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Old 06-18-2018, 06:17 PM   #1  
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1st Gen 4Runner: '87 SR5 Turbo Restoration and Build Thread

This forum and all of you have been such a huge wealth of knowledge to me through my three '87 SR5 Turbos. It's time that I give back a little. It's not much, but I want to take some time to create a build-thread for the restoration project I just started on my 3rd '87 SR5 Turbo. So here goes.

When I bought my first '87, it was in amazing shape with 110K miles. All it needed was repairs to the A/C system and recharge along with some detailing. It had a W56B from Marlin Crawler that I loved. I wasn't sure if it was the one for us, so I put it up for sale for a fairly high price and it sold in 3-days much to my surprise. Looking back, although he paid more than I had in it, the buyer got a great deal - it was a true unicorn vehicle. Many would say I should have never sold it, but for some reason it never felt like us - I can't define what that means, but it just didn't.
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'87 Turbo Restoration and Build-1.jpg   '87 Turbo Restoration and Build-10.jpg   '87 Turbo Restoration and Build-12.jpg   '87 Turbo Restoration and Build-22.jpg  

Last edited by Charles4x4; 06-19-2018 at 12:38 PM.
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Old 06-18-2018, 06:26 PM   #2  
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I then realized that I really liked 1st gen 4runners. While I wished that the cab part would truly come off and wished that soft options were better than they are (more on that later), I loved the mechanical nature of them. Yes, they are old. But when you tear one of these 4runners apart, you're pleasantly surprised when you learn how it all works. It's old, inefficient - yet beautiful. Cutting edge for the time, and made to last - 32 years later. I'm a ME and EE who doesn't practice engineering anymore, so seeing mechanical systems doing what today's cars use electrical systems for is amazing. I can actually see how it works (most of the time) and that is fascinating.

So, long story short, I found another '87 SR5 Turbo cleverly disguised as a standard 1st gen 4runner and snagged it. This one was mechanically sound, but aesthetically it needed a lot of work. So the tear-down began. I learned a ton on this truck - thanks to many of you (ex. RAD - you have been a huge blessing!).

It took me about 2.5 months until the transformation was complete. I then put it up for sale and 1.5 months later it sold for the same price as my first white one.

Once again, I loved the truck but it never felt like the one for us long term.
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'87 Turbo Restoration and Build-1.jpg   '87 Turbo Restoration and Build-5.jpg   '87 Turbo Restoration and Build-9.jpg   '87 Turbo Restoration and Build-25.jpg   '87 Turbo Restoration and Build-26.jpg  

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Old 06-18-2018, 06:34 PM   #3  
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As soon as our gray one was gone (my kids loved riding in it - and they named it Thunder), I was immediately on the look-out for our next and hopefully final one. I had seen the 4runner on multiple online sites, but it was way higher than I wanted to pay. After a few months of it sitting online, the stars aligned and I picked up for what I felt was a solid price.

It recently completed a full engine rebuild and I had a friend of mine look at the details (itemized receipt was extensive) and confirmed all seemed legit. I picked up the new 4runner 2-weeks ago and actually trailered it home for the first time (the white one was driven home from Austin and the gray one from Orlando).

The engine sounds amazing. The undercarriage is solid. No rust anywhere ecept one spot under a rear trim panel that is very shallow and repairable. But the aesthetics, mainly the interior, aren't great. All the gauges work (thank goodness - broken fuel senders are a PAIN). Despite its age, it just feels like a really solid truck.

The only big negative is that it is black and I just don't love black 1st gen 4runners (no offense intended to those who have them).
Attached Thumbnails
'87 Turbo Restoration and Build-06-4runner-5.jpg   '87 Turbo Restoration and Build-engine-1.jpg   '87 Turbo Restoration and Build-interior-1.jpg   '87 Turbo Restoration and Build-under-1.jpg   '87 Turbo Restoration and Build-under-2.jpg  


Last edited by Charles4x4; 06-18-2018 at 07:18 PM.
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Old 06-18-2018, 06:44 PM   #4  
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So last week we began the restoration. Here is my process:
1) Take detailed notes of everything you want fixed on the truck to get it to the shape where you are both comfortable and proud to drive it daily. Divide this list into Buy vs. Fix.
2) Come up with a vision of what you want it to look like, inside and out, upon completion (repairs + upgrades)
3) Start buying all the stuff you need - 90% of what I need can be found on Amazon and Ebay. For Ebay, just because it isn't on there today doesn't mean it won't be on there tomorrow - check often.
4) Get to work
5) When you get stalled or perplexed, don't force something. Research or ask an expert first (I mostly ask on this forum - it's a lifesaver).

Item #1:
Over the past 2-weeks I have bought approximately 30+/- parts online. And while I wait for parts to show up, I start fixing thing and crossing items off the list. For comparison, the gray '87 SR5 Turbo above had a list of 115 items to buy or fix. This black one is at 57 (31 buy, 16 fix), so it feels much more manageable.

