Brian's Build Journal - All Purpose, Overland/Exedition 4Runner (1 Viewer)

Sep 29, 2009
Greensboro, NC
Hey All,

This will serve as my "Build Journal" for my new (to me) 1998 Toyota 4Runner SR5.

My name is Brian and I'm 26 at the moment. My best friend and traveling buddy is my Dog, Mr. Mojo Risin'; I'm married and I have a 4 year old little girl (who LOVES the outdoors like her Daddy) and another little one on the way (fingers crossed for a boy!). I recently received a Doctorate from Elon University and previously received a B.A. in History from Virginia Tech.

I am from the Mountains of South Western Virginia, near West Virginia; the land of Mountains, broken old roads/trails, and RIVERS! I bought this 4runner to drive on a daily basis, and to serve as an expedition/overland rig. I just sold my 1998 Jeep Cherokee, which was a built very nicely. (Armored, Air Locked, Geared, 3-Linked, etc...). The jeep had gotten a bit crazy, and I needed something a bit more practical. I had taken it in a direction that didn't really serve the purposes I wanted it for, so that was that. I didn't need a Rock Crawler; my interests were really more in taking long trips off of the beaten path, Whitewater Kayaking (and getting to remote places to do so) and camping. I needed something that I can do the daily deeds in and still drive myself to the middle of nowhere and back.

I also have a 2003 Subaru Forester that has a 1" Lift, 28" Yokohama Geolander All-Terrains, OEM all-Weather package with a factory Rear Limited Slip Diff, and a lot of fresh OEM parts. The Forester does nice; I can take it out on the deep sands of Cape Hatteras and up a lot of old, really crappy roads. One would be surprised at the places I can get this thing actually. It sits a total of 2" higher than a stock Forester, which means it actually has more real ground clearance than most of today's "SUV's". All that said, it still isn't heavy duty enough, and ultimately I need it to be reserved for the wife. As I said, I had my built up Jeep; we also had a 1994 Toyota LandCruiser that I sold earlier this year. The LandCruiser was a capable rig, obviously, but it was TERRIBLE on gas(13mpg average/mixed driving) and I drive too much. I put 45,000 miles on it in the two years that I had it. I had put a 2.5" TJM lift on it, rebuilt the axles/knuckles, all new bearings, etc... and after two years of duty, most of those parts were getting fairly worn, so I sold it in search of something more suitable. Another side note about the FZJ80, I could just NEVER get comfortable in it. As big as they are, they are really small inside. Rear knee room is terrible, and the steering wheel sits a bit off to the side of the driver and this just made it to where I could never get really comfortable in it. The seats sucked too!

Now, I have gotten myself this 4Runner. In general, I LOVE it. It is solid like my LandCruiser, but MUCH lighter and more agile. The interior is much more comfortable; better seats, more legroom, more comfortable driving position, etc.. I got it with 150,000 miles from the second owner. It had the Timing Belt and Waterpump changed on it by a Dealer at 86,000 miles, and it had fresh Outer Rod Ends, and a Fresh set of Goodyear All-Terrain 31" tires. It's a clean truck, just a few dings, and a few little pieces to address inside. The Frame is solid, and all in all, it was in good shape. I got it for a GREAT price knowing it needed a few things. The second I got the truck home, I ripped off a Chrome Brush Guard, Chrome Side Steps, and Chrome Door trim.... I hate that stuff... I REALLY hate the door edge trim... I just don't understand why people like it????

