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Toyota 4Runner Maintenance and Repair



  • Is there anything you can do to protect your windshield from chips? After reading the message board, everytime a rock hits my windshield I'm looking for chips or cracks. It has not happened a lot. One hit the other day. It looks like I got a small scratch or chip. I know there is clear films and stuff for your headlights, but is there anything you can do for your windshield, besides crossing your fingers ever time a rock hits it?
  • Has anyone experienced a problem with engine startup hesitation first thing in the morning? I have the a late production 2003 SR5 V6 and it seems to take a little longer than necessary to crank up after it has been sitting all night. Then this morning it took at least 4 seconds for the engine to crank over and the weather wasn't even cold.
  • cmajcmaj Posts: 4
    When travelling over a small bump at slow speeds, I notice a clear sounding "clank" or metal on metal rattle. It sounds almost as if it could be the towing hitch attachment. Not sure if it is coming from outside or inside the vehicle. Again, this is a heavy metallic sounding "clank" (for lack of a better term) that seems to originate from some type of metal objects jarring against each other (I do not believe that it is the rear seat latches). Can someone please comment or provide a best guess?
  • nmf51nmf51 Posts: 2
    Sound most likely comes from right rear seat latch. Try taping the latch with electrical tape
  • nmf51nmf51 Posts: 2
    I have an 03 LTD with a V8. Not all the time, but fairly regularly, I notice that after coming to a stop, when I take my foot off the brake pedal and before I put it on the gas pedal, I feel a slight thud which kind of feels like the drive shaft engaging. Once I feel this and start moving, everything is fine. Has anyone noticed this condition, is this normal of characteristic of the 03 V8s?
  • cmaj, in addition to checking the right rear seat back, you might also check your jack etc. in the compartment in the left rear. Also be sure the knobs securing the roof rack cross bars are all tight. Also also, make sure the spare tire is cranked up tight.

    nmf51, you might need to lube your driveline. There are many posts about thuds and thunks in the "Toyota 4WD Systems Explained" thread, and some good explanations/remedies.
  • oscarz2oscarz2 Posts: 153
    Early on, I had a rattle from right rear and it sounded like it was coming from the right-rear seat latch area. It was and they lubed it. That worked for about 2 days so I used tape and haven't heard it since.

    Later, I began hearing a heavy-metal clunking from what I thought was outside the vehicle (left-rear), like maybe spare tire area, or suspension. Turns out it was the left rear seat latch and they lubed it and that fixed it. I will tape it soon because I'm sure the lube won't do the trick for long.
  • oscarz2oscarz2 Posts: 153
    Anyone having vibration problems? Mine are still present, mainly in the steering wheel. Starts about 20mph. Wheels balanced 4 times and rims are getting scratched. Dealers no help.

    Also, when truck is at idle, motor makes a throb/bounce type vibration about every 5 seconds. Anyone know what that is? If I sit still, I can feel it bounce the whole truck a little.
  • nedzelnedzel Posts: 787
    The dealer? You might want to try a good tire shop with a Hunter balancing machine. Also have them check for bent rims and out-of-round tires.
  • The Hunter 9700 is a must. On my previous 4Runner, there was vibration from day one. I spent 6 hours at the dealer the next week, and they actually made it worse. Nobody could figure out what the problem was.

    After visiting 3 other tire stores and spending way too much $$$, I decided to bring it to a Toyota dealer that is literally 1/5th of a mile from my office (didn't buy the truck there bc the sales dept. is full of idiots). The service guys were great, very helpful, and they suggested that they try their new Hunter 9700 to diagnose the problem. Immediately, the machine found 2 slightly warped wheels. They ordered 2 for me under warranty. Problem solved.

    I will never again have my tires balanced by any other machine.
  • oscarz2oscarz2 Posts: 153
    Each time, a GSP9700 was used w/adaptor. 2 toyota dealers and discount tire. Toyota finds nothing defective and discount tire says tires are within specs. They said at last visit the road force variation was less than 15lbs on all wheels.
  • bmw323isbmw323is Posts: 410
    I have that same thud once in a while while releasing the brake pedal. It doesn't happen often and I thought is was actually the brake caliper releasing from the rotor. I don't see it as a problem unless it gets worse. I really feel it more that hear it. I have the V6 engine.
  • lukeglukeg Posts: 32
    I am having in my 4Runner (2004 4x4 Sport v8) light vibrations in steering wheel and pedals (floor) at various RPMs. Most noticeable when driving at a steady speed around 30mph. RPM affected is between 1800-2000. I have also noticed at higher RPM. 1800-2000 vibrations happens at various speeds of the car as long rpm is in that range. The most noticeable when going up to hill with rpms in that level.
    Any advice as I took the vehicle to two different dealers and they say that this is normal, all new 4Runners do that. Because rpm falls in that level in most driving situation, I find this very enoying.
  • Normal? I don't know about that. I test drove 3 different vehicles and didn't notice any vibration in any of the models, and each test drive took about 20 minutes over a variety of terrain and speeds.
  • oscarz2oscarz2 Posts: 153
    Just wondering if you can check if this is happening in your ride:

