Toyota Supra Problems

RepairPal has identified the most common problems with the Toyota Supra as reported by actual vehicle owners. We'll tell you what the problem is and what it'll take to fix it.

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Known Problems

The 1993-2002 Toyota Supra and Toyota Supra Turbo radiator may crack near the radiator cap. When it cracks, the engine will begin to run warmer than normal, and eventually will overheat. Overheating will also be accompanied by a sweet smell around the front of the vehicle, most noticeable under the hood.

Replacement of the radiator is the only solution, as the crack occurs on plastic.

The upper radiator hose on the 1993-2002 Toyota Supra is known to buckle, and contact the engine fan. When this occurs, the engine will immediately overheat, and hot coolant will pour on the engine causing steam from the engine bay.

The solution is to replace the radiator hose and coolant, and bleed the cooling system.

To prevent this from occurring, the radiator hoses should be changed every 60,000 miles.

The windows on the MKIV Toyota Supra commonly lean in towards the cabin when they are rolled down, and a metal-on-glass rattle is heard with any vibration. As the problem advances, popping may be heard from the door as the window rolls up or down.

This issue is caused by a failing window regulator which no longer holds the window upright, and places undue strain on pads that prevent the window from contacting the metal door frame. After a short time, the pads inside the door wear out, allowing the window to rattle and become scratched.

To correct the rattling and popping noises, the window regulator and pads must be replaced.

The MKIV Toyota Supra and Supra Turbo electric window regulator motors wear out much faster than expected.

This causes the windows to raise and lower very slowly until they eventually stop working. This has been reported on vehicles with less than 50,000 miles.

To fix the issue, the entire window regulator must be replaced.

The Toyota Supra and Supra Turbo from 1986-1992 (MKIII) is known to leak engine coolant and overheat due to a leaky heater control valve. Drivers will notice a decrease in heater performance, and increase in engine temperature. 

The purpose of this valve is to control the amount of heat that enters the cabin of the vehicle. If this valve has failed, it is recommended to use the OEM part for replacement.

Please note, the engine in both versions of the 1986-1992 Supra is prone to head gasket failure, so it is imperative that any coolant issues are addressed immediately to avoid costly repairs.

The third-generation (MKIII) Toyota Supra has a common problem with the rear hatch leaking water into the vehicle.

Through normal operation, dirt, leaves, or twigs will build up between the hatch and the body causing the hatch seal to deteriorate at a rapid pace. As the problem worsens, the hatch will develop water leaks, and wind noise in the rear of the car will increase. If this issue goes unchecked, rust will begin to develop in the spare tire compartment, and around hatch.

The solution is to replace the rear hatch seal, and thoroughly clean and wax the body where the seal makes contact. If rusting has already begun, the body will require repair.

To help prevent the issue, frequently clean any debris build-up between the hatch and body.

The 1986-1992 Toyota Supra and Toyota Supra Turbo may lose power, fuel economy, and possibly have black smoke from the tail pipe due to a known issue with the knock sensor and/or knock sensor wiring harness. 

The knock sensor is mounted to the engine, and detects knocking and pinging conditions which may harm the engine. When the knock sensor malfunctions, engine performance is decreased and fuel consumption is increased causing 'rich' running conditions. The check engine light is associated with OBD Trouble Code 52.

There are two common fixes for this issue: Inspect/repair sensor wiring harness, and test/replace knock sensor.

The 1986-1992 Toyota Supra and Toyota Supra Turbo used an asbestos type head gasket which commonly fails. Symptoms of a blown head gasket include:

-Start and stall, or no start condition

-Rough idle if the engine starts

-White smoke from exhaust

-Loss of power

-Milky, white oil on dipstick 

If you experience these symptoms, do not attempt to restart the vehicle, and have the problem addressed immediately. 

The solution is to replace the head gasket with an updated metal head gasket, and flush the engine and coolant systems of contaminants. 

The 1986-1992 Toyota Supra and Toyota Supra Turbo used an asbestos type head gasket which commonly fails. Symptoms of a blown head gasket include:

-Start and stall, or no start condition

-Rough idle if the engine starts

-White smoke from exhaust

-Loss of power

-Milky, white oil on dipstick 

If you experience these symptoms, do not attempt to restart the vehicle, and have the problem addressed immediately. 

The solution is to replace the head gasket with an updated metal head gasket, and flush the engine and coolant systems of contaminants. 

The power steering pump and power steering hoses tend to develop leaks and may require replacement.

At higher mileages (125,000+) the Engine Coolant Temperature Sensor may intermittently stop working, especially when the vehicle is fully warmed up. This can cause the engine to stall unexpectedly.

The EGR System tends to get restricted or blocked with carbon after 100,000- 125,000 miles which will cause an emissions test failure for NOX. If the EGR system is equipped with an EGR temperature sensor it will trigger a Check Engine Light for improper EGR flow. The repair is to clean out the EGR passages and the EGR Temperature sensor. Our technicians tell this repair is pretty straight forward and takes about 1-1.5 hours. It is also wise to verify the EGR system components i.e. the Transducer, EGR Valve and VSV Solenoid at this time.

At 125,000-150,000 miles, the Brake Master Cylinder may need replacing. It is critical to adjust the brake pedal to Master Cylinder pushrod clearance or the brakes will drag and over heat.

The AC Expansion Valve may develop a very slow leak or allow too much refrigerant flow which reduces cooling. Our technicians tell us that Toyota makes an updated expansion valve to resolve these problems if and when they occur.

The Throttle Position Sensor can get out of adjustment due to wear in the throttle body or due to carbon build up. This will cause the idle timing to advance more than 30 degrees which will cause very high HC and NOx emissions. Conversely, the Throttle Position Sensors can wear out and not properly advance the timing which causes a lack of power and poor fuel economy.