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.
Overall, great vehicle; but a $7,000 engine replacement at 118k miles is a deal killer.
Toyota either over or under-tightened the head bolts, leading to eventual engine failure. No excuse for such incompetency. Toyota should make this good to its customers.
Same engine, same problem...stripped head bolts at 126,000 miles. Original owner, just driving across town when coolant lead stopped me dead on Jan. 25 2011. It's at the shop now and may cost several thousand dollars to repair, if it's fixable at all...Thanks Toyota. I never had any problems with this vehicle til now, but I am not willing to give Mr. Toyota $7000.00 of my money to repair a problem that is becoming common and well-known, just Google the problem and you will be amazed, like I was, after this happened.