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Old 01-17-2020, 01:58 AM #31
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Good thread topic Jerod.

I'm close to you as I live in Rancho Cordova now and can vouch that I see more and more with some catastrophic failure (I'm sure we are looking at the same posts for Sacramento).

I drive 12 miles to work and 12 miles home. Everyday I'm guaranteed to see a minimum of 4 different 3rd gens. Today I counted 6, just on my way home. At two different points on my drive home today, there were another two 3rd gens near me on the same road (and they were different from the other two I saw).
I see the same two everyday on the freeway in the morning, and I drive by two others parked on the surface streets near my work. They are everywhere around us in Sacramento.
I'd say it looks like those still running are well maintained and looked after around me.

I'd love to drop the cash for a second as a backup or just because, but it just doesn't seem practical to have four 20+ year old cars to maintain at one time.

Jerod, if you're ever looking for a pick-n-pull buddy, hit me up. I'm 5 minutes to the wrecking yards on Sunrise.
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Old 01-17-2020, 12:38 PM #32
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Just because these trucks are breaking down after 18 to 23 years of usage doesnt mean that we cant view them as the most reliable anymore. The 4th gen v8 will more than likely last a lot longer than the 5vz. However 3rd gen 4runners are the best and always will be. The 5th gens are horrible, second gens are the 3rd gens ugly brother 1st gens are cool but personally I'm not into them. 4th gens are second place in my book. I hope more and more end up in the junkyard. More parts for us who are die hard 3rd gen guys to keep our rigs moving into the classic car era. The more 3rd gens that get removed from the road the more ours will be worth over time. Just my oppinion.
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Old 01-17-2020, 01:12 PM #33
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As Tim said 700,000 were made.

There's only a handful of enthusiasts to keep them around (you all!) and keep them running in original condition or otherwise. Mine for example has 370k on it and while I'll probably do mild modifications to it I want to keep it relatively true to it's current state.

The other 680,000 out there are just people that needed a car and it's now getting up into the high miles and things start breaking down. How many threads doing mods really start with the posting owner trying to keep the thing alive?

I love seeing other 3rd gens out on the road and I can tell when the owner of it has a passion for their 4runner or if they are just another car owner. ehhem saggy rear

Are they a classic like a 1st gen: not yet but I sure as hell will keep mine around till it is.
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Old 01-17-2020, 01:23 PM #34
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I love seeing other 3rd gens out on the road and I can tell when the owner of it has a passion for their 4runner or if they are just another car owner. ehhem saggy rear
I can agree with that observation.
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Old 01-17-2020, 01:24 PM #35
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Good thread topic Jerod.

I'm close to you as I live in Rancho Cordova now and can vouch that I see more and more with some catastrophic failure (I'm sure we are looking at the same posts for Sacramento).

I drive 12 miles to work and 12 miles home. Everyday I'm guaranteed to see a minimum of 4 different 3rd gens. Today I counted 6, just on my way home. At two different points on my drive home today, there were another two 3rd gens near me on the same road (and they were different from the other two I saw).
I see the same two everyday on the freeway in the morning, and I drive by two others parked on the surface streets near my work. They are everywhere around us in Sacramento.
I'd say it looks like those still running are well maintained and looked after around me.

I'd love to drop the cash for a second as a backup or just because, but it just doesn't seem practical to have four 20+ year old cars to maintain at one time.

Jerod, if you're ever looking for a pick-n-pull buddy, hit me up. I'm 5 minutes to the wrecking yards on Sunrise.
Oh for sure, they are everywhere around here. In the 1,000's at least! There's a few clean ones in my neighborhood including a Sunfire Red 4Runner with factory painted bumpers that is immaculate, an older couple drives it and I bet they are the one and only owners.

I've noticed a lot more "clunkers" on the road though. It used to be the 2nd Gens that were sagging, taped windows, missing the tail light etc. but now I see more 3rd Gens that way. I think age and mileage are starting to claim them. Definitely still a lot of nice ones on the road though.
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Old 01-17-2020, 02:27 PM #36
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I actually see a handful of 3rd gens on my daily drives to work here in NV. I think if you're on the East coast, you see less of them as they all suffer from the rotting frames.

I can imagine they end up at your local pick a part from lack of maintenance, LBJ failures or accidents..

I've owned a 5th gen and would choose a 3rd gen over it..
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Old 01-17-2020, 02:52 PM #37
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Hmmm, I live in Fresno, maybe itís time to make the 2-hour drive to Rancho Cordova and start scouting some parts...

