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Mechanics and owners, don't let your 4Runner die

If you ever feel too much unexplained heat coming from the center of your motor vehicle, don’t you or let your mechanic ignore it. Immediately ask for a check of the catalytic converter. I spent $500 on a thorough fuel injection cleaning and was told my 4Runner could go back to Alaska (I took my family up there over the Summer 2001). Well, my wife & I were taking our daughter to college (Austin TX; our home is 600 miles/960km West in El Paso) when the heat from the center/console area became excessively hot. Whenever I stopped to gas up, which became more and more frequent, the vaporized fuel literally whooshed out of the opening. Four and a half miles South of Johnson City, I pulled over to see the catalytic converter glowing bright red. There it stayed, and, being caught between the rock-hard road cut and the pavement, I ended up buying a used 2008 Ford Ranger to replace it for our return. Go to my website,, and I’m on Facebook too if you’d like to see the final rite. In any case, we were very lucky that the fuel tank didn’t explode, sending all our futures to an early demise. It was an expensive $11,000 lesson; may you please learn from it.