Toyota Nation Forum banner
1 - 19 of 19 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
8 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Hello new to the forum. The wife and I are looking to replace her buick enclave (a.k.a. the death trap) with a 1st or second generation highlander. If any of you are familiar with Copart.com that's where we are looking. I know first hand and I am a true believer of the Toyota's run forever mentality as my dad first made the jump from General motors to Toyota back in 96 with a Camry and didn't give it up until 2016 with 357k on the clock and the car wasn't dead at all just the trans took longer to engage when cold so somewhere out there is that good ole green Camry still chugging up and down the east coast. But I'm finding Highlanders in our price range (11k and under) with miles upward of 150k for about 7800-11,200 for the second generation styles. I'm looking only at base models, sports and limited's as the hybrid inverter situation is to big for an issue for me. So my biggest question is aside from the time belt (which I will do the moment it lands in my garage) what other hot button issues would you focus on. For that milage are those fair prices and how easy is it for the do it yourselfers to work on the 3.5? I figured I've been growing grey hairs and expanding my curse word vernacular working on general motors cars all these years it shouldn't be that hard to figure out right? Sorry for the long post just trying to cover as much as I can in one post! Thanks for the Advice you all give and thanks for reading!!

Sent from my SM-G950U using Tapatalk
 

·
Registered
Highlander(s)
Joined
·
1,362 Posts
I have both a 1st gen and a 2nd gen. Around 155k or 160k. While I have not done anything much under the hood of the 1st I did have the dealer do a bunch of work recently as it became worse than an oil leaker it became an oil gusher. My worst fear was it had a rear main seal issue. Thankfully not. It was front crank and cam seals. So I had the dealer do the whole job. Belt, pump, all new seals and coolant flush to update from red to pink coolant. Came to about $1100. My next thing will come in the spring. I will be pulling the valve covers and either replacing them (especially the rear) with the updated cover(s) (2005+) 3.3 and new gaskets or doing a thorough cleaning of the baffles to stop the last of the oil consumption issue. I also will have to have the AC issue tackled as it leaks out refrigerant as fast as it goes in. Gonna put in some dye and see what is going on.

It's a nice car really and most of the issues with it I can clock up to the previous owner not doing good maintenance. Using regular grade oil at whatever oil change places had it on sale, not changing the water pump on the first and or second t/belt change, not doing the came seals and so on. And also using high mileage oil (which I am not a fan of).
The 2nd gen is a nicer car in every way. It is MUCH quieter and refined, it is FAAAAAAST! It will rin and hide from the 1st gen in a heartbeat, gets WAY better MPG, honestly it is a damn nice car.

Under the hood stuff appears to be FAR more complicated for routine things like plugs and such than the 1st gen. But not that much. Here too this spring it will be due for plugs (around 130K) so it may be a trip to the dealer as well. I'm getting too old and tired for those kind of shenanigans :D

I think the prices you're seeing are AWFULLY high though
 

·
Premium Member
Was a 05 Tacoma 4x4 DC LB
Joined
·
13,024 Posts
We also have both (2007 Limited with 170K miles, 2010 Base with 151k miles). Power, quiet, interior room, and front seat comfort make the 2nd Gen far better than the 1st Gen IMO. Make sure you sit in both because the seats in the front are short. We’re 5’6” and the front seats on 1st gens don’t go out far enough under the thighs. It’s great for my daughter (her car) who’s only 5’.

Then you’d also have to look at the years within each Gen. more issues on the older 1st gens. More issues with the 2008 of the 2nd gen. We also owned a 2005 base HL before we bought our 2010. Oddly enough, all 3 highlanders have had transmission shifting issues. I’m considering not buying another highlander due to that pattern.

Only downside with the 2nd gen is less room to work on the backside of the engine. Look at the spark plug change DIYs (in stickies at top of each highlander forum) for an example.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
254 Posts
Looked at a 2008 Highlander around 240k. price was $4300, ended up it was a salesman's car and after a short test drive I offered $3500 and was glad to walk away with my money, I'm thinking there was not a check engine light on but a code in my scanner came up, and I think there was also a history code too. Ended up in a 2010 Sienna 206k, $3999, I really like it, spark plug change is equivalent, just resigned myself to taking off the wiper cowl. Point being, look around at different options, and be willing to walk away, that's the hard part - I tend to think I can fix it...Oh I should add look into the AWD, I read somewhere in a buyer's guide, I think for a Sienna but probably also applies to others, to check the transfer case gasket and seals and to be sure to get a warranty if available. My own short theory on Toyota's, if it don't burn a lot of oil and isn't all rusted out, it's probably a good one.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,492 Posts
I got one a year ago. As per my signature below!!!

You want the V6 3.5L engine without a doubt. No exceptions the V6!!!

