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z31maniac
z31maniac UltimaDork
11/14/13 12:06 p.m.

From what I've gathered, all the 02-09 V8 are full-time AWD with selectable low-range. They have a 90k mile Timing Belt interval. The V8 cars have a beefier hitch and mounting points on the body.

What else do I need to know about them? Will I need to install an extra oil or transmission cooler or both to get the best longevity?

This would seem to be about the perfect vehicle for me, any long-term reliability issues? It seems it shouldn't be too hard to find one in the $15k range with less than 100k miles........but I plan to put another 150k on top of that, and tow 6-10 times a year.

Thoughts?

mtn
mtn UltimaDork
11/14/13 12:24 p.m.

Anecdotal findings from 3 different V6's below:

My mom's 07 V6 is NOT full time AWD. Don't know if it is different for an 8 cylinder.

Also, my girlfriends father is on his second. His first was an 03 V6, second an 09 V6. All of them (3 V6's) will occasionally clunk when you come from a stop. I have no idea why they do this, it seems to be fairly common, and apparently nothing to worry about. Don't know if the V8 is any different.

EDIT: The 03 had 155,000 miles when he sold it. If I had the money and the space, I would have bought it (at a family price), put about $1,000 in various maintenance issues that come from a car having 155,000 Chicago miles, and driven it for another 150,000 miles. Seriously good vehicles.

z31maniac
z31maniac UltimaDork
11/14/13 12:30 p.m.

From what I've read the clunk means the slip joints need to be lubricated.

And yes, on the V6 4wd is not full-time like on the V8s. The really funny thing is to see how many V8s are listed as 2wd.

mtn
mtn UltimaDork
11/14/13 12:30 p.m.

And Wikipedia has confirmed that the V8's do indeed have full time AWD. So nevermind on that front.

Javelin
Javelin MegaDork
11/14/13 12:52 p.m.

Durango?

2002maniac
2002maniac HalfDork
11/14/13 1:13 p.m.

Is full time AWD a good thing? Why?

z31maniac
z31maniac UltimaDork
11/14/13 1:14 p.m.
2002maniac wrote: Is full time AWD a good thing? Why?

I don't know, I just know that all the V8 models are full-time AWD.

2002maniac
2002maniac HalfDork
11/14/13 1:16 p.m.

I'm not saying it's a bad thing either. I guess it's just a thing.

z31maniac
z31maniac UltimaDork
11/14/13 1:23 p.m.

Only thing I can think is not having to worry if the transfer case will handle towing? I've read plenty of stuff about guys having to go into 4wd to get out of a muddy/rain soaked paddock while towing a trailer.

And they do have a lockable center diff if you're wheelin' (As if I know anything about that)

z31maniac
z31maniac UltimaDork
11/14/13 7:24 p.m.

No other info?

Slippery
Slippery HalfDork
11/14/13 7:32 p.m.

I have no first hand knowledge but my brother's in-laws have a V8. I never seen it break down or heard them complain of any problems except for the poor fuel mileage, which might not be a concern to you.

z31maniac
z31maniac UltimaDork
11/14/13 7:55 p.m.

Yeah, just thought I would bump it for the night crew. I'm not really finding anything troubling about them.

irish44j
irish44j UberDork
11/14/13 8:33 p.m.
z31maniac wrote: From what I've read the clunk means the slip joints need to be lubricated. And yes, on the V6 4wd is not full-time like on the V8s. The really funny thing is to see how many V8s are listed as 2wd.

Yes, we get the clunk, and I lube the slip joint and it goes away for 6-12 months.

V8 is full-time 4WD as you note.

V8 has a tranny cooler from the factory - V6 doesn't.

V8 has the load-distributing hitch - V6 has load-bearing. Either are sufficient for towing a racecar on an open trailer, frankly.

SportEdition has much beefier brakes than the SR5 or standard Limited Brakes. SE has big 4-pots up front. They are truly excellent. Best stock brakes I've had on any car. The non-SE models have smaller calipers and rotors that are the same as the Tacoma. They are not bad, but not awesome either.

