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Toyota 4Runner



  • It does help. I chose the '99 because of the upgrade to the 4WD system for that model year as well as a few other minor changes. I can stretch my budget to afford a 2000 but the 2001 models are starting to get too pricey for what I want to spend. My wife will be the primary driver of the new vehicle and she also likes the Honda CRV. I am desperately trying to avoid this. The used 4Runner costs less than a new CRV with more power, luxury and room for less money. I plan on using the truck for light towing and some off-roading on the Outer Banks in NC.
  • Folks, I've read numerous reviews of the new 4Runner, and the consensus seems to be that unless you plan on frequent towing, V6 would suit you just fine. The advantage is not only in MPG. V6 costs about a thousand USD less (1500 less in Canada), is cheaper to service, and insurance should be slightly lower.

    And do not forget the dreaded rotten egg (sulphur) smell. It tends to affect some V8, but not V6 engines
  • alfster1alfster1 Posts: 273
    Toyota has made it very difficult to choose between two very good engines. In the end, I chose the V8 for it's additional torque,improved towing abilities, choice of options then available on the lot, and negotiated price). I occasionally tow various 5-6 thousand pound loads, which either 4Runner should be able to handle, but the v8 handles it better over all road conditions. Overall, it would be hard to fault the decision of purchasing either model (or both :))

    After much though, I came to appreciate having the full time 4wd system. I admit it is probably more complicated, but I see it as an additional safety feature ensuring that the vehicle has traction at all times.

    Insurance for my fully loaded v8 Limited is $1150/year in the NY suburbs, which I can live with. As for "cheaper to service," I purchased the extended warranty, so I don't have worries there. Routine maintenance is identical for both the V6 and V8.

    As for the "Sulfur Quagmire," I only experience it when I open the rear cargo area window while driving. My solution is to keep it closed (recommended also in the owner's manual). Of course, this sulfur problem presents itself in different ways and circumstances. I do believe, however, that the sulfur problem is also somehow linked to the build date as I notice that no one has reported having it in an 04 4runner. We shall see.
  • You can drive the V6 in full-time 4wd everywhere just like the V8.
    The only difference is that on the V6, you can select 2wd if you want to save gas and wear on the front half of the drivetrain.
  • alfster1alfster1 Posts: 273
    I realize that it is possible for the v6 to be operated in 4wd in a full time manner. If this were to be performed, then any fuel savings realized in the v6 would be negated.

    Honestly, I would have preferred Toyota to have offered both the V6 and V8 powered 4Runners with a choice of p/t or f/t 4wd, but I guess this isn't always practical in marketing and development. If one were offered, I would have purchased a v8 p/t 4Runner.

    Operating in 2wd mode in any vehicle does cause less wear and tear to the drivetrain components, but many of these components are under warranty. This will be one area where repair costs should be greater in the v8, but probably not prohibitively so. Fuel savings remain insignificant.

    In my case, towing was one important factor, as the V8 can tow an additional 2000lbs (5000lbs for the v6, 7000lbs for the v8).

    For most people, a V6 is fine. I guess another factor that makes it hard to choose between the engines is that their displacements are so similar. To confound this situation even more, the v6 actually has a greater displacement. For anyone shopping around, make sure to test drive both and see which is best for your needs.

    I just hope that Toyota will properly look into the sulfur problem and correct it quickly as no new car owner deserves to drive a vehicle that can be a potential health concern. :)
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,726
    one fairly common problem with the 3rd gens which has also afflicted a friend of mine more than once is warped brake rotors...if you are someone who tends to drive fast in the city and/or leadfoot the brakes on a regular basis, this may be an issue for you. It is a minor issue to address unless the rotors have already been turned a few times, in which case you may have to actually replace them to fix it, which is not that cheap. Make sure to get one with the tow package - this nets you bigger rotors in front.

    Other than that, this may go down in Toyota history as one of the most solid reliable lines of vehicles they have built in the last 30 years. (Mine is a second gen 4WD with the smaller V-6, still going strong having crossed the 200K-mile threshold sometime back)

    alfster: since the V-6 is a 4.0 and the V-8 is a 4.7, wouldn't it be the V-8 that has the larger displacement?

