How good is the Toyota 4.0 V6 Engine? Reliability and Mileage

Everyone knows Toyota produces bullet proof engines, however like most things man-made, there are flaws and potential faults to look out for. This article will discuss exactly how good the Toyota 4.0 V6 is and what the maximum mileage you can expect from the v6.

The Dual VVT-i 4.0 V6 engine found in the 09+ models are smooth, quiet, and reliable with engine longevity easily reaching over 200,000 miles (320,000 km).

It’s no secret that regular maintenance and using high grade oils and lubricants is the key to reliability on almost any engine. Sure, some engines are more prone to mechanical and reliability issues than others irrespective.

So how does the 4.0 v6 stack up in the reliability and longevity department? How good are these engines really and what are some of the potential flaws you can expect?

Let’s find out.

How good is the Toyota 4.0 V6 Engine?

Log onto any Toyota forum and you’ll find many threads of happy 4.0 V6 owners who swear by these engines. Many claiming never to swap it for anything else out there, not even a diesel for better fuel consumption. The V6 has quickly built up a reputation for being a go-anywhere, rugged, reliable little lump with a heart of gold.

A common talking point with the 4.0 V6 is the failing water pump: (pick up a new one here on Amazon).
Another common occurance on the earlier single VVT-i V6 is a blown head gasket: (buy a replacement kit here on Amazon).
Also, the automatic box “thud”: (get some high quality ATF oil on Amazon).

More about that later.

If you are in the market for a used 4.0, make sure you inspect the undercarriage carefully, since these rugged, go anywhere vehicles are well known to be used for off-road trails and dune driving. Check for dings and marks that will indicate serious off-road activity.  Also make sure you inspect the lowest parts of the vehicle, such as the rear diff and bash-plates underneath the engine. That will give you a very good idea of the kind of life it has endured.

This is very important if you’re in the market for a 4.0 V6 FJ Cruiser

As for the engines, they are pretty bullet-proof however there are sporadic reports of the following:

  • Cracked cylinder heads
  • Water pump (water pump impeller starts slipping on the drive-shaft due to loose press-fit)
  • Automatic Gearbox hunting with cruise control activated

Other than that – they are real gems and with regular maintenance you should see mileage racking up over 300k miles.

Let’s take a closer look at the engine specifications.

Engine specification and Applications

The 4.0 V6 1GR- is a gasoline (petrol) engine designed by Toyota for applications in their SUVs and 4WD pickups. In 2009 the engine was updates with DUAL VVT-I and was/is produced in 4WD’s such as Toyota 4Runner/Hilux Surf, Toyota FJ Cruiser, Toyota Hilux, Toyota Land Cruiser 200, Toyota Land Cruiser Prado 120/150, Toyota Tacoma, Toyota Tundra, Toyota Fortuner and Lexus GX 400.

Engine Specs

Production years

2002-present

Cylinder block material

Aluminum

Cylinder head material

Aluminum

Fuel type

Gasoline (Petrol)

Fuel system

Fuel injection

Configuration

V

Number of cylinders

6

Valves per cylinder

4

Valvetrain layout

DOHC

Displacement, cc

3,956 cc (241.4 cu in)

Type of internal combustion engine

Four-stroke, naturally aspirated

Power, hp

236-285 hp (176-210 kW)/5,200-5,600

Torque, lb ft

266-285 lb-ft (361-387 Nm)/3,600-4,400

ModelYears Produced
VVT-i
Toyota 4Runner2002-2009
Toyota Hilux Surf2002-2009
Toyota Land Cruiser (GRJ200)2007-2011
Toyota Land Cruiser Prado (GRJ120/121/125)2002-2009
Toyota Tacoma (GRN225/245/250/265/270)2004–2015
Toyota Hilux (GGN10/20)2005-2015
Toyota Tundra (GSK30)2005-2006
Toyota Tundra (GSK50/51)2006-2009
Toyota Fortuner (GGN50/60)2005–2015
Toyota FJ Cruiser (GSJ10/15)2006-2009
Toyota Hilux2015-
Dual VVT-i
Toyota 4Runner (GRN280/285)2009–
Toyota FJ Cruiser2009–2017
Toyota Tundra (GSK50/51)2010–
Toyota Land Cruiser2012–
Lexus GX 400 (GRJ150)2012–
Toyota Land Cruiser 70 30th Anniversary Edition2014-2015
Toyota Fortuner2015–
Toyota Land Cruiser Prado (GRJ150/150R/155)2009–

