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Old 09-23-2019, 04:01 PM #1
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3rd gen 4Runner Frame Rust Repair Kit

My prayer has been finally answered and we now have more serious repair options as Jeep owners do:

4-Runner 1996-2002 3rd Gen Archives - autorust.com

Kudos to AutoRust for finally bringing this to the market. I have no affiliations with them what so ever, except to bug them for many months to make this kits for the 3rd Gen 4Runners.

I have already ordered a pair of mid frame section sets. I had ordered a kit from eBay last year but I wanted to wait for a real kit, though the owner of Autorust stopped answering my emails a while ago. Naturally, I was super delighted when I saw that they finally brought this kit to the market last weekend.

Prices are a bit high but I reckon Autorust needs to recoup the development cost. I say we support them on this.
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Old 09-23-2019, 07:53 PM #2
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I just build my own... But this is great that folks have some options:-)
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Old 09-24-2019, 09:57 AM #3
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Can you tell us how you built your own? I thought of doing the same but I found it to be challenging. Did you end up using the factory LCA brackets?
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Old 09-24-2019, 10:51 AM #4
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This is pretty cool. I looked at the prices and honestly, they seem very reasonable to me.
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Old 09-24-2019, 11:38 AM #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by suncoug View Post
Can you tell us how you built your own? I thought of doing the same but I found it to be challenging. Did you end up using the factory LCA brackets?
Best to look at Brillos builds as I show photos of how I plate. The arches are the hardest. The front isn't as bad as the rears. That lower control arm bracket is a super pita. The two ways I found to do it without removing the LCA bracket is to slide the plates in from the bottom with the frame bottom removed about a ft in a half or so gone. You need a 1/2" smaller height plate then actual frame size or so to slide them in to place. The basically drill and fill with weld windows to secure the plate in place. If completely rotted out need a 2nd plate overtop on the outside.


The 2nd way if the frame is good enough, is to cut the inside rail out and place the plate first on the inside of the outside rail. Once that's in. Replate the bottom where the bracket is as those are mostly completely gone. Then weld a plate replacing the inside rail you cut out. Mostly put a second plate over that new inner and super Weld everything together. You dont want that LCA bracket coming off. If its super rusted. Just replace it. I have to replace the ones on tetanus 2 because they are about gone.

Nutrally the 3rd way is to remove the bracket fix the frame and put it back on
;)

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Build Thread: https://www.toyota-4runner.org/3rd-g...os-builds.html
Brillo's Bucket Fluid Ex changer: https://www.toyota-4runner.org/3rd-g...ml#post3358086
Sparks Plugs Wire and Coil Information: https://www.toyota-4runner.org/3rd-g...on-5vz-fe.html
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Old 09-24-2019, 12:27 PM #6
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This looks like a great option and I agree the prices seem like what Id expect. Can we assume the metal is of equal or greater quality than oem?

Thanks for sharing this!
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Old 09-24-2019, 03:42 PM #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by brillo_76 View Post
Best to look at Brillos builds as I show photos of how I plate. The arches are the hardest. The front isn't as bad as the rears. That lower control arm bracket is a super pita. The two ways I found to do it without removing the LCA bracket is to slide the plates in from the bottom with the frame bottom removed about a ft in a half or so gone. You need a 1/2" smaller height plate then actual frame size or so to slide them in to place. The basically drill and fill with weld windows to secure the plate in place. If completely rotted out need a 2nd plate overtop on the outside.


The 2nd way if the frame is good enough, is to cut the inside rail out and place the plate first on the inside of the outside rail. Once that's in. Replate the bottom where the bracket is as those are mostly completely gone. Then weld a plate replacing the inside rail you cut out. Mostly put a second plate over that new inner and super Weld everything together. You dont want that LCA bracket coming off. If its super rusted. Just replace it. I have to replace the ones on tetanus 2 because they are about gone.

Nutrally the 3rd way is to remove the bracket fix the frame and put it back on
;)

Sent from my SM-J337V using Tapatalk
I made a mistake of driving around with one of the upper control arms detached. Apparently, that put a lot of stress on the driver's side LCA bracket along the welding joints and it got separated neatly from the frame.

Thus, it was no longer an option for me to simply reinforce the LCA brackets. I actually bought two new LCA brackets and was going to fabricate a similar kit but utilizing the factory LCA brackets, but considering the curves involved and delicate weld joints, as well as alignment considerations, it was gonna be pretty challenging to do it right.