First, I ordered a new OEM Toyota Steering Rack which also came with new Inner Tie Rod Ends. Next were new OEM Toyota Lower Ball Joints, Energy Suspension Graphite Impregnated Steering rack Bushings, KYB Monomax Heavy Duty Shocks/Struts for the Front and Rear, Daystar Coil 1.5" Rear coil spacers, and Daystar 1" front Coil Spacers. I had to use T4R and IH8MUD a great deal during the install of the Steering rack. What should have been a simple job, turned into a big pain due to rusty power steering lines, and a seized rag joint on the steering rack. A few "URGENT" posts later, and a few days of cussing later, I have it all finished up :D I ultimately had to order some new power steering lines which added to the time considerably. Toyota wanted $401.00 (pricing from CamelBack) for JUST the pressure line! I really like using OEM parts or aftermarket parts that are upgrades as opposed to average part store garbage. I had heard that AutoZone/Napa Power steering lines were generally aluminum, which I didn't like. Luckily, I found some Gates power steering lines for the nice price of around $200 for both the Pressure and the Return line. When buying the return line, you also have to by the Return line Tube; this is the fitting that goes into the actual rack and pinion. Toyota wanted something like $50-60 bucks for it, but I lucked up and found one on EBay for around $20 shipped.(OEM Toyota Return tube.) Threw all this on, got an alignment, and she is good to go until the next round!!!

My plans for the truck are ultimately 2.5-3" of lift, 33" Goodyear Duratracs, Selectable lockers front and rear, OEM 4.30 gears, and tons of armor. I want something I can drive to the Yukon and back without fail, and anywhere in between. Before I get to the fun stuff, I will be preparing the rig for heavy duty use; Transmission cooler, Power Steering cooler, Tundra brakes, Heavy Duty Alternator, etc... Luckily, I have a stock pile of old Jeep parts, and old Subaru parts (I recently sold my 2004 Subaru STi) to sell and start funding some of these endeavors. It will be a bit of a process but I'm lucky in the sense that I have taken enough paths with different vehicles to have narrowed down what I really want with this 4Runner!
SOoo. This is the start of my Built Journal!

VEHICLE (as purchased on May 31, 2014):1998 Toyota 4Runner SR5
3.4 V6
Black Exterior
Oak Cloth Interior
Power Sunroof
Factory Equipped Alarm
Power Windows
Power Locks
Keyless Entry
Kenwood DDX-816, Double DIN, Bluetooth, Touch screen Head Unit
New OEM Toyota Outer Tie Rod Ends
OEM Toyota Timing Belt and Waterpump at 86,176 miles.
New Goodyear Tracker 2 All Terrain 265/70/16
Viper Alarm
Goofy Chrome Brush Guard
Goofy Chrome Side Steps
Goofy Chrome Door Edge Trim.
Mods and Maintenance to date:
Ripped off the Chrome Brush Guard, Chrome Side steps and door trim. (May 31, 2014, 150,415mi.)
OEM Toyota Rack and Pinion, NEW. (July 17, 2014, 151,463mi.)
-Part Number: TOYOTA 44250-35042
OEM Toyota Inner Tie Rods, NEW. (July 17, 2014, 151,463mi.)
-Part Number: *Included with New Rack and Pinion*
-Part Number: TOYOTA 45503-39075, INDIVIDUAL

OEM Toyota Power Steering Return Tube, NEW. (July 17, 2014, 151,463mi.)
-Part Number: TOYOTA 44416-04020
OEM Toyota Lower Ball Joints, NEW. (July 17, 2014; 151,463)
-Part Number: TOYOTA 43330-39585 - RIGHT
-Part Number: TOYOTA 43340-39465 - LEFT
Gates Power Steering Return Line, NEW. (July 17, 2014, 151,463mi.)
-Part Number: GATES 365871
Gates Power Steering Pressure Line, NEW. (July 17, 2014, 151,463mi.)
-Part Number: GATES 365875
Energy Suspension Polyurethane Steering Rack Bushings, NEW. (July 17, 2014, 151,463mi.)
-Part Number: Energy Suspension 8.10103G - GRAPHITE IMPREGNATED/BLACK
KYB Monomax Heavy Duty Shocks/Struts, Front and Rear, NEW. (July 17, 2014, 151,463mi.)
-Part Number: KYB 564002 - FRONT
-Part Number: KYB 565002 - REAR

