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Old 04-14-2003, 04:04 PM #1
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Sulfur (aka. Rotten egg) Smell for '03 4Runners

Hey all,

This was a question of PWRHungry on this board. I thought i would try to clarify the situation a little bit:

There has been much discussion about this "sulfur smell" on other boards. Basically, Toyota claims that this is from the quality of gas you put in your truck. In other words, try a different gas station/brand. Or move to California (stricter gas & emission controls), where very few owners (if any) have this problem. Toyota also advise to be more mellow in your driving habits (avoid hard acceleration).

The theory for this smell is that due to clean emission standards (ULEV) set by Toyota (and other car companies) and that many gas companies have not caught up with these standards, there are still large amount of sulfur in the gasoline. This smell is most noticeable when you accelerate hard. Also, if you leave your windows down, the smell will hit you hard.

Toyota currently has NO plans to make any changes nor has any fixes for this. In it's defense, OTHER car manufacturers also are getting this complaint.

Of note, the 3rd gen 4Runners usually do NOT have this rotten smell because our emission standards are lower (LEV instead of ULEV); apparently this smell is most noticeable in vehicles with ULEV rated-catalytic converters.

I have smelled this occasionally on my '02 4Runner (LEV-rated). It is normal to smell it once in a while; however, it looks like the '03 4Runner is more susceptible to it.

Hope this helps.
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Old 04-14-2003, 04:04 PM #2
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Here is the TSB about the "sulfur stink":

TSB EG003-03

Introduction:
Some owners of Toyota vehicles may experience a sulfur like or rotten egg odor from the exhaust system. Sulfur is a natural component of crude oil from which gasoline is refined and the amount of sulfur can be decreases through the refining process. The amount of sulfur in fuel in CA is regulated, however gasoline sold in other states can have substantially higher sulfur content. Sulfur content also varies considerably between gasoline brands and locations.

Applicable vehicles:
All models

Repair procedure:
A sulfur odor emitted from the vehicle tailpipe does not necessarily indicate that there is an issue with the engine’s condition, but is most likely directly related to the fuel. If the vehicle is exhibiting an excessive sulfur odor, the following checks should be performed:

If the MIL light is ON, check for DTCs and repair as necessary

If no trouble is found after performing the above check, recommend the customer try a different source of fuel.

Replacement of oxygen sensors, air/fuel ratio sensors or catalytic converters will not reduce the odor and therefore will not be considered warrantable.
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Old 09-23-2003, 01:00 PM #3
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I've got an answer for that smell. Cut the cats out and replace them with pipe. And remove the rear "cat o2 sensors" and hook a O2 simulator to the harness. Done. No smell. No engine light. More HP. NO problems.
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Old 09-23-2003, 01:02 PM #4
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Oh, and i forgot..... for better fuel... I wonder if Sunnoco 104 octane Unleaded will meet their spec....hehe.
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Old 09-23-2003, 01:33 PM #5
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Here is a map of Reformulated Gasoline (low sulfur content):



Over the next few years, the "reformulated areas" will expand. However, this is very costly to the oil companies...thus, it is not an overnight change.

Just a note: I have not heard of one case of sulfur smell from California 4runner owners.
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Old 09-23-2003, 01:53 PM #6
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Is reformulated gasonline better than non-reforumulated gas as far as the "performance" aspect??
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Old 09-23-2003, 01:59 PM #7
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As far as i know, the newer engines do not suffer from any significant power loss with the reformulated gasolines.
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Old 10-06-2003, 12:25 PM #8
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97

My 97 has been doing this, but recently the sulfur stink got pretty bad. I was going to have it taken in to get it looked at... but the dealer said there is nothing that can be done.

So does this mean I am going to be forever driving around a car that stinks like rotten eggs? there's absolutely no solution / possible other problem?

-Sarah
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Old 10-06-2003, 01:54 PM #9
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I live in CT and the gas doesn't make a difference on my '03. The eggs are rotting!!
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Old 10-06-2003, 01:59 PM #10
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a matter of gas

Is it a matter of what gas you use? would a different type help the problem?

My dealer said to go around and try different gases and see which one worked the best... this is so strange?

I got some gas from Toms Brook, VA last night and so far so good with it...
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Old 10-07-2003, 09:42 AM #11
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Yeah, that's what Toyota is telling people...try different brands. However, most of the time, this does very little according to many '03 owners. (See map above.)
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Old 12-08-2003, 05:21 PM #12
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Do 2004 4runners have the same stink?
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Old 12-08-2003, 08:25 PM #13
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Likely, YES. Toyota has made no changes to it's catalytic converters. Toyota's TSB clearly states that they do not plan on doing any changes...it's up to the oil companies to change.
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Old 12-08-2003, 08:54 PM #14
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Wow. I thought that the smell was coming from outside somewhere. I have noticed the smell a handful of times. I didn't even think that it was coming from my truck.
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Old 12-09-2003, 12:06 PM #15
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I walked up to a running Sequoia last night and it stank at idle. Wonder how long until Toyota is embarrassed into doing something about it? (not a chance the oil companies will)
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