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Engine Surging, Help Please!

Discussion in '2nd Gen Tundras (2007-2013)' started by timebak, Mar 7, 2017.

  1. Mar 7, 2017 at 11:05 AM
    #1
    timebak

    timebak [OP] New Member

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    I have a 2011 Tundra Limited Crew Max 4x4 with about 120,000 miles on it. About 10,000 miles ago, while towing our camper trailer (about 5,000 pounds), when going up hills and the engine downshifts and is at about 2500 RPM, wife and I both noticed that the engine would start a very regularly timed surging up and down in RPM. The RPM will vary about 100 or so RPM on about a 2 second cycle time: i.e.: 2 seconds at 2500 RPM, 2 seconds at about 2600 RPM, 2 seconds at 2500 RPM, and so on. The engine does NOT downshift, nor are any dash lights indicating any problem. As I accelerate, the cycle time doesn't change but when I reach around 3000 or so RPM, the surging stops.

    At first the problem was only when we towed, however, it started it this winter when the temp gets below 40 degrees even when not towing, and the colder it gets, the surging gets MUCH worse. And the cycle time is around one second or less now. At outside temperatures below 20 degrees F, the surging starts between 2000 and 2500 RPM and is so severe it really jerks you around. Once you've gone around a mile or so, the engine warms up and the surging stops.

    However, one of the things we've noticed is that since this has started, the gas mileage has gone down. From 11 or 12 to 8 or 9 mpg while towing, and from around 16 highway, not towing to around 12 or 13.

    Can anyone tell me what is causing this surging and how to fix it?

    Thanks,
    Tim
     
  2. Mar 7, 2017 at 1:28 PM
    #2
    tomsinamerica

    tomsinamerica New Member

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    i don't think it's that long of a shot... to me it sounds like there's something amiss with the intake... whether it's MAF or MAP issue, or a vacuum leak, I'm not sure but I'd put $10 on it being something in the intake system.

    How clogged is your air filter?
    Clean MAF sensor as GNT stated (x2 on the only use MAF cleaner)
    Check for any disconnected vacuum hoses
     
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  3. Mar 7, 2017 at 1:38 PM
    #3
    tomsinamerica

    tomsinamerica New Member

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    I am a qualified shade tree mechanic...

    someone once told me that if you don't know, just pretend that you do - confidence is contageous
     
  4. Mar 7, 2017 at 2:55 PM
    #4
    timebak

    timebak [OP] New Member

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    I should have mentioned that it's got a new Wix air cleaner in it and also that I did clean the MAF, with MAF cleaner, and also put a couple of the red bottles of HEET in the tank to make sure there wasn't any water in there. But, I will check the vacuum hoses and other things just to be double-dog sure, but I'm 99.999% sure that hoses and all are good to go. Should I hook up an analyzer to it to see if it's thrown any codes? And what kind of analyzer do I need for this?

    BTW, I know my way around an engine fairly well, at least the old stuff. Have built many, from outboard motors, motorcycles, lawn mowers, chainsaws, to small block Chevy's, Fords, marine racing engines, and even built and stuffed a 440 Six-Pack in a 69 Satellite a few years ago. Fun, Fun, Fun! Also, I've put Bilstein 5100's in this Tundra by myself and lifted it 2 1/2" in front and an inch in the rear. About the only part of a truck that I won't get into all the way is an auto tranny. My previous truck was an '05 Taco that was tricked out pretty good and I did it all myself.
     
    Last edited: Mar 7, 2017
  5. Mar 7, 2017 at 3:20 PM
    #5
    ColoradoTJ

    ColoradoTJ Certified tow LEO Staff Member

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    Hummmmm......

    When did you change out the spark plugs? They are due at 120k miles, but I would change them out way before that.

    If you haven't popped a CEL, no need for a scanner unless you have access to a really nice Snap On one.
     
  6. Mar 7, 2017 at 3:32 PM
    #6
    timebak

    timebak [OP] New Member

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    Changed spark plugs at 100K miles with Denso iridium plugs, no check engine lights, up to date on all scheduled maintenance. Since this is a drive-by-wire vehicle, I'm wondering if it isn't something like a Throttle Position sensor, or whatever sensor is in the accelerator pedal assembly, or the throttle motor that drives the throttle valve.
     
  7. Mar 7, 2017 at 3:43 PM
    #7
    ColoradoTJ

    ColoradoTJ Certified tow LEO Staff Member

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    Well that eliminates the spark plug theory.

    As Geno suggested, could have a coil pack going out or a bad plug wire arcing.
     
  8. Mar 7, 2017 at 4:08 PM
    #8
    timebak

    timebak [OP] New Member

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    GNTundra, I was wondering about the O2 sensors. They are all original. Will one that's trying to fail cause that cyclical surging? This is happening almost like a timer is controlling it, when it happens.
     
  9. Mar 7, 2017 at 5:21 PM
    #9
    tomsinamerica

    tomsinamerica New Member

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    I would imagine a bad 02 sensor would throw a code so I'd check to see if there's any codes in the ECU if you've not done so already.

