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When to throw in the towel: '96 4Runner Ltd. w/ 260K miles in need of repairs

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When to throw in the towel: '96 4Runner Ltd. w/ 260K miles in need of repairs

Old 04-05-2011, 12:57 PM
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Question When to throw in the towel: '96 4Runner Ltd. w/ 260K miles in need of repairs

I've got a '96 4Runner Ltd. w/ 260K miles and a warped cylinder head. A year ago, the oil cooler leaked, I lost coolant and overheated once. I poured some leakstop in the radiator (why not?) and it worked. I'm not losing any more coolant, though it's nice and black. Now my shocks are super shot. It rides like a Scout I once had. The tires are BFGs and have about 25% left, the CD player's busted, antennae bent, leather seats torn, paint's in good shape, cupholders all broken, etc..

I swore that I was done putting money into it. I'd rather not ride this ship down. This is a commuter truck - not a hobby truck for me. Not yet, at least. Before dropping $700 into shocks and $? into an engine rebuild, I'm wondering...

When do you call it quits and move on? What would the experts out there do with this vehicle? Money is of the essence. I've got about $5K max to do something else with or put into this rig. Any words of advice or discouragement?
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Old 04-05-2011, 01:06 PM
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$700 in shocks ???????? WTF ?????? From where?
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Old 04-05-2011, 01:16 PM
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Originally Posted by xxxtreme22r View Post
$700 in shocks ???????? WTF ?????? From where?
Shocks and Struts installed from Midas. AND, that's buy 3 get 1 free. The struts are $200 +/- each. My local mechanic wanted $850 for the job.
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Old 04-05-2011, 01:19 PM
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is it rusty or nice???

everything you mentioned can be fixed rather easily if your mechanically inclined...dealersip would burn that money up just on the head fix...

i could completely build my rig tip top with 5k dont see why yours would be different...i just did shocks on my rig and it cost me about 50 bones.

im thinking
$900 head
$100 dealer flush 35 self flush
$50 stock shocks
$500 new stock BFGs
$25 cd player from CL and junkyard antenna
$75 JY seats $$$ new seats
$5 JY cup holder

that would be my route totalling $1655

heck with the spare $$$$ id buy a just-in-case rig

hope that helped!!
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Old 04-05-2011, 01:26 PM
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It's not rusty at all - it's still a "nice car".

1. I'm done with BFG's. I'm only about 30K into them and they're spent. Sure, they're cheaper, but yikes...they suck. I'm mechanically inclined but usually time constrained.

2. Rear shocks are no problem for me to do. Front struts are beyond my ambition - that's where the money is.

3. At 260K and warped cylinder head, you think it can be put back for under $1K? With the "warped cylinder head" (my mechanic's words), what procedure am I looking for? Hate to sound ignorant, but how's this different then a rebuild in effort and cost? Should I rebuild while we're in there?

Last edited by Californesto; 04-05-2011 at 01:27 PM.
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Old 04-05-2011, 01:41 PM
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You can get some stock Tociko replacement shocks for about $40 ea. shipped from discountautoshocks.com. A shop should charge about 2-3 hours labor at the most to install all 4 or probably ~1.5 hours to do just the fronts. Both my heads were cracked a couple months ago and I got my engine completely rebuilt from top to bottom with resurfaced used heads for a little over $2,200 total including removal, rebuild and install labor. Also got a 1 year 12K warranty with it. I found a set of all 4 seats used for $150 a few months ago. Got a free stock stereo from a friend and member over on t4r.org. A used cupholder should be pretty easy to source for ~$5 like StaSta said. So, I was in the <$3K range for all that stuff that you are talking about doing (except tires), but I got a complete rebuild too. You should easily be in the $2500 range even with new tires if you just fix the one bad head. You may want to have a mechanic look over the whole truck (steering rack, ball joints, tie rod ends, drivelines, etc..) and make sure everything else is in good shape, but if so, I think spending about $2500 on your truck and driving it for at least a couple more years would be exactly what I would do.
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Old 04-05-2011, 01:44 PM
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Originally Posted by Californesto View Post
I've got a '96 4Runner Ltd. w/ 260K miles and a warped cylinder head. A year ago, the oil cooler leaked, I lost coolant and overheated once. I poured some leakstop in the radiator (why not?) and it worked. I'm not losing any more coolant, though it's nice and black. Now my shocks are super shot. It rides like a Scout I once had. The tires are BFGs and have about 25% left, the CD player's busted, antennae bent, leather seats torn, paint's in good shape, cupholders all broken, etc..

