View Full Version : '94 4 Runner Build/newb thread

02-04-2012, 02:33 PM
Hey all!! I finally picked up my Expo (yeah right lol) and Off Roadin' vehicle!
http://a8.sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-snc7/421988_241147235966333_100002131760963_534983_1070 55691_n
It's a 1994 old man gold 4Runner! 164k on the clock.

This will be my Build/questions thread, as this is my first 'real' SUV/4WD.

Prior to this, I was taking wifey's 2000 Honda CRV exploring on the NF roads. It worked, especially with some Yokohama Geolander AT/S on the vehicle! I got through some things that nobody thought would it would be able to conquer, but I eventually was defeated by a rutted road that somebody used for a mud slinging fest. After 45 minutes of pulling out the vehicle, using a Land Cruiser as a tow truck, and working against the coming darkness/black bears (I would have liked to wrestle one of them for dinner :D ) We saved the vehicle and went home. That started my search for my first real 4wd truck.

I wanted an extended cab pickup, but everything local was beat up, too old, or just too expensive!

Somehow (fate?) I was browsing the Craigslist east bay/dublin/pleasanton section. That section is about an hour away from me. I come across a 1994 4runner, that is located in my local town! This 4runner was never posted in the local craigslist section. I call the guy, no answer. Leave a voice mail. Send a text message just to double up on my interest, to let the guy know, in case he was too busy to pick up the phone. He calls me back about 20 minutes later. He says its located at the local dirt lot everybody parks their vehicles at, and gives me the lowdown on the vehicle. I go check it out, and call him back. There were about 5 other people looking at the car when I got there. I call the guy, ask him to bring the title. I mention this part REALLY LOUDLY and everybody gives me the stinkeye and walks off. :D

Take it for a drive, it needs an alignment/tire balancing (probably just the balancing) and some TLC (paint needs buffing, I'll let the trail brush do that ) and the throttle feels a bit stiff, like the cable is sticky. There is also a power steering leak, but the fluid is topped off. Hood is rusting a little (surface rust) and there are two spots on the rear doors (same spot 1 each side) that are bubbled/rusted. No other rust on the car. It was a prior Bay Area car, which explains it though.

The owner used it as his daily driver/commuter, so he kept maintenance up to date. He sounded like a person that doesn't really do is own work, kept talking about how he needed it to be reliable so he's kept up on the maintenance, always taking it to a shop for the maintenance. (even oil changes!)

I start the 4Runner and it's like a brand new truck. No hesitation starting, no bogging while driving, nothing. Temp checks out. A/C works damned well, and there was no bogging down of the engine with the A/C switching on. I check the smog paperwork, and it passed with really low emissions.

It even has a tow hitch. I'm sold! Dude had it listed for $3800 at the lot, $3500 on CL, I told him what can you do, he said somebody offered $3200 but hasn't come through, and another one said he'd pay full price. I told him $3300, right now, cash is in my pocket. SOLD!!

I can live with the 3.SLOW V6 for now (3.4 swap? *drool*) and the Automatic. Wifey can drive an automatic, so that's a plus in her eyes.

Drive it home.

Now for the list of things to do!
*any dates in front of the list are when it has been completed*

(2/10/2012) Baseline fluid change. Need to change the rear diff fluid still, but thanks to a rounded differential bolt I'll have to wait until I get a new one.

Steering feels a bit 'loose'. Need to research and mess with that. (need to fix LCA bushings)

Throttle cable/pedal feels sticky, rather, stiff.

Fix power steering leak.

Fix rusted areas.

(2/4/2012) Door lock cylinders need to be lubed, they are VERY sticky. (lubed with dry lub, might need graphite instead)

Diff breather mods.

(2/12/2012) Replace burnt out bulbs. (fixed)

(2/10/2012) Realign headlights. (fixed, but not perfect)

Fix issue with 4WD.

Replace broken EGR Temp sensor. (broken while messing with the motor...)

Replace driver mirror glass (have new glass, need to tear apart stock mirror now)

(02/23/2012) Electrical gremlin with the back window? He says sometimes it will randomly roll down when you start the truck. (fixed a soda filled window switch)

Fix the single din radio install. The prev owner actually said he looked for a stock toyota radio as the original went out and it was too expensive (DUH?) so he went and got a cheap Sony deck installed. Whoever installed this looks to be about 10 years old. I'll get an actual install kit.

Install CB radio. Free, and have everything for it, might as well, until everybody in my group starts upgrading to HAM.

(2/23/2012) As a work in progress, ripped out all interior and cleaned it. Still need to finish the rear seats, and the seatbelts. That's about it.

Future mods:
ARB Medium Lift kit. Rear shocks are tired, I can bounce the truck easy.

Different tires. It has some M/S tires on it right now, maybe 50-60% tread left. (OE 17" Tacoma Sport/4Runner wheels replaced these)


ARB front bumper. IF I decide to get a new front bumper, it'll be ARB. As of right now, the OEM bumper works just fine. (might go with Marlin Crawler instead)

Marlin Crawler Sliders.

Marlin Crawler Rear bumper?
Winch. If I get the bumper, it's probably because I need a winch.

Foglights/Driving lights.

Now for questions:

Anything else you would do to my truck?

Any issues that I should watch out for?

Next weekend will be the shakedown run :wings: Can't wait to get out and do some recon!

02-04-2012, 05:08 PM
Sounds like a great start. I'd be interested to see another 2nd gen build - you see a bajillion 3rd gens and 1st gens but not many 2nd gens. Around here you can get a decent 2nd gen pretty cheap. I see a lot of them on the road, too, so I wonder if the head gasket issues are a little bit overblown (no pun intended ;) )

Welcome to the forum. Great bunch of folks here and you will get a lot of good advice. You can also check out http:www.t4r.org for 4runner specific information (they have a sub-board for 1st and 2nd gen 4runners.)

02-04-2012, 09:42 PM
Hey Martin, thanks for serving first off!!

Secondly, thank you for the website. I'll definitely be poking around there. And one of my buddies, and his buddy, have 2nd Gens as well. I guess we are all out there, just lurking :D

Today I decided to see how the rear seats fold flat. Apparently there are pull tabs that were shoved under the seat. Figured that out, popped open the seat, what did I see? NASTINESS! Nothing but nastiness. The stench that came out from under the seat was horrendous. Immediately I grabbed the vacuum and dug in (literally) and started removing all that crud. I should have taken a picture, it was REALLY disgusting. Once that was vacuumed, i folded the seats down and figured all that out. Put it back to stock, and I was surprised that I didn't notice the smell before...

