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Old 10-30-2023, 02:20 AM #1
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Unhappy Ran out of gas, now '96 4Runner runs wonky

I've searched thru other threads but can't seem to find this particular situation, so am hoping you guys can help - I ran my '96 'Runner out of gas last week, and managed to limp back to a gas station which was luckily downhill. In the process there were a half dozen sneezes/backfires thru the intake. I put about a half tank of fuel in, but now the old girl runs like crap. The CEL is on, and she threw a couple codes (P-0101 and -0102 I think), both of which were MAF related, so I pulled the MAF and it was pretty oily, so gave it a good wash with rubbing alcohol and the carb cleaner for good measure, then reinstalled (no, I didn't touch the little filaments inside of the MAF venturi). Should also mention I have a K&N aftermarket air filter, which I cleaned as well. Also changed the inline fuel filter.

Yet it still runs just as badly - reluctant to start, then when I do get it running she will accelerate quasi-normally to 3000 and then it's like the fuel just cuts off - until the revs drop to 2000 then the power comes back up. At no point does it accelerate normally, have to do so gently or she just flat out bogs down.

I'm guessing that maybe the backfires thru the intake damaged something else, another sensor perhaps, but I have no idea which one, or if it's something else. Anyone else dealt with this problem??

1996 4Runner 4WD, 3.4l, MT, 400,000 miles (and ran like a top until this cluster-F).
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Old 10-30-2023, 05:22 PM #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by northstr99 View Post
I've searched thru other threads but can't seem to find this particular situation, so am hoping you guys can help - I ran my '96 'Runner out of gas last week, and managed to limp back to a gas station which was luckily downhill. In the process there were a half dozen sneezes/backfires thru the intake. I put about a half tank of fuel in, but now the old girl runs like crap. The CEL is on, and she threw a couple codes (P-0101 and -0102 I think), both of which were MAF related, so I pulled the MAF and it was pretty oily, so gave it a good wash with rubbing alcohol and the carb cleaner for good measure, then reinstalled (no, I didn't touch the little filaments inside of the MAF venturi). Should also mention I have a K&N aftermarket air filter, which I cleaned as well. Also changed the inline fuel filter.

Yet it still runs just as badly - reluctant to start, then when I do get it running she will accelerate quasi-normally to 3000 and then it's like the fuel just cuts off - until the revs drop to 2000 then the power comes back up. At no point does it accelerate normally, have to do so gently or she just flat out bogs down.

I'm guessing that maybe the backfires thru the intake damaged something else, another sensor perhaps, but I have no idea which one, or if it's something else. Anyone else dealt with this problem??

1996 4Runner 4WD, 3.4l, MT, 400,000 miles (and ran like a top until this cluster-F).
Check all'the fuses in the engine bay fuse box including the big ones. put a paper air filter in and get a new denso maf or clean old one with a maf cleaner. The k& N filters if not properly oiled and let dry will cause issues.

Last edited by spartacus; 10-30-2023 at 05:25 PM. Reason: spelling
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Old 10-30-2023, 06:06 PM #3
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Look for disconnected hoses caused by the massive backfire, or search for a vaccuum leak, maybe a blown gasket along the intake route. A vaccuum leak can sometimes be heard or you can spray carb cleaner where you think it is and if the engine rpm changes you got your leak
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Old 10-30-2023, 06:58 PM #4
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Look for disconnected hoses caused by the massive backfire, or search for a vaccuum leak, maybe a blown gasket along the intake route. A vaccuum leak can sometimes be heard or you can spray carb cleaner where you think it is and if the engine rpm changes you got your leak
This is the direction I would go first, though both of the listed codes are MAF related...

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Old 10-31-2023, 03:59 PM #5
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Ditch the oiled air filters, they cause more problems than they're worth. Put a paper one in.

When you clean the Maf, get Maf cleaner, don't use anything else on it. It's a sensitive and delicate thing, and the residue other cleaners have could screw it up.
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Old 11-01-2023, 10:22 AM #6
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You could run some fuel system cleaner through as well, Seafoam or something similar.
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Old 11-01-2023, 01:02 PM #7
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Thanks for the input everyone.

What would the fuses have to do with the symptoms? Seriously asking.

As for the debate about oiled vs. paper filters, it ran totally fine before the incident with said oiled filter, so that isn't the issue. And as for what MAF cleaner to use, that may be valid but there was zero effect after cleaning it, so doubtful the MAF is the issue anyway. It wasn't visibly gunked up before I cleaned it, just cleaned it anyway for good measure.

I will check again for vacuum leaks in the intake area, as there is possibility that could be causing problems. I checked once, but will make a closer inspection. I think it's telling that the main issue happens between very defined engine rpm ranges. Just don't know what story it's telling!
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Old 11-02-2023, 09:00 AM #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by northstr99 View Post
... CEL is on, and she threw a couple codes (P-0101 and -0102 I think), both of which were MAF related, so I pulled the MAF and it was pretty oily, so gave it a good wash with rubbing alcohol and the carb cleaner for good measure.....
I like to use MAF cleaner only on maf.

Do we all think alcohol and carb cleaner is a good substitute?
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Old 02-17-2024, 06:23 PM #9
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Closure

So figured I'd better close this loop. After all the head scratching I finally just ordered a salvaged low-miles MAF on fleabay, and it worked excellent, problem solved. Beware the scams on eBay tho, with cheap Chinese knock-off parts being sold in listings that have pictures of actual Nippon-Denso OEM parts. Make sure to do your homework.

Thanks again everyone.
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