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Toyota 4Runner Vibrations



  • pec1970pec1970 Posts: 11
    My 2006 Limited has the same problem....a buzzing steering wheel from 1500-2000 rpm when my foot is on the accelerator. I took it in last week, left it there the whole day and the service manager told me that 2 different people drove it and "could not duplicate." He invited me to bring it back and ride with the technician so they were sure of what the problem is. Based on everything I have read here, I am not sure it's worth my time. The vehicle is leased and this is one I will NOT buy at the end of the lease.
  • jim58jim58 Posts: 20
    SURE!!! That is the first thing Toyota Techs learn if they go to training is "unable to duplicate". That saves them a lot of costly warranty work and is intended to make the customer believe that they are imaging the problem and that he is a nusiance by contining to bring the vehicle back for the same problem. I encourage everyone to call the NHSTB and file a complaint and when enough complain, they will start process to order Toyota to recall these vehicles. It may not be a problem now but think about it!! What will you do when the vehicle is out of warranty and it comes time to trade or sell the vehicle? If the potential buyer or dealer drives it and surely will feel the vibration and won't want it because of the vibration!!

    Keep posting anybody who has found a solution or has a similiar problem.
  • steve146steve146 Posts: 5
    Brock and for all with vib problems. I recently purchased a 03 4runner. It had 85,000 miles on it and needed some minor maint because of a used car. I did brakes which had bad rotors and fixed all that, then I greased the drive lines. Then my wife started complaining about a vib coming from the steering wheel. Well this was not there before I greased the drivelines so I took the zerks out of the slip shafts and let the overgreased grease out. I did this several times before the car went back to normal no vib. Maybe the dealers are putting too much grease in the slip joints to cause the vib. My car does not vibrate. Hope this helps all that are having problems.
  • mike805mike805 Posts: 33
    I have a 2006 4Runner and parked in mud maybe 2 inches deep. When I pulled out on to the highway I had vibrations in the steering which continued for a full 10 miles at 60-70 MPH before it went away. Apparently the steering is very sensitive to imbalance and it took that long to sling all the mud off the tires. If I had let the mud dry before driving I expect the vibrations would have continued. :confuse:
  • jim58jim58 Posts: 20
    Was the steering wheel shakeing left and right or buzzing? The 'buzz' is what I feel and it is enough to numb my hands during a long drive. I know about drive line vibrations and mud on tires causing imbalance but this problem Toyota has with the 4 Runners if mostly fleetwide and they know about it but elect to deny it.

  • steve146steve146 Posts: 5
    Hi Jim,
    It was the buzzing that My wife and I felt. But like I said it was not there before I overgreased the slip joints. Toyota might know about the problem but dont know how to fix it. I just stumbled upon this by accident. I hope that this will fix the problem. This is what fixed my problem. Jim try greasing it until the slip joint stops expanding and then take it for a little drive and then remove the zerk fittings from both the front and rear slip joints and let the access grease out. It might take a couple of times to let the access out. See if that takes care of the vib. I have a funny feeling that the joint when serviced until you cant get anymore in it is just too much. And at the shops they are probably using pneu. guns, which will overfill very easily. Now I might be barking at the moon but I induced my own problem and this is what fixed it. I just drove our car from Washington to Calif and back with no vib what so ever. I hope this helps.
  • steve146steve146 Posts: 5
    Hi Jim,
    One more thought, I think that with the drive line slip joint being expanded all the way packed with grease the line will not flex and thus acting like a solid shaft with no give. It needs to be able to float. Oh and also when I packed it with grease there was no indication that it was full. In other words no grease squeezing out anywhere.
  • jim58jim58 Posts: 20
    Thanks for the info. Sounds like that would a possible fix but I remember holding the brake (per Toyota's District Rep) and rev the engine to the vibration points and it still was there! The darn thing vibrates at 1200, 1700, 2150, 2700 and 3250 though it seldom sees the 3250 point. The brake test was only done on the 1200 and 1700 points but it was still in there! I am about to pull the last three hairs out of my head fighting Toyota about this. Odd thing, we have owned 9 Toyotas and NEVER had anything go wrong with any of them! My 02 Tundra 4x4 is an awesome truck with no problems at 90k miles but this 4 Runner is a lemon.