I swore that I was done putting money into it. I'd rather not ride this ship down. This is a commuter truck - not a hobby truck for me. Not yet, at least. Before dropping $700 into shocks and $? into an engine rebuild, I'm wondering...

When do you call it quits and move on? What would the experts out there do with this vehicle? Money is of the essence. I've got about $5K max to do something else with or put into this rig. Any words of advice or discouragement?
Do you need a truck? The short on time restriction is where your money will go. 5k is alot to work with, but it will go FAST having the work done at a shop. If you don't need a truck for your commute, I'd say get a car.
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Old 04-05-2011, 01:50 PM
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Go to treadwright.com for tires, $700 for shocks is an insane amount even with labor. The engine sounds like it wasn't that the truck gave up, but operator error, I would just get a used motor to throw in it. Make some junkyard trips for interior stuff, and my radio went out so I just wired up my MP3 player to run my stereo. No vehicle will last forever without replacing some stuff along the way, if you are not up to the task of the mechanics that need done, just ask around on this site for people in your area that are willing to do it for you for far less than what you are being quoted.
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Old 04-05-2011, 01:54 PM
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The answer to your question depends on how much you love your vehicle.

With that being said, i assume you are in CA, clean Toyotas are pretty abundant out there, if you wanted i'm sure you could find another Toyota for cheap.

Also why not do the work yourself? Shocks are easy to do, only 2 bolts! As far as the engine goes, that's a little more tricky but nothing impossible, unless this is your only vehicle...
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Old 04-05-2011, 01:59 PM
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Brian, there's more to a front strut then two bolts, but it's still easy and the spring compressor tools are free rental at Autozone, Advance Auto parts and some NAPAs.
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Old 04-05-2011, 02:16 PM
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Thanks all. I'm just going to dive in all the way and fix what needs fixing. Even getting hosed here and there, I'm still better off than buying something new or somebody else's problem. That said, I'm going to give the rear shocks a shot this weekend. I can buy all four Gabriel shocks for around $275. If I put the rears in, that will save me significantly.

Thanks again.
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Old 04-05-2011, 03:08 PM
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Originally Posted by xxxtreme22r View Post
Brian, there's more to a front strut then two bolts, but it's still easy and the spring compressor tools are free rental at Autozone, Advance Auto parts and some NAPAs.
Yeah, that's why I said a shop would charge about 1.5 hours to R&R the front struts. Been there and done that, a couple times.
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Old 04-05-2011, 04:24 PM
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the front were really easy. i had mine assembled for $20 at the local midas, went home and threw them in good to go. i think you can knock most of it out yourself.
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Old 04-05-2011, 11:41 PM
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Red face

I think there comes a time with any vehicle or for that matter anything when the time comes to just throw in the towel.

It can come for any different reasons money and time being often the first time most often somehow deals with a member of the opposite sex.

I know I have been lucky in the past to pick up great Toyota vehicles because someone just had enough.

Maybe you were on the fence and just needed a little help to make your decision.
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Old 04-06-2011, 03:41 PM
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hope it all works out for ya...lol my motor est. was if u had a 22re like me. thinkin back you prolly have a v6. cuz my 22re heads are arounf 350-400 and timing stuff would be like 100-and some change to do. but ive had friends that have done struts...spring compressor is a MUST. lol while your doing rear shocks you might as well do some of your U-Joints or greese them while your down there...i just did my two u-joints on my rear shaft today and OMG highway is so much smoother!!! haha my old u-joints had two cracked caps and well...what needle bearings
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Old 04-06-2011, 08:37 PM
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Really nice 175k 4runners are going for $5k here in Cali. Sell yours for $1500 and do any minor needed repairs and go another 100k miles. Just DON'T let it overheat again.
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Old 04-08-2011, 08:54 PM
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So what did you end up doing?

I hear you. i'm looking at doing shocks & timing belt @ 140k.

for me, it depends on your financial situation. If you're well off then fix your 4runner.
I would drop a new or rebuilt engine, its a good car and it has a charm
but if you're trying to save money for something in the future,
go for something more economical, especially w/ the rising gas $.

my 0.02$

Last edited by logsurfer; 04-08-2011 at 09:04 PM.
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