New to 4-runners (1 Viewer)

Joined
Dec 19, 2008
Messages
330
Location
Fort Collins, CO
 
 
My brother-in-law is buying an '88 4runner this coming weekend. It is an SR5 with all the options, V6 and automatic transmission and 190,xxx miles. The engine runs great (it is a Toyota after all) but the vehicle has a couple of seemingly minor things that need fixed that I'd like to get some input on.

1. Oil pan leak - There is a leak in the gasket but with the way the pan wraps over the front axle, is there anything special we should be aware of as far as getting the pan off to do the gasket?

2. Antenna - Factory power antenna has been broken off. If we can find a junkyard one, would it be worth replacing? Or would it be more practical to just get an aftermarket fixed antenna and replace it with that? I.E. - how easy do the factory antenna's/antenna motor break?

3. Rear window - According to the previous owner, the switch stopped working for the power rear window. He ran some wires directly connecting the battery to the window motor that he could use to raise and lower the window. We want to get the switch working again and wiring isn't exactly a foreign concept to either of us, but again, is there anything special we should be aware of on these vehicles?

4. Power leak - According to the previous owner, the truck does not hold a charge in the battery for more than a couple days, even with a brand-new battery. PO did not drive this truck much (once every few weeks or so) so it may just be that it needs to be run regularly but are there any common power draws on this gen of 4-runner that may be sapping out the battery? When we test drove it, it restarted just fine after sitting off for a few minutes so the battery doesn't appear to be totally shot and the alternator appears to be charging it just fine. We'll be swapping out the battery cables so maybe that will be enough to fix it, but any other thoughts would be greatly appreciated.

5. Transmission - When we test drove it, the owner hadn't run it in a couple weeks and the transmission seemed to shift pretty hard coming out of first and was a little sluggish to downshift when we mashed down on the throttle but got better as it warmed up. We intend to swap out the transmission fluid and see if that helps, but any other thoughts on this would be appreciated. I'm not real familiar with auto transmissions so some advice would be greatly appreciated.

6. Tires - Current tires are OK, but he wants to go a little more aggressive so we are looking at putting 30x9.5 BFG All-Terrains on it. Any problems with that tire size on the stock suspension?

7. ECT - What the heck is this? The button appears to work and the light on the dash changes when you push it, but nothing else seems to happen. What is it supposed to do and how would we go about figuring out if it's actually doing what it's supposed to?

8. Gas mileage - Just on a bit of a side note, what kind of gas mileage do these truck usually get? I saw somewhere a rating of 16 city and 19 highway with the manual trans. Is that about comprable for the auto trans?

Overall, the truck seems to be in great shape. Only minor surface body rust. All of the chassis parts look in great shape, including the suspension bushings. CV axles look to be in good shape and no cracks or leaks in the boots. Engine is strong and doesn't appear to burn oil or have any other issues. PO kept up all basic maintenance and other than what's listed above, I think this truck will be great for him as this is his first vehicle.

I'm looking forward to working on another Toyota truck so I'm glad he has decided to buy a 4runner!

I appologize if some of this has been covered in older threads. I'm at work at the moment and haven't had a chance to do much searching but I wanted to get these queations out there for right now. Thanks in advance for answers to the questions above. Links to other threads addressing the above would be great too!
 
Joined
Feb 11, 2008
Messages
1,524
Location
Rochester, WA
 
1. To remove the pan on my 22RE I had to drop the front diff on the ground, I assume the 3VZ is the same, if you want it to stop leaking use the Toyota brand Black FIPG (form in place gasket) and not a cork or rubber aftermarket gasket.

2. Depends on what you want, when mine breaks I'm replacing with a fixed. If you can find one in a junkyard that would probably be the most cost effective.

3. Need to find a wiring diagram and testing procedure for it.

4. Google "parasitic draw testing" but if I had to guess, your problem is probably related to #3.

5. Replace tranny oil and filter in pan and hope for the best.

6. IDK about the 4Runners, my pickup of the same vintage didn't have any issue with 31 x 10.5's. I'm not positive that they will fit though. (disclaimer ;))

7. ECT Electronic Control Transmission or something like that...... It shifts the transmission up and down at a higher vehicle speed when in the pwr mode.

8. Search and find some threads on this one, I have no first hand experience.

:cheers:
 
Joined
Feb 21, 2009
Messages
8
2. If the 1st gen 4Runners are like the 2nd gens, you should be able to access the antennae by removing the fender liner.

5. Does the O/D light on the dash blink at all? If so, it could be an issue with the shift solenoid(s). My number 1 is on its way out. I did change the fluid right after I purchased the 4Runner, and that did help a bit. 213k on the original tranny.

6. You shouldn't have any issues running 30s. 31s should fit without any issues.

8. I can get 20-21mpg with my 2nd gen, but it's 2wd. 19 doesn't sound impossible with a 4wd 1st gen, but I'm guessing more along the lines of maybe 18. Just a guess though, since I have no first hand experiance driving a V6 1st gen.

Also, I dunno when ADD hubs came out, but if you have them, I would suggest getting rid of the ADD and buying some manual hubs.
 
