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-   -   Penguin's 1987 4Runner SR5 Build Thread (https://www.yotatech.com/forums/f116/penguins-1987-4runner-sr5-build-thread-305092/)

PabstPenguin 07-17-2018 04:19 PM

Penguin's 1987 4Runner SR5 Build Thread
Hey everyone! I have been a Toyota guy for a few years now and have been a lurker on these forums for a while. I am selling my 98' Tacoma because I just bought my dream rig: a first gen SR5 Runner!

Current Condition/Specs:
  • 197,000 on the clock; engine was making a noise so the PO had a wheeling buddy put in a new 22re "with around the same number of miles". The front main seal appears to be seeping, and the oil pressure gauge isn't working. This is my biggest concern. The wiring to the oil pressure sending unit was pieced together with a butt connector so I'm wondering if it's not just that connection. I'll probably try to patch that up to try and get a reading in the meantime until I rewire it and get a new sender. Eventually I hope for a full engine rebuild, but for now I will probably be doing the FMS by myself! She has started to sputter and take a while upon startup. Any ideas? Plugs and wires?
  • The factory paint was the original cherry red. One of the POs decided to paint it a maroon color (which I am pretty fond of tbh). That being said, they just painted over the red with little to no sanding, and the clear coat is gone with a number of dents and dings. It will need a repaint and some body work; the rust is pretty minimal, relatively speaking. There is some in the door jambs, around the inner seal by the sunroof, and then a little on the hood. Overall, pretty cancer free. Took it to a highly reviewed shop in town and he gave me a rough quote of $7000 for all the body work. He said it would need a new hood (which I could paint myself) and that I could push the dent on top out with a bottle jack and a piece of wood; he also encouraged me to get a weatherstripping kit now as they would only go up in price. Seems like this would bring my price down a bit, but I'm not sure. One of the fiberglass rail pieces is broken off on the driver's side, so he said I would need a new top too. It was kinda discouraging for a kid on a college budget, so I'll get everything cleaned up mechanically and just prevent further damage until I have a healthy amount of money pooled.
  • Of course it has the standard weird things here and there as well. The cruise isn't working, the fuel sender is probably out (gas gauge isn't working either), it is missing some trim/has some damaged trim and some of the screws are wrong. There are 6" speakers by the back seat and 6x9s mounted in the rear, and I am sure the wiring for those will be a nightmare. Also the break lights aren't working, which is something that needs addressed soon. I don't know if the bulbs happen to both be burnt out or if there is something wrong with the connection, but I will be testing soon. The power mirrors do not work as well. I will need to replace one of the passenger tie rods and I know some of the other steering components have play. Overall she just needs some cleaning and refreshing!
Initial Photos:

Goal: I am a college student who does a lot of fly fishing and backpacking. I was originally dead set on getting an '85 (and even looked at a few), but I'm not going to be doing major crawling and in all reality IFS is the better option for me. I picked this one up on the cheap, and I am looking to restore it as close to factory as I can (cleaning, replacing, rewiring all of the POs' hack jobs, etc), and then make it a little bit more off-road capable with bigger tires, small lift, armor, tire/jack carrier, rack etc. My Tacoma is in great condition with only 127k on the clock, so I should have a healthy chunk of change to work with in the near future!

Hopefully I am not too naive in what I can accomplish haha

I will be documenting my whole process here, and will likely need a bunch of advice from folks. It's great to be a part of such a helpful and knowledgeable community!

hydrabyte 07-17-2018 05:33 PM

Looks like a lot of work and fun too!

Melrose 4r 07-17-2018 06:30 PM

Welcome aboard!
You will be able to make good progress on that rig in no time with just elbow grease and a few parts.
The body looks good aside from what you mentioned so consider doing the prep yourself and taking it to a place such as Maaco for the spray.

old87yota 07-17-2018 07:14 PM


Welcome to YotaTech!

You definitely have a project vehicle, but looks to be in fairly good shape for a good starting point.

Get the mechanical repairs done first, especially brakes, suspension, and steering first for safety.

If you are like the rest of us here, you will fall in love with your 4Runner and will never want to get rid of it!


SomedayJ 07-18-2018 02:32 AM

I like that color.

ToyoPrime1 07-20-2018 03:50 PM

Welcome and thanks for sharing pics.

CCDave 07-20-2018 05:56 PM

Great project. You'll become real familiar with your new 4Runner as you work through those fixes (that's a good thing). Take your time and enjoy it.

PabstPenguin 11-27-2018 07:54 PM

Sorry for the delay folks! I took a backpacking trip into the Sawtooths this summer, and on my way back something blew in my engine bay and I had to be towed to the nearest city's Toyota dealership. They informed me that my coolants hoses were rotted and that's what caused my issues. They also wanted to replace the started because it was having starter issues. This was frustrating because these were things I could do myself for MUCH cheaper.

