: Things to look for on an '86 4runner?

03-20-2009, 08:15 PM
Hey guys... its been a while but I'm in a place now with the new house where I can pick up an older truck to start working on slowly and have some fun with. I've found '86 4runner in Tennessee for under 3 grand. It's an auto, 22re, and mostly stock from what I can tell.

Any recommendations on what I should inquire about? I'm thinking about calling the guy for more info soon, so I was wondering if there are any problem areas on these trucks that I should be aware of?

It's killing me not jumping on it, but work (Caterpillar) has been a rollercoaster so far this year...


03-20-2009, 08:33 PM
I thought Cat was laying off, :confused: glad you are not being effected!

AS for purchasing any vehicle look for frame damage/rust, collision damage, and general condition of the motor.

Has the motor been reliable, has it been rebuilt?
any suspension work done to the vehicle?
when were the brakes last changed out?
how old is the battery?
how many owners has the vehicle had?
any wrecks that have needed body repair?
is the vehicle originally from the region or was it moved up from any coastal areas
what about the transmission? any issues with the gears?
If it is a standard transmission, when was the clutch last replaced?
how much tread is left on the tires?

Those are some of the questions you should always ask when shopping for a used vehicle.

03-20-2009, 08:44 PM
I don't know about problem areas but I'd ask for some pictures of the frame. That would be my #1 concern.

03-20-2009, 08:48 PM
We are, but so far I've been safe being in engineering, most of the layoffs are happening in the production side of things. Lucky for me, but so unfortunate for so many... :(

Motor was rebuilt 15k ago. I had some of those items on my "to ask" list, but you've added a few good ones as well, so thank you!

03-20-2009, 09:03 PM
I don't know about problem areas but I'd ask for some pictures of the frame. That would be my #1 concern.
thats your primary concern with everything. I am sure you had your wifes frame inspected before your wedding day. :D

03-20-2009, 09:06 PM
if the motor was rebuilt, then you want complete details on the rebuild? if the owner did it himself or had a "pro" do it? what parts of the motor was touched? what major components were replaced?

what was the reason for the motor rebuild? was the block also replaced or machined?

If the motor went out 15K ago, then that makes it possble that truck had been driven hard so you should really inspect the rest of the vehicle real close.

03-21-2009, 08:47 AM
check the cv boots too to see if those are torn. Condition of the tailgate and if the rear window still goes up and down. If it doesnt work its more likely the relay which is an easy fix. Obviously the condition of the frame and what hubs does it have on it. How many miles are on the body? 3k still seems kinda high. Given that it has the 340f trans it is a good canidate for the 3.4 swap down the line. Just have to weld some engine mounts.

03-21-2009, 08:55 AM
I'm gonna agree with the statement about the frame being most important, but assuming the truck spent most of it's life in Tenn it should be pretty solid but def check it out for yourself

I would also want complete details as to who and what was done to the motor

now for the normal expectations of buying a 20+ year old vehicle:
plastic and rubber break down over time so expect to spend lots of time replacing gaskets, hoses, and etc. You may not notice any leaks initially (particullarly if it hasn't been ran much lately) but once you start using it they will pop up

03-25-2009, 07:50 PM
So I just spoke with the seller on the phone and got some additional info...

Head gasket went at 200k miles. He pulled the motor and took it to a shop to be rebuilt. ~$1500 went into the rebuild - new pistons, rings, rods, water pump, cam, etc etc etc. It sounded like most things were replaced or machined except for the crank. 14k on the rebuld, so 214k on the body to date.

New battery 2 months ago. brakes pads at 50%. tires are fairly worn, but they'd be one of the first things to be replaced most likely.

Frame and gas tank are in excellent shape with minimal rust. He's not the original owner, but he bought it from another guy in TN.

Rear window works.

He says the frame is so nice he'd build another buggy out of this one but, overall its in too nice of shape for him to cut up.

I've asked for some more pictures, and I should probably do a Carfax.

Asking price is $2700 and it sounds pretty firm. He was offered $2k and told the buyer he'd rather keep it at that price.

I'd love to get into a truck this summer, and possibly attend the Chicago jamboree at the Cliffs. I went the first year to that event when I had my 05 and it was awesome... and my new house is only 30 minutes from there to boot!

What do you guys think? I appreciate the help and advice:)

03-25-2009, 08:07 PM
I think if the frame is good, it's probably worth it.
But $2700 usually means $2500 bottom dollar "usually".