Highlander engine toast-cyl head bolt threads stripped - Page 2 - Toyota Nation Forum : Toyota Car and Truck Forums
1st Generation (2001-2007) Forum dedicated to the discussion of 1st generation Toyota Highlanders.

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#16 Old 01-03-2010, 02:47 PM
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So true about sticking with one dealer. I purchased my Highlander from a dealer 3 hours away when there was 2 dealers 45 minutes on either side of me. I took the Highlander back to the original dealer twice, once because I happened to be in the area when the first oil change was due and another time to have the seat replaced. The rest of the servicing was done by another dealer closer to home. I found they never went out of their way to help me, never provided a loaner car, always took longer than expected, they weren't flexible and they always made it seem like I was inconveniencing them.. I bought my Highlander from the other dealer and I've never been happier.. they will go out of their way to service my car.. and they always return my calls!

If you're not going to fix the Highlander, you're not going to get much for it. You would be better off repairing it and selling it with a new engine. If your buyer knows anything about these vehicles they know the body will last forever.. so they're basically buying a new car.

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departed.. 2002 & 2008 Highlander V6 AWD..
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#17 Old 06-01-2010, 06:18 PM
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Head Gasket blown on my 2003 Highlander as well. Threads stripped out on 3 bolts on back of the head. I have 135,599 miles on my vehicle. I loved it until seeing the number of similar complaints. I also filed a complaint with the NHTSA. I am still waiting to hear from Toyota on this problem. Are the thread inserts worth it?
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#18 Old 06-01-2010, 06:26 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cclemons View Post
Head Gasket blown on my 2003 Highlander as well. Threads stripped out on 3 bolts on back of the head. I have 135,599 miles on my vehicle. I loved it until seeing the number of similar complaints. I also filed a complaint with the NHTSA. I am still waiting to hear from Toyota on this problem. Are the thread inserts worth it?
I don't know what NHTSA would do about this, it's not a safety issue. Check out the camry forums, there's a lot more help about this problem there. From what I've read, thread inserts are the way to go, but you need to do all the holes and not just the 3 you know are stripped. It's not a death sentence... when you're done the head will be fastened more securely than when it left the Toyota factory. Good luck!
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#19 Old 06-05-2010, 09:15 AM
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Hey all! My 2004 Highlander just took a dump on me @ get this 86,000 miles! And here is the clincher,,,,,they say it is my fault! Longo Toyota said that the "head bolts" stripped out causing the water pump to fail, warping the head and causing also water and oil to mix and that the engine is a totoal loss! But get this,,,,,,it will only cost me 7,500,,,,thats right 7,500 to replace! We kept out vehicle in tip top condition and even had the extended warranty up to 90,000. I am trying to fight this,,,,,,can someone help me in what I can do next. I have already contacted (called) and wrote to the insurance company and they are going to let me speak to their attorney. please help, I have heard this is a common defect on the 4cyl engine-dbg33
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#20 Old 06-05-2010, 02:05 PM
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Originally Posted by dbg33lovesjc View Post
Hey all! My 2004 Highlander just took a dump on me @ get this 86,000 miles! And here is the clincher,,,,,they say it is my fault! Longo Toyota said that the "head bolts" stripped out causing the water pump to fail, warping the head and causing also water and oil to mix and that the engine is a totoal loss! But get this,,,,,,it will only cost me 7,500,,,,thats right 7,500 to replace! We kept out vehicle in tip top condition and even had the extended warranty up to 90,000. I am trying to fight this,,,,,,can someone help me in what I can do next. I have already contacted (called) and wrote to the insurance company and they are going to let me speak to their attorney. please help, I have heard this is a common defect on the 4cyl engine-dbg33
I'd suggest taking it to another dealer. Just a personal opinion but I think Longo sucks. I've dealt with them before, and I've had friends and family who have either purchased there or had service there and the unanimous opinion is they suck. If you can get some recommendations for better dealers in your area.

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#21 Old 12-02-2010, 07:48 AM
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common problem?

