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Oil Change on a 1st Gen Toyota Tacoma (3.4L V6 5VZ-FE Engine)
Changing the oil on a car can vary in difficulty depending on the vehicle you’re working on. Unfortunately on a 1st generation Toyota Tacoma with the 5VZ-FE (3.4L V6) engine, it is more on the difficult side mainly due to access issues with the oil filter. The draining and refilling of the oil on this vehicle is pretty straightforward, but the accessing, removing, and draining of the oil filter can be frustrating.
The 1st generation Tacoma has number of configurations that will dictate the amount of engine oil needed for an oil change. The differences differ slightly, but they exist nonetheless. There are also other capacities given if you change the oil without changing the oil filter, but I personally have never changed the oil without changing the filter as well. Therefore, I’ve included the oil capacities for all 5VZ-FE (3.4L V6) engines with a filter replacement:
|1st Gen Toyota Tacoma 5VZ-FE (3.4L V6)||Engine Oil Capacity|
|2WD Only||5.4L (5.7 qt)|
|4WD & PreRunner||5.2L (5.5 qt)|
Parts/Tools for Rear Differential Replacement
Toyota recommends the use of a 5W-30 viscosity engine oil, but of course you may choose to go with a different weight oil depending on your driving/environmental conditions. You also have some choices with either using a conventional, synthetic blend, or full synthetic motor oil. Since this vehicle is more than 15 years old, I wouldn’t recommend going to a full synthetic motor oil as it can possibly work loose some of the oil buildup around the engine seals causing potential oil leaks. I’d stick with a synthetic blend or one that is formulated as a “high mileage” motor oil.
Engine Oil Filter
There are plenty of options out there for oil filters; I personally like Mobile 1, Bosch, or OEM filters.
Oil Drain Flexible Funnel Tool or Plastic Bag
These are optional things that might make less of a mess when removing the oil filter.
If you don’t have a mechanic’s tool set, you will need a socket wrench with a 14mm socket to for the oil drain plug. Here is a simple socket set that has everything you need for this job and many others: EPAUTO 45 Pieces 3/8″ Drive Socket Set. If you are looking for a mechanic’s tool set, check out this guide to choosing the right mechanic’s tool set.
How to Change Oil & Oil Filter on a 1st Gen Toyota Tacoma 5VZ-FE 3.4L V6
Since this 1st gen Toyota Tacoma is owned by my parents, this the motor oil and oil filter that they typically use. Typically I would prefer to use a 5W-30 synthetic blend, but it looks like my parents want a bit better gas mileage with this formulation.
Before starting, turn on the vehicle to warm it up (which will warm the oil and facilitate draining.) Also turn the steering wheel all the way to the left; this will provide access through the driver’s side wheel well to get to the oil filter location. Turn off the engine.
Start by locating the engine oil drain plug and position a drain pan underneath. If you don’t have enough room underneath, then you can drive the vehicle up on ramps or jack up the front of the vehicle and use jack stands to safely work underneath.
There should be an access hole that you can get a socket wrench with a extension and a 14mm socket into. Loosen the 14mm drain plug and let the oil all drain out into the drain pan.
Open up the oil fill cap to allow the oil to more easily drain.
Now, to get to the oil filter location. Since you’ve turned the wheels all the way to the left earlier, there should be access to the driver’s side wheel well and the access cover held in by plastic clips. Remove enough of these clips so that you can pull back the cover and access the oil filter.
The oil filter is still pretty deep inside of this access hole but you can at least reach in to loosen and drain the filter. The other ways to access the oil filter are either through the top (reaching underneath the alternator) or from underneath. I find that the easiest way for me to do this is to access the oil filter through the wheel well and to use a pipe wrench or oil filter wrench to loosen the filter.
As for draining the oil from the filter location, there are several ways you can go about doing so. One way is to simply drain it and let all the oil spill down into a drain pan, then clean all the oil up. The second way is to wrap the oil filter as you’re removing it to allow all the oil to spill into the bag while you’re removing it. The last way is to use something like a Form-A-Funnel that allows you to press it against the engine block and form it in a way to allow the oil to drain away and into a catch container.
There doesn’t seem the perfect way to do this without making a mess with the oil draining out of the oil filter. However, from what I’ve found online, it seems the bag trick might be the best option.
Finally, install a new oil filter with some oil applied to the rubber gasket and hand-tighten. Make sure the 14mm oil drain plug is reinstalled (preferably with a drain plug gasket) and tightened.
Then refill the oil to the capacity outlined in the table at the top of this post. On my parents’ truck, there is a capacity of 5.5 quarts. I refilled with around 5 quarts, reinstalled the cap, and turned on the engine for a minute. Then I shut it off, waited another 5-10 minutes, checked the oil level via the dipstick, and then refilled accordingly until I got to almost the ‘full’ mark on the oil dipstick.
Replacing Broken Clips in the Wheel Well
The plastic clips in the wheel well are likely aged and will break when removing them. These clips can be replaced with a variety of plastic clips available for purchase. I found that these push clips fit in these holes and hold the rubber covers in place well. Here are the clips I used: AFA Toyota/Lexus Replacement Clips for 90467-07201 (20 Pcs)