Geiger's Corner Q&A
Brake Light Flashing On
Question: I have a 1993 4Runner that upon acceleration the brake light turns on for about 1 second, the brake fluid is good, the e-brake is fully released, the linings are fine and the power booster seems to be operating correctly. Any ideas?
Answer: This is common and easy to fix. The problem is the donut that measures the level inside the brake master cylinder. This donut becomes filled with fluid over time and sinks a bit, causing the sensor to indicate a low fluid level even through the lever is correct. On my 1993 4Runner, I ended up just unplugging the sensor wire going to the master cylinder. This prevents the light from coming on for a low fluid condition. A second way to fix the problem is to replace the master cylinder cap sensor.
Keeping the Toyota at Home
Question: I have recently started upgrading my 1986 4runner. It will cost a lot to get to the end result. What security measures do you recommend to help keeping our "toys" from disappearing? I have already had my truck "borrowed" once and would prefer not to have it happen again.
Answer: Theft is a real problem with Toyota's. Putting a hidden switch to turn off the fuel pump is a good idea. A steering wheel lock is also a good idea. When I park in a really bad place for an extended time, I remove an engine start relay from under the hood. Get an good alarm and install it's control module in a hard to reach spot. Most people just put them under the dash, but that is the first place a thief looks. I have removed the interior panels and installed them inside the body. This makes it impossible for a thief to find and remove before someone hears the commotion.
Body Lift Removal
Question: I just bought an 84 Toyota truck with the 22R. The cab is lifted 4 inches and the bed about 3 1/2. I want to remove the body lift and put it all back to stock height. Where do I get the correct body mounts, bolts, nuts etc?
Answer: You can get these parts from a junk yard or your local Toyota dealership.
Max Tire Size
Question: I have a 1989 Toyota 4 runner it is stock and has 31/10.50/15 on it now what is the biggest tire that I can put under it without a lift kit?
Answer: 32" X 11.50 tires are the largest tires you will be able to fit without modifications. These will fit on the stock rims.
Spedo Cable Replacement
Question: Sir,I am looking for a speedometer cable for a 92 Land cruiser any suggestions Thanks
Answer: The dealership carries high quality replacements.
Lost His Head
Question: I have 1985 pick-up with a 22R engine in it. The other day by timing chain went and bent the valves. I need a replacement engine fast and can't seem to locate a 22R..... is there any other Toyota Motor or Motors that I can look for in order to do a direct swap? All I need is to just get it running to drive in a container for overseas shipment.
Answer: Check with Tim at DOA Racing engines. He has heads and motors in stock. www.doaracingengines.com
Bent Tacoma Wheel
Question: I have a 2002 Tacoma TRD Xtracab with the standard 16" alloy wheels that come with the TRD package. Previously when I was in the service in Colorado, a buddy and I owned a 97 Tacoma 4X4 with the standard 15" steel wheels. We never had a problem with our steel wheels during all of our serious off road jaunts in CO and UT. However, now with my 16 inch alloys, the Toyota technician has told me that I have a bent left front wheel. This was only discovered when I was having a nail removed and the tire repaired. Not serious he says, but enough to cause a wobbling affect. My off road experience with the TRD package has been good, but limited to no-maintanance dirt roads and logging roads going to and from fishing and hunting camps. I always proceed slowly over rocks/holes and do not recall any single, serious jarring hit.
My question is this. What is the strongest wheel/rim I can put on the truck (steel,alloy,etc.), and why did the alloy bend under normal off road use? Should I also upgrade my tires from the BFGoodrich Rugged Trail to the BF Goodrich All-Terrain TA/KO (or another you may recommend)? Any other advice on how to make the truck more rugged and reliable during off road would be appreciated.
Answer: Is this your Tacoma in the photo? Actually Toyota makes excellent steel and alloy wheels and it's very rare to see them bend. If there is a noticeable wobble you may consider replacing the wheel but your not likely to see these wheels damaged on fire roads. Other items on your Tacoma are much more likely to fail with aggressive off-road use such as the rack & pinion steering, steering rack bushings, and tie rod ends. The best bet for upgrading the truck for heavy duty off road use is to remove the IFS front suspension & steering and install a solid front axle. Front Range Off Road now offers a solid axle conversion kit for the Tacoma.
Driving In Snow
Question: My 1996 Land Cruiser really stinks in the snow! It was all over the place and I even got into an accident. I was not even driving fast. Is this unusual or are they usually pretty good?
Answer: To safely navigate snow covered roads requires experience and skill. You need to slow down and learn how to control your vehicle in the snow.
The 4wd system on FJ80 cruisers such as yours is one of the most advanced systems available. The system has two modes of operation. These modes are controlled by shifting the low range transfer case selector. In high range, the Land Cruiser has an open center differential and it's braking system's anti lock mode is turned on. This mode is best used for driving on packed snow and ice. The 4 channel anti lock brakes do a very good job of preventing the tires from locking up on slick snow and ice. Preventing tire lockup is essential to maintaining directional control.
The other mode of operation is activated by placing the transfer case in low range. In this mode the center differential is locked and the anti lock brake system is turned off. This mode works best for deep unplowed snow. When the center differential is locked both the front and rear axles are driven at the same speed.
17" & 18" Off-Road Tires
Question: I have a 2003 Land Cruiser with 18" wheels and "street" tires. I would like to find some good off road tires but have not been successful. Toyota says no to going down to 17" wheels as it will affect the anti-lock brakes and handling.
Answer: When you ask a manufacture about modifying a product they sell the first words out of their mouth will always be No! They are worried about the possible liability involved. Lets say you put the 17's on and then go out and get into an accident. You could argue that the 17's gave you less traction in a turn than an 18" wheel would. Sure it might only be 1% different but it's enough of an edge that a lawyer could get his nails in it and ague that 1% made the difference between your safety and the resulting crash.
A street tire is going to do better on the street, however there are lots of good aftermarket tires will do a fine job on the street and offer better off-road performance. One of your first choices is Toyo Tires. They offer a line of off-road tires that will fit right onto your 18" wheels. In the 17" size you have Goodyear, BFG as good choices for both on and off road use.