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Discussion Starter #1
So I have a decision to make in the next 2 months and wanted to probe some of you 2nd gen 4Runner owners and seem what you think about building up a 4Runner. I currently have a '93 Runner 3.0 with a stick. So the deal is I will likely be buying a new car in a couple months, I will be getting an income increase and its time for something new. I am going to be building a dedicated trail rig and keeping something else around for a DD and backup transportation. I have basically two options.

1. Buy a new Toyota truck, probably an '01-04 Tacoma use this as a platform to build a trail rig and keep the runner as a 2nd truck.

2. Build up the 4Runner into a reasonably capable trail rig and buy a car to commute in daily

My concerns are the limitations that these 4Runners have; heavy, no locker, high center of gravity, underpowered,etc... My question is how limiting are these issues into building a capable rig? Is it worth spending the money on something newer elocker, coilover suspension, more power, etc..? Obviously it would theoretically be cheaper to build something newer but to be honest I prefer commuting in a car. I would like to have a car and a truck.

Sorry for the long drawn out life story just trying to get some opinions from some more experienced wheelers especially with one of these 4Runners(Troy,Brian,Molly :)) Thanks in advance guys, really appreciate your opinions and time.
 

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So I have a decision to make in the next 2 months and wanted to probe some of you 2nd gen 4Runner owners and seem what you think about building up a 4Runner. I currently have a '93 Runner 3.0 with a stick. So the deal is I will likely be buying a new car in a couple months, I will be getting an income increase and its time for something new. I am going to be building a dedicated trail rig and keeping something else around for a DD and backup transportation. I have basically two options.

1. Buy a new Toyota truck, probably an '01-04 Tacoma use this as a platform to build a trail rig and keep the runner as a 2nd truck.

2. Build up the 4Runner into a reasonably capable trail rig and buy a car to commute in daily

My concerns are the limitations that these 4Runners have; heavy, no locker, high center of gravity, underpowered,etc... My question is how limiting are these issues into building a capable rig? Is it worth spending the money on something newer elocker, coilover suspension, more power, etc..? Obviously it would theoretically be cheaper to build something newer but to be honest I prefer commuting in a car. I would like to have a car and a truck.

Sorry for the long drawn out life story just trying to get some opinions from some more experienced wheelers especially with one of these 4Runners(Troy,Brian,Molly :)) Thanks in advance guys, really appreciate your opinions and time.
Damn, you hit it right on the head on picking Troy and Molly's brains. From Troys on stock suspension with alot of drivetrain upgrades (lockers, crawlers, etc), to Molly's SAS. Wish I could help ya, but I bet these 2 have it covered.
 

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If Troy and I had it all to do over again we'd do an 01-04 Tacoma. 2nd Gen runners are a PITA. They are too heavy, underpowered and the 3.0 will blow a head gasket eventually.... Meaning you are setting yourself up for a 3.4 egine swap.

Just my 2 cents
 

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Actually, I would probably do a pre-Taco ... personally, my dream truck for Colorado would be an 86 Turbo, manual transmission truck.

IMHO, '01-'04 is still too much $ to potentially beat on a trail.

I would never build a 2nd gen runner ever again.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
2nd Gen runners are a PITA.
I would never build a 2nd gen runner ever again.
Don't hold back guys tell me how you really feel :D Even though these are resoundingly negative comments this is exactly what I need to hear from people who have been there and done it. Thanks for being honest and straight forward.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
the 3.0 will blow a head gasket eventually.... Meaning you are setting yourself up for a 3.4 egine swap.
I'm an auto tech by trade and having done several HG's on 3.0's in the past I was very familiar with the failures. First thing I did when I bought it was pull the engine and completely reseal it, among many other things. Mechanically it is actually in excellent shape that's why I cant justify selling it just to buy someone elses problem.

Actually, I would probably do a pre-Taco ... personally, my dream truck for Colorado would be an 86 Turbo, manual transmission truck.
Ah yes the Toyota holy grail
 

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I really like my 2nd gen 4 runner. It works well as a family vehicle. Works really well off road. The 4 doors work great if you haul more then 1 other person.

I solved my power issue from the start, I purchase 2nd gens with blown engines. I swap in 3.4l engines from 96 or newer tacomas or 4runners. Really the power upgrade makes them feel like the should, if not slightly underpowered.

The rear suspension is weak, it can worked with. It works well for mild 4wheeling, prone to breakage with too much lift. Front suspension is similar, ok for mild prone to breakage under heavy use.

Everything on these 4runners can be made to handle 4wheeling good. I would never build one to be extream.

What are your plans for 4wheeling? Do you want a rig with 35" tires or bigger? Do you have to haul a family?
 

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I have not had too much "hardcore" wheeling in my 2nd gen but it has worked good for me. It is also my DD so I don't have too big of plans for it. I like the enclosed space and security of an SUV. They make good camping/expedition vehicles. My biggest problem with mine as of now is that it is mostly stock (tires, clearance, etc)

If I were to build up a 4runner I would look at the 3rd gens with the 3.4 and other upgraded features like the rear hatch, etc.

Everything on these 4runners can be made to handle 4wheeling good. I would never build one to be extreme.
I agree, I think it can be done but there are easier/more cost effestive platforms if you are starting from scratch.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Damn, you hit it right on the head on picking Troy and Molly's brains. From Troys on stock suspension with alot of drivetrain upgrades (lockers, crawlers, etc), to Molly's SAS. Wish I could help ya, but I bet these 2 have it covered.
David I have put a healthy dent in that bottle:xbeer1: I'm about as far from an expert as one can get but that is the best white wine I've had.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
What are your plans for 4wheeling? Do you want a rig with 35" tires or bigger? Do you have to haul a family?
No family room needed at the moment. Since one of my vehicles will be a dedicated rig I plan on a long term build as money is avaliable. SAS and 35+ tires could very well be long term goals.

My biggest problem with mine as of now is that it is mostly stock (tires, clearance, etc)

If I were to build up a 4runner I would look at the 3rd gens with the 3.4 and other upgraded features like the rear hatch, etc.
Yeah mines completely stock. I've been holding off until I talked to some people and made a decision. I most definitely prefer 3rd gens in every way but if I'm going to keep my 2nd gen regardless two 4Runners doesn't make much sense to me. Kinda thinking might as well have the truck for hauling shit around.
 
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