2001 Toyota 4Runner Problems

RepairPal has identified the most common problems with the 2001 Toyota 4Runner 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

At higher mileages, (125,000-150,000) the automatic transmission may not shift correctly. This can be caused by the throttle position sensor being out of adjustment or a shift solenoid needing to be replaced. Typically the transmission does not need to be completely overhauled.

At 125,000-150,000 miles, the 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 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.

Front brake rotors can wear causing a pulsation felt in the brake pedal. Our technicians tell us this condition is best corrected by replacement of the front rotors and brake pads.

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 2001-2002 models only. Please contact you local Toyota dealer to see if your vehicle is included.

The evaporative emission (EVAP) system may illuminate the vehicle's Check Engine Light due to intermittent failure of the charcoal canister purge control solenoid valve or canister failure. Upon failure of the charcoal canister, debris may circulate around the EVAP system causing other emission control problems.

When a mass air flow sensor problem occurs, resulting in a loss of power or hesitation on acceleration, the Check Engine Light will illuminate, perhaps indicating random cylinder misfire. The mass air flow sensor may respond to cleaning, but replacement of the sensor is best.

On higher mileage vehicles, an engine misfire may develop and/or the Check Engine Light may illuminate due to a failed ignition coil. It is not uncommon to replace all the coils when the first one fails in order to prevent return trips to the repair shop.

At higher mileages, an anti-lock brake system wheel speed sensor may wear out and illuminate the ABS warning light. It is recommended to replace the sensor with a factory part and be sure to clean all rust and debris from the mounting area because the mounting distance is critical. Failure to do so may result in the new sensor setting false trouble codes. Be sure to check the condition and runout of the front wheel bearings on the 2WD and 4WD vehicles and the CV joints on the 4WD vehicles since worn wheel bearings and/or CV joints can cause the ABS trigger rings to rub against the ABS sensors and damage them.

If the car will not start, the most likely problem is worn or corroded solenoid contacts in the starter. Usually, these parts can be replaced without purchasing a new starter.

If the engine will not crank over, the most common problem is the starter. These will tend to go out at about 100,00-125,000 miles. Sometimes it is only the starter solenoid, but often the complete starter (including solenoid) needs to be replaced.

The heater circuit for the oxygen sensor tends to have a higher than normal failure rate. Failure of the oxygen sensor heater circuit will illuminate the Check Engine Light. The internal oxygen sensor heater cannot be repaired, the failed sensor should be replaced to correct this concern.


At higher mileages (125,000 -150,000) the power steering pump may begin to leak on the 6 cylinder vehicles and could require replacement.