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Buying a 4th Gen with Engine Misfire Code?

Discussion in '4th Gen 4Runners (2003-2009)' started by sdrocker21, Mar 13, 2019.

  1. Mar 13, 2019 at 7:58 AM
    #1
    sdrocker21

    sdrocker21 [OP] New Member

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    Hi All,

    I'm new here but have been wanting to ditch my 07 Prius for a 4th Gen 4Runner. I live in Southern CA and found a 2004 4Runner for $5500 with 203k miles that the owner would let me have for $5000.

    It looked good when I looked at it, only a small oil leak up on the passenger side cylinder head from what may be the valve cover gasket (not sure).

    The only issue is when we drove it a check engine light came on and the VSC track on and off lights both stayed on. The code came up with cylinder #4 misfire. Supposedly the owner had this issue a year ago and they replaced a coil (non Toyota) and it didn't fix it, then they changed with a Toyota branded coil and it didn't fix it and then they put new spark plugs and the code went away for a year. The 4runner was sitting the last couple months but supposedly that light never came on until I came to test drive it.

    The owner had the check engine light and VSC cleared by a Smog shop and will drive on Friday and will let me know if it comes back. I don't know the root cause of that light. The smog shop said it could be a fluke, a coil, spark plugs, or even a valve train issue but hard to tell without doing some diagnostic work.

    Is it pretty risky to buy it if the owner says the light didn't come back on?

    It felt like it was running good and drove nicely.
     
  2. Mar 13, 2019 at 8:03 AM
    #2
    4X4Runner

    4X4Runner Moderator Staff Member

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    The left coast
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    I’d be wary of it. I’ve seen a bad crossthreaded spark plug repair (heliacoil) cause a CEL and misfire and the repair was a whole new head to the tune of over $3500 for parts and labor.
     
  3. Mar 13, 2019 at 8:06 AM
    #3
    sdrocker21

    sdrocker21 [OP] New Member

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    Thanks! That is exactly what I'm nervous about. If it's a valvetrain issue and the head has to come out I would be way behind. I just didn't know if this is a common type thing with 4runners with 200k miles and I should expect to have to deal with stuff like this or if I should keep looking.

    I could probably pull a head out myself and have a shop service it but it's a lot of work I don't want to do unless I was getting a screaming deal (which it seems I'm not)

    I'm also wondering if my spending budget isn't realistic. I wanted to spend $5,000 to $5,500 on a 4th generation without having to do any serious engine or trans related work for a bit of time.
     
    Last edited: Mar 13, 2019
  4. Mar 13, 2019 at 9:54 AM
    #4
    sdrocker21

    sdrocker21 [OP] New Member

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    Awesome thanks for the advice.

    It is a V6. I didn't see traced of contamination when I checked the oil, etc but I know head gasket issues could be really hard to see. I could do a head gasket myself but the time involved is hard for me to come up with. I'm thinking I should pass if its $5k
     
    Watt maker likes this.
  5. Mar 13, 2019 at 10:01 AM
    #5
    RonT4R

    RonT4R New Member

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    I was getting a misfire on my 2003 V6 Tacoma and it ended up being a bad injector. I ordered a remanufactured set off ebay and replaced all 6 and the problem never returned.
     
  6. Mar 13, 2019 at 10:06 AM
    #6
    HoBoDanny

    HoBoDanny Dude...

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    Like others have said be wary that’s usually a head gasket gone bad. Definitely not worth that price I would think as well.
     
  7. Mar 13, 2019 at 10:08 AM
    #7
    RonT4R

    RonT4R New Member

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    Take it to a shop and have the compression checked or have the current owner do it prior to the sale.
     
    Benny123 likes this.
  8. Mar 13, 2019 at 11:17 AM
    #8
    sdrocker21

    sdrocker21 [OP] New Member

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    Awesome, was it a weekend project type thing? If I knew for sure it was an injector I might be willing to try it.
     
  9. Mar 13, 2019 at 11:18 AM
    #9
    sdrocker21

    sdrocker21 [OP] New Member

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    Thanks, that is a great idea. I can request them to have compression checked, etc. If it's valve train related though, is it possible there is a valve not seating right but compression is still fine?
     
