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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So I have an '07 FJ with 307,000 miles on it. Long story short with what I've been going through with it, I've learned that I need new catalytic converters and my timing chain is stretched. Even if I fix the catalytic converters and replace the timing chain, there is the potential for other issues with the engine. They also checked the other sensors that are associated with the catalytic converters because that was a question I had prior to them just deciding it was the catalytic converters. After some consideration and the fact I can not part with my FJ, I have decided to get a new engine because otherwise the body is fine, there's minimal rust if any and it's in great condition (disregarding the motor and catalytic converters lol). My question is, what is everyone's take on getting a new engine, best place to look into getting one and can I consider a rebuilt or used? I am not car savy whatsoever, I take my FJ in for basic maintenance and that's it, so any input is greatly appreciated. I am in a position where I can't get a new car (definitely not an FJ) and the money I have put into the FJ far exceeds what I will get for it. I just put new tires on not even two months ago and some other additional things.
 

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Before deciding the cats are bad, you can try replacing the air/fuel sensors and O2 sensors in the exhaust pipes, when they are worn they send incorrect data to the ECU which interprets it as "bad cats".

For timing chain stretch, on a 300k mile engine, replacing the chain vs. replacing the engine, that's a tough one, I'll let some more experienced folks chime in on that one. My personal thinking in that case might be to find a used engine with fewer miles and put it in.
 

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I think they put that motor in everything. I'd look for a pull and swap it. Can't be that hard.
Normally, i would suggest doing the t/c, but at 300k, there may be other issues.
 

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I got a low mileage take out on Ebay a few years back, it has worked out well so far. I would advise against a low buck rebuild as they don't often come with the same stock parts. The engines are sleeved and its difficult at best to do a reliable job of resizing cylinders to OEM specifications.

Regarding the cat error codes, the FJ is the most senstive vehicle I have ever seen for triggering codes. I have gone through several sets within the original OEM replacement window. Unfortunately the only acceptable replacements are from the OEM direct and they cost a fortune to replace. I don't think I'm out line with thinking it costs about $3,000 for OEM replacements (all 4).
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Okay. So here is what has happened.
A few weeks ago, my check engine light came on and my coolant level starting running high. CHeck the coolant, it wasn't terrible low and ran diagnostics and the camshaft sensor code popped up. The camshaft sensor was replaced first by a after-market part which caused the car to jerk while accelerating (it felt like it was misfiring, I would have it in cruise control and it was just jerking) but no codes came up for the catalytic converters at that time. My coolant wasn't running hot until literally right before I replaced my sensor with an OEM sensor. So, It was replaced with a (oem part) and the jerking subsided and my coolant level wasn't heating up. Shortly after, the jerking started again, but was not as constant as before. Mind you, the jerking had never occured in the car before all of this happened. So I took it in again, and then the codes for the catalytic converter popped up. I was waiting in line at a drive thru and was in idle and that's when things went downhill. After I exited the drive thru, the car started to chugg and not accelerate well. Then the check engine light started flashing. I couldn't accelerate well at all and my car chugged the two minutes back home. I got it towed and diagnostics run and this time a misfire code appeared. I am in a tight spot because I do not want to part with my FJ. I will never be able to afford another (at least at this time). I have been told even if I replace the catalytic converters and the timing chain there may still be other issues and I may just be pouring money into nothing. I don't know what to do. I told the tech about getting a new motor but he was like oh well then you have a 300,000 fuel filter and a 300,000 this and that and it'll just be more money than anything. I was also told I can't take the catalytic converters off because of all the sensors and it'll cause more issues. I am at a lost hence why I have turned here for help. I mean heck, could I get a wrecked FJ and replace everything on mine? I have shelled a good amount of money into this car to just let it go. I am going away to medical school in the next year or so, and I won't have a solid income so car payments are not the best idea. But at the same time, do I just strip it and put things on a used 4Runner, which I can get cheaper than an FJ and sell mine for parts and give up? I was told by the toyota dealership they wouldn't have done the repairs because of the mileage and it was not worth it...... This has been a headache. I am sorry for the long explanation, I've had this car for 8 years and It has served me well. I just hate to part with the car I always wanted.
 

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Try here: 2007-2009 FJ Cruiser motors pretty much all the same. Also Tacoma 2007-2012 the same as the 07-09 FJ 4.0L motor. will want to keep your ECM (engine control module), but the long block is pretty much the same Just searching for 2007 FJ Cruiser, I saw a 90k mile motor for about $4600.

 

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I'm not sure how much of this work you are willing to do on your own versus have a shop perform. It sounds like you have a few issues that should be able to be sorted out without too much extra effort.

