1990 4Runner Build/Rescue

yotadude520

Mini-Truck Enthusiast
Joined
Jul 12, 2013
Messages
1,689
Location
Tucson, Arizona
 
Well I finally did it - I finally owned an FJ40. Check that off the list.

Or as I previously joked what is left of one. Over the course of the short period owning it though I realized something - as much as I love the FJ40's and as long as I've wanted one I'm just not an FJ40 guy. There's something about the 4Runners and mini-trucks that makes me love them more. How practical they are, their size, nimbleness, reliability and most importantly cost - they're cheap & parts are cheap!

And it is for that reason why my FJ40 is being sold this Saturday. It is time for it to be passed on to someone who can take it to the next level. It was fun, but now I've found myself in a project that I'm super motivated to get going.

Last night my brother and I purchased a 1990 4Runner. It's a little rough, but it has great bones & potential. It has 210k miles, seller states motor was rebuilt & the head gasket recall was done.

Rats chewed through the wiring harness and the vehicle has been sitting for 4 years. It's going to take a little bit of work to get it going again, but nothing I can't handle.

The best part about the truck is - it's got a SAS with lockers F&R, 4.88 gears, an ARB bumper & All-Pro leaf springs. SAS looks like it was done really well. The interior is completely intact, no major rips other than some cracks in the dash and the body is in good shape. I'm looking forward to bringing the paint back. Here's some pics from the CL ad.





Immediate plans:

-Swap engine harness
-Clean gas tank & re-fill, install new fuel pump & filter
-Replace clutch master cylinder
-Bleed brakes & clutch
-Change oil & coolant
-New battery
-Cross fingers and hope it starts

Down the road:

-Install rear shocks
-Tires
-Change all fluids
-Find a new hood
-Rear window motor
-Fix A/C
-Swing out tire carrier
-Roof rack
-Rebuild TC & Install Gear Reduction Set
-Warn winch (has no-name broken one on now)
-3.4L swap??

WHEEL IT!

Getting it towed to the house this weekend, where I'll drop the tank and see what's in there. Much much more to come - stay tuned!
 
Joined
Oct 3, 2016
Messages
171
Location
Washington
Nice find, looks like all the hard work is done. I really like the looks of the ARB bumpers on the 90's frontends, I'd like to find nice used one someday for my 91 pickup if I can, missed out on one for $500 while back. 3.4 swap would be sweet in that rig!...look forward to the updates!
 

D21FJ60

It's not an addiction...I don't go to meetings.
Joined
Apr 19, 2009
Messages
1,371
Location
Gainesville, VA
 
 
In all seriousness I am eager to see waht you do. I have a 94 t4r in the garage with a bad motor that I need to figure out what to do with.
 

yotadude520

Mini-Truck Enthusiast
Joined
Jul 12, 2013
Messages
1,689
Location
Tucson, Arizona
 
Got to tinker on the truck a little bit last weekend. Was busy with house stuff so didn't get to drop the tank but I did pull my engine harness enough to get the part # and ordered it from Yota Yard in Denver. I wasn't aware of this but apparently Toyota changed the engine harness connectors in 92 so the only harnesses that would work would be from a 89-91. Probably due to the fact they changed the speedometer from being run by a cable to being run electronically - that'd be my guess.

I also charged a battery I had lying around and put it in. I was tickled to find out that 3 out of the 4 power windows worked & the rear window still went up and down. The lights and everything worked too minus the fan switch. The fuel gauge read empty, so I'm really hoping that's the case. It will make dropping it a LOT easier. I'll pull the little cover off the top of the tank tonight and take a peek!
 

yotadude520

Mini-Truck Enthusiast
Joined
Jul 12, 2013
Messages
1,689
Location
Tucson, Arizona
 
I got out to the garage last night and started to work on dropping the tank. Disconnected the fuel line up top along with the fuel vent lines & filler hose hiding behind the cover in the passenger side fender well.




I also learned that there is a drain plug on the bottom of the gas tank. That's pretty convenient. Now I just need to get a bigger bucket...



I am happy to see that the fuel hasn't turned to sludge yet. It just smells horrible though. Hopefully the tank shouldn't need too much to get cleaned out. I'll find out this weekend.
 

yotadude520

Mini-Truck Enthusiast
Joined
Jul 12, 2013
Messages
1,689
Location
Tucson, Arizona
 
Alright! Finally put in the time to get somewhere on this thing.

Dropped the tank early Saturday morning and what I found in there wasn't good...



A BLACK WIDOW!! Hanging out right above the sending unit! Can't be the only one living on the frame of this thing.



But no I found something even worse than that! The tank itself. It's not in as good of shape as I hoped. I'm not sure what I expected after knowing this thing sat for 4 years....






I don't think I'm going to waste my time on the tank. Even if I did a thorough job of cleaning it, I'm worried I'll be endlessly changing fuel filters as little specks of rust clog them. Now I'm on the lookout for a replacement...
 

yotadude520

Mini-Truck Enthusiast
Joined
Jul 12, 2013
Messages
1,689
Location
Tucson, Arizona
 
After realizing fixing the tank was a no-go, it was time to go in and replace the harness. To be honest, it seemed a little daunting, but after laying out the harness it was obvious how it was supposed to be routed.



Honestly the worst part about the harness swap to me was getting the plenum off. There was quite some carnage on the 30 year old vacuum lines in the process. Once it was off though, I had quite the mess on my hands.



I took my time and just unplugged the old harness, plugged the new one in. Routed it where it needed to go and after a couple of hours and a few beers got the new harness installed and that old one out!



There is no way this thing would've run with the old harness installed. There were wires that were cut randomly and spliced together and just was a total mess. Here's a nice shot of the #1 cylinder fuel injector plug & the throttle body plug. Wtf?!? :bang:



I still need to remove all that aftermarket red wiring for the lights. I pulled the trim panel under the dash and it was a mess under there as well. I didn't have the patience to mess with it Saturday but definitely need to get that fixed too. It was so hokey that many of the connections were just twisted together. We're one step closer to getting this thing running though!
 
Joined
Apr 16, 2006
Messages
1,182
Location
Roca Blanca
 
 
I loved my 40s when I was younger. I had 4 or 5 of them over the years, but I don’t think I could do it again unless I had a good sized budget for a modern (ish) drivetrain etc.

The 4Runner looks like a great project. I’m sure you can find an oem tank in a wreckers that is out of a recently running unit. That wiring is a bit of a disaster for sure. I tore a lot of random wires out of my new tow rig, and it’s very satisfying. Wiring is something that NEEDS to be done neatly and patiently.
 

yotadude520

Mini-Truck Enthusiast
Joined
Jul 12, 2013
Messages
1,689
Location
Tucson, Arizona
 
I was able to find a used fuel tank here in town from a 1993 4Runner. Threw new lines on it and got it installed:




The new tank is actually larger than the old one and is one inch deeper, but fit right in place of the old one. I didn't know 2nd gen's came with 2 different size tanks? The one I got was out of a 1993 3VZE truck that was a 5 speed and 4x4 - weird!

I also got the intake plenum back on last night. I still needed to get a couple feet of vacuum line for the ones that broke before.



BUT - before I go any farther on this thing I just wanted to hear it do something. When we first bought it it would crank over for a second and then stop. I'm thinking the wiring harness carnage just couldn't get it going.

So I put some gas in it, primed the pump, and it started! It wouldn't idle well, but I'm sure thats from all the vacuum leaks.

All in all I'm a happy camper and time to really get this thing going.
 
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