Help with diesel Toyota Estima 4wd van -1992

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11 years 9 months ago #24615 by Andrea
Just been in for a warrant, which it passed, but the mechanic found something wrong with the 'bushing' that's part of the drive train that delivers power to the steering and other accessories at the front of the car. It's been straining to take hard turns for a wee while, and we have asked them about it in the past, but they couldn't find anything wrong till now. When DH talked to them when he collected the van, the mechanic said that the part wasn't that much (about $95 for the rubber bushing whose bits have deteriorated and some prongs that hold it on), fine, but that he didn't know about the labour. Anywhere from 10 minutes to 4 hours has been estimated, as he doesn't know what's involved with the repair/replacement. Apparently they have to have about 2 inches of clearance to get in and change out the part. They've only been able to find info on the 2wd but none on the 4wd, so are a little bit stumped...

Does anyone have any advice or more info on what's possibly involved with the 4wd model to get this part done with minimum time spent tinkering with it (been there, done that, when they couldn't figure out an electrical issue a few years back, and ended up spending about 8 hours on it without consulting us as to the cost limit)?

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11 years 9 months ago #347169 by GrantK
The "bushings" are what's known as the CV boots Andrea. Any vehicle which drives the front wheels has them because they allow power to be transmitted to the front wheels while also allowing them to steer. Kind of like a "universal" joint as they are sometimes called.

The boot is made from rubber as your mechanic said, and eventually they perish. Given that your vehicle is now 18 years old, it's no surprise that they need replacing.

For 9 years, we had a 2WD version of your vehicle which was sold new in NZ as the Previa, but it's basically the same vehicle. The engine was under the driver's seat, and it was a real mission just to change the spark plugs.

If they have said anywhere from 10 minutes to 4 hours, that sounds reasonable to me, given how hard it is to get at some things on this vehicle.

My advice would be to agree on a maximum $ amount for the job, and that they will phone you for authorisation before exceeding it. I wouldn't be surprised if they get the job done quicker than 4 hours, and you end up paying less. They are probably just covering themselves.

If you don't feel you can trust this particular mechanic to charge less if it takes less time, then I would take it somewhere else that is recommended by a friend or neighbour. It is essential that you have someone whom you can trust, and that will not charge more than an agreed limit without consulting you first.

Live weather data and High/Low records for our farm at: www.keymer.name/weather

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11 years 9 months ago #347185 by arnie.m
My advice would be to contact the official Toyota agents service centre in Ch Ch, (if they are still standing that is) I am sure they would have a better idea as to time, cost etc.

arnie
88 Valley
Nelson

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11 years 9 months ago #347207 by Kiwi303

Andrea;336469 wrote: Just been in for a warrant, which it passed, but the mechanic found something wrong with the 'bushing' that's part of the drive train that delivers power to the steering and other accessories at the front of the car.


Doesn't sound like CV joints to me, sorry Grant :D

The Estima/Previa/Lucida are a funny family of vans, unlike most vans and oversize people movers their motor is not under the drivers/front passenger seat sitting upright, but behind the drivers seat under where the feet of the right hand passenger of the middle row of seats rest. And it furthermore is lying on it's side!

Due to the positioning and angle it lies at, there is no room for hanging the alternator off the engine block run by a belt off the crankshaft pulley, ditto for the AC compressor and the power steering pump. Instead a power transmission shaft runs from the front of the engine up to the front of the van and turns a pulley there to run a belt around the ancillary drives like the power steering and alternator under the bonnet.

From your description of what the mechanic has said to you, part of the accessory power train is failing, not the CV joint covers transferring power from the front differential to the front wheels.

I've never actually worked mechanically on an Estima, but from checking on the bosses van's oils etc when he ran an RWD Estima some years back when I was working in Hamilton, I would suspect it will be a real BITCH of a job to get in and around the front driveshaft and diff to work on the ancillary power train. I would suspect the easiest way would be to disconnect the front driveshaft and side shafts and drop the diff and driveshaft out to give room to reach and work on the ancillary shaft running above it.

You Live and Learn, or you don't Live Long -anon

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11 years 9 months ago #347234 by GrantK

Kiwi303;336521 wrote: The Estima/Previa/Lucida are a funny family of vans, unlike most vans and oversize people movers their motor is not under the drivers/front passenger seat sitting upright, but behind the drivers seat under where the feet of the right hand passenger of the middle row of seats rest. And it furthermore is lying on it's side!

Due to the positioning and angle it lies at, there is no room for hanging the alternator off the engine block run by a belt off the crankshaft pulley, ditto for the AC compressor and the power steering pump. Instead a power transmission shaft runs from the front of the engine up to the front of the van and turns a pulley there to run a belt around the ancillary drives like the power steering and alternator under the bonnet.

A great explanation -- cheers Kiwi :)

As you can tell, I never did any work on ours, just went on what the mechanic said about how hard it was to do various jobs that were normally simple on other vehicles.

In 9 years, we never had to replace anything except tyres and batteries, so we never encountered any problems like this. As the vehicle got older, I did notice an increasing amount of rumbling coming through the firewall whenever the A/C compressor was running. No doubt those rubber bushes would have eventually given out, and it was the increasing amount of noise that persuaded me it was time to sell it at the 9-year/110,000km mark.

Live weather data and High/Low records for our farm at: www.keymer.name/weather

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11 years 9 months ago #347242 by Andrea1
Thanks, everyone - much appreciated. arnie -- already done and they were absolutely hopeless. Or they could have been very busy, DH was pretty busy at work as well, so probably didn't birddog it like it needed...