    Thanks again,
  • steve146steve146 Posts: 5
    Hi Jim,

    Have been reading all vib problems over again and again. This rev test: Is your 4runner an automatic? I presume it is. These days most are. The interesting comment that I read was the one person that had trany problems and then started having vib problems. I still have a few ideas about this issue.
  • jim58jim58 Posts: 20
    Steve: Yep, it is the 4 speed auto withing locking converter. It is about the smoothest shifting transmission I have ever driven and we have had NO other problems with this vehicle but the vibration. It now has over 50 k miles and still runs great. OH one more problem is the miles per gallon compter. It shows way more mpg than actually getting. Example, at 16.7 mpg, it shows. 20.0 on the computer. I included this in the arbitration also because if a new customer is driving the vehicle and it is showing 16 or so rather than 20, they might not buy it even though 15 to 17 is the rated mileage.
  • steve146steve146 Posts: 5
    Hi Jim,

    Well we are narrowing down the difference between mine and yours. I have the 5 speed auto. I wonder if this is a problelm with the 4 speed tranny? My thought is that the torque converter is out of balance. Since you do the rev test in nutral? I'm guessing at this as you did not state the condition which is was being rev ed. My senerio is because with the car in neutral and rev ed up the only 2 things that are a factor in this would be the harmonic balance and the torque converter spinning. Anyhow I hate to see people having problems with toyotas as I own 5 of them with no problems as such. Let me know your thoughts
  • captneumocaptneumo Posts: 3
    HI -

    Some updates on vibration fixes -

    1) LP_4Runner on did the Lexus fix on his 4Runner and feels problem virtually eliminated (ie, 95%). Here is fix -

    41196–60010 Differential Dynamic Damper (1) - $69.54
    91511–80820 Bolt (2) - $1.38
    52380–60061 Front Differential Support No. 1 (1) - $143.42
    51405–35101 Engine Under Cover Sub–assembly No. 1 (1) - $212.82
    45219–60090 Steering Sliding Yoke (1) - $31.65
    45203–60120 Steering Intermediate Shaft Sub–assembly No. 2 (1) - $167.27

    Labor time was 1-1/2 hours, which he had done free.

    2) The Lexus fix TSB is ST3010, which addresses STEERING VIBRATION & DRIVELINE VIBRATION/DRONE. I ran across serveral Lexus owners pushing for this fix.

    3) For those wanting to reference the Toyota TSB ST001R-05 SEP 05 Steering - Highway Speed Steering 'Flutter', it is available on the Alldata site, url
    Interestingly, this bulletin is listed under 2003 Toyota Truck 4 Runner 2WD V8-4.7L (2UZ-FE). I have read it extends to 45 pages, so it may have relevance to your particular truck or might not.

    4) There's been a lot of comments on the vibration cause. Expert view on steering vibration does not rule out tires as possible cause. Here is info:

    Steering flutter is a condition in which the steering wheel oscillates 5 to 15 times per second in the direction of the turn. It occurs at relatively limited but high speeds between 80 and 120 km/h (50 and 75 mph), and the oscillations on the steering wheel are fairly constant.

    Main Causes:
    • Tire run-out, unevenness, or imbalance
    • Resonance between the tires and the steering wheel

    Flutter is forced upon the steering wheel by the steering system resonating with tire vibrations, which are caused by imbalance, run-out, or unevenness in the tires.

    So all this may explain why some people are getting it worse than others, and the key appears to be to kill the resonance with the steering fix. I have an '05 4Runner Limited with minor vibration, but thanks to all you, can pursue a fix if it worsens with an upcoming tire change.

