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Old 09-20-2021, 01:27 AM #1
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Project Cents and Sensibility, Low Buck, High Class

Well, I'm back at it yet again. The need has arisen for the family to have a sensible, practical vehicle in the driveway ready to go. What better vehicle to do that than the venerable 3rd gen 4Runner.

So after a relatively short hunt I've found the perfect candidate. As anyone who's seen my prior build habits knows, I'm kind of a miser when it comes to these trucks. Even in a hyper-inflated market I've made it happen on a budget though.

I ended up with a 2000 Limited, beautiful IJM and Topaz two tone, which needs some attention. The only real problem is that the transmission is toast. It's a 2WD that I thought I had a transmission sitting at home for, but it ends up that niether 2wd auto I have will work. So I've decided to go ahead and invest a little into a 4x4 conversion.

Most of the particulars ended up already being addressed to my surprise after picking it up. New brakes all around, new shocks, new Yokohama AT's within the last 6 months, and a timing belt job 40k ago. In my opinion making this runner an absolute steal. $2,000 is what I paid.

I am on the hunt for a new front and rear bumper to replace the dented up ones. Color matched Topaz tan from 99-00 Limited in Black, IJM or Maroon. Keep an eye out for me yall!

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'97 3RZ 5 Speed "FrankenRunner" (Build Thread) - Dormant

The "shitmobile" 500$ 3RZ Auto 4Runner - (Saved from the Scrapyard: Resurrecting a 500$ 3rd Gen

02 Tacoma Double Cab, mid-travel, locked, armored, supercharged and riced. (Longbed and 5 speed in the works)

Last edited by UnderFire; 09-20-2021 at 01:51 AM.
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Old 09-20-2021, 02:04 PM #2
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I have the old 2WD trans from my '99 sitting in the garage... shipping would be a pain from SoCal though.

The 4WD conversion should be fun, assuming you can get a crashed 4WD from Copart or whatever for a good price.

-Charlie
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Old 09-20-2021, 06:21 PM #3
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Quote:
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I have the old 2WD trans from my '99 sitting in the garage... shipping would be a pain from SoCal though.

The 4WD conversion should be fun, assuming you can get a crashed 4WD from Copart or whatever for a good price.

-Charlie
I was really only considering leaving it 2WD because of the transmissions I had laying around. The conversion will pay for itself if I ever decide to sell this one. It's not the first conversion I've done actually, this will be the 3rd. It's super simple in reality and requires no special parts or wiring unless you want to get fancy with it. I'll make sure to do a decent simple write up when the time comes. I've seen people put a weird stigma that it's extremely hard and expensive to swap, but that's not the case really.
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'97 3RZ 5 Speed "FrankenRunner" (Build Thread) - Dormant

The "shitmobile" 500$ 3RZ Auto 4Runner - (Saved from the Scrapyard: Resurrecting a 500$ 3rd Gen

02 Tacoma Double Cab, mid-travel, locked, armored, supercharged and riced. (Longbed and 5 speed in the works)
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Old 09-21-2021, 01:14 PM #4
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Quote:
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I was really only considering leaving it 2WD because of the transmissions I had laying around. The conversion will pay for itself if I ever decide to sell this one. It's not the first conversion I've done actually, this will be the 3rd. It's super simple in reality and requires no special parts or wiring unless you want to get fancy with it. I'll make sure to do a decent simple write up when the time comes. I've seen people put a weird stigma that it's extremely hard and expensive to swap, but that's not the case really.
I'm with you. I got my 4WD shell (rolled, no motor, but everything else) for $350. I spent more in beer and maintenance parts/fluids and it was done in a couple fun weekends.

If you get a complete truck and sell the 5VZ, you can do it cheap if you have the tools, space, and time.

-Charlie
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Old 09-21-2021, 06:44 PM #5
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The only ones that aren’t silly expensive now are the 2wd ones.

Sounds like your on for a project for sure.
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99’ Black “Highlander” sport, oak, 5VZ auto, 4.30 axle, e-lock, 265/75 Kanati Trail hogs, Bilstein 6112 (2”) front 5160 rear shocks, OME 2906 springs, Durobumps, 4x Inovations front middle rear skid plates, 4XI square TRD tube sliders, lil skips tank skid, lotus dev RCA skids, overland custom sway bar links, kids call it “Vader”
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Old 09-21-2021, 08:34 PM #6
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Topaz is an uncommon color, very nice, luck on getting it going again.
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2001 Limited 4WD - 333+K - SunfireRed\Thunder Cloud; - 265/75/16 Michelin A/T2s - Fat Pat's 1.5" BL, ZERO RUST - StopTech ANGLED rotors - Magnefine trans filter - In series trans cooler, ORIGINAL: paint, engine, 4wd, trans, mstr cyl & brake system, rear axle seals, A/C, steering pump, steering rack, front/center/rear diffs, all electric motors, seat heaters and so on. WooHoo!!
Oh yeah, GO LONGHORNS!
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Old 09-21-2021, 09:43 PM #7
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Quote:
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Topaz is an uncommon color, very nice, luck on getting it going again.
This has always been one of my favorite color combos. A far cry from the boring white, black and silver trucks I've ended up with so far. With a large amount of the specific color matched trim needing replaced though it may come back to haunt me.
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'97 3RZ 5 Speed "FrankenRunner" (Build Thread) - Dormant

The "shitmobile" 500$ 3RZ Auto 4Runner - (Saved from the Scrapyard: Resurrecting a 500$ 3rd Gen

02 Tacoma Double Cab, mid-travel, locked, armored, supercharged and riced. (Longbed and 5 speed in the works)
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Old 09-21-2021, 09:50 PM #8
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Posting this mainly as a reference for myself but I guess it could qualify as a WTB list as well. Everything I need for the exterior after a thorough inspection.