Then we went to register the car. AAA was closed. So much for them being open on Saturdays! That will be done first thing Monday, after work.

Drove to the local alignment shop. Had the tires balanced as well as the 4Runner aligned. This is where the fun begins! It was NOT out of alignment. It's spot on, sitting there. Apparently the bushings in the lower control arms are shot, and need to get those replaced ASAP. That will be the first 'mod' I complete. I think I'm going to have the shop do it though, as I'll have to pay to get it aligned anyways, so they might as well do it all at once.

The guy who did the alignment said that it was the wheel setup that broke down the bushings, plus the age, just really increased the wear. The tires are something like 32x12.5? I'll have to check again. Way too big, I'll be looking for a smaller (Tundra/Land Cruiser/Tacoma OEM?) wheel and start researching what a decent size tire for the Runner will be. All Terrain of course, as I'm going to go over ALL TERRAIN with this beast!

Drove to the auto shop and purchased some carpet cleaner. Went through a whole can of that stuff under the back seat, and the rear of the Runner. I'll be doing it a few more times until that smell is no more! Took off the steering wheel cover, and the stock wheel was really grimy. Cleaned that up, no more cover for me, thanks!

Set up my phone mount to make an action camera! Took a boring 5 minute video driving around to see how it worked, and decided to hit a dirt patch/mud patch and test out the 4WD. Everything engaged and I walked through the bog pretty easily. Better tires would help though.

Now I'm off to go pressure wash the under carriage and really inspect under there!

02-04-2012, 09:47 PM
Also, I think I'm going to need a new center console/arm rest. This thing is wobbly, I don't even think it has a bolt holding it in. Any ideas? Or should I just go with an ammo can :D

02-05-2012, 03:03 AM
Congrats on the new rig! Nothing better than finding "the one" and fixing her up! If you ever head to SoCal, let me know! We can go check out the desert!

02-06-2012, 06:39 PM
Wow, 32 x 12.5? The tires sure don't look that big! If I was to guess I'd say maybe 31/10.50's? Anyway, I'm assuming 15" wheels - you'll find that tires for 15" wheels are noticeably cheaper than tires for 16" and larger, so that's another plus. Honestly I think 31's are perfectly fine. I'm running 265/75/16s (nominal height about 31.6") and have no problems getting over the obstacles I need to get over.

02-07-2012, 05:24 AM
FWIW NorCalBorn's '95 (https://picasaweb.google.com/111062587884974110435/December92011?authkey=Gv1sRgCPGEno6BpNSx6wE#slides how/5684308140071164690) including the 2wdAuto-4wd5speed swap. It's not overkill and cleans almost everything he runs. Really one of the cleanest 2ndGen Expo builds I've ever seen.

02-07-2012, 03:07 PM
Tires are 32/11.5/15.

I can hear them rubbing the bumper on full lock, sometimes not even full lock lol.

I'm looking for some OEM Toyota wheels.

I found a set of 07 17" tacoma wheels, the wide five spoke type with tires. Lug nuts/center caps included. I'm assuming I'll need the spline drive lug nuts anyways to center the wheels right? I know most toyotas come that way unless they were factory steel wheels.

I also found a set of 2002 4Runner wheels, with tires, don't know the condition/age of tires, and no lug nuts.

On the wheels currently, are the regular acorn type lugs for steel wheels.

Just want to make sure I can throw either of the Toyota sets on without issues.

02-09-2012, 03:30 AM
New wheels are in the truck, will be getting new valve stems and balancing done tomorrow. Old ones will be put up for sale officially tomorrow!

Owyhee H
02-09-2012, 02:45 PM
Nice 4runner. It looks to be a great starting point, probably dosent need too much to do what you want. I second the 31X10.5R15 tires. It is a great size, very common, and will get you where ever you need to go.

02-09-2012, 03:12 PM
*edit* These tires will be around 2 inches smaller in width and height. That should do a lot for gas mileage/stress on drivetrain/overall POWER outta this 3.slow beast :D

I'm going to roll around with this size for now as it was basically free, and have at least 20-30k left on the tires.

Plans will be to start researching which size will be best for me (trial and error?) and I'm probably going to go with Yokohama AT/S since I run those on the CRV (yeah overkill, i know lol ) and they have worked out really well so far, and made that thing a beast of an off roader, for all it is!

Pictures will come later today :)

ANNDDDD as soon as I post and sell the other wheels (I'm sure some chevy guys will purchase them, they seem like a good size for an older truck) I can get those pesky bushings replaced.

I'd do it all at once, but wifey doesn't like me spending money in large amounts for things that aren't important RIGHT THIS MINUTE as she likes to say...she doesn't understand the importance of making sure I have everything fixed before I go break the truck exploring in the middle of nowhere... :D

02-09-2012, 04:38 PM
I would look out for some Toyota 16" rims that some one took off there new truck(Tacoma, FJ, or 4Runner).Craigslist seems to bee the place to look. The newer style OEM wheels will give a modern look to your ride and the 16" size will give you LOTS of tire options and availability all over the place. 235/85/16s and 265/75/16 are the same diameter, about 32" the 235s are your shinnies at 9" and the 265s are about 10.5" wide. Both have lots of choices and are available everywhere should you need to replace one on the road. I think the 235 should fit with out any mods. some one may want to confirm that.

02-09-2012, 05:45 PM
I would look out for some Toyota 16" rims that some one took off there new truck(Tacoma, FJ, or 4Runner).Craigslist seems to bee the place to look. The newer style OEM wheels will give a modern look to your ride and the 16" size will give you LOTS of tire options and availability all over the place. 235/85/16s and 265/75/16 are the same diameter, about 32" the 235s are your shinnies at 9" and the 265s are about 10.5" wide. Both have lots of choices and are available everywhere should you need to replace one on the road. I think the 235 should fit with out any mods. some one may want to confirm that.

Is the lug pattern and wheel offset the same between the 89-91 pickup/2nd gen 4runner and the Tacoma/3rd gen, though?

02-09-2012, 05:59 PM
Yeah, they are all 6x5.5. I found some pictures of the 2nd Gen 4Runner with 3rd Gen Taco wheels on them. Only thing is they are lug centric, so you need the lug nuts.