I have a 2006 highlander, 4-cyl, which started leaking coolant last Monday, brought it directly to dealer - they said it was head gasket. After they start putting everything back together with new gasket, they tell me that two of the head bolts are stripped and I need a new short block, or entire engine. Should that have been caught when everything was being taken apart? Who do I call at Toyota about this if it is a common problem?
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#22 Old 05-12-2011, 01:17 PM
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USA Stripped Head bolts in 2.4L Highlander, 2002

I am just doing this right now, installing 10 Timecerts in the block with 150K miles. Pulled threads in #2,3,4,5,&6 based on bolt tightening sequence. Some are saying the cause is the foam insulator behind the intake manifold, others are saying it's inferior metallurgy or design. I think they just should have used a 12mm bolt instead of 11mm thread. $400 Timecert kit is expensive, but the holes are 3" down and they need to be enlarged for the insert to get down to the thread repair area. Very messy job, I should have vacuumed instead of blown compressed air in hindsight. I did make a protective sheath using contact paper, however. Had to machine surface of head & put in valve stem seals at the same time. Also doing water pump, radiator, cap, thermostat, timing kit, in addition to the headgasket set. By the way, the only sign was loss of coolant and finally overheating. With water, engine ran fine and smooth to the shop.
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#23 Old 05-13-2011, 01:35 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by topcatauto View Post
I am just doing this right now, installing 10 Timecerts in the block with 150K miles. Pulled threads in #2,3,4,5,&6 based on bolt tightening sequence. Some are saying the cause is the foam insulator behind the intake manifold, others are saying it's inferior metallurgy or design. I think they just should have used a 12mm bolt instead of 11mm thread. $400 Timecert kit is expensive, but the holes are 3" down and they need to be enlarged for the insert to get down to the thread repair area. Very messy job, I should have vacuumed instead of blown compressed air in hindsight. I did make a protective sheath using contact paper, however. Had to machine surface of head & put in valve stem seals at the same time. Also doing water pump, radiator, cap, thermostat, timing kit, in addition to the headgasket set. By the way, the only sign was loss of coolant and finally overheating. With water, engine ran fine and smooth to the shop.
please take some pictures for a job like this
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#24 Old 07-25-2011, 11:57 PM
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Glad I found this site and especially this thread.

I'm in the market for an SUV and have pretty much decided on the Highlander. Since I also ride motorcycles, "vanilla" -- the word most used by owners to describe the vehicle -- is fine by me.

But this bolt issue has me worried.

Is/was it just an issue on the 2003 4 cylinder or also on the 6? And if it was an issue on the 6, was it solved with the 2004 model?

I'm looking at both model years (but just the larger engine) and want to know if I should figure a sleeve insert into the price of the vehicle? Not adding that cost, it's a great price point for me w/ Highlanders under 60K miles...

Thanks in advance.

CJ
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#25 Old 07-26-2011, 08:40 AM
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I think the stripped head bolt problem affects 4 cyl engines. Have not read of it on the V6 engines.

The v6s are pretty solid - pre-2004 V6 engines can be prone to oil sludge issue if they are run using longer than recommended oil change intervals.
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#26 Old 07-26-2011, 10:55 AM
Take off, eh!
 
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But not all 3.0 V6 1MZ-FE VVTi engines turn to sludge. Agree with not skimping on quality oil changed at appropriate intervals. (not hard to do yourself)

I'm running one right now (2001) - burns zero oil, even after 10 years. No smoke on startup, none while running (obviously, or oil would drop). Have followed the HL all the way to Sask (~800 km each way) just this summer so can confirm nothing out the tailpipe.

As I also run a Tacoma, I notice the HL oil stays much cleaner appearing for the same # of Km as compared to the 1GR-FE in my truck.

I know colour of oil does not = anything, but just find it an interesting phenomenon, that's all.

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#27 Old 09-23-2011, 03:27 PM
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2003 Toyota Highlander Head Bolts Stripped Out

Our 2003 Highlander started leaking fluid on the garage floor and we thought it was water from the air conditioner, only to find out it was coolant. We took the car into our SAE certified mechanic who pressurized the radiator and found right away we had a bad leak on the back side of the block and from looking at it thought it might be an intake gasket or even a head gasket.

