4Runner - Purchase? (2 Viewers)

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Prep, prep, prep.

I just recently repainted the top of the 4runner. While the top is a fairly small area, it still took a few hours getting it to the point where I felt comfortable breaking out the paint.
 

Will Van

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Take into consideration that the folks that work in body shops are trying to pay their bills and keep food on their tables, not just “churn out volume”. Prep work is extremely time intensive and therefore expensive if you’re paying a fair wage. Nobody is getting rich as a bodyman or woman. Yes the insurance industry is driving the body repair industry, but that doesn’t mean you can’t find a great bodyshop to fit your needs. Just keep in mind, you get what you pay for and Maaco/Earl Scheib prices reflect that.

Everyone is trying to pay their bills and keep food on the table. Folks that work in body shops are no exception. My point is that the insurance industry has changed the paint and bodywork business. The majority of P&B businesses make their money on insurance repairs. Those repairs are tied to volume: get the minor fender benders and hail damage cars through the door so you can cash the insurance check and move on to the next one. I make no comment on the morality of that business model, or where the proceeds should be applied. But it is volume-driven.

It is an entirely different caliber of paint and bodywork business that does restorations and meticulous work. They are uncommon and costly. But their customers are looking for a different level of craftsmanship than the average insurance-claimant who just wants their daily-driver back on the road. This is the caliber of P&B work I would be interested in, and be willing to pay for.

But I digress - I am not willing to pay a premium for a truck with a Maaco paint job. I'd rather just have a truck with imperfect paint. That way I know what I'm getting in to.
 
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yotadude520

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Everyone is trying to pay their bills and keep food on the table. Folks that work in body shops are no exception. My point is that the insurance industry has changed the paint and bodywork business. The majority of P&B businesses make their money on insurance repairs. Those repairs are tied to volume: get the minor fender benders and hail damage cars through the door so you can cash the insurance check and move on to the next one. I make no comment on the morality of that business model, or where the proceeds should be applied. But it is volume-driven.

It is an entirely different caliber of paint and bodywork business that does restorations and meticulous work. They are uncommon and costly. But their customers are looking for a different level of craftsmanship than the average insurance-claimant who just wants their daily-driver back on the road. This is the caliber of P&B work I would be interested in, and be willing to pay for.

But I digress - I am not willing to pay a premium for a truck with a Maaco paint job. I'd rather just have a truck with imperfect paint. That way I know what I'm getting in to.

Being in the insurance industry, I can second this. It's also why everyone's auto rates are going up too. Newer cars' plastic bumpers get damaged more easily and insurance companies are losing their ass paying body shops to replace them & re-paint them so they make up for it by increasing their rates.
 
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From a minor rear end accident in a Jeep Cherokee, the body shop charged the insurance company 5 times repainting the vehicle. First time around there was zero prep and minimal masking tape used considering the paint on the windows. and trim. If this is the model it is difficult to understand the business model of an insurance company. That Jeep was later totaled as USAA deemed the steering column exceeded the value of the vehicle after a theft.
 
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After doing body work for 3 years I have personally seen a handful of really nice Maaco paint jobs but here’s the catch. You have to de-trim your vehicle, you have to prep and finish your entire car with at least 500 and pay extra for the better base coat and clear coat. These guys paint cars all day everyday. They’re not bad painters just bad preppers. For someone looking for an affordable paint job who doesn’t have the means of doing it themselves, this is actually a good route.
 

Will Van

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Ok guys, quick thread update - obviously the original topic of this post has morphed quite a bit (initially I was just looking for feedback on purchasing a 1st gen 4Runner with an auto trans). Now I have opened up the search to 1st, 2nd, and even 3rd gen 4Runners.

My ultimate goal is to build a diesel-swapped 4Runner. At this time I'm leaning towards a Mercedes OM617 5-cylinder mechanical diesel. The OM617 has legendary reliability. And unlike a 1KZ(TE) swap, parts are cheap and easy to find.

Doomsday Diesel makes a really nice kit for pre-1995 Pickups and 4Runners. Joe at Doomsday Diesel came up with a really cool solution for the front-sump oil pan on the OM617.
Oil-Pan.jpg

om617.jpg

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Ideally it would be something that my girlfriend and I can hop in and tour the country. Plus do some wheeling and camping along the way. The goals for the swap are:
  • Mechanical Diesel
  • Readily Available Replacement Parts
  • Decent Power and Torque
  • Good/Excellent MPG (20 to 25 mpg)
  • Great Range (Auxiliary Fuel Tank)
  • "Elegant" Swap Execution (No crazy lifts or tons of fabrication)
  • Marlin Dual Case
  • Probably Solid Axle and Leaf Springs

I also know I want a manual transmission (and Marlin dual cases). Several people have suggested to just find a 5-speed 4Runner and don't bother with trying to swap a manual into an auto. But I am really particular about the condition of the truck, and I think that limiting the search to manual-only trucks seriously limits the pool of candidates. Especially in the later model trucks where the 5-speed is rare. Plus, if I'm doing a diesel swap anyway, a 5-speed swap is not such a big deal. I would probably use a donor truck so I could steal all the miscellaneous parts.
R150F.jpg

Marlin-Dual-Case.jpg


The only drawback I see with the Doomsday kit right now is the packaging. The 5-cylinder OM617 is pretty long. The current configuration requires some cheezy electric fan solutions to clear the radiator (delete A/C, pusher fans, puller fans with no shroud, cutting radiator core support, etc). You can see the packaging constraints in this video, as well as some cool intel on the kit.


