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2017 Tacoma 4 cyl Automatic Review

Discussion in '4 Cylinder' started by Clear7, Oct 15, 2017.

  1. Oct 15, 2017 at 7:09 PM
    #1
    Clear7

    Clear7 [OP] Well-Known Member

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    Ontario
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    2017 SR5 2.7L - tried tested & proven
    When I was researching the 4 cylinder, I didn’t find alot of info on it. Seems like 95% of the 3rd gen owners went with the V6. So I thot I’d give a first impression review.. maybe it’ll help a future 4 cyl buyer.

    It’s a 2017 Access Cab SR5, 4x4, with an automatic. My main goal for the truck is long term reliability, which is why I went with the I4 vs the V6 (the head was designed for emission, not reliability in my opinion). I kept my last truck 18 years, and am hoping for more out of this one.

    First, don’t be scared away from the 3rd gen based on the problems identified on TW. EVERY car manufacturer is guaranteed to have problems on the first year of a new generation. Just wait for the problems that will rise with the new Ranger.. those guys will be wishing for a leaking diff! Don't get me wrong tho, I do think Toyota has dropped their quality and service...profit is the only thing that matters to them. But, it's still the 'least worst' mid size truck out there. Didn't take alot of searching to find the Colorado is plagued with problems, plus 2 co-workers who own and confirmed the problems.


    Onto the review (updated July 2018, after 5k miles):

    < Driving >

    - Being realistic that its still a truck, and on rear leaf springs, overall ride is great.
    - Has a solid feel. It's not bouncy, steering has a responsive feel, and handles well for a truck. Factory suspension absorbs bumps well.
    - Road/wind/engine noise is excessive.. I don't think there's much sound proofing in the truck.
    - Brakes are touchy, and continue to be after 5,000 miles.
    - I didn't buy it for off roading, so no comment on that.

    < Creature comforts>
    - Seats are a comfortable (once the lumbar support is dialed in), and seat material seems durable. No height adjustment tho.
    - At 5'11, I find it roomy, not cramped at all. Very pleased with over all comfort. Tilt and telescopic wheel also helps with that.
    - To me, the factory stereo is excellent.
    - Pretty standard layout of all the controls.
    - Being fussy, there could be an extra fan setting between low and the next level. Also wish you could turn the AC compressor off while on defrost.
    - The center console could have had an extra tray or organizer.
    - The sliding rear window is nice. (pretty long stretch to open it while in the driver seat)
    - The touchscreen has all kinds of features I'll never use, but do like the reverse camera.

    < Bed >
    - 6' bed on the access cab is awesome.
    - All the tie down hooks, and sliding ones are extremely handy.
    - Love that it's high enough, with tonneau cover, for rubbermaid storage bins!
    - The dampening tailgate is fantastic. And that it locks.
    - Driving definitely gets sluggish with weight in the back.
    - Unfortunately, no power outlet, or lights in the bed for the 2.7l.

    < Long term reliability with focus for those who live in the salt belt >
    - The bed being all composite is a huge plus when thinking rust.
    - So are the plastic lined wheel wells.
    - don't like the fender setup being clips and tape, a pain to remove. This will be a rust point if you don't remove.
    - the frame is C channel, vs closed. Meaning you can get under coating oil spray in there, and clean it out if needed. With care and maintenance, you can keep the frame rust free.
    - removable storage compartments in the bed make for great access for oil spraying.
    - the evap canister above the subrame is good as it keeps it out of the salt, but bad as you're dropping the subframe, or removing the bed, if the canister needs replacing.
    - A huge advantage of the 4 cylinder is there's less electronic stuff compared to the higher end models, which means less things to break, and require maintenance.


    The 2.7 2TR-FE engine:
    - It’s not going to win any races, and lacks ‘passing pickup’ for sure. But, as 4 cylinders go, it's pretty decent, and is torquey.
    - Cast iron block, timing chain are pluses in my book. But, it is emissions happy... secondary air pump with full blown evap/canister/pump system.
    - I really like the space under the hood, and that it’s a conventional engine.. very easy to work on.