02-09-2012, 11:29 PM
That makes sense w the lug nuts, I'm not sure on the back spacing.

02-09-2012, 11:45 PM
That's a lot of truck for the money. Good find.

Part of your alignment or wobble might be the wheels that were on there. There are many horror stories about aftermarket wheels not balancing on the vehicle. Switching to stock Tacoma/4runner wheels from that era might solve the problem.

For the ARB, there is a guy on TTORA that has a 94 truck/4runner with an ARB that he wants to use on his Tacoma. You might contact him and see if he wants to sell it. I already posted on his thread to say that selling his and buying the correct one for his Tacoma would make more sense. Here is the thread:

02-10-2012, 01:45 AM
Thanks austintaco!

As of right now the bumper will have to wait. Next on the list is the LCA bushings, and tomorrow for sure I need to change fluids. IDK who changed the oil last, but it feels like they tightened the cap with a wrench! Maybe its delicate hands though, who knows!

WHEELS ARE ON! I'll put up a picture in a bit. It's awesome though, They ride really well, and the vehicle just feels better.

02-11-2012, 01:51 AM
I had the same "tight" problem with mine the first time I changed the oil. Maybe it's something about the design of the 3.0 My old 22re was always easy/normal to rermove.

Anyway, I just sold a '90 that I was thinking about building up but decided to look for a 3rd gen instead. I have a few parts that may be of interest to you which I will PM you about so as to keep your thread clean. If you haven't already found it, here is a very useful FSM for a '93 which I have been able to use for 99% of all my '86 22re and '90 3vz needs. The layout makes it particularly easy to use as you don't have to scroll through the entire manual.


I saw your inquiry about auto hubs in another thread. Don't worry about yours. They are fine, or least #741 on the list of 1000 things to do. I'll look for the info about that and post up.

02-11-2012, 02:23 AM
OK here we go.

This one talks about the difference between manual hubs, automatic differential disconnect (ADD), and true "auto hubs"
More about how it works.
and a couple about how to change it if so desired


The hubs on the ADD in and of themselves are plenty strong. How they are activated is, however, a bit more complex and therefore has the potential to be a source of trouble. The reality though, is that few people experience any trouble with them.

02-11-2012, 06:00 AM
Looks like you picked up a really nice Runner there Caoboy! I see now why you were asking about the front hubs on my thread. Glad I found your thread as I learned a lot from BLKNBLU as I assumed my ’92 had Auto locking hubs. Come to find out it has ADD (just like me…LOL)! Somehow I had the wrong idea that ADD debuted on the 3rd Gen 4Runners. Boy would I have been surprised when I popped the front end apart to install my hubs! The PO mentioned that it was slow to engage into 4x4 when it was cold so I figured the auto locking hubs were the culprit. None the less, I am still planning on a locking hub coversion but now it looks like I will be doing an ADD root canal while I am at it. I dislike vacuum disconnects as much as I dislike true auto locking hubs.

The to-do list is pretty short on my ’92 Runner so locking hubs is #4 on my list of things to get done.

Thanks for posting the hub info BLKNBLU! I have a lot to learn in the ways of Toyota's now that I am a member of the Toyota club now. :)

02-12-2012, 07:18 PM
Ok thanks for the info BLKNBLU! That's going to help after my post, you'll see :D

Larry, I'm in the same boat as you, more info on that in a bit.


Friday. I purchase gear oil for the diffs, DexronII OE Toyota Transmission fluid, oil, brake fluid to bleed the brakes and get a bit of new NOT BLACK fluid in there. Get to my buddy's house as he just went through all this stuff on his 4Runner and said he has the tools and garage ready to go for me. We end up going to Harbor Freight before they close (it's about 5pm) and pick up misc items like wire brushes and a shackle hitch receiver. Free Multimeter and 20% off coupons never hurt either! :D

Get back to the house and realize that the hitch receiver doesn't have the pin! First fail moment.

Onto the maintenance! Start with the important stuff, diff fluids! First we SCRUB the bolts down the wire brushes. This is the first time I'm actually under the truck...and MAN is it fricken dirty! There is grime everywhere. It's a big combination of old spillage and dirt...this truck looks like it's never seen an undercarriage wash, EVER! My plan as I go along will be to scrub the whole underside of the truck, at least drivetrain, so that I'll be able to see any problem. (and boy are there more problems!)

Change the front diff fluid....probably never had that done before, as it comes out a nice dark chocolate color, and is definitely nasty burnt smelling. You know the kind of burnt diff oil smell I'm talking about if you've ever change this! Fill with 2qts in the front. Bolts are back on, we are good to go!

Move back to the transmission. What do I see here? Fresh oil! *Oh it never drips or nothing, I always kept it maintained* Is what the prev owner said to me. Looks like the rear main seal is leaking just a bit, as it doesn't drip, but that explains the mess of what looks like wet grime all over the transmission pan! Speaking of which, I'll need to change out these pan seals so I can clean the crap off of the bolts and make sure the trans seal is good as well as clean the mesh screen filter.

Drop the bolt on that, out comes nasty black fluid, no surprise here. Wait about 15 mins, it's still slowly dribbling out, but I plug it up anyways. I should have taken a baseline dipstick measurement, but I didn't. I'm really paranoid about making sure to put in the same amount of transmission fluid, as I know these autos can be finicky and tend to blow up if you don't put in enough, or too much. I dump 1 qt in, then I fill that empty quart bottle with dirty fluid. I do this with the whole fluid that I took out, so I can put in exactly the same amount. Works for me, and the fluid shows up on the dipstick as good to go. Drained about 3.8qts of fluid. We get dinner at this time from a friend. In-n-Out! Break for a few to eat.

Hop back under the truck, and we were kind of confused as to where we drain/fill the transfer case. I didn't have enough fluid (should have purchased 6, but only purchased 5) anyways, so I'll do that in a bit there.

