Tell me about the Toyota/Lexus 3.3

ls1mike

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Like it says. This would be my first non-GM vehicle since the Jetta 20 years ago.

Looking at one for my son that he will pass on to my daughter when she starts driving in about 3 years.

Seems like they get reasonable gas mileage. I just want to know of anything I should really look for.
I believe they have a timing belt? How do the electronics fair on these? Rest of the stuff I am not too worried about.

I am looking at couple different Lexus with 82,000 to 120,000 miles on them. Main reason is the truck sucks down 12 to 14 mpg. If he can get 20 to 28 with this car he will be happy. He paid for the truck and all the maintenance. I am buying this one.
He work about 20 hours week so I want to help him out a bit.

I am actually open to some Acura and Honda stuff. Fire away.
 
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We have the Toyota 3.3 in our 2007 Highlander AWD. It has been a great engine, it runs like a top. We both drive very conservatively and go the speed limit. In our Highlander, hand calculated at each fill up, we generally get about 19 to 20 MPG's going to work and back and usually 22 to 23 MPG's on the highway. I changed the timing belt along with the water pump, tensioner pulley, belts and hoses, spark plugs etc, it is pretty easy to work on. There is a coolant hose under the intake that is in kind of a goofy spot, it's not too bad to change out, it just makes you scratch your head as to why. When doing the spark plugs, the FSM states to remove the wipers and linkage if I remember correctly, but I'm not sure why, because they are not in the way. I'm not sure what model you're looking at, but our 5 speed auto still has a dipstick, and tranny fluid/filter changes are very straightforward. The engine calls for 5W30 and I have always used conventional 5W30 or 10W30 and a Wix 51348/ Motorcraft FL-910S/ Purolator PL10241/ Hastings (I cannot recall the number) and it is perfectly happy. Motorcraft FL-910S seems to be the quietest on startup. Great engine in my opinion. By the way, Toyota recommends 9 years or 90,000 miles on the timing belt. Hope this helps.
 

ls1mike

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We have the Toyota 3.3 in our 2007 Highlander AWD. It has been a great engine, it runs like a top. We both drive very conservatively and go the speed limit. In our Highlander, hand calculated at each fill up, we generally get about 19 to 20 MPG's going to work and back and usually 22 to 23 MPG's on the highway. I changed the timing belt along with the water pump, tensioner pulley, belts and hoses, spark plugs etc, it is pretty easy to work on. There is a coolant hose under the intake that is in kind of a goofy spot, it's not too bad to change out, it just makes you scratch your head as to why. When doing the spark plugs, the FSM states to remove the wipers and linkage if I remember correctly, but I'm not sure why, because they are not in the way. I'm not sure what model you're looking at, but our 5 speed auto still has a dipstick, and tranny fluid/filter changes are very straightforward. The engine calls for 5W30 and I have always used conventional 5W30 or 10W30 and a Wix 51348/ Motorcraft FL-910S/ Purolator PL10241/ Hastings (I cannot recall the number) and it is perfectly happy. Motorcraft FL-910S seems to be the quietest on startup. Great engine in my opinion. By the way, Toyota recommends 9 years or 90,000 miles on the timing belt. Hope this helps.
Helps a lot. That is all good information. I can tell the ones I have look would suggest to me at least, that Lexus folk do all their mantinence and log it.
 
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Like it says. This would be my first non-GM vehicle since the Jetta 20 years ago.

Looking at one for my son that he will pass on to my daughter when she starts driving in about 3 years.

Seems like they get reasonable gas mileage. I just want to know of anything I should really look for.
I believe they have a timing belt? How do the electronics fair on these? Rest of the stuff I am not too worried about.

I am looking at couple different Lexus with 82,000 to 120,000 miles on them. Main reason is the truck sucks down 12 to 14 mpg. If he can get 20 to 28 with this car he will be happy. He paid for the truck and all the maintenance. I am buying this one.
He work about 20 hours week so I want to help him out a bit.

I am actually open to some Acura and Honda stuff. Fire away.
I own the more recent 3.5, and had the truck 4.7 which followed the aluminum Lexus motor; I’ve only been around the 3.3 but they all share similar dna. They use more metal and less plastic. Usually very robust motors and components. Seals seem to start degrading around 250,000. The only electronics issues I’ve had are Lexus door lock motors, sunroof motor, hvac interior sensor blower motor.

the one I have now came to me with a sound that sounded like piston slap. After 2 oil changes with seafoam and an ongoing diet of MMO in the fuel, it seems to have silenced. this one was not maintained well before I bought it. They might be hard in oil?

honda motors seem to have a little more torque for their size, perhaps longer stroked.
 
