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Old 05-02-2019, 10:32 PM #1
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Is this car listing fishy? Can I turn it into fantasy 4runner build?

Hey everyone,
I am waiting to hear back about a contract engineering job and if I get it, I will immediately try to get a 4runner if possible as my first vehicle (owned by me at least).

I'm currently looking at this and trying to figure out why it's so cheap. They dropped price way faster than the normal 30-60-90 schedule. All the other 4runners in this price range and mileage are NOT Limited's (within 150 miles).
Used 1999 Toyota 4Runner For Sale in Hanover Park, IL - CarGurus

I also co-founded a small business and was considering making this my personal vehicle while also using it for business. I have a business event near the dealership this Saturday and am planning to walk in just to check if the rust underneath is a deal breaker and walk out. If I get the job I interviewed for, I'd then come back to test drive, inspect, negotiate, and send it to an independent mechanic for a PPI.

Ideally within the next 3 months I'll have done all the routine and preventative maintenance on it. I also plan to put a nice company commercial wrap on the car and here's where the fantasy build comes in:

Once this engineering contract is up next year, I very well may be using this car to travel across the ENTIRE US following and selling my product along the PDGA pro tour (disc golf). It'll be a highway pavement princess for the most part, but by next year I'd love to build it into something that can venture onto most trails, but nothing hardcore. Basically if I found myself near a trail or somewhere remote I could fish, I'd love to be able to confidently go check it out.

After reading the Buyers Guide, I think all I need is the 3rd gens that come with multi-mode for the "AWD" (I live in snowy chicagoland) instead of the hardcore stuff like an elocker. Don't want to take one of those away from someone that will actually use it.

Does anyone know if the particular 4runner this dealership is selling has issues? How would you build your 3rd gen to "go *almost* anywhere?"

Hoping to start a build thread here within the next 2 weeks!
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Old 05-02-2019, 10:47 PM #2
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Looks like a to good to be true price...4 owners..I would definitely run a carfax on it. If it is legit, then it seems like a good deal.


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Old 05-02-2019, 10:59 PM #3
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Seems suspiciously cheap. I wonder if the frame is rotted to hell.
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Old 05-02-2019, 11:06 PM #4
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How come the link subject is a 99 but the ad is 01?
$3500 does not typically buy much in the car world nowadays. Its almost 20 year's old, are u planning/willing to change out all the key things to improve the reliabilty to drive across country? U may easily spend another $3500 but at least u know its dependable at that point.
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Old 05-02-2019, 11:27 PM #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ifirefight View Post
Looks like a to good to be true price...4 owners..I would definitely run a carfax on it. If it is legit, then it seems like a good deal.


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I know sometimes within cars being moved around dealers, you can get multiple "owners" showing up on a car. So it's something to notice, but isn't a too huge of a red flag for me.

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Seems suspiciously cheap. I wonder if the frame is rotted to hell.
Yeah that's my guess, I have a strong feeling I'll take one look under and immediately walk away. But then again, the original list price seems more reasonable with what's being offered. Then again, part of the "wood" trim on the center console is literally melted.
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Originally Posted by hwnrunner View Post
How come the link subject is a 99 but the ad is 01?
$3500 does not typically buy much in the car world nowadays. Its almost 20 year's old, are u planning/willing to change out all the key things to improve the reliabilty to drive across country? U may easily spend another $3500 but at least u know its dependable at that point.
I think that's more so just an issue with how carsgurus makes its links. The link is to my general search but then the specific listing pops up.

I don't plan on being cheap with the vehicle and thankfully the engineering job assuming I get it should be more than enough money to take good care of the vehicle.
What improvements did you have in mind? I've done a bit of research myself, but plan to do what it takes to get 300k+ out of this car.


I'll post the pictures of the frame Saturday night. Hopefully we all at least get a laugh out of it. Don't think the dealer will let me tap it with a hammer/screwdriver haha

Last edited by DiracSea; 05-02-2019 at 11:31 PM.
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Old 05-02-2019, 11:36 PM #6
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I bought my 97 limited with 168k for $2,900 from a Salvadoran guy in north Jersey. Granted it had a cracked windshield and I had to replace the front suspension to get it to pass inspection.

But - the timing belt & water pump had just been done and the frame doesnít have any serious rust. So itís possible - runners arenít as pricey here on the east coast because it seems like the culture here is to build up a new Jeep JK into a brodozer vs. invest in an older 4Runner.

Look for rust and then the other issues as mentioned in the buyers guide like condition of tranny fluid & signs of pink milkshake. The only other thing I know of with those model years is the brake booster can be expensive to replace.


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Old 05-02-2019, 11:46 PM #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnOfTheJungle View Post
I bought my 97 limited with 168k for $2,900 from a Salvadoran guy in north Jersey. Granted it had a cracked windshield and I had to replace the front suspension to get it to pass inspection.

But - the timing belt & water pump had just been done and the frame doesnít have any serious rust. So itís possible - runners arenít as pricey here on the east coast because it seems like the culture here is to build up a new Jeep JK into a brodozer vs. invest in an older 4Runner.

Look for rust and then the other issues as mentioned in the buyers guide like condition of tranny fluid & signs of pink milkshake. The only other thing I know of with those model years is the brake booster can be expensive to replace.