Daystar 1" Front Coil Spacers, NEW. (July 17, 2014, 151,463mi.)
-Part Number: Daystar KT09105BK
Daystar 1.5" Rear Coil Spacers, NEW. (July 17, 2014, 151,463mi.)
-Part Number: Daystar KT09107BK
Alignment. (July 17, 2014, 151,470mi.)
Tires Rotated. (July 17, 2014, 151,474mi.)
To Do List In No Specific Order:
1. Needs a new Fan Clutch, The fan is roaring at all engine speeds, and all temperatures.
-Option 1. Ordering: Aisin FTC-013, Amazon has them for $96.00, NEW
-Option 2. Electric Fan conversion. I'm on the fence about this. If I did, I would use a Taurus fan most likely.
-This is definitely happening ASAP

-I'm a bit old school in this... I LOVE a nice stereo. I would say I am an Audiophile.
-I have LOTS of nice Alpine Amps laying around that I will use. I also have some nice old PPI, Hand built amps that were in my STI, but they would be a bit overkill so I will save those for my 1969 Firebird. I also have a nice older Kenwood Double Din that has a built in 24 bit digital sound processor that is amazing for sound quality laying around.
-The plan is
-Alpine 50x4
-Alpine 500x1
-Kenwood DDX896 (has a built in 24 Bit DSP that makes music AMAZINGLY clear.)
-Alpine Type-S Components. (I know they are lower end, but sound is all about what tones sound good to your ears, and for the price, I am very fond of the way Type S components sound.) I will either use those, or this set of Dayton Audio Components I built.. They are Amazing, but like I said, sound is to the users ear, and I honestly really like the Type S 6.5 components.
-A nice 12" Subwoofer. I have a JL Audio 12" W6 laying around, but I think it would be a bit overkill, so the jury is still out on what I will get for the 4runner. I will build a nice fiberglass corner enclosure to sit on the wheel well. I don't want to lose hardly ANY space since this will be a traveling RIG.

3. Weathertech Floor Liners and Cargo liner.
-These things are a no brainer, I have had them in my Jeep, my Forester, my STi, my dad has them in his Tacoma... they are AWESOME. I had a set of Husky Liners in my Toyota LandCruiser, and personally, I feel that WeatherTech liners are just made better. Plus, on 4runner applications, the WeatherTech rear liner is one piece that goes over the hump, whereas Husky's are just two piece little floor mats...
-I have nice OEM carpet mats for the whole truck, but they aren't up to the heavy use I will put them through, plus, I would like to keep them nice.

4. I need a new Rear Cargo area carpet set.
-the previous owner had a nasty spill of something very toxic back there... there is a red stain in the corner, and the actual carpet, under my carpet OEM mat, is peeling away from the backing. It will literally suck right off of the liner with a little vacuum. Whatever he spilt was something that just ate the fabric up.
-I also need to do some metal cleaning under it, the spill started eating paint, and although it isn't rusting, it has eaten the paint off, so I want to catch it before it becomes a problem.

5. Steering column Fix
-Write up here:
-This is also happening ASAP

6. Acquire New Bolts and Tap to fix the mounting points for my skid plates
-This is also happening ASAP
-I have enough bolts to get the two skid plates bolted up, but a lot of the bolts are tricky to start. They all feel pretty gnarly. I would imagine the p/o had Jim-Bob's quik lube doing oil changes and just using impacts to stick those things in every time. grrr...
-I also have a bolt hole for one of the Power Steering line holders that is gnarly and needs cleaned up. It just so happens that it is the same size. Luckily, it is the one on the driver's side frame rail, and the lines are made in a way that it doesn't really matter if it is temporarily not fastened.