  • If you haven't replaced the fuel pump and in tank strainer, now would be a great time to do so. This does involve lowering the tank, but all in all its a one day job. Aftermarket performance pumps can be had for a couple hundred dollars (Aeromotive, AEM, or Walbro sourced from URD) or you can stick with OEM here for a couple hundred more.
  • You most certainly need a timing chain, guides and tensioners at your mileage and with your complaints. Again $600 or so in parts and a couple of day's labor.
  • I have purchased used OEM exhaust manifolds and cat's in the past. Depending upon which state you are in will determine what your options are here and stay good to the regulations. There are ZERO carb approved after market cats, so if you're in a state under those expectations, then your best bet is to find low mileage used parts. If you're in a state that allows it, after market headers could be a option to replace those parts.
  • Overheating can happen if you're running too lean, too retarded, or with obstructed cats which can be a result of your earlier symptoms.
  • I would try to spend a little more time diagnosing your current engine:
a) test and determine if you have a head gasket leak.
b) send an oil sample off to be evaluated, do you have excessive metals in the oil?
c) look in the cats to see if they have visually failed.


- If the engine does not look like it has a head gasket issue or bearing material in the oil, I would spend the money to address the specific issues. If you have a head gasket leak on top of the other known issues then you might be ready for a replacement engine. I paid about $3,000 for a 63,000 mile engine delivered from ebay. It turned out to be a great purchase. I still went on to install a new water pump, plugs, fuel injectors, idlers, belts, and many other parts to have a pretty fresh install ($500-$1,000 bucks additional). The engine swap should only take two days from a good shop, so factor that into your cost equation. I also have a couple sets of almost new injectors if that's something you end up needing.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I'm not sure how much of this work you are willing to do on your own versus have a shop perform. It sounds like you have a few issues that should be able to be sorted out without too much extra effort.

  • If you haven't replaced the fuel pump and in tank strainer, now would be a great time to do so. This does involve lowering the tank, but all in all its a one day job. Aftermarket performance pumps can be had for a couple hundred dollars (Aeromotive, AEM, or Walbro sourced from URD) or you can stick with OEM here for a couple hundred more.
  • You most certainly need a timing chain, guides and tensioners at your mileage and with your complaints. Again $600 or so in parts and a couple of day's labor.
  • I have purchased used OEM exhaust manifolds and cat's in the past. Depending upon which state you are in will determine what your options are here and stay good to the regulations. There are ZERO carb approved after market cats, so if you're in a state under those expectations, then your best bet is to find low mileage used parts. If you're in a state that allows it, after market headers could be a option to replace those parts.
  • Overheating can happen if you're running too lean, too retarded, or with obstructed cats which can be a result of your earlier symptoms.
  • I would try to spend a little more time diagnosing your current engine:
a) test and determine if you have a head gasket leak.
b) send an oil sample off to be evaluated, do you have excessive metals in the oil?
c) look in the cats to see if they have visually failed.


- If the engine does not look like it has a head gasket issue or bearing material in the oil, I would spend the money to address the specific issues. If you have a head gasket leak on top of the other known issues then you might be ready for a replacement engine. I paid about $3,000 for a 63,000 mile engine delivered from ebay. It turned out to be a great purchase. I still went on to install a new water pump, plugs, fuel injectors, idlers, belts, and many other parts to have a pretty fresh install ($500-$1,000 bucks additional). The engine swap should only take two days from a good shop, so factor that into your cost equation. I also have a couple sets of almost new injectors if that's something you end up needing.
I’m getting so many different conflicting things about this car. So the timing chain is stretched but the only way they know that is because codes for the crank and camshaft popped up. But I have heard any metal to metal sounds though, no clanking nothing. That’s why they are assuming that. If I do replace the engine, besides the parts you listed, would there be any other parts you’d suggest replacing?
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I’m getting so many different conflicting things about this car. So the timing chain is stretched but the only way they know that is because codes for the crank and camshaft popped up. But I have heard any metal to metal sounds though, no clanking nothing. That’s why they are assuming that. If I do replace the engine, besides the parts you listed, would there be any other parts you’d suggest replacing?
It’s hard especially when I’m not car savvy whatsoever so I’m getting a lot of this second hand info from the tech without actually speaking to the tech. They say oh it’s the catalytic converters because of the codes and your timing chain is stretched but no reason behind it. So after trying to get more information out of him, I finally got told well it thru these codes which is leading us to believe it’s your timing chain. I don’t want to just let it go, I don’t. But it’s difficult to be doing this all on my own not really knowing too much and relying on repair shops to tell me what’s going on.
 

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I linked to one for $4600 that has 90k miles on it here:


LKQ is used by plenty of auto repair/body repair and insurance companies for OEM parts as an alternative to brand new OEM parts, and an alternative to inferior aftermarket parts.

You will need to find a local mechanic that can install the motor and will have to pay/ arrange shipping.

