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Monday 22nd of September 2014 05:09:27 AM
 

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The D4 Toyota engine

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Why has it gotten such a bad reputation?

Of course there is now the VVT-i D4, the latest mass extension of the `Direct Injection’ engine technology. VVT-i D4 is an upgrade of Toyota’s award-winning Variable Valve Timing with intelligence (VVT-i) engine. But that is a discussion for another day.

Today, we are prompted to discuss an engine-type that has attracted a little bit of flak on the street; the D4 engine. Is it really as crappy as some car brokers and street vehicle mechanics claim? Absolutely not.

It appears, from our research, that although the D4 engine is about two decades old and has been overtaken by the types we mention above, it is relatively new and uncommon on the Uganda market where Electronic Fuel Injection (EFI) rules.

 

Since the motorcar was invented, the challenge for engineers has been how to make an engine that delivers the highest mileage and speed at lowest fuel consumption. Issues of quality and quantity of emissions have become an issue lately.

The D4 direct injection engine is, in fact, a variant of the ultra-efficient Gasoline Direct Injection (GDI) engine first popularised by Mitsubishi in the mid-1990s. The GDI was itself a variant of the EFI.

In Uganda, the most popularised D4-(GDI) vehicle is the Toyota Premio. I have met owners of this popular car who confess to almost collapsing after their mechanic opened the bonnet and swore they had made the mistake of their life by buying a D4 engine car.

My advice would be to ignore the doomsayers.

In reality, the differences between the EFI and GDI are really technical but they revolve around attempts to bypass the old technology of engines mixing fuel and air and burning it in the cylinder efficiently and with minimal CO2 emissions.

An excerpt from an expert website says: “In GDI engines, petrol is directly injected into the cylinder, eliminating many of the hitherto restrictions on combustion control, such as the impossibility of adding fuel after the induction valves were closed. By achieving precise combustion control that is free of restrictions, the GDI delivers a previously unseen combination of fuel economy and power.

In conventional engines, fuel and air are mixed outside the cylinder. This ensures waste between the mixing point and the cylinder, as well as imperfect injection timing. But in the Toyota D4 engine, petrol is injected directly into the cylinder with precise timing, eliminating waste and inefficiency.”

So why are the D4s so unpopular if they are that superb?

It all starts with maintenance.

I follow a lot of online car forums. In one thread, a driver of a Toyota Premio with a D4 engine complained about the engine going off instead of idling when he did 100kph for some time and then either slowing down or braking. He suspected it had to do with ignition, sensors, or fuel filter. He was frustrated because he had to restart every time.

As anyone who follows these forums knows, not all offers of advice are to be taken seriously. But a comment from someone called Gregory, from somewhere in our lovely land, caught my eye.

He wrote (with some of my edits): “Simple; that is just a semi-clogged fuel system caused by contaminated fuel. The sensor heads are partially covered by dirt, carbon, etc. It can easily be rectified by simply cleaning the fuel system around the engine compartment by qualified personnel.”

Then he offered some tips for all D4 car engine owners:

Maintenance must be observed for day to day running:

Blow air cleaner element to keep enough aeration through

Maintain a standard minimum level of fuel in the tank i.e. not run empty tank all time.

Another useful thread I picked recommended use of iridium plugs that have to be changed in time i.e. at below 60,000kms, and use of synthetic engine oil to be changed after about 10,000kms, and keeping an eye on the timing belt.

“Regular service and quality fuel will make the engine last for long. Attend to it quickly if there are signs of over-heating. It’s a powerful modern engine that is fuel economical. Its problems are with its sensors; Oxygen sensor, fuel pressure sensor, and ignition timing sensor.

Those of course might not be solutions to your D4 engine problem. But at least you now know that the D4- (GDI) engine is not as crappy as some people claim it is.