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Thank you for the heads up about the brake booster. Yeah I guess I should have put a caveat that 4runners are usually way cheaper in the upper midwest and north in general because of the likelihood of rust. Like I said, if the frame looks fine, I'll see if I can get an independent mechanic to check out certain things during the PPI.
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Old 05-02-2019, 11:49 PM #8
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I bought my 97 limited with 168k for $2,900 from a Salvadoran guy in north Jersey. Granted it had a cracked windshield and I had to replace the front suspension to get it to pass inspection.
Lmao. Sounds like we both bought the same 4Runner.
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Old 05-03-2019, 09:23 AM #9
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Why ask us? You're Much closer to it, go find out and let us Know!

Fancy the look though!
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Old 05-03-2019, 09:41 AM #10
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Seems a little low. From my experience you rarely get a great deal through a dealer - they usually know the value of what they have. If the price is that low then something is wrong. A fair number of craigslist sellers, on the other hand, have no idea what they're selling (or just want to make a sale ASAP) and you can get a good bargain. But if they don't know the worth of the vehicle, there's a good chance they didn't keep maintenance records, won't be able to tell you about past issues, etc.
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Old 05-03-2019, 10:55 AM #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hwnrunner View Post
How come the link subject is a 99 but the ad is 01?
$3500 does not typically buy much in the car world nowadays. Its almost 20 year's old, are u planning/willing to change out all the key things to improve the reliabilty to drive across country? U may easily spend another $3500 but at least u know its dependable at that point.
According to the vin it's a '01
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Old 05-03-2019, 11:18 AM #12
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If it's a 01 or 02 definitely check out the brake booster. It's all electric/hydraulic in these years and the whole assembly is $2,100 new from Toyota.

When they fail, they tend to make this sound at startup when cold (noise starts at about 0:25).

YouTube

I'm dealing with this now on my car and trying to figure out how to proceed. Mine is doing it on first start in the morning but then doesn't do it the rest of the day. If it totally fails you will have no power brakes.

Nobody really seems to know what causes the noise. To me the motor and pump themselves seem fine because you can hear them running smoothly for a bit until pressure builds. My current theory is the internal high pressure switch is sticky when cold causing the booster to try to over pressurize causing this hydraulic hammer type noise. Unfortunately I don't think the internal pressure switch is individually replaceable and is integral to the master cylinder assembly.

There are two sub assemblies that are cheaper ($750-1100) that MIGHT solve the issue but people report sometimes not having success resolving the issue until replacing the whole booster assembly.
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Old 05-04-2019, 12:41 AM #13
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Quote:
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Why ask us? You're Much closer to it, go find out and let us Know!

Fancy the look though!
Sometimes people on the forums know a car that has a certain "history."

Carfax can take a few months to process certain things and so I've seen forum members for other cars alert prospective buyers that a given car was in a wreck and through some shady maneuvering by the dealership won't show up on the carfax until hopefully they've passed it on to an unsuspecting buyer.

Good and bad news:
I did get that job so I am officially vehicle hunting.
Someone scooped up that 4runner before I could even go see it! Was only listed for 10 days. I would have gone earlier but hadn't heard about the job offer until today.

I need to get a car preferably in the next 15 days or so so unless I get lucky I might have to wait awhile to come back to these forums

Currently looking at this now:
https://www.carsforsale.com/vehicle/details/48291289
I'll check it out sunday for rust, but the rear bumper rust isn't a good sign.

I really wanted a 4runner for the reliability, ability to go almost anywhere, and use it for business (commercial wrap, hauling bottles of product and selling booth). If I can't find a 4runner, next best thing is a tacoma right?
Any other recommendations? Or to my dismay, get something like a 2003 highlander for the cargo and commercial wrap it. Again, need a car before my start date so I can't be too picky.

I might have to get a fun commuter like a Lexus IS300 and make do in the meantime transporting bottles of my product and wait until the proper 4runner comes along in the future. Let's see how this story plays out.
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Old 05-04-2019, 09:08 AM #14
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I saw that listing last week during my periodic autotrader search for 3 gens. I found my 2001 from the midwest with 128k just over 4 years ago for 5k with a 3yr/30k extended warranty (1.5k of the 5k) thru the dealer.

Had some rust issues that needed to be addressed for about 1k (see my posts), but to date I am all in (maint & upgrades) for around 14k. Majority of my costs have been a Sonoran Steel 1.2kit along with another 2k for misc suspension parts (lbjs, tie rods, upper & lower lcas) and fresh hardware. Right off the bat I did the following: all fluids, radiator, exhaust from the cats back, brakes - TBU front & rebuild rear, plugs/wires, sway bar links/bushings, and a bunch of misc items such as o2 sensors, led bulbs, power ant mast, floor mats, window vents, wipers, fuel tank skid, radio, speakers, etc. Valve cover gaskets were covered by the warranty too.

Now at 170k it's almost time to dummy up for some new rubber and the timing belt service. My expense log is projecting 20k "all in" to do everything that I want to do...skids, sliders, armor, leather seat bottom replacements, etc.

If it's in decent shape underneath and has been cared for, then go for it if you have the time and money to build it up. Exterior seems to be nice in the pics. I'd drop some dough on the necessities straight away before traveling all over the US in a vehicle of that age though. Good luck!

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Old 05-04-2019, 10:23 AM #15
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Any other recommendations?
2000 4Runner 5 speed
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