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While Toyota makes awesome cars that last a long time, the 3.3L 3MZ is difficult to work on, has a timing belt, and is an interference engine. You can probably get the gas mileage you're targeting, though.

Electrical problems are very rare on Toyota, though possibly you might need to replace the ignition coil connectors eventually.

I recommend a 4-cylinder over a V6. If you like Honda/Acura and want some luxury, consider the TSX. Unfortunately, Lexus didn't offer any 4-cylinder models until much later, so they cost more. You might also like a fully-loaded Accord or Camry, that offered all the luxury options with the 4-cylinder engine :)
 

ls1mike

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I own the more recent 3.5, and had the truck 4.7 which followed the aluminum Lexus motor; I’ve only been around the 3.3 but they all share similar dna. They use more metal and less plastic. Usually very robust motors and components. Seals seem to start degrading around 250,000. The only electronics issues I’ve had are Lexus door lock motors, sunroof motor, hvac interior sensor blower motor.

the one I have now came to me with a sound that sounded like piston slap. After 2 oil changes with seafoam and an ongoing diet of MMO in the fuel, it seems to have silenced. this one was not maintained well before I bought it. They might be hard in oil?

honda motors seem to have a little more torque for their size, perhaps longer stroked.
Thanks meep. Typical electric stuff for most cars after that amount of time. Should be easy stuff. I just want something I can get the two kids through school with. I find most cars around the mileage/year I am looking at are close in price. So I figured I would try something different.
 
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Lexus RX with the 3MZ had 175K on it when it was totaled...no issues whatsoever other than I noticed a couple of the seals were starting to seep. One of the easiest oil changes to do too...sweet gutter-type diverter under the filter to eliminate any mess. I've also owned the 3.5L successor and IMO preferred the 3.3L.
 
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My parents have a Sienna with the 3MZ. Except for a pesky coolant leak(it’s a “wet” design with a valley plate as a major coolant passage) that involved pulling the intake plenum and manifold, it’s been a good engine. It’s seen regular oil changes and on its second timing belt/water pump.
 
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Lexus RX with the 3MZ had 175K on it when it was totaled...no issues whatsoever other than I noticed a couple of the seals were starting to seep. One of the easiest oil changes to do too...sweet gutter-type diverter under the filter to eliminate any mess. I've also owned the 3.5L successor and IMO preferred the 3.3L.
☝ Spot on
 
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Excellent engine. Water inlet plates sometimes leak, but that's about it. Valve covers leak when they get older, but that is normal maintenance. Timing Belts need to be done every 90K though; unlike the 3.0, the 3.3 is an interference engine.

They will probably outlast most V6 engines on the road today.
 
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Efficient, quiet and very durable. Only complaints I have is working on the rear bank near the firewall ie. spark plugs, valve cover gasket... its very tight back there. Lastly, there is not much low end power. I had to ring it out often like a tiny four cylinder engine.
 
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Toyota 3.3L engine is good. As said above, it still have the timing belt but it seems that a lot of mechanic knows how to change it properly.
When changing TB, tell them to do the Spark Plugs also, from a time consideration that it is already in the garage.
The rear spark plugs are not easy to get to.

Other than that, it is a tank.

As for 4 cylinder, the 2AZ-FE 2.4L is hit or miss. but the 6 cylinder for that year seems to be very good.
Actually, most of the 6 cylinders Toyota are good engine.
 
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IMO, 100K is realistic for a Toyota timing belt. It’s almost child’s play to replace them.

Toyota did make some very good I4s - the A and S series, as well as the R and RZ engines. The recent ones save for the durable but hoarse 1NZ-FE are meh. I’m actually surprised with the A25A in a rental RAV4.
 
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I’m actually surprised with the A25A in a rental RAV4.
Surprised in how? I've been thinking the NVH is a bit high in ours. There is no mistaking when it starts.

My departed 2AR-FE was pretty good I thought, or at least inoffensive. 237k and all I did was a set of plugs, a set of serpentines and a bunch of oil changes. But the motor mounts were dying at the end so there's that.
 
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Surprised in how? I've been thinking the NVH is a bit high in ours. There is no mistaking when it starts.

My departed 2AR-FE was pretty good I thought, or at least inoffensive. 237k and all I did was a set of plugs, a set of serpentines and a bunch of oil changes. But the motor mounts were dying at the end so there's that.
It still makes it known it’s a I4 but it felt closer to a V6 from 10-20 years ago for output. Of course, this was a rental car and was beat on, the oil looked fresh and I saw an OE filter. It had 23K on it.
 
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