    Bottom line.. it’s a traditional, over engineered, time tested and proven engine, and firmly believe it’s far more reliable, and will see more miles then the new 3.5 2GR-FKS. The V6 block has been around for years and is reliable, but the head is new, and was designed solely for emissions, which doesn't go hand in hand with reliability. High pressure fuel pump and injectors... intake manifold with an actuator valve.. integrated exhaust manifold. I'm old school, but none of that adds up to long term reliability to me, or at least without high maintenance and cost.

    Here's an engine bay guide for the 2.7l that may be helpful for new comers. It labels all the components under the hood:
    https://www.tacomaworld.com/threads/engine-bay-guide-for-the-2tre-fe-2-7l.534478/


    Transmission:
    After 30 years of stick shifts, I wanted to relax with an auto. The 6 spd auto on the 4 cyl is excellent. Smooth shifts, no hesitation, no gear hunting. Going up a moderate hill, if you put your foot into it, it’ll drop down into 5th, but if you ease into the gas, it’ll stay in 6th. Steep hills, it always drops down. The only thing I don’t like about it is it’s a sealed tranny.

    Edit Dec 16, 2017: After reading a lot complaints about the 6 spd auto, I thought it may be worth saying driving style likely affects your opinion of this transmission. Everything is now designed for emissions and/or gas mileage, so the 6th gear is essentially overdrive for the 5spd overdrive. If you're aggressive with the throttle, it'll gear down. (Same can be said for the cruise control on hills.) But if you change your driving habits, and work with the transmission, its got some great benefits. 2000 RPMs @ 75 mph for a 4cyl is pretty amazing, and the extra fuel economy is nice.


    Wind Noise on Access Cab (edit Dec 16,2017)
    Wind noise was noticeable when I first got it, but was an acceptable characteristic of suicide doors. However, December has brought strong winds, and the cabin noise is definitely excessive. A cross wind on the highway is terrible. Like the a window is down a crack on the driver side. Doing some searching on TW, it seems others are having the same complaint. No question Toyota could easily have improved the pressure vents and weather stripping to significantly reduce the noise.

    BTW..no control arm howl (plugs were in). And no door "kazoo" noise.


    Checked the problems identified on Tacoma World:
    I went over the entire truck: all bolts were torqued properly... diff bolts, leaf u-bolts, driveshaft and carrier bolts. ujoints were all greased. I also checked the entire under carriage. Doors and bed were aligned.

    I do notice a bit of a hood flutter at 75 mph, but nothing terrible. The hood support structure was all glued.

    Diff howling: still new, but right now, it's quiet. Continues to be at 10k miles.

    Transmission fluid: Dealer checked, and it was okay.


    A few preventative things I did:
    1) extended the A/C drain so it doesn’t hit the frame.. definitely will be a rust problem if you leave as is.
    2) applied Fluid Film to the leaf springs so they don’t rust, and don’t squeak.
    3) got rid of the stupid door buzzer. Write up here: https://www.tacomaworld.com/threads/how-to-disable-the-door-buzzer.516188/

    So far, couldn’t be happier with the 4 cyl. Definitely no regrets. As more miles go on it, I’ll update this.


    2.jpg


    Paint quality (edit Oct 2017)
    The paint is terrible. I've only owned black cars, so I know what black is like.. but this clearcoat is by far the softest I have ever seen. New wash mitt, with proper strain bucket for washing, and separate rinse bucket, and it swirls. Looks terrible in direct sunlight.. its like an 8 year old black car that hazes. I've paid attention to other black toyota's in parking lots.. all have the same problem.

    Nov 23: Update on paint: I ended up ceramic coating it, and brought it back to life. No swirls, no haze, even in direct sunlight. Washed a couple of times, and it still looks great. It should have been this way from the factory.


    Driver door seal (edit Mar 2018)
    I took the truck to Toyota regarding the wind noise. Also the weather stripping was "creaking". They gave me a different truck to try out, and sure enough, it was just as noisy. Not wanting to accept it as normal, I added extra weather stripping around the access door, and inside the existing top section. That helped with the wind noise a fair bit. I also pinpointed that the driver door was the main source. Toyota did adjust the driver access door as it felt like it dropped just a smigde when you opened it, but couldn't do much as they are self centering bolts that hold it in place. So, I simply wrapped electrical tape around the top and bottom latches, and that made a bit of a difference.


    Update Jan 2019:
    At 10,000 miles now with no problems at all, other than the blower motor recall. No leaking diff yet. Still love the truck, and no regrets with the 4cyl vs V6. Wouldn't change a thing if I had to do it over again.