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

  • This has already been a super-helpful discussion.

    > For most people, a V6 is fine.

    That would apply to me.

    I poked around in the other discussion groups (thanks for gently pointing that out, corancher) and found them very informative, particularly the "4WD systems explained".

    What are the dealer/quotes over web experiences people have had? I live in the SF bay area, Gilroy, Palo Alto, etc are close by.
  • > What are the dealer/quotes over web experiences people have had? I live in the SF bay area, Gilroy, Palo Alto, etc are close by.
    ... never mind, I'll post that on the "prices paid" etc board.
  • kheintz1kheintz1 Posts: 213
    Here's an exerpt from an online tutorial about horsepower vs. torque, which many of us will find helpful and interesting:

    "...In the simplest terms, torque is the twisting force the engine applies to the crankshaft and then on to the transmission.

    Power, by contrast, is measured as the torque times the rotational speed. In imperial measures, one horsepower is equal to 550 foot-pounds (of torque) per second. Two engines can produce the same power but have very different torque ratings for the following simple reason:

    One horsepower can be produced by moving one pound 550 feet OR by moving 550 pounds one foot, provided that either function is achieved in one second.

    The difference comes in the fact that the high-torque engine will be rotating slower than the low-torque engine at the same power output but it will be twisting the crankshaft a lot more vigorously.

    In theory, different gear ratios - most commonly four or five in cars' gearboxes - should mask different torque characteristics by altering engine speed to suit but the reality is that engines which produce high torque figures at low revolutions respond much more readily in give and take driving.

    [**]The practical advantages [of higher engine torque, all other things being equal] come in the form of reduced gear changing, lower engine revs and wear and, invariably, lower fuel consumption in all conditions other than constant speed driving... torque is therefore more important than horsepower, unless you spend your life racing around at high revs..."

    This is the type of reasoning I used when I decided on the V8 4Runner, not to mention actual test driving. Compared with the V6, the muscular V8 offers tremendous acceleration, particularly at lower RPMs (which affords less shifting, etc.), and therefore the V8 stays out of the way of itself, unlike a V6, which may tend to pant, whine, wheeze, and produce wide jumps in RPMs as the tranny tries to downshift and upshift quickly enough in response to the commands of the throttle. For example, when driving over hilly or mountainous highways (e.g., the WVa. turnpike) at highway speeds, an engine with lower torque will often be much more likely to cause the tranny to repeatedly cycle in and out of overdrive when ascending a grade, and if this drives you nuts (and it should) then you'll have to remember to take the truck out of OD mode when going up-grade, and then re-engage OD whenever you're next going down-grade. Then, add in the weight of your mother-in-law, your immediate family, your dog, your fuel, your luggage, etc., and you get the idea... Of course, even when driving over relatively flat terrain, if you're hauling (and/or towing) much added weight, a V6 will likely behave in a similar fashion, because horsepower is a measurement that's quoted based on a higher RPM rating than torque is. All in all, the price and fuel consumption differences between the V6 and V8 may represent false economy in the long run. During highway driving and long highway trips, the V8 will typically run at much lower RPMs than the V6, and this translates into (among other things) less engine noise, whine, and vibration, not to mention less frequent and annoying shifting on

    I drive a lot of freeway and 2ndary road miles per week, and in my experience this V8 is simply a magnificent engine. When I need to quickly pass, it does so effortlessly; and when I really need to pass and I'm already cruising at 75 MPH or above, it's as though I've kicked her into afterburner, because she can really SCOOT. And when I'm really "cruising", that muscular V8 is just walking along at much lower RPMs than a V6, with plenty of torque muscle to spare if a downshift is required, without wild swings in engine RPMs.

    For those of you who have chosen the V6 and find that it meets all of your needs, I think that's a beautiful thing. But for those of you who are trying to decide between the V6 and the V8, I would urge you to carefully test drive and consider your current and projected needs, then choose accordingly. But whatever you do, don't be seduced merely by the higher horsepower rating of the V6, since we're not talking about a race car here, but rather we're talking about a 4500 lb. TRUCK that most of us are specifying with either 4WD or AWD.
  • tidestertidester Posts: 10,059
    One horsepower can be produced by moving one pound 550 feet OR by moving 550 pounds one foot, provided that either function is achieved in one second.

