1999 Toyota 4Runner SR5 3.4 from North America

Summary:

A very impressive vehicle, that will last a long time if cared for properly, and easy to maintain

Faults:

Mostly general maintenance issues from the previous owner.

I have replaced the following:

Fuel filter, 3 fuel injectors, rear axle seals, all brakes, valve cover gaskets were leaking, radiator, all lubricants, lower ball joints, tie rod ends, spark plugs (needs dual ground NGK plugs only), plug wires, PCV valve. I'm sure I've missed a few.

That said, this truck runs like it is new, even with 160,000 miles. Many of these go well over 300,000 miles. Here are some special notes that I wish I had known about before buying this truck.

* Please be aware of the strawberry milkshake. It is a big problem, but completely preventable. Please note that the radiator is directly secured to the truck body, and not isolated with rubber like a typical car would be. The truck's stiff suspension will shake the radiator hard during its lifetime. The transmission fluid cooler, which is integrated into the radiator to maintain proper transmission temps, can break inside the radiator and mix with the coolant. The transmission will be ruined if this happens. Spend $120 and replace the radiator every 100k miles. You don't have to do it, but if it fails, it will cost you thousands $$.

* Also, these trucks have a known lower ball joint failure issue, which will also be catastrophic if it fails. The design on these has the stud pointing down with constant separating force applied to it. Newer T4r have fixed it by orienting the stud upward. Again, replace the lower ball joint every 100k miles. It won't give you warning before failure, and is difficult to test for slop.

* The rear axle seals were redesigned in 2003, and are difficult to get to seal properly. Make sure you check the rear brakes for signs of gear oil leakage. If you can't do this yourself, only let a Toyota dealer do the repair and get a warranty on their work. It sounds worse than it is, but otherwise these are great trucks. I speak from experience with my new to me '99 4runner with 160,000 miles on it.

* You can upgrade the front brakes to the 199mm Tundra calipers and rotors if you have 16" wheels. The bigger brakes will get rid of the shake when applying the brakes. These are the biggest weakness of this truck in my opinion.

General Comments:

I really like it. I bought this for my daughters after their Honda Civic was destroyed in a minor collision. MPG is around 17 city. A small price to pay for safety IMO.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 16th June, 2012

1999 Toyota 4Runner SR5 4x4 2.7L 4 cylinder from North America

Summary:

This ONE is a POS

Faults:

Contrary to public belief, they are not bulletproof.

Battery died at the dealership. Dealer replaced the battery with a cheap one. Battery came loose and shorted the engine the same day.

Dealer replaced rack and pinion and hoses after steering fluid peed off the lot.

Dealer replaced oil pan. Insisted problems solved, and encouraged me to enjoy the truck. I trusted them, and was I WRONG to trust them.

Discovered parking brake was seized and never worked.

Replaced front rotors, which were warped.

Replaced calipers and pads.

Bushings were replaced.

Stabilizer bar was missing, replaced.

Transmission mounting bolts were missing, replaced.

Rebuilt rear brakes.

Repaired parking brake.

Replaced many fuses.

Replaced ECU.

Front right speaker blew.

Misfire repaired.

Starter had problems.

AC compressor died in smoke / repaired.

Harmonic balancer turned out to be cracked.

Front main seal sprung leak in Arizona.

Discovered crankshaft issues.

Leaky rear main seal replaced in engine work.

Right rear axle seal leaky, repaired.

Rear wiper arm replaced.

Dome lights replaced.

Seat guard replaced.

Crankshaft was cracked. Engine removed, and crankshaft replaced. Total bottom end rebuild done in Arizona when it died on me..

New rod bearings and all.

On the way home:

Front right tire went flat.

Had alignment redone.

Inconsistent fuel mileage.

Started having idle problems.

Arrived home:

Oil light came on, and oil pressure low even when full. Stopped driving it immediately. Turns out the engine needs to be rebuilt again, for an entirely different reason only a week later.

Dealer was asked to have it inspected - they lied and told me it was in good shape.

Paid 7200$ for it. Spent about that much on repairs.

Has had at least 3 oil changes in that time; transmission flush, AC coolant recharge. Full tune up. New plugs, wires. Radiator repaired.

Turns out there's a rust hole in the passenger sill, that had been taped over and painted.

Windshield has stone chips from highway driving.

Driver's side headlight is rusted in place, and is pointing too low.

At first look, rust seemed normal.. after having it some time, it turns out the thing had deep rust eating away at it, thanks to a previous owner who never washed the salt out.

Currently needs:

Engine rebuild.

New windshield.

New passenger side rear view mirror.

New tires.

Rust attended to.

Hole in sill replaced.

Rust under bumper stickers dealt with.

All that, and I paid too much for it to begin with.

General Comments:

I bought this vehicle because I had wanted one for years. I had great experience with my Acura, but it was getting too small for me, so I decided to buy a "bulletproof" Toyota 4runner.

Having read nearly every review on this site re: 4runners, and having spoken to dozens of people about the reliability of this vehicle, I sought out one for myself. After months of looking, I found one that looked good, but it has turned out to be an absolute nightmare. The previous owner (s) must have treated it terribly and never maintained it.

I've had it for about 5 months I suppose, and it's spent about 4/5ths of that time being repaired.

After spending 2 grand in repairs, I took it on a road trip to Arizona, during which it died on me, forcing me to fly home. Since I've bought it, here's what I've had to live through, and it's still not sellable.

Never trust the dealer. Never trust the dealer's mechanic. Never trust the reputation of a vehicle outright.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 20th October, 2011

22nd Oct 2011, 18:13

I agree with all of this, I tend to avoid used cars at dealers, because they're rarely inspected before the sale.