    Hope this helps -

  • To all: I have gone through and read all the postings on this vibration issue. I have a 2002 4Runner, and have the same/similar vibration issue. My steering wheel does vibrate, however the more annoying vibration that is driving me crazy is a vibration of my automatic gear shift. This vibration is not just a "buzz" that is felt, but creates a "rattling sound" of the plastic covering over the gear shift column. Has anyone experienced this same problem? Or have any advice?
  • dogstringdogstring Posts: 1
    I have a 2003 4wd sr5 v8 4 runner with the same vibration. I currently have 140,000 km and have had the vibration since 110,000 km. I could not believe how many people are having the same problem. After having new tire, rotars, and brake pads, the vibration is still there. It happens at 50-65 mph and seems to be worst when the vechile is hot or on long drives. I love toyota vechiles so much but hate the service dept. so I have been getting it serviced elsewhere. This is my fifth new toyota vechile and I have not had a problem till now. My wife wants a second vechile, it won't be a toyota maybe a GMC.
  • rentschlrentschl Posts: 69

    I had this issue on an '03 V8 4WD and could never get Toyota to do anything about it. At the time I was pursuing it there was only a TSB for Lexus GX470 but they claimed that that TSB just didn't apply for my vehicle.

    Yeah, right...both vehicles share the same frame, engine & powertrain but the TSB was just for the Lexus; thanks Toyota!

    I have been able to minimize it by being picky with tire selection and balancing.

    My question is now that there is a TSB (at least for the 2WD version), how do you get Toyota to do the upgrade?

  • I have a 96 4Runner 2WD and it has a vibration when I accelterate. When I let off the accleterator it goes away. Is this Transmission or something in the alligenment? Any advice would be helpful.
  • Toyota 4runner. while driving between 45-70, the contact felt a vibration in the steering wheel. no warning lights were present. I changed all tires. Align and balance are ok. new wires and new sparkplugs were installed before this problem started. 30 days later,the vibration started. please help. Columbia SC
  • I own a 93 4runner and have similiar vibration problem like all of you have mention. I took my car for an wheel alignment because I thought that was the problem, but it was not. They told me that my alignment was perfect. I took my care home and took the two front wheels apart and my brake caliper/assembly. I bought new rotor and brake pad. When I took the nuts that hold the rotor, I found out that it was little bit loose and I can turn them with my fingers - which it should be tight. I replaced the rotor and grease the needle bearing and its contact well before re-assembling. When I put the first nut in I torque it about 40 lbs then back it out a quarter turn and then re-torque it again at 20 lbs. Then the lock ring go on and then second nut also torque at 20 lbs. I bent the lock ring to prevent the nub from backing out or losen. I bent the lock ring in-ward for one nut and out for the other. After all this, I put the rest of the wheel components back together. I did the same thing with the other front wheel too.

    I did a test drive afterward and it rans smooth - no vibration. Vibration went away. I have no problem braking. My 4runner runs great now and I want to share with you all what I have discover and I hope that this would you too.

    Ps. It is important to use the right tool. Wear protection, becarefully when working underneath your vehicle. Note: Rotor assembly is heavy; ask someone to you when removing or putting it back together. Becarefully with the brake line when doing this. Take you time.

    Take care, and goodluck.
  • Go Dawgs -- My kids have a 2000 4-Runner, sounds like they are having the same problem, it is just starting at a higher speed. Vibration under acceleration, nothing while coasting. Did you ever get your problem solved? What seemed to do the trick?
  • Most people don't know is that the needle bearing mating between the drive shaft and the rotor (where the wheel attached to) worn in time or the nuts that hold the bearing in place - creating that running mating loosen from driving and when you drive at a certain speed - it vibrates and make alot of noise. It just need to be re-tighten per manufacturer specification and the vibration should go away.

    I did just that and it went away on my 4runner.

