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Toyota 4Runner Maintenance and Repair



  • dick13dick13 Posts: 2
    (See previous post #362) Talked to Toyota today regarding my case with front end vibrations. They said there will be a TSB issued within 90 days for a repair. (From March 1) I've been waiting since Aug. 17th, 03. Got my sunroof rattle fixed last week. No more rattles!! dick13
  • joeypdot you recently posted a messaege about your 03 v6 having a noise when accelerating. My 03 v6 limited does the samething i think. You could hear echoes under the vehicle as if you had a diesel engine in the winter if you are in enclose area. I had a toyota rep look at it and we test drove another v6 4runner and it did the same rattling noise. he said it was a characteristics of the v6. Does anyone have a solution or advise they give it a very annoying sound. thanx
  • Anyone has a solution to the brake booster buzzing constantly. It seems like every time i depress the the brake pedal 2 or 3 time the brake booster buzzes it an annoying buzz. The dealer said it normal,but I've seen different opinion posted. Any solutions
  • oscarz3oscarz3 Posts: 5
    Master Cylinder Assembly must be replaced to eliminate the annoying buzzing. At least, that's what they did on mine.

    I still feel a faint click on occasion when I press the brakes but that's all.

    If you don't have another dealer nearby, ask for the Field Service Tech. Whoever told you it's normal is not in the loop on this.
  • 2walker2walker Posts: 9
    Good job slarry to keep us "complainers" honest =)

    Resolution of my issues from the long winded post #106:

    I complained about the moonroof, headliner and belt noises at the 10k tune up. The dealership fixed the belt noise (this time it did not immediately recur so I think it is solved) and addressed the moonroof. The moonroof noise is still there, though less. They did not want to deal with the headliner rattle until they solved the moonroof rattle. Interesting thing is my mileage took a dump right after this service, by about 2mpg calculated (as opposed to the computer readout). I'm tracking it for my service tech for my 15k tune up at which I will mention moonroof, headliner, suspension and mileage concerns.

    My word of advice to those getting the belt noise issue taken care of: Save the old belt! They will change it out for a new one as part of the service and you will have a spare with little miles on it.
  • slarryslarry Posts: 19
    Thanks 2Walker!
    I look at this forum as a communication piece to help me in a purchase of a 4-R. I realize there has to be some problems even in the Lexus and Infinity products. I think it is great when people get to let us know the problems they've encountered but more often than not they come in here, blow off steam and they disappear, almost as if a "gag order" was issued to them. That is the part I don't understand. The communication to them is just one sided. If they never get back to this group then I dismiss there input. I wonder if those folks who were going to use the "lemon law" ever got a new vehicle or their money back. I have to believe these few problems were probably fixed and they are too embarressed to return.
  • ortechyortechy Posts: 3
    I have 2004 4Runner with Third Row Seat and I need to install a rear facing child seat in the middle row.

    The problem is, I can't find any good place to attach an anchor for the seat tether. There are anchors in the seat backs for forward facing, but no sign of anything for rear-facing child seats.

    For obvious reasons, I'm hoping to avoid drilling into the floor pan.

    Any help would be appreciated.
  • coranchercorancher Posts: 232
    ortechy, I think the top tether isn't used for rear-facing seats, or for convertible seats when in rear-facing modes. If you haven't already, check the manual for the seat, and contact the manufacturer. They usually have toll-free numbers for this.

    I just can't think of where you would attach a top tether for a rear-facing seat, other than looping it back over the seat-back, and I don't think this is recommended.

    Please let us know what you find.
  • bmw323isbmw323is Posts: 410
    Every once in a while (every few weeks), my 4Runner cranks for about 5 second before starting. It almost sounds like an old car that flooded. Other times it takes a second or two to start - but still not really an immediate start, like most other cars I drive. Has anyone had this problem? Any idea what it could be? I suspect if I take it to the dealer, they will tell me that it starts fine and I won't be able to replicate the problem.
  • dpalaudpalau Posts: 20
    I have a 2004 SR5 w/Third Row Seat as well and what I did with a rear facing child seat with a tether was to attach it to the frame that the front passenger seat is on.