    Wind/road noise: still my biggest complaint. Normal winds are no problem, but a strong crosswind is bad.. as tho the window is open a crack. It seems like they've addressed this for 2019 with thicker glass and more soundproofing material.(https://news.pickuptrucks.com/2018/12/2019-toyota-tacoma-quick-spin-small-subtle-improvements.html) The day may come where I pull the back and carpet out to add sound deadening.

    'Creaking' sound at the top, where the 2 doors meet: I tried so many things to stop this noise, but nothing worked. Finally reproduced the noise by simply pressing the weather stripping, on the door itself, at the top corner. (Should have done this first!) All I did was spray silicon inside the hole of the weather stripping, just to the right of the corner. Solved!

    Cruise control: it sucks on hills.. it accelerates too abruptly, which drops it into 4th, when it really doesn't need to.

    Interior rattle: When outside temps got cold, a rattle developed that sounded like it was coming from the overhead console (no sun roof). I pulled the console down, and foam taped, wrapped and added padding to secured everything.. total overkill, and it still made the noise. I ended up isolating it to the passenger corner by the front windshield. Removed the speaker, sensor button, and A-pillar. Applied foam and felt tape to anything that rubbed or touched. 100% rattle free now.
     
    Last edited: Feb 17, 2019 at 6:32 AM
  2. Oct 15, 2017 at 7:21 PM
    #2
    Casper66

    Casper66 grumpy ass

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    Nice review! :thumbsup:
     
  3. Oct 16, 2017 at 10:19 AM
    #3
    MikeTaco

    MikeTaco Let's do this!!

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    A Few...

    LOOOOVVVEEEE THIS TRUCK MY TACO BROTHER!! THIS IS WHAT I'M GOING TO TRADE UP TO EVENTUALLY, AFTER 7 YEARS OF OWNING MY BASE 2007 TACOMA WITH YOUR SAME ENGINE, I'M SO PLEASED WITH THIS TRUCK. NO ISSUES WHATSOEVER, 135,000+ MILES AND STILL RUNNING LIKE NEW. I PICKED IT UP 7 YEARS AGO WITH 20,000 ORIGINAL MILES. GOOD LUCK WITH THE TRUCK. TAKE CARE.

    - MIKETACO.
     
  4. Oct 16, 2017 at 10:23 AM
    #4
    Stockmonester

    Stockmonester Well-Known Member

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    Satoshi chrome grill deep lip, 5100 set at .85, 2 hella 500 fog/2 hella 500 driving on n-fab light bar, k&n drop in
    Just sold me on the auto, I've been driving stick and don't mind it but my left foot needs a break.
     
    firefly33 and MikeTaco like this.
  5. Oct 16, 2017 at 11:58 AM
    #5
    OldandSlow

    OldandSlow Well-Known Member

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    Andrew in Austin
    Austin, TX
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    2015 Tacoma Access Cab - 2.7, 5 speed, 4x4
    Not much on mods - Leer 180, TRD wheels, Mobtown sliders, rear hitch, helper springs on the rear
    Thanks for the write up on the 4 cylinder Tacoma with a 6 speed auto. Are there any hills in your part of Ontario?

    P.S. The Access Cab looks really good in all black, which in my opinion highlights the wheels.
     
  6. Oct 16, 2017 at 2:29 PM
    #6
    Clear7

    Clear7 [OP] Well-Known Member

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    I'm in Southern ON, so nothing too significant hill wise. I was thinking of replacing the wheels, prior to seeing them in real life. Definitely going to keep them, they're a little dark too vs what the pic shows.
     
  7. Oct 16, 2017 at 3:50 PM
    #7
    Early B.

    Early B. Well-Known Member

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    18" tires and rims, 2.75" Procomp lift, Fox shocks in rear.
    Good move -- keep the wheels. Nice review. Consider driving a 2nd gen 4 cyl. and compare to your 3rd gen. Really interested in the difference the 6 speed automatic makes.
     
  8. Oct 17, 2017 at 3:08 PM
    #8
    DANGERMONEY

    DANGERMONEY Well-Known Member

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    Nice truck there! One day I'll bump up from a gen 2 and you've got me interested in a 4cy.