Joe at Doomsday is developing a serpentine belt conversion for his kit. Supposedly this will free up more space in front of the engine for the radiator/fan/shroud. I'm waiting to see what develops before I move forward with the project.

That's all for now. Lemme know what you think.
 

Will Van

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@Will Van I thought you'd be all over that HZJ75 built ute in the classifieds. :cool:

I just had a chance to look at it. I'm not a huge fan of the camping tray. I realize it is very utilitarian and cool, just not my thing.


I have also become frustrated with the availability of clean Land Cruisers and Toyota diesel parts. I have a high expectation for the condition of my vehicles. It's exhausting scouring the internet for exotic Toyota Land Cruisers in the condition I want them. And Toyota diesel engines are $5,000 to $10,000 with unknown history, often from another country. And then it's PITA to find replacement parts for them.

With 2nd and 3rd gen 4Runners I can find complete trucks for the cost of a Toyota diesel engine. And the trucks are really clean. For a decent 75-series Land Cruiser pickup, it's $20,000 minimum for a truck. And they are dogs. Just some crap someone has cobbled together in South America to try and flip in USA. It's just supply and demand.


Furthermore, the OM617s are everywhere. They are unbelievably reliable and affordable. Parts are cheap and easy to find. If I stumble across the right 75 series Land Cruiser, I may change my mind. But for now I'm going to keep looking for a 4Runner for an OM617 swap.

Besides, I still have my 1977 FJ40 to tinker with. :cool:
 

Zor

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Do you want something you can drive until you get all the crap together for a heart transplant? Or are you ok buying a non-runner? That would open a lot of options and could significantly lower the cost of your initial truck purchase. If you’re going to SAS it, I’d look for the chassis that is easiest/cheapest to put a solid axle underneath. And I’d pick out your choice of five speed separate from the purchase of a body and chassis.

Or, buy a triple locked FJ80, make it part time 4wd and diesel swap it.
 

Will Van

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Do you want something you can drive until you get all the crap together for a heart transplant? Or are you ok buying a non-runner? That would open a lot of options and could significantly lower the cost of your initial truck purchase. If you’re going to SAS it, I’d look for the chassis that is easiest/cheapest to put a solid axle underneath. And I’d pick out your choice of five speed separate from the purchase of a body and chassis.

Or, buy a triple locked FJ80, make it part time 4wd and diesel swap it.

I used to have a 1993 3x locked FZJ80. It was a really cool truck, but I wasn’t crazy about the diesel swap options available. Either lots of fab work for 6BT, or exotic Toyota Diesels again.

I have considered non-running 4Runners. First I want to see what Doomsday comes up with for the serpentine pulley conversion and the space available for radiator/fans.

And also what Doomsday comes up with for the 3rd gen 4Runner kit. The kits for the 2nd gen 4Runners (and 1st gen T4Rs with IFS) require removing the steering stabilizer to fit the OM617. The 3rd gen uses rack and pinion. So if Joe/Doomsday has a really slick solution for the 3rd gen, that’s the route I’ll go.

Based on those options, I can probably narrow down my search.
 
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Can you get a 617 into an ifs 3rd gen without a big lift and SAS? That would kind of break your “elegant” rule. 1kzte surf half cuts can be had for 3 grand and that would make a very clean swap if you’re meticulous enough to swap the whole cluster and loom over.

I had a lot of the same requirements you did when I still had a 3rd gen, but I was looking at a tdi swap instead. In the end it was cheaper and easier to find a Hilux with a factory diesel and solid axle - about as elegant as you can get.

What engines are you seeing that are 5-10 grand?? A 1HDT or a mint 12HT or 13BT maybe but none of those are great fits in a mini. Not sure where you’re looking but 1kzte and L series parts are readily available and relatively affordable compared to say the B or H series stuff. The reliability debate is a whole ‘nother discussion:flipoff2:
 

FJBen

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I just had a chance to look at it. I'm not a huge fan of the camping tray. I realize it is very utilitarian and cool, just not my thing.


I have also become frustrated with the availability of clean Land Cruisers and Toyota diesel parts. I have a high expectation for the condition of my vehicles. It's exhausting scouring the internet for exotic Toyota Land Cruisers in the condition I want them. And Toyota diesel engines are $5,000 to $10,000 with unknown history, often from another country. And then it's PITA to find replacement parts for them.

With 2nd and 3rd gen 4Runners I can find complete trucks for the cost of a Toyota diesel engine. And the trucks are really clean. For a decent 75-series Land Cruiser pickup, it's $20,000 minimum for a truck. And they are dogs. Just some crap someone has cobbled together in South America to try and flip in USA. It's just supply and demand.