    It's not just moving - it's about doing work in a given time. In this case, you would be doing work in one second equivalent to lifting the respective weights against gravity through a distance of 550 feet or 1 foot.

    tidester, host
  • khaugkhaug Posts: 64
    I spent five years/75K miles with a '98 Limited,essentially the same thing you're looking at except for the addition of a center differential on the '99 - up models. I towed a 4,000# trailer for about 1/3 of those miles, mostly very successfully. The only unscheduled repair I had was one oxygen sensor. The 3rd gen 4Runners are VERY robust vehicles!

    That said, you should be aware that the brakes simply aren't adequate for towing heavy trailers down long, steep downgrades. You will TOTALLY lose your brakes if you don't anticipate this and shift WAY down before you start to descend. This shortcoming shouldn't bother you if you don't tow heavy loads in the mountains, but it is flat scary when it happens! BTW, the 3rd gen never had a trailer towing package available. The bigger front rotors came with the 16" wheel option.

    As the 3rd gen vehicles get to around 60 - 70K miles, they seem to become prone to failure of the rear axle grease seals. This will soak the rear brake linings with gear lube, necessitating their replacement. The repair isn't a cheap one, and I've read many reports of the problem quickly recurring after it's repaired. Look for differential lube coating the inside of the rear wheels.

    But that's it - the rest is all golden. I greatly enjoyed my '98 and currently drive an '03 Limited V8.

  • renshorensho Posts: 42
    just did a 800 mi round trip on my 03 v6 2wd, 700mi old when started. The mileage was less than expected. cruise set at 70-80 most of the time. SF to LA via hwy5. Ave was 21.5 via computer. Tires at 36psi cold.

    This thing is a brick through the air. Anything above 65 and your mileage will suffer.

    No other problems to report except the driver seat back was very painful after 3+ hours. The lumbar seems too low or something. My back was killing me.
    Other than that, great truck.
  • amheckamheck Posts: 37
    I will add my 2 cents - if you are comtemplating both engines, you really owe it to your self to drive them both. I had decided on the V6 without even driving the V8, mostly because of the comments here on the board. Almost all of us agree that the V6 is fine for normal everyday driving, something that I will be doing almost exclusively.

    But....when I went in and drove both, I knew I wanted the V8 without a doubt. Do I tow anything? No. Do I need the extra torque? No. Do I ever go off-road? No. Was it much more fun to drive? Definitely, yes. Did the V8 have more balls and it is a proven Toyota engine? Yes!

    That was my thought process and how I ended up with the V8. To sum it up, I really don't know how you could choose between the two without driving them.

  • I am interested in installing an aftermarker CD Changer in my new 03 4Runner. Does anyone know where to find info on removine the interior plastic panels? I do not wish to go in and start tugging like i have done with past Toyotas. I asked my dealer and they suggested a shop manual at a cost of around $150. I feel that this info is probably available in the net. Any suggestions?
  • jfegerjfeger Posts: 38
    >bcmalibu99ls wrote:
    And do not forget the dreaded rotten egg (sulphur) smell. It tends to affect some V8, but not V6 engines


    I have a 03 Ltd v6, build date was in July of 03. I do get the Sulphur smell about once every two weeks, but only when I am breaking the recommended usage of the back cargo window and I have driven a little more aggressive than I probably should. :)
  • rogers12rogers12 Posts: 140
    So this is where the saying "I could have had a V8" came from...
  • question about what amheck wrote (8026):

    > Did the V8 have more balls and it is a proven Toyota engine?

    is the v6 a relatively newer engine, and has the v8 been around for a long time?
  • Yes,
    The V8 has been around for a few years (Land Cruiser, Tundra). The V6 is brand new in 03, and is currently only available in the 4runner.
  • alfster1alfster1 Posts: 273
    The v6 is a brand new engine that has never been used on any other Toyota in the US while the V8 has been around in other Toyota products (ie. LandCruiser, LX 470, Seqoia, GX 470, Tundra pickups) for years. So the V8 could be said to be a "proven engine" due to it's being sold for a longer length of time. However, Toyota has put lots of development time into the v6 engines as well.