    Generally surging is going to be caused by too much air/fuel getting in the engine. The fact that you say there's a rhythm to it suggests that it could be a computer or sensor related issue. Bad reading, ECU over corrects - engine surges - ECU straightens out - rinse - repeat. The time taken for the exhaust to travel down the exhaust & the ECU to correct is significant which is why ECUs have derivative & Integral terms in there - that could be your cyclical issue. Do you have access to Techstream - I'm no techstream expert but I thought you could run diagnostics on the sensors from there
     
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  10. Mar 7, 2017 at 5:31 PM
    #10
    T-Rex266

    T-Rex266 Elon approved Staff Member

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  11. Mar 7, 2017 at 9:23 PM
    #11
    kenomouth64

    kenomouth64 New Member

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    Hold the Line! If you are not holding the line, abandon your ship. Destruction is inevitable without more to hold the line!
    I am betting that the cause is one or more of the following:
    Dirty/Bad Mass Air Flow sensor
    Dirty/Bad Oxygen sensors
    Throttle body might have carbon build up
    Random vacuum leak

    I would buy the MAFF sensor spray and clean the sensor. Then I would clean the throttle body. I would run some Seafoam through motor, to clean the oxygen sensors. I would spray some starting fluid around the vacuum lines and intake to check for a leak(if you hear the motor rev slightly, then the starting fluid made it into the cylinders).
     
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  12. Mar 8, 2017 at 1:57 PM
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    timebak

    timebak [OP] New Member

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    Well, thinking that 120,000 miles was a lot for the OEM O2 sensors, I ordered all four of them this afternoon. I'm getting the OEM Denso sensors and ordered them through Amazon for about half the price of the same sensors through the a dealer. Since it was only 20 bucks, I went ahead and ordered the five piece tool kit for installing these sensors in about any vehicle, knowing that I'll need them soon in the wife's Honda CRV. Will have everything on Monday, the 13th, so will have time to test them before I head out pulling the camper on the 20th.
     
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  13. Mar 14, 2017 at 7:40 AM
    #13
    timebak

    timebak [OP] New Member

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    Okay guys, as I said earlier, I decided to start off with changing the fuel/air and O2 sensors. Yesterday I received my new fuel/air ratio sensors (Denso #234-9026, from Amazon, 2 @ $115.88 ea.) and O2 sensors (Denso #234-4260, Left rear, from Amazon for $54.68, and Denso #234-4624, right rear, from Amazon for $52.83). I installed them last night and was able to get all four of them off using just a Craftsman 7/8" combination wrench, although I have the O2 sensor tool kit that Toyota uses.

    The right side fuel/air sensor came out with some white crud on it. Left side was black, as were both rear O2 sensors. I chased the threads on all four exhaust pipe fittings, used the anti-seize that Denso supplies with the sensors and had the whole job done in about 2 1/2 hours. Truck ran great immediately afterwards so I reset the average mileage on the info center and instantaneous and average MPG readings appeared to be coming back up to what it used to be.

    The real test was this morning. The truck sat out all night and the temperature this morning was 23 degrees. Prior to changing these sensors, the truck would have started jerking and bucking as soon at it got to about 1700 rpm and kept it up for at least a mile and a half. This morning it was SMOOOOOOOTH as chicken lips. No surging, bucking, jerking, belching or farting. Sarge behaved like a gentleman. (Wife named the truck, not me. But it's a good name for a truck that's tough, strong, and don't take no sheit off anybody.)

    Thanks to all of you who responded to my dilemma. BTW GNTundra, there is no fuel smell in the engine oil. Also, kenomouth64, I had already cleaned the MAF with the proper CRC brand cleaner and also cleaned the throttle body, new air filter, a can of Sea Foam in the tank, and all that with no improvement, and also checked all hoses. There was definitely a problem with the fuel/air and O2 sensors. I'll get to test it further when I pull the camper tomorrow. That's when we first noticed the problem, when we were towing.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 28, 2018
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  14. Mar 14, 2017 at 7:41 AM
    #14
    T-Rex266

    T-Rex266 Elon approved Staff Member

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    Great to hear!
     
  15. Mar 14, 2017 at 10:04 AM
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    TheBeast

    TheBeast The Beach

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    good to know ! thanks for the update.

    now you are set for another 120,000 miles ;)
     
  16. Feb 7, 2018 at 1:10 PM
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    jshoop30

    jshoop30 New Member

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    Great information! My truck has been exhibiting the exact same behavior and loss of mpg. Now that it's been a few months, did new O2 sensors permanently resolve the issue?

    Also, is your truck a flexfuel?
     
