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Sooner or later your vehicle will need a tune up. This not only helps to restore its fuel efficiency but can help the engine last longer. If you own an older (1987) Toyota pickup with a 22R engine and if you possess some basic automotive skills you can learn how to perform a tune up (minor) to the engine and save yourself time and money.

An indication that your truck needs to be tuned up is demonstrated by how the engine runs. Does the engine turn over easily when you attempt to start it? Once the engine is running, does it idle smoothly? Does the engine hesitate when you accelerate? Are you getting poor gas mileage? Any of these scenarios is a clear sign that your engine could probably use a tune up.

Process:

1. Air Filter.
a) Remove the air cleaner cover and check to make sure that the filter is not excessively dirty or damaged or has an oily residue on it (if the filter is oily, it could mean that the PCV valve is stuck). If it appears to be in fairly good shape, you may clean the filter with compressed air, blowing from the inside of the filter to the outside, then by blowing off any excess debris on the outside of the filter, making sure that you do not blow any debris back into the filter.
b) Replace the air filter (if necessary). Your Toyota manual will indicate the part number for the filter.

2. Spark Plug Wires.
a) Carefully remove each spark plug wire by the rubber boot at the end. Remove them one at a time so as not to get them out of firing order. Do not pull roughly on the cord or bend it or you may risk damaging the conductor inside. Check for corrosion on the terminals. Look for breaks or cracks in the wires.
b) Replace the spark plug wires (if necessary).

3. Spark Plugs.
a) Check the plugs for wear of the electrode and any thread or insulator damage. If the plugs do not appear overly worn, you may clean them with a wire brush. The spark plugs can tell several things about how your truck is running. For example, they can tell you if the fuel mixture is to rich or to lean, or if you are burning oil. Your Toyota manual should have a chart depicting the different scenarios having to do with spark plugs (troubleshooting).

4. Change the Spark Plugs (if necessary).
a) Replace the spark plugs one at a time to ensure that you keep them in the correct timing order. When putting in new plugs make sure to adjust the electrode to obtain the proper gap. Your Toyota manual will give the correct gap and torque information, as well as recommend the best type of plugs to use for your vehicle.

5. Ignition Timing.
a) Connect a timing light to the engine. Start the engine and let it run at idle. Disconnect the vacuum hose from the distributor sub-diaphragm and plug the hose end.
b) If necessary, adjust the ignition timing. The proper settings for timing can be found in your Toyota manual. It may be necessary to loosen the distributor bolt and turn the distributor to align the marks. Double check the timing after tightening the distributor bolt. Make sure to reconnect the vacuum hose that you previously disconnected to the distributor sub-diaphragm.

6. Fuel Filter
Toyota pickups of this year are known to use fuel filters on a frequent basis. If you perform a tune-up on your truck it certainly doesn’t hurt to change the fuel filter at the same time.
a) Unscrew gas cap to relieve pressure.
b) Locate the fuel filter just under the gas tank inlet and slightly in front of the passenger rear tire.
c) Remove old filter by loosening screws and clamps and remove fuel filter.
d) Install new filter.
e) Re-tighten gas cap.

Now that you know how to do a tune-up (minor) on your Toyota truck, don’t stop here! Study the manual that came with your truck and get to know the vehicle. The more you know about making repairs to your own truck, the less money you will have to pay to an expensive professional.