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Old 09-14-2019, 05:10 PM #1
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Early and Late Gen 3

Is there a difference between the quality of the build in early Gen 3's and Later built ones. I have 2 2001 a Sport and SR5. I built a 1997 Limited for my sister inlaw I noticed the doors felt smoother opening closing so I don't know if it's how it was built or how it was taken care of. Both the 2001's feel the same and are fine but just different.
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Old 09-14-2019, 05:47 PM #2
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Nothing major that I've noticed. All limited models came with a little extra sound deadening, doesn't matter what year. The main areas of improvement in the newer years are ergonomics in the controls, different more resilient fabric in the cloth equipped models and improved lighting equipment as the years went on. Not much changed structurally or mechanically, minor electronic changes were made throughout the years.

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Old 09-14-2019, 06:10 PM #3
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Quality-wise and structurally they are the same. All 4Runners are built in Japan and Q/C is good. Also 96-02 Toyotas are some of the best. There are some changes with electronics, ABS, lighting, stereo and heater controls. In some ways 01 and 02 T4Rs are more like 4th gens.
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Old 09-14-2019, 08:29 PM #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by plcfcng View Post
...
doors felt smoother opening closing ...
Differences yet not on the doors...

enjoy the runner.
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Old 09-14-2019, 11:39 PM #5
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i have settled into these 2 2001's now and long distance care for the 1997. Still work on some of the P and M just enjoying driving them. Trips to Northern CA from So Cal as well as Las Vegas have no fear of break downs even at 250,000 miles.
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Old 09-17-2019, 07:45 AM #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by UnderFire View Post
Nothing major that I've noticed. All limited models came with a little extra sound deadening, doesn't matter what year.

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Lol. That definitely doesn't apply to my 1996 LTD. The most noisy car I have ever owned ))) But that doesn't stop me from loving it anyway )
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Old 09-17-2019, 08:45 AM #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by plcfcng View Post
...Trips to Northern CA from So Cal as well as Las Vegas have no fear of break downs even at 250,000 miles.
I drove mine from Austin to San Diego, PCH to SF, Sac, Tahao, Steamboat and up I70 to Denver south/west thru Rockies again and back home past summer, epic and yeah reliable! Never gave it a second thought about pushing a vehicle with over 300k thru that. Enjoy the Runner.
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Old 09-17-2019, 10:19 AM #8
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The differences are settle.. Like others have stated Chassis Engines are same. Gas tank lid different after the emissions changes of the late models.. Interior compartment center console slightly different as well as the compartment between the seats. Earlier gen have one cat and the evap box and charcoal canister in the front. Later ones have all that by the gas tank and 2 cats. The trailer 4 pin control box different in the earlier vs later. Transfer case different lots of the sr5 earlier as J configuration. While the later is 2 position and a button.

There is even differences between the Base, SR5 and Limited models. However, one thing is certain. If maintenance is done and issues fixed as they come up. These run for an extremely long time. Just getting broke in at 200K-300K miles.
Even seen someone with 720K one engine rebuild and 5 clutches in it. Mostly 300K to 400K when the engine needs a good internal rebuild if that. Its hard to beat the Cast iron Blocks of the 3rd Gen 4 runners. Anything newer went to aluminum blocks and interference timing chains. I enjoy mine.. ;-) I see lots of other folks are enjoying theirs as well.
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Old 09-17-2019, 12:15 PM #9
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The main difference is the engine sensors & interior electronics. The 96-98's have more manual controls like pushrods for the climate controls and a manual throttle cable. The 01-02's have a lot more digital screens and the engine bay has more sensors. Slightly higher maintenance since the interior electronics are known to go bad ever so often, when compared to a knob and pushrod which will never go bad. Still great overall though, just minor differences. 01-02's do have AWD though, I do wish my 98 had it in the rain.
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Old 09-17-2019, 12:40 PM #10
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i was aware of the component differences as I own 2 2001's I just felt a more solid feeling when entering and exiting the 1997. Don't get me wrong very happy with the 2001's that the wife and I drive. I had to make a cup holder for the 97 I build for my sister inlaw everyone knows about the 98 and older funky little holder. Thanks for all the input.
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