    When you remove it, check the bearing for damage or excessive worn and replace if needed.

    When putting it back together, make sure that you torque the nuts per spec. and use the right tool would help too. Spending an extra $20 to get the right socket for the nut is reccomendated. Don't guess....Use the torque wrench. I never like the clicking type (torque wrench) I can never get to work correctly. I alway use the convention type.

  • Have a shop drop the drive shaft and do a thorough inspection of the U-joints and check the balance of the drive shaft. Mine turned out to be One bad u-joint.
  • I agree on this one - rotors are notorious for warping easily on the 4Runner. When you brake and they heat up, get water on them, there is rapid cooling in one area of the rotor than others. This difference in cooling in different areas of the rotor can occur. I wouldn't be too sure what the phase diagram would look like for the material that the rotor is made of, but I would imagine it be similar to most steel. But I would imagine that because of rapid heating, rapid cooling in some part and slower cooling in other parts of the rotor would create the formation of defects in the metal structure. Over time this leads to warping. I'm only basing this on a single material science class I took.

    Doing a brake job and having the rotors turned has cleared the issue for me from my experience. Just recently I completely change the rotors (bought a good open market brand instead of Toyota) and then had a tire change (1998 4Runner Limited). Between the new rotors and new tires my vibration went away. My Wife's 2003 4Runner is showing the same issue and I plan on doing the brakes on it too.

    It was a Toyota salvage yard in Colorado Springs (deals in Subaru's and Toyota's only) who alluded me to the rotor warping issue. And each time it's happen, I had the rotors turned and resolved the issue.
  • amech52amech52 Posts: 1
    Have a 2000 4Runner 4cyl -Non ABS Automatic transmission 2WD. Have a vibration above 55MPH. U joints replced/All 4 Tires are Brand New Michellins/Rear wheel bearings replaced and still vibrate at speeds above 55MPH. Rebalanced tires (COSTCO) and all is fine but no joy on the vibration problem ....All experts invited for corrective action
  • nrwinsnrwins Posts: 1
    Just found this post and am glad to see I am not alone with this problem. I have a 2008 4Runner Limited V8 4WD and it vibrates at 65 MPH. I first took it to a tire place where the balance the tires twice to no avail. I then took it to my local dealer in Atlanta where they balance it twice with no help. After I wrote a blog on a Toyota site the dealer contacted me to try and resolve the problem and ended up replacing the Bridgestone tires with Yokahama tires (at 16k miles under warranty). The new tires are much better but it still vibrates. The vibration range is 65 to 75 MPH. If I would have know about all the people with these vibration problems there is no way I would have spent close to 40K on this vehicle. Missing my Trailblazer.
  • iwant12iwant12 Posts: 269
    I had an '03 SR5 2WD (V8) with 16" wheels that developed bad vibration problems, never could figure it out. It was very frustrating. I now have an '07 Sport (V6) 2WD with 17" wheels with 34K on the clock and no vibration whatsoever. It's like a totally different animal compared to the '03. Hope you figure it out.
  • 4runners4runners Posts: 6
    The design concept for older model and new are not that much different, but for new vehicle, everything is torgue to spec when it comes out of the factory, but after a while it get loosen up and required re-tighten thing up or you may brought your vehicle in to a local shop for service and the machanic take parts out and do not put them back in at correct torgue or spec. which can cause problem like you mention. What you need to do is check your engine mounts and make sure that they are not damaged. I think the main cause is the needle bearing on your wheel hub is not tighten to spec and it causes vibration. You need to re-tighten the nuts that hold the bearing in place. See attached for instruction.