    Both engines are LEV certified. The v8 powered 4Runners are roughly 200lbs heavier than the v6 models, which contributes to the roughly 1mpg discrepancy between the two models.

    The v6 is all Aluminum while the V8 is an iron block with alluminum headers. The V8 should be more reliable due to the material used in its construction, but both are Toyota quality engines and should last for the long run.

    The V6 uses an electronic trottle(a Toyota First in SUVs) instead of a traditional cable trottle. This electronic set-up probably is lighter as well.
  • vodgutvodgut Posts: 162
    I've never driven a V6 4Runner, just some of the V8's, including my own. I don't really tow much, but I do go offroad occasionally.

    For those of you that own a V6, does it have much of a high-end rush? The V8 doesn't, it just pulls steadily to about 5000 RPM then upshifts. I'm wondering if the variable valve timing in the V6 might give it a bit more of a rush when at high engine RPM's. What's the redline on the V6? The V8 seems very tuned for low-end torque. You don't give up anything at higher RPM, but you don't gain anything either (like you do in my 30-valve Audi A4 2.8 quattro, where you get a big boost of power above about 4000 RPM). Perhaps just the wonder of having that low-end torque available when I wasn't used to that in a vehicle won me over to the V8 without having driven the V6. Of course, when I purchased, the V6's hadn't been out long.

    Yes, the V8 is a proven engine and I like the always-engaged 4wd. Every car I've owned (with the exception of an '86 Tercel, which was part-time) has been full-time 4wd/AWD, and I haven't had any driveline wear issues with any of them. IMHO, I really don't think not being able to shift out of 4wd poses that much more risk of wear on the driveline over the life of the vehicle.

    I imagine the 200lb difference in the engines is both due to the engine weight difference and the 5-speed auto in the V8 versus the 4-speed in the V6. However, I'd imagine the gearing with the 5-speed probably gives the V8 extra oomph and better acceleration overall, though, too. It would be interesting if these engines were paired with the same transmission.
  • You can't say one engine will be more reliable than another based on what material it's made of. That has nothing to do with long life or reliability.

    The V8 transmission is brand new while the V6's is "proven". In this day where transmissions are just as expensive or more so to fix than an engine, the whole idea one is more reliable than the other is just not accurate.
  • coranchercorancher Posts: 232
    The V6/V8 debate comes up periodically here, and there is usually little info added that is genuinely new. There are certain cases, such as towing the heavier loads, where one engine (the V8 in this case) is clearly the best answer.

    Otherwise, you can pick from the posts and get ample justification for whatever decision you make. These are both excellent engine/transmission combinations from all accounts so far, though each one is fundamentally new (and therefore less tested) in one respect. You get to choose your risk!

    As for vodgut's question about a high-end rush, I drove both engines a couple of times and I think I detected modest differences in both engine and transmission behavior. It's hard to be sure without instruments, but the V6 did seem to kick down quicker and rev higher when you mash the throttle at highway speeds. That contributed to at least the impression of a high-end rush, though both versions were very quick to gain speed.

    Off the line, both engines pulled very well, though the V8 had enough extra torque at low RPMs that it was sometimes hard to start smoothly from near-stops. Personally, I felt that the V6 felt a little more agile, perhaps because it was lighter at the front end, where the steering is.

    The variable valve timing in the V6 is probably intended to get good high end horsepower while still having good low-end torque, but it's not a complete replacement for the extra cylinders and displacement of the V8. Both engines are a far cry from the high revs and drama of an inline 4.

    The two engines sound somewhat different, and I think the V6 may be a little louder under hard acceleration. The V8 sounds like a (very civilized) V8 and the V6 just sounds different. You may like one or the other.

    The $ aren't all that big, so unless you're sure what you want, I'd say go out and drive, drive, drive them both.
  • alfster1alfster1 Posts: 273
    With regards to "reliability," I was referring to various engine stresses and how they compare between the aluminum engine and the iron block engine. The advantages of the iron block engine are that it is much stronger, allowing it to better tolerate the very high pressures that exist in the combustion chambers under certain conditions (ie. heavy towing up long grades, extreme off road conditions). In these conditions, the cast iron block could be said to be more reliable. Of course, engine systems are very complicated and their reliability depends on the proper functioning of many components. For most owners (including myself) these severe conditions are probably not realized. This is probably why the supercharger upgrade is only available for the V8 engine.

