Last post on Sep 22, 2009 at 8:04 PM
You are in the Toyota 4Runner
What is this discussion about?
Toyota 4Runner, Exterior, SUV
#93 of 211 Re: 2005 4Runner [raider]
Jul 29, 2004 (12:11 pm)
Raider, I'll answer in two parts:
First about the history of the i-Force V8.
The i-Force is a beautiful engine even without VVT-i. It may not make class-leading power, but it is by far the most solidly constructed and (I and many others predict) the most durable V8 truck motor on the market today. Plus I'd go so far as to say that it's about the smoothest and quietest truck motor out today.
It's actually 99%+ identical to the V8s currently used in all of the Lexus SUVs, and made in the same factory in Japan. The basic architecture is closely related to the V8s found in Lexus' cars such as the 4.0L V8 in my 99 GS400 or the 4.3L V8 in the 2001+ Lexus vehicles. There are some pretty significant differences, though, as well. One of them being VVT-i, another being displacement, but others such as intake and exhaust ports and so on. But the thing that remains is that it's a motor that Toyota/Lexus has spent a lot of time and experience obsessing over and has spared no cost in developing and building it.
#94 of 211 2005 4Runner [threxx]
Jul 29, 2004 (12:31 pm)
Threxx, thanks so much. Can I ask you how you were able to do in the pricing area with regard to orderin the 2005. How much off MSRP was your dealer willing to go? I haven't talked to any dealers yet about ordering a 2005. Thus far, I've test driven some 2004's at two dealerships. Is the new V-8 a 4.7 liter engine? My Ford Explorer Sport has about 160,000 miles on it and is about to die so I'm worried about keeping it going until December. It has a knock in it. Of course, I could sell the Explorer and then rent a car for a few months. I would assume that if I want to get delivery by December that I need to be getting my order in very soon.
#95 of 211 Re: 2005 4Runner [raider]
Jul 29, 2004 (12:43 pm)
The way VVT-i works and how it will affect the i-Force.
(part two of the question at hand)
All engines have cams. Cams have profiles, which effectively means what timing they use to open and close the exhaust and intake valves. This may sound pretty minor, but by modifying the profile of a cam you can make the same motor very "torquey" (low-RPM off the line grunt, useful for towing and for being able to leave casually from a stoplight without revving the motor very high. But at the same time, the more torque-biased the cam profile, the more the motor will loathe high-RPM and thus feel 'out of breath' when revved), or you can make it very "peaky" (which will give a significant bias toward high-rpm horsepower, but will give a pronounced lack of torque, thus causing the motor to have to be revved up quite a bit even in day-to-day casual driving).
The old-school solution most manufacturers used with this dilema was to base cam profiles on the type of car they were put in: In trucks you'd see low RPM torque-biased profiles and in compact sporty cars you'd see high RPM horsepower-biased profiles. In "in-between" vehicles such as vans, family sedans, and so on, you'd most often see neutral cam profiles that gave about as much bias toward torque as they did to horsepower, thus giving those cars a more comfortable "flat" power delivery that would be usable in any situation.
You may also notice that in race cars and such, they always seem to be idling rough... some to the point (on some drag racing cars and such) that the driver has to constantly give it gas to keep it from dying. This isn't necessarily the sign of an unhealthy engine, it's just a very radical cam profile with high lift and high duration. This makes more power all across the board as long as the heads and valves of the motor are able to take advantage of their extra breathing room. But at the same time it makes the motor run much rougher.
Then came "VTEC" (Honda), "VVT" (Toyota), and some other companies had other names for the same basic concept using slightly different methods of implementation. This new technology in general allowed the use of two seperate cam profiles in the same motor. Thus a manufacturer could put in a low RPM torque-biased cam profile that was designed to automatically switch at, say, 3500 RPM, to a high RPM horsepower-biased cam profile. It's not always this simple depending on the engineer's intentions, but that's the basic conceptual benefit. Thus trucks using VVT could now breath much better at high-RPM, and 4-cylinder compact cars didn't have quite as much of a lack of low-RPM grunt (although many still do because of their small displacement, it is at least not as 'bad' as it used to be).
