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2003 Toyota Tacoma Issue

Hello Everyone,

I recently purchased a 2003 Toyota Tacoma 2WD (4 cyl. 2.4L) automatic truck. It has 121,000 miles on it. I obviously have no idea how the person before me filled their tank (topping it off or not). I filled the gas tank a couple of times myself with no issues whatsoever. Then I used Sea Foam in the tank on a full tank (per the directions). Now when I go to fill it up-the pump cuts off every few seconds. I am not seeing any other symptoms–no gas smell, no reduced gas mileage, no hesitation, no CEL. I have read the discussions on-line and on this site regarding “slow fill” and charcoal/evaporation canisters. My question is this: is it likely that a canister would appear to be (and perform) absolutely fine and then go bad that suddenly? or… Is it perhaps more likely that the Sea Foam cleaned some stuff out and somehow some debris or whatever got stuck in the breather line or a valve or something? It seems a bit coincidental to me that this started to happen right after I added the Sea Foam.

Any advice on what the problem may be and how to check for issues other than just replacing the charcoal canister (or whatever) would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks in advance.


I can’t access the specific test protocols for your Tacoma, but here’s some for another Toyota productof the same vintage. Perhaps they’ll help. Or, you could ask the parts department (NOT the service department) at your local dealer’s to print the test protocols for your truck.

By the way, have you chacked for stored fault codes? That’d be the best place to start.

Thank you for your response I appreciate it. No I have not checked for stored fault codes. How do I check for the codes. Can the auto parts store do that or can I do that myself? Sorry, I am kind of new to this.

No apology necessary. Most parts stores will download the codes for free. One simply attaches a “code reader” to an output jack and the “reader” does the work. The code will look like one of the below (these are just examples).

* DTC P0446 EVAP Vent Solenoid Valve Control System
* DTC P0447 Evaporative Emission Control System Vent Control Circuit Open
* DTC P0448 Evaporative Emission Control System Vent Control Circuit Shorted
* DTC P0449 Evaporative Emission (EVAP) Vent Solenoid Control Circuit
* DTC P0450 Fuel Tank Pressure Sensor Circuit
* DTC P0451 Evaporative Emission Control System Pressure Sensor Range/Performance
* DTC P0452 Fuel Tank Pressure Sensor Circuit Low Voltage
* DTC P0453 Fuel Tank Pressure Sensor Circuit High Voltage
* DTC P0454 Evaporative Emission Control System Pressure Sensor Intermittent
* DTC P0455 Evaporative Emission (EVAP) System Leak Detected
* DTC P0460 Fuel Level Sensor Circuit
* DTC P0461 Fuel Level Sensor Performance
* DTC P0462 Fuel Level Sensor Circuit Low Voltage
* DTC P0463 Fuel Level Sensor Circuit High Voltage

I should have mentioned before that it is possible that the root caues was the previous owner “topping it off”. On some vehicles, “topping off” the vehicle can allow gas to get into the vent line, which vents right by the fill pipe, and down into the charcoal bed. Since nothing can breath well through a saturated bed, the loss of pressure will be “read” by the pump handle as a full tank (as if the fill valve has been closed) and the handle will shut off.

Thank you for your response and explanation–and the examples.

I had read that about people “topping off” causing issues with the charcoal canister. I am really hoping that it is a blockage or something similar as opposed to the charcoal canister (not a cheap fix–as I am sure you are aware). If the charcoal has been saturated does it ever dry out (or whatever)?

Do you have any idea if there is any explanation as to what would cause it to be working fine and then suddenly start the pump kicking off–literally the same day?

Once saturated, I’m not aware of any way of drying the bed out. The canisters unfortunately are sealed.

The only think I can think of is that the seafoam might have somehow gotten into the canister. I tried unsuccessfully to come up with other ideas. Seafoam is designed to clean out carbon deposits, and charcoal is basically carbon. I don’t know what seafoam would do to a charcoal bed.

Thanks for trying to come up with something. I am hoping that the Sea Foam did not get in there. : (

You have my best wishes behind you.