I was afraid you were going to say that, Kiwi... it's been a good runner, overall, but the kms are definitely showing (332K on original motor!). So we keep putting $$ into it to keep it running, as new/er vehicles are so dear!

When we do look at replacing it, in roughly 2 years according to the budget, what's a better option that is not as difficult to service? Need a good runner, as we use it as a farm hack as much as a people mover, diesel (as long as they remain less costly to run/repair), reasonably ok on the fuel economy, and grunty, as it has to be able to tow 60-70 conventional bales at a go (we only use it like this in the haying season, in a 2-3 week window, usually).

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11 years 9 months ago #347243 by igor
Sounds like planned failure to me. A deliberate ploy to make the thing wear out sooner than it should so you have to buy another one. Any competent engineer would use a roller bearing, or at the very least a ball race, to support a shaft like that. You've all just convinced me not to buy an Estima or any of it's siblings.

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11 years 9 months ago #347245 by Andrea1
What's the life expectancy of such a part, just out of curiosity? We got the van 4.5 years ago, it's 18 years old, and we've put 150K, roughly, on it in that time. I don't know what kind of maintenance was carried out on it before we bought it.

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11 years 9 months ago #347247 by Kiwi303
I have a '96 Nissan Serena, it's a 2.0L petrol, does around 10.5 L to the hundred Km with a typical shopping trip load over the hills to and from Nelson and here, or up the wairau valley from Blenheim, not as good as a hatchback car, but decent for a van. RWD but they do come in 4wd variants, and there are diesel models, but I've not looked into them. Don't get the 1.6L not matter what! a slug would overtake them from a standing start and they can't even tow themselves, let alone a trailer :P

Pricewise for a first gen, '91 to early '98 model between $2000 and $4000 depending on condition and mileage would be pretty much what the market seems to bear privately via trademe. The newer facelift late '98 to 00's with the new series of engines are quite a bit pricier.
My '96 was $7,000 from a dealer 5 years ago with 189,000Km, prices have droipped a bit in 5 years :P

I do most of the servicing myself, the motor is easy to access under the seats with the seats folding back easily, the motor is upright with all the ancillaries hanging off it like a normal car :D Auto or Manual options.

the SR20DE my model has is very reliable and there are OODLES of parts around for them as the SR20 was used in various forms in everything from FWD sedans, light trucks/utes, sports coupes and vans. They come with supercharger kits, turbo kits, all the aftermarket options...

Plenty of room in the back, I've pulled out the rear 2 seats and slid the centre seat forward on it's pedestal and a forklift at the local trucking company depot can slide a 500Kg loaded pallet in the back to haul my rabbit pellets home.

One of the local church congregation drove to Auckland last year with my sister, switching off the driving roles, said she was scared of it :P it has so much more power than she expected in a van and she had a hard time holding the speed under the limit as it drove so smoothly and comfortably that the speed just kept creeping up :D

Here are a few 2.0L diesel Serenas currently on trademe: they look the same as my petrol one, I've never driven a diesel serena, but you can see what they look like from the pics.

www.trademe.co.nz/Trade-Me-Motors/Cars/N...uction-316110453.htm

www.trademe.co.nz/Trade-Me-Motors/Cars/N...uction-306312914.htm

www.trademe.co.nz/Trade-Me-Motors/Cars/N...uction-315782938.htm

Hope this helps, I'm sure some others will jump on with their experiences of their people movers/vans and how they like them :P I'm happy with the Serena tho, reliable, decent handling, good brakes and a capable motor.

You Live and Learn, or you don't Live Long -anon

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11 years 9 months ago #347291 by GrantK

Andrea;336558 wrote: When we do look at replacing it, in roughly 2 years according to the budget, what's a better option that is not as difficult to service? Need a good runner, as we use it as a farm hack as much as a people mover, diesel (as long as they remain less costly to run/repair), reasonably ok on the fuel economy, and grunty, as it has to be able to tow 60-70 conventional bales at a go (we only use it like this in the haying season, in a 2-3 week window, usually).

After selling our 93 Previa (same model as your Estima) we bought the later model Estima with an engine under the bonnet where you would expect it :)

Our 2000 model Estima was incredibly quiet and smooth to drive, and had tons of grunt from the 3L V6 petrol engine. However, it was FWD, which wouldn't be any good for you. Look around for a 4WD Estima in the new shape such as these examples:

www.trademe.co.nz/Trade-Me-Motors/Cars/T...uction-311768540.htm

www.trademe.co.nz/Trade-Me-Motors/Cars/T...uction-318172758.htm

www.trademe.co.nz/Trade-Me-Motors/Cars/T...uction-315852286.htm

Prices range between $7000 and $10,500 for the last one in the list which is a 3L V6. All are 4WD in the new shape which first appeared in the 2000 model. We so enjoyed the power and quiet refinement of the 3L V6 after having a 2.4L for 9 years.

Live weather data and High/Low records for our farm at: www.keymer.name/weather

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11 years 9 months ago #347378 by emumad
hi andrea,
kiwi 303 has got the right idea..
those auxilliary drive shafts to the front mounted components are a real problem and were expensive to fix even from new and especially in imports where the mileage is often uncertain.
check with your local toyota dealer, the shafts were only replacable as a complete unit at horrendous cost but the rubber components may now be availiable to keep costs down (i worked for toyota for some years and it was often embarrasing to have to tell soneone just how much to fix their pride and joy..)
good luck
cheers, craig.

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11 years 9 months ago #348225 by Andrea1
Thanks again, everyone. Turned out to take 2.5 hours, so not too bad. But given its age and high kms, we're going to take kiwi's advice and start to look for a Serena while the van is still in good enough nick to have passed its warrant check without any trouble.

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