    I first attached the car seat to the LATCH points behind the passenger seat and made sure it was tight as possible.

    It was kind of a pain but what I did next was move the passenger seat all of the way forward and then attached the tether extender (just a piece of belt with a fabric loop on one end and a metal piece on the other with a hole for the tether to attach to) to the base of the passenger seat (on the door side). This is the part that doesn't move and the seat slides back and forth in. I made sure that I placed the tether attachment between 'base points' of the seat that rest on the rail so I could then move the seat back all of the way.

    I then hooked the actual tether to the extender and moved the seat all the way back and tightened the tether.

    It works great so far but the tether extender doesn't really allow the passenger seat to slide back and forth that much (if at all). Not as big as deal for me as we just leave the passenger seat in that single position. We couldn't use the other LATCH position (the one in between the 'middle' and driver's seat) because then we wouldn't have been able to move the drivers seat back and forth for different drivers.

    You could probably play around with finding the best rail to attach to but these were the only points that I found that were attached to the frame that I could use.

    It's all moot for me in a week because the offspring will turn one and we'll be moving the seat to the other LATCH position and turning it forward and using the tether points on the back of the middle row. We use a Britax Marathon seat.

  • my2centsmy2cents Posts: 20
    As posted above by "bmw323" I also experienced the hard starting twice in the past 2 months. Typically the engine starts almost immediately. However those two times it turned and turned and turned for about 8 seconds until it stared. ODD isn't it? Time will tell. I have an "04 SR5 w/V6.
  • fudge123fudge123 Posts: 12
    Just wondering if anyone experienced this problem. I own a 2003 4 Runner SR5 V8. Yes I get the occasional sulfer smell. Two weeks ago the check engine light came on and "VSC Trac" and "VSC off" lights came on and stayed on. I took it to the dealer (not my normal dealer) and they reported the following:
    Scan Tool retrieved DTC PO420 Tech. checked sensor data and all within spec. No corrections at this time. No problem found.

    The Technician simply reset the computer and the check engine light went off. Well today, the check engine light and VSC lights came back on again. I called the dealer and the tech told me that the code had to do with the catalytic converter. I asked him at what point do they decide that the converter should be replaced? He told me that I would have to bring it in and if the code was the same they would have to check the specs again. What specs? He stated the sensors worked with spec so doesn't that mean there is really a problem? What kind of sensors monitor the catalytic system?

    Also, I don't know if this is a coincidence or not, but my gas mileage went from an average of 18.5 MPG (combined city highway) to 16.2 MPG over the past couple of months. I use regular unleaded 87 octane. I tried different gasses, but it didn't seem to make a difference.

    Any help would be appreciated!
  • coranchercorancher Posts: 232
    fudge123, I have only a partial answer to your question. Oxygen sensors are positioned on both sides of (only the first?) catalytic converters. Readings from the sensors before and after a converter are compared to help determine if the converters and the rest of the fuel injection system are working ok. I suppose if your vehicle was running really rich you would be getting poorer mileage and fouling up the converter function, leading to the check engine light.

    IIRC, the V8 uses 3 catalytic converters, one for each bank of cylinders, and then one in the pipe after the sides are combined together. The V6 uses 4 converters, and doesn't combine the exhausts until after the second pair.

    Sounds like you've got a genuine malfunction, and perhaps a problem with the ECU or fuel pressure regulator or something that's causing excess fuel to be sent in. I think that extra fuel heats up the converters, but don't know about long-term damage. I suppose you can take it back to the same dealer again, or try a different dealer that may be more agressive about finding the problem. The problem may actually be intermittent (the check engine light is, anyway) and so they may be reluctant to do much until it becomes permanent or at least manifests itself 2 or more times.