  17. Feb 9, 2018 at 12:23 AM
    #17
    timebak

    timebak [OP] New Member

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    jshoop30: No, unfortunately the O2 and fuel/air ratio sensors did NOT fix the problem. The truck has been to the dealer and on their analyzer twice. They found absolutely nothing. No codes of any kind. Dealer is stumped. The surging, jerking, and bucking is worse than ever this winter and gas mileage has continued to deteriorate. I'm now getting around 8 mpg, no matter how or where I drive it, except when I'm towing it drops down to 5.5 to 6 mpg. On the highway, towing my 24 ft Jayco Whitehawk which weighs only 5100 lbs loaded, I'm having to refuel every 100 miles. I'm about ready to ditch this Tundra and go back to a Chevy. But even thinking about that gags me.
     
  18. Feb 9, 2018 at 2:15 AM
    #18
    rons23

    rons23 Get The Led Out!!!

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  19. Feb 9, 2018 at 8:15 AM
    #19
    15whtrd

    15whtrd Mr. Blonde

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    Wonder if it’s more transmission related. Torque converter unlocking and locking constantly maybe. Just a thought.
     
  20. Feb 9, 2018 at 8:21 AM
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    tomsinamerica

    tomsinamerica New Member

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    Has the dealer checked the injectors? Is there water in your fuel from ethanol based fuel products?
     
  21. Feb 9, 2018 at 9:39 PM
    #21
    timebak

    timebak [OP] New Member

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    jshoop30 and GNTundra: Yes, it is a FFV, but I've never run the E85 in it.

    15whtrd: I've wondered that. Is that something that might show up on a good scanner, going down the road?

    tomsinamerica: No, dealer has not checked the injectors. And there is no water in the fuel. I've run HEET, Sea Foam, Techron, and Royal Purple fuel treatment through it (not all at once but one at a time, with a couple of tanks in between the different products so that the previous one is for sure all gone before trying the next one.
     
  22. Feb 12, 2018 at 9:55 AM
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    jshoop30

    jshoop30 New Member

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    Thanks for the response Timebak! Your write-up, word for word, is exactly what my truck is doing. I'm lucky to get over 225 miles to a tank (empty) when i used to get 300, and towing... sometimes i'll get 100 miles to a tank towing!
    Please keep me in the loop with anything that you find. I've been running the Torque app on my phone to watch a graph of the air/fuel sensors while I drive to see if I can correlate the cycling between 2500 and 3000 rpm - but haven't been ably to discern any correlation. It's def cycling a reduction in power, similar to the computer reducing throttle for traction and stability control, except that it cycles every second or two until over 3000 rpm.
     
    Last edited: Feb 12, 2018
  23. Feb 13, 2018 at 3:43 PM
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    jshoop30

    jshoop30 New Member

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    After doing a bit of research, I'm discovering that FFV vehicles have a problem with either the ECU programming and/or the ethanol sensor in the fuel tank erroneously reading high amounts of ethanol. I've never used ethanol/e85 and have always used 91 octane - yet my scanner shows 49% ethanol reading from the ECU. I'd be curious to see what yours is reading for ethanol %. I think a high ethanol reading would result in more fuel being expended and lower mpg.
     
  24. Apr 8, 2018 at 5:04 AM
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    Icematt

    Icematt Toyota4life

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    Is there an update on this issue my 16 is now doing the same thing.
     
  25. Oct 22, 2018 at 7:48 PM
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    jshoop30

    jshoop30 New Member

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    Any updates to this issue? My truck still noticeably hesitates to a 2-3 second pattern when under a load between 2500 to 3200 ish rpm's. A Google search turned up another tundra owner stating that an ECU flash solved this issue. He stated that the ecu was cutting engine throttle to shift without the trans shifting...
     
  26. Nov 26, 2018 at 2:16 PM
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    Medic1

    Medic1 New Member

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    I have a 2011 doing this exact thing. Any updates on a fix?
     
  27. Nov 26, 2018 at 3:48 PM
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    jshoop30

    jshoop30 New Member

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    Talk to a dealer about flashing a shift calibration i.d. 30c62200. After calling prob 5 diff dealers, I finally found a service guy that had some knowledge about this and was willing to help.
    I haven't done the flash yet but if you do, let me know how it works!??
     
  28. Nov 26, 2018 at 5:36 PM
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    Medic1

    Medic1 New Member

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    The trans could poss be the issue since mine dont take gear when I first start it sometimes. I have to wait and let it catch. This only happens sometimes. I have noticed that it is for sure cutting engine power. It's not slippage in the trans when it stutters.
     
  29. Nov 27, 2018 at 6:10 AM
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    Dr_Al

    Dr_Al New Member

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    Has anyone looked for a small leak in the intake manifold?
     
  30. Nov 27, 2018 at 11:57 PM
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    taylor36

    taylor36 New Member

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    I have noticed that in my truck, when towing my small but rather heavy (3K Lbs) enclosed trailer, when I'm going very slow like less than 10 mph and going up hill it does this weird thing where it cuts engine power likes its gonna shift but we shouldn't be shifting so it kinda skips for a split second if that makes sense. tranny shifts like buttah all the time everywhere else in all driving conditions. So... I believe jshoop30 is on the money it definitely feels and seems like a TCM or ECU refresh sitiation. Thoughts???
     

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