2004 SR5 V6 4Runner ESC problems

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Thread: 2004 SR5 V6 4Runner ESC problems

  1. #1
    Junior Member macmcalexander's Avatar
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    Default 2004 SR5 V6 4Runner ESC problems

    I think this problems started a while back. We put a new set of front brakes on my son-in-law's 4-Runner. He had waited a few days too late and worn out pads cause the rotors to be ruined. During the exam of the rears they appeared to have a good 1/3 or more pad left on them. A job for another day. A week later the left-rears are eating into the rotor. After replacing them, (and a year later) the left rear rotor is being eaten up again. At the time I suspected the little stainless slide covers that the pads ride on (worn out and crunched up a bit) were holding the pad in a way that bound them against the rotor and did not let them return when the caliper was released. We replaced the pads again along with the new stainless sliders and a rotor. After a few days Chris said it felt like the left rear was making noise. The caliper moved in and out very smoothly but he decided we should replace the rubber brake line to that caliper just in case it was the problem. I agreed it was one of the cheaper ways to eliminate a possible sticking caliper problem. That new line is on my tool box now. But I found out a day ago that the ESC light is on. He won't say how long it has been on. He was told by someone at the dealership it was emissions related and usually the gas cap is the problem. He bought one at the dealership and thought it was fixed because the light was off. When I checked the 4-Runner for problem codes there was none. I told him the ESC light indicates that the electronic stability control is acting up and that it could be the reason for the left rear brake keeps wearing out.

    My question. What sensors would cause the ESC light to come on indicating a problem and how do I test them? The truck drives fine and the left-rear rim/tire does not feel hot to the touch when I have test driven it. Thanks

    Sorry, I forgot to mention his 04' 4-Runner has about 100,000 miles on it. It's due for a timing belt so we might let the guys at the shop who replace the belt(s) give us an idea of what the ESC problem might be. I just want to know as much as I can so he does not get screwed over by the service writer.

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    Junior Member macmcalexander's Avatar
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    Default Re: 2004 SR5 V6 4Runner ESC problems

    I will have to try a different forum. Anybody know of a forum where people help you work on Toyota problems? I've tried googling "ESC" along with "4Runner" but all I found was people having problems with theirs and nobody giving any advice on diagnosis and such.

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    Default Re: 2004 SR5 V6 4Runner ESC problems

    There is no 'pat' answer. My vehicle had this issue many years ago. Replacing the brake pressure switch fixed mine, but most others have had different fixes. Try Autozone or similar that may scan the code for free.

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    Default Re: 2004 SR5 V6 4Runner ESC problems

    Thanks. I will give AutoZone a try. I found on a site that some vehicles do have a separate ESC module. I have not been able to verify that this vehicle has a stand alone module, and if it does have one, whether it can be bench tested to see if it is the problem. I do know that when I put my scan tool on the 4-Runner, I did not find any codes stored concerning the ECS. In fact, the only code stored was for one of the oxygen sensors that had been out of range but was now back in range and operating normal.

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    Default Re: 2004 SR5 V6 4Runner ESC problems

    You need to get the actual codes. Sometimes the oxygen codes are related to gas caps. I've had that on my Tundra. The esc does apparently effect the braking. I did find this. 2004 Toyota 4Runner Electronic Stability Control (ESC) Complaints , so you are not the first. Can the esc be turned off?
    macmcalexander likes this.

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    Junior Member macmcalexander's Avatar
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    Default Re: 2004 SR5 V6 4Runner ESC problems

    So far I can't find where my son-in-laws 4-Runner can be turned off. No button or switch anywhere I have seen in my few minutes of seat time. But I am going to poor over his owners manual. You can find jewels of information if you actually read the manual. With my 2-wheel drive Tundra, holding down the stability control button for 3-seconds will turn it completely off. But it would have to be done every time the vehicle is started to keep it off. The information you gave me above was very helpful. I actually suspected the master but replacing parts "just because they might be the problem" can add up to a lot of dough on a Toyota and I don't want to spend someone else's money. If this problem does not force him to let someone check it out soon, his getting the timing belt replaced soon will allow a trained person to better evaluate this issue. I was hoping there was somewhere to plug in and get the codes but my obdII reader found no codes stored so far, save the oxygen sensor having reset to normal. Thanks for the info kanaduh.