Hence, I am glad that Autorust finally made a good kit. It apparently gives you an option to keep or replace the rear cab mounts. My frame is in relatively good shape otherwise, so I will likely keep the existing cab mounts.

I also like the fact that the front part of the kit is fairly long.

I wish it was made from a thicker gauge panel, but it appears that these are well engineered kits, so I will test them out and report back.

Regarding the cost, considering the plight I was in, they are quite reasonable. However, mass produced kits for the Jeep are much cheaper. I wish there was more discount for buying both sides as a set.

Anyway, I am glad that Autorust came through. I think there will be lots of these 4runners with serious corrosion issues on the LCA joints, no matter how much Fluid Film get applied. Since I love my 5-speed 4Runner, slight pain of having to deal with this will be forgotten soon.
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Old 09-24-2019, 07:27 PM #8
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Checked them out earlier today. Awesome! I usually make my own patches with 1/8" angle and flat steel from the local hardware store, but I would definitely buy these. The price is reasonable and I've seen this stuff on Jeeps for a while.
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Old 09-24-2019, 08:14 PM #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by suncoug View Post
I made a mistake of driving around with one of the upper control arms detached. Apparently, that put a lot of stress on the driver's side LCA bracket along the welding joints and it got separated neatly from the frame.

Thus, it was no longer an option for me to simply reinforce the LCA brackets. I actually bought two new LCA brackets and was going to fabricate a similar kit but utilizing the factory LCA brackets, but considering the curves involved and delicate weld joints, as well as alignment considerations, it was gonna be pretty challenging to do it right.

Hence, I am glad that Autorust finally made a good kit. It apparently gives you an option to keep or replace the rear cab mounts. My frame is in relatively good shape otherwise, so I will likely keep the existing cab mounts.

I also like the fact that the front part of the kit is fairly long.

I wish it was made from a thicker gauge panel, but it appears that these are well engineered kits, so I will test them out and report back.

Regarding the cost, considering the plight I was in, they are quite reasonable. However, mass produced kits for the Jeep are much cheaper. I wish there was more discount for buying both sides as a set.

Anyway, I am glad that Autorust came through. I think there will be lots of these 4runners with serious corrosion issues on the LCA joints, no matter how much Fluid Film get applied. Since I love my 5-speed 4Runner, slight pain of having to deal with this will be forgotten soon.
Yes those are look like great kits. I agree with you guys that they are and its awesome to have them as an option.

You can't drive without the upper control arms missing. I did however, come up with a way to reattach those brackets as well.

Basically, you line the tube with a steel gas pipe and weld it in place. Then weld the upper brackets to it..

I used to that in the 1980s pickups as their shock pipe brackets would rust off.

Yes, once the LCA brackets come off. it does make a challenge to get them aligned back up..

Toyota does make a collision repair manual for the Gen 3 4 runners. This would give you the measurements needed to put those LCA back in the correct spot.

If you wish, you can send me PM of your photos and I can offer ideas on how to repair your bad spots in your frame. Or start a thread..:-D

I have to replace the LCA brackets in my Tetanus 2 as they are fairly rotted out when I redo its frame. I will be pulling those off and putting replacements on but that will probably be a few years away. As i need to finish the 2 in my garage first.. (1997 5 speed and 2001 sport in there now)

I just plate behind the cab mounts, then I have steel to weld too. The new cab mount welds right into the old place and its super solid.. I did that on that front arch in one my photos.

Its the holes in the frame that get us in the rust belt. That is why I weld them shut as I fix them. If the frame is sealed out its harder for it to rust from the inside out..

Look were the factory holes in the frame are in the wheel wells where you can see what happened. Its nearly impossible to keep the frame clean in the winter. The salt brine and calcium chloride they use on the roads in this state just rots rusty steel extremly quickly. :{
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Sparks Plugs Wire and Coil Information: https://www.toyota-4runner.org/3rd-g...on-5vz-fe.html
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Old 09-28-2019, 05:10 AM #10
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Thanks for bringing this to my attention.
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Old 09-28-2019, 03:11 PM #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by brillo_76 View Post
Yes those are look like great kits. I agree with you guys that they are and its awesome to have them as an option.

You can't drive without the upper control arms missing. I did however, come up with a way to reattach those brackets as well.

Basically, you line the tube with a steel gas pipe and weld it in place. Then weld the upper brackets to it..

