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JBurt's 97 4runner Build-Up Thread

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Old 07-18-2013, 08:29 PM
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You win. The frustrating part is that I did this in February. Oh well. I guess I should have went OEM the first time right? At least it's easy and I've got the alignment still under warranty if I mess anything up.

Those bolts were a pain. Now I have six point sockets

Looks like you had another good trip this year Hab. I heard stories about people that went to church with my grandma and they would stuff zucchini's in people's cars who didn't lock the doors. Just a thought.
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Old 07-19-2013, 04:08 AM
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Six points, it was a live 'n' learn for me, too. I'm still learning about what can be replaced aftermarket and what I'm gonna have to do again a few months down the road. I've got to make more use of Mighty Mouse's junkyard jewels for those things Toyota deems made o' gold (like steering racks), learn to reboot what's still working and what you've just got to pony up for oe....or better.

When you get the ball joints they won't come with those 4 bolts. Those can be ordered separately. If you're going local and don't have a deal set up or know the parts guys ask if the price is list and see if they can't cut you an over the counter/user price. Every 10% helps and the worst you'll get is a 'sorry, can't'.

We had a great trip as always. Excellent weather, good times, almost nothing broke (Autozone radiator cap that I bought last year on vacation, another oe only lesson but I didn't really have a choice at the time), though I came home with a few more squeaks and creaks than I started with. Trying to chase them down now but they're being snotty about being caught.

Zucchini in cars? That...could be....interesting.....in this heat and humidity.
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Old 07-19-2013, 06:37 AM
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Just thought I would drop by. Not getting anything done like you said can be considered a good thing, but I understand the not having any fun thing to Lol. Sucks about the bolts be they're easy to swap out so no biggie right. I've collected several different sets of wrenches and sockets over the years, still trying to get my son to understand which ones to use for what ( heck I still round the occational one off) the rite tool for the job is nice but sometimes we just have to improvise.
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Old 08-05-2013, 08:29 PM
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Well the fuel filter has been changed, the ball joint bolts are in the mail, and the new ball joint has been delivered.

Ever since I bought it (with 178k on the clock) it has always been very reliable, but I've always gotten poor mileage. I also feel like it doesn't have as much power as my in laws 98 tacoma, but that vehicle weighs a lot less, and without a dyno "feels" just doesn't cut it for me, but still I'd like more power. I do have a 2.5" lift and 33's but I average 12 around town and maybe 16 on the freeway.

I don't think the fuel filter has made a significant improvement in my mpg/power investigation (I'll no more the next time I fill up) so I got to thinking maybe I had internal problems, like stuck rings or valve problems. I read TA's thread on cleaning out an old engine here. Seemed to make sense and I thought I'd give it a try but I wanted to do a compression test to get a baseline and here are the numbers. Keep in mind from the factory spec is 218psi and the fsm says 180+ is good.

(5) - 210 (6) - 210
(3) - 205 (4) - 210
(1) - 200 (2) - 205

The compression gauge I used was just a rental tool from O'Reilly's so I'm not sure how accurate that is but they are all +- 15psi from each other so I guess that isn't the problem. That left me conflicted. I'm really happy that the inside of my engine is getting that compression with 193k miles, but also that means I'll keep digging to see what the problem is. One thing of concern is that the engine cranked over for a long time to get up to those numbers. Any ideas on what would cause this? Is my starter getting weak?

So the only other thing I can think of is to clean the IACV and while I've got the throttle body off give it a really good cleaning. I didn't put the plugs back in tonight. I figured I could check gaps and reinstall tomorrow when there is light. Not a huge problem, and I can live with bad mileage as long as everything else keeps working fine but still any other ideas?

Last edited by JBurt; 08-05-2013 at 08:32 PM.
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Old 08-10-2013, 07:25 AM
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Like the thread!

Hey just finished reading through your thread thanks for some ideas on things to look out for with my new addition. 99 4runner. I'm about to do my lower ball joints too.
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Old 08-14-2013, 08:00 AM
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Good luck with those lbj's. They're not too bad. The worst part for me was getting them separated from the tie rod ends, especially if you're trying to keep them. I mangled my boots but I had replacements already so I didn't care.

I'm still waiting on bolts for my lbj. Must have the slowest dealership in the world.