SportEdition has the XREAS suspension (on most years), which is a cross-linked suspension that makes it handle better and less body lean in cornering on the street. I much prefer it to non-XREAS if you plan to stick with stock suspension. If you're going to go aftermarket, who cares.

The years that have projector headlights - those are much better than the reflector ones in other years. I think it's like 08-09 only but maybe earlier. They are really good halogen projectors.

Stock audio system sucks, no matter what year or model you get. Upgrade the speakers and the deck if you like music.

The SR5, SE, and Limited seats all feel VERY different. Make sure you try them out. I don't much like the SE seats, but my wife loves them. I like the SR5 and Limited seats much better, but she doesn't. YMMV.

If it has the stock Dunlop AT20 tires on it, get rid of them. They are terrible in rain, terrible in snow, and have virtually no off-road traction, despite being called "all-terrain." One of the worst "A/T" tires ever made in history, and people still buy them. We took ours off at 10k miles they were so bad, and got some Dueller Revo2's, which are quieter, smoother-riding, way better snow/mud traction, and better handling. They are bettter in every respect, which shows how dreadful the AT20's are. Friends with other Toyota trucks have done similar, get rid of em.

The little rear corner mirrors up at the top of the back of the cargo bay are really great for backing out of parking spots. Camera not needed.

I have a 1" front leveling lift spacer for sale if you end up wanting one. Will sell for 1/2 new price (never used). Gets rid of the forward rake. Just in case you want it.

The traction control is pretty lousy in snow. Very obtrusive. It can't be turned off, but on T4R.org there's a wiring diagram about how to make a bypass dash switch.

Overall, we've had no problems with our '08 (albeit with only 30k miles on it after 6 years). Not one single thing has broken or worn out so far.

That's all I can think of right now....

irish44j
irish44j UberDork
11/14/13 8:36 p.m.
2002maniac wrote: Is full time AWD a good thing? Why?

We decided against getting the V8 when we bought new since it was full-time 4WD. At least with the V6 you can definitely feel the drag in 4HI. I only use it in heavy rain/snow or off-road. I much prefer it in 2WD for general driving. Plus gets better mileage.

That said, I don't see any real downside to it other than fuel economy. V8 is only like 2mpg less than the V6 anyhow. V6 will get mid-20s on highway cruising. We got 15 towing an e30 on an open trailer for 250 miles, to boot.

irish44j
irish44j UberDork
11/14/13 8:41 p.m.
z31maniac wrote: Only thing I can think is not having to worry if the transfer case will handle towing? I've read plenty of stuff about guys having to go into 4wd to get out of a muddy/rain soaked paddock while towing a trailer. And they do have a lockable center diff if you're wheelin' (As if I know anything about that)

I've towed cars in the rain with our V6, and didn't feel the need for 4WD. IDK what kind of paddocks you guys go to, if they're big mud fields or something, lol.

Center diff is nice for snow as well, since the 4Runner has open diffs at the axles. The ATRAC (e-diff) works reasonably well, but you HAVE to have good tires (read my previous post), or it will just go click-click-click and drive your petal foot crazy. With good tires, a stock 4Runner can go damn near anyplace aside from rock-crawling. The hill-descent assist feature is pretty neat as well. I've never needed to use it, but have tried it out a couple times just for fun.

z31maniac
z31maniac UltimaDork
11/14/13 8:46 p.m.

Wow, thanks for all the great info.

I've narrowed down I want the VVTi V8 so 05+ and I want the facelift with better headlights so 06+

It's also my understanding that many bigger brakes from Tacoma/Tundra/4Runner sport are bolt-ons?

As far as suspenion, my next question: Can a guy do a mild lift without severely hurting towing stability? Like a 2" suspension and 1" body lift? It's not a huge priority, but I'm thinking of trying to make this my "ultimate" vehicle.

Tow/haul stuff, comfy, wheelin' to camping spots (think Overland stuff not rock crawling).

irish44j
irish44j UberDork
11/14/13 8:46 p.m.