I used to that in the 1980s pickups as their shock pipe brackets would rust off.

Yes, once the LCA brackets come off. it does make a challenge to get them aligned back up..

Toyota does make a collision repair manual for the Gen 3 4 runners. This would give you the measurements needed to put those LCA back in the correct spot.

If you wish, you can send me PM of your photos and I can offer ideas on how to repair your bad spots in your frame. Or start a thread..:-D

I have to replace the LCA brackets in my Tetanus 2 as they are fairly rotted out when I redo its frame. I will be pulling those off and putting replacements on but that will probably be a few years away. As i need to finish the 2 in my garage first.. (1997 5 speed and 2001 sport in there now)

I just plate behind the cab mounts, then I have steel to weld too. The new cab mount welds right into the old place and its super solid.. I did that on that front arch in one my photos.

Its the holes in the frame that get us in the rust belt. That is why I weld them shut as I fix them. If the frame is sealed out its harder for it to rust from the inside out..

Look were the factory holes in the frame are in the wheel wells where you can see what happened. Its nearly impossible to keep the frame clean in the winter. The salt brine and calcium chloride they use on the roads in this state just rots rusty steel extremly quickly. :{
I thought the factory holes were necessary. This seems contrary to the general sentiment on this topic.

Regarding the cross member, I actually got a a heavy duty tube with the right outer diameter. I plan on welding it inside the existing cross member. I think I saw the trick on youtube somewhere. The tube cost me almost $100. I have heard about using a exhaust pipe but I didn't want to have it fail again.

It's good to know about the factory collision repair manual. BTW, I just received the Autorust kits and I don't know how I could have made it myself. It is very long and well made. I will start the prep work and get things ready.
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Old 09-28-2019, 07:24 PM #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by suncoug View Post
I thought the factory holes were necessary. This seems contrary to the general sentiment on this topic.

Regarding the cross member, I actually got a a heavy duty tube with the right outer diameter. I plan on welding it inside the existing cross member. I think I saw the trick on youtube somewhere. The tube cost me almost $100. I have heard about using a exhaust pipe but I didn't want to have it fail again.

It's good to know about the factory collision repair manual. BTW, I just received the Autorust kits and I don't know how I could have made it myself. It is very long and well made. I will start the prep work and get things ready.
Frame holes as far as I know are not needed. Mostly they are there for machines to hold the pieces together when they are welded together in the frame factory. I been welding them shut since the late 1990s. As in the rust belt. They let all the salt water and dirt into the frames. { That is entirely up to you if you leave them open or close them off its just what I do }

I use black steel gas pipe with 43 inches long with 1.5 inner diameter which is really close to in Outer diameter. The sidewalls of this pipe is nice and think close to (1/4in ) {I think its $25 or $30 bucks} I paint the pipe with gloss black rust-oleum. Then I coat the inside of that new pipe with fluid film. I either plate the pipe hole shut or use a rubber body plug to seal that tube up in the wheel wells in each side.

Those give you something to weld the upper control arms brackets back to and your coil shock plates.

If that original pipe is rusting through, really check out those brackets and your coil plates. I have had one of those coil shock plates come loose by rotting off the frame once.. Those are not easy to reattach at all. As their location makes it extremely difficult.

Don't forget to send us photos. I enjoy seeing folks frame repairs.

I see those kits go over the original frame. Do they have any instructions with them?
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Old 09-30-2019, 05:41 PM #13
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The kit does come with a two-page general instruction sheet. It does not go over the specifics of a particular application. It mainly covers safety aspects of the installation. Basically, you cut off the rusted parts, slip the kit over, and then weld it all around.The company is known for good support, so I plan on calling them to ask about specific things related to this application.

The instruction also doesn't say anything about treating the inside part of the bracket with some kind of rust inhibitor, etc. More importantly, I am a little concerned how I (or anyone) can weld the top part of the frame rail without lifting the body, as the kit is quite tall.

Speaking of which, while my 4Runner frame is in relatively good shape overall. The round crossmember and the shock/coil mount plates are not in so good shape. I am not worried about the coil part of the plate but the spots where the shocks mount are not in good shape.

Ideally, it would be great to able to lift the body at least a couple of feet and properly address all these issues. I am also looking at outboarding the shocks for now. It looks like the outboard frame mounts for newer 4Runners and Tacoma's might work, but I have not been able to locate the part numbers for them. I would appreciate any help on this. If I don't have to worry about replacing the shock/spring plates, then it would so much easier to finish the job.