Also, we noticed in the FSM and under the truck, the transmission has 2 drain bolts? We were kind of confused at this. Do we drain both bolts, and just fill with one? At first I thought this was the transfer case drain bolt, but it ended up not being that. Seeing as how the fluid all has to mix, and there's only 1 dipstick where you fill, the new fluid should eventually mix into both reservoirs. I'll find out if it doesn't and the trans blows up! (5spd manual swap? :D )

We move back to the rear diff, notice that somebody has at least changed that before, as the fill bolt is stripped from somebody trying to loosen it. We shoot it all around with some WD40 and let it sit, and we move on to bleeding the brakes. Bleed those, a LOT of air is coming out. It just keeps coming and coming! I think we need to bleed them again just to make sure. Plenty of sediment too, so it's always good to keep bleeding them and getting that fluid changed to new. We break the rear drums loose and clean out the brakes...so much crud in there! We also bend back the drum cover which was causing a 'whisk whisk whisk' sound while driving. I swear there were black widow nests between the cover and the drum! More evidence this vehicle sat for a LONG time....bleh...

Go back to the fill bolt on the rear diff and attempt to loosen. It just starts to strip more. Good thing I decided to make sure that we can fill it before we drain it! I'll need to hop down to Toyota and see if they have any bolts in stock so I can have a shop break it loose (weld a bolt onto it and break it loose that way ) So I can replace that and the fluid.

Also we noticed that they put some old school spring coil spacers in the rear to make sure it doesn't compress too much when towing? Those will be coming out when I get to the new shocks/springs.

By this time it's about 11PM. Yeah we took our time, but we didn't want to rush anything either :D

We go to start the truck, and my friend is freaking out because it's making a squealing noise. Shut the truck down, pinpoint the problem to a guess of a squeaking power steering belt/pulley. Get some spray lube for belts, pop the cap, and it falls down between the header and chassis, right under the EGR valve. I reach down, touch the EGR valve wire harness, and the connector breaks off from the harness! FML. We try to re solder it, but the whole clip pulled out/broke...REALLY brittle. I'll go swipe one from a junk yard... Luckily it's the sensor side, so I don't have to deal with a janky rigged harness after this. Fail moment 2.

We shoot some lube on the pulley, solved that noise!

Also threw in new air filter.

It was late, didn't have time to change the oil, I had looked at it when I purchased the truck, it was pretty fresh. I wasn't bothered with it until I started noticing all the issues I've seen with, and want to get a baseline fluid change done, that way I know what's been done when. I'll change that later on today after I run to the store.

Get in the truck, do the whole PRND2L and back and forth a few times, as well as the transfer case (even though we didn't swap that fluid LOL) Pull outta the garage, drive it up and down a bit, check the fluids, we are good to go.

Adjust the headlights, that was a big difference! Now I think they are aimed too high. I'll need to take a look at the FSM and adjust the properly...the light first splashes down about 20ft in front of the truck.

02-12-2012, 07:57 PM



I've been waiting for this day, and my wifey has been mad at me this whole time, because I've been purchasing/playing with the vehicle and not paying attention to her. You know how it is! Pick your battles, right?

Load up the truck ( and MAN do I need to change the shocks/springs!) and get going to rendezvous with our convoy!

Meet at the local Shell gas station. Dump a bottle of Lucas Oil Fuel Injector cleaner into the tank. Fill up, $49.80! Not bad, I'm sure on an empty tank it's about $60, I had about 1/4 tank left.

My little bro offers to buy some munchies for the trip, I'm not going to complain! Donettes breakfast and beef jerky, doritos and something else I forgot for later. Survival food!

So far the rigs in the convoy are 2 2nd gen 4Runners, and one LC100. There was supposed to be a 3rd gen 4Runner as well, but he got scared at the last minute and decided to just ride in the LC.

We head out and encounter a bit of rain (sprinkles?) driving up HWY 4 West. Good thing I change those wiper blades! Rendezvous at the 49/4 JCT with a buddy in a 2wd Frontier. Top off at the Shell station up there, and keep driving. End up going throw a very low cloud, looks like nasty fog! We were definitely in the Sierra's now!




Find our turnoff, and take it. I start filming with my AWESOME Nexus and new mount I bought for it. It's a maintained road, but the washes and whatnot in it make us very aware that the shocks definitely need to be changed, and probably the tired rear coils too. 20 minutes on the road and we end up to our first destination!

Candy Rock

We've been doing recon, trying to find more places to camp/fish/shoot. This is an interesting place. We 'climb' down what seems like a 85* descent down to the river. Nothing but granite boulders all over! I take some AWESOME panoramic shots of the area. The waters are clear (where it wasn't rushing) and the place just looks pretty cool. We find some salamander/newt creatures and take some photos of them. Lot's of photos! One is out of the pool of water they were in, and it just flips out! It does the craziest thing, it stands on it's hind legs, front legs spread wide, looks like it's praying, then kisses it's own ***!! WTF Right? It just did this the whole time, until we left. More cool pictures of that!

We were exploring for about 20 minutes around the area, then we decide to head back. Recon done! Good spot for a swim, day trip, bbqing. Just that, nowhere local to camp that we know of, yet.

I'm getting across the rocks and water, when all of a sudden my knife falls outta my pocket. I had taken it out for some reason, and ended up putting it back into my pocket. I thought it was clipped. Guess not! There goes the knife, right into a rushing water area, no way I can get to it, or even see it. RIP CRKT Hissatsu! I think I had jumped from one rock to another, and upon landing, the squat pushed the knife since it was barely clipped.

Next we were getting across another area, and all of a sudden my phone drops! FML!!!! I didn't even get a change to see it fall, my buddy just goes "YOUR PHONE!" and I see it sliding into the rushing water....bye bye 3 month old, $750 totally awesome Samsung Nexus...no insurance, never put it on. Lesson learned. Pay for the $8/month insurance...Sad thing was, this thing was in a holster, clipped to my belt. IDK how it happened, as I was crouching to get down a steep rock. I guess it just was fate. Actually, it was because I had my Glock holstered where I usually have my phone holstered. My phone was not in it's usual spot, so I wasn't used to it there. It wasn't supposed to be there, it should have been holstered/clipped into my cargo pocket, where I wouldn't have pressed against it with my thigh/oblique. Lesson learned? LEAVE YOUR PHONE. Especially with no insurance on it. I should have left it in the vehicle, but I hate leaving valuables in the vehicle when we are in an area we don't know, and who knows who could come out and burgle the trucks while we are gone?!

There goes 2 things. I'm lucky I didn't lose my Glock either, or else I would have just decided to go swimming after all 3 of them!! Ah well, I didn't lose my life, phones and knives can be replaced. People were like "oh go look for it, see if you can get it out of the water." WHY? It's gone, the phone is dead, and it's too dangerous in the area we were crossing to be looking for the phone. Not like it'd save anything, why bother?

