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90 Series Prado - Loss of power under load.

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  • 90 Series Prado - Loss of power under load.

    Hi All,

    I have just bought a very neat 2000 Toyota Prado Grande 90 Series Petrol with 212000 on the clock.

    I picked it up yesterday from Brisbane and drove it home to Toowoomba. All was fine until I started driving up the Great Dividing Range, when all of a sudden it lost power, would not rev past 2500rpm, it would also not kick down to a lower gear. I crawled up the range at about 40kph.

    When I got to the top I stopped, turned the engine off, restarted and it seemed to run fine. Running on the flat seems to cause no problems whatsoever.

    I’m a bit confused as to what happened.

    I drove prado’s like this with my work for 20 years till they changed to another 4WD type. I have never experienced any loss of power under load before.

    Anyone else experience anything like this? Where do I start troubleshooting this?

    Any advice or tips would be much appreciated.
    Last edited by Sweno; 05-11-2017, 09:19 AM. Reason: Spelling.

  • #2
    Seems to be an increasingly common problem with the 90 series as they age. And like you mentioned, was only found out on a hill climb. Lucky you werent towing anything at the time. Seems that people really only experience this when climbing long hills at a higher speed, then the car loses power to the point where it slows down to 60,50 or 40km/h. The more you press the accelerator down the quicker the car loses speed, and lighten upon the pedal a bit and it runs a smoother and regains a small amount of the power back (but not much). But recovers fully and drives with normal power again once on a flat road. Accelerating hard & revving high in low range doesn't replicate the issue. Strange one. Could be any one of a number of things causing it. Bad coil pack or two, bad leads, fuel pump on its way out or blocked fuel pump intake filter, a bad injector, cam shaft position sensor, crank angle sensor to mention a few. I had this issue myself a year or two ago and when driving up the Toowoomba range every morning to go to work. Replacing the crank position sensor fixed my problem. But that may not be the same fix for yours. Be careful if replacing sensors willy nilly as they're about $200 each to buy. I went through the usual ignition timing suspects of replacing the spark plugs, coil packs and leads in mine. That may have made it run a tad better, or it may have been in my head that replacing those made a slight difference. Never touched the fuel pump or anything fuel system related as that was a last resort for me. I found that running a bottle of fuel injector cleaner helped a little bit too. I was racking my head for ages as to the fix for mine and did little things at a time. Plugs first. Then leads. Then coil packs. Eventually gave the crank angle sensor a go as that seemed to fix a percentage of similar problems in different car forums. The bloke at Parts For Cars on Prescott St in Twba asked me why I was ordering a crank sensor from him because in all his years working there he had never sold one. I explained my problem and he wished me luck. He said he did try it himself in a Commodore he once owned that had a similar problem but it didn't fix it. It worked for me personally. I tried lifting a fault code by bridging ports in the diagnostics outlet in the engine bay but what I got from it made no sense. The check engine light just kept flashing for ever so I gave up on that idea.
    Last edited by Brett1979; 05-11-2017, 09:59 AM.
    98 GXL 3.4L V6: TJM 2" lift, Airtec snorkel, TJM T15 steel bull bar, T-Max winch, 32in MT's, 4 x breathers & some other stuff, ODO = 381,000km.

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    • #3
      The car seems to run brilliantly on the flat, it is just that long bloody hill that seems to be the problem. I am thinking that I will start with cleaning the Airflow sensor element. Then like you, take it one step at a time. I’m moving to Adelaide in 5 weeks, so I will need to get it sorted out for the drive.

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      • #4
        The car seems to run brilliantly on the flat, it is just that long bloody hill that seems to be the problem. I am thinking that I will start with cleaning the Airflow sensor element. Then like you, take it one step at a time. Iím moving to Adelaide in 5 weeks, so I will need to get it sorted out for the drive.

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        • #5
          I think its a good start checking out that airflow sensor, also the oil of the trans,
          did it smell of burning at any stage, if not i would think towards electronics.

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          • #6
            I went and had another drive up that long slow hill this afternoon. Changed my driving style, no cruise control, power button depressed, and less throttle..... much better, I mean not brilliant, but distinctly better.

            Goes to my mechanic tomorrow for him to have a poke about.

