Toyota Maintenance: Tacoma & 4Runner 30K Mile Service
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| Toyota Section | Tech | 4Runner | Maintenance | Minute Mods |

By: Mark Griese - 12/2003

This table lists items found in the Scheduled Maintenance Guide for the four wheel drive models that were being serviced. You must consult the documentation that came with your vehicle to determine what is appropriate for your Toyota.

30,000 mile / 24 month maintenance items




  • Drive belts
  • Ball joints & dust covers
  • Brake lines and hoses
  • Brake linings/drums & brake pads/discs
  • Fuel lines, connections, and vapor vent system hoses
  • Fuel tank cap gasket
  • Steering gear box, linkage, and boots
  • Exhaust pipes and mountings


These items also apply to the 60K, 90K, and 120K maintenance intervals.


Driveshaft lubrication……

Toyota specifies two different kinds of grease for lubing the driveshafts. NLGI No.2 Lithium Base Chassis Grease is used for the universal joint, and NLGI No. 2 Molybdenum Disulfide Lithium Base Chassis Grease is used for the Slide Yoke and the Double Cardan Joint. The Double Cardan Joint is like two universal joints housed in one unit or assembly, but it does have a grease fitting in between the two universal joints.

To lube the driveshafts you will need a Grease Gun, the grease mentioned above, and some rags to clean the fittings before adding any grease. In two wheel drive you can rotate the front driveshaft by hand until the fittings are visible. For the rear driveshaft, you will have to move the vehicle until the fittings are visible, or rotate the rear axle (after lifting and supporting it).

The fitting on the grease gun should snap onto the zerk fitting on the driveshaft. If grease leaks from the fitting once you start to pump grease into the joints, either the spring loaded check ball in the zerk is stuck, or the snap feature of the gun isn't strong enough to prevent leaks. Try holding the gun's fitting tighter against the zerk. If it still doesn't accept grease, it may be rusted, try using a pointed tool to free the ball. If this is unsuccessful, the zerk fitting will need to be replaced. Likewise, if grease oozes back out after filling, replace the zerk. Add grease until you see it ooze out the the joint somewhere beside the fitting. The slide yoke is an exception, since it moves in and out. If it's filled up, the next time it joint compresses, it will expel all the excess grease. About four to six strokes from a lever type grease gun will be sufficient.

Grease Gun With Flexible Hose Front Driveshaft Front U-Joint & Slide Yoke Tacoma Rear Driveshaft - Double Cardan Joint

Double Cardan Joint Rear U-Joint & Slide Yoke Zerk Before Cleaning Filling A Zerk Fitting

Transmission fluid or oil……

Draining and refilling the fluid is all that is recommended for the automatic transmission. The filters in the newer models covered here use a metal housing with a synthetic mesh screen. Toyota does not require removal and cleaning of the filter. If the fluid you drain out is not cherry red or slightly darkened, but a reddish brown color, it is likely burnt. You should consider having it professionally flushed. I have drained and refilled the approximately four quarts at every engine oil change, and my fluid is still bright red and shows no signs of degradation after 35,000 miles. Since the dealer would like to sell you a professional flush every 30,000 miles, regular drain and fills can result in a considerable savings. However, if you fluid is already discolored, due to towing or neglect, a professional flush may be advised. Vehicles that are regularly used for towing should also have a stacked plate transmission cooler installed for added insurance against wear and tear.

To change the auto tranny fluid, you will need a drain pan, a ratchet and 14mm socket, and a funnel small enough to fit in the dipstick tube (for refilling). You'll also need the fluid of your choice and some kind of container to safely transport the used fluid to a collection facility. The book states the capacity as 2.1 quarts, but both of my automatics take 4, which may be due to a typograpical error in the book. Only add back what is needed, as measured by using the COLD level on your dipstick with the vehicle idling in PARK (the HOT level is only for checking after extended driving). I only mentioned the four quarts so you can purchase enough so you don't come up short on your first change. The drain plug uses a crush washer that was intended to be replaced each time. I have re-used mine without problems, but be sure to check for leaks in the first few days after a change. Many have reported stripping out the threads on the drain plug, so caution is advised. The torque is listed as 20 ft. lbs.(240 inch lbs.), I prefer to use 150 inch lbs.

To change the manual tranny oil, you will need a drain pan, a ratchet and 24mm socket, and a possibly a manual pump for refilling. These manual pumps fit the more common plastic bottles of gear oil. You'll also need the oil of your choice and some kind of container to safely transport the used oil to a collection facility. After draining and re-installing the plug, refill the tranny until oil starts to spill out the fill hole. Re-install the fill plug. The plugs may be torqued to 25 ft. lbs.

Automatic Transmission Drain Plug Manual Transmission Drain Plug Manual Fluid Pump

Differential & Transfer Case lubrication……

To change the differential and transfer case oil, you will need a drain pan, a ratchet, a 10mm hex bit socket, a 24mm socket, and a possibly a manual pump for refilling (as shown in the transmission section above). You'll also need the oil of your choice and some kind of container to safely transport the used oil to a collection facility. Always remove the fill plug first, if for some reason you can't get the fill plug out, you would have to leave the unit empty if you already had the drain plug out. In many of these units, the drain plug has a magnetic insert to collect metal shavings from the gears. Clean off the metal shavings (or powder) while the unit is draining, and be sure not to mix up the two different plugs. After draining and re-installing the plug, refill the unit until oil starts to spill out the fill hole. Re-install the fill plug. The differential plugs may be torqued to 36 ft. lbs., and the transfer case plugs to 25 ft. lbs.

Front Differential Drain Plugs Rear Differential Drain Plugs Transfer Case Drain Plugs

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