I have a 1998 4-Runer with 2.7L engine with 85,000 miles
diagnosed with 3 cylinders low compression. The cause is burned exhaust valves.
I followed and documented my compliance with the Toyota warranty service
At 60,178 miles, I performed the required maintenance, and
followed the instructions in the Toyota Owners Supplement to listen for
excessive tappet noise or note engine vibration. There was no excessive noise,
and the engine ran smoothly. At 65,000 miles, the exhaust manifold developed a
fracture at the location of the #3 exhaust ports. I asked the dealer to provide
a warranty replacement but was refused. I had an exhaust shop replace the
manifold with a Toyota part at a cost of $600.
At 85,000 miles, I noticed that the engine was starting to
run rough. I performed a tune up, and then a compression test, where I
discovered that cylinders 1, 2 and 4 were very low. I measured the valve tappet
clearance and found all valves significantly under the minimum clearance
specification. My conclusion was that the exhaust valves were burned. I took
the vehicle to the Hayward Toyota who charged $100 to come to the same diagnosis
as I. I requested that the dealer see if Toyota would assist in some of the
repair cost. Through the dealer service manager, you have apparently declined
The service manager stated that the valves in this engine
have been found to be elongating as they age, and the tappet clearances
therefore decrease over time. The engine remains quiet and smooth, and thus does
not trigger the valve adjustment inspection called for in the Owners Manual. The
service manager further stated that they recommended all owners coming in for
the 60,000 mile service have a valve adjustment done. This is a complex 6 hour
procedure, quoted by the dealer at $575, in addition to the $550 major service.
There are no service bulletins to show why this is necessary. I have had the
car in several times several times prior to this for minor service, and received
no notification of the problem or changes to the service recommendations.
The Owners Manual Supplement contains the following
statement on page 31 – Explanation of Scheduled Maintenance Items):
Inspect for excessive tappet
noise and/or engine vibration and adjust if necessary. A qualified technician
should perform this operation.
And on Page 41, under the heading
60,000 Miles or 48
Inspect the following:
Valves (Audible inspection),
adjust if necessary.
Via telephone, Toyota Customer Care has refused to take
responsibility for this. Their view is that this failure is the result of normal
wear and tear. And when I requested to talk with a supervisor I was told that
none were available, but someone would call me back - in fact there has been no
My view, and that of my attorney, is that Toyota has an
obligation to inform me of changes to recommended service during the warranty
period, and to publicize service difficulties after the end of the warranty
period. Anyone who follows the Toyota Owners Manual instructions for the 60,000
mile service is unknowingly at risk of destroying the exhaust valves and thus
will require an expensive repair.
A consumer should not have to contract with a Toyota dealer
for maintenance to ensure that their engine will not be destroyed by following
the Toyota published protocol. In fact, it almost appears that this is an
intentional act, designed to restrain trade by preventing other entities from
correctly servicing the vehicle.
This is also a fraud, in that consumers purchasing Toyota
vehicles rely on Toyota product documentation to make their purchase decision –
In this case, I would either not have purchased the vehicle, or elected to have
supplemental warranty insurance, or negotiated a lower price based upon a higher
projected maintenance cost.
I have been very reasonable in my discussion with the
Toyota staff, so hostility would not seem to be a driver in this. I was keenly
disappointed to discover this week that they will not even allow this to be
referred to a supervisor. Clearly a stonewall.