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Old 12-30-2019, 04:36 AM #1
sdt4runner sdt4runner is offline
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350000 97 t4r

This is going to be long and confusing...

I (5th owner) purchased my 97 sr5 4x4 manual with 170000ish miles on it 03/2019 for $3700. Good condition, everything worked. Normal wear n tear for an 20+ year old truck. Since then the truck is at 180000ish miles on it 12/19. Driving it the past year has been great everything works, I have had no issues. 4x4 works great I have taken it into the snow and desert and it has always gotten me home. I purchased it off a older man (4th owner) who could not push in the clutch because his leg was injured and was causing him discomfort. He (4th owner) only owed it 3 months before realizing pushing in the clutch was going to cause him too much discomfort.

Fast forward to today. This last year along using it as a daily driver I have been doing minor maintenance to the truck, upgrading lights, detailing it, routine oil changes, replaced alternator and other miscellaneous maintenance. I have also been making a game plan on doing more serious maintenance lower ball joints, timing belts and valve cover gaskets. I was curious about the previous owners (1-3) but had no way of finding out who they were or obtaining any service records. The man (4th owner) I purchased the 4runner from didn't have the contact info from the previous owner (3rd owner).

So I had the idea of doing a CarFax Vehicle history on the 4runner.... Long story short at some point between the 2nd and 3rd owner the odometer got rolled back 170000 miles.

The 4runner has spent its entire life in Southern California.

First owner:
originally purchased 2/97
Drove it to 45000 miles then sold 3/13/00

Second owner:
Purchased 3/18/00 with 45,000 miles on the 4runner.
Lots of service records and I was able to cross check with VIN on toyota owners account. They drove the 4runner a lot.
10/20/11 is the first red flag on car fax it was reported with structural damage. At this point the verified miles 287,984.
10/27/11 the 4runner go in for a emissions test. Now the reported miles are at 118,096 this is the second red flag on the car fax report "potential odometer rollback".
11/14/11 the 4runner passes smog and is sold to the 3rd owner

Third Owner:
11/17/11-01/22/19
This owner did the smog check like clock work and didn't seem to drive it that much. Mileage went from 118,096 up too 165,000

Fourth Owner(old guy):
Like I said before this is the man I purchased the 4runner from he didn't want to sell it but pushing in the clutch was too uncomfortable for him. He was super cool and lived near me.

5th owner (me):
I LOVE 3rd gen 4runners this is my second one. If I am doing my math right this 4runner has around 350000 miles on it! It runs really well and I still want to keep up with the maintenance. I am looking for feed back on where I should go from here. I do not think I will get anywhere with legal action nor do I have the time or energy for that. I do not think the 3rd and 4th owners had any idea of the true mileage. My running theory is that the 2nd owner got into an accident and decided not to fix the 4runner. So it went too auction and a shady mechanic go a hold of it fixed it and rolled back the odometer to 118,908 so they could sell it. I can not verify this is even possible since I am not that knowledgeable and don't know the mechanics of doing something like that. I would like to know what you think.

All of the information I got was from the CARFAX vehicle history and using the VIN on the toyota owners website.

I know 100% I need to replace the valve cover gaskets, they are leaking. The timing belt has been changed once for sure that I can trace back to the maintenance history. I also know that the lower ball joints need to be replaced. I have replaced the alternator and done some exterior and interior lighting upgrades. Other than that the truck runs awesome. I really wanted this truck to be the rare find that I thought it was. I'm still stoked on it, like I said I LOVE 3rd gens and I really wanted this particular set up to start a cool build and make some good memories in. The truck currently indicates 180000ish on it and if my math is correct who ever did the rollback took off around 170000 miles.

Thank you so much for reading this is my first time posting and I would appreciate your feed back.
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Old 01-03-2020, 06:26 PM #2
cahilc cahilc is offline
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Keep Rocking!

Yup, lbj's and radiator. Rad even for a manual. They do eventually clog up. Got 300k out of the original rad on my manual '96. Address any leaks and good maintenance. Clutch when it starts to slip. I'd still be rolling with my '96 if it wasn't for rust issues. You've got the rust issue checked. Good for you.

Prefer the 96,97, & 98 years. Pre electronic complexity.

Laughed when I read about switching from manual to auto. I get that believe me.

I consider 350k a good broken in vehicle. Gonna need to address the past maintenance gaps when they show. No worries.

Carry On!

Sure others more experienced will chime in to add info.

Cheers!
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1996 Base, 2.7l, 2wd manual, 356k with original clutch!
2002 Sport, 3.4l, 2wd auto, 232k.
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Old 01-04-2020, 12:45 PM #3
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plcfcng plcfcng is offline
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From my perspective you have two ways to go either your going to repair it or sell it. I had a 1998 that had almost the same history as your 4runner. I repaired it but decided that I wanted something a little nicer after I was done i put it up for sale. I did not pull a CarFax but the wear did not reflect the mileage on the 4Runner. When i sold it I was up front to buyers telling them that i did not think the Odometer was accurate and let them decide what they wanted to do. The guy who purchased it seemed ok with it and have not heard anything either way after the sale.

If you like the 4runner compare it to replacing it with something you would like to drive. I am Not sure if you are going to do the work or have it done if you did sell it I'm sure there is someone who will enjoy this as a fixer upper. I would just hate to see something like a Ball joiint failure or P/M issue causing something bad to happen.
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