4WD is excellent if you deal with winter roads as I do. I would not consider anything before 2011 but it needed some updates. 2012 has them implement for sure. 2013 was the last year for this and excellent. Anything earlier, I would not touch without detail service history. Very and what was fixed.
 
  • Like
Reactions: TrailDust

·
Registered
Joined
·
506 Posts
Just fyi, the 2GR-FE 3.5 liter engines found in 2nd gen Highlanders do not have a timing belt. They use a timing chain. I believe the previous generation 3.3 liter engine did have a timing belt and that was a necessary maintenance item.

For the DIYer, there are a lot of relatively easy things you can do to maximize the life of your Highlander.

Brakes: Real easy to replace the pads and rotors.

Engine:
Fluid changes; regular oil changes, transmission fluid, transfer case, coolant, rear diff etc. For AWD models, I had an issue getting a socket onto the fill plug of the transfer case. There wasn't much space. I used a Bostitch 15/16" 72481BT.
Spark plugs; rear one not so fun but still doable. I had some issues getting a long extension into the rear plug holes. I found if I just pulled the engine towards the front, there was enough play in the engine mounts to get my extension in. A flexible extension may be helpful here.
PCV; it costs only a few dollars and is so easy to change, why not?

Suspension:
Struts will be worn out after 100k miles. In the front, be mindful of the orientation of the strut bearing on top. Install it upside down and you will have weird vibrations. On model year 2008, the struts were made by Tokico. I am not sure who the manufacturer is for other years. KYB is also an OEM manufacturer.
Lower control arms; may want to check the rubber bushing to see if it is torn.
Sway bar links and bushings. The links are easy to change. The rear sway bar bushing is easy. The front sway bar bushing may be more difficult to access because it is mounted to the subframe. This did restore the ride back to new or newer. Tightened up the ride without making it harsh.
Front lower ball joints; Toyota's design makes it easy to replace these. I don't know why but new ones make the ride quieter. Didn't need a ball joint puller to remove it. Just undid all the bolts and then hammered on the ball joint and knuckle. Came out easy.

If you are real skilled, then I would recommend changing the water pump, thermostat, pulley and maybe the tensioner. These are items that need to be looked at after 100k miles. On some cars, it may last a lot longer, up to you to decide when to replace.

Lastly, don't skimp on the parts. Toyota parts are very high quality. You can find good deals online.
 

·
Resident Nutcase
Joined
·
11,819 Posts
I would avoid 08's due to several "annoyance" issues, none that would actually cause drive-ability issues though. I'd say beyond a water pump at ~75k, and an alternator near 90k, this car has been stupid reliable. Only work I've done on it is maintenance as required, its at 185k now.

Still stock rotors, 3rd round of pads.

Replaced all 4 struts @ ~150-160...I can't remember

Still original suspension bushings and steering tierods, though the lower a-arm bushings are coming due for replacement.

coolant changes every 50k after the 75k water pump replacement

more often than typical transaxle drain/flush.

all all the other standard fluid changes. As others have mentioned fairly easy to work on.
Plugs aren't too bad if your handy, just know there is a process to get to the rear bank for any work back there.

Only issue I've is my transmission is starting to act up (delayed downshifting then hard downshift, appears to be slipping at times), but that is 100% my fault from abuse. Oh and the timing chain cover is leaking, common 08 issue. Its sealed with silicone so stop-leaks won't fix it and you have to drop the engine to fix it. Not worth it.

I think I've seen 1 or 2 highlanders up near the upper 200's but that's a stupid high amount of driving, it won't be that common.

Oh and if your looking at doing any heavy towing, don't look at FWD.

If you can get a deal, its hard to find a more reliable car IMO.
 

·
Registered
Highlander(s)
Joined
·
1,362 Posts
When I was looking for mine I happened on one that in photos looked incredibly clean and well cared for and it was a 09 or 10 IIRC and I was truly going to have a peek at it until I saw the miles on it listed ar 348k (not km mind you miles). Guy was a sales person and on the road constantly. Claimed to no issues at all but 348K YIKES!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
254 Posts
Valve clearance is the one thing I'd consider at over 300k, if it's a shim that can be replaced to correct it that is ideal if one must. The other option is the cap type, more complex being it's likely the cam shaft would have to be removed. As of right now I am unsure what the 3.5L has.
 

·
Resident Nutcase
Joined
·
11,819 Posts
The later years definitely ironed out most of the issues. 2012 will get you past the oil cooler line issue (rubber line part of tow prep package can fail, Toyota switched to an all metal line mid '11). Mid '12 they updated the tailgate hinges that were bending from the power tailgate. Beyond that, most of the issues were fixed.