OP, this is a great thread, and I like reading everyoneís observations and theories. These 3rd gens will decrease in numbers with time, but thereís a good chance a lot of them will be kept around by enthusiasts like ourselves. I donít see a cult status on these vehicles in the future, but I do see people keep them for the fact that itís a no-nonsense, reliable, durable truck. There are people who buy truck-based SUVs for the image of being outdoorsy and rugged, as 4Runners have always appealed to that crowd. Then there are people who really put the 4Runnerís capabilities to good use.
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Old 01-17-2020, 04:30 PM #38
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Timely thread for me since I've been thinking about my 3rd gen a bit lately. I've kept it longer than any car I've owned by almost twice the years. I bought it with 10K miles on it in 2003, it's a 2002 SR5 model that came with leather (which I've never seen). It was a lease from some exec or something.

It's been one of the best vehicles I've ever owned and at this point I'd still spend quite a bit on it to keep it fresh. I'm doing some updates to it now as a matter of fact.

I figure these will be classics due to their character and reputation.

I rarely see one on the road around here (Middle TN) but there are two nice ones in my neighborhood oddly enough.

I think what others have said is right though. Values will bottom out if they haven't already and when a repair is 30% of what the vehicle is currently worth most folks just get something else.

Here I am looking at doing updated leather, heated seats, new leather steering wheel, and maybe a new paint job in that Sunburst Orange color LOL. I'll have more in updates than the truck is currently worth, but I love this thing. This is when Toyota actually made some cool cars. New stuff, not so much. Too big and boxy for my tastes.

I live close to a Nissan plant and occasionally I see a 1980 Nissan 4x4 truck running around fully restored. Pretty cool.
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Old 01-17-2020, 06:22 PM #39
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I live in Florida, I see many 3rd gens, maybe due to the fact rust really isn't a thing here.
I just purchased my 1996 with 208k miles from a friend that had it since it had 24k miles in 1998. He's not a wrench turner, I am. He definitely looked at it as an old POS truck, even though he did take great care of it. Which worked in my favor as he let me have it for $1000. Seats are reupholstered leather, timing belt, water pump, belts all done at 185k. All electronics and windows/locks work great. Only thing I really need to do to it is the usual VC gaskets and clean out the maf/iac/tb. These things are like working on Hondas, they are not that difficult. I plan to have this for another 100k miles, and hey in 5 years I can get an antique tag for it ;)
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Old 01-17-2020, 09:35 PM #40
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Great thread. I just moved to a small Texas town from Houston. There are so many different cars in Houston that I rarely spotted 3rd gen 4Runners. But now I see one or two in this town of 1,200 people.

Itís weird because one looks nicer shape than mine and Iím a bit jealous.

My 4Runner is a 98. But it only has 180k. Almost all of those miles are from inner city driving that consists of starts and stops in gridlock traffic. I hear itís the worst kind of driving you can put your car through. Because of this Iíve had to replace a lot of engine components over the years.

I just got my Runner back after spending a month at a dealership undergoing a major overhaul. Iím so happy to have it back. But Iím not done. Now that I got it running great again the next thing I want to do is have the hood and the small panels under the headlights repainted. Theyíre pot marked with chipped paint from rocks and road debris hitting it.

Sorry for rambling.
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Old 01-17-2020, 11:08 PM #41
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The way I went about getting my 4runners is I looked for a nice one with a bad engine. I started with a 98 the condition that was a little less of a condition thenI liked so I sold it. I went on to get a 2001 SR5 Very good Paint interior very nice(after carpet cleaning). I had a friend with a JDM engine I got it from him for 600.00.

I got a 2001 Sport with a bad head gasket that one I did a Re-ring on the engine. I did a 97 limited for my sister inlaw simple Head Gasket she loves her's.

AFter the engine work I serviced all of them from front to back but even after 200,000 + they all run great with a little TLC. They are pretty easy to work on parts are easy to get parts you just have to decide weather to go Dealer parts or after market. We are keep both hoping to keep them for a long time.

The smart money from my point if you do a head gasket job send the heads to a Machine Shop and have the heads worked over about 500 to 600 Dollars. Change all the hoses that carry Coolant why go threw all the work just to loose a hose.

I just want to thank everyone that pitches in when you get stuck on something.


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Old 01-18-2020, 11:45 AM #42
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I still see a lot on the road here. Likely due to the fact that we didn't salt the roads until recently, and even now they don't go too heavy with it.

A lot of them seem to be driven but not really cared for too well. I expect that major issues will see people dumping them. I only see a few that look like the owner cares about them more than basic transportation.
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Old 01-18-2020, 12:22 PM #43
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Here's to hoping this ushers in a new era of 2JZ swaps!! Can't wait for the Timmy the Toolman video on how to do that!!
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Old 01-18-2020, 03:55 PM #44
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Sounds like it depends where you are. Yesterday at my office parking lot, out of about 15 cars, 3 were 3rd gens.
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Old 01-18-2020, 06:17 PM #45
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Sounds like it depends where you are. Yesterday at my office parking lot, out of about 15 cars, 3 were 3rd gens.
Yep, I've been to Oregon a few times since I've owned my 3rd Gens and they are everywhere. I love mountain biking in Bend and all the breweries just make it that much better.
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