Front Bumper - PTM Topaz - Bar dented, valance severely scuffed, RF flare extension scuffed. Top panel OK, signals OK, Fogs OK, Tow cover OK, LF Flare ext. OK

LF Fender Flare Topaz

RR Quarter Flare Topaz

RF Headlight OEM 99-02

Rear Bumper, all 3 panels Topaz PTM, Possibly replace with Chrome. Brackets and plastics OK

RR Running Board Endcap Topaz Limited

Both Rear Mudflaps Topaz

Outside Door Handles IJM all 4 (Failed clearcoat)

Roof rack rear endcaps both sides

Antenna (Tacoma whip)
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'97 3RZ 5 Speed "FrankenRunner" (Build Thread) - Dormant

The "shitmobile" 500$ 3RZ Auto 4Runner - (Saved from the Scrapyard: Resurrecting a 500$ 3rd Gen

02 Tacoma Double Cab, mid-travel, locked, armored, supercharged and riced. (Longbed and 5 speed in the works)
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Old 09-21-2021, 10:20 PM #9
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Awesome, didnt know swapping trans to 4x4 was "easy" how many hours do you think ?. very cool. Just bought a 2002 myself.
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Old 09-21-2021, 10:34 PM #10
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Awesome, didnt know swapping trans to 4x4 was "easy" how many hours do you think ?. very cool. Just bought a 2002 myself.
Swapping out the transmission itself and modyifying the mount is the most time consuming and difficult part. Amount of time it takes depends on how familiar you are with the chassis. It may only take me 10 hours having done everything multiple times even though I tend to work slow, someone less experienced could easily take double the time and have a lot of headaches sourcing the parts.
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'97 3RZ 5 Speed "FrankenRunner" (Build Thread) - Dormant

The "shitmobile" 500$ 3RZ Auto 4Runner - (Saved from the Scrapyard: Resurrecting a 500$ 3rd Gen

02 Tacoma Double Cab, mid-travel, locked, armored, supercharged and riced. (Longbed and 5 speed in the works)
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Old 09-22-2021, 09:07 AM #11
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Quote:
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Swapping out the transmission itself and modyifying the mount is the most time consuming and difficult part. Amount of time it takes depends on how familiar you are with the chassis. It may only take me 10 hours having done everything multiple times even though I tend to work slow, someone less experienced could easily take double the time and have a lot of headaches sourcing the parts.
20 hours + for me sounds about right..

Is it about the same if you wanted to swap out gears ?
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Old 09-22-2021, 01:22 PM #12
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20 hours + for me sounds about right..

Is it about the same if you wanted to swap out gears ?
It isn't just the trans - you do have to modify the body, move a crossmember, and handle the front diff wiring too. There are subtleties in there you have to know to get the right parts. Not a great deal if you pay a shop to do it, but not a crazy task if you have the parts, knowledge, tools, space, etc.

Me and a buddy of mine did it over the course of a couple weekends. Probably 30-40 hours total. You can see it in the thread linked in my signature.

-Charlie
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Old 09-23-2021, 09:45 AM #13
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Quote:
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It isn't just the trans - you do have to modify the body, move a crossmember, and handle the front diff wiring too. There are subtleties in there you have to know to get the right parts. Not a great deal if you pay a shop to do it, but not a crazy task if you have the parts, knowledge, tools, space, etc.

Me and a buddy of mine did it over the course of a couple weekends. Probably 30-40 hours total. You can see it in the thread linked in my signature.

-Charlie
will do, thanks
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Old 09-28-2021, 07:24 PM #14
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First couple parts finds for this one ended up being partial. I've picked up a transmission and front diff, a little more expensive than expected at $500, but with sub-150k miles I found it hard to say no.

Then the local junkyard payed off just a little bit with about half a rear bumper in 8/10 condition. Some scrapes and a couple dings but much better than the completely destroyed original. Still missing the drive side panel, the original was too destroyed to bolt up to a straight bumper and I found a small kink in the quarter near the forward mount that will fight me in the future as well.

I also learned that the 2000 and newer 4Runners have crash boxes on the rear bumper brackets as well as an additional center reinforcement, all of which bolted into the 1999 bumper just fine.
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'97 3RZ 5 Speed "FrankenRunner" (Build Thread) - Dormant

The "shitmobile" 500$ 3RZ Auto 4Runner - (Saved from the Scrapyard: Resurrecting a 500$ 3rd Gen

02 Tacoma Double Cab, mid-travel, locked, armored, supercharged and riced. (Longbed and 5 speed in the works)
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