  10. Mar 14, 2019 at 4:09 AM
    #10
    RonT4R

    RonT4R New Member

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    If there is any fault in the valve train or compression is low in any cylinders I would walk away and keep looking. There are plenty good ones out there at great deals.
     
  11. Mar 15, 2019 at 7:14 PM
    #11
    2ndgenlivesmatter9420

    2ndgenlivesmatter9420 New Member

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    That vehicle needs to be PROPERLY diagnosed. It just sounds like someone is throwing parts at it. Throwing parts at problems costs a lot of money. Take it to a reputable shop and have the owner dish out the money for a proper diagnostic. In the end a diagnostic from a reputable place will cost a lot less than just throwing parts at it. I've had customers spend hundreds of dollars trying to figure out there own problems. One time I had a guy with a BMW replace all his plugs and coils for a random misfire and it ended up being a bad pcv system, it was still expensive to fix, but him throwing parts made it twice as expensive for him. So please take it to good shop and just have the owner pay for a diagnostic, if they won't do that, just walk away. Side note if the CEL is off when you look at a truck bring a pocket scanner that can see if the readiness monitors have ran, if the monitors have not ran that means that the light was cleared shortly before you looked at it.
     
  12. Mar 16, 2019 at 2:49 PM
    #12
    sdrocker21

    sdrocker21 [OP] New Member

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    Thanks for your advice! I'm going to skip on the one I saw last weekend because of the CEL and unknown cause.

    I saw two others and I'm not sure which is a better deal:

    - 2003 V6 with leather interior (just one rip on one seat) and 196k miles and a nice dark grey color and appears to be maintained well. The person would take $5300 but no less

    - 2003 V6 with cloth interior and 130k miles looks to be well maintained and no issues according to the owner. The least they would take is $5300 as well.

    My gut says the lower mileage would win, but I like leather interior so much more. Is it silly to choose leather interior over lower mileage? I also have heard of some leather seat covers some people have used on 4runners. Or an even better question, are either of these a good deal given im in Southern CA? Hmmm....
     
    Last edited: Mar 16, 2019
  13. Mar 16, 2019 at 3:49 PM
    #13
    2ndgenlivesmatter9420

    2ndgenlivesmatter9420 New Member

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    That's a wise decision. In all honesty, this coming from a guy that loves Toyotas, Toyota makes shit leather. It will eventually crack and look bad. Go with the one with lower miles and cloth interior. I'm in the bay area, that's about the going rate for those here too, it's subjective on the price, some will say it's a "16 year old suv f that", others like me, who like 4runners will be like, "that's a good deal, it's a toyota, it holds it's value". Make sure that it's smogged. That kind of dough the owner should have it smogged. Another cheap safeguard is to bring a scanner that reads obdii monitor status, you can get one from harbor freight for $50, it's called a zurich. I've seen people pull the bulb for the CEL and sell the car saying there were no problems, any cheap scanner will pick that up. You can see of the car is ready to smog, all the monitors except evap need to run to pass smog. Good luck finding a 4runner you want!
     
    sdrocker21 [OP] likes this.
  14. Mar 16, 2019 at 3:53 PM
    #14
    sdrocker21

    sdrocker21 [OP] New Member

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    Thanks so much!

    Exactly, so for me the 4runner is it because I have a paddleboard I like to take out in the mission bay area of San Diego or sometimes I may want to go to a lake up north. I can lower the rear window and fit one or two paddleboards and still have a front passenger. Believe it or not my paddleboard fits in my prius with the seats down but not possible to have a front passenger. I also have a 1966 C-10 truck that is a beast and will fit my paddleboard easily but I don't like driving it too much so I prefer to have something like a 4runner for my water sports/hobbies.

    I don't know any other SUV's that have a rear window that can lower. The newer 4runners are more than I want to spend so the 4th gen seems to fit the bill nice.

    I have an OBDII scanner that is bluetooth that I use on my prius from time to time so I'll take it with me. The lower mileage cloth one looks like a good one based on price and condition. I think you convinced me on the leather and I can get leather seat covers probably.
     

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