If you look at a '13, be aware they have a totally different radio setup. Its more of a double-din vs a integrated radio that fits the dash.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
8 Posts
Discussion Starter · #13 ·
The later years definitely ironed out most of the issues. 2012 will get you past the oil cooler line issue (rubber line part of tow prep package can fail, Toyota switched to an all metal line mid '11). Mid '12 they updated the tailgate hinges that were bending from the power tailgate. Beyond that, most of the issues were fixed.

If you look at a '13, be aware they have a totally different radio setup. Its more of a double-din vs a integrated radio that fits the dash.
Things like the radio are small due to more likely I'll be changing to an aftermarket unit..so while this is going to be a replacement for my wife's current buick enclave, she just started mentioning that she's kind of liking the rav4 . So along with looking into Highlanders we are expanding our searches to the rav4 as well..while we are here I just ran across a 2010 rav4 84k miles for about 5,500...looks well taken care of inside and out..what do you guys think?

Sent from my SM-G950U using Tapatalk
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
205 Posts
This past summer, wife gave my daughter her 08 HL Sport w/ over 230k miles on it.
Wife bought a 18 Rav4 Limited, loves it even more than the HL.
I could only comment on looking at the Rav4, since it's still under the dealership free maintenance. But I'm not sure what the difference is between the two gen Rav4 since I'm a Jeep guy.
Only good advice is get it checked out and scan for codes. And check the Rav4 forum.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
254 Posts
just ran across a 2010 rav4 84k miles for about 5,500...looks well taken care of inside and out..what do you guys think?
Very good on the price, get the VIN or at least make sure it's not some kind of Salvage/rebuild title. Try to see the oil change schedule for consistent about 5k intervals at most, 3k preferable. VIN can be checked at Toyota.com and Mycarfax.com with free accounts; then Vehiclehistory.com also has free search, and there are probably some others. Sometimes you can determine if a car is even worth looking at before ever calling. It might have the 2.5L 4 cylinder which is a good strong motor, and I think at 2010 your looking at the biggest cargo area, though they all are relatively close. Rented a 2018 Rav4 2.5L AWD over the summer and it was solid on the highway.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
28 Posts
Take your time and shop around if your not in a rush. I shopped around for almost 3 months and ended up with a 2009, V6 AWD base model with less than 60,000 miles. Single owner who traded it in for a brand new Lexus. All maintenance was done at the Toyota/ Lexus dealership so it was great to have access to service records.
It was a bit more than what I wanted to pay but knowing it came from a “good home” gave me a peace of mind. I really like it and planning to keep it a long time. Only thing I’m missing is Bluetooth really but I will just get a kit for $30 and call it a day.
 

·
Registered
Highlander SE
Joined
·
216 Posts
We have a 2012 Highlander SE with over 180k miles on it and we haven't had any problems at all other than a cracked windshield from too many rock strikes, and crud in the cabin blower fan that was causing an annoying hum. It's about to undergo its largest repair to date: my wife was the victim of a hit-and-run accident that did a number on the driver's door, front left quarter panel, bumper, and hood. We don't know if there's any mechanical damage yet.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
8 Posts
Discussion Starter · #18 ·
We have a 2012 Highlander SE with over 180k miles on it and we haven't had any problems at all other than a cracked windshield from too many rock strikes, and crud in the cabin blower fan that was causing an annoying hum. It's about to undergo its largest repair to date: my wife was the victim of a hit-and-run accident that did a number on the driver's door, front left quarter panel, bumper, and hood. We don't know if there's any mechanical damage yet.
Ouch man sorry to hear that but on an up note 180k with only a cracked windshield is awesome

Sent from my SM-G950U using Tapatalk
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4 Posts
I would avoid 08's due to several "annoyance" issues, none that would actually cause drive-ability issues though. I'd say beyond a water pump at ~75k, and an alternator near 90k, this car has been stupid reliable. Only work I've done on it is maintenance as required, its at 185k now.

Still stock rotors, 3rd round of pads.

Replaced all 4 struts @ ~150-160...I can't remember

Still original suspension bushings and steering tierods, though the lower a-arm bushings are coming due for replacement.

coolant changes every 50k after the 75k water pump replacement

more often than typical transaxle drain/flush.

all all the other standard fluid changes. As others have mentioned fairly easy to work on.
Plugs aren't too bad if your handy, just know there is a process to get to the rear bank for any work back there.

Only issue I've is my transmission is starting to act up (delayed downshifting then hard downshift, appears to be slipping at times), but that is 100% my fault from abuse. Oh and the timing chain cover is leaking, common 08 issue. Its sealed with silicone so stop-leaks won't fix it and you have to drop the engine to fix it. Not worth it.

I think I've seen 1 or 2 highlanders up near the upper 200's but that's a stupid high amount of driving, it won't be that common.

Oh and if your looking at doing any heavy towing, don't look at FWD.

If you can get a deal, its hard to find a more reliable car IMO.
Just wondering how that was happened to the transmission just to avoid it plz
 
1 - 19 of 19 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.
Top