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    Default Re: 2004 SR5 V6 4Runner ESC problems

    macmcalexander, have you looked around in the Technical & Vehicle assistance forum section on the main page? You may also want to post your question on the 1st Gen Tundra forum, to see if anyone there has any insight (they are a very active bunch there). I too have a 2004 4Runner, so I'll look to see if there is an ESC switch.
    Here's a thread that I found in the brake section. You may want to dig around in there a bit. http://www.tundrasolutions.com/forum...arning-lights/

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    Default Re: 2004 SR5 V6 4Runner ESC problems

    Thanks for the info.

    I seem to have a hard time finding information in other parts of Tundra Solutions. Maybe it is my age or the fact I like to use my computer as a tool but have never learned all the in-and-outs of on line communications. But if I don't "save" what I am looking at, I can never find it again.

    By the way, there appears to be a way to turn off the ESC on Chris's 4-Runner. When he presses the center diff button to tell the center differential to go to 4-wheel drive, it turns the ESC off. Owners manual says it is supposed to do that. But pressing that button is basically doing the same thing as the problem. No ESC. With the "ESC off" light remaining on. I diagnosed a couple of problems yesterday that he was sure was part of this problem.

    Like a horrible rattle that started the same time the light came on. The muffler shield between the floor and the muffler is not connected and sitting right on his muffler. Makes quite a bit of noise when the car is running. It sounded like an aluminum can on a string behind the vehicle.

    Another problem. I am pretty convinced that his choice of brake pads was a bad choice. Too much dust is now all over the place and on his wheels. Possibly this has caused one or more of his sensors, used for ESC, to not be functioning properly. As soon as the vehicle starts moving after start, the "ESC-off" light comes on. I think it indicates there is a sensor that the ESC module is not able to read. It became a project for another (warmer) day. But I do think we will figure this out.

    Thanks again for the info.

  10. 12-19-2012, 01:06 AM

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    Default Re: 2004 SR5 V6 4Runner ESC problems

    kanaduh, thanks for the post. I read and re-read over the posts you suggested in your post. Very enlightening. I hope, for my son-in-law's sake, that this is not his problem. His 4-Runner does not have a hard peddle (no brake assist) and stops like always, his brakes appear to be working fine (except for the ESC system) but then he has not been in a situation where he has had the 4-runner's electronics take over. He has been very busy with work lately and lucky for me, he has not wanted to tear into to it during the winter. I figure with so many unanswered questions, we will take it for a full exam by someone who knows Toyota brake systems just to see what they think. Not a dealer. I know that they can fix it but they usually want an unrealistic price for every service. I like to do stuff myself but these electronic stability control systems have me stumped. I am hoping the mechanic we find tells me that it is a sensor we can fix ourselves.

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    Default Re: 2004 SR5 V6 4Runner ESC problems

    Mac, Japanese software just suck-ass, for instance if there's a problem with O2 sensor it also disable the ASC, ABS system. Why? They are over cautious and stupid if you ask me.
    So, to have no doubt all other issue has to be resolved before you start working on ASC,ABS issue.

    OK, so let assume you don't have any other but ASC, ABS. The first thing you need is an ABS reader to read these codes. A regular OBD2 reader doesn't read read ABS,ACS codes.
    Or if you and old timer and know how to use an old scope, you can probe into each wheel speed sensor while rotating the wheel should get some duty cycles, but your best bet is to buy a software program or handheld reader that do all three OBD2 diagnostic codes, ABS traction control codes, and airbag codes. It cost a little more but worth it if you want to be a shade tree mechanic.

    Or you try to perform a ZERO CALIBRATION and see if your ASC problem go away. Do search for ZERO CALIBRATION.

    BTW, this forum is really slow and the people on aren't so nice some time.

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    Default Re: 2004 SR5 V6 4Runner ESC problems

    I had my 2004 4Runner in to have the tires rotated and balanced yesterday. The tech used the ODBII reader and apparently erased the stability codes and my VSC trac / VSC off lights came on and stayed on. After some reading, I came across the "zero point calibration" procedure. I used a paper clip and followed the technique described, and "voila" lights went out, and the yaw has been re calibrated. Read this thread. One cause & fix for "VSC TRAC" & "VSC OFF" lights, Zero Point Calibration - Toyota 4Runner Forum - Largest 4Runner Forum
    canddmeyer likes this.

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