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Old 12-17-2020, 12:51 PM #1
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Squirrely Dan - 2000 SR5 4wd Build/Resto thread

Squirrely Dan is the 2000 SR5 4wd 4runner I purchased in Cedar City UT in May of this year (2020) for $4000 with 245,000 miles.

It was in good shape, with a new radiator, timing belt and water pump. I tool it on a low speed test drive and everything checked out. A/C Worked, but was weak, only one key, no fob, power antenna was sticking up, broken. Interior was super clean, but worn. No major stains or anything.

Fluids all checked out, no rotten frame. one of the rear drums was warped.

Day I bought it.



I was happy with the purchase. Until I got on the highway.

This is how Squirrely Dan got his name, as soon as I got to about 50, the 4runner was all over the road. It did not want to track straight, everytime someone passed me the suspension got upset and the truck veered all over the place.

It was terrifying, as soon as I got home, I called a nearby mechanic and dropped it off. They called back and said I needed:

Front Brakes
All 4 lower control arm bushings
Front sway bar end links
swaybar bushings
Remove 'loud' muffler and replace with quieter one
Alignment

I think there were a few other things, but out the door it cost me $2200 to get it fixed. I couldve probably gone back to the guy, got into an argument, tried to get my money back, but I didnt. I probably shouldve. But this 4runner is very similar to the one my dad had when we lived in south america. So it oddly had sentimental value.

I paid for the repairs. When I got Squirrely Dan back he drove ok! No more crazy wandering.

Next problem: Interior lights dont come on when I open the driver's door. This was quickly tracked down to a broken door switch. I ordered one, and a pair of keyfobs.

That weekend we went offroading.



This is where I realized the suspension was shot. The shocks weren't working and the springs had sagged so much my rear upper control arm would hit the exhaust on small bumps.

Not a big deal, as I was planning on doing Bilstein 4600s anyway.

Fast forward a week and the keyfob and switch arrived. Door switch was easy. But try as I might the keyfob refused to work. After many attempts I gave up and did research for 2 days.

I discovered the wiring harness to the hatch was damaged. Some soldering work and bam, keyfob works!

About this time the truck threw a check engine light. Pulled the code, it was a lean condition. I was getting significant pinging on hard acceleration too. The truck had a crap cold air intake with an unknown brand air filter.



When I dissasemble the air intake I saw our famous Utah silty dust in the air intake. Replaced the MAF, cleaned the air intake, new K&N air filter and she was running fine.

The brakes were still warped, ended up putting 2 new drums on the rear (shoes were good), problem solved. ~$100 in parts

Took it to JiffyLube for an oil change that same week. They used a hard copper washer, and lazy lubetech and I had an oil slick on my drive way. I guess somehow they managed to pool oil on the skid plate and when I got home it all leaked onto the driveway.

Never again JiffyLube. They accused the 4runner's leaky valve covers for the huge oil puddle. After some talking I got a refund and they put another hard copper washer on it.

It still leaked.

I had a friend at work tell me about a mechanic in St George who maintained a fleet of Land Cruisers for a local outfitter/guide service in the area. I took the truck to him.

He fixed:
dripping oil plug with a soft aluminum crush washer
steering rack bushings
secured 02 sensor wiring

If I remember right all this (Included inspection of whole truck) was $200ish.

Truck ran well for a bit, went off roading again a few times, got another check engine light. The cold air intake had to go. I did some searching and found an airbox in Las Vegas out of a wrecked sport edition. $120 and it was at my door.

They didnt include the rubber hose from the silencer to the throttle body, but did include a toyota OEM maf that works perfectly. So $10 from amazon for the hose and boom problem solved. Check engine light is a thing of the past.

Saved up my pennies and ordered a set of new front and rear springs, and Bilstein 4600s, OEM ball joints with bots, and rear sway bar end links, he also changed the fluid in the front and rear diff and transfer case. $1025 after tax.

On the drive home the truck made a horrible clunking noise.



Turns out the guy who did the work forgot the lower bushings when reassembling the shocks. I talked to the mechanic, he apologized profusely, I took the truck back and he redid the work for free, and tossed in new bushings. Guy has never let me down before, and is highly rated, everyone has an off day. Im ok with it. He made it right, and I will continue to use him.

I picked up the truck yesterday, and this morning dropped it off at another shop to get an alignment done - $90.

I have also left a deposit with a local upholstery shop to rebuild and recover the driver and passenger front seats. $850 when its all done. They wont look exactly stock, but should be close enough that it doesn't matter.


I have around $8000 in this truck right now. Probably too much. But, eh. I dont have plans on selling it. and if I get another 100k out of it, ill be happy.


Future work:
Valve cover gaskets - $550
Rear bumper - $200ish (Replace dented chrome parts)
Rear wiper motor - ~$170
Clean and re paint frame and rear axle - $???
Clean up paint scratches and chips - $???
TRD Pro Bronze wheels and 265/70r17 tires - $1800 (Big want, but I'm having trouble convincing myself to pay so much just for wheels and tires)
Roof rack- $??? DONE - 01/12/2021 - Gift from In-laws!
LED Spots/light bar- $???



Have I spent too much on this old truck? Its not even that special. Just an SR5, no rear locker or anything.

Whatever. I keep telling myself I just gave this truck a new lease on life. Even if I got rid of it the next owner has another 100k miles of worry free ownership.

