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Toyota 4Runner Maintenance and Repair



  • Do the older 4Runners (1998-2001) have three shoulder harnesses in the back seat? I know they are listed to seat 5 but if they are like our Jeep it is two shoulder harnesses and a belt that goes around the waist of the middle kid. We are looking to buy a used car and want to make sure we can safely transport three kids in the back seat.
  • lazzarich,

    Thank you for your quick response. I talked to the assistant manager of dealer service department. He said he probably can not do any adjustment about the "over sensitive" steering wheel. I will tell them your idea about how to make it tight. Let you how it goes later.
  • Yes. I took it in for an alignment check. Of course the dealer blamed it on tire pressure, the angle of the curb to my house etc. What a bunch of .... Do all of these guys go to the same school of laziness and denial. He did an alignment check and wouldn't you know it... it was off. So instead of doing the alignment check first he started with blaming it on the tire pressure. Anyway, it tracks straighter but I do have a problem when starting from a stop light. Starting from a stop light in the first gear or so it pulls to the left and I have to straighten it out by turning to the right. After it gets up to 20MPH or so it gets better but I am feeling the same thing as you mentioned i.e., the steering wheel feels numb when pointed straight ahead. I am wondering if there is a problem in the rear wheels thrust angle or something. I don't even know if there is any adjustment possible for the rear wheels. I think I am going to go back to see if they can fix the pull at startup.
  • Pull from Start: This typically happens to FWD cars and is termed torque pull. Not sure if it applies here. At some point a technical guy on the forum will let you know.

    As regards the ongoing problem - not sure if it is related to thrust angle. There are many adjustments to be made that could probably get the vehicle to track straight. They may however take it out of factory spec and cause tire wear. Dealer won't do that. There is a website that gives "a short course in wheel alignment" that you may find informative.

    You did not mention whether they investigated tire pull - I would check that too.

    Numb Feel: One of your posts referenced that this started after the dealer tried to solve your alignment issue. They clearly did something. Sounds like laziness not to investigate that further. A tech guy on this forum will be able to let you know if there is an easy adjustment.

    As you can tell I have been through this a lot - not sure how we could contact each other but I would be willing to share how I have resolved all my alignment woes.
  • Thanks for your response. I have about 1050 total miles on it now. The dealer told me to wait till I had over a thousand miles.

    They had checked the tires and rotated both front ones. I think I am going to go in for another vist as soon as weather cooperates. Thanks again.
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,726
    Yeah, rear seat is just two shoulder harnesses and a center waist belt.

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

  • Took my car to the dealer yesterday. They replaced my driver side mirror because of image distortion. Talked to both the manager and mechanic. They didn't find anything wrong. The mechanic took a test drive, and double checked suspestion (ball joint, tie rod ...). At the time I got the car, it was fine. I can clearly feel my wheels, and it goes straight. I don't know what they did, sounds like they just tightened couple bolts.
  • Dealer replaced my left mirror. But I still think the image reflected on the upper part of the driver mirror (they ordered new) distorted (compared with passenger's side). Does anyone's mirror has the same problem? My luck can't be that bad to have 2 defect mirrors in a row.
  • I see the same distortion in the driver side rearview mirror. I think it is by design. It seems like the objects in the mirror look "squished" or not as tall as if you were looking at it directly. I am not sure why they did this.