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            • #7
              You'll have to let us know of what the issue was when you get it fixed. Before mine was fixed the best I could hope for was 60km/h in 2nd and only pressing the accelerator as much as I absolutely needed to in order to get to and keep the car at that speed. The motor just lacked any form of power whatsoever until near the top of the range. Gets embarrassing when trucks are overtaking you on the way up haha.
              98 GXL 3.4L V6: TJM 2" lift, Airtec snorkel, TJM T15 steel bull bar, T-Max winch, 32in MT's, 4 x breathers & some other stuff, ODO = 381,000km.

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              • #8
                When the power loss happens, is it sudden or gradual?
                Does the check engine light ever illuminate?
                What about when you turn the ignition on before starting?
                Does it come and then go off again a few moments after starting?
                When was the last time the timing belt was changed? Hopefully it’ll be written in the book or there’ll be a small sticker in the engine bay somewhere.

                If it’s rev limited to 2500rpm and just will not go past it... it sounds like the knock sensors are detecting pinging and retarding the timing under extreme load. It that SHOULD illuminate the engine light if it limits you to 2500 rpm.

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                • #9
                  I suggest doing the simple things first, you have not mentioned any missing or a misfire just not a lot of power.
                  I would replace the main fuel filter first, the one forward of the sub tank. I doubt it is the fuel pumps as to have both in-tank pumps with the same issue at the same time would be rare. If this filter is blocked it will limit the amount of power you can produce, as it is fine on the flat but cannot maintain speed when more power (fuel) is required. This would not set an fault code.
                  As it runs fine on the flat I assume it revs over 2500rpm which indicates electrically it is ok. How does it go on hard acceleration from stationary?
                  Does sit break down/miss at high rpm through the gears? Does it rev out in first & second okay but not third etc.

                  Lee
                  Last edited by Leethal; 14-11-2017, 10:56 AM. Reason: double post
                  02 VX, Toyota Alloy Bar, IPF 900XS with 50 watt HID, 50 mm Lift- Lovell Shocks n Springs, Safari Snorkel, large Pioneer tray, Pioneer In-dash, Alpine roof mount DVD screen -handled the Simpson and Innaminka roads, now with a little TRD blower & Unichip

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                  • #10
                    Double post
                    Last edited by Leethal; 14-11-2017, 10:57 AM. Reason: Double post
                    02 VX, Toyota Alloy Bar, IPF 900XS with 50 watt HID, 50 mm Lift- Lovell Shocks n Springs, Safari Snorkel, large Pioneer tray, Pioneer In-dash, Alpine roof mount DVD screen -handled the Simpson and Innaminka roads, now with a little TRD blower & Unichip

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                    • #11
                      Wow,
                      I just had this happen to me today as well. I got a engine light on and it throws error for throttle body. So i am in a hunt for one. So bloody hard to find one here in Sydney.
                      I hope a good night rest will help me get the car back to Sydney tomorrow from Newcastle 😐

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                      • #12
                        Finding one from a Prado may make things difficult... looking for one from a Hilux will be easier

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by RanJ View Post
                          Finding one from a Prado may make things difficult... looking for one from a Hilux will be easier
                          Are they the same?
                          As my prado is Auto with cruise control?

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                          • #14
                            Many years ago I had a somewhat similar problem with a non-Toyota car. It would go beautifully for hundreds of flat km,
                            then suddenly the power would just disappear, and it would limp along, usually on a hill. It turned out to be a kinked fuel line.

                            So check around near the fuel filter, someone may have changed the filter and twisted up one of the lines.
                            It's a long shot, but this sounds like it could be a similar fuel supply issue to me.

                            One test would be to fill the fuel tank completely full. If it happens less on a full tank then it could be this.

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                            • #15
                              HI Sweno
                              You have described my experience of last few months perfectly. Towing a one tonne camper trailer, it does not want to go up hills - slows to a crawl - 1st gear on steeper ones. Mines a 2002 Prado advantage 3.4 auto. Delivers 18-20lt/100 km with trailer and best normal light running without trailer delivers 15lt/100km. No knocks, no rough running, timebelt within service interval - tried all fuel types, injector cleaner, changed spark plugs, changed air flow sensor, cleaned air cleaner. Gave up and took it to Toyota. - Compression fine, all diagnostics OK, problem not found $260 please.

                              The car used to consistently deliver 11.5 to 12.5lt/100km heavily loaded.

                              I've checked brakes and bearings for temperature - all cool including trailer - checked tyre pressures - need to check wheel alignment. But I cant escape fact -- unexplained engine power loss.

                              The idea that fuel might be being starved (per a comment above) is interesting.

                              Did you eventually find answer?

                              Cheers
                              Chris

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