    When vehicle is warm, and your parked at idle, in drive, with foot on brake- rpms at 500 or so... no vibration... put it in neutral and rpms climb a little, then every so many seconds there's a throbbing vibration that bounces the truck some.

    I'm just wondering if this might be part of the problem or is it a wheel/tire issue or a combination of the two. I just can't figure this one out and I'm not getting any help from dealers or Rep.

    My next step is test drive another 4runner and if it's smooth (I'm sure it will be) try to get them to swap the wheels out briefly (I'll pay for the labor) and see if that eliminates the problem. If it does, I know it's a wheel/tire defect, if it doesn't, obviously the problem is elsewhere but at least some progress will have been made.
  • I also have the problem with the 4WD engaging.

    I purchased the vehicle used (May 31, 2003) and the first time I used the 4WD, I had to call the service department about how to get the flashing wheel lights to stop blinking and to get the 4WD engaged. The lights were blinking for blocks. Well, I got it into 4WD and after that it wasn't bad for that trip. I used it again tonight (3 weeks after the previous experience) and drove for blocks with the flashing 4WD indicator lights flashing. The vehicle has 28,000 miles. Any suggestions?
  • My expirence is with a '94 4x4 Toyota truck with shift on the fly.
    When shifting into H4, make sure you are driving in a strait line, shift the lever, and then (at the same time) modulate the throttle up and down and it should engage. I belive this loads and unloads the linkages, and allows the gears to engage. It is not necessary to depress the clutch, (if it is a manual).
    Hope this helps,
  • bmw323: Have your emergency brake adjusted at the dealer. Mine made that noise, the brakes overall started squeeking. The delaer said the brakes from the factory were not adjusted properly. I would hear a click when I released the e-brake.
  • I've been hearing about complaints of rocking/moving driver seats in the 03/04 4Runners. The G35 that I currently own has the same problem, and that is the main reason I'm getting rid of it and buying an 04 4Runner.

    Anybody have this problem or have heard of it? I'd hate for this to happen with another vehicle.

    Any info is certainly appreciated.
  • My 03 Sport front driver's seat base is loose and I can feel the seat shift underneath me when I go over a bump. As usual the Toyota dealer says that it's "nornmal".
  • I haven't experienced any seat movement at all. It doesn't seem to me that any significant movement at all would be acceptable. There could be a very slight movement from the tabs working in the latches a little, but normal looseness should be very slight.

    I would suggest getting a small flashlight and a wrench and looking around for loose bolts or anything else that doesn't seem right. I don't know about the 4Runner specifically, but lots of vehicles suggest periodic re-tightening of seat bolts. I don't know that they're more likely than other bolts in the car to loosen, but the consequences can be serious.
  • bmw323isbmw323is Posts: 410
    My drivers seat moves slightly sometimes as well. When I had the truck in for an oil change I asked them to look at it. Without looking they said this was normal because of the seat height adjustment allowing for slight play in the seat cushion. I wouldn't think it should have to be that way, but the movement is very minor and I only feel in occasionally.
  • oscarz2oscarz2 Posts: 153
    I examined and drove a new 04 2WD V6 today to compare with my 03 regarding the following issues:

    1) Loose seat bottom (up & down play).
    2) Vehicle tilt (driver side lower).
    3) Vibrations.
    3) Quirky brake issues.
    4) Engine ticking noise.

    The 04 had a loose seat bottom identical to mine, was tilted just like mine, and the ticking noise was the same.

    Only thing different was it didn't have the vibrations that mine does and the brakes seemed normal.
  • lukeglukeg Posts: 32
    Dealer was no help today. I have a drove a brand new v6 4runner and it also had vibration in steering wheel at various RPM.

    My vibration is not from tires. It happens only when RPM is between range 1500-2000. It goes away if you go outside of the range. There is also a slight vibration at this RPM when in N and in full stop.

