Toyota Tundra (3rd gen) Twin-Turbo V6 Engine Failure Causes and Fix

One of Toyota’s strongest selling points is the reliability of its vehicles, which results in hassle-free trips and reduced maintenance costs. However, with owners of the 3rd Gen Tundra (2022MY and up) reporting engine failures on the full-size truck, it’s time to see what these issues are all about.

The 3rd Gen Toyota Tundra entered production in December 2021. And the units that have experienced engine failures so far are spread from that first month of production (2022MY) through the 2023MY, as we’ll see below.

The 3.5L twin-turbo V6 powering the 3rd Gen Tundra

Unlike its predecessor, the Tundra (XK50), which could be had with an optional N/A V8 on top of the basic N/A V6 configurations, the new Tundra (XK70) is powered exclusively by a V35A-FTS 3.5L twin-turbo V6 Dynamic Force engine. This offers either 348 or 389 hp when powering the truck on its own, depending on the trim—have you seen this slammed 3rd Gen Toyota Tundra on air suspension?

However, the Tundra is also offered as a hybrid, with the 3.5L twin-turbo V6, which features an aluminum blow with cast iron cylinder liners, receiving assistance from a 48 hp electric motor for a total output of 437 hp under the i-Force Max banner. Regardless of the power source, the 3rd Gen Tundra features a 10-speed automatic transmission, with the pickup truck coming in both RWD and AWD forms.

As explained by toyota-club.net, while the V35A twin-turbo V6 debuted on the Lexus LS in 2017, that is the Type ’17 version, while the 2022+ Tundra uses the Type ’21 iteration of the engine, together with the 300-series Toyota Land Cruiser and Sequoia, as well as the Lexus LX600. The two versions have the same displacement, but the Type 17 features a 10.5 compression ratio, while this has been slightly lowered to 10.4 for the Type 21.

What causes the 2022 and 2023 Toyota Tundra engine failures?

The affected 3.5L twin-turbo V6s on the Tundra were destroyed by two main issues, namely failing main and rod bearings. And since the documented failure cases involve vehicles from both the 2022 and 2023 model years, the hypothesis involving a bad batch of bearings doesn’t seem to hold weight. So this isn’t the typical first model year generation issue that can affect so many new vehicles across the industry.

Spun bearings can also be caused by improper oiling, but at the initial time of press, there was no listed root cause for these problems causing 3rd Gen Toyota Tundra twin-turbo V6 engine failure.

These cases were documented on the Tundras forum, as well as on social media. Examples of the latter range from the 2022+ Toyota Tundra Owners private Facebook group to individual accounts like Yota Techs on Instagram. The latter, which is run by a Toyota expert tech from the Los Angeles area, provided the images in the gallery.

It’s important to note that while Toyota sold 104,404 Tundras in 2022 and 59,735 Tundras in the first six months of 2023, posts from the said forum suggest that the number of engine failures recorded to date goes above 100 at most. And even if not all the vehicles built to date have reached a certain mileage—see below—it seems that the percentage of affected Tundras is extremely small at this point.

At what mileage does the Tundra twin-turbo V6 engine spin its bearings? Judging strictly based on the cases we’ve seen, the mileage varies from around 25,000 to over 80,000, so there doesn’t seem to be a rule.

Owners talk about using 91+ octane instead of the regular 87 to reduce the risk of engine failure, and it remains to be seen if this precautionary measure has any impact.

What is Toyota doing about the failing Tundra twin-turbo V6 engines? How are these fixed?

Based on what the owners said, the cases of failing 2022 and 2023 Tundra engines reported to dealers have seen the twin-turbo V6s being rebuilt under warranty.

At the initial time of press, there was no official recall or Technical Service Bulletin (TSB) issued on the matter, with each case being handled individually.

The cost of parts alone sits between $20,000 and $29,000, with the latter value being reported by the mechanic mentioned above. The man talks of a short block rebuild involving the block itself, both cylinder heads, both turbochargers, timing covers (oil pump included), subpan, cam gears and actuators, valves, vacuum pump, oil cooler, gaskets, intercooler, blowoff valves, compressor tubes.

This warranty fix not only involves separating the cab to pull the engine out of the frame, but also means having to wait for the parts to arrive at the dealer. All in all, the repair lasts multiple weeks. Fortunately, according to the official Toyota website, warranty work that sees the vehicle being kept in service overnight means the customer needs to receive a loaner vehicle.

Are the 3rd Gen Tundra engine failures related to the previously known turbo wastegate issue?

No, at least at this point, the failing engines haven’t been linked to a previously known issue affecting 3rd Gen Tundra engines, namely the electric actuators for the turbos wastegates failing.

Since the actuators and wastegates are placed within the turbos, the entire turbochargers have to be replaced on affected engines. And accessing these means separating the cab, as the turbos are found at the back of the engine, which makes access difficult.

As a greater number of 3rd Gen Toyota Tundras reach more serious mileage, we’ll have a chance to see a more exact percentage of vehicles affected by the bearing-caused engine failures, so we can have a more complete conclusion on this matter.

In a few months from now, Toyota is expected to start building the 2024 Tundra—the model year switch usually takes place between September and November. In addition, the new 2024 Lexus LX, which features the V35A-FTS twin-turbo V6 as an optional engine, is also scheduled to enter production later this year. And having more data on these admittedly few failing engines by then would certainly help.

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