    On the alignment issues, it pulls to left at startup but then it gets better. I I have around 1100 miles.
  • I have a 1992 SR5 V6 4Runner w/118,000 miles. I was driving and my engine suddenly stopped, then would not restart. I checked the engine compartment fuse box and the fuse for the electronic fuel injector system was blown. I replaced it with the appropriate fuse and the next day I ran several short errands, then made a longer trip to my local ski resort. The fuse blew gain. I replaced it again and made it back to my driveway. I think I obviously have a short somewhere- has anyone had this problem- and if so, where should I start looking for the short?
  • I have a 1992 4Runner that had the same problem. Mine developed a tiny slow leak and thanks to a brand new driveway I noticed small drips before it completely rusted out.
  • I have an 05 4runner with the in dash changer, are there aux inputs in this stereo? I want to attach my ipod and am wondering if I can install an RCA cable?
  • Yup, only two, but if you're putting in a car seat there are many available with extra tie-downs to help compensate...
  • I bought a 94 4runner 4x4 this last summer at a pretty fair price - super clean - but its rides so rough. I've owned a 90 in the past so I figure no big, just new shocks. Put O'reileys answer on the front, but the rear shocks were rather new (it still has the classic butt-drag). No change. The ride is almost as bad as our straight 95 Wrangler - sometimes worse. After digging around, the only thing we can guess is a side collision in the passenger wheel. We changed the tie-rod - which was bent - the idler-arm, the axel assembly, & rotor. I'm running out of money and there's still no change. We can't find any other obvious damage. Do torsion bars go bad? It feels like there's no shock - just constant road vibration and whammy pot-holes. I have to break out the ropes and stirrups to ride the tar strips on the highway. Is this just a case of running in the wrong direction and O'reileys gave me the wrong part again? Please help. Wanna spend as little as possible for the time and see positive results. (saving up for the butt-drag problem...)
  • I have the 2005 Toyota 4runner Sport Edition and I witnessed the awful sulfur smell. It only occurs when the A/C is NOT on and I get the engine to up at least 2000 RPMs. Toyota recently (~8/2005) a technical service bulletin to correct the issue. I had the issue fixed (catalytic converter) and it correctly the issued slightly. Now instead of smelling the sulfur everytime I hit 2000 RPMs, I smell it about every other time I hit the 2000 RPMs.

    I love the car, but this sucks!
  • Ironically, yes I have, but not with the 4runner. I had a 02 Trooper that had a pinched wire in the dash and stranded me a couple times b4 my mechs found it. Not sure where the line runs on the toys, but I hope that gives you a good place to start...
  • Hi: Have a 99 4Runner LTD. 1st time this season, in cold weather, I tried to shift into 4WD and now the 4WD indicator is stuck flashing. Feels like the car is in 4WD, but it won't stop flashing or shift to 2WD. Happened once before 2 years ago and dealer said it was a sensor and it was expensive to fix. They said it's not under warranty now. Could the cold weather make it do this? In Denver and it's 0 degrees. Any help would be appreciated. Thanks.
  • I have very strange/annoying noise coming from under my front passenger side seat. It sounds like a skipping CD or a baseball card stuck in bicycle tires (but very high pitched) I believe it is eletrical related, because as I adjust the wires (one wire in particular) connecting the component where the sound is originating (some sort of fan but I am uncertain exactly what it is) the sound stops and starts.
    This is the first place I have looked for answers b/f looking in a manual or going to have it looked at. It seems to be unrelated to anything except the car being on.. i.e. a/c, heat, lights, windows, radio, driving does not affect it at all. Any idea what it could be?

    Thanks tremendously for any help!
  • Or how would I find out?
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,726
    I have heard that in areas with snow, you can get an accumulation where the automatic engaging hub is, which will prevent it from properly engaging, or properly releasing once there gets to be enough junk in there. Beyond that, you have the push-button 4WD in the LTD, right? My current and old 4Runners both have/had the lever-style, so I can't be of much help beyond that. Certainly, as long as the 4WD light is flashing, there is a problem with the system. Good luck!

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

  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,726
    Are you sure it's not just the rear seat ventilation system, with something stuck either in the vent itself or in the blower? That's what it sounds like, but it's hard to get a sense of it. Certainly it would be easy to check, just turn the rear seat air on and off, see if the sound comes and goes.

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

  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,726
    Speaking not of 4Runners specifically but rather of vehicles in general, older models with rough rides usually have worn-out suspension bushings. If you have only changed the shocks and not the bushings, you may accomplish a lot by doing that. Problem is, if you have a shop do the work, it will not be cheap. :-(

    I am curious: I had a '90 which never had the butt-drag problem, so I got lucky, but just how do you fix that problem? Do you have to replace everything at the back, including the springs?

