Toyota Tacoma 3.5 V6 Engine Problems And Reliability!

Toyota Tacoma 3.5 V6 Engine Problems And Reliability!

June 10, 2023 0 By CarGuy

Are you interested in purchasing a Tacoma with the 3.5L V6 engine and you want to learn more about the Toyota Tacoma 3.5 V6 engine problems? If that’s the case, you are at the right place because, in this article, there will be a lot to cover on this engine.

Doing your own homework beforehand is a very clever idea. You just don’t want to get a vehicle with a problematic engine. There are many models with different engines and each of these engines performs differently. For example in the Tacoma, you have the 2.7 that we previously covered and the 3.5. Luckily, in this article, we are going to cover all about the 3.5 V6 engine.

First, we are going to cover the specs of this engine, then we are going to discuss the Toyota Tacoma 3.5 V6 engine problems, reliability, and life expectancy of this engine. So, without further ado, let’s dive into the topic.

Toyota Tacoma 3.5 V6 Engine (2GR-FKS) Specs

Now let’s briefly cover the specs of this engine before we discuss the applications and the Toyota Tacoma 3.5 V6 engine problems.

This engine is a V6 engine from the GR family of engines. The GR family is a V6 family of engines and each one of them has a 60-degree aluminum block with a DOHC head design.

This family of engines replaced the previous MZ V6 engines, VZ V6 engines, as well as the JZ inline-6 engines.

The engine that is used in the Tacoma is known as the 2GR-FKS and this engine has the following specs.

  • Engine Displacement: 3.5L
  • Type: Gasoline, Naturally Aspirated
  • Configuration: V6
  • Bore Size: 94 mm
  • Stroke: 83 mm
  • Block Material: Aluminum
  • Cylinder Head: Aluminum
  • Cylinder Head Design: DOHC with 4 valves per cylinder
  • Variable Valve Timing: Yes, VVT-iW and VVT-i
  • Compression Ratio 11.8:1
  • Firing Order: 1-2-3-4-5-6
  • Horsepower:  278 hp @ 6,000 rpm
  • Torque: 265 lb-ft @ 4,600 rpm

2GR-FKS Engine Applications

Now let’s cover the applications of the 2GR-FKS engine. We feel obliged to cover the other models that include this engine. Many people are looking for a parts car and many models have the same engine as the Tacoma, so let’s cover the applications.

Toyota Models:

  • Toyota Tacoma
  • Toyota Highlander
  • Toyota Camry
  • Toyota Sienna
  • Toyota Alphard
  • Toyota Avalon

Lexus Models:

  • Lexus GS 350
  • Lexus RX 350
  • Lexus LS 350
  • Lexus LS 350
  • Lexus ES 350
  • Lexus RC 350
  • Lexus LM 350

Toyota Tacoma 3.5 V6 Engine Problems

Now let’s briefly list the Toyota Tacoma 3.5 V6 engine problems.

  • Oil Leaks From Timing Cover
  • High Oil Consumption
  • Thermostat Failures
  • Water Pump Failures
  • Spark Plug & Ignition Coil Failures
  • High-Pressure Fuel Pump Failures
  • Engine Failures
  • The Engine Is Very Loud

We briefly introduced the common problems with this engine, now let’s move on and learn more about these issues in-depth. You need to learn when and how these problems occur. As well as the symptoms that are present whenever these problems happen. So, let’s elaborate.

1. Oil Leaks From Timing Cover

One of the most common issues with the Tacoma 3.5 V6 engine is the problem when you have oil leaks coming from the timing cover.

The timing cover is a cover that covers the timing chain, so its name is very self-explanatory.

But this cover as with every other component bolted to the engine has seals. These seals are notorious for failing and when they fail, your engine will start to leak oil.

There are many approaches to this problem. Some people use RTV or a similar solution to seal the leak.

But from our experience, this doesn’t help much. The engine will continue leaking until you replace the gasket of the timing cover.

And replacing this component can be expensive because this will result in a couple of hours of labor. So, before buying one of these Tacomas with the 3.5 V6, make sure that there are no leaks from the timing cover. Now let’s continue to the next Toyota Tacoma 3.5 V6 engine problems.

2. High Oil Consumption At High Miles

High oil consumption was also noted on this engine. This in fact is a common Toyota issue. As engines put up a lot of miles, they start to consume more and more oil.

This is why we advise that you always go for a lower mileage engine if possible when it comes to the longevity you want to achieve.