Regarding the frame holes, it sounds like makes sense to block them off, though I would be afraid of moisture being trapped inside. I guess I could always apply lots of Fluid Firm first.
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Old 09-30-2019, 08:54 PM #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by suncoug View Post
The kit does come with a two-page general instruction sheet. It does not go over the specifics of a particular application. It mainly covers safety aspects of the installation. Basically, you cut off the rusted parts, slip the kit over, and then weld it all around.The company is known for good support, so I plan on calling them to ask about specific things related to this application.


All valid questions.

First, I don't fix frames unless they are in need of it as you can see can be very time consuming projects.

Quote:

The instruction also doesn't say anything about treating the inside part of the bracket with some kind of rust inhibitor, etc. More importantly, I am a little concerned how I (or anyone) can weld the top part of the frame rail without lifting the body, as the kit is quite tall.

Yes its always best to cut the cancer out and do some kind of treatment to the steel. Rust inhibitor with paint, Fliud Film, WD-40, Something. its also best to clean all the oxide and dirt out of the area of the frame you are fixing.

So the steel goes all the way to the top of the outside rail.. That corner on top is very hard to weld like you said without lifting the body. I mostly pull everything out of my way. For example: the passenger rail. I pull the exhaust rear heater lines off running boards to get room to work on the rail itself.

Drivers rail..I pull the tank out and running board. You can mostly work around the brake lines. Especially if you plate the inside of the frame instead of the outside.

Quote:
Speaking of which, while my 4Runner frame is in relatively good shape overall. The round crossmember and the shock/coil mount plates are not in so good shape. I am not worried about the coil part of the plate but the spots where the shocks mount are not in good shape.
The round cross member can be fixed with a 1 1/2 black gas pipe 43'' inches long. You slide that steel pipe in your existing one and weld it on both sides. This gives you the ability to attach your Upper control arm brackets and the coil shock plate to the new pipe by burning into it with weld.

Quote:
Ideally, it would be great to able to lift the body at least a couple of feet and properly address all these issues. I am also looking at outboarding the shocks for now. It looks like the outboard frame mounts for newer 4Runners and Tacoma's might work, but I have not been able to locate the part numbers for them. I would appreciate any help on this. If I don't have to worry about replacing the shock/spring plates, then it would so much easier to finish the job.

Those Coil Shock plates are a real pain to fix. They can come off a frame and because of location and where they are at nightmare to reattach.

I am not sure about the moving your shocks attachment to the outside of your frame. You may not have the clearances to do so. The newer gens frames are totally different then the 3rd gens frame. The first Gen Tocuma frame almost matches. However, I believe the shock connection might be a different location then the 3rd gen 4 runners. :-(

Quote:
Regarding the frame holes, it sounds like makes sense to block them off, though I would be afraid of moisture being trapped inside. I guess I could always apply lots of Fluid Firm first.
Very little moisture can get into the frame if it has no way in. I clean the frame out completely then as I fix areas. I seal the frame holes out. In your non fixed areas you can seal the holes out with silcone and that aluminum tape {If it will stick to your Frame}

Be very heavy on the inside of the frame with Fluid. But always clean all the oxide and dirt out first before sealing. This will help slow the oxidation down big time.


Hope this helps. :-)
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7 3rd gens listed in the build thread (2 are parts mobiles)
Build Thread: https://www.toyota-4runner.org/3rd-g...os-builds.html
Brillo's Bucket Fluid Ex changer: https://www.toyota-4runner.org/3rd-g...ml#post3358086
Sparks Plugs Wire and Coil Information: https://www.toyota-4runner.org/3rd-g...on-5vz-fe.html
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Old 10-01-2019, 04:18 PM #15
suncoug suncoug is offline
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suncoug suncoug is offline
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Many thanks for your advice on this. I have actually bought an another vehicle, so I don't feel the time pressure. Still, I do want to get it back on the road before the winter.

So, for now, I plan on installing the LCA/Frame kits from Autorust. Slipping in the heavy duty pipe inside the crossmember and welding the mounts on. I will also figure out outboarding the shocks. I already bought a set is made for Ford trucks that helps with this. I will need a longer pair of shocks and spacer, but I really don't want to tackle replacing the shock/coil plates now, though I have the parts.

BTW, are you sure the length of the pipe needs to be 43". I bought a 48" pipe and it appeared to be the perfect length.
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