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

  • hey, this may seem stupid/too simple, but just in case you are used to the finer things in life-- have you tried just putting it in reverse and driving backwards a few feet, 20 feet even if necessary? pretty typical, easy fix but you may have already tried that.
  • i was having prlems in my '94 with the efi relay.
    dont think the fuse ever blew, but the relay was what was wrong and it wouldn't start until replaced it. it was only 14 or 30 bucks, i dont remember.
  • since this happened to me i read on another forum about it happening to someone else with a 93. mines a 94 and what started out as a slow drip in the rear brake line (either supply or return not sure which) within a week of bleeding every day turned into a geyser. and to fix it at the leak you would have to drop the tailgate.
    yours is newer than mine and mines a piece of crap, but you might check for drips under the car right around your gas tank, etc.
  • a while back mine just quit on me too. the first problem was a bad EFI relay. then it was just funky battery cable connections. no spark, no... well... no nothin.
    both cases wouldn't even turn over. the efi relay is cheap, beer or soda and a wire brush on the battery connectors is cheaper.
  • this seems more and more common the more i read about 92-95 runners. same problem here-- it was above the front of the gas tank which means a repair involves dropping the tank. or replacing both supply and return lines if that is where it is. it was alot easier to see where my particular leak was coming from when i took off the spare and crawled up under.
    you can find stuff online regarding rerunning rear brake lines and using an adjustable rear proportioning valve or write me and i can fill you in - - its less than 80 bucks and was alot easier than dropping the tank on my rusty piece of crap.
  • I am having the IDENTICAL problem on the IDENTICAL car (99 4Runner Ltd). Also happened to me about a year ago, but then suddenly 4WD disengaged and all was well. This time, I am stuck in 4WD with a flashing indicator light and no way to disengage.

    I have been told by three places (my mechanic, their transmission specialist, and a Toyota dealer) that I must replace the transfer case (at $3,000 to $4,000!!!). The diagnosis from everyone is that the electric motor in the transfer case has gone bad. While this is apparently a common problem with Ford, noone has ever seen it on a Toyota.

    Did you find a resolution?
  • Paint Problems. Yes Indeed. I have a 2004 sport edition, V-8, 4X4 in a ultra plain WHITE. It was purchased in Feb 04, and had about 26 miles or so on it for what its worth.

    This past summer (2005) I noticed a black line on the rear passenger side. At first thought it was road tar, or whatever. This was after finish up a washing the car with TURTLE WAX ZIP WAX CAR washing solution" I have used this product for years with a glove and/or a wash mitt. Never a problem.

    So I go to my friendly dealer and have him take a look. He noticed some other sports. I took responsibility for them as my "wife likes to park by touch" as I told him.

    Any way against his better judgement(according to him) he said he would call the Paint Shop next door and have the problem taken care of. No paper was written up, Darn!! So the owner of Mike's paint shop, very personable, and help full does it right away and gave care instructions. Great Shop!! Great guy.

    Now December 2005 ( about 12,000 miles total) more problems. Can't blame wife, but can blame both of us. In the pockets, where you place your hand to open the door, I discovered a BUNCH of small scratches. The scratches look to be BLACK. I doubt they are scratches, but instead the "ORIGINAL WHITE PAINT" BEING SCUFFED WITH OUR FINGER NAILS. The black fibre glass of the door is showing through.

    After all this, if you stayed awake with my rambling, how should I approach my dealer? Should I talk to someone at the factory level or just get it re painted and quit my whinny attitude.

    I got rid of the chevs and fords for this very same reason after reprinting them on my dime. I want something the paint stays on the vehicle. That is why I choose "WHITE".
    Now I am faced with the same thing with the Toyota. Do have a 1977 Toyota, and paint problems there were/are because of me.
    Sad thing is, we just love the vehicle, it has everything we need, gas mileage not so good, but fine with us, and a great riding car, and especially SAFE CAR

    Should I just give it all up and trade it off for a Honda Pilot. That seems to be the best choice now

    El Sobrante, CA
    on the left coast
  • Why trade it because of a paint flaw? It's new, so you still got warranty; go request a fix. And if they won't fix it,... you live in CA, so paint is really an unnecesssary cosmetic luxury. I have had cars in CA with bare metals that lasted for many years. If your neighbors think your car looks ugly with bad paint, tell them not to judge a book by it's cover - it's a Toyota, and paint/cosmetics are only necessary for ugly cars like they design in Detroit.
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