2003 Toyota 4-Runner with 4.0L

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Apr 6, 2004
Midland, MI
Looking for opinions/known issues with the Toyota 4.0L engines. I am considering buying a used one from a friend who has had no issues with it, but I am curious as to opinions from any whom have owned/worked on the 4.0L. Thanks.
I don't own one, but have first-hand knowledge from my sister. Her 2001 Tacoma (3.4) has about 130K on it now. She's put a timing belt and water pump on it to date. It runs like it's brand new. Mobil 1 and Toyota filters every 5K has been the sum of her maintenance regimen. I'd recommend a pre-2005 Toyota to anyone.
Originally Posted By: lobo11
Looking for opinions/known issues with the Toyota 4.0L engines. I am considering buying a used one from a friend who has had no issues with it, but I am curious as to opinions from any whom have owned/worked on the 4.0L. Thanks.

I beleave those have a timing chain. Havent heard too many complants. I love my 3.4L.
I have owned 2 of them in two different vehicles. (A 4 runner and a Tacoma) I find it to be a reliable easy to maintain motor with a very nice powerband. I don't think you can go wrong with the 1gr-FE. I believe all models had an oil to coolant heat exchanger when they first came out so the one you are considering should be so equiped. The best part..the oil filter is easy as snap to change.
We have owned an SE since new, and it now has 134,+++ miles on it. We bot it to replace a Chevy Trailblzer with50k miles on it.

It has been an excellent vehicle. Aside from brakes and regular maintenance, just a couple minor repairs (gas door spring broke ~$100), VSC had to be reset ($45).

I changed the iridium plugs last fall in it myself, the 2nd set came out looking perfectly serviceable, and all were consistent in appeareance with clean, even fuel burning. No signs of oil at all. Like a new engine.

We run it on 87 octane, and nary a ping. A willing engine with plenty of torque and power. I think the tip-in on the accelerator is a bit much though.

I had the dealer change out the original tranny fluid at 100k miles per the manual (we don't tow). Still shifting along without issue. Had all the other fluids changed along the way as well.

BTW, this tranny has a real dipstick, so if you're into drains and refills, this is your machine. Later years eliminated the stick.

Our dino-only oil changes are every 5,000 (mostly highway) miles. Oil always drains partially clear. Filter at top of engine is a breeze. The foremost grease fitting is underneath an easily removeable plate, and should not be ignored at lube time. Six zerks, so don't skip any.

We get 22-23 USmpg summmer, just a tad less winter.

Frankly we've been quite pleased every mile. Built like a tank, we'd buy it all over again, it's been that good.
Yeah, timing chain the first thing I looked at and asked about as I know the belt replacement can be costly. Thanks for all the responses. The guy is a stickler about his vehicles, very detailed maintenence records, Mobil-1 oil and Toyota filters after 5K miles.
I had a 2005 Tacoma w/ the 4.0L and while the engine was "peppy" for a V6 it rattled like a bag full of soda cans under any kind of load from day one. Same engine as the 03 in that 4-Runner? Probably same basic engine but not sure if any changes were made.

The constant rattle/banging was definitely valve train noise caused by poor/inadequate oil flow. Noise could be reduced by a high flow oil filter and synthetic oil but even then it was still there. Did not inspire me with confidence for a long lived engine. Common issue at least in the 05-06 Tacoma's with the 4.0L.

Fuel efficiency was so so. No better overall than the 2005 Silverado with 5.3L V8 I replaced it with.
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My 2007 4.0L Tacoma rattles. The only thing that will quiet it down was stated above. Use a high flow filter and a thin synthetic. Give a day or two but she will quiet down for sure.
We've got an 07 with the 4.0 L, and we really like it. OUrs is the 5-speed auto, which is a sealed unit running WS fluid. I'm not sure going to the 5-speed was a good move or not ( your's is the 4-speed i beleive), but i do like the rpm's at 70 on the freeway at around 2100 r's. The 4-speed may be the better combo for this motor, for it likes to downshift too much for my liking.
We've got 22k miles on it, and not one single issue, not even a rattle. The engine is a little noisy which i think is the VVT-I adjusting for different driving styles. It is not noisy all the time, just certain times and usually when putting around town. After switching to Amsoil ASL, it really quieted it down though and i have yet to use up my OEM filters so i haven't used a full flow yet.

I would recomend the 4runner to anybody, even the 2003 with the few issues on a first model year truck. They had a few exhaust manifold, rear window & latch problems, but other than that a solid ride.

All in all we're pleased with ours, & matter of fact, we may end up keeping this one if toyota don't put the 4.6 v-8 in the new ones next year.
Originally Posted By: wirelessF
They should kill the V8 and have them put back the 4 cyl like what toyota has been doing for the past 4runner models.

I agree. It would be nice to have a 4cyl option in this truck. I saw a 4cyl Venza at the dealer a few weeks ago but the MPG numbers on the window were not impressive (could have been AWD). My T4R 4.0L V6 is getting 20-24 which is not bad for a 4wd.

Actually a 4cyl with a 5 or 6 speed manual trans would be great.
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So AZ has the 5 QTS and a Mobil-1 Filter for $29.99. The guy I bought it from ran only Mobil-1 and Toyota filters after the first 5K miles. My question is, anyone try M-1 Filters, and do you think they are too restrictive, or should they be fine? This is a good deal if the filter is ok. In addition you can get the M-1 EP oil for like $5 more, not sure if it is worth it over the origonal or not. Thanks.
Had it for about 4 months now. So far I like it pretty well and my wife loves it and she is the one driving it everyday. You guys are right though, quite a bit of valve train noise on initial loading (i.e. pulling camper up hill) but once it down shifts and increases the rpms a bit it quiets right down even under load. At idle still a noticible tick, reminds me of the tick I always had with my 3.1L GM engines, but a little more clicky. I just did an oil change at 5K miles Mobil-1 truck & suv and Mobil-1 oil filter from AZ deal earlier this summer, noise did not change, I may try to find an oversized filter though as the M1 filter was shorter than the Toyota filter I replaced. All and all pretty solid little unit with just a couple of annoying blemishes.
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