2018 Tacoma TRD 3.5L #2 Cylinder Bad - Repair costs/options?

Feb 12, 2008
A buddy of mine has a 2018 Toyota Tacoma TRD Sport with the 3.5 L V6 (2GR-FKS?) engine… He has always had it routinely serviced at the dealership since he bought it (new) and he currently has around 150K miles on the ODO. Mostly freeway miles.

Recently, he got a CEL and when at the dealer, they diagnosed it as a loss of compression in the #2 cylinder (at around 70-75%). They scoped the engine and confirmed scratches/gouges on the cylinder wall. He was told he needs a new engine at the tune of some $10,000 give or take… Looking online, I found the 2GR engine has thin walls with liners cast into the aluminum engine block, so you can’t just bore/repair the block and it requires replacement if there is damage.

If he were to find a local shop (vs. dealer) what is a more realistic new engine cost? How about a shop that may use a refurbished/rebuilt engine, potentially? Anybody have an idea for this scope of work and the cost for it?

As far as what he notices, he claims at idle he would get a little shuddering like when the AC compressor is kicking on. But otherwise, nothing really noticed. No stalling or anything.

If he were to continue just driving his truck into the ground, what might he expect reliability wise? Might he get another 20-50K out of it before total engine failure? Will it just start to burn a lot of oil? What symptoms/issues might he come across if he is just trying to buy some time before he can work out another vehicle option if he goes that route?

He is in a financial pickle at the moment, so trading in/buying a new car is not ideal for him. Trying to help him out and find the best path forward.

Appreciate it!
He did everything at the dealer... Every oil change, suspension work, brakes, tires, etc...

It does sound like he was doing the 10K OCI's with full-syn he paid extra for, when talking last night. But I will verify.
This sounds silly to even mention but it's worth a shot. Some dealers have a lifetime powertrain warranty if serviced at that dealer when purchased new. Is his dealer one of them by chance? There are many down here in FL that advertise this as let's face it, many don't keep their vehicles past 3-5 years and certainly don't put ~40k miles per year like your buddy.
I realize that every situation is unique but before I threw $10,000 at ANY repair I'd pull things apart and see what happened and verify the dealership's diagnosis. There's no reason on God's green earth that a Toyota engine failed at 150,000 miles from following the vehicles recommended drain intervals. You'd wear a cam lobe off before you wore a cylinder bore if oil were the issue.

I'd be turning some wrenches on that thing to get to the bottom of it. If it actually needs an engine then get a good used one from a junk yard.
Needs to swap in a junk yard engine.

For now, tell him to use a 0w40 or 5w40 oil and keep driving. Let's see how long the engine lasts for the sake of science.

And if his interval was ~10k, needs to shorten interval to 5k on this engine and his new one. And, obviously, I won't recommend dealer service/oil/filters... the cause of his issue ;)

Needs to pull valve cover for inspection and not trust dealership. Sometimes valve springs break and is not uncommon with this family of V6's.

And, verify no coolant loss. If coolant in oil, rest of engine will be toast soon. So, spring for the UOA soon.
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Awesome feedback everyone. I am going to have him contact/call Toyota and see what help they might give. Can't hurt.

From there, will have him look into local/indepdent engine shops for diagnostic confirmation.
2018 I believe was the first year of direct injection for them, if I'm not mistaken, and I might be. Add THAT to 10,000 mile oil changes, lots of driving, and yeah, maybe scoring of the piston wall occurred. I think he's going to have a hard time finding a 2018 junkyard motor locally. I'd verify the concern, contact Toyota and try to get another 50,000 out of it by upping the viscosity to a 0W40 and keeping the oil full. Haven't heard of a lot of Toyota V6's failing this early, even the newer ones. Something doesn't sound right.
It would take a ton of scoring on one hole to drop compression 30%, enough so he should be burning some oil already.

Has anyone done a blead down test on the engine? It sounds more like a possible bad valve to me? Bad valves are way more common, especially if he was running long OCI. I would either do myself (not hard) or have someone perform a leak down test wet and dry, and see what they get.