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View Full Version : Noob: How to tune up (and otherwise maximize) my '99 4Runner? Myself, that is...


DougT
06-24-2009, 10:34 AM
Howdy,
My bud Mendocino urged me to join up so I could benefit from your wisdom!

I grew up (sorta) outside of Georgetown CA, watching the Jeepers rally and head up to the Rubicon. I learned to drive in CJ's on that trail, and spent many nights at Loon, Spider, Rockbound and Buck Island Lakes. Gee, that was only 30 years ago...

I've always worked on my old FJ55 (now gone, sadly) and old F250 (Mendo's gramps' truck!), but now I want to work on my '99 4Runner.

I've never even changed the plugs, so I'm looking for some tips and tricks for getting under the hood.

If any of youse guys can help me out, I'd appreciate it.

Also, what causes pings/knocks? I use my 'runner to tow my drift boat around, and have noticed lately increased noise under load. Will a basic tuneup (plugs, air cleaner, what'd I miss?) fix this hopefully.

Oh, and the last time I had my oil changed (shamefully, I paid someone) he told me that my front diff drain plug was cross threaded. Is that something I can use an EZ out for? And buy a new plug from the dealer? Or is this something that Napa, etc. would have?

Regards!

RicardoJM
06-24-2009, 11:02 AM
Welcome :D . Regarding the front diff plug, you can pick up a new plug at the dealership (have Jeff introduce you to Jerry at Burt in Boulder if you're on the north side) and replace the old. Before just putting the new one in, you should confirm the threads in the diff are not buggered up. If they are run a tap through to clean them up. You will want to make sure you can remove your fill plug before you take out the drain plug.

I'm not as familiar with the 4Runner, but if you are looking to start doing more maintenance yourself a tune up is a good place to start. :thumb: You set a baseline and can go on from there.

If you ever need someone to row your boat, give me a call. Rowing a drift boat down the river is something I know how to do.

Mendocino
06-24-2009, 11:06 AM
Welcome Doug,

You may want to purchase the factory service manuals for your 4Runner. I am sure you can get some suggestions here on what to buy. Based on experience I suspect everyone will say to purchase the factory service manual (FSM).:) With this you will have access to a tremendous amount of information and can ask focused questions.

corsair23
06-24-2009, 12:36 PM
Also, what causes pings/knocks? I use my 'runner to tow my drift boat around, and have noticed lately increased noise under load. Will a basic tuneup (plugs, air cleaner, what'd I miss?) fix this hopefully.

Welcome to the forum :thumb:

Pinging is often caused by lower quality gas or lower octane gas...A Google search will net you a ton of information on exactly what is happening (not being lazy here, I just couldn't do near as good of a job explaining the technical stuff as you can find on the net).

What I found in my old Durango (which was a '99 btw) was that even though it was supposedly designed to run on 87 octane that I had to run premium fuel (91 octane or higher) when towing or I would get some serious pinging. Probably had to do with elevation and the fact that I installed headers etc. - I'm assuming you are not new to the area but if you are, our "cheap" 85 octane gas shouldn't really be used in newer vehicles...It is really made for older carburated vehicles...Our mid grade gas is everyone else's low grade :(

If the 4Runner has never had a tune up or hasn't had one in the recent past, then at a minimum I would suggest new plugs, wires, etc. as a good starting point and if you are still getting pinging while towing, try running a tank of premium gas the next time you tow the boat and see how the 4Runner does.

EDIT: Just noticed your location so ignore my comment about being new to the area :D - not sure what octane levels they have in WA but running a higher octane gas might be the answer

DougT
06-24-2009, 12:42 PM
Thanks folks.

FSM is a great idea.

Ricardo, I'd love to have you row while I cast! However, I'm usually floatin' on my home river, the Skykomish...which is in NW Washington...

DaveInDenver
06-24-2009, 12:55 PM
I'm assuming you are not new to the area but if you are, our "cheap" 85 octane gas shouldn't really be used in newer vehicles...It is really made for older carburated vehicles...Our mid grade gas is everyone else's low grade
This is the recommendation I've been given by a couple of people, that the old rule of thumb about being able to run lower octane gas isn't really true anymore. Our 4Runner will run on 85 octane and not knock too much, but it does seem noticeably lower in power so I assume it's the ECU being unhappy. OTOH, my 22R-E doesn't seem to appreciably care if I feed it 85 or 87. But on 91 there is almost no limit to how much advance I put in, it never knocks. Although it's a lot lower on power at higher elevations with 91, too.

Squishy!
06-24-2009, 01:13 PM
have Jeff introduce you to Jerry at Burt in Boulder if you're on the north side

Jerry and Burt are in Littleton BTW :rolleyes:

...at a minimum I would suggest new plugs, wires, etc. as a good starting point...

Make sure you use dual electrode plugs on the 4runner. The 3.4 Liter requires them because of the waste spark firing design. If you run single electrode (standard plugs) your pinging will go through the roof + misfiring.


...if you are still getting pinging while towing, try running a tank of premium gas the next time you tow the boat and see how the 4Runner does.

I second that.:thumb:

You can always Supercharge it too. I run a TRD supercharger on my 99 4runner and I put out way more power. It is way :cool:

Check out these web sites:

http://www.urdusa.com

http://www.lcengineering.com

DaveInDenver
06-24-2009, 01:23 PM
Jerry and Burt are in Littleton BTW :rolleyes:
I read that and it didn't register. I saw Jerry at Boulder Toyota. It's confusing since there are two parts guys named Jerry that members go to and either will do a good job for you.

Red_Chili
06-24-2009, 01:44 PM
Jerry and Burt are in Littleton BTW :rolleyes:

My head was going through this weird quantum physics folded-time-space-continuum thing for a minute there.

The thought of two Jerrys at two Burts in the universe is enough to play havoc with almost anyone's fabric of time and space.

wwwwwwheeeewwwwwoooooo........
:lmao:

RicardoJM
06-24-2009, 01:47 PM
I read that and it didn't register. I saw Jerry at Boulder Toyota. It's confusing since there are two parts guys named Jerry that members go to and either will do a good job for you.

Kind of the same deal with me as well, I was thinking Jerry at Boulder but having done so much with Jerry at Burt... To compile that mistake, it is only now that I realize the original poster is in WA and not even local. :o