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Toyota Supra Problems

RepairPal has identified the most common problems with the Toyota Supra based on complaints from 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

Brake fluid can become dirty and may cause problems in the brake system; it should be flushed every 60,000 miles.

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 Evaporative system may have problems with the vapor canister releasing charcoal pellets that plug the vent valve. Typically a Code P0441, P0442 and P0446 will be set. The key code is the P0446 which is a vent valve electrical failure. The proper repair is to replace the entire canister with all the valves as a unit. This is located on top of the fuel tank and is expensive. Our Technicians tell us that for awhile Toyota was covering these problems, but this may have changed. It would not hurt to call the dealer if this problem occurs to see if Toyota is still helping with these repairs.

As the size of the Supra vehicle gets ever larger, there is a tendency to warp the front rotors. This will be felt as a shudder in the steering wheel when braking. The front rotors can be remachined, if there is sufficient material left, otherwise the front rotors will need to be replaced. It is recommended to use factory quality rotors because cheap quality rotors warp very easily and tend to squeak and squeal.

At higher mileages (125,000+) the mass air flow sensor may cause the vehicle to idle rough, run rich and even stall. Our technicians recommended to replace the Mass Air Flow Sensor with a factory unit because the aftermarket units have very mixed results.