Item #2:
I then needed my vision of what I wanted it to look like at the end of the day. For me, this was easy. I have always loved the Brown Metallic (sometimes referred to as Bronze Metallic) old Toyotas - FJ60s and 1st gen 4Runners. So when I saw one for sale a few months back, I knew that was what I wanted to mimic. It won't be exactly the same (gray interior vs. tan, for example), but I love the color and graphics:
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'87 Turbo Restoration and Build-orange-1.jpg   '87 Turbo Restoration and Build-orange-2.jpg   '87 Turbo Restoration and Build-orange-3.jpg   '87 Turbo Restoration and Build-42927_cec3efabd910_low_res.jpg   '87 Turbo Restoration and Build-color-chart.png  

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Old 06-18-2018, 06:46 PM   #5  
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I then started researching as much as I could on the truck. I knew the color, but had never done pre-'87 graphics.

I first reached out to James Dean Customs and he said the graphics were '87 Natural color SR5 graphics. He happened to have one sitting on the shelf that he wanted to move out, so he gave me a good deal (I've bought from him before):
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'87 Turbo Restoration and Build-grpahics.jpg  
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Old 06-18-2018, 06:49 PM   #6  
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I also I could tell it had a slight lift and larger tires and the description said OME 3" Lift (which doesn't exist). And I knew the rear springs on the '87 were shot - it was sagging pretty bad. The shocks looked ancient all around - it was time for a suspension overhaul.

I have done a lot of lifts in the past, so the install didn't scare me. So I pieced together the parts from OME's website for a 2.5" kit and purchased. I had to guess on the tire size - 32x11.50 on stock 15" SR5 Wheels based on how they looked compared to the 31s on my gray one and 30s on my white one (black one has 29s right now).

I think I guessed right, but time will tell. I'm still waiting on torsion bars, one set of leaf springs, and my bushing to arrive.
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'87 Turbo Restoration and Build-parts-2.jpg   '87 Turbo Restoration and Build-parts-3.jpg  

Last edited by Charles4x4; 06-18-2018 at 07:19 PM.
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Old 06-18-2018, 06:55 PM   #7  
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I also checked the brakes (they were very soft), adjusted the rears, and confirmed I needed new rotors and pads on the front. Since Turbos' already have a dual-diaphragm booster with the 13/16 MC, I didn't feel an upgrade to 2nd gen v6 brake system was worth the extra expense.

I then moved on to paint. I had no idea that paint shops that will do whole vehicle paint are literally extinct these days. Some "Paint and Body" places literally laughed at me for asking for a whole vehicle paint job. Evidentially they can make more from a 3-4 hour insurance job than they can on a 5-day paint job, so I guess I can't blame them. I've called ~25 places nearby and have only found 2 that said "we might do it - we'll place you on a list".

So, in the mean time, I began stripping down the exterior. The first thing to go was the faded side molding trim (never had it on my Turbos before). The adhesive is horrible, but after a few youtube videos, it seemed that everyone eventually gives up and pays $40 for a 3M Adhesive Eraser Wheel. Mine came from Amazon on Friday and within an hour on Saturday all the molding and adhesive was gone. $40 well spent!

I also pulled off all the chrome wheel well molding, rear bumper, and some of the front bumper. I will put the rear wheel well chrome molding back on, but the front was pretty dented from years of abuse. Luckily I found two front moldings on Ebay for a decent price a couple nights ago, so they'll replace my abused ones.
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'87 Turbo Restoration and Build-ext-1.jpg   '87 Turbo Restoration and Build-ext-2.jpg  
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Old 06-18-2018, 07:00 PM   #8  
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With no paint shop in sight, I decided not to finish the front clip/bumper and door handles just yet and swapped to the interior. The rear cargo area is a pretty easy tear-down with the only exception being the rear license plate trim with TOYOTA on it - the rear glass is in the way and, with the top off, you have to override the system and be really careful with the rear window.

Once the cargo area was done (roll cage is just sitting in there now), I tackled the front doors. These are not easy and require a certain sequence and technique to ensure you don't break the brittle plastic trim pieces. I've never had a door panel with all trim pieces in place. This one was the best I had seen - only 2 of the small mounting holes pillars behind the window controls / interior door handle were broken. I usually repair them with resin or some type of adhesive. Patience is key.

I have also learned that ziplock baggies are your best friend in a tear down. I label a baggie with a sharpie for every part of the truck (Drivers Door, Rear Carpet Trim, Tailgate, Mirrors, etc). It makes reassembly so much easier.
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'87 Turbo Restoration and Build-tear-down-1.jpg   '87 Turbo Restoration and Build-tear-down-2.jpg   '87 Turbo Restoration and Build-tear-down-3.jpg   '87 Turbo Restoration and Build-tear-down-4.jpg   '87 Turbo Restoration and Build-tear-down-5.jpg  

'87 Turbo Restoration and Build-tear-down-6.jpg  

Last edited by Charles4x4; 06-18-2018 at 07:11 PM.
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Old 06-18-2018, 07:06 PM   #9  
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So that brings us up to today. I'm still waiting for all the parts to arrive. I also have to find a place that will paint it right - everything except the engine bay, which I'll leave black. I think black looks better in an engine bay and pulling the engine is a non-starter.

