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Toyota Repair/Toyota ECU


Hi Ted, I have a bit of an issue that I am having trouble figuring out. A little background on myself; I am an ASE certified master technician, currently working as a service manager of a high end private repair facility. However the vehicle I am reaching out to you regarding is one of my own personal vehicles.

Here is the problem, I have a 1988 Toyota 4runner. originally it was a 3.0l manual transmission vehicle. however before I purchased the vehicle, a shop did an engine swap for a 3.4L v6 out of what I am told was a 2001 4runner, however it is my understanding that 4runners stopped production of the v6 w/ manual trans in 2000. When the swap was performed, they combined the old with the new, maintaining the original 1988 ignition and column, however the ECU used was out of the 2001 4runner. The sticker with the ECU numbers is worn away so I unfortunately do not have any numbers off of the computer to provide to you.

So long story short, my ECU got water damaged, and is unable to be re manufactured. I have been on a 3 week long search to try and find a manual trans 3.4L ECU out of a '97-'01 4runner, but there are none available across the country, no cores, no already remand computers, nothing, and im not buying a brand new one from Toyota for $2000, the truck isn't worth much more than that anyways. Now seeing as the truck maintained the original ignition module from the '88 4runner so there are no key codes and no vehicle specific information that needs to be processed by the computer, would I be able to use an ECU out of a Tacoma provided that it has a 3.4L engine with a M/T, or will that not run the truck? if that will not work, will an ECU out of a 3.4L 4runner with A/T work seeing as the manual transmission is mostsly mechanically operated and the ECU seems to only read sensor info for the transmission?

If you have any information that may help, please let me know, and if you have any other questions for me, send me an email and I should be able to get back to you promptly.

Thank you in advance for your help,
Ryan Lassonde
Auto Care Plus LLC
Merrimack,NH 03054

Hello Ryan
The early V-6 used until late 1995 is not the same as the later VZN-FE by any means, they use the same basic block but the heads and everything else is not compatible. The early engine had a distributor, the later engine 1996 has DIS, it uses 3 coil packs for ignition, ECMs can not be interchanged from automatic to a manual transmission even if it's the same year and model. Did this truck ever run after you bought it?
If you're not sure which one it is upload picture to me and we can try to make some sense of this  

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Ted Ritter


I have more than 28 years experience as toyota technician, I will be able to answer most questions related to the Toyota product line up to the present year models,I am located in the US but welcome questions from other regions of the world. When asking a question please provide specific information: year,model, engine,transmission information. Provide as much information as possible including a brief repair history if possible. I have been a volunteer here for more ten years an have answered over 16,000 questions helping Toyota owners with their problems and save thousands of dollars without any compensation, some of my answers are published on many other websites including google and various automotive forums. DONATIONS ARE VERY MUCH APPRECIATED, IF YOU HAVE RECIEVED HELPFUL INFORMATION PLEASE MAKE A DONATION. AS OF TODAY (JULY 22, 2014) ALL REQUESTED GRAPHICS, ILLUSTRATIONS, DIAGRAMS, PHOTOS, WILL REQUIRE THE MINUMUM DONATION UP FRONT.


Toyota technician since 1979,expert in electrical systems,OBD systems,engine repair, driveability problems,EFI systems,ASE certified,Toyota master technician.
Certified Hybrid Vehicle technician.

Toyota master technician, ASE certified in eight catagories, Hybrid vehicle certified. Toyota technical training: Engine Automatic transmission Manual transmission Drivetrain Electrical systems Brakes and chassis Air conditioning Engine performance and diagnostics Hybrid systems

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