Joined
Jan 15, 2007
Messages
7
 
the 3.0's are famous for bad head gaskets, take the VIN to the dealer and see if the recall work was done.
4Runners also have a tendency to have saggy rear springs especially with gear and a couple of people in the back seat.
I had the ADD hubs on my '86 4Runner (bought it new) I replaced them with manual hubs at 13,000 miles.
 

2ndGenToyotaFan

Just spend all the money.....
Moderator
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Jan 8, 2006
Messages
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Location
Fallon, NV
 
 
88 was before the changes came that made the 3.0 a headgasket eater....

Gas mileage... 16-18 I'd guess.

Antenna probably not a good idea to get a used power unit, they break fairly often, but you don't need a whole new unit, just the mast and the plastic pushrod type thing that breaks inside. 30 minutes to change, but if you change it as preventative maintenance, then about 3 minutes...

Oil leak, yup, drop the diff, but once you get the hang of it it goes quick... Have a hand getting it back up in though!
 

KLF

Frame waxer
SILVER Star
Joined
Apr 5, 2003
Messages
8,914
Location
Southern NH
 
 
 
#2: Yup, you can buy just the mast for the power antenna and replace that. But, I actually priced one today and it was around $55 for just the mast. Not sure you want to spend that much, if not then just get a fixed mast one.

#6: You can easily fit 31x10.50's on there.
 
Joined
Dec 19, 2008
Messages
330
Location
Fort Collins, CO
 
 
5. Does the O/D light on the dash blink at all? If so, it could be an issue with the shift solenoid(s). My number 1 is on its way out. I did change the fluid right after I purchased the 4Runner, and that did help a bit. 213k on the original tranny.

Also, I dunno when ADD hubs came out, but if you have them, I would suggest getting rid of the ADD and buying some manual hubs.
The O/D light didn't come on at all. I think it was burned out. Even clicking the O/D button on the side of the shifter, it was obvious it was turning the O/D on and off, but no light.

Like I said, I'm really unfamiliar with working on autos. Are the shift solenoids inside the transmission? Or are those something that can be replaced without taking the trans to a shop (if it comes down to a rebuild or anything in the transmission short of the filter, it's going to a shop, I really am not comfortable doing that work on my own.)

88 was before the changes came that made the 3.0 a headgasket eater....

Gas mileage... 16-18 I'd guess.

Antenna probably not a good idea to get a used power unit, they break fairly often, but you don't need a whole new unit, just the mast and the plastic pushrod type thing that breaks inside. 30 minutes to change, but if you change it as preventative maintenance, then about 3 minutes...

Oil leak, yup, drop the diff, but once you get the hang of it it goes quick... Have a hand getting it back up in though!
That a relief on the headgasket!

I'm thinking we're just going to replace it with a fixed unit or put a "hidden" type antenna along the top of the windshield.

I was afraid of the diff having to come down. No big deal to me but it'll be a fun way to break my brother-in-law in to working on his own vehicle ;)

#6: You can easily fit 31x10.50's on there.
Maybe I'll just have him do that... He is looking at putting the 2" OME Heavy lift on pretty soon, so 31's would be better than having to buy a bigger set of tires right away when he lifts it.
 
Joined
Feb 21, 2009
Messages
8
The O/D light didn't come on at all. I think it was burned out. Even clicking the O/D button on the side of the shifter, it was obvious it was turning the O/D on and off, but no light.

Like I said, I'm really unfamiliar with working on autos. Are the shift solenoids inside the transmission? Or are those something that can be replaced without taking the trans to a shop (if it comes down to a rebuild or anything in the transmission short of the filter, it's going to a shop, I really am not comfortable doing that work on my own.)


The shift solenoids are just above the tranny pan. You just need to drain the fluid, drop the pan and filter, and they should be sitting right there. There are two solenoids that control the 1-4 shifts. These two solenoids run in an on/off position, so you have 4 different combinations comprising of on/off, off/off, on/on, off/on. These combinations determine which gear you will be in. There should be one other solenoid for the torque converter lockup, and I think there is one other one. Should be a total of 4, IIRC.

These solenoids are very expensive to replace, so I wouldn't replaced them unless you know what your issue is. There could be any number of things wrong with your tranny. I'm getting a code and showing the syptoms of a #1 shift solenoid being bad on mine, but I have no clue if that is really what's wrong with yours.

I would try to get that light working. You can find both engine and tranny malfunction codes using a paperclip on your diagnostics port under the hood. If your O/D light works, you can use it to run a self diagnostics on your trannny too. :D

Hope that helps. :hillbilly:
 
Joined
Dec 19, 2008
Messages
330
Location
Fort Collins, CO
 
 
The shift solenoids are just above the tranny pan. You just need to drain the fluid, drop the pan and filter, and they should be sitting right there. There are two solenoids that control the 1-4 shifts. These two solenoids run in an on/off position, so you have 4 different combinations comprising of on/off, off/off, on/on, off/on. These combinations determine which gear you will be in. There should be one other solenoid for the torque converter lockup, and I think there is one other one. Should be a total of 4, IIRC.