Well we knew we had to do something as we were dead in the water until we did so, so we had him tear into it only to find out just like everyone out on the Internet that is talking about the head bolt problem being stripped out from the factory, we had the same issue. I called our local dealership where we bought the car (Rodland in Everett WA) and Steve in Service said they were aware of the problem but Toyota wasn't standing behind the problem but then said we could call Toyota Corporate and he gave me their number. After going through some hoops I finally reached a human being and she stated Toyota would NOT be helping us... I said we bought the car brand new and it only has 105k miles on it and we have changed the oil every 3,000 - 3,500k and it has been garaged the whole time we have owned it.

I then stated this is NOT a minor problem and that there is no way we could have caused the head bolts to be stripped and of course it could have only happened at the time of manufacturing. She didn't care and said Toyota could not help us! Well... we went on the Internet and see there is hundreds if not thousands of people complaining about the same issue with NO help from Toyota, just crazy if you ask me. I found the engine will start leaking around 90k to 120k, well we are at 105k so just my luck it cost my family $2,750.00 to get repaired. Our mechanic who has been wonderful through all this said the only fix he could find without buying a $4k motor was to buy a Heli Coil kit out of California that was guaranteed to fix/stop the leaking. He had to spend several hours drilling out the block making sure it was straight and lined up so the new bolts wouldn't strip going in.

Well, that was the fix and $2750.00 later we have a 2003 Highlander with a 2.4L 4 cylinder engine that no longer leaks. We were so made at Toyota we went up and traded the car in for a Cadillac SRX and will NEVER buy another Toyota as long as we live! Ever... In fact we are telling everybody we can to do the same and how Toyota put the screws to us knowing full well this was their issue not the customer who has been keeping the car maintained and has all the records to prove it. Shame on you Toyota, we hope you go out of business real soon so you can stop screwing over the millions of loyal customers. You're NOT who you used to be and it is easy to see you only care about the numbers and not the customers who helped you get where you are... Well, that can change, and we HOPE it does. I know my two companies would never treat customers like you do... KW. Everett, WA
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#28 Old 01-13-2012, 02:39 PM
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add another to this list-'02 highlander-stripped bolts/blown head

Original owner of '02 AWD w 4 cyl engine.
All maintenance performed on schedule with 3K oil change intervals.
Late November, head blew, severe coolant leak.
Diagnosed as bolts that backed off/stripped.
Mechanic had to take off head, have it re-milled & tested, buy a "kit" from Toyota for this repair, new H2O pump etc. Cost $2400.
Called Toyota "Customer Experience" Department ( what a funny name for people who don't give a hoot about their customers).said they could do nothing.
Ended up writing a letter to Lenz ( President of Toyota USA) ---some other guy called me back to tell me Toyota will do nothing for you.
Have filed NTHSB complaint ( there were a number of others with same issue-you may want to go look at the site)
Also own an "09 Camry.
Toyota has lost this customer forever.
Firstly, this board ( and other similar ones) countless other vehicle owners with identical problem.
Secondly if Toyota says there's no problem, why do they sell a "kit" just for this specific repair.
Toyota is doing everything possible to avoid responsibility for a problem that they should assume.
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#29 Old 01-13-2012, 02:55 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jabberwock View Post
I think the stripped head bolt problem affects 4 cyl engines. Have not read of it on the V6 engines.

The v6s are pretty solid - pre-2004 V6 engines can be prone to oil sludge issue if they are run using longer than recommended oil change intervals.
Any engine can be prone to sludge if not following recommended oil change intervals. Especially in extremely humid or cold climates.

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#30 Old 01-13-2012, 02:59 PM
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Originally Posted by daddyo View Post
They tried a helicoil, which they said was a Toyota part, but it wouldn't hold.
Helicoil's are definetly not a Toyota Part, using a helicoil basically is drilling the bolt hole larger and threading it, then threading in a Helicoil which makes the hole the same size for the stock bolt. Not really recomended for heads as I highly doubt a Helicoil would hold up to the torque required. I'm suprised the dealership even recommended it. Not only does it enstill false hope in the customer, but makes them look like monkeys running around a gymnasium afterwards.

Sorry for your bad experience.

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