Noob help. Is the 3vze that bad? To keep or sell '90 pickup 3vze 4x4, 160k, manual - YotaTech Forums



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Noob help. Is the 3vze that bad? To keep or sell '90 pickup 3vze 4x4, 160k, manual

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Old 09-29-2015, 05:02 PM   #1
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Post Noob help. Is the 3vze that bad? To keep or sell '90 pickup 3vze 4x4, 160k, manual

Hi y'all,

Been lurking around yotatech for awhile now, but I felt compelled to open account and seek some help from you guys.

I've got a 1990 pickup, 3vze, manual, 4x4 extended cab truck with 160k that I don't know what to do with. I've been reading a lot of bad things about the engine, that the 22re is better in most respects besides power, and even then the increase is almost negligible, and that I should swap up to a 3.4, etc. I bought the truck for $2,000 from my ex's dad, and it ran great for about a year until the timing belt went out. I don't have much experience working on Toyota's, and there's limited garage space at my house (live in SoCal) so I took it a yota mechanic in my town and so far I've paid about $3,200 for the timing belt, water pump, clutch, tuneup and tie rod replacements (they were screeching at turns). Don't know if that's a decent deal or not, but I trusted the yota-only mechanic. Total's up to about $5,200, and here I thought I was getting a great deal on the truck but then I read online about how terrible the 3vze, and now I don't know whether I should try to sell it and look for a 22re, or swap up to the 3.4 (have no idea how to or how much it'd cost).

I just want a reliable truck to take camping and up the coast on an extended trip, and to romp off road when looking for trails. Nothing too crazy. I know the gas mileage is pretty bad (clocking in around 15mpg, haven't checked recently, i only just got it back from the mechanic). So do you guys suggest I stick it out with the truck I got now, or swap up for a 3.4, or sell it and shop around? Not sure how much I could get for the truck, but it's running great now. I can do basic maintenance to increase its longevity. Had a 92 Civic up to 250k till I gave it to my sis. So that isn't much of an issue.\

Any help would be greatly appreciated. And if this is the wrong place to ask the question, please tell me where I should go.

Thanks!


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Old 09-29-2015, 05:16 PM   #2
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I'm a 22re guy, BUT a month ago a guy parked across the street with a 1990 3vze. He had 250K unrebuilt miles on it and it was running like a top If it's running good now with all your work, why dump it?
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Old 09-29-2015, 06:23 PM   #3
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Mine has been a love/hate relationship with my 93-4r. I bought mine from my nephew, site unseen. He said it ran great, and the pics I saw looked pretty good. I wanted to kick his butt when I went to pick it up...it ran, but wouldn't shift properly, exhaust leaked and was loud, I hated what I was in for.
After spending over $2800 for parts, tools, reference manuals I now have a truck I would drive anywhere. Doing the work myself, timing belt, rear wheel seal/bearings, KS, and so much more, I learned a lot
If I would have used mechanics, I'm sure I would have spent 3500-4K.
I get about 18mpg, insurance is cheap, I use it for fishing, camping, trail, and right now I love it.
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Old 09-29-2015, 07:56 PM   #4
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First, I'd say $3200 is a bit steep for the work you had done, at least in my area. Clutch is about $1000, and timing belt with water pump about another $1000. A couple hundred for a tuneup. Not sure what went on with the tie-rods. Almost all of these truck squeak and groan when turned to the stops - that's normal when the plastic caps on the steering stops wear off. Harmless, but annoying. $2500 should probably have covered what your mechanic did. But, at that, none of what you had done (other than possibly the tie-rods) is more than just routine maintenance for a vehicle of that age/mileage. Nothing specific to the 3vze in what was done.

If the 3vze is running well, I'd just drive it. I'm with catwrangler - I'd drive mine to Alaska and back if I had the time. 22re's are not immune to head gasket problems either - just do some more reading here and you'll find that out. At 160K miles, your 3vze is likely good for another 80-100K or so without problems if you keep it well maintained.

Remember, these trucks are 20+ years old. Any of them are going to need some work from time to time. If you want to drive one of these and keep costs under control, you need to get some tools, read this forum regularly, and plan to do a lot of your own work. It's fun and rewarding once you get into it.

If you go buy another rig, you have another huge unknown. A running 3vze that you know something about is definitely preferable to a "pig in a poke" 22re or any other engine.
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Old 09-30-2015, 09:22 AM   #5
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Thanks everyone for their responses. I'll keep the 3vze and address any problems as they arise. I knew the original owner and he kept good care of it for many years until he stopped driving it and left it sitting for a bit. So I've got a good idea of what's been done on the truck during it's lifetime, and as you said, RJR, knowing about the 3vze in my truck is more valuable than gambling on buying another unknown truck.

RJR, do you have any recommendations on tools, for basic maintenance? Garage space is limited but I can use my driveway. All my old tools were my dad's and he's not around anymore.

