Toyota 4Runner failing smog

Hogskin

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One of the Creeps totaled his car and now wants to buy a 4Runner. He found one on Craigslist, it's a 1999 with about 140k miles on it. I went with him to check it out, it's SUPER clean, drives like a dream. Guy has had the timing belt & water pump done about 10k miles ago. I told him I wanted to think about it. I snapped a pic of the manufacturer's sticker and ran a Carfax report on it. Check this out:

[SIZE=8.5pt]07/29/2004 57,011 Passed emissions inspection[/SIZE]
[SIZE=8.5pt]08/21/2006 70,617 Failed emissions inspection[/SIZE]
[SIZE=8.5pt]08/21/2006 70,664 Passed emissions inspection[/SIZE]
[SIZE=8.5pt]09/04/2008 84,066 Failed emissions inspection[/SIZE]
[SIZE=8.5pt]09/04/2008 84,076 Passed emissions inspection[/SIZE]
[SIZE=8.5pt]08/25/2010 101,868 Failed emissions inspection[/SIZE]
[SIZE=8.5pt]08/28/2010 101,900 Failed emissions inspection[/SIZE]
[SIZE=8.5pt]09/08/2010 102,108 Failed emissions inspection[/SIZE]
[SIZE=8.5pt]09/13/2010 102,262 Failed emissions inspection[/SIZE]
[SIZE=8.5pt]09/14/2010 102,284 Passed emissions inspection[/SIZE]
[SIZE=8.5pt]09/14/2012 112,655 Failed emissions inspection [/SIZE][SIZE=8.5pt]Designated GROSS POLLUTER[/SIZE]
[SIZE=8.5pt]09/19/2012 112,694 Failed emissions inspection[/SIZE]
[SIZE=8.5pt]09/20/2012 112,766 Failed emissions inspection[/SIZE]
[SIZE=8.5pt]09/20/2012 112,798 Passed emissions inspection[/SIZE]
[SIZE=8.5pt]09/20/2012 Title issued or updated - New owner reported[/SIZE]
[SIZE=8.5pt]09/03/2014 121,976 Failed emissions inspection[/SIZE]
[SIZE=8.5pt]09/03/2014 121,977 Failed emissions inspection[/SIZE]
[SIZE=8.5pt]09/06/2014 122,037 Failed emissions inspection[/SIZE]
[SIZE=8.5pt]09/10/2014 122,140 Passed emissions inspection[/SIZE]
[SIZE=8.5pt]09/10/2014 Title issued or updated - New owner reported[/SIZE]
[SIZE=8.5pt]09/01/2016 131,606 Failed emissions inspection[/SIZE]
[SIZE=8.5pt]09/09/2016 131,758 Passed emissions inspection[/SIZE]
[SIZE=8.5pt]09/06/2018 142,445 Failed emissions inspection[/SIZE]
[SIZE=8.5pt]09/10/2018 142,605 Failed emissions inspection[/SIZE]
[SIZE=8.5pt]09/13/2018 142,673 Failed emissions inspection[/SIZE]
[SIZE=8.5pt]09/20/2018 142,833 Passed emissions inspection[/SIZE]
[SIZE=8.5pt]09/21/2018 Joe's Smog Test OnlyCenter - Emissions inspection performed[/SIZE]

So should I be turning and running from this thing or what? I feel like I should be but the Creep really loves this thing. Any insights is appreciated.
 

nicapopolis

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Hummm... hard to tell without details. Maybe the seller has some insight they can share. You can fail smog for a stupid check engine light and those damn things can go off for anything.
 

JNDEER

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A few of the fails then re test passes appear to be the cat was not hot enough the first test.

The long list of fail could have been anything and I think the 4Runner can have issues with egr and smog problems (check Toyota forums). I don’t even want to know what the smog would look like for my Jeep- lol.

It could be a cause for concern if you are not familiar with the ins and outs of smog for the 4Runner or don’t want to learn. There are only soo many things that fail smog- but with the possible long driven issues with bad emissions could plug the cat and that means big bucks for a new one. If you are not looking for having to possibly tinker with it every two years for smog I would walk or get more info from the current seller.
 

Hogskin

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I texted the guy last night and said, "I'm doing some research on the 4runner and I see it had trouble passing smog, what's the deal with that?" He replied, "Yeah, I replaced the catalytic converter last October."
 

BOWUNTR

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Find a smog check place with a tech who has a towel wrapped around his head... he'll take care of ya. Or, move to Arizona. Ed F
 

GUNDOGLOVER

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Why take the chance, lots of used vehicles out there. Even one just like the one he likes. Move on.
 

fish dog

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It has to pass smog to have the title transferred. I seem to remember reading somewhere that that is the seller's responsibility (but I could be wrong). In any event, I'd make it the seller's responsibility if he wants to sell it. Tell him if he can get it to pass smog THEN you'll buy it. At least you'll be good for two years then.
 

JNDEER

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Hog- if you believe the guy then run from the car quickly. You can have the most polluting vehicle around and a new cat will pass you with flying colors (99%) of the time. If he put one on two years ago and now it failed smog again this year (highly unlikely with a new cat).. someone is lying!
 

Hogskin

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Yeah, so he seems to say that he put the new catalytic converter on and then it passed. I'll keep digging, thanks.
 

JNDEER

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IF he can show you receipts for the cat for 2018 and not 2016? and it passes with flying colors right now then i would feel better buying it now, but know that in 4-6 years the underlying issue will come back.
 

hatchet1

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Bought a nissan for the triple headed monster...no issues,them asians know their shat!!
 

paulc

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Run the other way. Never buy a problem. Tell creep never to fall in love with a car or house. Tons of cars to pick from in CA, pass on this one.
 

Hogskin

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I told him last night, "PaulC said to run the other way." He said, "Okay, we're on to the next one." I I hadn't namedropped I'd probably still be fighting with him about it. Thanks!
 

Ambush

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I own a 98 tacoma 2.7l. Geared, lifted, ARB, 33" tires., goes anywhere.

That thing will pass smog while it misfires horribly. As long as the check engine light isnt on it will pass no matter what.

Re did the top end awhile back and never been quite right.

Smog problems usally are: O2 censor, mass air flow censor, cat if its been running rich for a long time (common to correct low idle issues).

Bottom line its cheap and easy to work on. Diagnosis for me is the hard part.

Your smog tech is critical, I perfer the alcoholic wheeler type.
 
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