Furthermore, the OM617s are everywhere. They are unbelievably reliable and affordable. Parts are cheap and easy to find. If I stumble across the right 75 series Land Cruiser, I may change my mind. But for now I'm going to keep looking for a 4Runner for an OM617 swap.

Besides, I still have my 1977 FJ40 to tinker with. :cool:

Yep, you gotta pay to play in the land cruiser world. You can’t compare land cruisers, especially pickups to a 4 runner that they made a bazillion of, build wise, rarity, cool factor etc
Nothing “wrong” with a 4Runner at all, But IMO, land cruisers are way cooler especially 70series pickups


OMs are great engines.

You could sell that tray on that 75 in the classifieds easily. The truck looks super solid.
 

Will Van

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Yep, you gotta pay to play in the land cruiser world. You can’t compare land cruisers, especially pickups to a 4 runner that they made a bazillion of, build wise, rarity, cool factor etc
Nothing “wrong” with a 4Runner at all, But IMO, land cruisers are way cooler especially 70series pickups


OMs are great engines.

You could sell that tray on that 75 in the classifieds easily. The truck looks super solid.

Agreed. And that’s another reason I dont want a Land Cruiser for this particular project - I would feel terrible tearing it apart for an OM617 diesel swap.

If I screw up a 4Runner, who cares? There are plenty more available.

Edit: I also realized the Canada 75 Land Cruiser is RHD. That’s a deal-breaker for me anyway.
 
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Many years ago, I dropped a Mercedes 240D motor in a Samurai. Going diesel in a 4runner would be a good project. With your eye on detail, I'd love to see the end product
 

Will Van

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Go 1st or 3rd Gen 4Runner Will. Odds rule!

Honestly it's probably going to be a 2nd or 3rd gen. Both have their advantages.

The 2nd gens are cheaper because of the 3.0 3vze engine. They're also easier to do a SAS on them because kits are readily available. And easier to do a RF1A Marlin dual transfer case because the passengers side t-case drop. And 2nd gen 4Runners already came with an RF1A for the 4-cylinder trucks.
94665-A96-B900-436-F-A93-C-7-A4-F6-E41-F52-C.jpg


The 3rd gens are more common generally. But way less common with a 5-speed. They also have a few nicer amenities. Plus, they came with a factory hood-scoop. I know I want an intercooler for the turbo diesel, so a top mount intercooler with factory hood scoop would make things clean/simple. The drivetrain work would be a little more intensive to ultimately get the truck the way I want it: less common 5-speed, driver's side t-case drop, less common SAS kits, etc.

But imperial jade mica is one of my favorite colors.
E67-F81-F1-E813-4942-83-C1-B444-D2430-E04.jpg


C119-B08-C-6-D99-4-D30-B50-C-31-BC17-A4-FB67.jpg


Ultimately it will boil down to the fit-and-finish of the Doomsday Diesel kit offerings. If Doomsday comes up with something really clean for a 3rd gen swap, then I'll go with the 3rd gen.

If the 3rd gen requires some heavy fabrication or large concessions to make it fit (cutting crossmember, radiator core support delete, hood latch delete, A/C delete, etc), then I'll go with a 2nd gen.


So just kinda wait-and-see right now. I need to pad my budget anyway. And see what is going to happen with Coronavirus. I'm really hopeful things go back to normalcy soon.
 
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Don’t forget the factory locker in the 3rd. How is the whole virus thing in Texas? I’m in BC and it’s pretty much done here. There are a couple of cases popping up but 90% plus is confined to institutions. There is almost none in the general public.
 

pappy

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Will Van

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Don’t forget the factory locker in the 3rd.

Oh, I haven't forgotten about the factory rear locker option on the 3rd gens.

I'm really particular about the condition of the trucks I buy for projects. They need to be ultra-clean. Like immaculate.

Add to that that I want an Imperial Jade Mica green truck. With a 5-speed. And a hood scoop. But no stupid extra door cladding found on the Limited.

Limited-T4-R.jpg


They introduced the Imperial Jade Mica color in 1999, but only kept the 5-speed option until 2000. That's only two years of availability for that particular combination of options.
310-C86-BF-B52-F-4-F44-9143-A73458560-E18.jpg


Plus a rear locker? It just seems very unlikely to find such a truck. And 3rd gens with a 5-speed and rear locker command a large premium. Arguably beyond what it would cost to just add a rear locker or do a 5-speed swap.

I think it is much more feasible to find an ultra clean 1999 to 2002 3rd gen in Imperial Jade Mica with an automatic transmission and a hood scoop. Then, just swap over a 5-speed, lockers, and OM617. The Harrop e-locker is arguably a better setup anyway compared to the factory Toyota e-locker.

But hell yeah - If I found a super-clean Imperial Jade Mica truck with a 5-speed and rear locker, I'd be all over it!!!

Edit: A very small part of me is still considering an auto. The A340F is a good transmission as far as slushboxes go. And it has a slightly taller overdrive than the R150F manual (0.705 auto vs 0.838 manual), which yields better mileage. The automatic would be decent on the highway. You can run a dual case behind either.
 
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