Also, what are you towing? The V6 is plenty sufficient for a trailer/car combo around 4k lbs with a brake controller, unless you're doing a lot of mountainous areas.

gratuitous inspirational photos for you

 photo DSCF7735.jpg

 photo OuterBanksSep08069.jpg

irish44j
irish44j UberDork
11/14/13 8:56 p.m.
z31maniac wrote: Wow, thanks for all the great info. I've narrowed down I want the VVTi V8 so 05+ and I want the facelift with better headlights so 06+ It's also my understanding that many bigger brakes from Tacoma/Tundra/4Runner sport are bolt-ons? As far as suspenion, my next question: Can a guy do a mild lift without severely hurting towing stability? Like a 2" suspension and 1" body lift? It's not a huge priority, but I'm thinking of trying to make this my "ultimate" vehicle. Tow/haul stuff, comfy, wheelin' to camping spots (think Overland stuff not rock crawling).

I haven't done much modding on this vehicle (it's my wife's soccer-mom-mobile so I prefer to waste my money on my own cars), but I would assume the brake stuff is swap-in. I'm not sure if the Sport Edition brakes are TRD ones from another model or what, honestly. I know my buddy's TRD Tacoma has brakes like the SR5 4Runner, so maybe not.

I wouldn't do a body lift, personally. Most guys who want a mild lift go with the "Cornfed" setup (three sizes....they all "level" the vehicle at different heights. The V8 also has the self-leveling rear air suspension on some models (possibly Limited only?)

Here's a link to the Cornfed lift info. http://www.burtmanindustries.com/zoomprod.php?id=4run_03_up_liftkit

A mild lift shouldn't affect towing - I know plenty of guys with lifted 4Runners that tow - but I don't have any personal experience. Ours isn't lifted and I've never really felt the urge to lift it other than the 1" leveling spacer up front.

Also, if you want racks, Bajarack makes a large basket that actually bolts into the factory rack holes on the roof. It's awesome. If it was my truck and not my wife's I'd definitely get one. They even said they'd make one slightly wider for me if I wanted (I asked to have one a bit wider to fit full plywood sheets inside, lol) Again though, I'm trying to not mod this truck since there are so many mods you can get for it, and I'd go broke

http://www.bajarack.com/toyota-4runner

This guy's 4Runner would be my inspiration if I was going to do a "full cross-country-style build" Me love it long time. It's a nice build that started mild and got better over the years. Could give you evil ideas for sure

http://www.toyota-4runner.org/gallery/53612-blairbs-2008-4runner.html

ok that's it. I am far from an "expert" on 4Runners. I've done some reading and some drooling over other peoples' builds but haven't done much actual work on our vehicle itself at all. So I don't really have much more to add, especially since ours is low-annual-miles and hasn't really hit any of the major maintenance milestones yet.

Join T4R.org. It's a pretty good forum with fairly low childish-ness compared to many, and many guys there really give out great information on product, mods, maintenance, etc etc..

Josh

oldtin
oldtin UltraDork
11/14/13 9:08 p.m.

I have an 07 V8 SR5. Due for a timing belt - also do the water pump when the timing belt gets replaced. No mechanical issues, but the traction control gets intrusive in the winter - as a result it eats rear brakes pads pretty quickly. Also change the transmission juice at the factory intervals - esp. if you tow with it. Compared to our other cars, the stereo is just fine. Has an aux jack inside the center console bin. Did have a roof rack cover just blow off in the wind and the muffler heat shield worked its way lose - took forever to figure it out - sounded like a speed sensitive squeak/rattle, turned out it was air flow making it rattle. Four fender washers and good as new. We've done a couple of cross-country trips - pretty comfy for a truck. We had a trailer hitch mounted cargo carrier. Exhaust dumps right at that level so it burns through bungee cords.

irish44j
irish44j UberDork
11/14/13 9:15 p.m.

Oh one last thing that you may not notice until someone tells you it's there, which is one of my favorite "little details" of the 4Runner (not sure what years have it, but it's on my 08):

Water-repellent windshield/windows. It really works, and it's awesome in a rainstorm. When you get the truck, splash some water on the windows and you'll see

It's like a built-in Rain-X without you having to actually apply anything.