7. Remove this TERRIBLE Viper Alarm that makes my vehicle randomly sound off
-I have the factory RS3000 unit under my seat, I will return this to functional use.
8. New OEM Keyless Fob
-I am using the OEM keyless right now, but the key ring holder is broke off, and I'd like to have 2
9. Oil Change.
-I will be using OEM Toyota Genuine Parts 90915-YZZD1 Oil Filter and New OEM Crush Washer along with a nice Synthetic Oil. I have contemplated a synthetic blend, but I believe I will give full synthetic a shot. I'm just worried about switching over at the mileage, if I even am switching; I'm not sure what the p/o ran in the truck.
10. Transmission Fluid Service change.
-I will just drain the pan, and throw that much back in, and I will repeat the process in 1,000 miles or so. This way I slowly wean it over to new fluid. It has been my experience that to do a full drain (draining ALL the fluid out, including what is in the torque converter) is bad for transmissions. The sudden shock of all the fresh fluid, which has a lot of detergents in it seems to break stuff loose and cause problems. If you just drain the pan while the vehicle is not running, a little over half of the fluid will still stay up in the torque converter so you are effectively only changing half of it.
11. Transmission Filter.
-This is a no brainer, just a pain in the ass to drop the pan.... I will use an OEM filter.
12. Air Filter
-Again, no brainer. I will use an OEM Toyota Filter.
13. Differential and Transfer Case fluids.
-I'm personally a fan of Valvoline Gear Oil products, and for good reason. When I get to this, I will be more specific as to why.
14. Tundra Brake Conversion
-I'm thinking I will do the 199mm version. I have the Split 3-spoke wheels, and it is my understanding that I would need wheel spacers to run the 231mm version. I'm not against wheel spacers at all, especially small ones. Luckily, my OEM brakes are fresh, and aren't warped, so this isn't a pressing issue. When I get to it I will have to drill and tap a new hole in my driver's side spindle; whoever did the brakes last time snapped a bolt off that holds the line/abs sensor bracket...
- I will do Stainless Brake lines then too!
-I will also inspect my rear drums, if they could use some shoes, I'll go on and do shoes and hardware while I'm at it.

15. Spark Plugs and Wires
-I'm not sure what I will use here. I can get NGK Iridium plugs and NGK wires on Amazon for a good deal, but I need to do some research.
-on my Land Cruiser I used OEM TOYOTA plugs and wires and was happy with them, but all they were was a set of Champion plugs and expensive wires... so yea they did their job, but I feel like I could get an improvement and save some money at the same time.

16. I need a new Antenna
-I'm not really a fan of power antennas... Especially on off-road rigs... if you forget to put it down... it gets ripped off...
-I will get a Tacoma antenna and ditch the power unit. I want something flexible.

17. I need to find a new Rear cup holder
-because kids!!! mine is broken.

OK, well, 17 is enough for now! I am very particular when it comes to maintenance. I will spend money to save money later.

I will keep this thread updated regularly, and edit my first post accordingly. Here are a few pictures of the rig as she sits now!, I will post some pictures of how she sits now and in the next few days, I will post up pictures from my work up over the past few weeks!!!

I look forward to chatting with you all and following all of the great builds on here!! To everyone on T4R and IH8MUD that has helped me with Tech over the past few weeks, THANK YOU!




Feb 14, 2006
Woody P
Yup, nice looking 4runner. I'd add a new radiator or an external transmission cooler to your list. Look up the "pink milkshake" and you'll see why.
Sep 29, 2009
Greensboro, NC
Transmission cooler is definitely a plan. I've had enough automatics to know that they are usually the maker or breaker on their longevity. I will look that up! Thanks
Sep 29, 2009
Greensboro, NC
Ok guys, Well, I ordered the new Aisin Fan Clutch. Amazon had 5 left yesterday, and only 2 left today, so I figured if I wanted to get it for $96, I better jump on it!

Anyway. I went and checked the fan on my Dad's 2010 Tacoma. While the motor was off, his fan would spin much more freely. I could give it a good spin and it would actually spin a bit. On my 98 4Runner, if I tried to give the fan a good spin, it would only move an inch or so before stopping. This suggested to me that my fan clutch was locking up too much. I drove the 4runner a lot today, and I just feel like something is holding power back, and I feel like I am just hearing the fan WAAYY too much.

Here is a video comparing the two clutch fans being spun. the 2010 Tacoma fan first, and the 1998 4runner fan(the one I think is locking up too much) second.

