15th Feb 2007, 13:48

I would echo the previous comment. I have a 1991 petrol Previa with 274,000 miles on the clock. Engine 'flutters' a bit on idle now, but otherwise have never had a problem with it.

18th Sep 2007, 01:26

Be advised that whilst outwardly the Estima and the Previa look the same as far as engines go they are not. The Estima has a 2.2TD Diesel engine which by all accounts is notorious for suffering from cracked cylinder heads.

The Previa as it is known in the UK and USA only ever came as a 2.4 petrol engine which whilst seemingly far more reliable is also known to suffer from blown head gaskets.

19th Jul 2008, 10:30

I have been told that the UK Previa is wider than the Estima imports, someone I know bought a secondhand rear door, to find it would not fit, I can't verify this though.

27th Oct 2008, 07:20


I have an oil change caution light (amber) come on, I do not have a manual, what does this mean? I have also spotted a couple of small oil leaks underneath the car.


12th Dec 2008, 11:09

Regarding the amber warning light, it comes on when your engine's oil level is low. Check this.

As for the leaks, get the sump gasket checked for a broken joint.

22nd Feb 2009, 20:12

Hi, I want to buy a 2.2td Toyota Estima Lucida, but it is a head problem just waiting to happen.

I've been reading on the net that the original head has a design flaw, it gets hot spots which lead to a cracked head. A replacement head from Toyota apparently doesn't have the same problem, which I don't believe.

I also read about poor coolant circulation through the radiator, due to the wrong coolant used, which leads to internal corrosion, and bad coolant temperature sensor position are to blame!

Has any one heard of any successful mods which would help with the cylinder head problem, like for example, reducing the size of the pulley on the water pump, which would increase the volume of water per revolution, put in a bigger radiator, reposition the coolant temp sensor, or use a electric thermal temp sensor for the head?

There has got to be a way to fix the problem. I'm in Canada and gonna import one. Do not want to spend more than I'm already gonna.

If any one has got info, let me know thanx.

28th Feb 2009, 17:00

I am now on my second Lucida. I bought this one with a blown head gasket. I had to replace head because it was cracked and warped, but I bought a second hand one for £200. It took me two days to do the work.

As long as you change oil on these vehicles every 6000 miles, and change flush and change coolant every year, they run fine.

Second hand engines are very cheap. Places will supply and fit them starting from £800. Engines are imported from Japan and have covered only 40000 miles.

2nd Apr 2009, 06:53

I just about bought one today. Still tossing it up, but after reading these reviews man, definitely a toughy.

It was a Lucida TD; looks great, but looks like a no no now.

21st Jun 2009, 10:49

I have had a Lucida for 4 years. The engine is not only different from the previa, it is also mounted under the front seats - so if not looked after, overheating can be a problem.

The bus is 17 years old now, so few drips of oil here and there, but nothing worth bothering about. The oil header tank still works, so she never runs low on oil. The oil change warning light comes on every 3000 kms, but I only change it every 6,000kms, I figure the regular drip in and out counts for one oil change! The light can be reset using a matchstick and the hole on the dashboard by the speedo.

8 seats, 30mpg, used to run it on 80 / 20 veg oil / diesel with no loss of performance, (including neat veg oil when I ran out of fuel one day!).

I don't drive it over 70, it is a bus not a sports car.

Loads of room for a family of 5 and luggage, or family + friends. Easy to put in a stereo.

Just do your homework when buying - run it at 50mph for 15 minutes, check the heater blows hot at the end (probably just an airlock if it is cold), and that the engine temp is at about 8 o'clock!

31st Dec 2010, 16:37

Any body help me, my Estima Lucida fuel gauge light is on permanently, even when the tank is full. The fuel gauge is still working fine, so I'm puzzled, any ideas anyone? Thanks.

2nd Jun 2011, 03:26

Yes I have the same problem. Why is this?

3rd Jan 2012, 03:10

Previas are, but Lucidas are not. Well known head problems with them and their baby sister, the Townace.

7th Apr 2012, 14:36

I have a J reg Estima, and when I turn the key, it sometimes clicks, but will not turn the engine over. Then when I have turned it off and start again, it fires up with no problem. She's done over 200 km and usually starts with no problems at all. Any ideas anyone?

22nd Jul 2012, 21:37

New Zealand.

1995 Diesel 3CT-E Previa Lucida Auto 2wd, 230,000kms

I purchased a dead van for $750 NZ ($500US), as it had water in the cylinders, and therefore suspected head/gasket failure.

I am mechanically minded, so took on the challenge.

Removed the head, and found it was badly cracked, and as it had been driven for sometime consuming water, the head had started to eat away around the valve seats. Obtained a Chinese made replacement head for $450. Reground the old valves and installed, transfered old camshaft to head, and set shim clearances.

As I was 'in the area', I decided to replace rings and hone.

Removed pistons, but on very close inspection, 3 were cracked near the Gudgeon pin (wrist pin).

Bores were not worn, so de-ridged it. I hand-honed (literally) bores using worn 400 grit wet-n-dry paper with Kerosene (use nitrile gloves) in a 45 degree twisting push and pull with my fist in the bores. Very important to do this clockwise and anti-clockwise till all the brown shine has gone from the bores. Then wash very well with kero, then soapy water and finish with WD40 or similar. Replace with new STD pistons and rings ($250).

Head gaskets for Previa/Estimas have very small water transfer holes. This is so the engine warms-up quicker, but perhaps causes the hotspot/cracking problem. 3C 'upright configuration' head gaskets have full-size holes, so I used the large hole ones on my new head. Reassembled the engine (this entire job was done with the engine block still in the vehicle). The repaired engine runs fantastically. A small amount of engine noise, but not unusual for a diesel.

Takes quite a while to warm-up on temperature gauge.

Loaned it to my brother for a few days, so he bought a dead one to fix up too...

1992 Previa Lucida 2.2D 3CT 4wd manual, 240,000Kms

Was barely running, clattering, blowing smoke, detonation on acceleration.

Found that the shaft in the center of the turbo was broken, so not boosting. Replaced turbo. Still ran bad. No 1 cylinder was not working, removed injectors and found the chamber blocked with soot. Cleaned, but still ran bad. Refurbished injectors, ran better. Was making smoke still. Went to check cam belt, and found recent work done, but was a tooth out. Decided to pull the head and inspect anyway. It was good, so did rings and hand-hone trick. Reassembled, and it runs great (is a bit noisy).

Developed a fault with most warning lights and buzzer jammed on hard. After COUNTLESS hours of trying stuff, the auto-electrician found a faulty electrical connector block in back of the dash-area. Repaired the connector, and all works well.

When you consider how very expensive these vans were when new, they are really good value, and are worth spending time and effort on. I don't know of anyone who didn't like driving their Previa.