    This sucks as this is a crusing speed with RPM in tha range. Looks like that I need get used to it.

    My vibrating breaks were performing perfectly when at dealer this morning (no vibration). I think it is a weather related (first very cold day in year 32 degrees). As soon day warmed up to 44 degrees, the problem came back. Breaks is not a big issue as you only feel it when breaking. RPM vibration is the problem as I feel all the time.

    I am not going even start the rotten-egg smell problem....

    I am very dissopointed with Toyota. I expected a better quality. Where is the famous 4Runner name.
  • Regarding my problem with my 2001 4-Runner, the vehicle is an automatic. I had the wheels straight when trying to engage the 4WD. It was already shifted to 4W-High. The dashboard lights were blinking for blocks (10 minutes?).
    I tried everything to try to get the 4WD working. One note, I was on ice at the time I tried to engage the 4WD. (I was parked on ice).
  • rogers12rogers12 Posts: 140
    According to the repair manual, being unable to shift into H4 from H2 can be a fault in any one of the following (page TR2 of repair manual volume 2):
    4WD fuse
    Wire harness
    Vehicle speed sensor
    4WD position switch
    4WD indicator light
    Actuator assembly
    A.D.D control system
    4WD control ECU
    Transfer assembly
  • cmajcmaj Posts: 4
    Thanks to those who responded to my original message (#128). I had recently utilized my jack kit to repair a flat and after placing the parts back in the vinyl holder, the rods were in contact with each other. I stuffed some small shop towels in the vinyl sleeve before strapping it back in the side compartment. Also stuffed a small towel in the hitch assembly cardboard box which is strapped in on the opposite side compartment. This along with the prior dealer fix for the sunroof and electrical taping of the rear seat latch has resulted in zero rattles over rough surfaces.
  • Hi lukeg,

    I just bought a V8 SR5 and it also has the same vibration problem. It is subtle enough to overlook easily but annoying enough once you notice it. I thought it came from tires because I can feel it even at neutral and not sensitive to rpm too much as long as the vehicle was moving, but I'm not sure. I hope it'll go away once the care breaks in.
  • When I'm driving my '92 4 Runner - 6 Cyl., I feel a vibration and noise under the vehicle and seemingly toward the front end. It only occurs when I give power, and if I put it in nutral or put in the cluth the vibration/ noise is gone.

    Note: I have over 300,000 kms (190,000 miles).

    I was told this is probably a U Joint.

    1) 'to the gang out there', is this probably a U Joint?...anything else?

    2) What is the approx cost of replacing the U Joint?

    3) Is this different form a CV joint?

    4) Any other things I should be aware of ???

    Vehicle Idiot
  • rogers12rogers12 Posts: 140
    Does the vibration occur in 2WD as well as 4WD? If so, it is probably not a front u-joint. If it only occurs in 4WD and not 2WD, then it may be a u-joint (but I have not felt vibration from a worn u-joint, only clunking when intially applying power).

    Other possible sources of vibration are a bent or out-of-balance drive shaft, or a stuck yoke spline. There must be other possibilities, but I'm not good enough to think of them.

    If the yoke is stuck, it is possble that it only needs to be greased. You should be able to tell if the yoke spline is stuck by jacking up the vehicle after making a mark (not a scratch) on the yoke with a marker. Jacking up the vehicle should move the yoke splines out as the suspension drops. If the yoke doesn't extend or extends suddenly, it may be binding and be the problem. Try filling it with good moly grease (alot is needed to fill the spline), and then drive it for a while. While you're under there, grease everything. :) This might loosen it up if it's the problem or if it's a dry u-joint.

    (No, a u-joint is different in design than a CV joint). See:

    You can check the drive shaft run-out by removing it and measuring the wobble at the middle in a jig while you rotate it slowly. Usually the max runout is around 0.8 mm (1/32 inch). I guess it is possible for a drive shaft to act as you describe with out-of-spec run-out, but I have not seen that.

    Drive shaft imbalance would seem to be unlikely since it would be relatively constant under power and coasting. Also, it is difficult to get out of balance.

    I guess the cost of replacing a u-joint is around $200-$300, but it is a WAG. I have never had one replaced to know. Cheap part, mostly labor. A really frozen spline would maybe be $200-$500, depending on the cost of the parts.

    I think the most likely problem of the above is a stuck yoke spline, but it is a shot in the dark since I can't ride in the truck and check it out. Could be a u-joint also. Could be a number of things in the front drive system. Could be anything... (disclaimer) :)

    Good luck
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