Video: Our Toyota’s Engine Has a Serious & Expensive Problem – Now What? Baby Yota Ep.8

How can it be!?

Our project Baby Yota’s engine is in deep trouble – what do we do now?

Poor little Baby Yota has a compression issue with cylinder number three; which means we need to pull the head and spend a ton of money. Our 2001 Toyota Tacoma single-cab 4×4 project truck is being turned into an overlanding rig. We call it “Baby Yota.” Unfortunately, Baby Yota has valve issues, which is something that could kill our budget, and possibly the whole project.

Our mechanic Charlie (from Charlie’s Garage in Boulder, CO) pulled the head and took us through the issues. Fortunately, he sourced an excellent replacement head, along with all of the necessary hardware. Three of the cylinders were running at 140-ish PSI while the bad one was under 100 PSI – which is significant.

We were blissfully unaware that there could be such an issue with our engine, and we were ignorant of such problems plaguing 2.7-liter engines in general. Sure, it’s still a stout little engine, even with the low compression, but it will cause more problems in time. The timing, power, and efficiency will feel the effects over time. Considering the fact that we are building this truck for a charity, (Mountain States Children’s Home), we want it in top condition.

What about a rebuilt engine for Baby Yota?

We had a few choices: rebuild or replace the engine. One of the possibilities was even finding the legendary 3.4-liter V6 and beefing everything up. Unfortunately, that option is far too expensive and compilated for what we are trying to accomplish.

Charlie warned us that many rebuilt 2.7-liter Toyota engines out there have issues. One of the biggest problems is that they can be rebuilt with inferior internal components. Rather than higher-quality OEM parts, he’s seen several rebuilt engines using cheaper components. That basically means it will be less reliable.

Charlie is using only Toyota OEM parts.

Now that we fixed that, Baby Yota runs like a top, and should give its new owner decades of reliability. Check out this video to see how deep we had to go to save our little Toyota.

Easily amused by anything with four wheels, Nathan Adlen reviews vehicles from the cheapest to the most prestigious. Wrecking yards, dealer lots, garages, racetracks, professional automotive testing and automotive journalism - Nathan has experienced a wide range of the automotive spectrum. Brought up in the California car culture and educated in theater, childhood education, film, journalism and history, Nathan now lives with his family in Denver, CO. His words, good humor and video are enjoyed worldwide.