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I have a 98 4 Runner 3.4L engine with a tapping noise?

Customer Question
I have a 98 4 Runner 3.4L engine with a tapping noise?
Submitted: 7 years ago.Category: Toyota
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Answered in 31 minutes by:
9/5/2010
Toyota Mechanic: ToyotaTom, Toyota Technician replied 7 years ago
ToyotaTom
ToyotaTom, Toyota Technician
Category: Toyota
Satisfied Customers: 1,416
Experience: Toyota, ASE, MSE, MECP Certified
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ToyotaTom :

Hello, and thank you for choosing Just Answer to help you with your questions! How many miles are on your 4runner?

ToyotaTom :

And is this something you've recently purchased, or owned for a while? If you've owned it for a while, did this noise suddenly appear, or has it sort of always seemed to be there?

Customer:

I am about ready to buy the vehicle

ToyotaTom :

how many miles are on it?

Customer:

152,000

ToyotaTom :

Ok, these engines are real prone to valve noise. Chances are, the valve lash has never been adjusted. This engine doesn't use hydraulic lifters, it uses shims on top of the valve buckets. Over time the valves tend to wear into the head a bit (this is normal) and the valve lash clearances tend to be a bit excessive, in essence "slamming" the valve shut when it closes. This makes a tapping noise

ToyotaTom :

It isn't a huge deal to have them re-shimmed, your local dealer should have no issues with it

Customer:

The current ower purchased it in 2001 and says it has always made the noise, but never used oil or impacted the vehicle. Does this sound right? If I leave it as is will it create any issues?

ToyotaTom :

Like I said, it isn't uncommon at all on the vz series engines. Typically it isn't a big deal. However if left unattended (especially on the 3.0... the 3vz that was in the 4runners before the 3.4 that yours has) will beat the valve seats out of the head. This does take a while though

ToyotaTom :

You'll slowly lose compression, and need a valve job.

ToyotaTom :

Typically you won't see this happen in the 3.4 until well over 200,000 miles, closer to 250-300k range

Customer:

What kind of money at a dealership to fix it?

ToyotaTom :

but there are too many variables to tell for sure

ToyotaTom :

Typically, about $500 or less. Most of this is labor, and it really depends on your local area, how much the labor rates are in that area, etc. They could be anywhere from $70/hr to $150/hr depending on where you live in the country

Customer:

Ok, you have been real helpful. The vehicle sale price is 5500 and the vehicle is clean. Buying for high school son to drive to school. Will likely be 5 or more years before I put 50K more on it. Thanks for the info. Look like I can take a chance on it thanks sir.

ToyotaTom :

But I'll tell you the same thing I tell everyone that is looking at buying a used car. Before you buy it, take it to the dealership (not some local independant shop, the dealer knows exactly what the problem areas (if any) are on a vehicle, and exactly how things are supposed to look/sound/taste/feel like

Customer:

ok. Thanks

ToyotaTom :

They'll usually charge a half hour to hour labor for a 'pre purchase inspection' to look it over real good, and they can give you a list of anything that is good, stuff you'll likely need to look at in the future, and stuff that needs to be replaced soon

ToyotaTom :

Make sure the timing belt has been replaced. It won't damage the engine if it breaks, but will just quit running wherever it happens to be which if it were one of my kids, I wouldn't want that to happen and have them stranded somewhere

ToyotaTom :

Those water pumps have a tendancy to leak out through the weep hole. Doesn't mean it isn't working, just means it's aged and due to be replaced

ToyotaTom :

If it is an auto, make sure the fluid is in good condition. This will be a good indicator of maintenance of the vehicle overall

ToyotaTom :

it should be bright red when it is new

Customer:

The water pump, timing belt were changed at 100K, I will check the fluid.

ToyotaTom :

You can look at the back side (inside) of the rear brake drums, where the axle housing meets up with the backing plates. The axle seals have a tendancy to leak

Customer:

would the leak show up as drops on the ground or just stick the inside of the wheel area?

ToyotaTom :

You can tell the age of the spark plug wires by looking at them if they're still Toyota wires. Toyota prints the date year of the wires on the wires themselves. IF you look at them, you'll see a bunch of printed words. At the end, if they're original wires they'll say 1998

ToyotaTom :

Axle seals won't show up as leaks on the ground unless they're REALLY leaking. You will be able to see what looks like a big wet spot on the back of the brakes. Usually it will leak inside the drum, get everything all wet and gooey and make a big mess

Customer:

I think the spark plugs were changed at 100K, do they need to be replaced now?

Customer:

Thanks, XXXXX XXXXX to go now. I appreciate your help.

ToyotaTom :

This depends on what kind of plugs were installed. platinum or iridium shouldn't

ToyotaTom :

But really, this is little stuff. These engines, if maintained will easily last to 300k or more. It's a great engine and great trans

ToyotaTom :

These are the toyotas that gave the reputation for lasting forever

ToyotaTom :

I'm happy to help, if there is anything else I can help with, please let me know.

Customer:

ok. Thanks. What do I do hit accept or just sign off?

ToyotaTom :

If you feel I have helped you, an accept would be greatly appreciated.

Customer:

Sure thing. Thanks.

ToyotaTom :

No problem. Good luck :)

ToyotaTom
ToyotaTom, Toyota Technician
Category: Toyota
Satisfied Customers: 1,416
Experience: Toyota, ASE, MSE, MECP Certified
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Category: Toyota
Satisfied Customers: 1,416
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