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Old 02-26-2021, 11:37 PM #1
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At an impasse with my 3rd gen

For every thing good with this 4 runner I have something bad. Can't decide if I should drive it til it dies or keep it and start fixing some of the stuff wrong. My biggest issue is the car is consuming coolant but the only symptom is a misfire at cold startup for about 15 sec. I highly suspect a cracked head given how hard I had to fight the number 3 spark plug. Car is cosmetically ugly(ish) now. Paint is fading on hood, roof and fender flares and the front leather is trash. 302k miles also. I did a major suspension refresh when I got it 15k ago. All new components, energy suspension bushings etc. Added 5th gen TRD wheels and tires (takeoffs). The truck drives well and straight and everything works.
I'm more than capable of fixing what I don't like but is it worth it? I thought I might just part ways with it unless it's so devalued it isn't worth it. At that point it becomes a winter beater.
What would you guys do? Fix it or just keep driving? Or bail out now?
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Old 02-27-2021, 12:00 AM #2
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None of us can tell you how to spend your money or time. What's worth it to me might not be worth it you or the next owner. You're also asking a forum for enthusiasts so there's an inherent bias here. The money spent on wheels and tires make up a decent chuck of an engine swap, even more so if you do it yourself.
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Old 02-27-2021, 02:06 AM #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pauleyman View Post
What would you guys do? Fix it or just keep driving? Or bail out now?
If you have nicer cars that you don't want to expose snow to then I would have the 4Runner as a beater truck. Selling it to the next owner now is going to have a good ride with a refreshed suspension.
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Old 02-27-2021, 03:49 AM #4
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If it makes you feel any better I just faced the same issue at 240k miles. Ran a compression test and confirmed my fears...

Considering that my truck has no rust whatsoever I said **** it. Painted the truck and am now getting work done on the engine. 90's 4x4's are really growing in popularity, great market for 4runners. Get a couple more years out of it and then paint and sell it.

That or do like mentioned above and have a beater truck which is useful if you've got the space.
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Old 02-27-2021, 04:03 AM #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pauleyman View Post
I'm more than capable of fixing what I don't like
You have answered your own question here. Break out the set of metric tools and start wrenching young grasshopper.
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Old 02-27-2021, 06:19 AM #6
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Throw a salvage engine in there won't cost as much if you do the work. Take it off road for a few days camping finally if you still don't want to keep it, you will get better resale value.
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Old 02-27-2021, 08:17 AM #7
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Since youíre not certain whatís wrong with the engine, why not spend a couple hundred at a good dealership and have them diagnose whatís really wrong? You can then make a better-informed decision on what you want to do.
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Old 02-27-2021, 10:33 AM #8
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I would spend a weekend trying to figure out what is wrong to make a better informed decision. Do a compression test, check the oil for coolant. How fast is it consuming coolant? There's a bunch of threads on here about misfires and pretty much anything can cause it. So just do a basic maintenance check.

But also check out the whole vehicle, if you are debating keeping it get a whole picture of the condition of anything that could be worn out.

In the end its up to you, how do you want to spend your money, and more importantly your time. If you aren't getting enjoyment out of it, probably not worth keeping.

If it was me, sounds like it might be prime for a UZ swap, or if I had the money, Cummins new drop in turbo diesel seems pretty fricking sweet.
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Old 02-27-2021, 11:12 AM #9
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I'd base the decision on Need.

What need do you have for it?

Mine is mostly used for deer lease, offroading and of course utility purposes.

Plus I do enjoy driving it, handles well and gets around pretty good in traffic.

That is what motivates me to keep it up and going strong.

Luck on deciding.
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Old 02-27-2021, 12:19 PM #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pauleyman View Post
For every thing good with this 4 runner I have something bad. Can't decide if I should drive it til it dies or keep it and start fixing some of the stuff wrong. My biggest issue is the car is consuming coolant but the only symptom is a misfire at cold startup for about 15 sec. I highly suspect a cracked head given how hard I had to fight the number 3 spark plug. Car is cosmetically ugly(ish) now. Paint is fading on hood, roof and fender flares and the front leather is trash. 302k miles also. I did a major suspension refresh when I got it 15k ago. All new components, energy suspension bushings etc. Added 5th gen TRD wheels and tires (takeoffs). The truck drives well and straight and everything works.
I'm more than capable of fixing what I don't like but is it worth it? I thought I might just part ways with it unless it's so devalued it isn't worth it. At that point it becomes a winter beater.
What would you guys do? Fix it or just keep driving? Or bail out now?
Several other replies to your question really apply. This is an enthusiasts forum...
anyways my 2 cents:
1. diagnose -- you may have a cracked head or a head gasket failure... compression test for sure, and check the oil for coolant and visa versa..
2. If the head has failed, you have 2 choices, engine replacement or remove the heads and confirm the issue and replace.
3. I see a bigger question here! The overall condition of the truck! The only fatal issue with these trucks (as parts are so plentiful), is the frame rust. If you are considering keeping it and considering investing money in it, this is at the core of your decision. You've already invested some money, so if the rust is minimal, and you like the vehicle then fix it.

If the engine is done I'd advise an engine replacement. I did a replacement in 16', I went JDM and was very successful This cost me $1500 and I did the work myself. If you did the suspension work yourself you will be more than able to do an engine. I took my time because I could. It is possible to do it in 2 weekends if you have the tools and parts at hand. Not that hard.
My Engine Swap in progress!

However, if you have significant rust, the rear trailing end mounts are the first place that rusts through and cracks. I'm from the West coast so, for me, that's terminal, however, rust belt guys talk about welding in plates! Not me...

As far as the body and seats, there are lots of parts available and with a little research, lots of seat replacement options. ie BMW E30's etc.
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Old 02-28-2021, 12:40 AM #11
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I've had a few coolant loss over the years on my 3rd gen.

Most were caused by older hoses, loose clamps, letting a little bit of coolant out without dripping down (evaporating first).

Also one or two leaks at the rear heater hoses.

Be sure you inspect all the hoses first before deciding it's the head.
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