I wouldnt rebuild the $300k motor or wouldnt buy a rebuilt motor from some of the various engine rebuilders (Jasper, etc), but would go for a used low mileage motor. They made lots and lots of these exact motors as they were used in FJs, 4Runners, Tacomas.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 · (Edited)
I linked to one for $4600 that has 90k miles on it here:


LKQ is used by plenty of auto repair/body repair and insurance companies for OEM parts as an alternative to brand new OEM parts, and an alternative to inferior aftermarket parts.

You will need to find a local mechanic that can install the motor and will have to pay/ arrange shipping.

I wouldnt rebuild the $300k motor or wouldnt buy a rebuilt motor from some of the various engine rebuilders (Jasper, etc), but would go for a used low mileage motor. They made lots and lots of these exact motors as they were used in FJs, 4Runners, Tacomas.
I found a motor and mechanic if I need the engine replaced but I am at a total loss right now with this truck.

I have been thrown in every different direction.

The first mechanic that I usually go to replaced 2 spark plugs and 2 coils (apparently there was a third one that was bad and he missed that- may be a contributing factor to my catalytic converters going bad). He also replaced the camshaft sensor. Since the check engine light was still on, I took it to a toyota dealer to run further codes/diagnostics. They ran codes and it came back with a p0430, p0420 and p0335. Then I had my misfire and I took it back into toyota for diagnostics to see what the code was but I was never told what codes came up after that, just that my catalytic converters needed replaced. They didn't even see that I had a bad spark plug and converter. So I took it to the place recommended by toyota and my mechanic that would do my catalytic converters. Turns out, I had another spark plug and coil that was toast, it was black, and that caused my misfire. When the guy ran diagnostics there (and he stated he was able to retrieve past codes unless toyota did a hard reset, which is highly unlikely since it's difficult to do, only the p0430 and p0420 came up and there was never a p0335 code that he found, it wasn't even shown in the historic codes. The p0335 code was for the crankshaft but toyota stated I had a stretched timing chain and it needed major engine work done. We have replaced all my spark plugs and coils. The mechanic also said that some of the plugs/coils were loose and it was having a bad connection. The only other thing is I am dumping tons of coolant into it, but it was pressure tested held up to 18 psi and there are no leaks.

So as of now I am waiting on doing my catalytic converters (I don't have the money right now, this month has bled me dry) and they have not failed so I have some time to get this all figured out. I’m going to go back again to them and ask about my air fuel sensors/O2 sensor output levels. The mechanic said something about them but then completely dropped it. All he kept saying is I guess we need to replace the cats. At this time, my gas mileage has improved drastically, it accelerates normally in regards to power (it has always accelerated normally besides the jerking issue with the camshaft sensor and then the misfire), it has tons of power (i feel no loss of power), the rpms aren't running high when it is idling, and I don't have the jerking like I did before with the camshaft sensor issue when I accelerated. The only thing that I have, and this is because of the cats, is like sputtering when I accelerate, nothing drastic.

Is there any way that potentially the p0335 code could've been from the bad spark plugs/coils and the loose connections? I also never had a p0016 code come up during all of this indicating a bad timing chain. I read somewhere that FJ's like to throw codes for everything. I have looked into a new engine, it's an option, but I do not feel like my timing chain is damaged or has an issue. There has never been nor is there currently a clanking sound, no metal on metal noise, no noise whatsoever coming from my engine, the only sound is the fan and normal engine sound.

This car drives absolutely fine except for the sputtering. I don't know... this is driving me insane. My gut feeling and how I have felt through all of this is that this car is not as messed up as everyone is telling me, in regards to the timing chain being stretched. I know the cats may need replaced, it makes sense especially with having bad spark plugs and coils, that probably contributed to that.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 · (Edited)
Before deciding the cats are bad, you can try replacing the air/fuel sensors and O2 sensors in the exhaust pipes, when they are worn they send incorrect data to the ECU which interprets it as "bad cats".

For timing chain stretch, on a 300k mile engine, replacing the chain vs. replacing the engine, that's a tough one, I'll let some more experienced folks chime in on that one. My personal thinking in that case might be to find a used engine with fewer miles and put it in.
Hey norm356, I asked about replacing the air/fuel sensors, and the O2 sensors but they said because its sputtering when it accelerates, its the cats. But they said the cats haven't failed. Its continuing to throw bank 1 and 2 codes, p0420, p0430. I will have to ask them today again about their thoughts of the O2 sensors. They believe though that I probably did not need to replace my camshaft sensor. This is a mess, because I don't really know what I am talking about, I know very little, so I am trying to research this and believe what each mechanic is telling me is correct. Your thoughts, if I had a "stretched" timing chain, wouldn't I be hearing something god awful coming from my engine and having poor engine performance? The only thing now (and you can read the updated comment about what has happened), is that it is sputtering when I accelerate. I am going to talk to them about the O2 sensors and air/fuel sensors. If they are bad, could they cause the sputtering when I accelerate?
 

