Tun­dra’s V8 of­fers pleas­ing, po­tent power out­put

Annapolis Valley Register - - SPORTS - BY JUSTIN PRITCHARD WHEELS

Model: 2014+ Toy­ota Tun­dra Ve­hi­cle type: Pickup truck His­tory/de­scrip­tion: Toy­ota re­vamped the Tun­dra for the 2014 model year with re­vised looks, new steer­ing and sus­pen­sion sys­tems, an up­dated cabin, im­proved fea­ture con­tent and con­nec­tiv­ity, and plenty more. A wide range of model grades, body-styles, pow­er­train op­tions and fea­ture pack­ages re­mained, help­ing Tun­dra con­nect with a wide range of shop­pers.

Fea­ture con­tent in­cluded the Toy­ota STAR safety sys­tem, as well as Blue­tooth hands- free con­nec­tiv­ity, a backup cam­era, cli­mate-con­trolled leather, nav­i­ga­tion, a premium JBL stereo, Blind Spot Mon­i­tor­ing, two-zone cli­mate con­trol, key­less en­try, a power slid­ing rear win­dow, au­to­matic lights and plenty more.

All mod­els were V8 pow­ered, with a 4.6-litre V8 gen­er­at­ing 310 horse­power, and the pop­u­lar 5.7litre V8 bump­ing that fig­ure to 381.

All units got a proven six-speed au­to­matic trans­mis­sion that should prove worry-free if prop­erly main­tained, and two and four-wheel drive vari­ants were avail­able.

A 2016 or newer model may be best for fre­quent tow­ing as Toy­ota added an im­proved tow­ing pack­age from 2016 and on which in­cluded a trans­mis­sion cooler, and other up­grades.

What own­ers like: Many own­ers re­port pos­i­tively on ride com­fort, per­for­mance and a set of easy-to-use fea­tures. Power out­put from the larger V8 en­gine is said to be pleas­ing and po­tent, and a quiet and com­fort­able ride is also noted.

What own­ers dis­like: The most com­mon owner gripe, as it tends to be for pickup trucks, is the wish for bet­ter fuel mileage. Many own­ers say they find it dif­fi­cult to achieve the Tun­dra’s rated fuel econ­omy fig­ures in “real life.”

The test drive: We’ll put this check up here, but do it last: af­ter your test drive of the Tun­dra, turn the en­gine off for about two min­utes, and then restart it. If it takes sev­eral sec­onds to fire back up, or exhibits trou­ble restart­ing, the likely cul­prit is com­puter-re­lated and can be fixed with up­dated soft­ware for the en­gine com­puter. Deal­ers should be able to look up a tech­ni­cal ser­vice bul­letin re­lat­ing to “flex fuel ex­tended crank due to al­co­hol den­sity cal­cu­la­tion” to fix this prob­lem quickly.

Next, check the park­ing brake, not­ing that some own­ers have re­ported weak park­ing brakes on this gen­er­a­tion Tun­dra. Stop the Tun­dra on the steep­est avail­able in­cline you can find, leave the ve­hi­cle in neu­tral, and ap­ply the park­ing brake. If it fails to hold the ve­hi­cle in place, it will need some at­ten­tion. This is­sue may also keep the Tun­dra from clear­ing a safety in­spec­tion.

Have a tech­ni­cian check the 5.7-litre en­gine (if equipped) for signs of oil leak­age from the cam seal on the en­gine’s cam tow­ers. Most Tun­dra mod­els do not suf­fer from this well-doc­u­mented is­sue, though an out-of-warranty re­pair can be pricey, so be sure to dou­ble check. On de­tec­tion of any such oil leak­age on an in­war­ranty used Tun­dra, have a Toy­ota ser­vice de­part­ment as­sess and doc­u­ment it as soon as pos­si­ble, to help with fu­ture warranty claims.

Some own­ers have re­ported var­i­ous nig­gles and is­sues caused by weak or dy­ing fac­tory bat­ter­ies. One warn­ing sign is the il­lu­mi­na­tion of a mul­ti­tude of warn­ing lights or er­ror mes­sages, si­mul­ta­ne­ously or ran­domly. For min­i­mized like­li­hood of headaches, treat the Tun­dra to a pro­fes­sional bat­tery check, and re­place it if it doesn’t start with fly­ing colours. Don’t un­der­es­ti­mate the headaches a weak bat­tery can cause with mod­ern ve­hi­cle elec­tron­ics.

Lis­ten closely to the Tun­dra in a va­ri­ety of con­di­tions. Note that un­wanted slam­ming, bang­ing or pop­ping sounds are typ­i­cally a sign of wear or trou­ble that will need at­ten­tion soon. Gen­tly but firmly poke and re­lease the throt­tle in rapid suc­ces­sion (about a third of the way to the floor), at a low speed, af­ter lock­ing the ve­hi­cle into first or sec­ond gear. This can coax trou­ble- re­lated noises from the driv­e­line, in the form of clunk­ing, for in­stance. Have a tech­ni­cian take a closer look at the drive­shaft, mo­tor mounts, and rear dif­fer­en­tial car­rier if any noises are noted.

Also, while stopped, quickly twist the steer­ing wheel of the Tun­dra you’re con­sid­er­ing back and forth, on the look­out for pop­ping or clunk­ing sounds which may be ev­i­dence of a prob­lem with the power steer­ing rack. Have any un­wanted sounds or sen­sa­tions checked pro­fes­sion­ally be­fore you buy.

Some­times, a non-fac­tory “liftkit” may neg­a­tively af­fect the op­er­a­tion of other com­po­nents, like axles and dif­fer­en­tials.

Con­sider hav­ing a full tune-up per­formed at the time of your pur­chase, if the ser­vice his­tory of the model you’re set on is un­clear. Fresh en­gine oil, coolant, trans­mis­sion fluid, dif­fer­en­tial fluid, brake fluid and both air and fuel fil­ters can go a long way to­ward added con­fi­dence.

The ver­dict: A used Tun­dra of this vin­tage that passes a pre-pur­chase in­spec­tion should prove a has­sle-free truck for years to come, but shop care­fully and be on the look­out for signs of oil leak­age from the 5.7L en­gine and prob­lems caused by dy­ing bat­ter­ies.


Tun­dra Many Toy­ota Tun­dra (2015 model shown here) own­ers re­port pos­i­tively on ride com­fort, per­for­mance and a set of easy-to-use fea­tures.


Po­tent power from the larger V8 en­gine for those off-road mo­ments

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