Looking at purchasing a 1st Gen 4runner. Need guidance

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Like the title says, I am looking at getting a 1st Gen 4runner. What specific problems or issues should I be looking for? Any know issues? Bad years, motors, transmission, etc.

How is part availability? For both the exterior as well as mechanical? Any good shops that have after-market parts for these things.

And for no good reason other than I think they are awesome, is there anywhere you can buy the decals the older ones had?

Any help or guidance would be appreciated.

Thanks,
 
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Rust is the main concern, especially on the frame. The 3.0 V6 is know for blowing head gaskets and the autos are torque thieves. 85 is considered the best year because it was the only year that had the 22RE and a solid front axle, but if you’re not going to be doing anything extreme off-road IFS in 86-89 4Runners should be fine. The 22RE and 5 spd will get the best mileage. If find a rust free V6 4Runner for a decent price you can always swap in a 3.4 V6.
 

IslandJ

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There will be a lot of bad talk about the 3.0 and they definitely have their issues with head gaskets. From what I remember is that it’s mainly caused by the proximity of the exhaust to the number 6 spark plug. That issue was supposedly dealt with during a recall for a more robust head gasket. Just relaying what I read years ago when I had a 89’ 4runner with the 3.0. I installed after market headers that gave a wider birth from the engine and that was supposedly the best remedy. That being said I also had a 91’ prior to the the 89’ that went to 215k on the original engine till it’s head gasket went. I’m now in a 85’ with the 22re. It’s cool but I prefer the ifs of the later models. I had a blazeland long travel kit on my 89’ and it was like driving on clouds. Loved it.
Oem interior parts are harder and harder to find because the plastic is old and brittle. There’s more and more people printing and making new replacement panels and doodads. Exterior parts can be found on social media and in junkyards.
there’s plenty of companies making performance engine parts but man the cost to horsepower gains seem hard to stomach.
Yeah repo decals are being made. A guy named james Dean is making them and there’s a person on eBay and Etsy that also makes some.
my favorite mod to date has been the cup holders that replace the ash tray. And the Softopper but that’s $60 vs $1000
 
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More exterior parts are being made offshore now, too. Bumpers, fenders, doors, lights, mirrors. Theres still a surprising amount of NOS parts from the dealer. I've had my 85 for over 25 years. Failures have been oil pressure and temp gauges (fixed with an A-pillar gauge pod), unnecessary electrical stuff such as the power antenna and power window regulators. Both converted to manual. I've seen that lots of rear window tailgate motors go bad, I've been lucky mine is still working. Although my rear wiper hasn't worked in years.

Now is definitely a seller's market total s***box parts rigs that barely run and drive are being listed for stupid money. So good luck!
 

pappy

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Interior parts are largely unobtainium. Some things are like window cranks, and the interior lights can still be had. All interior plastic is NLA. Some AISIN stuff is available aftermarket like the window regulators. All glass, except the windshield is NLA. Almost all weatherstrip is NLA. Exterior door windows, along with the doors weatherseals, are the exception.

Mechanical is mostly no problem. There are sensors on the 22RE that are NLA. Wire harness is NLA. Most brake parts are available, with the exception of the master cylinder (AISIN and OEM, no. Aftermarket, yes).

When a part is available from Mr. T it is almost always special order. Get to know your parts people.

There are no bad model years. They are just 30+ years old, so keep that in mind.
 
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Interior parts are largely unobtainium. Some things are like window cranks, and the interior lights can still be had. All interior plastic is NLA. Some AISIN stuff is available aftermarket like the window regulators. All glass, except the windshield is NLA. Almost all weatherstrip is NLA. Exterior door windows, along with the doors weatherseals, are the exception.

Mechanical is mostly no problem. There are sensors on the 22RE that are NLA. Wire harness is NLA. Most brake parts are available, with the exception of the master cylinder (AISIN and OEM, no. Aftermarket, yes).

When a part is available from Mr. T it is almost always special order. Get to know your parts people.