Comments (20)Add Comment
Mr
written by Sam Acellam, April 18, 2013
Very useful information. I was told I bought the worst car and it is the worst engine.
Will take note of the precautions given.
Mr
written by Oscar, July 26, 2013
I got one too and all mechanics i went to rubbished it but i have since come to like it because of its energy and power unlike the ordinary premio engines. Will, too, hold the precautions priority
D4 misrepresented
written by D4er, August 27, 2013
I have been driving a D4 engine for 5 months now. The only issue I had was just after I used adulterated petrol from a well known petrol station. Credit to the car, it keep trying to stay on for several days until it finally gave up once I visited that same petrol station again. The fact that it persisted that much makes me conclude that it is far more resilient that it is given credit for. I even drove it once for days with a faulty air-intake pipe... in a D4 engine that should be impossible!
My advice... service regularly and fuel from TOTAL or SHELL only (esp. Vpower if you can afford it)
D4 engine-comments
written by ABN, August 30, 2013
Hi,its interesting to learn how ignorant most of us are on this powerful fuel efficient GDI system in a d4 3s. fact is we realy dont like following service manual instructions-i also got a d4 which had a knocked engine.bought a 3s and droped it in but could not turn.i intend to use this block(3s) with the cylinder head for the d4 so i could use the d4 harness thereby maintaining it as a d4.HOW POSSIBLE IS THIS?
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written by Nombo , October 03, 2013
Actually a d4 3s engn is difference from what people think the important thing is just to consider service and suitabe fuel as well as resonable driving
toyota d4 engine
written by clive, October 12, 2013
thanx so much for the insight, i'm from Zimbabwe and considering getting a Toyota Nadia with a d4 engine, was skeptical because of the bad mouthing this engine has been getting but now I'll take my chances. thanx a lot
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written by Michael Marselia, October 26, 2013
I'm an owner of a 2000 Corona Premio with a D4 3s engine with 92K km, it is a reliable fuel efficiency engine with power. When i imported this car from Japan to my country Curacao in the end of 2011 it had 62K km on it, but it came with a problem, it was not idling properly and occasionally it shuts down, I toke apart the intake and throttle body and cleaned them out and replaced the spark plugs with iridium and after that the problem was gone. Since then there was nothing else that had to be done to the engine than just changing the oil, oil filter and air filter.
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written by MD (Zambia), December 02, 2013
thank u for the insight.i recently bought a toyota nadia with 3s D4 engine from japan and was critisised by almost every one around me.one of my workmates even made an allegation that the D4 engines were oiginally not meant for use in Africa.how true is that?
Contribution:Just like D4er said about where to refuel,its not really about the name of gas stations,the gasoline that is recommended for a D4 is one which has high octane content e.g:unleaded petrol 91, in Zambia,most if not all gas satations supply this type of gasoine.
generally my experience with D4 is its fuel consuption especially in a high way,over 18km on a litre of fuel.how amazing!!!!!!!!.PROBLEMS: NOT ANY SO FAR THT I KNOW OF
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written by Stalin, December 25, 2013
What is the average fuel consumption of a D4 1800cc engine
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written by Abubakar Nsekela, January 21, 2014
Hello,

I appreciate the comments and insights from users. I am in the middle of negotiations to bu a Toyota Vista with a d4 engine. some of my colleagues seemed to suggest it would be folly for me to buy it BUT with the education/tips i got in here i will go for it as in Tanzania today one can get quality fuel.
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written by Den Hamuntanga, February 05, 2014
Hi,
I would like to know how the VVti D4 engine for the latest premio,how many pumps are there,some one told me that it has two pumps one in the tank and the other one on top of the engine.please let me know how this engine operates before i crucify my self.
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written by odirile montsho, April 14, 2014
hi,i'm using an avensis 2006 with a D4 engine.it has never given me any problems except after my brother used it beyond its service interval.it started to go off on its own especially when operating on hot weather.Though it gave mechanics a headache it turned out that it was nothing big,carbon was causing the venturi to stick and deprive the engine of air.its generally a powerful and fuel efficient engine that needs to be kept clean and its manufacturer's instructions followed to the latter.
------
O.Montsho--Botswana
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written by sanjay, May 05, 2014
ThanX for the information,
It was very helpfull I'm from suriname and our fuel is not so clean as in japan.
I use vpower and I own a vvti D4 mark 2 thank u very much
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written by Alvin, June 06, 2014
my engine d4 stops even when fuel is full mostly after a ECONO indicator appears on dash board.
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written by Francis Muuoki, June 07, 2014
I have Toyota Allion with D4 VVT I engine .I bought the car from Japan 07 and it runs great.All i can say about thise kind of engines needs service at required time and clean fuel.Powerful and fuel iffeciency.
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written by Sammy Moyo, June 09, 2014
D4 is trouble if you do not know how to take care of car engines. I have a car with a 2007 D4 engine and it stalls even at cruising speed. If you diagnose and it says pressure sensor failure sensor do not believe it immediately. Check the cleanliness of the throttle gates (venturi) and clean with a recommended spray. Change air cleaners do not blow old ones..throw them away otherwise it will damage your airflow sensors.... etc.
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written by shenique , June 17, 2014
i have a d4 vvti engine in my 07 wish which i operate as a taxi, after i ran a few trips with it, it keeps bucking and then it shuts off. i have to restart it alots of time before it picks up.i just need some advice.
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written by Clifford, June 19, 2014
I have got a toyota premio D4 engine 3s, it goes off @ idle speed, I changed the plugs, air filter, fuel filter & the pump in the engine but it still goes off @ idle speed, please any advise?
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written by Clifford, June 19, 2014
Sorry not the pump on the engine but the pump in the tank
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written by shenique, July 11, 2014
i have vvti d4 engine in my toyota wish, i observed that after driving it for a couple of miles and park it. when i return to it and start it, it only starts and move like a few inches then it starts to idle then the check comes in and then the engine shuts off and wont restart.It also keeps killing my battery in attempting to restart it, i have to leave it for hours before it starts again. i put it on several machines and they shows that nothing is wrong. This happens every day and am also afraid to drive it go anywhere because it keeps leaving me at roadsides for hours. please someone give me some advise.

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