Last edited by JCruz; 01-14-2021 at 06:27 PM.
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Old 12-17-2020, 02:11 PM #2
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As long as it's not rusted, hasn't had a past pink milkshake, and doesn't have other serious issues, I think you're doing fine. The way I look at it is, first, what else would you rather have for your $8k? Also, being realistic, any used car at $8k is going to require maintenance too.

These things are old and starting to show it. The days where you find them as daily drivers having almost no maintenance are starting to end. I've put money into mine too and considered a 4th gen. But I knew what mine is and figured better to go with the devil I do know. Values for clean 3rd gens have seemingly started to rise. Not a super compelling reason to make any decision but knowing it can help the mental exercise.
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Old 01-02-2021, 03:53 PM #3
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So I got a call on Dec 29 that all the materials were in and I can drop my 4runner off to get the seats redone.

2 days later its done!



Better look at the pattern.



It's not OEM, but is close enough!

These seats are way more comfortable now! They fixed the seat pan and put in new foam! I love them!
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Old 01-02-2021, 04:18 PM #4
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Awesome seat fabric, that’s a great look. It’s a bit reminiscent of the “sport” seats the 01-02s got
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Old 01-10-2021, 07:28 PM #5
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Looks great. Nice seats.
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Old 01-10-2021, 07:39 PM #6
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That interior looks great. I need to get my front seats done here shortly. If you want, you certainly don't have to but if you start wrenching on your truck not only will you save a bunch but will feel a sense of accomplishment.
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Old 01-14-2021, 05:45 PM #7
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Recently I have noticed a burning oil smell, and I also have a slight oil leak under the truck that sometimes drips on the driveway, it sort of looks like its coming from the bell housing? I need to put it on a lift and take off the skid plate and figure it out.



My bottom is moist.


ANYWAY, I drove the 4runner from St George UT to my in-law's in Idyllwild CA, it was 6.5 hour drive. Truck did well, got around 20mpg. While there my father-in-law gave me his old load master rack since he had no use for it. So the 4runner has a new hat!



I drove back home on Monday, we decided to go through Amboy CA. Some great views of the desert going that way.

New seats were comfortable, and the 4runner did it without complaint, now it's just a hair shy of 252,000 miles.
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Old 01-14-2021, 07:38 PM #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JCruz View Post
Recently I have noticed a burning oil smell, and I also have a slight oil leak under the truck that sometimes drips on the driveway, it sort of looks like its coming from the bell housing? I need to put it on a lift and take off the skid plate and figure it out.



My bottom is moist.


ANYWAY, I drove the 4runner from St George UT to my in-law's in Idyllwild CA, it was 6.5 hour drive. Truck did well, got around 20mpg. While there my father-in-law gave me his old load master rack since he had no use for it. So the 4runner has a new hat!



I drove back home on Monday, we decided to go through Amboy CA. Some great views of the desert going that way.

New seats were comfortable, and the 4runner did it without complaint, now it's just a hair shy of 252,000 miles.
Could be the valve covers dripping all the way down depending on how bad they are leaking.. Not sure if it’s in your wheel house but you should look into getting some tools and doing some of this stuff yourself (Timmy the toolman videos on YouTube help a ton) because the valve covers could probably get done for about 100$ with oem toyota parts.
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Old 01-14-2021, 07:50 PM #9
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im loving this so far! subscribed
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1998 Limited 4x4 | SS 7.2 | ARB/XRC | RM roof rack
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Old 01-14-2021, 11:06 PM #10
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Sounds like you are doing a great job getting this thing baselined! One thing to note, before buying a new rear wiper motor, its common these to have the wiring between the body and the rear hatch to become damaged over time. Pop open the grommet and inspect it before buying that motor- you may get "lucky" and just have to solder a few wires together.
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Old 01-15-2021, 12:14 PM #11
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Quote:
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Sounds like you are doing a great job getting this thing baselined! One thing to note, before buying a new rear wiper motor, its common these to have the wiring between the body and the rear hatch to become damaged over time. Pop open the grommet and inspect it before buying that motor- you may get "lucky" and just have to solder a few wires together.
You are correct.

The hatch did have many frayed wires, I have soldered them all and fixed it. My problem is the metal stud that holds the wiper was broken off. So the wiper can't attach to the motor. I'm fairly sure I have to replace the whole motor since the stud isn't replaceable.
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Old 01-15-2021, 12:56 PM #12
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You are correct.

The hatch did have many frayed wires, I have soldered them all and fixed it. My problem is the metal stud that holds the wiper was broken off. So the wiper can't attach to the motor. I'm fairly sure I have to replace the whole motor since the stud isn't replaceable.
I have a wiper motor for sale right now.. 10$ + shipping and it’s yours, let me know.

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Old 01-15-2021, 07:39 PM #13
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Love this. Looking at a 2000 myself, and it's in way worse shape. Gives me an idea what to expect. Not scared off yet, but I'll have it checked by a mechanic to make sure the frame is not rotted out. That's my main concern with the salt here in Ontario.
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Old 01-18-2021, 08:55 PM #14
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I was out and about driving the 4runner at work today, lots of short trips, during one of them the check engine light popped on.

When I got home i ran my OBDII scanner and got a P0420 OBD-II Trouble Code: Catalyst System Efficiency Below Threshold (Bank 1) fault.

I have no drivability issues or 'rotten egg' smell.

I cleared the code, and will continue to drive it and see if it comes back. If it does I'll probably throw a pair of o2 sensors on it.


Also T4topher ill take that motor, sent you a PM.
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