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Old 08-28-2021, 09:43 PM #1
dietcookie dietcookie is offline
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Looking for advice 99 4x4 E-Locker 5VZ-FE Possible Cracked Cylinder Head

Just wanted to get some advice on what would be the next reasonable step. Long story short, I have a 99 Limited 4x4 Auto with E-Locker, 247K miles on the clock. Wife and I have had great memories in it. Over the past 8 months, I've put in around $4500 in parts and labor for a ton of deferred maintenance items...can't sell a car in California without smog certificate, can't smog it with CEL on. Figured if we don't sell it, then we could go another 100K miles probably with just oil changes etc..

Fast forward to present, I'm getting intermittent misfires on cylinder 3. Took it down to our favorite Toyota 4x4 shop to have them take a look. Plugs, coils, wires, injector look good. Shop says most likely it's a cracked head, they see it all the time on these engines when its cylinder #3. Don't remember what they said exactly (was 2 months ago since this conversation), but they found coolant in or around cylinder #3.

I have no reason not to believe them, and internet search seems to agree on the cracked head. I really don't have the time or space to do the work myself, so I'd probably have to outsource it. I think I this point, I'm ready to just get rid of it. Is it worth it to fix it before selling? I realize this will be more of a personal decision dependent on our finances but just wanted to hear some opinions.

We don't NEED this truck, it's a secondary/third vehicle so I'm not attached to it at this point. But I'm just trying to cut my losses, as painlessly as possible

Some ideas swirling in my head:
  1. Sell as-is, without tearing down the motor to figure out the issue. Probably won't be able to re-coup all of the recent $4500 spent
  2. Source an identical 5VZ-FE from a junkyard, find aninstaller, then sell the truck.
  3. Source a JDM motor, find an installer, then sell the truck
  4. Have the shop just replace the cylinder head, then sell the truck
  5. Store the truck somewhere that doesn't exist and in the next lifetime fix it because it has an e-locker

Thanks for reading!

Last edited by dietcookie; 08-28-2021 at 09:44 PM. Reason: typo
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Old 08-28-2021, 10:10 PM #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dietcookie View Post
Just wanted to get some advice on what would be the next reasonable step. Long story short, I have a 99 Limited 4x4 Auto with E-Locker, 247K miles on the clock. Wife and I have had great memories in it. Over the past 8 months, I've put in around $4500 in parts and labor for a ton of deferred maintenance items...can't sell a car in California without smog certificate, can't smog it with CEL on. Figured if we don't sell it, then we could go another 100K miles probably with just oil changes etc..

Fast forward to present, I'm getting intermittent misfires on cylinder 3. Took it down to our favorite Toyota 4x4 shop to have them take a look. Plugs, coils, wires, injector look good. Shop says most likely it's a cracked head, they see it all the time on these engines when its cylinder #3. Don't remember what they said exactly (was 2 months ago since this conversation), but they found coolant in or around cylinder #3.

I have no reason not to believe them, and internet search seems to agree on the cracked head. I really don't have the time or space to do the work myself, so I'd probably have to outsource it. I think I this point, I'm ready to just get rid of it. Is it worth it to fix it before selling? I realize this will be more of a personal decision dependent on our finances but just wanted to hear some opinions.

We don't NEED this truck, it's a secondary/third vehicle so I'm not attached to it at this point. But I'm just trying to cut my losses, as painlessly as possible

Some ideas swirling in my head:
  1. Sell as-is, without tearing down the motor to figure out the issue. Probably won't be able to re-coup all of the recent $4500 spent
  2. Source an identical 5VZ-FE from a junkyard, find aninstaller, then sell the truck.
  3. Source a JDM motor, find an installer, then sell the truck
  4. Have the shop just replace the cylinder head, then sell the truck
  5. Store the truck somewhere that doesn't exist and in the next lifetime fix it because it has an e-locker

Thanks for reading!
Has the truck over heated recently? Are you loosing coolant. Take the spark plugs out and see if they are really clean.Does your truck smoke excessively I wouldn't take there word because they said they see it all the time. ohm out he injector. Could be a single injector bad. Replace the injector and drive it.

Last edited by spartacus; 08-28-2021 at 10:14 PM.
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Old 08-28-2021, 10:36 PM #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by spartacus View Post
Has the truck over heated recently? Are you loosing coolant. Take the spark plugs out and see if they are really clean.Does your truck smoke excessively I wouldn't take there word because they said they see it all the time. ohm out he injector. Could be a single injector bad. Replace the injector and drive it.
Quote:
Has the truck over heated recently? Are you loosing coolant.
No, has never overheated during my ownership. Cooling system is in good health. It is losing very little to no coolant at all. I don't drive it much these days and when I do check fluids, everything has always been at acceptable levels.

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Take the spark plugs out and see if they are really clean.
Will do.

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Does your truck smoke excessively
No excess smoke, besides in the morning which I always (perhaps incorrectly) attributed to just moisture from sitting overnight. Amount of smoke has never alarmed me.