    Let us know how this goes.
  • Check that the gas cap is on correctly. Should be turned till you hear at least one or two clicks. Also over filling, topping off or filling beyond auto fuel pump cutoff, can cause the same problem.
  • fudge123fudge123 Posts: 12
    Thanks for the education!!! I'm taking my vehicle to a different dealer on Thursday. They also asked if my fuel cap is on tight. I know it is, but I'll check it anyway. I'll report back with the dealers answer.
    Thanks for your help!
  • ortechyortechy Posts: 3
    corancher, dpalau

    Thanks for your responses. I did a bit of research, popped off a few pieces of plastic trim to see what was there and solved the problem on my own.Here's how the story goes...

    Britax seats MUST have the tether for the rear-facing application to hold the seat back at a 45 deg. angle. It's not strictly speaking a top tether in that application of the seat.

    The seat comes from the manufacturer with a short loop of webbing w/ a steel D-ring attached to create a tether point for the rear facing application. Basically, you need to create a tether point using some structural element in the vehicle and this webbing/D-ring. The webbing/D-ring is ONLY for the rear facing application. Forward facing requires a true top tether anchor point.

    After scrutinizing the owners manuals for both the truck & the seat, I found a good spot. I used the metal foot at the base of the front seat which is bolted to the floor. I just popped the plastic trim off and wrapped the webbing/D-ring around the foot. I have installed the seat in both LATCH positions with no problem. The seat is really solid & does not interfere with the operation of the front seats at all. Of course, the seat can only be adjusted so far backward without hitting the body of the child seat.

    dpalau, I can't tell from your description if you did the same thing as me or something different, but I get the feeling you did the same thing.

    FYI: I asked Britax why the LATCH program does not include a low tether point for rear-facing convertible seats and they told me that they are the only manufacturer that uses a tether for rear-facing seats and that LATCH is designed for the majority of seats, not all seats.
  • 69mach169mach1 Posts: 60
    After three separate visits to three different Toyota dealers, the JBL radio / CD system on my 2003 4Runner has been fixed. The third dealer (Burt Toyota in Denver) replaced the amplifier and now the sound comes from all the speakers instead of mainly from the front center speaker.

    Still trying to get the rear door seals around the wheel housing replaced.
  • dpalaudpalau Posts: 20

    It sounds like we pretty much did the same thing. Except I didn't pop the plastic part off and just put the D-ring around the 'rail' that attaches to the foot.
  • bmw323isbmw323is Posts: 410
    I posted a week or so ago that my 2003 V6 had ocassional starting problems, almost like it would flood. Today it happened again and I called the service department. They told me that it really was flooding and that some of the ethanol(sp) gas that is being used today ignites very poorly, therefore more gas is squirted into the cylinders casuing temporary flooding. The engine computer gets all mixed up and makes the situation worse. He told me that when the engine doesn't start immediately, I should floor the accelerator, which lets more air into the mixture.

    That is all fine and well, but if this continues, they really have to do something about it, right? As of now this has happened to me about 4 times in the last 4 months, but twice in the last two weeks. He told me that the winter gas causes this situation and I wouldn't have the problem in the summer. I'm going to try using differnt gas. I have been using mostly Amoco mid grade. Maybe I have to go back to using premium.

    Any thougths?
  • steverstever Posts: 52,462
    I don't see any recent posts about this technique, so apologies if it's already been suggested.

    Next time you crank the 4Runner, turn the ignition on for 2 or 3 seconds so that the idiot lights come on but don't crank it. This should be long enough for the fuel injection to prime the cylinders and may help starting.

    I'm not enough of a motorhead to know the real reason this helps (thus my italics), but the technique seems to help some people around the Hall.

    Steve, Host
  • coranchercorancher Posts: 232
    bmw323is, I suspect the dealer is misinformed (so what else is new?) about the technique of flooring the accelerator in this vehicle. It's "throttle by wire" and your gas pedal is hooked only to a transducer that tells the engine computer how far you're pressing it down. The computer decides what to do from there, and controls a little motor that actually moves the throttle plate in the intake.

    I suspect that during the start cycle the engine computer ignores your gas pedal input, so flooring it won't help.

