My 2002 Toyota 4Runner trembles every time I accelerate.


Asked by Feb 25, 2013 at 11:41 PM about the 2002 Toyota 4Runner Limited

Question type: Maintenance & Repair

My 2002 Toyota 4Runner trembles every time I accelerate. It has progressively gotten worse... What
could be the problem? I'm guessing it's either the catalytic converter or the U joint. Any thoughts??

5 Answers


That's kinda vague, but i'll give it a shot. A vibration on acceleration is generally a drive line issue, which would most likely be a bad universal joint. If it's more of what we call a "fish bite" feeling, then you probably have a misfire somewhere in the engine. On an 02 4Runner an engine misfire, and a problematic catalytic convertor should throw a code, and in turn make the check engine light come on. I have seen times when a vehicle had a miss, but the vehicle didn't know it had one, so the check engine light never came on. I wouldn't think it's a catalytic convertor problem, but I've been wrong at least once or twice before. Good Luck.

1 out of 1 people think this is helpful.
Kurt Burton

Hello, well i pretty much agree with the above statement. I first ask if the check engine light is on? and if it is, the very next thing to do is get the codes read from the computer. If you dont want to go to a shop just yet, Autozone will read the codes from your computer for free. Then let me know what code it has. Your description is a bit vague. If it is an engine running problem, several sensors such as TPS, and MAF sensor can cause a stumble. If you have a misfire, it is probably in need of simple regular maintenance in the form of a tune up, spark plugs and wires. a common issue is also the valve covers leaking filling up the spark plug tubes with oil in turn causing a misfire. How long have you been driving it this way? Once a car starts running incorrectly, you should immediately have it checked as you can do a LOT OF DAMAGE BY DRIVING IT WHILE NOT RUNNING CORRECTLY!!! If a car has a misfire, the unburned fuel will travel into the exhaust system, and into the converter where it will be burned, and if you keep driving it that way, the converter gets hotter than it is designed for, it will actually turn bright red and glow as it is about to melt and causes a sever fire risk. Then once the converter is damaged which can cost over $1000 to fix, if you keep trying to drive it that way, you can actually blow up the engine which could cost $3000 plus!! Other things that may cause a tremble, if it is in the driveline, driveshaft support bearing, i wouldn't suggest u-joint because that should be felt any time the car is moving, not just accelerating, maybe the transmission is shuttering, have you checked the fluid to make sure it is full? I have 2 4Runners, one with 212,000 miles and my daily driver has 287,000 miles now. They are excellent vehicles, with not so excellent fuel mileage.

2 out of 2 people think this is helpful.

I had a similar problem on my '91 4Runner when I bought "trembled" at idle and hesitated around 50 to 55 MPH. I found two problems: 1) There was a vacuum leak in my intake tube due to aftermarket parts being installed incorrectly and it was driving the MAF sensor crazy and 2) Someone had put AC Delco spark plugs in instead of NGK...seems like a small thing, but the plugs caused the hesitation. Lastly, the TPS can be adjusted but a little dab will do you...a small adjustment can make a lot of difference. A Haynes manual will walk you through the adjustment if you have a voltmeter.

3 out of 3 people think this is helpful.
Jonathan Murray

Grab the axle and see how much play is there If it's rumbling you achould feel end play in shaft,two joints on axle and then there hike joint three u joint together ck that one .schould be tight One of them are not get under truck and start pulling on'll find it


Ok I had this exact problem. I changed plugs, plug wires, coil pack, fuel filter, air filter, checked for gasket leaks, checked cat and I changed 02 sensors. The problem was the MAF sensor. You don't need a new one all you have to do is pull the plug and take out the two screws that hold it to the airbox. Once you have it off you can look inside of it and you will see 2 wires (kind of a gold color). They make a spray that's called CRC mass air flow sensor cleaner. All you have to do is spray the two wires really good and let it dry. Once it's dry you just bolt it back on, plug it up and it will be fixed. Check that out and see if it works.

2 out of 2 people think this is helpful.

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