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Old 09-30-2019, 09:45 PM #1
Cvett95 Cvett95 is offline
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What would you pay? Ď96 SR5 Blown HG

Iíve got a baby on the way and have decided to get another 4runner for the wife. Iíve found a plain Jane Ď96 SR5 4WD with fancy little gold emblems and.. a blown head gasket. Dude was originally asking 1500 for it when I first went to look at it. Told me he was towing a couple SeaDoos up a hill and all of a sudden he lost power and engine started to stumble and bog, eventually killing the engine, never to start again (2+ years ago). Thinks itís the head gasket but I didnít have a solid battery to check compression. Trans fluid looked and smelled healthy.

Dude calls me 3 months later asking $800 for it, which was very tempting but I told him Iíd think about it. The thought has grown on me the past couple days so I thought Iíd reach out to the community for your thoughts. Replacing the HG isnít discouraging, and it would be a great past time endeavor.. although Iíve never done one in this engine.

So, what do you guys think? $800 for a grocery getter/baby carrier, or let it go?
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Old 09-30-2019, 09:50 PM #2
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If he called you and said $800 hes desperate to sell.

Tell um $500. I'd fix it my self so a chance to cover whatever else just needed to fix.
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Old 09-30-2019, 10:04 PM #3
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How many miles on the engine? Would you do just the one HG or both and rebuild the heads? You won't know how the cylinder walls are until you get the heads off even if you have a borescope. If you can get it for $500-800 then spend some money on a long block and do the swap; you will end up with a new(ish) drive train if you have confidence in the trans, transfer, and differential. Of course then there's the 24 yo front end to consider too but there's no reason you couldn't end up a near new 96 you can have great confidence in when all done. Figure a budget of $5k and if less that then great. You would still have a nice restored 96 for under $6k. Maybe under $4k depending on how much you do yourself.

Could be a nice project if you're into giving it the time. You could let a trusted mechanic do it if you don't have the room and/or equipment and spend more but then your time would be yours to do other things like spending it with family.
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Old 09-30-2019, 10:22 PM #4
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Sitting for 2+ years? Battery is dead, the interior probably smells like a garbage dump (things don't stay water tight that long) and not to mention the shape of the engine. You'll get condensation and water in the oil after that long sitting around which does bad things to the walls of the pistons and others sensitive parts. Not to mention the level of corrosion you'll find in the coolant.

If you get it be prepared to do a complete engine swap. Actually, plan on it.
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Old 09-30-2019, 10:50 PM #5
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Sounds reasonable if the rest is in good condition.
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Old 10-01-2019, 01:00 AM #6
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I did basically the same thing last year. I paid $600 dollars, for a moderately clean and rust free 99 Limited, 180K. Mine still kinda drove, it started at least...

I think I would wanna know more about whats really wrong with it, and sit down and get a firm plan together on what you are actually going to spend. Originally I thought that it would be a cheap side project and I would flip it, just for fun. Now I'm keeping it and going through everything, so my wife can drive it. All I'm saying is, this can be a real rabbit hole, not always a bad thing, but be ready.

And my budget went up in smoke, long ago, haha.....
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Last edited by Red October; 10-01-2019 at 07:17 PM.
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Old 10-01-2019, 07:13 AM #7
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Well think about this......if its a blown head gasket, think about what that coolant has done to the cylinder walls if its actually pooled up in there. You could do emory cloth if you wanna spin the chambers lol Or completely strip it down and send it all to a machine shop then buiild it back up.

But at that point...I would rather pay that money for a 4runner that has been in a accident and still runs. Because you could achieve that for the same amount of money.
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