So, if you plan to use this truck in the next 10 years or so, go for a lower mileage engine. This way you will be sure that you will not need to replace the short block or long block if the whole engine is worn out.

3. Thermostat Failures

Thermostat failures were also noted on these engines. These engines do not have one of the best thermostats around and they tend to fail.

The thermostat for those who don’t know is something like a switch that allows coolant to circulate inside and outside of the block.

Whenever this switch is stuck in a closed position, the engine will overheat. Whenever it is stuck in an open position, the engine will not like to get up to temperature.

Replacing this thermostat is the way to go to solve this problem, or else, the engine health will suffer. Now let’s move on to the next Toyota Tacoma 3.5 V6 engine problems.

4. Water Pump Failures

Water pump failures are also common on these 3.5 V6 engines. This engine has a rather problematic water pump that can fail very often.

This pump tends to leak and produce noise whenever it fails and this is why it is important that you detect these symptoms on time before the problems become bigger.

Because if the water pump fails, you will have engine damage because of overheating. You definitely don’t want that to happen.

What is worth noting is that whenever you replace the water pump, it is advisable that you also replace the thermostat in the process in order to be sure that the problem with the thermostat will not appear again.

5. Spark Plug & Ignition Coil Failures

Spark plug and ignition coil failures on this engine are also another common headache to many owners.

Whenever this problem appears, you will get the check engine light and a misfire code in most cases. There can also be other codes if some of the coils are affected.

This is mainly the fact because this engine is using something known as direct injection. Direct injection is much more demanding when it comes to the spark plugs and coils.

So, having them fail is a very common thing. Luckily, they are not that difficult to get replaced. You can even replace them by yourself if you are into mechanics and want to start wrenching on your truck.

6. High-Pressure Fuel Pump Failures

The high-pressure fuel pump is another failure point on this engine. But what is a high-pressure fuel pump?

HPFP is a special fuel pump for the direct injection system. This system is used on modern cars and the system requires a high-pressure pump in order to work.

This small pump is usually located on top of the engine and can fail quite often on Toyota models. On top of that, it is very expensive to get it replaced.

There was a recall specifically for this pump where many Camry, Tacoma, and Sienna models were affected. More on that, you can check in the following link.

Usually, whenever this pump fails, it starts to create a chirping noise or leaks in more serious situations. Both situations require attention and solving the problem as soon as possible.

7. Engine Failures

Catastrophic engine failures were also noted on this 3.5 V6 engine by Toyota. They are not common but they can happen.

Whenever these failures occur, the engine simply throws a rod at cylinder number 5 or cylinder number 6.

The reason behind this problem according to the Tacoma community was the oil intrusion via the PCV on a steep incline or when the vehicle is rolling. In this case, the cylinder 6 is loaded with most oil and this causes a failure.

Very strange reason we must admit! But if you want to read more, you can check out the following link to learn more.

Now let’s continue to the last on our list of Toyota Tacoma 3.5 V6 engine problems.

8. The Engine Is Very Loud

And the last problem with this engine is that it is very loud. And by very loud we mean it.

This is the case because the engine uses direct injection. Direct injection causes gasoline engines to sound like a diesel engine. Since diesel also uses direct injection.

That’s why the noise that the engine creates should not be a turn-off and you think that the engine is bad. It just works like that.

Toyota Tacoma 3.5 V6 Engine Reliability

The reliability of the 3.5 V6 in the Toyota Tacoma is really good. But we would advise that you avoid 2015 or 2016 models.

These tend to be more problematic and have worse reliability compared to the newer engines. That’s why if you want something more bulletproof, go for a newer engine with lower miles.

Toyota Tacoma 3.5 V6 Engine Life Expectancy

This engine has a lifespan of at least 200,000 miles in most cases. But there are still engines that do not last this much.

At the end of the day, it really depends on the maintenance and how well this engine was loved by its previous owner. This is why we recommend going for an engine with a clear history and good maintenance record.


What Are The Common Toyota Tacoma 3.5 V6 Engine Problems?

Common problems with this engine include oil leaks coming from the timing cover. There are also water pump failures, HPFP failures, spark plug & coil failures, and thermostat failures. In some instances, this engine can also fail catastrophically at cylinder number 5 or 6 if you drive it on an inclined road for a very long time.

Is The 3.5 V6 Engine From The Tacoma Reliable?

Yes, this engine is decent in this area. It is a bit noisy and has some oil leaks that develop from the timing cover but these are no serious issues that affect its reliability. There were some cases of failure but these are isolated cases that do not occur in most day-to-day use.