There are no bad model years. They are just 30+ years old, so keep that in mind.
Who is Mr. T? I am assuming you mean Toyota but dealing with my 70 series there are certain people that everyone points to for the hard to find things you always need.
 
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Find the cleanest, most complete one you can.
I’m in Japan for a bit so the ones around seem in good shape. This is a bit more than I want to spend but it’s the best quality I’ve found. What are prices going in the states?

 

Devils Paw 80

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I’m in Japan for a bit so the ones around seem in good shape. This is a bit more than I want to spend but it’s the best quality I’ve found. What are prices going in the states?

Too high of a price for that one IMO. You could get a much nicer 4Runner for this price or less in the US.
 
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Too high of a price for that one IMO. You could get a much nicer 4Runner for this price or less in the US.
I agree about the price but I thought this one was mint. I know it doesn't have the cool guy stuff on it but interior looks mint and from what I have taken so far that's the hard stuff to come by.
 

IslandJ

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A low mileage super clean 3.0 1st gen just sold for $42k on Bring a Trailer. I know BAT isnt a great guage but its been consistant. You can scroll down this search page and see some very proud pricing around 15-22k on that site.
I see 1st gens sell on a regular for 14k-18k on social media, Sure there are plenty oppinons on there about the pricing but they do sell. West coast seems to pay more than other areas.
I found mine for 7300 and it was very clean but not perfect with 123k on it. Turned out that the oil rings were frozen and had some heating issues that I later discovered. After all the suspension, tires, cooling, steering upgrades and rebuilding... also an engine rebuild Im probably double that but I try not to think about it toooo much. HA
The one you linked @Bing173rd looks amazingly clean and I have never heard of the SSR limited model, looks like every option is there plus some the US didnt get.
 
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Those are more mint to me than clean.

Clean to me is basically rust free, the rest can be natural wear and tear condition of a 30yr old driven vehicle.

Nothing wrong with mint if the budget/purpose allows. I'd prefer left hand drive in that kinda price range.
 
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Those are more mint to me than clean.

Clean to me is basically rust free, the rest can be natural wear and tear condition of a 30yr old driven vehicle.

Nothing wrong with mint if the budget/purpose allows. I'd prefer left hand drive in that kinda price range.
Right side doesn't bother much, I kinda like the novelty of it. Plus, at this point I am pretty use to both sides of the car. I agree, rust is the biggest issue for me. I hate dealing with it. Takes all the fun out of these things. I prefer a manual, for these types of trucks they are just more fun that way. There are a few options over here but that one has such low miles it makes it hard to ignore.
 

Devils Paw 80

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The one you linked @Bing173rd looks amazingly clean and I have never heard of the SSR limited model, looks like every option is there plus some the US didnt get.
After looking at more of the photos I see what you mean. 3Y engine? Haven't heard of that one. No engine shots in the photos.

It looks to be lifted, so that's a strike against IMO. Auto is also a minor negative.
 

IslandJ

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After looking at more of the photos I see what you mean. 3Y engine? Haven't heard of that one. No engine shots in the photos.

It looks to be lifted, so that's a strike against IMO. Auto is also a minor negative.
I remember back in 2000 or so my boss at the time drove a 1989 3.0 4runner that came from the factory with 32" wheels, 4.56 gears(i believe) and slight lift.
Wondering if something similar is going on in that SSR?
 
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The main issue I would have with a true import(meaning not an option available to the country it's imported to) is the parts availability. You might be waiting 4 weeks for a 3y engine component that is overnight supply for a 22re engine.

A lot of the vehicle is the same as say an '88 4runner sold in the west, but I cant say for sure something as simple as a starter isnt 4 weeks away and 10 hours of searching, plus paying 10x $ premium.

Daily driver? Nope. Garage queen? Yup.

While I could drive a RHD vehicle... the amount of times I turn left in a LHD world with line of site blocked by oncoming traffic. Not for me.

Just some food for thought.
 

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