In the meantime,I think I finally figured out my fuel mileage/power problem. After going through all that time and thinking to find out why my power and mileage seemed so low I think it was the PCV valve.

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Too bad I didn’t spend $7 and 15 minutes on the valve and grommet 3 years ago. The old one was grimy and stuck in the valve cover. It took vice grips to get it out and the valve cracked. It was filled with sludge. No rattling at all. The old grommet was rock solid. Using needle nose pliers I just took a chunk out of it and it didn’t move. So I took a razor and sliced it on one side so it would come out easier. I was afraid of getting chunks of rubber inside my valve cover. I think it worked pretty good.

I just filled up yesterday with an impressive 11mpg. I took it for a test drive and it seems more responsive, easier to get up to freeway speeds, and the exhaust doesn’t smell like the engine is running really rich. I guess I’ll just drive it for a while and see what the next fill up says. Stupid easy stuff.

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Old 08-14-2013, 12:00 PM
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Crossing fingers for you!
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Old 01-15-2014, 10:05 PM
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Sorry no updates for a while. Focusing on school and the baby. My mileage went from 11 to 13 so hooray!?

Cleaned my IACV and throttle body. It runs much smoother. I've been trying to find out why I'm getting 13mpg and thought this could help. After seeing other people's corroded IACV's I thought it was worth checking out, but I don't think mine was that bad by comparison. Before pic (I didn't take an after but it was much better)

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Here's a question though. I found motor oil inside my plenum right after the TB. I replaced the bad pcv valve in August. Could this be left overs or do I have another problem. I checked the new valve and it still seems good.

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Last edited by JBurt; 01-15-2014 at 10:06 PM.
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Old 01-16-2014, 01:28 PM
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Mileage woes and 4runners. story of out lives!
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Old 01-27-2014, 11:48 AM
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I think I'm seeing moderately better mileage and power. Torque pro app says I'm getting 19 to 20 on the freeway, the only problem is, I hardly ever drive on the freeway! Oh well. Everything is running really well.

I had some seafoam in the crankcase for a few hundred miles and my oil came out very black, so I guess it did it's job. I've thought about doing the treatment in this thread, but I've been cautious and I'm just trying different parts.

When I changed the oil I also put in a quart of Marvel Mystery Oil. When I did my compression test the numbers were good but it took a lot of cranking to get up there, which I'm hoping is stuck rings. Best hope is that this will free them up, worst case scenario is a blown motor and a diesel swap, but most probably another 5vze.
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Old 01-27-2014, 11:55 AM
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I've also had a hard time closing my doors. The plastic covering on the latches was worn out and fell off, then the doors didn't close very well. You pretty much had to slam them, otherwise they would close but not all the way and you couldn't apply a small amount of force to close them. You'd have to open it back up and slam it. Several people suggested that my alignment was off but all three doors with this problem looked like this:

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After a lot of cleaning and a lot of white lithium grease there was no significant progress. I thought that the plastic that came off was probably about 1/8" thick and this would help the latch engage. So then my problem was that there was a gap between my latch and the striker. But how to coat either the moving part of the latch or the striker so that the gap wouln't be there. The only thing I could think of was putting electrical tape like so:

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This worked but it was too tight, so I removed some of it and it works like a charm. I did the other two doors and it does take a little bit of trial and error to get the thickness right, but now my wife can actually close the doors. I don't think the electrical tape will hold up for very long but I'm at a loss of a more permanent solution. Any ideas?
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Old 03-29-2014, 09:05 PM
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Haven't updated this in a log time. I wound up changing the lower ball joint for an oem one. No pics. Nothing exciting there. I wound up taking it out today. We've gone a couple times this winter out in the desert.

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I'd say this was pretty well stuffed.


That was one obstacle from two different trips. Only one worth posting pics of. The trail was fun. When he made it up the driver looked pretty pleased with himself:

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In the end it took us where we wanted to go.

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The only casualty was a bent sway bar end link. Oh well it needed to be replaced anyways. New one is on order.

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I did end up getting a job being done with school and all. The nice thing is now the 4runner has a budget. Monday morning I'll be ordering sliders. Nice.

P.S. The electrical tape fix has held up well for quite a while now. The 110* heat every day this summer will be the real test.

Last edited by JBurt; 03-29-2014 at 09:27 PM.
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Old 03-30-2014, 03:54 AM
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Cute driver!
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