    Sorry, I figure how to attach the image file, but you can also it in the Chilton's Repair Manual under wheel bearing.
    good luck
  • Mike,

    I am having a vibration issue with my 94 4Runner. The car idles file but when I accelerate I get a vibration through out the car. The vibration stops when I take my foot off of the peddle. I had front end work 4 months ago and all went well with that. I had plugs replaced a month ago and all went well with that. I have 2 new tires on the back but older tires on the front. Besides that I can not think of anything that would be causing this vibration. Did you ever get a good solution? I ask because I have heard everything from tire rotations, to U joints, to engine mounts, but I have not seen any good solutions. Please help
  • 1. what was done to the front end?
    2. At what speed does it vibrate? or it just vibrates when you step on the gas.
    3. Check you timing or your timing belt and see if it is loose or damage.
    4. I don't know the design of the engine, but if it is possible, remove the timing cover and turn on the engine then check if the belt is loose or deflect at amount. It should not deflect much. Sometime the belt tensioner came loose or the bolt broke off and it cause engine vibration or not run smoothly. I have seen it happened. It is hard when diagnose when you are unable to hear or see the car to determine cause of the problem, but try checking what mentioned above.

    I hope that help.

  • Re Q1: I basically had my front replaced earlier this year...So this is not an area of focus with regards to this most recent issue

    Re Q2: The vibration starts as I accelerate. There isn't a defined speed.

    Re Q3: My timing belt is not the issue but that was a good suggestion. I had my timing belt replaced last year. So we are good there.

    What I ended up doing was I took it to the shop. The shop explained that I have a "U Joint" issue. They also explained that I need to have my front barings replaced and greased. I pick up the truck today and will give an update when I know more.

    So this is to be continued...
  • I have owned an 05 4Runner 4WD/6cyl - it had Dunlop tires that wore out a bit too soon, however it had no vibrations or issues for the 45,000 miles I had it.

    Now, I have an 08 4Runner. It had really frightening vibrations, especially when weight was added in the cargo area, and when making turns that had a bump or two. But on a smooth freeway, half full of gas, no corners - it was smooth. The car only has 21k miles on it.

    So, one shop trip they did an alignment. That did help make the car track nicely (not vague or twitchy on the freeway), but of course, the shimmy was still there. I had my Michelin tires balanced by a tire shop that had a nearly new Hunter (and all the claims of how they calibrate it often). They said they didn't need any special adapters to balance the wheels, and suspiciously, they had very thick weights on just the outside of the wheels (not a good sign). The tire shop balance job did improve things a bit, however the car still had some bad vibrations - the steering wheel bounced / rotated side to side nearly 2 inches at times. Very unsettling.
    Once one part of the suspension was vibrating with the road speed, other parts of the suspension and drivetrain seemed to "chime in" and resonate with each other .

    Today, I got my car back from Bob Smith Toyota in La Crecenta. I left it there and just told them to please fix it, even if it takes a week. Good news! They balanced the tires very carefully, using a newer Hunter. When arrived to pick it up, I noticed that the weights were in the middle of the rim, on the inside, not those big weights on the outside. They also replaced both front shock absorbers because the left one was faulty. The tire balance was not enough by itself.

    Now the car drives great - tracks well, no "fluttering", just right on, on bumpy freeways, around corners, whatever - all good now. It is odd that a nearly new car could have a bad shock absorber, but it obviously did. Cool that somebody actually checked things!

    I'm not saying that there are no other issues that happen with other models, or other people's 4Runners, or that what fixed mine will fix yours. On this forum (I was lurking, wishing somebody could come up with a fix for me!) people mention 4Runners that have completely different suspension designs, tire sizes and age/condition. What I am saying is that taking the car to somebody who cares , who at least actually does balance the tires and look at the suspension, plus drive it and work with the Toyota reps made a huge difference in my case. After reading this forum, I thought that Toyota would just shine me on. Hopefully, this good experience was not just luck - they got it done this time.

    Sadly, I was unable to convince anybody there to make the 2010 model more appealing to me - I'm probably going to keep my 2008.

    I hope that this helps somebody who has issues with a newer 4Runner, or is as frustrated as I was.

    See ya on the trails.
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