So we finish heading back. Ascend the 85* slope, that was a nice workout. High Knees pays off here! Everybody who doesn't normally workout was complaining/breaking every few steps. WEAK! Push through! Glad I've been biking! It really paid off here!

Then we head out to another spot our buddy in the 2wd frontier knows. It's above 5000ft elevation, and we encounter snow. Yay! Get to put the 4WD to work now! SOOO excited! We go through some stuff, Land Cruiser in the lead. He's full time 4WD so he walks right through it. His only mod is Yokohama HT/S tires, all stock after that. He blows through the trail like nothing. My other buddies do it in 2WD, they have M/S tires on their trucks. My truck goes through the stuff, it's not a big deal. A little slippin, but nothing serious. No need for the 4WD yet. Then we head to a clearing, where it's nothing BUT snow. My buddy with his 4Runner attempts to just go through in 2WD. It makes it up the road in 2wd, but at the clearing it's ALL snow, and a bit deeper than in the road, so he can't get anywhere. Throws it into 4WD and makes it around and outta the way for the rest of us. I try in my truck. I only have the stock Bridgestone Dueller HT's on my truck. It goes through a bit, but the tread gets filled up with ice/mud real quick. Here's where the fun begins.

(My bro 'rig surfing')



I start spinning the wheels/sliding. Stop. Reverse. Try again, same ending. Reverse. Get momentum, get farther, get more stuck. NOW I try putting it into 4WD. Put it into park, Throw into 4H. Reverse. Nothing. Put into 4L, nothing. My buddies push a bit, truck unsticks and goes back. I try again, this time going in 4WD. It just drives like stock 2H WTF?!

(Stuck in 2H...)


(Trying to just barrel up in 2H, yes this is actually going UPHILL)


My friends are like "you are in 4wd right?" YES I AM? Did you put it in park or N? I put it in park. Try N? It probably didn't engage! OK. Try that. Still nothing. Wait. We hear relays clicking, so we know something is happening!

Other 4Runner guy asks "Is your 4WD light coming on?" there's a light? Who knows if that is out, or if it's not actually engaging. FML.

We back up the truck. Turn it off. Turn on, move to N, 4WD H/L. No light, all we know is that relays are clicking. I just back the truck to the side of the road out of the snow and start looking around under the truck to see if anything is loose or broken.

(Literally a quick push and gassing it got out of this...but without the push it wasn't going ANYWHERE)


Spin the front drive shaft. That is working!

Have my buddy get into the truck. Back it up, move forward. 2H, front shaft is not moving. OK.
Reverse, forward, 4H/L, front shaft is engaging and spinning. OK

So I've deduced that the hubs are not engaging? I'll need to look into (thank you BLKNBLU for the links) how to fix the hubs, or possibly something else (the vacuum canisters and other components to the 4WD?) that are probably broken.

We figure there is nothing else to do now, so onto shooting! Set up targets, have at it for a while. LC guy just drives around in the snow, ladeeda oh look my 4wd/center/rear diff locks are so awesome blah blah blah. We tell him to go fire up the grille and make lunch.

Get back down to the area to eat lunch. "You should get a Land Cruiser, 4wd always works in it!" Yea? Even if I dumped in 9k to equal the price he paid (12k) for his LC, I'd have a more capable truck than his! (no offense LC owners! :D )

We explore some more, I throw the truck into 4wd Just in case it might actually start working as we are in a snowy area (all on fireroads no street driving) And IDK if it was just me, but it felt like it was engaged as long as we were moving, I never got a chance to test it out, and as this is my first 4wd vehicle, I really don't know what I'm looking for. I'm going to try driving it on the road, in the court, really slow in both 2H/4H/4L and see if I can feel a difference. Only other thing I know I can do is go down to a buddy's shop, put it on a lift, and see if the wheels will all turn if it's in the air lol.

Luckily, it's not something major, and doesn't affect the daily driving of the vehicle. So I'm not stranded, and I can take my time and repair/replace whatever needs to be fixed.

Overall, except for the exhaust leak or valves ticking (probably both) and a funny noise I'm hearing from the center console/ transmission area when the truck hits about 4k RPM, and the loose gas pedal (there's play in it, I'm thinking it needs to be tightened up, I don't think I'm getting 100% WOT so that's another reason why the truck feels so slow) The truck is actually proving to be awesome.

I mean if this thing can take the neglect the prev owners have been doing to it, then with a little love and TLC this thing is going to get back to the awesome vehicle it's known for being!!!

Unless the engine blows up on me now.

*cliff notes: Lost knife, lost phone, lost 4WD? recon, shooting, snow, fun shakedown run, made it home alive, and truck is pretty decent for the neglect it's been given! *

02-13-2012, 02:31 AM

Today I changed all the (as far as I know) burned out bulbs. I think I need to get the glove box bulbs still. I'm at least legal with all brake lights, license plate lights, and sidemarkers working!

Pulled the radio, lovely jammed-in installation done by whomever. Plenty of dirt behind the console, and the radio is caked in dirt too. WTF was the previous owner doing? Since he told me he was the one who had it installed, I know that HE is the one who let this sit, or be submerged in silt, or something just totally neglecting the truck. Maybe he used it as a dairy truck for a long time? Who knows. I'm bringing this baby back to her prime!

I also have pictures from a friend of our trip. I'll be posting those later.

Never did get around to the oil change...I'll do that right after work tomorrow, and probably re-install the radio properly. Did I mention they used a dremel to shave the OEM trim? IDK why they even did that. A trip to the junk yard is definitely in order!

02-13-2012, 08:02 AM
That was one good dissertation. Great you had a good time and I'm sure all of us in here would like to see pictures :)
Sorry for your loss, hate when it happens - every time.

I'll guess your problem with the 4x4 is the ADD vaccumvalve.

02-13-2012, 01:01 PM
Sorry, I like to be expressive when I write. Let's just say I've never been able to summarize. :D

And yeah, after doing more research, I'm going to check out all the VSV's and lines and see if anything funky is going on there. It will be great if it's a quick fix, and not another $300 fix! :smiley_drive:

02-14-2012, 01:39 AM
Today it was raining, so I decided to work inside the truck.

Interior is stripped out, not left except for the dash, steering wheel, and door panels. I'm going to start cleaning everything tomorrow. Everything needs to be cleaned! I've never seen such a dirty vehicle...