The newest technology (i-VTEC and VVT-i) just builds upon the same concept of 2 switchable cam profiles, except it adds "intelligence" (that's what the 'i' stands for). The intelligence adds the ability for the vehicle's onboard computer to monitor all sorts of things such as throttle position, RPM, rate of acceleration, traction control, and driver's habits to determine when the best time for the cam profile shift is, or if it would really make sense at all (for example, if you are accelerating moderately and the computer knows it's going to be, at the current rate of acceleration, shifting at 3600 RPM, it probably won't bother to shift the cam profile toward high-RPM and then shift it back again after the transmission shifts only for 100 RPM of benefit). Sort of the same way as electronic throttle control in toyota vehicles already manages throttle position for both the transmission's shift points as well as the traction control system.
The end result of the addition of VVT-i to any motor is mainly that the motor makes up for its weaker trait. Thus giving a smoother, flatter power curve, better overall performance no matter what, often times slightly improved gas milage, and sometimes a slightly smoother running motor if the original single cam profile was more radical than the VVT-i cam profiles were.
In the i-Force's case, it was a truck motor and thus was very torque-biased. Because of this, its already high 320 pounds of torque was only increased by another 10, as the new profile really couldn't get all that much more torque-biased than the original profile already was. But the original cam profile definitely had issues in the horsepower department... thus why the horsepower figures previously were in the 235-240 range at a slightly lower than ideal RPM (peak horsepower was very noticably before actual redline). The addition of VVT-i will boost the power figures to 278 horsepower (I know others here have heard 270, but I've heard 278.. not sure if my info is accurate, though. They may just rate it at 270 and rate the GX470 at 280 for marketing purposes), with the powerband being much flatter and continuing on to 2 or 3 hundred RPM closer to redline.
#96 of 211 Re: 2005 4Runner [raider]
Jul 29, 2004 (12:47 pm)
The i-Force has been 4.7L since it was released, and will continue to be for 2005. Some sources say they may increase the displacement and change some pretty significant details when the move production over from Japan to Alabama here in the next year or two, though.
The first dealer I talked to told me the best they could do was 800 over invoice. But that was without negotiating or anything. I ended up getting it for about 1100 under invoice when I ordered it, but I ordered from a fleet sales guy that I know personally... that sort of deal is not accessible normally unless you know somebody that does fleet sales personally. From what I've heard the best deal you should shoot for at a dealership is between 200 under invoice and around 500 over invoice. Anywhere in that range you're doing good.
#97 of 211 Re: 2005 4Runner [threxx]
Jul 29, 2004 (6:31 pm)
With all due respect, I can't imagine ordering a vehicle like that with 2WD. Why? If you want a 2WD wagon-type of vehicle, which is what you've ordered, virtually every car-based wagon will drive better, handle better, get better mileage, etc., than a truck-based wagon, which is what you've ordered.
#98 of 211 Re: 2005 4Runner [rsholland]
Jul 29, 2004 (7:46 pm)
Well this is for my fiance. She'll never be off-roading. Even when I drive it, the worst I might do is some slightly muddy trail running (for camping and such). We also live in an area that sees about an average of 1 (very weak) snow fall that actually sticks to the ground for more than a few minutes.
So with all of that mentioned, 4WD would do nothing but:
Increase the price of the vehicle
Decreased the gas milage
Worsened the acceleration, handling, and braking capabilities somewhat
Added a maintenance and future reliability issue
So yeah, then you ask "why not just get a unibody SUV"? Well because she decided she wanted something bigger than the Highlander, and I don't particularly care for the Honda Pilot, so our only real options past that were body on frame. I like body on frame anyway because of the fact that you can beat on it all day long and it loves it. We both also like the way it feels when driving in an SUV. And lastly, she has been slightly accident prone in the past, and I like the fact that body on frame vehicles are much less prone to structural/irreversable damage when in minor and even moderate accidents.
Oh, and if you couldn't tell already, I love the i-Force. I prefer it 10x over the V6 offerings in the unibody SUVs.
#99 of 211 Re: 2005 4Runner [threxx]
Jul 30, 2004 (6:00 am)
So with all of that mentioned, 4WD would do nothing but:
Increase the price of the vehicle
Decreased the gas mileage.
Only very slightly
Worsened the acceleration, handling, and braking capabilities somewhat.
