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Old 07-06-2021, 11:11 AM #1
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Buying a 3rd gen with a swapped engine

Hi everyone,

As I continue my search for a 3rd gen T4R, I've come across a 97 automatic SR5 with a swapped engine. Engine was swapped about 80,000kms ago, chassis has about 534,000kms (pictures look good) and it comes with a bunch of extras (like tires, lift, roof rack, etc.). Sounds like the engine is from another T4R that had 160,000kms at the time of install. Asking $7,000 and open to offers.

I've already requested information on the swap, any service records and pictures of the frame. I will likely go see it today as well. I'm thinking if it checks out that I'd throw out an offer of $5000 considering there will likely be little to no resale value.

My question is does anyone have experience with buying a swapped 3rd gen? OR does anyone have experience swapping a motor into a 3rd gen? Is it a pretty complex job that requires a high level of skill/detail? Anything I should look out for?

Thanks in advance,

Eric
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Old 07-06-2021, 11:38 AM #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Berimbozo View Post
My question is does anyone have experience with buying a swapped 3rd gen? OR does anyone have experience swapping a motor into a 3rd gen? Is it a pretty complex job that requires a high level of skill/detail? Anything I should look out for?

Thanks in advance,

Eric
Swapped engines are super common and Very easy to do. It was one of the first mechanic jobs I ever did on my own past swapping brake pads, doing an oil change and tire rotation. It's a low-skill job. And I don't see it impacting resale at ALL. I actually sold that first engine swap vehicle (with yet a 3rd engine swapped in that had slightly higher performance stuff) for near top market pricing.

I'd be willing to bet that most people couldn't tell if an engine had been swapped (like for like), pro mechanics included. About the only concern I'd personally have is how long since the swap. There can be some "teething" problems where a hose was strained and fails, or an electrical connector was pinched and gives issue. But more than about 5k miles on the swap and that'll have been sorted.
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Old 07-06-2021, 11:54 AM #3
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Swapped engines are super common and Very easy to do. It was one of the first mechanic jobs I ever did on my own past swapping brake pads, doing an oil change and tire rotation. It's a low-skill job. And I don't see it impacting resale at ALL. I actually sold that first engine swap vehicle (with yet a 3rd engine swapped in that had slightly higher performance stuff) for near top market pricing.

I'd be willing to bet that most people couldn't tell if an engine had been swapped (like for like), pro mechanics included. About the only concern I'd personally have is how long since the swap. There can be some "teething" problems where a hose was strained and fails, or an electrical connector was pinched and gives issue. But more than about 5k miles on the swap and that'll have been sorted.
Thanks for the info. What would you want to know/see regarding the swap in order to have some peace of mind? If the seller wasn't able to provide any documentation for it, I should just walk away right?
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Old 07-06-2021, 12:07 PM #4
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If it's your first 3rd. Take it to a mechanic and get a pre- buy inspection. Carfax history.


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Old 07-06-2021, 12:14 PM #5
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The 3rd gen buyer's guide is actually what brought me to this forum! I was already planning on getting a carfax and a pre purchase inspection since it's my first 3rd gen but thanks for the advice!
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Old 07-06-2021, 01:30 PM #6
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Thanks for the info. What would you want to know/see regarding the swap in order to have some peace of mind? If the seller wasn't able to provide any documentation for it, I should just walk away right?
Miles since swap, if greater than ~5k (meaning I'd be okay down to about 3k if I had a good gut feeling) then schedule the PPI. Like I said, if done well (not hard to do), no one could even know the engine was swapped. Tell the inspecting mechanic and let them dig a little more for you.


Don't put much faith into carfax, my current 4r was Clearly wrecked and repainted with nothing showing. My prior T100 showed a sale/new owner for every state I registered it in (5) ~ the info is only as good as the minimum wage morons responsible for putting it in.
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Old 07-06-2021, 01:40 PM #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Berimbozo View Post
Thanks for the info. What would you want to know/see regarding the swap in order to have some peace of mind? If the seller wasn't able to provide any documentation for it, I should just walk away right?
For $5000 the only reason I would walk away is rust or chassis damage. If your planning on wrenching on it and fixing it up and it passes smog, shifts good and your mechanic gives the thumbs up I would go for it. I would also replace the radiator and lower ball joints the minute I got it home.
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Old 07-06-2021, 01:56 PM #8
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Assuming the 4runner had a 3.4 swapped for a 3.4 and not a different motor all together, its a nut and bolt job. Nothing to worry about other than the condition of the new motor. If I wanted to buy the vehicle Id probably ask to do a comp test. If it checks out, you are taking no more of a gamble than buying any other used engine/vehicle

This doesn't make sense to me "I'd throw out an offer of $5000 considering there will likely be little to no resale value." I think you just proved it has resale value, possibly $5000 resale value .
Good luck with your hunt.
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Old 07-06-2021, 02:11 PM #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NachesPass4x4 View Post
Assuming the 4runner had a 3.4 swapped for a 3.4 and not a different motor all together, its a nut and bolt job. Nothing to worry about other than the condition of the new motor. If I wanted to buy the vehicle Id probably ask to do a comp test. If it checks out, you are taking no more of a gamble than buying any other used engine/vehicle

This doesn't make sense to me "I'd throw out an offer of $5000 considering there will likely be little to no resale value." I think you just proved it has resale value, possibly $5000 resale value .
Good luck with your hunt.
Haha ya I guess that doesn't make much sense. I was just thinking that I would not be able to sell as easily or for as much if I end up finding a different 3rd gen that I like more. Sounds like the loss of resale value on a swapped engine is not as big of a concern as I had originally thought. Thanks for the advice!
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Old 07-06-2021, 04:21 PM #10
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I bought mine with a swapped engine and it has zero issues. (Engine related anyway)
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Old 07-06-2021, 05:33 PM #11
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I wouldn't buy it. But that's just my preference. But the 5000 price is fair.
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Old 07-06-2021, 06:45 PM #12
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I'd buy a T4R with an engine swap but I'd plug in an OBDII reader and look for pending codes that the seller may have just cleared. If it has a couple easy to fix codes, that might be worth leveraging for a chunk off the price...
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