Whatever gummy foam insulation that is under the carpet is coming out as well, it all ripped off and crumbled as I was pulling out the carpet.

Once I get my phone back I can take/upload more pictures of the progress lol...

02-24-2012, 12:41 AM
Does anybody know what this would be called?
http://www.ebay.com/itm/Toyota-Truck-4Runner-Celica-Camry-22R-22RE-V6-3-1-VACUUM-MANIFOLD-PORT-PORTS-/370587385903?_trksid=p5197.m7&_trkparms=algo%3DLVI%26itu%3DUCI%26otn%3D4%26po%3D LVI%26ps%3D63%26clkid%3D6543445211677777708#ht_291 2wt_1396

I think that's part of the problem with my 4x4 not engaging...especially when the bottom 2 ports were broken and a straw stuck in as a replacement....

02-24-2012, 06:02 AM
Where was that broken part located? Under the hood? On the front axle/diff/actuator thingy? I poked around a bunch of sites and couldn't really come up with the part you have described. Typically though Toyota calls those things vaccum switching valves or VSVs. Re read the link I gave you from Off Road dot com for trouble shooting the ADD system. I think you're on the right track that you are not getting vaccum or a signal to something.

Off Road link

02-24-2012, 12:09 PM
It's a vacuum port located on the intake manifold. 3 ports...I'm wondering if I can just make my own version with some fittings, or if I can tee the vacuum lines off the one good port, and plug the other 2.

Thanks for those links, they have been life savers...The ADD system really isn't that difficult to look through, a couple of vacuum lines, some solenoids, and that's about it. I may end up just running a vacuum line to the passengerside and calling it a day though. I think that's what one site said was the quickest fix, least amount of problems. Or I could fix it with a solid axle conversion. (i kidd :D )

Also I fixed the janky window issue. The guy said "It's a wiring issue maybe, idk what's wrong with it but the switch doesn't always work"

What was wrong with it? Perhaps its the soda which was spilled all over the shifter area?

Here is the window switch:

Take it apart, looks like this :


Clean this area, as you can see it has all kinds of gunk in it...it was sticking/not contacting...depends on how it feels. Clean the contacts, as well as the metal contact that the switch pushes. Once those are nice and shiny, it's good to go.


Put it back together in reverse order, and it's good to go.

Make sure to twist out the bulb first, i think that was giving me a little issue. It's pretty simple.

02-24-2012, 01:12 PM
Ah. Try this one. The one listed as 23265. Looks like one of the three gets a plug.

However in that case I'm less certain of it being your 4wd engagement solution. Can't hurt to fix it anyway though.

You kid about a straight axle but someone elses straight axle could be your answer too. Pick up a non ADD front diff, axle tube, and manual lockouts on the cheap from someone doing a swap and just ditch the whole ADD mess. Good luck and hang in there.

02-24-2012, 01:30 PM
I'm pretty sure it isn't the problem either. But fixing it will confirm that isn't what is broken. I'm hoping the vacuum lines are the issue though. The transfer case is engaging the diff, so if it isn't the sleeve locking/unlocking then it's gotta be the hubs themselves. Unless the whole differential grenaded at some point...

One thing that I'm not sure on.

Is there any reason not to leave the differential switched to locked? Increased wear on parts/tires?

(leaving this part for a bookmark as i'm at work http://www.villagetoyotaparts.com/products/TOYOTA/1994/4Runner3000CC-EFI--AUTOMATIC--4-SPEED4-DOOR-WAGON--SR-5-GLX/FILTER--GAS--NO1/2442735/9091711027.html )

02-25-2012, 02:43 PM
One thing that I'm not sure on.

Is there any reason not to leave the differential switched to locked? Increased wear on parts/tires?

Not sure what you mean by "switched to locked" Do you mean the fact that your axle parts are rotating all the time? Or are you talking about running around in 4hi all the time?

02-25-2012, 04:14 PM
I mean leaving the ADD engaged. Running a vacuum line to the passenger side of the differential and capping everything else off. The only thing that leaves it out of 4WD then would be the transfer case itself.

02-26-2012, 04:49 PM
SUCCESS!!! Sort of.

Yesterday I went to PnP again, with a buddy, as he was looking for some parts. They didn't have anything we needed. It's always a good 2 dollars spent to check that place, you never know what you'll find.

Then we decided to go to another junk yard that was over by his house. Last time he had ventured there, they had 1 4Runner, and nothing he needed. They pull the engines and put them in a section of the yard, to make it easier to dismantle the parts off the engines. I wanted to check if they had the EGR temp sensor and the vacuum port. Who knows when you'll score?

Well we get there and ask the guy if they have the 4Runner still, he says "yeah, the blue one in the back and there's the red one out front" My buddy freaks out, because they've had the red one for a while, and nobody said it was available for parts. We pop the hood, and boy are we excited. It's like Christmas morning. The whole truck is intact. Probably a blown headgasket or seized engine from the looks of the inside of the intake manifold. Lots of sludge in there. We go to town, I pull the parts I need, he grabs his relay. We go to the guy and ask him for the prices on the parts.
My buddy's convo goes like this:

"How much for the relay?"

"10 bucks."

"Oh I don't have enough cash I'll have to go to the bank real quick" (cash only)

"5 bucks no warranty, it's on you if it doesn't work"

"I have 4 in my wallet"

"F it, I'll take 4"

And mine?

"I just need this temp sensor and the vacuum port, and I don't have any cash, how much you want I need to go to the bank"

"Uh...10 bucks? Uh-"

"Ok 10 each, I'll go to the bank right now"

BAM! $20 dollars later...the vacuum port and EGR temp sensor are replaced and there is no more CEL! Given that the temp sensor is about $150 and the port about $30, I think I got a pretty good deal :)

I was thinking about going back and offering for the 5 speed conversion...probably would have been able to get it for no more than $200 :D

Now for the weird part.

Once we replaced the vacuum port and sensor, reset the ecu (pulled the EFI fuse, better than removing the battery cables since you get to save all your radio stations and clock settings) we tried out the 4WD once again. Here's what happens. Put the truck in (N) shift into (H4) and the 4wd light blinks rapidly like it's trying to switch on and then nothing. It's a random number of switching, and it's not a code type blink, as you can hear a relay clicking back and forth.