    If the ethanol/gas blend you're using is meeting the standards (less than 10% alcohol, I think) required by the vehicle, I think your dealer should look deeper into this. The vehicle is designed to run on this fuel, after all.

    One other possibility probably doesn't apply to your vehicle, but I'll mention it just in case. If you do a couple of very rapid start/stop cycles and let the vehicle sit, it may be hard to start (for the first time only) afterward. For example, if you start the car to back it out of the garage to wash it and then later start it again just to roll it back in the garage, and then leave it for a while, it may be hard to start. Best thing is to drive the car around a little after you wash it, to warm the engine a little.
  • autonutsautonuts Posts: 138
    I have a question concerning the reliability of the earlier 4 runners '90-'95. I heard there were some problems associated with the v6 engines during that time? Is this a problem if I were to buy one during this period? Can the problem be fixed or is it something of a defect that can't be fixed? I believe that this model period is what I can afford and don't want to buy into a problem vehicle. What other problems were accustomed for this time? Can you suggest a better vehicle (midsize SUV) during this era? I appreciate all input! Thanks to all!
  • 81trekker81trekker Posts: 51
    On 90-95 4Runners, there were problems with the head gaskets busting.
    After many complaints, Toyota decided to fix them for "free" as part of an "extended" warranty. I had a 91-4Runner and was called by the dealer I bought it from around 97-98. They asked if I still had the truck and I said yes. They offered to replace the head gasket for free. I took it to a closer dealer for my second "free" head gasket. The first one busted about 94 or so and I had it replaced under the truck's original extended warranty. (The mileage was about 1500 miles over the warranty, but a helpful service manager told me she didn't need to report the mileage.) You might want to check with Toyota to see if they are still replacing them for free.

    I do not recall any other service problems.
    The clutch was replaced around 95K and the transmission was never rebuilt.

    As for better SUVs you could buy in that era, I couldn't think of one.
    My first 4x4 was the 91 Toyota Trekker, the predecesor of the 4Runner. Toyota sent the basic 4x4 to Winnabago who cut off the back of the cab and put a cap on the back. I drove it 135K and sold it to one of my hunting buddies who drove it another 50K until the body rusted out and it could not pass VA safety inspection.

    I drove the 91 4Runner 185K. Both the Trekker and 91-4Runner went to hell and back. All over the national forest from Maine to NC. Both went airborne many times and lived for more adventures. Both had winches but only the 91 had to use it for it's own recovery. I slid down an icy hill, over 500 ft., backwards, and had to winch it back up the hill. Took 1.5 hours.

    My now departed doggies (two GSD bothers) truly loved the truck too. All I had to say was "truck-truck" and they would start for the front door, whining and barking. My wife was concerned about its reliability with it's high milege, considering that where I go cell phone don't work. Then, she discovered that it didn't have airbags. So, with tears streaming down my face, I donated it to Purple Heart, and watched it disappear on a Jerr-Dan for the auto auction in PA. (The dogs watched and whimpered.)

    Unlike some SUVs, Toyota has its protected underneath from one end to the other. Take it off-road or drive it though frozen snow drifts. Both activities could take out something underneath. Recently, looked under the 2004 Ford F-150, Off-Road Edition, and noted that the skid plate does not cover the front part of the a/c-radiation area. The Ford Explorer Off-Road Edition does not even offer complete skid plates. Look at Jeeps SUVs and note the gas tank
    at the rear. (Toyota's is under the right side, I think.) I had a 96
    Nissan Pathfinder for one year and it had a plastic skid plate under the front. I was very careful where I took it.

    Look at Consumer Reports or other reports on older SUVs. Note the problems with others, vs. the 4Runner. No, I don't work for them. But, I now take the 98-4Runner off road on some of the same trails that jeeps with big tires take and mine is straight off the showroom floor.
    I haven't bothered to put a winch on it. I'm just not worried, as long as I stay off the ice and don't play in the mud.