Thanks. I already had to replace the ac condensor replaced and I have only had the thing for 2 weeks. Not the most fun I have ever had.

Let us know how you make out wth this. EVAP system problems can be a pain.

Will do. I am still hoping for a blockage in the fill line or vent–that is what some folks on a Toyota Tacoma forum suggested the issue is. I am not overly optimistic however.

Out of curiosity–what happens if I do not fix this for a while?

It could cause a premature fule pump failure if the tank is having trouble breathing in. That puts more strain on the pump. Usually that’ll show up as a loss of power, but by them it’s usually too late.

So yesterday afternoon I took to the parts store and it had one code–P0441 "Evaporative System Incorrect Purge Flow. My neighbor who is a mechanic came over and it appears that I have a bad gas cap–it is all clogged up. He tried to blow through it and nothing–no air would come through. When he unscrewed the cap it sucked air in like a vacuum immediately. I already had a new gas cap on order anyway. There were no other error codes. With regard to the gas pump issue–my neighbor feels that what likely happened is that I filled the tank, I probably topped it off–like an idiot ; ) , and then added the sea foam which caused the rollover ball to get stuck (the likely explanation) or there is a blockage in the breather tube. Hopefully he is correct–it would explain the lack of other codes and the sudden onset of the issue. I am going to replace the gas cap as soon as the new one shows up in a couple of days and then I am going to let the tank go close to empty in hopes that the ball will come unstuck–but it may already be loose. I put a coathanger down the fill tube to see and I think I heard the ball move (and a ping sound) slightly like it was stuck. We’ll see–fingers crossed. If I am still having issues he is going to pull the hoses and check the lines for me.

Thanks again for all of your help and I will keep you posted.


Was ur a/c working when u bought truck?

With the ac I thought it was working–I tested it but it was really cold outside so it felt cold and it sounded like the compressor kicked on–but no it wasn’t working apparently. It was “as is” but the dealership split the parts and labor with me 50/50. Better than having to eat the whole cost myself. I did try and get them to pay for all of it (as I had also asked them about the ac working and they said: “yes”) but that didn’t work out. : (

Thanks sincerely for the feedback. I sincerely hope that the new cap works, but, if not, please don’t hesitate to ask for help.

I do have a few comments that might help should the cap not fix the problem. Please take them as informational and not as second guessing your neighbor.

The gas cap isn’t supposed to vent. It is designed to create an absolute and total barrier between the fill ippe and the outside world. I don’t understand what your neighbor was trying to blow through, but I suspect there was a misunderstanding.

The code you referenced has to do with the “purge system”. It consists of a solenoid activated valve that allows hydrocarbon molecules captured by the charcoal bed to be “purged” by being drawn into the engine’s intake. Such a code could be triggered by a saturated charcoal bed, because the purge system would be unable to suck the fumes through the charcoal. Again, if the charcoal were damaged by the seafoam, that would cause a purge system code. I urge you to visit page 7 of the attached document to better understand the purge system.

A slight vacuum when the cap is removed just after shutting off the engine is not abnormal. A significant sucking sound is an indication that the tank cannot breath in as the gas is removed, and it breaths in through the charcoal canister. Again, that’s a saturated bed symptom.

Again, I hope your new cap and your coathanger probing works. But if you still have problems, hopefully this information will help. Feel free to show it to your neighbor and discuss it with him.

Thanks for the information—I really appreciate it. Also, thank you for the link–I will check it out this evening. We’ll see what happens…

My kid bought an 03 vue from dealer. Turns out gas gauge will not go over 3/4 full. Dealer says too bad. It was missed during test drive. Most folks don’t put gas in car during test drive. Dealer says its not critical or important. Suppose it’s less annoying than ur a/c not working. But used cars usually as-is deals.

It may not be that difficult to correct. Chances are good that the float is hanging up, and that’s accesseble from the top of the gastank, which might be right under the seat bottom.

Your son could ask a Chevy dealer for an “exploded view” drawing of the fuel supply components, and see how to access the float. I think Chevy dealers service Saturns now that the division has been shut down.


Here you go.

Print this out and give it to your mechanic to read.