On his Tacoma, I can barely hear the fan at all while driving, if any actually.. On my 4runner, I hear the fan more than the motor. It isn't 100% locked up, but I believe it is locking up more than it should.

obviously the truck would be cooling adequately if the fan was locking up more than it should.. LOL

Fans just aren't supposed to be that loud!! If you watch the video I posted a few posts ago, you will see that mine is really loud, from cold start, all the way to operating temperature and at all RPMs...

The video I posted just now shows that mine has a lot more resistance than a newer OEM Toyota fan clutch. I'm hoping this means that mine is locking up too much and that when this new Fan clutch gets here Thursday, I will have a quieter motor and gain a few MPGs

I know on my Jeep Cherokee, when it had the same problem, I gained about 3-4mpg!

Hope this helps you guys. If your fan is really loud like that, chances are, it isn't acting as it should!

Also, in case you missed it, Here is a link to a brand new, OEM Aisin Fan Clutch for only $96!!! Amazon is great! Aisin FCT-013 Engine Cooling Fan Clutch: Automotive

Amazon sent me a notification today that my new Aisin Fan Clutch and a new OEM Toyota Oil Filter were delivered to my local postal carrier for delivery, so maybe I can go grab them if they will give them to me, and I wont have to wait until tomorrow to fix that fan!


And... less positive news.

I'm trying to chase down some vibrations I am feeling. I feel them underneath the truck at speeds from 55mph up in to the 70's... Nothing crazy, just a nice, tight vibration.

At first thought, I thought of the Rear Driveshaft, because that is what it felt like. I crawled under the truck with my trusty Lincoln Grease Gun and gave the rear driveshaft a wiggle. I could feel a slight bit of play at the Slip Joint. I put some grease in the slip joint until I could see the driveshaft bump with a pump from the grease gun. I went ahead and gave the Double Cardan Joint a few shots of grease as well in each of the two U-Joints. I also went ahead and greased the Slip Joint on the Front Driveshaft while I was down there.

Test Drive: there was an ever so slight improvement, but the vibes were still there.

On to the next possibilities. As you guys know, when I first bought the truck, the steering was all jacked up and the front shocks were blown. The steering rack had a lot of play in it. Well, now I have replaced the steering rack, Lower Ball Joints, Shocks, etc... I got the truck aligned afterwards. When I first drove it, I could feel a lot of vibes in my steering wheel.
Well, I could see some inside camber wear on the front tires, which are pretty damn new, Goodyear Tracker 2's. Soo, after it was aligned and all fixed up, I rotated the front tires to the back(on the same side they were on). This cleaned up the steering wheel vibes.

SOo, now I'm thinking it could be the tires. Obviously, they need to be rebalanced; One, because tires obviously need to be rebalanced every so often, Two, because I have no idea who balanced them before, and Three, because I feel that the wear on the front(now the back) tires could have worn them out of balance.

However, what makes me think that it isn't the tires is that it only comes around after I get above 55-60mph... I would think that I would feel the vibrations more often if it was tire related. I guess if it is tires, once you are going that speed, the tires change shape from which they are when you are only going 25-30mph....

If it's not tires, Do 4Runners have any idiosyncratic little things that cause vibrations? Going back to my Jeep days, there were lots of things that could change ever so slightly and you would get Death wobble in your steering, or you would get rear driveshaft vibes... Hell, my rear leafs sagged over time and ultimately a change in 1/4 inch height gave me rear d/s vibes.....

I did put 1.5" rear spacers and 1" spacers on the truck when I put new shocks on it.
Being that it is a linked suspension and not leaf sprung, this usually accounts for driveshaft angle in the arc of the suspension, so I wouldn't think it would be rear pinion angle. Obviously the front 3rd member doesn't move with a lift, so the front pinion angle wouldn't be suspect. Would a 1" lift bring vibes to the front C/V axles?

Oh yea, I also Reinstalled my Center caps :D

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