This article will look at the common Toyota 3.4 engine problems and how they can be solved if you experience them. Toyota is well-known for its reliable and strong engine designs, the 3.4 engine inclusive.
The 3.4 engine guarantees an impressive engine performance. This incredible performance comes with many responsibilities that this engine may find difficult to handle. This is why Toyota vehicles that use this engine design may encounter some engine-related problems at any point in time.
So, in case you have experienced any form of 3.4 engine complications or issues in the past, and you have always blamed these issues on yourself, you may have to reconsider. Most of the Toyota 3.4 engine issues are connected to the engine design. However, some issues are mainly a result of the owner’s neglect or poor maintenance culture.
The good news is that all the engine problems linked to this design can be solved, no matter how critical or easy they appear.
Toyota 3.4 Engine Details
The 3.4 engine is also known as 5VZ-FE. This engine was introduced in 1995, and it was specially designed for Toyota SUVs and other off-road vehicles. This engine remains one of the top engines made by Toyota to date. With proper maintenance, this engine can perform optimally for a very long time.
Asides from the common problems that occur as a result of the engine design and configuration, when you take good care of your 3.4 engine, it will surprise you from time to time.
Features of Toyota 3.4 5VZ-FE Engine
The design of the 3.4 engine (5VZ-FE) is similar to the 3VZ-FE (3.0 engine). The cast-iron cylinder block used in designing this engine is the same as 3VZ-FE; the only difference is noticeable in the bore size. The larger bore size allows an increased displacement from 3.0ltr to 3.4ltr.
This engine comes with a V-shaped configuration, and the cylinders are positioned at an angle of 60 degrees. To ensure maximum torque is produced while the engine is running at low or average speed, the 3.4 engine comes equipped with a new intake manifold with extended runners.
Also, the injection system of the Toyota 3.4 engine is improved. It comes with an oil cooler and modified cooling fan that enhances engine performance during off-road trips or adventures by preventing overheating.
Specification of Toyota 3.4 Litre V6 engine
- 1995-2004 production date
- The cylinder block is made of Cast Iron
- Uses gasoline
- Fuel injection system
- 3Ltr engine oil capacity
- The cylinder head is made from aluminum
- V-shaped configuration
- 420 pounds engine weight
- 6 cylinders (4 valves/cylinder)
- 190 Horsepower
- Valvetrain layout- DOHC
- Four-stroke naturally aspirated internal combustion engine
- 6:1 compression ratio
Common Toyota 3.4 Engine Problems and Solutions
01. Engine knocking problem
Like other Toyota engines, the 3.4 engine produces a cool and smooth sound whenever the engine is in operation. Once the engine’s sound becomes annoying or disturbing (extremely loud sound), this may signal an engine knocking problem.
This sound is hard to figure out, as they resonate in different ways. Several reasons may lead to engine knock in the 3.4 engine. Some of the notable reasons are broken flex plate, faulty accessory belt, faulty engine timing, poor knock sensor, air and gas mixture, and old bearings.
When you fail to attend to this issue as soon as possible, it may affect your vehicle’s performance, efficiency and even result in a breakdown.
Solution for Engine knocking problem
If you want to prevent this problem from occurring, there are some effective steps that you need to take.
- Ensure you make use of top-quality gas in your vehicle
- Use gas with a higher octane rating.
- Use additives that are specially designed to control the accumulation of carbon.
- Ensure your engine is checked regularly by an expert. The spark plugs can be checked for possible replacement during each maintenance routine.
02. Overheating Problem
Generally, machines are equipped with cooling systems. The size and design may differ, depending on the device or machine type, but the functionality is the same.
The component designed to ensure your vehicle engine’s performance is not affected due to overheating is known as COOLANT.
As a result of continuous innovation in the automobile world, manufacturers have continued to improve how best to ensure the engine is not affected by overheating by coming up with the best ways to cool the vehicle engines. Although, these approaches fail sometimes.
Causes of the overheating problem
- A leakage in the cooling system
- A faulty thermostat
- Faulty cooling fans
- A faulty radiator
- A water pump failure happens to be the major issue associated with overheating in Toyota vehicles.
A leakage in the cooling system
The antifreeze liquid method, as it is popularly called, is an effective way of cooling the car’s engine. Since this cooling method makes use of liquid, leakage is inevitable.
So, when there is a leakage in your vehicle’s cooling system, the coolant escapes, and air enters through the openings, which may lead to airlocks. When this occurs, the air bubbles that are already formed in the cooling system find it very difficult to escape, which may lead to a halt in coolant circulation.
In a situation where the coolant is hindered or restricted from moving to the cooling system, the engine’s heat is trapped, resulting in overheating.
- Ensure you always check for leakages in the cooling system
- In case there is any, make sure you fix it as soon as possible to prevent air buildup
- Ensure you put an eye on the coolant level by paying close attention to the expansion tank from time to time- it should either read “Min or Max.” Anything different from these two readings means something is wrong, and you should immediately get it fixed
- When the weather is cold, check your coolant to ensure it has not solidified
A faulty thermostat
The main duty of a thermostat is to control coolant circulation through the engine during operations.
Normally, the temperature of your 3.4 Toyota engine must not exceed 220 ℉ during operation. Your vehicle’s temperature range must remain consistent at all times to enjoy optimum engine performance. Hence, the need for the thermostat to open and close at the appropriate time.
When the thermostat is open, it results in constant and unrestricted circulation of coolant, thereby ensuring the engine doesn’t overheat while driving.
On the contrary, a closed thermostat restricts the circulation of coolant through the radiator to the engine. This results in a very hot temperature in the vehicle’s engine.