Next I'll tear out the rear seat area including seats, carpet, and trim. Then move to the front. The front seats, console, and shifter area is pretty easy. The front dash area isn't too bad, but I'm dreading the far right passenger air vent where the dash pad bolt is located.

I'll then hopefully drop the vehicle off for exterior painting while the seats are getting re-upholstered (partially) with new SR5 fabris (as close as I can get as no-one can tell me the original SR5 fabric specs). While that work is being done, I'll refinish literally ever single piece of plastic trim in the vehicle. I found some aerosol trim paint that matches the OEM gray interior very well - it brings it back to that slighly darker, non-faded look.
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'87 Turbo Restoration and Build-parts-1.jpg   '87 Turbo Restoration and Build-parts-4.jpg  
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Old 06-18-2018, 07:09 PM   #10  
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Last post for the night. I currently have the hard top out of the way on a hoist system at the top of our 12' garage ceiling. I really don't want to put it back on. The truck feels so much faster, lighter, and cooler with that weight off the back.

But, as many of you know, I don't like the looks of the soft top options on the market today. KTT and SoftTopper are really nice and most people seem to love them, but I'm still a Can-Back guy. So, I called Truck Candy again about 2-weeks ago and did my best to jump-start the 1st gen 4Runner soft-top build. They needed to confirm some measurements, which I gladly helped with via a schematic diagram of all the hard top mounting holes on my '87. They claim they could have a test version ready for piloting in the next month or two. Fingers crossed.

Out of the 31 items, all that's left on the Buy Parts list is:
1) New OEM or Aftermarket Floor Mats
2) Rear Seat Hinge Mount Trim Covers (4)
3) Material for Front Wheel Well Engine Rubber Covers
4) Material to repair 1"x2" tear in Hardtop Headliner
5) Power Door Lock Switch (I may repair this instead)

More to come over the next few days.

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Old 06-19-2018, 03:46 AM   #11  
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Wow! Great thread.
i hope you can tell me more about the gray interior paint you mentioned because I need some also.
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Old 06-19-2018, 12:29 PM   #12  
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And I too love that copper color(brown metallic). I drooled over that exact truck online. The 32's are just right. That's what I had but they were old and one was oblong so I ditched them for some highway friendly 31" Yokohamas. They ride fantastic and are soo quiet but just don't have the look of the BFG 32's.

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Old 06-19-2018, 02:25 PM   #13  
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Originally Posted by Melrose 4r View Post
Wow! Great thread.
i hope you can tell me more about the gray interior paint you mentioned because I need some also.
Sure. There are two colors made by SEM that are close. One is darker than the other - which is the one I use. See attached pic.

I figure the gray trim color has faded over the years and assume this color is as close to original, non-faded gray as it gets.

Its a bit expensive, but works really well and you get a lot of coverage per bottle.
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Old 06-19-2018, 02:27 PM   #14  
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Originally Posted by Melrose 4r View Post
And I too love that copper color(brown metallic). I drooled over that exact truck online. The 32's are just right. That's what I had but they were old and one was oblong so I ditched them for some highway friendly 31" Yokohamas. They ride fantastic and are soo quiet but just don't have the look of the BFG 32's.
Thanks. I love the color - can’t wait to see it transform with the brown metallic, SR5 graphics, and 32s with OME new suspension!

Working to remove the rest of the interior/exterior as we speak to get it ready to paint. Found a shop that “might be able to do it” in 1-2 weeks. Fingers crossed!
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Old 06-19-2018, 07:15 PM   #15  
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Yeah, that SEM makes great paint. Not cheap.
how did you prep the plastic? Just wipe it down with a wax and grease remover?
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Old 06-19-2018, 07:39 PM   #16  
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A little more progress tonight.
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Old 06-19-2018, 07:41 PM   #17  
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Quote:
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Yeah, that SEM makes great paint. Not cheap.
how did you prep the plastic? Just wipe it down with a wax and grease remover?
Yes, I just clean it really good. No abrasives though - want to keep the full texture of the plastic mold.
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Old 06-24-2018, 09:35 AM   #18  
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Interior removal complete.

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Old 06-26-2018, 01:54 PM   #19  
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Rear diff leak repaired.
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Old 06-26-2018, 01:56 PM   #20  
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OME Rear 2.5” Dakar Springs, Greasable shackled, and nitro Harter shocks installed.

Wow, the OME


Dakar springs are stiff with no weight in the back!
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