This started happening after the port was replaced. This leads me to believe the vacuum lines are either clogged, or switched around.

I had traced the lines, (prior to replacing the port) I even found that these were the original lines with the brown/whitish spot on one line, and the blue spot on the other, indicating which VSV they were going to. I believe they were in the wrong spots before, so I had switched them. I believe it was brown to driver, blue to passenger? I have to look again. I'll switch them back again and see if that fixes it, if not, I'm going to replace the vacuum lines to rule that out.

02-26-2012, 06:55 PM
Glad to hear you're making progress. Regarding your previous question about driving around always engaged, I guess I don't really know. I'll theorize that it would be no worse than driving around with manual hubs locked in but no t case engagement. Probably not the best for fuel efficiency but not necessarily damaging. I'll wait for others to chime in though.

I'd still encourage you to look for someone that is doing a swap and get the whole front end sans ADD stuff. Then you have no electric or vaccum to worry about. That is what I was going to do and even still have the stuff laying in the side yard. To bad we aren't closer to each other. Seems like I've got a bunch of stuff you could use. Ah well... :Mechanic:

02-26-2012, 08:08 PM
Caoboy, congrats on the acquisition. I am actually trying to sell my 94 4Runner here in NJ, the head gasket blew a few miles from home and it's been parked there ever since.
One thing to do is bring the VIN number to your local dealer and ask them if the head gasket recall was ever performed. Mine was done shortly after I bought mine, I called to see if they would do it again after it blew and they told me it was out of the recall's timespan, if it was never done, maybe you can still get it done.
These engines are somewhat sluggish, especially with the auto.
As an FYI, whatever your looking for off a 94 let me know, here's a link to my sale on ih8mud:
I can pull anything you want off it including the sliders and I have the original stock alloy rims too.

02-26-2012, 08:58 PM
Thanks for the offer rockpig! I'll take a look in a bit!

So I switched the vacuum lines on the diff again and the 4WD indicator is coming on like it should! Success!? Only one way to find out, time to find a muddy area close by!

03-10-2012, 04:33 PM
Any updates?

03-10-2012, 09:36 PM
Been busy...nothing but more cleaning.





4WD is working just fine now, that vacuum port was all that was needed to be changed. Lines were properly routed, and it's working great!

I performed the first oil change..oil all over the front end with the removal of the oil filter was fun cleaning up. The Oil pressure gauge seemed to be off...uh oh. Started checking things, and I realized I was 1/3 qt low. I read 4.5 quarts was the amount to fill, when it is supposed to be 4.8. Added oil, oil pressure gauge seems to be working and the dip stick is showing the proper amount. I have some pictures of the inside of the head, from the fill cap..it is very dirty. I'll be switching to a full synthetic after a few oil changes of part synthetic to see if any seals will loosen and need replacing.


I DO need to replace the rear main seal, as there is a very slight seepage. Not enough to drip onto the ground, but just enough to show that there is a very slight leak. I'm debating on either having a shop do this, or purchasing a 5 speed conversion and swapping out the seal with the trans conversion.

I also want to just jump into a 3RZ swap, so why waste the money/time on the seal? :)

There have been a couple of family issues which have been occupying us, so the vehicle is on the back burner.

I also am thinking about swapping the headlights/grille to the older style sealed beam headlights, and retrofitting some bi-xenon HID projectors to get some better lighting. From what it looks like, it should just be the headlights/grille and lamp housing that would need to be purchased. I tried finding some non fluted housings for the 92-95 style front end, but can't find anything.

I have a bunch of pictures, but haven't had time to down/upload them to post.

03-10-2012, 10:09 PM
Good to hear. I was mainly wondering about the 4WD issue. The other stuff, you can just keep plugging away at. I know how it is, I have a new project now and really little to no time to commit to it. It'll get there.:sombrero:

Grim Reaper
03-11-2012, 03:37 AM
Check your door plate and see what tires it lists. If it lists 31's as the stock size then it should have the big front brakes and 4.88 gears. You can also search "Toyota Gear ratio codes" and it will tell you how to decipher the sticker and see if you have a limited slip or not.

DONT lift it unless you plan to do a solid axle swap in the future or you do long travel IFS from Total Chaos (http://www.chaosfab.com/index.html) or JD FAB (http://jdfabrication.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=15&Itemid=33) to get the lift. Here is a truck with that suspension set up. http://www.yotatech.com/f77/deathrunner-84809/ Replace the rear springs with a little stiffer rate and call it good if you want to do this on a budget. Front suspension is the same as my 86 and that truck in the pictures. I put 33x 12.5's on mine with a little hammer work on the seam on the floor at the back and the lower lip of the fender. 32's on stock width and offset wheels should fit with minimal work.

Lift kits put extra strain on the lower control arm mounts and eventually they crack and since you can get 32's on it why lift it? Several company's sell a brace to tie the rear mounts together but you can make you own if you find somebody doing a solid axle swap. Some pictures of mine on the grimmys link in my sig.
If you want to do something then put a 2 inch body lift on it then a 2 inch engine lift. BudBuilt can make a new skid/Transfer case mount that will actually get you 4-5 inches more clearance at the lowest point (the transfercase) with stock suspension. It also makes putting rock sliders on easy. Mine I can move the fuel tank up 2 inches as well but I understand the coil rears suspension on yours makes that difficult. 4Crawler.com can hook you up with the engine and body lift stuff and has a couple good write ups that will also cover a good bit of your truck as well till you get into the rear suspension.
Honestly...Stock it has more ground clearance the a Stock Jeep unlimited.

You dont have locking hubs at all, not even auto. Its direct drive flange at the hub. The half shafts will always spin. When you shift out of 4wd the diver side axle disconnects and the the transfer case goes into neutral. The Passenger side is still spinning the diff and without the driver side or the transfer case it just freewheels the diff. Jack it up and you will see what I mean when you spin the front tires. I'd recommend you carry a half shaft or be familiar with what it takes to remove the drive flange at the wheel hub. Removing the Drive flanges will allow you to get it into 2wd and get home before making repairs if you break the front diff, half shafts or any of the rotating parts in the front drive. In that Grimmy link is a tip on how to make it easier to change a half shaft by flipping a couple of the bolts on the diff side. You can convert to manual hubs and you could easily swap the driver side tube with the disconnect with a one piece from a earlier truck. I actually run a 4.88 Diff assembly out of a 94 in mine and just ran a vacuum line to keep it locked. Some people say its weaker but I haven't managed to break it yet. I'd rather it fail then break the diff. ;)

03-12-2012, 03:20 AM
Thanks for the information Grim! I do keep interchanging 'locking' with disconnecting. I know I don't have a locked front differential. Wouldn't that be sweet though? ;)

Thanks for the tips on the suspension build. I think best for me will be to just go with some stock sized replacement shocks. I'm not sure which yet. My buddy just threw in some Rancho shocks and new rear springs...cheap, and no worries of harsh rides or parts breaking. I might just be doing the same as a budget fix for now.