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Could be a single injector bad. Replace the injector and drive it.
A known-good used injector was put in do just that. After replacing plugs/wires and swapping coil packs, the used injector route was to "see what happens". It ran decently for a month, but now recently is acting up again. Super rough idle at stop lights, sometimes (not all), the CEL will flash under load. Then it will run like a sewing machine for a few weeks, then maybe a runs rough while I go get coffee in the morning, and perfectly fine for the rest of the day.
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Old 08-28-2021, 11:53 PM #4
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Originally Posted by dietcookie View Post
No, has never overheated during my ownership. Cooling system is in good health. It is losing very little to no coolant at all. I don't drive it much these days and when I do check fluids, everything has always been at acceptable levels.


Will do.


No excess smoke, besides in the morning which I always (perhaps incorrectly) attributed to just moisture from sitting overnight. Amount of smoke has never alarmed me.


A known-good used injector was put in do just that. After replacing plugs/wires and swapping coil packs, the used injector route was to "see what happens". It ran decently for a month, but now recently is acting up again. Super rough idle at stop lights, sometimes (not all), the CEL will flash under load. Then it will run like a sewing machine for a few weeks, then maybe a runs rough while I go get coffee in the morning, and perfectly fine for the rest of the day.
Cel flashing means unburned fuel in catalytic converter. Smoke at first start specially whn cold is vapor. Also is there coolant in your oil. Oil will look brownish, muddy color.. You said injector was replaced with a known good one. you can ohm out the injector 13.8 ohms at romm temp give or take a couple.
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Old 08-29-2021, 02:27 AM #5
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Originally Posted by spartacus View Post
Cel flashing means unburned fuel in catalytic converter. Smoke at first start specially whn cold is vapor. Also is there coolant in your oil. Oil will look brownish, muddy color.. You said injector was replaced with a known good one. you can ohm out the injector 13.8 ohms at romm temp give or take a couple.
Is the flashing CEL an indicator of a misfire(ing) that is so bad that results in unburned fuel in the cat? Or that it's just a misfire? I always thought it was the latter, but then the former makes sense since I can tell when it's missing but no CEL flashing or illumination.

I'd say 8 out of 10 oil changes I did myself since I've owned it, and oil has always looked good. I've only done a Blackstone analysis once, back in Aug 2017 at 207K mi. Maybe I should do it again, despite oil looking good? I'll pull the injector and ohm it out.

Blackstone Summary
Quote:
This is a great first look under the hood of your 4Runner. The sampling technique worked well -- the
oil was hot enough to cook off any mild fuel dilution. Universal averages show typical wear for Toyota's
5VZ-FE after ~5,800 miles if oil use. You went with a similar run, and your metals stack up well next to the
averages, so the engine's oil-sharing parts are all wearing well. The TBN is fine at 2.6, showing some active
additive left (1.0 is considered low). Nothing harmful (i.e. coolant) was found during testing. Nice V-6! Check
back to establish trends.
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Old 08-29-2021, 06:59 AM #6
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Sounds like you have checked for fuel and spark, but how about compression and leakdown? That will tell you the general health of the cylinder pretty fast!
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Old 08-29-2021, 10:13 AM #7
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Sounds like you have checked for fuel and spark, but how about compression and leakdown? That will tell you the general health of the cylinder pretty fast!

This.
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Old 08-29-2021, 12:22 PM #8
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Like others mentioned, find out if the shop did a compression and leak down test. Seems suspicious that you aren't loosing coolant, but they saw coolant around cylinder 3.

Also, it sounds like replacing the injector fixed the problem for awhile and then it came back. It could just be you replaced old parts with old parts and it needs new parts instead. Just make sure you get OEM quality injectors if you go that route, there are lots of low quality garbage ones floating around out there.

If you've already put a bunch of money into the truck it may be worth taking it to another shop for a second opinion for a few hundred dollars at most. Maybe even a dealership.
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Old 08-29-2021, 03:49 PM #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DBT4R View Post
Sounds like you have checked for fuel and spark, but how about compression and leakdown? That will tell you the general health of the cylinder pretty fast!
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Originally Posted by Unner View Post
Like others mentioned, find out if the shop did a compression and leak down test. Seems suspicious that you aren't loosing coolant, but they saw coolant around cylinder 3.

Also, it sounds like replacing the injector fixed the problem for awhile and then it came back. It could just be you replaced old parts with old parts and it needs new parts instead. Just make sure you get OEM quality injectors if you go that route, there are lots of low quality garbage ones floating around out there.

If you've already put a bunch of money into the truck it may be worth taking it to another shop for a second opinion for a few hundred dollars at most. Maybe even a dealership.
Leak down test is a good idea. We had discussed this if the engine started missing again. It's been missing again, but I haven't had a chance to take it back to the shop.

To your point, the injector we replaced in #3 was a used injector. And to add another data point...

I pulled the most recent CEL code, it's now P0305. So maybe it's not the infamous cylinder 3 crack? Or it's cracked between #3 and #5? Sounds like I still have a lot of diagnosis to do. I'll ohm out both #3 and #5 injectors when I have some free time. If that doesn't yield anything, I think a leak down test at a different shop will be on the menu.
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