98 4runner... slowest build thread ever

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Jan 16, 2010
98 4runner... slowest daily driver build thread ever

Disclaimer: This is going to be more of a picture repository for the random work and upgrades I do and the places I go in the 4runner, though there will be some occasional cool stuff. I'm in college full time at the moment so my truck budget is pretty slim.

So I've been a long time lurker around here, and after many failed plans I finally got a Toyota this year. I had always wanted one but nothing ever worked out...

I finally made the car arrangements work out in favor of a nicer 4x4 instead of the cheap beaters (XJ's, S-10's, etc) I'd always had as a 2nd/3rd rig. I shopped for about a month and found this 1998 3.4 SR5 4x4 4runner at a local family car dealer who specializes in Toyotas. Great people, I would recommend them to anybody. Decent mileage, one owner, dealer maintained, zero rust... It was the one for me.



My long term plan for it is a mild lift, 32's or 33's, bumpers, sliders, and some other mild mods. I eventually want to build a more hardcore wheeler (Formula Toy? :D) once college is done so I don't want to try making the 4runner into something too crazy.

Hope you guys enjoy the thread. :beer:

Current to-do list for the 4runner (will be updated as things progress):

-New springs... either OEM Highlander springs, FJ80 springs, or ???
-DIY Rock sliders
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First thing with the 4runner was getting it up to 100%. It only needed a few small things though.

The antenna mast was broken like 50% of the 4runners out there. Easy swap with another OEM mast, problem solved. One of many awesome writeups from this site helped me with this (Thanks Jerod)...

Then an oil change as that was the only maintenance that was due.

And got an alarm installed as there was wiring for one, but the old brain had been pulled.

Other than that I just did wiper blades, floor mats, and fixed some paint chips.

I love this truck.
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After about a week I got sick of the running boards and OEM mudflaps........ so off they came.

The brakes had a shimmy to them already, even though they were about 5k miles old on OEM parts. After a trip up and down a local mountain the fronts warped pretty badly... so it was time for new front brakes. The rears were still fine so I kept them as is.

(Akebono pads not pictured but went on too)


Then I had to test it on Chad's (CreeperSleeper) rock wall just for fun...

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Took it to some cool places...

Had fun in the sand at a beach trip.


And explored an old powerline road above my parent's property.


I've also been using it for random house projects.

Recently I went on a camping/wheeling trip with a couple other Mud members...

(I'll let you guess them by their rigs :steer:)


Loading up for the trip I discovered a 4' Hi-Lift fits perfectly in the back of a 4runner like it was meant to go there.


And the day before leaving I had the urge to do something to the truck. The tailpipe had been slightly bent forward by the previous owner and stuck out a little further than it should... so I chopped a few inches off of it.


At base camp.


Chad sent me down a trail bypass to meet up with them, it ended up a little rougher than planned. Thanks Chad. :flipoff2:

My steering rack bushings had felt loose up until now and on this trail I could feel the rack knocking around so I turned around.



On the way home, topping off the tires, rear springs sagging under the weight of camping gear (gotta do something about that).

And that's it up to now.

I want to do something about the saggy springs. I think the OEM 4runner Highlander springs are my best bet, but I need to look around and see if anyone sells a cheaper 1"-1.5" lift spring. I'd like to keep the shocks I have now and I'll run these tires for at least another 1-2 years so I don't want to go straight to lift springs... anyone have any ideas?

Once I do something about the springs I'll start to gather some steel to weld up some sliders. Nothing fancy, probably just some basic 2"x4" box steel with the ends angled off.

I also want to install a CB in the ashtray as I have no use for the tray, and everyone needs a CB! :)

How it sits today.

What's this bar welded in to support?

Nice ride BTW. That's the body I'd like to have.

Are you refering to the dip stick tube going into the tranny oil pan? Maybe I am missing something.

I think you are referring to the dipstick tube for the tranny. It's darker colored because I spilled some down the side of the tube last time I topped off the tranny fluid... :eek:

The only other bar in the picture is the swaybar.
Nice looking 4runner, I really like the white non fat lip body style and those are my favorite wheels also. Envious of the beautiful country you have out there, hope to visit that part of the country some day.

Thanks! My favorite style and wheels too, it's the simplest looking of the 3rd Gens IMO.

And the PNW is beautiful... once you get past the rain it's a great place to live.
Picked up this guy today. Couldn't pass it up for $25.


Now I just have to find a cheap antenna and coax, and either build or buy a mount.

After a day of driving I can still feel a bit of slop in the steering. Gotta chase that down, it's annoying me.

A couple other small things that I will eventually get to........

I can hear a small exhaust leak, though at more than 1/4 throttle I can't hear it. I'll just give it more gas in the meantime. :D

And one of the belt pulleys is making some noise, but only once I have been driving it for an hour or so. Sounds like a lack of lubrication? Though I don't think there are any idler pulleys in there... hopefully it's not a pump or the alternator bushing. I'll dig into that one of these days.
Picked these up yesterday, and a chunk of 1/8"x2" flatbar today to make a mount. Hopefully I can get this set up tomorrow or Monday.

I made this out of stainless to sandwich by my tailgate. Same principle since I have a camper. They do make mounts like this also. A good mag mount dead center of the roof would be optimum on an SUV.


I don't think your radio has an RF Gain. It's gonna have lots of static. I'd step up to at least a 520 at a minimum. Be sure to tune that antenna with a meter prior to burning up the airwaves...then the radio.
Nice Funner you got there! Slow builds are cool cause they give us something to look forward too. :D I need to get a CB in our rig soon but I'm just unsure what to go with... I'll figure it out eventually. ;) Have fun!


Sent from deep in the mountains of Honduras using only sticks and rocks.

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