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Toyota 4Runner Maintenance and Repair



  • My parents bought me the 4runner as an early x-mas present. Well of course like with everything that you get from a dealership we drove it less then 100 miles and the check engine light came on and we checked all the fluids the oil was a little low so we added oil. The light stayed on. Heard from family that some shops do free diagnoses well they do if the car is domestic or it has to be 96 or newer. Mine is a 94 so couldn't work with them but they told me that there is a way to self check it. Have no idea what they are talking about since my car didn't come with an owners manual. Does anybody know how to diagnose the car without just hitting the reset button i need to make sure there is nothing else wrong with it.
  • Do you have an alarm system? I had an older Camry that had a shut down problem. Turns out it was a faulty alarm sys. and the kill switch was activating. I had the alarm system taken out of the car and that solved it. Hope this helps - it was a convenient, easy fix.
  • Some auto parts stores can read the codes & tell you what they were. Some manuals have the codes translated into causes, while identifying the method of retrieval, usually with a paper clip jumper and counting the flashes of a dash light.
  • yotadado9yotadado9 Posts: 1
    edited November 2010
    I know this is a dumb question, but how do i reset the maintinece light on my 04 SE4wd v8. i just changed the oil last week and this light is driving me crazy :confuse:
  • Yesterday the tire pressure icon on my 07 4r lit up. I checked pressure on all four tires and they were within a pound or two of each other and the spare (never on ground) seemed fully inflated. Only factor I can think of is a recent cold snap (hi teens). Thanks for any suggestions.

    Regards, DQ
  • boats3boats3 Posts: 42
    Usually you have to be on the mileage portion and hold the mileage result down as you turn your car on. Double check your owners manual but that should be the fix.
  • boats3boats3 Posts: 42
    The tire pressure has to be within a pound of the recommended mfg pressure for all 5 tires. Monitor it because you may have picked up a nail or something.
  • It's not uncommon for the indicators to come on when the temperature drops. Also, the spare could be low. Unfortunately, the only way to add air is to drop the spare. Bad design.

    Personally, I would add a couple of pounds to all four tires, and see what happens. If you still get a light (and you have no nails, etc.) it's the spare.

    Good luck!
  • Have checked toyota service manual about changing belt on unit, and I can't find a mileage or time line to change belt. Some mechanics say 90000k or soomer! Also was told to change water pump and thermostat on at same time to prevent problems later. Would appreciate some timely info. on my unit. Thanks.
  • It was the spare. Had about 25 lbs. in it. The upside is I got to experience the tire changing procedure (without changing a tire). Inserting the jack rod into the tire lowering mechanism was a little tricky but better to learn in my driveway rather than alongside the freeway. The Toyota lug wrench looks pretty weak; I'm going to throw in a criss-cross wrench just in case. Thanks to all for the advice.

    Regards, DQ
  • tangmantangman Posts: 127
    For my 4-runner, we changed the timing belt about ever 100,000 miles. We did not change the water pump or thermostat. Sold it at 210,000 miles and it was still ok. Many mechanics do recommend the change. I am sure you reduce your risk by changing the water pump as well. But, many owner don't and seem to be ok. This is a risk call for each owner.
  • tangmantangman Posts: 127
    Usually the light goes on in fall when the weather gets much colder, thus the tire pressure is reduced. Everytime it happen to me, it always ended up being the spare. While it may feel like it is full, it usually is below the desired pressure. So, I would check you tire pressure all the way around including the spare in fall when the weather gets colder. I agree, much better doing it in you drive way then on the road.
  • I have a rear cylinder leak. Any chance after replacing the rear axle, axle seals, bearings, brakes, drums,etc. from an earlier service that the cylinders would have been replaced or overlooked? I went through this after a diferential leak.
  • boats3boats3 Posts: 42
    There is always a chance that the mechanic missed it, however, it is unlikely. That is a normal item that a mechanic would check for. Either there was no fluid in the system during the initital inspection or the cyclinders did not leak.
  • drex1drex1 Posts: 41
    I found the problem by doing research on line and replaced the MAF. Cost was parts only--pretty easy to do yourself.
  • drex1drex1 Posts: 41
    Read your owner's manual (under the section that talks about the dashboard lights). The procedure is pretty clear and easy.
  • Had the same issue recently. Have 49K on my 06 4Runner. Brought it to the dealership and they found that the powersteering rack was blown, the axels were leaking grease and the u-joints were blown.
  • Hey folks! I really hope someone has a tip for me on my 94 Toyota 4Runner. V6, Manual 4WD.

    It's below freezing in Denver and my 4Runner is often a slow starter in the cold, but the other day it wouldn't start at all when it was super cold. The next day was a "little" warmer and it got going, but I started hearing odd plunking and plinking noises in the engine. Thought it might be ice knocking about, but it got worse. (Not like a hard knocking of a rod or anything.)

    It was about 17 miles and by the time I got the office, I was sure something was wrong. When I pulled in, the engine died and it just chug-chugged when I tried to restart it. The smoke and smell of burning rubber that started just then told me to give it a rest. (I think on the front driver side of the engine.)

    Any thoughts? My theory is that my water pump froze and with a stuck pulley the belt is just burning and smoking.

    What do you guys think? I'm not much of a motor guy, but I've monkied around with engines from time to time.

