by toml1958 on Nov 2, 2011 Vehicle: 2003 Toyota Highlander Fwd 4dr SUV (2.4L 4cyl 4A)
Beware of the dreaded code stating leakage in exhaust system, for this is an idication of the head gasket going and leaking coolant. Upon further review it is found thatrear head bolts are stripped due to excessive heat most like caused by foam insulator pad between plastic intake manifold and engine.
Some say engine is toast, but the fix rec. is a time sert insert kit (approx $500 helicoil) with drill guide.
Mine is to be currently repaired at about a total cost of $2,900.00 as long as the helicoil kit holds the head bolt torque, we will see?
It is a design flaw in my opinion as it seems to be a regular issue with the four cylinder Highlanders approx.2001-2005? Failure was at 160,000 mi.
by graphical87 on Sep 22, 2011 Vehicle: 2003 Toyota Highlander Fwd 4dr SUV (2.4L 4cyl 4A)
I've had my Toyota highlander for about 5 months now. When I first got it it had almost 216,000 miles. It's a great SUV and pretty reliable with decent gas mileage.
At about 218,000 miles the temperature gauge
started going up , almost to red. It would go up and then down to normal and repeat. Turned out I blew a head gasket. While it was at the shop being repaired they found that the head bolts were stripped which is a known problem with this year ,make and type of engine my highlander has. Ended up paying $3,700 to get fixed. Despite the major repair I haven't had any other problems with it. I'm at 222,000 miles and it runs great.
I'm hoping on making it to 300,000 + miles.
by anderswl on Apr 16, 2011 Vehicle: 2003 Toyota Highlander Fwd 4dr SUV (2.4L 4cyl 4A)
Just like others I have read on this site, my 2003 run hot and after having it towed for service and repair I was told the engine needs to be replaced.
The cost for the re-built engine was $6,400 - $8,500 depending on who you called. Very disappointed in the built strong organization I put so much trust in.
by lsthkr on Jan 28, 2011 Vehicle: 2003 Toyota Highlander Fwd 4dr SUV (2.4L 4cyl 4A)
Never had a problem with this vehicle until Jan 25 2011 as I was driving across town. Coolant leak brought me to a dead stop. I discovered a common problem with this engine (2.4L 4cyl). Just Google Highlander stripped head-bolts to see how many of these engines are dying and how expensive the fix is. Mine had only 126,000 miles on it. I am the original owner. The dealer will not help with repair costs even though this is a manufacturing and or design issue.
by bizmin on Oct 6, 2010 Vehicle: 2003 Toyota Highlander Fwd 4dr SUV (2.4L 4cyl 4A)
2003 Toyota Highlander 2.4 L 4-cylinder engine, 108,000 miles, perfect service, until it developed coolant leak on the back side of the top of the engine, adjacent to an insulator pad at the back of the engine block. The back 3 head bolts were completely stripped, allowing coolant to leak into the engine. Toyota dealer says the short block or entire engine must be replaced, with no other option [$5200- $7400+.] Based on the frequency of identical engine failures, faulty factory assembly and/or design assures eventual failure of the engine. 25-year Toyota fan, probably lost forever.
by bk on Jul 20, 2010 Vehicle: 2003 Toyota Highlander Fwd 4dr SUV (2.4L 4cyl 4A)
We purchased this car new and kept it dealer maintained for 7 years. I found it to be quite a reliable vehicle until recently. At 118,000 miles it developed a coolant leak. It was ultimately found to be due to stripped out threads in the engine block (i.e. the car needed a new engine ~ $7500.00). After discovering that I was not the only one to experience this problem (check online Toyota forums), I notified Toyota. The Rep stated, "Your engine may be defective, but we cannot help you because you are out of warranty." Beware of the 4 cylinder engine in the 03 Highlander! A dealer maintained vehicle is worthless, and Toyota has lost a customer. And so it goes.
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