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Major Highlander Problems

highownerhighowner Posts: 2
edited March 2014 in Toyota
We just took are 04 Highlander in due to the wheels was making a noise and figured the brakes needed replaced and it sounded like the brakes warning noise. The veh has 76,000 miles and all the regular routine maintenance - the dealer ran the inspection and found major problems. Rear main engine seal leaking, water pump going bad and transmission seal is leaking. The cost for the engine seal and water pump is over $1,500 alone, wasn't given a price on the transmission problem. Of course, were over the warranty period. We contacted the Toyota warranty dept and waiting to hear back. Wanted to know if others have had the same problems and if there were any recalls.


  • herzogtum71herzogtum71 Posts: 470
    I have the 4-cylinder '04 FWD. Water pump and serpentine belt was replaced at 47,900 miles because they found a small leak. (This was during routine maintenance. I thought I had smelled it, but hadn't yet seen a leak.) It was covered under the 60K power train warranty.

    That actually was the second time the belt was replaced. First time was at 16,000 miles after it started screeching.

    No recall on this, but it would be interesting to know how wide-spread the problem is. The only recall I remember was in June 2004 and dealt with child safety locks on the rear doors.
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    Please park your HL on a clean dry surface overnight and then give us a report on just what THAT dealer's definition of "leaking" is.

    I have owned VERY FEW vehicles (1962 Ford Fairlane to...) wherein the underside of the engine and transmission wasn't at least slightly if not thoroughly coated with oil by reaching the 50,000 mile point. And yes, even the water pump. There is a "weep" hole in the front of the water pump that allows any coolant that gets past the seal to drain out and not damage the bearing.

    If you have not smelled the odor of anti-freeze the issue of a water pump failure becomes seriously in doubt. As a general rule on a car this old if you rev the engine up to a fairly high RPM for a few minutes SOME level of anti-freeze draining from the weep hole will result.

    Not saying you do not have any of these problems, especially the water pump, but these all popping up suddenly sounds VERY suspicious.

    And by the way it is my understanding that a rear engine seal failure can be the direct result of overfilling the crankcase with oil, as in the recent McD graduate forgetting to drain the old oil before installing the new.

    I'm pretty sure the above is why I had to pay north of $1000 to have the rear seal replaced in our '91 LS400 years ago. Perfectly clean, PRISTINE, garage floor until the day after the LS came home from the dealer after regular maintenance.
  • Thanks for the info. Thought the same thing... if there is a leak where are the oil spots. The HL is parked on a painted garage floor and no spots. Additionally, there's no odor of anti-freeze.

    We have decided to take the vehicle to another dealership and not mention any of the problems to see if they are detected. Besides, we haven't heard a word from Toyota.

    Another issue with the vehicle I forgot to mention and noticed there were several inquires in respect to the wheel bearings. We incurred the same problem just a few months ago at 60.8K miles and had to replace the left front wheel bearings (not covered - past the power train warranty).

    It seems very suspicious that within 5 to 6 mos we now experiencing major problems.

    Will keep you in the loop on the other dealership and toyota... no holding my breathe.
  • tivenstivens Posts: 5
    getting a grinding noise from front end,you have to come to complete stop.then start moving forward,had to dealer 4 times.they can not find the problem.does it more in stop and go traffic,can anyone help tom
  • webgoodwebgood Posts: 95
    Older vehicle (5 years), I'd suspect the brake pads may not be fully releasing. You didn't mention how or what the dealer did for their examination. Depending on driving environment and certain other practices, debris and more often rust can build-up and not allow the pads to float freely. Poor maintenance practices, and even a habit of frequently washing the vehicle then simply parking it in the garage or leaving it sit without driving it a little and warming the brakes so that they dry-out could be contributing. Regards, BGood
  • tivenstivens Posts: 5
    was not the brake pads,had all wheels pulled off and brakes were checked,also rotors were checked,so has to be something else,steering was off 150 degrees,they recalibrated still not sure what the problem is,sometimes suv does pull to the right when grinding noise starts,noise only lasts a few i still need more help.thanks tom
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    Rock(s) caught between the backside of the brake rotor and splash shield??
  • tivenstivens Posts: 5
    sorry no rocks,was checked for rocks and rust.again thank you tom
  • nimrod99nimrod99 Posts: 343
    the rotors warp easily on the highlander. I had to replace mine twice in 120,000 miles
  • tivenstivens Posts: 5
    well the rotors were checked,and turned down.has to be something else.thanks tom
This discussion has been closed.