"A vehicle level sensor detects when the 4Runner is on an incline and compensates the fuel gauge reading. All exterior glass shields 94 percent or more of UV rays, and water-repellent glass is used for the windshield, side windows, and side mirrors."

z31maniac
z31maniac UltimaDork
11/14/13 9:17 p.m.

irish: I'll be towing a Miata, but likely on a lower-end, steel/wood trailer, so I suspect with gear/tools/spares, I'll be in the 5000-5500 range.

Thanks for the links, I'll check them out tomorrow while I'm off work.

oldtin: I thought I read something about a "sealed" transmission for this gen 4Runner, which I don't like at all.

irish44j
irish44j UberDork
11/14/13 9:21 p.m.
z31maniac wrote: irish: I'll be towing a Miata, but likely on a lower-end, steel/wood trailer, so I suspect with gear/tools/spares, I'll be in the 5000-5500 range. Thanks for the links, I'll check them out tomorrow while I'm off work. oldtin: I thought I read something about a "sealed" transmission for this gen 4Runner, which I don't like at all.

Yeah, with that weight range you want the V8 for sure.

re: transmission

Post #14 is the crux of the matter. But the bottom line is that the fluid CAN be changed if you want to do so. But it takes a LOT of fluid.....like 12-14 qts.

http://www.toyota-4runner.org/4th-gen-t4rs/152627-2005-transmission-fluid-filter-change.html

DIY:

http://www.tacomaworld.com/forum/2nd-gen-tacomas/68462-diy-full-flush-automatic-transmission.html

z31maniac
z31maniac UltimaDork
11/14/13 9:25 p.m.

Yeah, that was my thought too. And of course, 'Murica loves V8s.

Even on an aluminum trailer the car/trailer would be 3300-3400lbs, then I figure between tools/spares/wheels/tires, that will easily add another 500lbs+

If for some reason I end up with an aluminum trailer, more headroom is never a bad thing.

loumash
loumash New Reader
11/16/13 9:59 a.m.

I have an 04 4runner sr5 v8. I love it. Zero problems in the two years I have owned it. Just hit 90k, so it's due for the belt swap. Parts are about 350 including the water pump.

motomoron
motomoron SuperDork
11/16/13 11:01 a.m.

Sorry to get here so late. What to spend: My '05 from a dealer was KBB $15.5k. It had been at $14.5/$14/$13.5k and hadn't moved. It was showing a CEL which lights up all manner of stuff on the display, and the center diff was locked which makes the truck feel like it's broken.

I asked for $13k + MD tax + tags. The sales dude countered he had to keep $200 in fees, so I counter-countered $12,750 + $200 fees + MD tax + tags. "That's $50 lower!" he said. "Sure, I had to write it twice" said I.

It was $14.3 taxed and tagged and sitting in my driveway. Considering this less than $4k over what Liberty Mutual paid for my sort-of-beat Tacoma, I call it a huge win.

If you're towing I'd get a Sport.

  • 13.3" front rotors, calipers are the same as SR5 + Limited which get 12.6" rotors but with different mounting ears.

  • XREAS diagonally-linked hydraulic suspension. Exceptional for a truck. Car-like body roll, firm damping. Not plush, but compared with everything else I drive it's very nice.

  • Torque biasing center differential.

  • Clean, modern, functional interior styling, easy to care for and well made.

There's a slide-out rear cargo shelf I wanted to avoid to maximize cargo space. I have an open trailer and a sports racer so there's a pretty huge load of pit infrastructure that goes inside. The slide out takes up cubic feet of space.

Between '05 - '06 nothing changed except adding an aux jack on the stereo, so I went '05 and low miles for price.

I liked the 17" 6=spoke wheels on the '05 Sport the best of all the years and models. The one I bought had fresh Kumho Road Ventures. If I was buying I'd spring for Michelin LTX A/T2s. Had 'em on the Tacoma and they were excellent.

Download every year of brochure to decode what options come on what.

Register at the Toyota owner's portal, add the VIN # of any truck you're considering and see all dealer service records!

I'd start looking at autotrader.com and use searchtempest to aggregate craigslist for your buying range.

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