Yesterday I finished putting the interior back in. It's a lot quieter now! Still need to hook up the CB radio and also put the radio back in. Did I mention that the previous owner cut the stock harness to wire in the aftermarket stereo? I'm glad he saved a whole 10 dollars by not purchasing a harness...now it'll be a pain if I ever want to switch up the deck.

Also, I got rid of the rust on the hood (it was only surface, thank goodness!) and primed and painted it a semi-gloss tan color. Slowly the whole truck will become tan! My buddy picked up a paint gun, and offered to practice on my rig. I might just take him up on the offer once I find some rust free doors!



I'm also debating keeping the chrome wheels that were on it when I first purchased the vehicle. I think they are 15x10, but may be 15x9? I did a quick measurement but it wasn't definite. I like the look of the 17" wheels but I'm thinking I don't want to fit much taller of a tire. With the auto it feels so sluggish, the original steel wheels made the ride even worse! BUT if I can find a definite size on the wheels, I'll see if they are worth keeping and just purchasing different tires.



03-14-2012, 12:16 AM
Ok I believe those are all the pictures so far.

03-19-2012, 04:44 PM
Update...CEL is on again. Code 25, vehicle running to lean. From what I've read it's going to be a hunt. Anything from the O2 sensors, to the MAFS, TPS, a vacuum line? Dirty injectors, etc etc. All over the place. Time for a new motor! :D

03-21-2012, 01:31 AM
Went to the local dealer to see how much a fuel filter was, given the autozone versions were $16 at most. Dealer said they'd have to order it, and it'd be $46 and change. SRSLY? Talk about jackin' the little guy. I'm going to order the fuel filter, and the O2 sensors (lovely CA emissions offering more money for double the sensors for what reason again?) off Rock Auto for $130ish.

If that doesn't fix my code 25 CEL, I've really got to hunt down what else could be the problem. From what I've researched so far, the only other things could be dirty injectors, vacuum lines, MAFS/VAFS? Airbox sensor....don't know what else after that.

03-23-2012, 05:21 AM
I notice the 3RZ swap was mentioned. I'd recommend the 3.4 as stated in your original post. It is an easier swap if you're going to the 5 speed. Bolts straight up with no modifications to the motor mounts or tranny.

I've been running mine for over 4 years now, with zero issues and zero regrets. The 3.4 is a far superior engine. Well worth the time and effort.

03-23-2012, 12:48 PM
Ah thanks for the info. That's one of the concerns I was looking at, i'd have to buy custom mounts and wasn't sure on where to get those yet. A buddy of mine was looking at TOS to do the swap for him. I believe he said they'd do it for around 4k. IDK if that was the labor only or if that was an OTD price. From where we are, it'd only be 400 to ship the rig to them.

Did you do the swap yourself or have someone else do it?

03-25-2012, 06:32 AM
I tested the O2 Sensors today. Rear one in the FSM stated to just test the Ohm's and if it passes that test leave it be. It passed that test. The front one needs to be changed. It passed the Ohm reading. It seems like it failed the voltage feedback reading. At first it was good to go, pulled the jumper wire and tested like how the FSM stated, and it was good to go, then tested again, and it failed. I'm fairly certain it's throwing the code 25. I ordered a replacement Denso sensor from Rock Auto, and I'm going to shoot over to Napa to get a fuel filter. Hopefully that fixes the CEL, so I can stop fixing, and start modding! :D

04-01-2012, 11:51 PM
Popped in the O2 sensor, I've driven about 50 miles so far, no more CEL!

04-26-2012, 03:29 PM
Minor updates, front speakers were blown, dipped by a swap meet and picked up some replacement pioneers for 12 bucks. Of course they don't fit, even though they were the same size speakers, but a little fiddling with one screw, then angling the other screw into the original hole worked.

Also found out I should have 4.56 gears, as I have code G254 on the door jamb.

Picked up some 4Runner 16" rims too, and I'm planning on putting 235/85/16 tires on that. I'm leaning mostly towards Yokohama Geolander AT/S, as I mostly drive pavement to get to the dirt..Other runners are General Grabber AT2's and BFG AT's, depending on the price, they are pretty close to each other.

06-07-2012, 03:44 AM
Ordered my lift!!!



I NEED new shocks, and a steering stabilizer, BAD.

4 Wheel Parts has a promotion, buy 3 pro comp shocks, get 1 free. I was going to go with Rancho, for a 'just for now' replacement set of shocks. The guy at the counter made sense though. They both outsource their shocks, and are both 'generic' in valving. Even their part numbers are very similar. They aren't like OME where they test and test and test to get the most out of each setup for each application.

I did buy an OME steering stabilizer. Ordered everything today, and they told me it'd be here tomorrow. So, 4 new shocks, 4 dustboots, and an OME steering stabilizer. Total came out to $228 after tax.

I was about to pull the trigger on an OME lift from Cruiser Outfitters (Sorry Kurt, I really wanted to call today and order) but with my luck, the transmission is acting a little funny. Me thinks it's time for a full flush, rather than another drain and fill, and go from there. It's starting to slip a little bit when downshifting or turning off overdrive. It was only doing it after a day at the lake, and on the drive back. It felt like the transmission tunnel was getting hot too. I figure I'll do the cheapest thing first, before I either have somebody tear into the transmission, or find a good reconditioned unit.

I installed a CB radio for now as well. Cobra 19 or 18, fit perfectly in the ashtray area. Bought a K30 Mag mount, but I'm not happy with the way it is. I still need to play around with the placement of the antenna for the best signal, But I'm really wanting to go for a giant 102" whip, for a 4' Firestick. From what I've read though, those are on opposite ends of the spectrum, Firestick getting a bad rap compared to a long whip.

Other than that, the rig has served me well enough!