Potential faults on the Toyota Fortuner 3.0 D4D

Owners still need to be aware of some of the possible downsides


As a Toyota Fortuner owner, the bad news is that you are not the only Fortuner owner on this planet. The good news is that there are many more Fortuner owners driving around in similar Fortuners as you are. The reason why this is good news, is simply because that enables us to disclose and share the experiences owners had (or still have) with their respective vehicles. In doing so, we take the relationship you have with your vehicle to heart and we feel that it is more than reasonable to supply you with the knowledge regarding what you may encounter with your vehicle – in the sense of any setbacks – be that engine or body or chassis related.

In our article on the Toyota Hilux 3.0 D4D model, some issues were made known. Taking into consideration that the Fortuner is equipped with the same 3.0 D4D engine, then it suffice to say that problems encountered with that engine is relevant to problems which may be encountered with the Fortuner’s engine. It should be mentioned that the 3.0 D4D engine has proven itself to be durable and reliable, in both of these models, but owners still need to be aware of some of its downsides.

To recap what has been highlighted in the Hilux discussion – as a Fortuner 3.0 D4D vehicle owner, be aware of the following possible problem areas which may rear its head:


Injector Failure

It seems like many owners of vehicles fitted with a D4D engine, experience noise and excessive white smoke during a cold start? These may be the symptoms of a faulty injector. Yes, the D4D system commonly presents itself with injector problems and it is commonly agreed that all common rail diesel engines tend to suffer the same fault, but why? Fuel companies add additives to their diesel fuel in order to comply with emission laws; these additives reduce emissions but at the same time it creates sticky deposits in the fuel system. Whenever these deposits (even in miniature quantities) find their way into the injector, you are in for some trouble, and the only thing to do is to replace the injectors. If you fail to do this, it can cause immense internal engine damage, leading to motor failure.

There are a few preventative steps which may be taken:

Do not introduce your vehicle’s engine to Bio Diesel. Any dirty diesel is the main cause of injection system failure. Always fill up at reputable and well maintained fuelling stations. If you have the slightest suspicion that your injectors may be faulty, do not hesitate to bring your vehicle to your nearest Steves Auto Clinic and have the injectors tested. At Steves Auto Clinic we will apply a reputable injector cleaner and also replace your vehicle’s diesel injector filter (these should be done at least every 10 000 km if you want to reduce/prevent injector failure). The cost of having these done will far outweigh the costs of replacing broken injectors.

Some vehicle owners actually prefer to have an extra inline diesel filter and a water trap (connected in series to the already present filter) installed in order to give extra protection to those sensitive injectors. One can never be too safe, can you? Steves Auto Clinic, at the request of vehicle owners, can assist in this regard.


Rattle/knocking Noises

The 3.0 D4D tend to have a rattling noise at low revs. This may easily be mistaken as an injector failure, but below the 2000 rpm mark it tends to do that, especially in the morning when the engine is still cold. After a few kilometres and as the engine heats up, the noise may go away. The reason is that the lifters are still dry and only get lubricated after a few kilometres. The rattling sound is therefore normal, in this sense, but to play it safe have Steves Auto Clinic give your vehicle a thorough inspection to ensure that any unfamiliar noises are not the start of something more serious.


Low Grade Oil Being Used

Many 3.0 D4D engines met its painful death at the hand of low grade oil being used. Using low grade oil will result in an excess of heat building up due to poor friction. This in turn results in carbonisation and supply blockages (as seen in the oil pick up below).

Low Grade Oil


If this ever happens, be sure to embrace yourself for an engine replacement because sludging to this extent can never fully and properly be cleared from the oil galleries.

If you want to prevent the occurrence of this ever happening, take your vehicle to a reputable workshop – such as Steves Auto Clinic – and have the injectors and diesel pump flow and pressure characteristics checked. This ought to be done every 60 000 km, to be on the safe side.


Stiff/Hard Clutch

Owners of Fortuner 3.0 D4D vehicles reported that they experienced a hard-feeling (stiff) clutch, even with a full service history after as much as 80 000 km. Some owners even compare the clutch to that of driving a truck.

What may be the cause of this?
Some say that this may be specific to town-driven Fortuners; that city traffic contributes to clutch failure. Owners driving their Fortuners in the countryside seldom complain of clutch issues. If it is typical of city-driven Fortuners to have a heavier clutch that do not last that long, then this should be mentioned in order to allow Fortuner owners to make informative and preventative decisions.

How can a stiff clutch be remedied?
The Fortuner has a hydraulic clutch line, so in the event of experiencing a stiff clutch, have Steves Auto Clinic take a look at your vehicle’s clutch master cylinder. We will bleed the line to make sure you don’t have any air in it (this may be the cause of having to push the pedal all the way to the bottom) or the cylinder seal could be shot, in which case the master cylinder may be replaced. This may sort out the clutch problem.


Excessive Turbo Whistle

It has been reported by some Fortuner owners that they experience a very loud whistling/whizzing sound coming from the engine bay. There were suggestions that this may be caused by a loose turbo pipe. Some rubber pipes also tend to develop cracks due to ageing, causing air leaks. Driving your vehicle with this stubborn problem could cause damage to the engine as the turbo might be sucking in unfiltered air and forcing it into the engine. Get it checked ASAP.

Another cause may be found inside the air-filter assembly where a leak can be present. This problem does happen with Fortuners and should be fixed quickly to ensure longevity of the engine.

The 3.0 D4D is otherwise pretty much bulletproof, but it is always good to know of those awkward places where a bullet may ultimately find its way through and cause damage.

As a final thought, at Steves Auto Clinic we specialise in Toyota Fortuner 3.0 D4D Performance Upgrades. During such an upgrade we can increase your vehicle’s power gains from 120 kW to 175 kW and from 343 Nm to 520 Nm. Customers frequently bring their Fortuner 3.0 D-4D vehicles to SAC because they know that SAC has improved the performance on hundreds of these engines and because they know that SAC has continued with the testing and development of engine upgrades for the D4D. Many years of dynamometer tuning and many different Unichip and Engine Control Unit (ECU) upgrades have been done at Steves Auto Clinic, so be assured that we have you and your vehicle’s well-being at heart.


Related Articles:
My Toyota Hilux 3.0 D4D and the setbacks I may encounter as its owner!
Toyota Hilux & Fortuner 3.0 D4D Performance Upgrades
Unichip Plug & Play | Toyota Hilux 2.5 & 3.0 D4D Uni chip Performance chips


Within the above article, potential problems, causes and fixes have been identified as founded on the experience of vehicle owners and repairers, online sources such as discussion blogs, technical service bulletins and SAC experience. This information is provided solely for reference purposes. SAC strictly instruct readers that only properly qualified individuals should carry out repairs and/or modifications on your vehicles. It should also be made clear that the number of times an item is identified within this discussion should by no way be seen as an indicator of a model’s reliability or the frequency with which they may occur. Two of the exact same vehicles, owned by tow entirely different owners, driven in entirely different ways and on different terrains, and looked after in their own unique ways, will each behave differently. As mentioned, this information is provided solely for reference purposes but we hope – in the process of doing so – to empower you with relevant information which may enable you to make informative decisions whenever you experience any of the mentioned setbacks.