    Nice wheels btw
     
  9. Oct 17, 2017 at 3:13 PM
    #9
    mweidl

    mweidl Well-Known Member

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    I also just picked a 17 4 cyl auto and I could not be happier. I have been driving a 2000 2.7 manual for the past few years and I was hesitant to change to the auto but so far I'm loving it. I drove down to Los Angeles today and going up the grade I was able to stay at 70 in 4th very easily. If anyone is on the fence about getting a 4 cyl auto I can't say enough good things about it.
     
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  10. Oct 24, 2017 at 3:51 PM
    #10
    Paul631

    Paul631 Well-Known Member

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    Very nice truck, looks awesome in black.

    Toyota did a great job matching the trans & engine characteristics.
     
    firefly33 likes this.
  11. Oct 24, 2017 at 5:10 PM
    #11
    Greenbean

    Greenbean B.S. Goodwrench

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    Man that's a good looking SR5 AC there...

    I was wondering what the 6-spd auto would feel like in the 3rd Gen with the 2.7... I had a 2013 RC with an auto and it's a great transmission just not good at taming the 70mph speed limits we have now.
    The jump from 4 to 6 speeds has got to help!
     
    Last edited: Nov 24, 2017
    Clear7 [OP] likes this.
  12. Oct 24, 2017 at 5:15 PM
    #12
    PROseur

    PROseur TYPICAL PRO OWNER; BRODOZER AND DOUCHEBAG

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    How much did you pay for the 4cyl auto in so cal?
     
  13. Oct 28, 2017 at 6:51 PM
    #13
    mweidl

    mweidl Well-Known Member

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    28k out the door
     
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  14. Nov 22, 2017 at 8:41 PM
    #14
    PuyallupJon

    PuyallupJon Well-Known Member

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    sorry to hear about the black paint. your comments likely steered me away from a 2018 in black.
     
  15. Nov 23, 2017 at 2:40 PM
    #15
    Clear7

    Clear7 [OP] Well-Known Member

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    I was disappointed in that for sure. Black is always a bad color for swirls and haze, but I've never seen anything this bad. I ended up getting it ceramic coated, which completely removed all swirls and haze. I took it to a proper detailer, and he said too how bad Toyota's clearcoat is in general. His words were that it was soft like honey.

    I'm not sure if the 2018 metalic black will be better or worse..
     
  16. Nov 23, 2017 at 6:10 PM
    #16
    mweidl

    mweidl Well-Known Member

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    What’s the best way to prevent a new Tacoma’s clear coat from failing or at least delaying it
     
  17. Nov 23, 2017 at 7:10 PM
    #17
    Clear7

    Clear7 [OP] Well-Known Member

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    I'm not sure if anything will prevent it. I used the 2 pail with strainer method, 2 mitts etc..etc.. it still swirled.

    To delay it, I guess a pressure washer first to remove the debris, then 2 pail the rest. And a proper drying cloth, or leaf blower it dry. But even then, I'd still guess after several washes, you'll start seeing the swirls.

    I was just going to accept it (it is a truck after all, and still looks great in the shade), but the haze bugged me every sunny day. Its a brand new truck, and shouldn't do that yet, so I ceramic coated it. That should last 2-3 years, and at that point, I may say forget it, and let it haze. Cross that one when i get there.
     
  18. Nov 24, 2017 at 4:34 AM
    #18
    Greenbean

    Greenbean B.S. Goodwrench

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    You could always do a matte black vinyl wrap depending on cost,

    Might look pretty slick too!
     
    Clear7 [OP] likes this.
  19. Nov 26, 2017 at 6:07 AM
    #19
    shackley

    shackley Well-Known Member

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    Nice review. I had a 2009 with the 4 cyl. and MT and liked it all except the high end power. Off-road it was great. I traded it for a V-6 and have remained with them since. Unlike many here, I have no issues with my 2017 TRD OR with the auto - first automatic I ever had in a truck and like it more than I thought I would. I got the auto because I wanted an access cab. Why in hell you can't get a MT in an ACC is beyond me.
     
  20. Nov 28, 2017 at 7:32 AM
    #20
    PreRunnerAlabama

    PreRunnerAlabama Well-Known Member

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    Just wish the 2nd Gens AT were at least a 5 speed. 4 speed kills the 2trfe.
     

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