Again, only very slightly
Added a maintenance and future reliability issue.
Not true, especially not true being a Toyota.
On the flip side, a 2WD SUV (of any brand) will bring in a much lower resale value upon trade-in. In addition, a 2WD SUV will be much harder to sell, if you decide to sell it yourself. There's a tiny market for that kind of vehicle, as compare to a 4WD SUV. So whatever money you save up front at the time of purchase, you will most likely lose at the time of trade-in.
I wasn't thinking of car-based SUVs, like the Highlander, but car wagons (Legacys/Outbacks, Mazda 6, Passat, Volvos, etc.)—all of which will drive much better than any truck-based SUV.
I can understand the appeal of the Toyota V8.
#100 of 211 2WD 4Runner
Jul 30, 2004 (6:57 am)
In Alabama, we do not have snow, ice and other inclement weather to deal with. 99% of all of our 4Runners will be 2WD. 4x4 doesn't add much value if it isn't needed. A ten bedroom house would have more value then a three bedroom house but value for your money comes in to consideration.
#101 of 211 Re: 2WD 4Runner [sbell4]
Jul 30, 2004 (8:19 am)
99% of all of our 4Runners will be 2WD.
I don't believe that for a moment. Even if you don't have snow, some of those owners will use their 4Runners off road, or at least on muddy roads and/or trails. Even if they don't go off-road, many will buy 4WD, just in case...
#102 of 211 Re: 2005 4Runner [rsholland]
Jul 30, 2004 (8:22 am)
The factors such as worsened handling, gas milage, acceleration, braking, etc are all minor, but they are all factors none the less, and are just as major of factors to me as things like 'just in case' and 'resale' are for me since I don't plan on actually using 4WD.
Even things that appear minor such as 1 MPG worse with gas, amortized over 100,000 miles (and actually I plan to keep it longer), this equals over $650 2/gal (and we all know gas will be going higher). If you figure the same thing happens with your struts/brakes/etc to where they have to be replaced slightly sooner, the money starts adding up out of nowhere.
I don't know about where you live, but here in Memphis, TN the extra money spent on 4WD on a new purchase will depreciate at just about the same rate as the rest of the money spent. So if the 4Runner depreciates 50%, so will the 4WD.
In other words, it's not an investment item.
If there is such a tiny market for 2WD SUVs then why are the majority of new 4Runners sold in my area 2WD? That makes no sense at all.
There is added maintenance and reliability issues with 4WD in any vehicle, especially if you're talking about keeping one as long as we plan on keeping this 4Runner. True with Toyota it's less of a question mark, but it is there nonetheless. The more parts you have to break, the greater chance you have of something breaking. And 4WDs do usually involv a bit of extra maintenance such as the transfer case fluid and a couple of extra points that need to be routinely greased for factory-smooth operation (just ask the 4WD GX470 owners about a binding issue they have where they'll just be sitting at a stoplight and *bam* feels like they've been rear ended. Nope, they just need to get regreased)
And car-based wagons are not all that different from car-based SUVs. Many of them even share the same chassis and drivetrain. It's just a matter of if people like to sit up a little higher or have a little more headroom/cargo room (which isn't always the case when comparing unibody SUVs to unibody wagons, but is most common none the less).
Body on frame definitely has a more of a 'wet noodle' feeling than unibody due to its inherently lower torsional and bending rigidity and lower natural resonent frequency. But at the same time it has the advantage of being 'disconnected' from the actual structure and cabin of the vehicle, thus meaning when you hit a bump or irregularity, it is the frame that is absorbing the impact rather than the entire car as you see with unibody.
Body on frame definitely makes the ocupants feel chassis flex moreso, but to say unibody is a "better" ride is like saying apples are better than oranges. Some people flat-out prefer body on frame (ask anyone who insists on driving a truck or truck-based SUV or one of the big-body cars (Lincolns/Cadillacs/Crown Vics/etc).
I say this as someone who owns a 99 Lexus GS400 (unibody) and who recently sold a 2000 Chevy Silverado. The ride of the two was completely opposite, but I enjoy(ed) both in their own seperate rights, just as I enjoyed driving the 2004 4Runner they had at the dealer's lot.