    Have been looking for new SUV that would tow a 5000 lb. or more camping trailer should we decide to get one in the future as we're about to retire. After reading lots about the Nissan Armada, I'm getting concerned about some of it's problems although not unusual for a first year. (I do not trust the reliability recoreds on other large SUVS.) So, I'm looking at 4Runners again, since the V-8 will now tow 7000 lbs.
    Can't improve on success!

    Good luck on your search.

    81 Trekker
  • autonutsautonuts Posts: 138
    Thanks a lot for your post! It will help me in finding the right 4 Runner. I liked hearing about your off-road stories, too! Thanks again.
  • rentschlrentschl Posts: 69
    I've had a similar vibration issue with an '03 V8. I've had the tires balanced a number of times and finally tried new tires. I've still got the problem. I'm getting frustrated and am not sure of the best course of action. With 28,000 miles on the vehicle I'm worried about the warranty expiring before I get this problem fixed also.

    I'm having trouble locating the Lexus TSIB ST004-04 "Steering Vibration and Vibration/Drone".

    Can anyone give me a pointer to it?

  • -The TSB can be obtained at your local Lexus dealer. Have not found one posted on the internet yet. Some info is posted in the Edmunds Lexus GX 470 forum.
    -You mention "similar problem". Then I take it you mean a slight vibration felt in the steering wheel and/or floor of the vehicle and not a wheel shimmy effect. It almost feels as though there is a vibrator in the steering wheel. Sometimes it can be felt even when the vehicle is NOT moving(motor running). This is different than a wheel shimmy, which is caused by tires out of round or improper balance of tire/wheel/brake combination. An imbalance will in most cases be felt as a movement in the steering wheel and sometimes as a slight hopping or shuddering of the vehicle. This will cause an uneven wear pattern on the tire affected. Something that would have been noticed when you got the new tires. Different actions and different causes. If you are trying to correct the vibration problem by tire balancing, I dont think it will work. The vibration is coming from the drivetrain not the tires. Surprised that whoever is doing the tire work has not explained the difference.
    -If you do have the drivetrain vibration problem and not a tire imbalance, a good option is to have your complaint documented with Toyota Customer Care and be sure it is also included in you dealer service records. TCC will give you a file number and will contact your dealer who will then contact you. The dealer then returns info to TCC which is included in the file. Call TCC back to confirm the dealers call back. Get the TSB, know exactly what you are talking about, file a well articulated, responsible,civil complaint and keep a good set of notes. Also file a complaint on the NHTSA web siteie; CYA. When a TSB for the 4Runner comes along you should be covered as you will have the documentation should you have to go to an arbitrator or higher.
  • rentschlrentschl Posts: 69

    Thanks for the reply.

    I've got a TCC number and I just put together a detailed history of all the facts. I still need to go on the NHTSA website and file the complaint.

    I'd love to have a copy of what others are sending in to Toyota on this problem. It's so frustrating to live with this problem all the time on a new, expensive vehicle, yet have someone tell you there's no problem.

  • rentschlrentschl Posts: 69

    I noticed your line about the rear door housing seals. Is Toyota fixing these somehow?

    I thought I heard that they fixed this for the '04 models. Are they giving free upgrades to '03 owners if they complain enough?

    Any info appreciated.

  • glb5glb5 Posts: 39
    My 04 runner was built 11/03 so it is a early 04 model and no the problem was not fixed on the 04s to the best of my knowledge as dirt and small rocks still get in behind the rubber sael at the bottom rear of the rear door.
    Also, anyone else out there have the problem of the doors automatically locking them selves when the remote is maybe 10 feet away and laying on a stationary counter top, appears magic at times and very annoying.
  • whitney8whitney8 Posts: 31
    As it was explained to me, if you push the unlock button, but do not open any of the doors the 4R will lock itself after 30 seconds.

    My guess is they figure that you have the key fob with you, and maybe you inadvertently pushed the unlock button as you are walking away from the rig to go to the big game, (or some other long event where you parked in an unprotected area..) it will lock itself for you. Or in some cases a new driver of the 4R may not look at the fob when they push a button and think that they are locking it...
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