A head gasket is a huge deal, especially on an overhead cam engine. Who are you trying to kid? This is just another predictable Toyota apologetic, that we see whenever somebody reports on one of Toyota's numerous problems.
It is a very well known fact that Toyota's are highly prone to head gasket failures and many other very serious issues (e.g., engine sludge, frames snapping, etc). But, these types of issues are not common on other brands. I have never had a head gasket failure or any other serious issues with any of my vehicles (all domestic), which in many cases had mileages far in excess of 150,000.
My brother's 1989 Ford Ranger currently has 420,000+ miles on the original engine and transmission, and it has never had a head gasket failure or any serious problems.
You want to make excuses for Toyota? Why don't you explain all of these complaints at Consumer Affairs against Toyota about low mileage engine failures and other extremely serious problems:
Toyota "quality" is a myth, more so today than ever. It is arguable that they may have made some decent cars in the 1980's when were able to get by on using old tried and true old school technology that they copied from everyone else. But, once new stringent OBDII regulations came about in 1996, Toyota was forced to develop sophisticated new technology on their own and the result was a pure disaster. Today's Toyota's are some of the worst vehicles on the road, and people are starting to realize it. I would sooner buy a Kia or Hyundai than a Toyota.
If Toyotas after the 1980s are worse than domestic cars, an implication which is simply preposterous, (especially based primarily on the anecdotal evidence of the "lone" Ranger) how come they are second behind Honda in average longevity-according to Car Doc in Triple A mag? Does your database extend beyond the limited reach of the American Automobile Association? What part of "we're pretty darn patriotic yet we gotta level with you and our sources are impeccable" would you wish to argue?
I just got a '93 Toyota 4Runner as my first vehicle. All it needs is brakes and a brake line, because the original owner didn't take care of it properly. Also they didn't take care of it totally. But that's OK, I'll just some money into and etc.. and make it my own and take care of my new vehicle. :) Not a big deal.
I realize that most of the posts on this page refer to blown head gaskets in 95 4Runners. Obviously there are problems. I am from Canada. Most 4runners here are Japanese built. Most American 4runners are American built. No insults intended to my American friends, but it makes me wonder about domestic auto companies and their motivation to sell their own product. Conspiracy?? Who knows.
I own a 93 4runner 512000kms (320000 miles) on it. The only thing that has let me down was the fuel pump wearing out. I (out of my own love for my vehicle) have changed the timing belt once. I tune it myself, do my own brakes, muffler etc. The body is falling off but I have driven the crap out of it for 10 years (again out of love for my truck!!) It is Japanese built and I plan on getting another 200000 miles out of it (and I will). North American built...Hmmm!
Head gaskets are not a big deal to have fixed... I'm only 17 and I could fix that problem in a weekend without difficulty... you have to expect old cars like that to have a major repair every now and then.
All 4Runners are made in Japan, for any market, and have been from 1984 to today.
The graphite head gaskets were a problem on these when new, but Toyota cannot warranty these engines forever. Even after 20 years and 200,000 miles, they will still replace the head gaskets ONCE... if they are the defective original head gaskets. But after that, you are on your own. This is more than any American manufacturer will do if they install defective parts, and I think it is more than fair.
A lot of people believe Toyotas are not machines... they are invincible super-vehicles that never ever have any issues regardless of age, mileage, or how they are maintained. So people sometimes think that they are being really clever for buying a car that "will never break down, because it's a TOYOTA".
Well, Toyotas are machines. And they do break down. Some people get really angry when it happens, and review vehicles unfairly.
Where I live, there are LOTS of these 4Runners still on the road. They can't be that bad.