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.
1997 Toyota Tacoma Problem Reports
Most Reported 1997 Toyota Tacoma Problem Reports
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.
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.
Occasionally, the mass air flow sensor can go lean and set a code P0170 for fuel system lean. This in not an oxygen sensor problem. If there are no vacuum leaks, the mass air flow sensor may need to be replaced. Our technicians remind us to use a factory part because the aftermarket rebuilds are very inconsistent.
Some engines have had the problem of the crankshaft pulley bolt coming loose. This will make a rattling noise as the engine idles. Our technicians tell us that the pulley bolt should have a thread locker applied and then retorqued.
If the vehicle will not crank over, the most common problem is the starter, which tend to fail at about 100,00-125,000 miles. Sometimes it is only the starter solenoid contacts, but often the complete starter (including solenoid) needs to be replaced.
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.
On vehicles with a manual transmission, worn shift bushings can cause the transmission to pop out of gear, especially when coasting down in 1st or 2nd gear. Replacing all the shift linkage bushings is pretty straight forward and not expensive and will commonly correct this concern.
At higher mileages (125,00+) the Engine Coolant Temperature Sensor may intermittently stop working, especially when the vehicle is fully warmed up. This can result in illumination of the Check Engine Light and/or an engine stalling problem.
At higher mileages (125,000+) the mass air flow sensors may cause the vehicle to idle rough, run rich and even stall. It is recommended to replace the mass air flow sensor with a factory unit because the aftermarket units have very mixed results.
A rough idle and even an emissions inspection failure for high HC and CO can be caused by improperly adjusted valves. Also, exhaust valves may become to tight which can lead to valve failures. Our technicians tell us that regular valve adjustment inspections are a must.
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.
A loss of power on the freeway may due to an internally leaking fuel pulsation dampener. This commonly occurs on higher mileage vehicles.