And in another thread I'd read installing a cat-back exhaust would help improve mileage and HP, do any of you know anything about that?
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Old 09-30-2015, 11:20 AM   #6
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Hard to give you a specific tool list, since you don't know what you might have to work on next. However, here are a few suggestions.

- Get a digital multimeter (DMM) and learn how to use it. Ask here if you're confused by some parts of its operation. Adequate meters are available from Harbor Freight or Amazon.com for less than $10. A lot of your problems will be electrical, and a DMM is essential for troubleshooting. Again, don't be afraid to ask questions.

- For mechanics tools, a set of basic metric combination wrenches and a 3/8" drive set of sockets will take you a long way. That plus the usual various pliers, screwdrivers, etc. For special purpose tools (tie rod pullers, etc., autozone and o'reilly's have free tool rental for lots of stuff.)

- Check out the FSM (factory service manual) links at the top of this board. Browse it and learn where stuff is. Pay particular attention to the Engine/Multiport Fuel Injection/Diagnostics section. If you ever see a check engine light (CEL) come on (other than just before starting), this manual section is the first place you should head.

If your truck starts doing something funny, ask about it here with a detailed description. Do that before you start replacing parts. It's not likely you'll experience many problems that someone on this board hasn't already seen and solved. Also, put your truck vehicle information in your signature - that way everyone will know what they're dealing with.

As far as power increases go, there's not a lot you can do to a 3vze or a 22re to really pep them up. They're just not big, powerful engines. I've heard the cat-back exhaust is as useful a mod as any, but I have no personal experience. Others may chime in on this.

Main thing with a 3vze with a manual is to not be afraid of revving it up. It likes to be between 3000 and 4000 rpm when accelerating or climbing hills. It's easier on the headgasket to run it that way as well, vs. lugging it at lower rpms. Keeps the peak cylinder pressures lower.
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Old 09-30-2015, 01:50 PM   #7
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Quote:
Main thing with a 3vze with a manual is to not be afraid of revving it up. It likes to be between 3000 and 4000 rpm when accelerating or climbing hills. It's easier on the headgasket to run it that way as well, vs. lugging it at lower rpms. Keeps the peak cylinder pressures lower.
I've never heard that before. Good info to know if it's true.
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Old 09-30-2015, 02:11 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by dbd6604 View Post
I've never heard that before. Good info to know if it's true.
Simple fact is, its generally true of most all automobile engines because of the nature of their torque and power curves..

Some heavy duty truck engines/diesels make max torque at more moderate speeds, but gas engines like to run free.
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Old 10-01-2015, 10:05 AM   #9
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RJR, this is invaluable stuff. Thanks for your help. Especially about the rpms, I had no idea! I'm looking forward to talking more with you guys. Many other forums I've visited have been nasty places, but you guys have all been very helpful. Thank you! Glad to be a part of yotatech now.
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Old 10-12-2015, 07:29 PM   #10
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I'm in north San Diego where are you? I also have a 3vze in a 1993 DLX 5 speed 4x4 pickup and have had the same thoughts float around in my head. In fact I sold my 1991 2wd 22RE to get this one lol. The 4cyl motor has the same issues and a better PR agent. It's not immune to issues. My 22re blew head gaskets (twice) and ate clutches and wore out electrics on its way to 224,000 when I sold it running and not leaking but needing a clutch and new radiator. Now I have a "much nicer" rig for fooling around and camping with AC and power steering as well as an oil leak and a bad reputation. To be blunt, I dont care! It's had a lot of work done to it and only has 124700 orig miles so I keeping it. Any vehicle of 20+ years can blow a HG or suffer component failures... You got the thing for a song considering what these sell for in SoCal and you did the maintenance needed to extend its life. People always want to get rid of their toys after spending $$... Why? You spent money to keep the dang thing right? Ps the 3.4 blows too and there's a whole forum dedicated to that engine that will scare the pants off you. Keep the truck, enjoy the sub par mpg and realize that it's ten times more reliable than 80% of the other trucks on the trail.
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Old 12-19-2015, 10:20 AM   #11
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I bought a 1991 pickup with a junk engine in it for $500 and then I put a remanufactured 3.0 with upgraded cams and valve springs, improved oil galleries and a larger oil pump. Engine and tranny oil coolers and headers. I also put in ARP head studs. I'll let you know how this set up works out.

Last edited by Camazotz; 12-20-2015 at 02:28 PM. Reason: Remembered more info
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Old 12-19-2015, 01:23 PM   #12
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I've done the cat back exhaust and the intake silencer delete, and my 4runner with the 3vze and 5 speed is pretty peppy, even with trouble code 52 (knock sensor no signal ). I can hold 75-80mph on hills on the highway without having to downshift most of the time with 32" tires on it.
I just did head gaskets and all the parts that go with that job, and I would drive mine cross country if I got the chance.
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