    Some advantages of the V6 all aluminum engine block are lighter weight and greater weight balance (less weight is distributed to the front of the vehicle). These aluminum engines are considered more modern and it is true that the V8 is based on an older design.

    Some other advantages with the v8 cast aluminum engine block are less vibration and engine noise.

    The 5 speed transmission variant that is on the v8 is not new. It is the first application for a 5 speed transmission in a light truck, so it is "new" to the 03-04 4Runner. This 5 speed transmission is also available on the Lexus GS series (GS 300, 4xx, previous versions of the Lexus LS series, Lexus ES series, Lexus SC, IS 300, and the venerable Landcruiser/LX470 duo. The 5 speed transmission is "proven", not just in passenger based cars, but also in true SUVs.

    As I mentioned before, drive before you decide. Each vehichle has its pros and cons. It's a difficult decision so don't rush it. :)

    Does anyone know the 0-60mph time for the V6 4Runner? I have seen one post with a 0-60mph time of 7.8 sec for the v8 4Runner.
  • I own a 2003 titanium silver V8 (not a limited) with the appearance bar option on the front bumper. I not to sure if it is that appealing and thought I seek out the opinions of others before considering its removal. So fellow 4Runner owners, like or dislike?
     Replacement to the plain facia bumper will run around $500, part cost and paint labor.
     Otherwise the 'runner' is a winner!
  • alfster1alfster1 Posts: 273
    Here is a question I have on another subject. In the Limited 4Runner, the steering wheel is leather wrapped, but what about the material that is on the door inserts (door panel and door armrest)? Is is genuine leather or virgin vinyl? I haven't been able to decide if I should use Luxol or Vinylex. Any suggestions? Thanks.
  • alfster1alfster1 Posts: 273
    I haven't seen too many 4Runners with the appearance bar, but I tend to think that you should keep it on. I think it is sharp looking (although pricey) and it does provide a bit of protection from cars backing into your 4Runner when parrallel parking.

    If, however you decide to replace it with something else, there is always the full brush guard treatment. I haven't seen any 03-04 4runners with the brush guards yet.
  • I drive a V6 and have been very pleased. It takes off quick from the line, but when the engine revs between 3500 and 4500 RPM, there's a NICE extra boost of power - almost feels like a turbo kicking in. It would be nice to have a 5th gear though, I usually find myself driving 60 on the highway because I don't want to go above 2000 RPM.

    One thing I haven't seen mentioned about the V8 is the ability to add a TRD Supercharger. These babies are currently only made for the V8, probably because of the cast iron construction. Personally I think both engines offer enough power so this is not a realistic option. Let's face it, we're driving trucks, not BMWs.
  • alfster1alfster1 Posts: 273
    Actually, I did previously mention about the availability of a TRD Supercharger for the v8 4Runner. It provides over 100 additional horsepower and torque. Quite an amazing upgrade, but pricey as well ($3300-$4200) + labor. Not all dealers can install this TRD part. I can't imagine needing that much horsepower, but we can always dream (of matching up our 4Runners against souped up BMW X5s or their MB cousin the ML55.) :)
  • nedzelnedzel Posts: 787
    My previous car was a VW GTI GLX. So I'm still getting used to the feel of the truck. It is a bit tippy and certainly isn't the type of car that encourages you to drive fast. In the past, my view on horsepower was that a lot is good, more is better, and too much is just about right. But honestly, I'm just not sure I'd want a supercharger. My V8 is pretty fast as it is and the truck is just clunky enough that I think more power might equal more trouble more quickly. YMMV.

    Besides, the mileage already sucks :-P
  • alfster1alfster1 Posts: 273
    I'm buying shares of Exxon as we speak! LOL

    ...I'm pretty sure that insurance premiums would increase as well. I already have a lead foot. I don't need any more encouragement. :)
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