What the owners have to say about mileage and maintenance

As far as my engine goes its loud, ticks and really doesn’t like going north of about 4000RPM. But reliability wise I think it’s pretty top notch. Standard Maintenance is pretty easy on it too because everything is so accessible.

https://www.tacomaworld.com/threads/4-0-v6-reliability.391501/

Just traded in my ’05 4.0L with 301,000 Kms. Zero engine issues. Little loud, but fine otherwise. Regular maintenance (plugs/filter) and always ran Mobil 1 5w30.

https://www.tacomaworld.com/threads/4-0-v6-reliability.391501/

I’ve got 150k miles on mine and no issues. Lots of varied driving, off-road, towing my race car, commuting etc. I give mine an Italian tune up every couple weeks(run right up to 5500rpm under load) and it loves it!

Fantastic engine….

https://www.tacomaworld.com/threads/4-0-v6-reliability.391501/


I’ve got 351K on my ’07. Love the motor, trans combo so much I got a ’15 used instead of new. Absolutely no problems w the motor, keep the oil changed and your good to go!

https://www.tacomaworld.com/threds/4-0-v6-reliability.391501/

196k on my 2006. Bought with 65k ten years ago.

Not a single engine related issue. Original water pump/alternator/original everything.

Rest of the truck: two front wheel bearings, one u joint. That’s it for repairs. Amazingly reliable truck. It is now mostly used for hunting and was my main truck for 7 years. It has NOT been babied at all but has been meticulously maintained by me.

Spark plugs every 30-40k, Mobil 1 5/30 EP every 5k, drain and fill transmission every 40-50k, front/rear diffs every 25-50k with Amsoil severe gear same as transfer case. Coolant was drained and filled around 120k.

Still getting 19-22mpg, best truck I have owned
Still on original suspension as well as upper and lower control arms.

I’m surprised it’s still got the original brakes….

https://www.tacomaworld.com/threads/4-0-v6-reliability.391501/page-11

Maximum reliable mileage on the 4.0 v6

When you think Toyota engines, no doubt the first thing that springs to mind is reliability and high mileage engines. You can read more about the FJ Cruiser 4.0 V6 reliability and high mileage here.

Unlike most engines, when you purchase a used Toyota, mileage is almost an irrelevant factor and can be considered later down on your list of qualifying criteria. This is because Toyotas are known for racking up high mileage with very little issues.

So what’s the maximum reliable mileage you can expect from a 4.0 v6? You can expect to get anything from 250miles and upwards from a well maintained 4.0 V6.

This is with regular services and using high grade oils and lubricants.

Potential Faults on the 4.0 V6 Engine

  • Harsh Down-shifting on the automatic Transmission (Bad or low transmission oil)
  • Water pump failure
  • Head gasket blown
  • Sweating on the head gasket
  • Earlier VVT-i engines had ignition coil problems

Earlier pre-Duel VVT-i 09 models had water pump, ignition coil and head gasket issues.  The blown head gasket is actually a direct result of the weak water pump which only lasted around 40-50k miles (64-80km) and water pump failure resulted in damaged head gaskets. Now because of the thin design of the cylinder walls, when the water pump goes and the head gasket blows you’ll have to replace the whole block since it can’t be bored. You cannot rebuild an engine with damaged cylinder wall surfaces. So keep an eye on the cooling system of the older models.

Resources

Tacoma/Tandra/4Runner/FJ Cruiser 4.0 V6 Water Pump Kit with Gasket (Amazon)

Tacoma/Tandra/4Runner/FJ Cruiser 4.0 V6 Aisin OEM Water Pump Kit (Amazon)

Tacoma/Tandra/4Runner/FJ Cruiser 4.0 V6 (03-12) Head Gasket Kit (Amazon)

4.0 V6 Automatic Transmission Fluid (Amazon)

Set of 6 Ignition Coils 4.0 V6 (Amazon)

Conclusion

The duel VVT-i 4.0 V6 engine is a real gem. Keep an eye on your cooling system and the V6 will deliver many hundreds of thousands of happy miles. The automatic transmission can become jerky and experience harsh “thud” when downshifting. In most cases its low ATF levels so make sure you top-up and replace transmission oils regularly. Also make sure you inspect and grease u-joints regularly to minimize that V6 “thud”. Overall a fantastic engine with a legendary record for performance, off-road ability and reliability.

Jade C.

4-Wheel drives and off-road driving techniques has been my passion for over 20 years. Here we strive to provide the most accurate, up-to-date, information about the functionality, common faults and latest technology built into most 4 Wheel Drives.

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