2002 Toyota Tacoma Repair and Maintenance

A guide to problems, costs, maintenance and repair for your 2002 Toyota Tacoma

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2002 Toyota Tacoma Problems

Loud Rattling or Slapping Noise from Engine

Loud rattling or loud slapping may be heard from the engine on the 1995-2004 Toyota Tacoma with the 2.7L I4 engine. 

These noises has two known causes: a failed balance shaft bearing, and a failed timing chain tensioner. 

The balance shaft, also known as the counter rotating assembly, is installed to reduce engine vibration, and counter the rotational force of the crankshaft and camshafts. When the bearing fails, it will rattle loudly, and the timing chain will produce a metallic slapping noise. The rattle has been described as shaking a can of marbles. 

The timing chain tensioner is also known to fail, allowing the timing chain to contact the timing chain housing. This produces a metallic slapping noise coming from the front of the engine, but there is no "can of marbles" sound associated. This would not indicate balance shaft failure, but the timing chain may need to be replaced.  

To repair these issues inspection of the entire timing chain system will be necessary, and replacement of the timing chain, timing chain guides, balance shafts, timing chain tensioner, and associated seals may be necessary. 

Avoiding these issues may be possible by early oil changes, and using the factory specified engine oil. 

Toyota Recall For Lower Ball Joint Issue

Toyota issued a recall on the lower ball joint due to the possibility of premature wear from improper finishing in production. The ball joints will be replaced under the recall. This recall applies to 2001-2004 models only. Please contact you local Toyota dealer to see if your vehicle is included.

Pink Coolant in Reservoir and Transmission Slipping

The 1996-2002 Toyota Tacoma with the 3.4L V6 and automatic transmission may develop an issue which is commonly known as the "strawberry milkshake".

The name is based on the color and consistency of the fluid found in the coolant reservoir, transmission, and radiator.

The radiator on these models has an isolated portion for cooling automatic transmission fluid(ATF) that is pumped in and out by the transmission. This area of the radiator is known to rupture internally, and the following occurs:

  • Transmission overheating warning light
  • Transmission slipping (engine revs high and vehicle moves slowly)
  • Engine overheating
  • ATF and engine coolant mix in the radiator, engine, and transmission

Engine coolant in the transmission can cause severe damage, and if not caught immediately may require replacement or rebuild of the automatic transmission.

To correct the situation, the radiator must be replaced, and the engine cooling system must be flushed thoroughly. Also, the transmission will need to be professionally flushed, inspected, and possibly repaired or replaced.

To prevent this from occurring, proactive replacement of the radiator is necessary and recommended.

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2002 Toyota Tacoma Questions

How to reset the air bag failure alert (1 answer)

I have disconnected the neg and pos cables and tied them together for 30 minutes . Didn't solve the problem.

My vehicle makes a noise when I put it into drive from a standstill position (1 answer)

It just started making the noise and it's only when I start up my vehicle and I go through the gears from park reverse neutral And then drive whenever it shifts into drive it makes a a bell type noise or A clunking noise but only once

view car notes stop working Why?? (1 answer)

I want to add info to (view car notes) the info will not save. why??

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2002 Toyota Tacoma Recalls

The Spare Tire Carrier May Rust and Break

Vehicles currently registered, or first sold in states where salt is used to de-ice the roads, are being recalled because a metal plate which helps secure the spare tire may rust excessively and break. This rust condition is a result of an insufficient coating of anti-corrosion material during the manufacturing process. If the plate were to break, the spare tire would come loose and fall from the vehicle while driving. Toyota is currently developing a remedy for this recall and will notify owners of affected vehicles when the remedy is in place. This is expected during December of 2012.

Toyota Recalls 2001-2004 Trucks Due to Scratched Lower Ball Joints

Toyota has recalled 2001-2004 Tacoma, 2002-2004 Tundra and Sequoia, and 2001-2002 4Runner models because the surface of the lower ball joints may have been scratched during assembly, which may have compromised their integrity. The ball joints may loosen and fall out and the driver may experience a loss of steering control. Dealers will replace the front suspension lower ball joints.

Recall 03V189000

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2002 Toyota Tacoma Reviews

based on 5 customer reviews
I have a 02 Toyota Tacoma and I love it. This is my 3rd Tacoma, first was 97 I totaled it. Second was 03 and I traded it for 02 cause I wasn't to crazy about the color. Not had to many problems out of mine. The exhaust has rusted in two that I still haven't got fixed yet. Have had to replace 02 sensor, clean my mass air flow sensor and now I have a short in the headlight harness I have to fix n...
Its an OK truck. This is my 2nd Tacoma (1st was a '98, Toyota bought back due to severe frame rot). Had the frame replaced on this 1, took over 3 months to complete (in the middle of winter of course!) Replace timimg belt, water pump and trans-axle seals at same time. Rear brakes need a major repair ($1200) due to what sounds like a design flaw. Check engine light is always on, needs O2 sensor...
My check engine light just came on as I'm about to sell my truck for top dollar being that it is in great shape. Does this usually indicate a expensive repair or a easy fix.

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