I had my friend drive me down there (a 1.5 hour drive) to pick it up when it was done, and the dealership wouldn't let me pay for it because the shop portion was only open on Saturdays in the early morning (even though the website said they would be open in the afternoon). They then informed me that the shop was only open EVERY OTHER weekend, and that I would have to return in the morning two weeks later. I did that, and they let me pay and informed me that they just gave me the wrong information last time and that they should've been able to bill me through the sales side; super frustrating.

Well on my drive back my engine blew and I lost oil pressure after they informed me my motor was perfectly fine. While getting out of my rig to walk to the nearest mile marker for the tow truck driver, my door blew open due to a rusted door check and crumpled my left quarter panel. Another tow into my city's Yota dealership. Long story short, they spent months tracking down problems through straight diagnosis and they determined that the crankshaft was off by 15 degrees which was my biggest problem, so a timing rebuild was done. Among other things, only one cylinder was firing so they replaced my fuel injectors (which solved that problem), they replaced my valve cover gasket, distributor rotor and spark plugs (which I had already purchased and had ready to go at my place) and a couple other small things.

ANYWAY, now it is running seemingly well! It kinda struggles to start though, so I wanted your guys' advice: it starts every time, but sometimes it cranks for a while before starting. If it cranks for a long time without starting, you can wait 60 seconds and try again and it'll start strong on the first crank. I was thinking the fuel filter would be a good start? I bet it is the one from the factory haha.

PabstPenguin 11-27-2018 09:25 PM

Now, time for an update on the work I did prior to my hiatus!

DISCLAIMER: I am not sure how chronological this will all be, as it has been a minute.

The wiring was an absolute mess. There were broken wires, wires that had been painter's taped together, wires that didn't connect to anything on either end etc.

Soldering every connection I could get my hands on.

The old headunit.

Everything as buttoned up as I can have it for the moment (until further sound system work is done).

New JVC unit! Been a Kenwood guy, but decided to give this one a try. It's been working well for me so far!

Pulling out all of the carpet and door panels in order to POR15 any surface rust in the footwells and to apply sound deadening. Big thanks to 55reasons for the inspiration for this! Saw it on his killer '97 T100 build thread.

I did the floor and other door in the same way!

Cleaned up some surface rust with a wire brush before hitting it with a layer of POR15. I have heard really good things about it, so hopefully it lasts a long time! Note: I laid down the sound deadening after the POR15 coat haha

Marlin Crawler heavy duty socket and seat, because y'all have never seen one of these installed before.

Bought this tuneup kit from 22RE performance I believe. Kinda a bummer that the dealer replaced half of this stuff before I could myself

The rotor they gave me didn't match, so there was some silver lining with the dealer doing it.

I re-soldered a connection on the board behind the passenger side kick panel in an effort to get the passenger side window motor to work. This was not the solution, and I am currently trying to replace the motor instead (it isn't going well).

I also ordered a vacuum line kit from 22RE performance! This is where I need some help: I am no pro at this, and I assumed I could just follow the previous lines to replace things. That didn't necessarily work because a bunch of vacuum lines were disconnected and I had to guess on some things. I took a bunch of photos of connections that I was concerned about in hopes that one of you would have a keen eye. I did this a long time ago, so I don't know how much context I will be able to offer.

A couple wire ends that aren't connected to anything? Any ideas?

A connector with no line. I couldn't find very clear vacuum line diagrams anywhere, so I am at a loss :D

The previous line was just laying next to this port, so I assumed it went there and just plugged it in with new line. I can check where it came from tomorrow.

Another example of the previous inquiry.


A little three photo series of what I thought was correct! Sorry these pictures are vague haha. I figure if the dealerships saw anything too heinous they would have fixed it for me real quick.

Anyway, that is the short of the update! I have big things planned for the next few weeks including a new hood, a dash cover, new carpet kit, and some other goodies. Stay tuned!

I will need help with lots of questions soon :banger:

mbomberz1 11-28-2018 05:42 PM

Nice job on the door sound matting, I would love to hear your opinion on how well that all helped out on the road noise after. Sorry about the dealer, that sounds really frustrating and expensive. I just had my own relatively minor issue at my local dealer. Turns out the Toyota TrueStart battery warranty requires you to pay them a 50$ diagnosis fee before you can get your battery warrantied (assuming it fails in the 3-6 year range and not within the first 2) What is the point?!

Keep the updates coming, wish i could help with the vacuum lines but im a v6 guy :P

Nervo19 11-28-2018 06:33 PM

Wow you've had a lot of challenges. Did you get the brake lights sorted? I never found anyone with the same problem through google but I ended up replacing the brake switch on the bottom of the brake pedal. It was $25 on eBay. If you go to my thread it shows the Toyota part #.

