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Guide Section: Engine and Driveline

Timing belt, water pump, differentials, etc.

Fixing the Clutch Pedal Spring (Torsion to Linear, Eliminate Squeaks)

I don't know why, but not all manual transmission 1st gen Tacomas use the same spring to return the clutch pedal to the out position. Those equipped with a 4-cylinder engine use a linear spring (90507-14030), and those with a 6-cylinder use a torsion spring. The problem with the torsion spring isn't the spring itself - it's plenty strong and never wears out. Rather, it's the plastic bushings that capture the ends of the spring which eventually wear through, resulting in a squeaky clutch pedal, and eventually a clutch pedal that won't fully return to the out position. The solution…

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How-to: Rebooting a Tacoma CV Axle

If you own a Toyota Tacoma - and especially if you drive it off-road or with any kind of lift - you're likely to have a CV axle boot crack or split at some point, flinging grease everywhere and making a royal mess. I was lucky enough to have it happen on the first day of a two week trip to Anza-Borrego. Winning! Once this happens, you essentially have three options: Do nothing. This is the route a lot of people take, sometimes because they don't even notice the problem. For me of course, it wasn't an option. Buy an…

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How-to: Replace the Fuel Filter in a 96-04 Tacoma or 96-02 4Runner

This is an easy project, and one that I'd put off for way too long before doing for the first time recently. Personally, I'd recommend changing your fuel filter at the same time you do your timing belt - every 90K miles or so - just as preventative maintenance, and to keep your fuel pump and engine running as smoothly as possible. Of course, if you're in a very dusty environment, every 30K may be a better interval. The process is straight forward - remove the old filter and replace it with a new one - but there is one…

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Rear Diff Breather Mod - Why didn't I do this sooner?

It seems like just about everyone does this mod sooner or later, and I chose a little later. 17 years a little later. The fact that we have to do this mod at all is a bit unfortunate. Designers at Toyota placed a breather for the rear differential right on the diff housing, which means that if you submerse the diff in water when it's hot, the contraction of air in the diff could suck water into the diff, destroying it. Sounds great, right? Yeah, clearly no. The fix is pretty simple: add an extension to the breather to move…

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Replacing the PCV Valve on a 5VZFE (Tacoma, 4Runner)

One of the easiest - and often overlooked - maintenance jobs on a Tacoma or 4Runner is replacing the PCV valve. This is a one-way check valve that allows blow-by crank case combustion gases back into the engine to be combusted, rather than vented to the atmosphere (where they would cause pollution). As a check valve, the part is quite simple, but over time the spring in the check valve can wear out, and the grommet that holds the PCV Valve onto the engine can harden due to constant heat/cool cycles. When that happens, replacing it becomes difficult, as bits…

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Replacing the Transmission Seal for the Transfer Case Input Shaft on a 1st gen Tacoma (or 3rd gen 4Runner)

The transfer case on a 1st gen Tacoma is generally known to be a very reliable part - often lasting 300-500K miles. However, it is very common to develop a leak in the seal that keeps - or is supposed to keep - the space between the transmission and transfer case dry, resulting in a reasonably constant wet spot between the two components, and often a drop of oil on the transfer case skid plate. If you have a 1st gen Tacoma, you're likely familiar with this leak. The seal in question housed in the transmission, and seals around the…

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Step by Step Toyota Tacoma Timing Belt Replacement for 3.4L V6 5VZFE (also 4runner, Tundra, and T100)

I recently changed the timing belt and water pump on my 2000 Tacoma, and it went great. In addition to the story of shop day, I figured a detailed set of instructions for anyone wanting to tackle this themselves would be nice to put together, since it's hard to find that written down in one concise place (maybe even impossible before now). This is of course based on the Factory Service Manual (FSM) description, but varies slightly (to make things easier) and doesn't require flipping back and forth between many different sections. And, there's a great YouTube video by Timmy…

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Step-by-Step Clutch Replacement on 1st Gen Tacoma 5VZFE (also 4Runner, T-100, Tundra)

The clutch on a 1st gen Tacoma is generally known to be a very reliable part - often lasting 200K miles or more. Eventually though, they all wear out, necessitating replacement. There are several clutch options out there for the v6 (5VZFE) 96-04 Tacoma (or 96-02 4Runner, 95-98 T100, and 00-04 Tundra), and this guide will walk you through installation of any of those kits. Even with a 4-cylinder Tacoma, the process will be remarkably similar, though parts specifics may vary slightly. As always, start by gathering parts and tools. Parts When installing a new clutch in a 5VZFE Tacoma…

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Step-by-Step Front Diff Bushing Replacement

Over time, rubber bushings wear out and need to be replaced. This happened for me recently when I Replaced All the Bushings on my Tacoma, and I figured that others could benefit from a quick little guide that shows the entire process and lists all the necessary parts for the front diff bushings. Parts Durobump Front Diff Bushings are the only parts you need for this job. Tools Misc sockets (I recommend this set from Williams, a Snap-On brand) 12mm, 14mm socket - to remove the skid plate. 19mm socket to remove front diff brackets. 21mm socket - to remove lug…

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Step-by-Step Replacing Rear Axle Seal & Bearing w/ABS (1st gen Tacoma or 3rd gen 4Runner)

I recently discovered a dreaded gear oil leak on my 4Runner, and knew it meant only one thing - it was time to change the rear axle seals (and bearings and brake shoes since they were now saturated with oil). In addition to the story of the 4Runner repair, and later the Tacoma repair, I figured a detailed set of instructions for anyone wanting to tackle this themselves would be nice to put together, since it's hard to find that written down in one concise place (maybe even impossible before now). This is of course based on two amazing resources -…

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Step-by-Step Replacing the Transfer Case on a Tacoma

The transfer case on a 1st gen Tacoma is generally known to be a very reliable part - often lasting 300-500K miles. However, if yours does fail, replacement is relatively simple - the hardest part sometimes is finding a replacement case, since they are no longer available new. This guide will walk through what to look for in a replacement case, as well as the parts and tools needed to swap that new case into a Tacoma. And, while the specifics apply to a 1st gen Tacoma, the process is generally the same for any vehicle. Transfer Cases There are…

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