These solenoids are very expensive to replace, so I wouldn't replaced them unless you know what your issue is. There could be any number of things wrong with your tranny. I'm getting a code and showing the syptoms of a #1 shift solenoid being bad on mine, but I have no clue if that is really what's wrong with yours.

I would try to get that light working. You can find both engine and tranny malfunction codes using a paperclip on your diagnostics port under the hood. If your O/D light works, you can use it to run a self diagnostics on your trannny too. :D

Hope that helps. :hillbilly:
That does help, a lot. I'm just writing up a checklist for us to go over once he is actually in posession of this truck. We're planning to drop the transmission pan to replace the filter anyway so as long as we're doing that, we'll be able to pull each solenoid and check them.

Does anyone happen to know a good way to check the solenoids using a multimeter? As in, is there a specific way we can check to see if each solenoid is good by just checking the conductivity through each solenoid's connection? Or does it need to be hooked up to 12v power to really see if it's ok?

He fell in love with this truck the second he drove it and it's relatively cheap so if he has to throw a bit of cash at it to get it in good shape, that's not the end of the world. Certainly replacing solenoids will be cheaper than a full transmission rebuild if that's the problem.
 

morganism

SunkCostFallacy
Joined
Jan 17, 2009
Messages
800
Location
Verde Valley, AZ
 
 
ignore the oil leak till you have to do CV boots.

2 Antenna mast replace is only 20 bucks, easy to get to. you will have to take a few bolts off to get the 6 in peice that is still stuck in there tho. do it.

3 rear window switch goes bad on a lot of these. replace.

4 try this 2nd gen mystery electrical problem solved + write-up - YotaTech Forums

5 tranny is like that, go ahead and filter it, but can cause as many probs as it helps.

6 31.10.5 will almost always fit, and you get better sidewall protection than the metrics.

7 ECT keeps the power up when going uphill, usefull for passing at 55 too. a down gearing switch. causes the tranny to shift hard later in its life if used to help in passing :)

8 you will be doing good if you get 16+ in city, usually 20 if at 75 on freeway trips.
only thing that helps is to use NGK plugs only, and i like the MSD 7mm wires. made a diff, but don't fit in the guides.

9 buy a remote fuel filter and oil filter kit. trust me.
 
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Joined
Aug 31, 2008
Messages
1,855
Tell your B-I-L congrats on buying a possibly great vehicle, and begin to "peel the onion" and go over things with a fine tooth comb to be sure all is worthy.

Jeord's (2ndGenToyotaFan) truck is an '89 so he or Wristy are probably a better reference than I, so don't be shy about searching, pm'ing, posting, or asking stuff about things.
That is why this forum and others exist, right? :D


Rear Window..
**There's a writeup, do a search, usually it is the relay's gone bad, and a new one is needed. There are also writeups on how to modify/bypass things better so that there is less chance of blowing a relay, usually when the window's not been used and makes the unit draw more power, combined with a realy that's over 10 years old, this can happen, or a fuse might be simply blown..

That might just be your power drain culprit, especially off of the battery. The rear window is also operated in "always-on" by the tailgate lock, and is a better form of a bypass, even a source of a rear cargo switch if you want to camp in the truck.

This is a 2nd gen truck, but is good for a reference read..

2Gen 4Runner Rear Window Internal Switch

Power Drain..

Turn the ignition on, but don't start the truck...measure the voltage with a digital meter.

Turn the truck off.

Select a circuit and related fuse to pull, pull that fuse, and repeat the above procedure to start tracking down the power drain.

ECT..and O/D Use/Mods/Etc Read up on it's use and be aware that it consumes more fuel, and has specific instances when it should not be used, like fully loaded or trailering and climbing high passes, etc.

The Toyota PDF on it: http://www.autoshop101.com/forms/h16.pdf

You can undergear and correct for better power, for example, my '95 with a 3.0 and 2wd Auto was geared for 28" tires with a 3.90 fuel saving ratio. I now have 31's, and regeared to 4.56 (which would normally be for 32/33's w/ the Auto). If running 33's go with 4.88's, then, as needed run a speedometer correction unit, like I had to...IIRC it's 1: .9137 .

I dropped to 14/16mpg around town, and 17 hwy doing this, but I need the ECT less and it drives better. I had the same mileage as Daniel (Dhc6twinotter) before my mods, but I like "Da Powah!!" better. :)

Also, plan on installing an aftermarket transmission cooler, in addition to the small factory cooler on the frame rails to keep things working happily. I used an aftermarket B&M that duplicates the design of the TRD one, but a little bigger with some minor trim work.

*My writeup's are elsewhere but I'll provide these so you can get an idea until I can transfer them in here if anyone wants..

ECT/Gearing/Cooling Mods..some light info only:

RELOCATING YOUR ECT SWITCH

ADDING A TRANSMISSION COOLER

**(Let me know (PM'S I ALWAYS SEE, THREADS, NOT ALWAYS, SO IF YOU NEED INFO, PLAN TO PM ME FIRST. Also, if you want a current pic of how I laid everything out, as I moved things a little around for better cooling do the same, PM first.)
 
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