I'm not sure which top part you mean is broken but it it's one of the L trims or the plastic trim that holds the emblem someone here can fix you up if you run a want ad or check eBay.

I did all of my own body work and took mine to Maaco. I took lights, mirrors etc. off in their parking lot. Most of the stuff I could drive without I took off at home like bumpers, wipers, hardtop. They did a great job for $750 during one of their sales. It's the paint with clear coat mixed in, the mid range paint job. I took off the valance, gas door and grid thing under the wipers and had them painted separately. It looks great after two years.

PabstPenguin 12-04-2018 10:29 AM

mbomberz1: Yeah, I am going to try to do things through the dealer as little as possible from now on :bang: So far so good on the sound deadening! I will be able to give a better review of things when I get everthing put back together!

Nervo19: Yes! I actually have a brake switch ready to install, but I haven't gotten around to taking everything off to make room to do it. I tried squeezing it in there, but there was an air duct that was in my way. I have little to no body work experience, how challenging is it? I would want to do a good job.

Question for you guys: She is struggling to start in the cold. For a while it would crank for forever before sputtering alive. Sometimes it wouldn't start like that, but you could wait 60 or so seconds and it would fire right up on the first crank. Now that it is getting even colder, it won't crank at all for 3-5 minutes and then start all of a sudden. Any ideas? I replaced my fuel filter this weekend in hopes that that would help, but it didn't (fuel pump has a ton of pressure too; I didn't tighten the filter enough the first try and it was SPRAYING fuel lol)

Edit: I still havent installed the new distributor cap, could that help?
I know there is a ton of hack job wiring under the hood and I would like to rewire everything well. Is there a kit for that or can you just use a specific wire for everything? All of my wiring experience is limited to interior stuff.

Nervo19 12-04-2018 03:41 PM

I took out the driver's seat for more room and pulled the duct off. After that IIRC it was a 14mm wrench and it took about 5 minutes. I wonder what the dealer would have charged because it was so easy. The seats have been out a bunch of times so they came out easily.

thefishguy77 12-05-2018 08:13 AM

If there is a lot of miles on your cap, rotor, plugs & wires it could be part of the problem...

What do you plugs look like? Same for the cap & rotor? Are they Japanese like NGK, Denso, Aisin? Or bosh etc.

I feel you for the wiring but all the wires are speced to a proper size so of and when you attack it you should make sure you match whats there.

PabstPenguin 12-08-2018 09:05 PM

Replaced the cap and it did not fix the problem. So far the plugs, wires, cap, rotor, starter, and fuel filter are all brand new. I took out the cold start injector and was disappointed to see it so clean (obviously not the issue).
Nevertheless I cleaned it up a bit and then went to reinstall it. Upon reinstall, the head broke off of the bolt.

My roommate has a little tool for removing those, so heres to finding a new one!

Removed the cold-start thermo time switch and cleaned it up to see if that solved my problem. When reinstalling it it snapped just below the threads! Ordered a new one from 22RE performance for the small price of $150 :mad1:
Old battery terminals and wires were pretty bad so I got some new ones from Napa!

My brake fluid is obviously low and I think that it is leaking right here. Might be that rubber piece? Anyone know a part number/how I can get my hands on some new stuff? I have little experience with brake systems outside of what's in the wheel wells haha

wallytoo 12-09-2018 03:49 AM

you should invest in a torque wrench or two. might avoid snapping some bolts or expensive parts.

the CSI bolts only need to be slightly tighter than "finger" tight.

PabstPenguin 12-09-2018 11:55 AM

Originally Posted by wallytoo (Post 52413762)
you should invest in a torque wrench or two. might avoid snapping some bolts or expensive parts.

the CSI bolts only need to be slightly tighter than "finger" tight.

My roommate has one that I can use! Does anyone have a recommendation for a spot where you can find torque specs for everything? A spreadsheet or something would be awesome

wallytoo 12-09-2018 01:22 PM

Originally Posted by PabstPenguin (Post 52413780)
My roommate has one that I can use! Does anyone have a recommendation for a spot where you can find torque specs for everything? A spreadsheet or something would be awesome

a FSM (factory service manual) is the best source.

PabstPenguin 01-03-2019 12:06 PM

Before I left town for Christmas break I did carpet!
Needs a vacuum, but I think it turned out great! I just did the passenger area carpet from Stock Interiors in black. I over-trimmed in a couple spots, but nobody will notice except for me (it'll drive me insane though).

When I got back from break my battery seemed completely dead; no lights would come on or anything. Upon jumping it, we still got no response. Any ideas? Maybe a whole cell is dead? Is it a wiring thing? Really wish I could get this thing to start reliably :help:

mbomberz1 01-03-2019 12:26 PM

Hard to say for sure about the battery, did you install it or have any idea how long it has been in there? It could easily just be a bad battery.

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