding reduction in air density, O2, etc.
  • bkahn1bkahn1 Posts: 7
    The Edmunds site reports a $1,500 dealer assistance payment on SR5 4Runners. I live in South Florida (Jupiter). My dealer says the $1,500 dealer assistance only applies to the older units with the grey cladding, and not the newer 'appearance package' trucks. Does anyone know the answer to this one? I'm supposed to pick up my truck on Tuesday and would really like to know before closing the deal. Thank you.
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