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Old 06-14-2021, 01:32 AM #1
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Talking Just bought this 2002 Limited and am pretty stoked on it

I've been looking here for a rig for a little while and found this one locally. I posted about it in an earlier thread before I pulled the trigger. They are expensive out here in Oregon, where the premium for used cars has been added on to an already inflated market for "adventure" type vehicles.

In any case, the real decider was my mechanic. He and all the guys at his shop gave me the "I'd buy it!" OK which was fun to see other guys who are also into 4Runners.

Here's the good stuff and then the stuff I need to fix:

Good
  • 2 owners
  • Clean title
  • 200k
  • West coast car
  • No rust
  • LBJs good
  • Interior clean
  • Shifts great
  • Most everything works (see below)
  • New tires and wheels
  • Good paint

Stuff to fix
  • HVAC has classic issues, has a mind of its own
  • Timing belt probably soon
  • Rear door struts probably need replaced when it gets cold again
  • A/C recharge
  • Driver's window and moonroof a little crunchy. Operate but moonroof will remain closed just in case it decides to freeze one day.
  • Hose that's part of the power steering system needs replaced
  • Previous owner ripped his amp out of it like an ape, head unit and speakers are OK but nothing's connected so I get to pay to have that fixed
  • Driver seat lumbar stuck in Extreme Scoliosis Mode and the switch is either disconnected/broken motor/bad switch so I get to suss that out. The driver seat I'm probably going to have immediately re-foamed as I'm a soft boy and have very specific tastes when it comes to the command chair.


Otherwise it's extremely clean and has all the normal wear that a 20-year-old car would have. Some windows are stronger than others, the steering wheel is cracked at the top so I'm going to see if saddle soap and conditioner helps out the leather cover, etc.

It came with 2011 4Runner OEM 17" on it but I really like the look of the 2018 OEM 17" so I found a set for cheap locally and already got them swapped.

I've wanted this car since I was six years old. I've salivated and pined and they've always been out of my reach. But I finally made it happen.

There are some creature comforts to sort out for the summer of course. I have three main phases planned for the rig.

Phase 1
  • Timing belt
  • All fluids flushed
  • A/C recharge
  • Stereo hookup
  • HVAC
  • Power Steering Hose
  • Driver seat re-foam

Phase 2
  • Rack and cargo pod
  • Stereo mini-upgrade, Apple Carplay, backup camera, dashcam
  • Sound deadening for road noise

Phase 3
  • Tundra brake upgrade
  • Oil and trans cooler upgrade
  • Window motor replace
  • Headlight mini-upgrade (just bulbs)

I love it. Just absolutely love it. Here's the only photo I got with the new shoes on before it started pouring buckets of rain here in Oregon. The rest are before that, interior and all.











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Old 06-14-2021, 08:14 AM #2
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That radiator looks like its ready to give up the ghost. I would replace the radiator when you flush the cooling system, you don't want to take a chance with a pink milkshake.

I would also replace the lower ball joints (OEM only) unless you have a record of them being replaced recently.

Congrats on the nice look 3G!
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Old 06-14-2021, 09:43 AM #3
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I second what thegipper said. An OEM radiator is cheap compared to replacing a transmission. I'm assuming that your possessed HVAC is your HVAC control unit not working properly? If that's the case there is a guy on the forum here that repairs them. I had him repair mine and it was a really quick turn around. Auto Climate Control Repair Services
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Old 06-14-2021, 10:25 AM #4
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Good score have always liked color combo.
Radiator top brown is a bad thing !!
Before A/C recharge change the drier they have a service life costly things happen if desiccant cartridge breaks apart.
You say LBJ's good, this shouldn't be determined with the naked eye use procedure in FSM. Not worth the risk.

Congrats and enjoy !
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Old 06-14-2021, 12:29 PM #5
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Welcome to the (local) club! Just got a place with a garage in Vantucky, so lemme know if you ever need a hand.

Most of the stuff on your list is pretty easy to replace - it's just a matter of researching and determining when it's better to go OEM over aftermarket.
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Old 06-14-2021, 01:37 PM #6
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Congrats - clean looking rig. Let me join the chorus: R-A-D-I-A-T-O-R
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Old 06-14-2021, 01:59 PM #7
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Nice and congrats! Vehicle looks super.

Sounds like you have a plan, so no doubt you will make all those upgrades successfully. This forum has been a life saver and $$$ saver, too. Heck, I even met the former owner of my rig here!
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Old 06-14-2021, 09:40 PM #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thegipper View Post
That radiator looks like its ready to give up the ghost. I would replace the radiator when you flush the cooling system, you don't want to take a chance with a pink milkshake.

I would also replace the lower ball joints (OEM only) unless you have a record of them being replaced recently.

Congrats on the nice look 3G!
My mechanic (a Tacoma driver himself) said he didn't think the radiator was in bad shape BUT it is relatively cheap parts-wise so I may just do it. He's booked out for a couple weeks but when it goes in we're going to get a gameplan for the next 12 months or so.