    Thanks so much in advance!
  • I'm dealing with a similar issue. 2003 4-Runner. Check Engine, Trac Off and VSC lights came on while I'd driving down the interstate. I get the vehicle into the local Toyota dealer who charge me $300.00 and to replace the MAF Sensor. Less than 24 hours later these lights come on again! Dealer wants an additional $ 378.00 Air Flow Sensor.
    I'm totally frustrated!!!!
  • dsc3507dsc3507 Posts: 2
    There are two sensors, one before the cat. conv. and when after. In my case the one before was bad and I replaced it myself and after reseting (disconnecting and reconnecting the battery) it was fine. This is one of the biggest dealer ripoffs there is. The part was around $130 and the time to put it in was around 20 minutes and that was jacking the car up and getting under it, not on a lift. In any event it should not be more than 30 minutes of labor but I am sure they milk it to an hour or more. Might even be easier than changing some of the light bulbs in cars. In my mind a reasonable rate would be around $200. They get the part for less than you do even on the Internet.

    Most auto stores will scan and give you a readout for free. It should tell you whether it is the front or rear sensor. Both are about the same cost and time to repair.

    If you are not able to do it yourself you are at the mercy of the crooks. Maybe you can fine a local mechanic that is more reasonable. These sensors last about 100K miles or so, sometimes less. I replaced one in my Outback at 75K. This business of doubling the retail cost of the part for the job is ridiculous. Parts costs have nothing to do with labor costs especially with all the technology in cars today.

    A smart mechanic could make a lot of money on these jobs cutting into the dealers ripoff prices! Good luck.
  • What is the harm of leaving things as they are, other than not having the use of the warning lights? In other words, does it hurt the car to drive it with these lights on?
  • I have a 99 4Runner v6 4wd. Recently I have been experiencing some "skipping" from the engine, mainly when accelerating through the first couple gears, but also at other times while driving. Engine light is not on. Also when the car is idle, the RPMs move slightly up and down, as if I'm pressing the gas slightly every couple seconds.

    This didn't start until after I had some sort of oxygen sensor replaced (can't remember exactly what it was). After that I had a guy check it out and he hooked up the computer to it and said I needed to replace the throttle position sensor. Did that and no change. Had the Toyota dealer check it out and they say that I have the wrong spark plugs (have single ground, need double ground) and after-market plug wires that should be replaced. Also said I have an oil leak in one of the gaskets.

    Could the spark plugs be what's causing the skipping? Any other thoughts? Thanks.
  • ben106ben106 Posts: 2
    I bought it for the look. Good ground clearance, fat tire... Only to realize that the front IFS was the worst off-road enemy. Not to mention the hard core people laugh about its ability. Plus differential ratio so low breakage is imminent when the thing get rough. Lack of torque and momentum in the rough. A real joke! Car engine with asthma...
  • ben106ben106 Posts: 2
    The engine is a car base with timing belt (a shame for a truck). WARNING: Not intended for hard use but as a look alike. Dont count on dealer, has they denied any problem.
  • mike4309mike4309 Posts: 1
    Hello all, I have a 98 4Rnr. It has a sunroof. I have noticed water leaking in to the rig - it looks like it doesn't always leak in through the same window. Looks like I'll need to spend this Saturday applying a sealer to theall of the window gaskets. My question is what sealer type and what technique works best for this task. Thanks in advance for your advice, knowledge and experience with this problem. :confuse:
  • I have a 1998 4runner, v6, 4wd. have had it about a couple months now, engine has been replaced prio to me purchasing it. have all the records for it, runs really good. the vehicle shut off on me a week and half ago idling in traffic, started right back up, drove fine, and has not done it since. Any ideas??
    Also, the truck has a dull whining on acceleration and while idling, all fluids are full and clean. The Power Steering was low and i filled it, the noise isnt as noticable, but still there. Could this be the problem? Thank you!
  • Hey Guys,

    My 1994 4Runner has 250,000 miles on it and I'm at the point now where i can keep it running but as soon as i fix one part, something else wears out. Here's how it started.....

    I began noticing a constant ticking in the engine that sounded metal tapping on metal. The ticking sped up as the RPMs increased when i accelerated, and over the course of a couple of months it gradually got louder and more persistent, even at a mere idle.

    As the ticking got worse, the engine started to lope when i accelerated. The RPMs jumped around while I accelerated and it felt like it was sluggish, skipping and misfiring and such.

    Then, I was passing a Semi on the interstate using moderate acceleration and i heard a loud (ping?) under the hood and the ticking stopped completely, but then i noticed an immediate loss in horsepower. Thankfully, I reached my exit and made it home. I had been driving at highway speeds for about 2 hours at that point.

    The next morning, after the engine cooled and the overnight temperature dropped into the 40's I tried to drive it again. It started right up, but the engine sounded horrible, like there were rocks banging around under the hood, and it was backfiring all over the place. I tried to accelerate and with the pedal to the floor it only wanted to go about 5 mph and it was barely able to accelerate at all.

    The exhaust was thick and blue, and a neighbor (who seemed like he knew a thing or two) said he could tell by the smell of gas in the exhaust that it was an ignition problem.

    I'm not sure if I've been describing symptoms of multiple problems, or if they're all related to one central issue. Also, I own the Hayne's Repair manual for this vehicle, but I am young and I only have basic toolbox tools, not mechanic's tools, and I don't even know where to start in the troubleshooting section because of all the symptoms. I was hoping someone out there could tell me where to check first for an issue, and whether or not anyone else has had this same problem.

    I drive this 4Runner everywhere I need to go, including school and work, so a timely response to my post would be greatly appreciated so I can begin working on it.

    Thanks Y'all
  • Sounds bad, maybe a blown head gasket maybe worse.
  • royallenroyallen Posts: 227
    If the plugs and plug wires are not recently changed, this would be an inexpensive way to eliminate these as a cause for poor ignition. You can remove all plugs, then crank the engine to see if the head gasket is leaking water into a cylinder-it could squirt out the plug hole. Also look for water droplets in the oil. Your manual should have pictures of abnormal spark plugs to compare to yours for sources of trouble.
    If these are not helpful, you need a knowledgeable mechanic. Maybe your neighbor can help with this as well. Royallen
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