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Hey norm356, I asked about replacing the air/fuel sensors, and the O2 sensors but they said because its sputtering when it accelerates, its the cats. But they said the cats haven't failed. Its continuing to throw bank 1 and 2 codes, p0420, p0430. I will have to ask them today again about their thoughts of the O2 sensors. They believe though that I probably did not need to replace my camshaft sensor. This is a mess, because I don't really know what I am talking about, I know very little, so I am trying to research this and believe what each mechanic is telling me is correct. Your thoughts, if I had a "stretched" timing chain, wouldn't I be hearing something god awful coming from my engine and having poor engine performance? The only thing now (and you can read the updated comment about what has happened), is that it is sputtering when I accelerate. I am going to talk to them about the O2 sensors and air/fuel sensors. If they are bad, could they cause the sputtering when I accelerate?
I had a very similar situation based on your codes and description. I fought it for a while, changing out all the plugs and O2 sensors just like you're describing. Eventually, I read about some Tacoma guys having similar issues and sure enough...same thing.

Knock Sensors and/or wiring
It wasn't an easy job but I replaced both knock sensors + the wiring pigtail and my problems went away. Take this with a grain of salt, as I'm sure there are many other possibilities but hopefully this gives you some helpful info...


Just some of the threads, look into them yourself and see if they sound familiar:



 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
I put cataclean in and the engine started running better. We read codes and now I only have one code coming up, p0420. We looked at a live scan and my one sensor LTFT 2 is reading at idle -12. So that’s an issue. Now here’s where we open another can of worms. My coolant level was fine tuesday, today it is almost empty. The coolant was pressure tested and held 18psi so there aren’t any leaks, no dripping from the exhaust and no puddles under the car. Where is the coolant going?
only other thing that we heard today was with my engine. It almost feels like it’s running on 5 out of the 6 cylinders, it’s off. And when listening we heard three small knocks in a row (tensioner or guide broken?)
I’m going to replace the sensor next and go from there.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 · (Edited)
I had a very similar situation based on your codes and description. I fought it for a while, changing out all the plugs and O2 sensors just like you're describing. Eventually, I read about some Tacoma guys having similar issues and sure enough...same thing.

Knock Sensors and/or wiring
It wasn't an easy job but I replaced both knock sensors + the wiring pigtail and my problems went away. Take this with a grain of salt, as I'm sure there are many other possibilities but hopefully this gives you some helpful info...


Just some of the threads, look into them yourself and see if they sound familiar:



I’ll have to read into these and see. My one sensor needs replaced, it’s an air/fuel downstream sensor.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Plot twist… so I lost all of my coolant since filling it Tuesday. But here’s the interesting part too. My engine overheated today while idling and when we did a live log last night, the guy asked how long I had been running my car because my radiator cap wasn’t hot. So it had me thinking and I checked it tonight after it overheated and I had run it for about 25 minutes. It was cool to the touch. I could put my hand on it and it wasn’t hot at all. So I’m guessing either bad cap or thermostat issue too…
 

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You can read this for info on the effects of a bad thermostat FJ Cruiser bad thermostat . Running with a cold rad for 25 mins is not good and you shouldn't drive it until you determine why it's not getting hot. Is it the original thermostat? You say the rad was pressure tested so maybe the missing coolant has passed over the head gasket and burned off slowly since Tuesday. I would test if the headgasket is shot before throwing any more parts at it.
 
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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
You can read this for info on the effects of a bad thermostat FJ Cruiser bad thermostat . Running with a cold rad for 25 mins is not good and you shouldn't drive it until you determine why it's not getting hot. Is it the original thermostat? You say the rad was pressure tested so maybe the missing coolant has passed over the head gasket and burned off slowly since Tuesday. I would test if the headgasket is shot before throwing any more parts at it.
You hit the nail on the head! I read about running a combustion test and so I did and so did the shop.... I have a bad head gasket, just caught it earlier than a lot of people do and it makes no sense to repair the head gasket with the amount of miles on it. Now comes the major deciding factor of saying goodbye or getting a reman engine, preferably a jasper, in it. If I was driving a hyundai I would just let it go, but with it being a toyota, especially and FJ, I do not know what to do. At least I have answers. This has been the worst thing ever. Thanks everyone to helping out with this. Please send some good vibes my way that hopefully I can get a good answer out of this and hopefully be able to put a new engine in it. I want to, but unfortunately with my fund and financial status because of being an adult college student, I need help from my family to do so. So its either a used beater car that may have more issues in the long run or replacing my engine.
 
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