Signs associated with a faulty thermostat
- You may notice that your vehicle’s temperature gauge gives a very high value, and your engine is overheating
- The temperature becomes inconsistent- changes intermittently
- You may also experience coolant leaks beneath the vehicle or around the thermostat house
Ensure your thermostat is checked regularly to ascertain it is in perfect condition.
How to check if a thermostat is in a good condition
- You can check if your thermostat is in good condition by placing your hand or one of your fingers over the radiator hose once you start the engine. Once the engine becomes warm and reaches a particular temperature, the thermostat is expected to open to help push out the produced hot air, thereby keeping the engine cool
- If the thermostat is active, the release of the generated hot air should keep the radiator hose within an average temperature- although a bit uncomfortable. Still, it must not be extremely hot to touch
- If the hose is too hot, then your thermostat may need to be checked to detect a possible fault.
Faulty cooling fans
The cooling fan’s function is to ensure the engine is cool and not affected by heat from time to time. While the engine is in use, the coolant temperature rises. When there is an absence of air to cool it, overheating may occur. The cooling fans provide the necessary airflow using electric motors.
The electric motors are responsible for the rotation of the fan blades, which result in the production of airflow. In a situation where the electric motors are faulty, the cooling fans won’t work.
If you notice that the fans fail to come on, do not hesitate to check the electric motors for burnout or failure and get them fixed or replaced as soon as possible.
A faulty or clogged radiator
The radiator’s major function is to cool your vehicle’s engine and prevent it from overheating. The coolant goes back to the radiator to cool down after it absorbs the engine’s heat. Once the cooling process is complete, the coolant is released back into the engine. The same process continues until the engine comes to a halt.
When the radiator is not performing efficiently, it has to be checked. The radiator’s performance may drop when it’s clogged, thereby leading to an extreme rise in engine temperature. If this issue is not fixed as soon as possible, it could damage the engine.
You can also check the radiator to ensure it is free from mineral deposits or not blocked by foreign materials.
Faulty water pump
The constant or continuous circulation of coolant from the radiator to the engine is made possible through the water pump. This component is responsible for ensuring this circulation or distribution continues. A top-performing or efficient water pump guarantees consistent temperature. It ensures your engine runs smoothly, thereby promoting a smooth driving experience at all times. A faulty water pump could result in a total engine shutdown.
When this component is affected, it may lead to a coolant leak, mostly due to rust. This leak can be noticed in the vehicle’s front center. Also, steam may start coming out from the radiator while driving or bringing the vehicle to a halt.
Check the water pump for rust, foreign object buildup, and even corrosion, especially before you go on adventures or road trips, to guarantee it’s in a good state.
If an owner of a 3.4 engine decides to reach out to an expert to fix any of the overheating problems discussed above instead of following the DIY guide, it cost between $500 and $1,500 to make necessary repairs.
03. High Oil Consumption Problem
Toyota’s 3.4 engine consumes a high quantity of oil. To ensure the engine is not deprived of oil, many Toyota owners spend excessively on oil. This has led to a lot of complaints over the years.
This problem is not easy to correct. Depending on the cause, correcting this issue can be very expensive. A notable cause of high oil consumption includes a faulty valve, a blown motor, and a faulty gasket head.
The solution to the high oil consumption problem
Once issues with high oil consumption are detected, ensure you take your vehicle to an expert to detect the issue and get it fixed.
For a faulty valve, the service cost is about $100. The service cost is about $1200 per cylinder for a gasket head, and it cost about $5700 to replace a blown rotor.
FAQ’s About Toyota 3.4 Litre V6 Engine
01. How much horsepower does a 3.4 engine have?
The 3.4 engine comes with a power rating between 190hp and 210hp at 5,200 rpm.
02. How can I increase the power and torque of a 3.4 engine?
The most popular way to increase the power and torque of a 3.4 engine is to get a supercharger installed.
03. Would a supercharger affect my engine life?
Installing a supercharger on your engine will not shorten your engine’s life provided the system is rightly tuned, regular engine maintenance is conducted, adequate oil replacement is done, and a consistent driving pattern is maintained.
04. How much does a supercharger cost?
An aftermarket supercharger kit costs between $1500 and $7500.
05. How good is a Toyota 3.4 engine?
The 3.4 engine is one of the best engines ever designed by Toyota in terms of performance and reliability. To get the best out of your 3.4 engine, make sure you conduct regular checks.
06. What models of Toyota make use of the 3.4 engine?
1995–2004 Toyota Tacoma, Toyota Land Cruiser Prado, 1995-2002 Toyota Granvia 2000-2002, 2004 GAZ-3111 2000–2004 Toyota Tundra, 1995–1998 Toyota T-100, 1996–2002 Toyota 4Runner, 1993–2004
07. How soon should I change the engine oil?
Make sure oil change is conducted every 12 months or upon every 10,000km traveled
Reliability of Toyota 3.4L v6 Engine
This engine offers extended reliability and performance than the engine design before it (the predecessor). Until the 3.4 engine was replaced with the 1GR-FE engine in 2004, it was a popular name among off-road Toyota vehicle owners for its reliable and excellent performance.
When it comes to longevity, a 3.4 engine has a lifespan of about two thousand miles. With high maintenance culture, which includes regular checks for faults and the use of premium engine oil, the life span of this engine can be elongated, thereby giving room for more extra miles.
In this guide, we have provided readers relevant details regarding Toyota 3.4 engine. We believe the identified problems and the provided solutions will guide you towards what to do if you notice any signs of a possible engine problem.
Also, suppose you are planning to purchase a vehicle with a 3.4 engine. In that case, this guide will go a long way in ensuring you have a sound knowledge of the 3.4 engine and ensure you make the right call.