You and @96RedRunner both mentioned the LBJs... my mechanic put it up on the rack and gave it the whole PPI treatment before I bought it. He rated them as a 1 out of 10 (1 being low, 10 high) on the wear scale. Is there something he would miss from this method?
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Old 06-14-2021, 09:42 PM #9
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@96RedRunner I believe we will be changing out this part when we re-charge the A/C. We're going with a recharge first but it's possible the system has something more sinister going on. The compressor clicks over and so it is operating electrically, per my mechanic, but without a charge we're not sure if it works. Good call though, thank you.
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Old 06-14-2021, 09:46 PM #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fiffa View Post
Welcome to the (local) club! Just got a place with a garage in Vantucky, so lemme know if you ever need a hand.

Most of the stuff on your list is pretty easy to replace - it's just a matter of researching and determining when it's better to go OEM over aftermarket.
Dude just looked through your build thread! Very dope, and appreciate the offer! I will definitely be doing some stuff myself and if I end up needing a garage I'll hit you up.

We gotta talk about your front seat conversion... This is tops of my list, the pan of mine are blasted from a foam perspective. The test drives I took I was OK but the first few long trips around town my ass is sore as hell lol
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Old 06-14-2021, 10:21 PM #11
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Nice and congrats! Vehicle looks super.

Sounds like you have a plan, so no doubt you will make all those upgrades successfully. This forum has been a life saver and $$$ saver, too. Heck, I even met the former owner of my rig here!
Craziest thing -- part of the purchase paperwork from the dealer includes a scan of the title with the prior owner on it... he lives seven blocks from me
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Old 06-15-2021, 08:17 AM #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by raincoyote View Post
My mechanic (a Tacoma driver himself) said he didn't think the radiator was in bad shape BUT it is relatively cheap parts-wise so I may just do it. He's booked out for a couple weeks but when it goes in we're going to get a gameplan for the next 12 months or so.

You and @96RedRunner both mentioned the LBJs... my mechanic put it up on the rack and gave it the whole PPI treatment before I bought it. He rated them as a 1 out of 10 (1 being low, 10 high) on the wear scale. Is there something he would miss from this method?
Both the LBJ's and the radiator are cheap insurance even if they check out fine by your mechanic. These are the two known "fatal" flaws in these trucks.

There are dozens and dozens of example of LBJ's failing on these truck with zero signs they had any issues. The rule of thumb is to replace every 100k miles to be on the safe side and again, OEM part only.

The radiators can also fail (internally) and cause coolant and transmission fluid to mix. Search pink milk shake on here and you'll have hours of reading material to support your decision to replace the radiator. There is also a bypass option but by the looks of your radiator, I would just replace it. If you get a pink milk shake, you will most likely need to replace the transmission.

Both of these items are relatively cheap for the piece of mind you'll have. Here is a link to the 3rd gen buyers guide which goes into more details about the LBJ's and radiator, I suggest you take a look at it.

Good luck and enjoy your new rig!
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Old 06-15-2021, 11:05 AM #13
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^There is a facebook group dedicated to LBJ failures in 3rd gen 4runners and 1st gen Tacomas where users have been posting for decades. I know I had seen at least one example on here where the owner had them checked out recently and they still failed. Look up the Toyota LBJ Failure Support group. It has 8400 members.

Pink milkshakes also happen and nuke transmissions.

It would be preferable to replace both before the failure mode takes place. The LBJs are a few hundred bucks and the failure mode is likely to total your vehicle and risks hurting you and/or others.

The radiator's transmission cooler failing will lead to your transmission failing and there is really no way to check its integrity. The feedneck of the radiator failing is likely to result in a head gasket and/or warped heads.

Best to have a baseline for these items. Other than those things and rust, it's pretty much only accidents that take these things out.
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Old 06-15-2021, 02:24 PM #14
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Dude just looked through your build thread! Very dope, and appreciate the offer! I will definitely be doing some stuff myself and if I end up needing a garage I'll hit you up.

We gotta talk about your front seat conversion... This is tops of my list, the pan of mine are blasted from a foam perspective. The test drives I took I was OK but the first few long trips around town my ass is sore as hell lol
Thanks, man! There's a couple down the street from me that has a decent looking 3rd gen, but I have yet to see if they're on here. I have a bunch of little crap left to do, so the garage will be getting quite a lot of use no matter what this year, lol.

The previous owner did the seats, but they're pretty simple in design. RX-8 seats on their original rails that have been welded to the 4Runner rail. The coolest unintended thing to come of it is that it raised the seating position by a few inches. Unless you're over 6'4" it gives awesome POV without losing much headroom.
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Old 06-15-2021, 03:15 PM #15
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Thumbs up Very nice!

Nice find!

I'm looking for a fairly 1999 3rd gen with a V6 and manual trans. Hopefully, I can find it someday soon.

Congrats on your new toy!

Christian
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