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Old 11-27-2019, 02:34 PM #1
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Help me spend $4k on my 4Runner

2007 4Runner, V8, 4x4, 180k miles, stock other than tires (265 Duratracs). Have kept up with oil changes but other maintenance could have been better. Was short on cash for awhile.

I have a $4k budget and am trying to decide on parts. I can do most of my own labor, but am lacking a lot of tools (lost in a move) so that will have to be accounted for too.

I'd like to be able to get a front bumper, rear bumper with tire carrier, lift kit and new front axles (178k miles on original) and needed tools.

I don't do any crazy rock crawling. I mostly ride service roads in CO and rarely have to go over rocks more than about 12" in size or so. I'd like a decent ride, durable parts (I'd like the stuff to last at least 40k-50k miles if possible) and better control and handling offroad.


ToyTec Lift

Coastal Bumper Kits, front and rear with tire carrier

Not sure the best place to get axles.

I don't have a welder and have never welded anything, but read that these kits are easy for first-timers. I'm confident in my abilities here and with some practice I think I can get these put together for a big savings vs assembled bumpers. I wish I knew a welder.

I'd like to have everything installed before Christmas. Anyone know of good Christmas deals?

Any and all advice is welcome!

Thanks!

Last edited by Superhero; 11-27-2019 at 04:30 PM.
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Old 11-27-2019, 02:39 PM #2
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Start with some TLC if you haven't already.
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Old 11-27-2019, 02:41 PM #3
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Do you mean start with "tender loving care"? As in, maintenance? Other than the axles and I think PS fluid everything on my vehicle is in good repair. I just had the brakes and rotors done all around. Cost $600 which made me sick. Could have easily done the work for half that if I still had my tools. Which is why I'm going to buy a new basic set for this project.

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Start with some TLC if you haven't already.
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Old 11-27-2019, 03:53 PM #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Superhero View Post
Do you mean start with "tender loving care"? As in, maintenance? Other than the axles and I think PS fluid everything on my vehicle is in good repair. I just had the brakes and rotors done all around. Cost $600 which made me sick. Could have easily done the work for half that if I still had my tools. Which is why I'm going to buy a new basic set for this project.
Other things that come to mind: transmission fluid drain and fill, differential fluids, lower control arms (depending on their condition)
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Old 11-27-2019, 04:18 PM #5
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If you plan to lift, you will definitely need to look at upper and lower control arms, the lift will put stress on the ball joints. Axles should be done before anything.
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Old 11-27-2019, 04:29 PM #6
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Hmm I think posting vehicle specs might be helpful. Am updating the original post with that.


Get aftermarket UCA and LCA or just replace bushings on the stock ones?

Axles are being done regardless for sure. The boots are shredded.

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If you plan to lift, you will definitely need to look at upper and lower control arms, the lift will put stress on the ball joints. Axles should be done before anything.
I have 180k on my 4Runner and have been advised to leave the "lifetime" transmission fluid alone. I have no shifting problems. Is it advised otherwise?


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Originally Posted by Berty_K View Post
Other things that come to mind: transmission fluid drain and fill, differential fluids, lower control arms (depending on their condition)

Differentials are due for a change in 1500 miles - was going to do all of them when I replaced the front axles.

So right now, prior to lift:

Axles, diff fluids, PS fluid (I know this is needed). UCA and LCA bushings or outright replacement?

I really appreciate all the advice so far!
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Old 11-27-2019, 04:40 PM #7
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"lifetime fluid" my @$$. Definitely recommend changing fluid completely. Don't flush at a shop that uses a machine, that can push crud back up into your trans and cause problems. Many reported on this forum just drain and fill a few times until the color of the fluid is improved. I did the change thru the cooling line on the radiator, was cake. Did a full 14 qt to be sure. No issues for me. Some people get a bit of TC shudder after this and add shudderfix, works well. Some have done this BECAUSE of the shudder.

Imo, OEM control arms are the way to go unless you need a better bj angle on the uppers, lots of available after market arms for this. I'm waiting on my set of freedom offroad ucas, spc is a real good option if you can afford it. Basically, you have to remove the arms to do bushings, so why not just replace the arms and save yourself the time and headache of pressing the old ones out. Ball joints can be replaced on the uppers if the bushings are ok, but then if you need to change the angle on the BJ's this is a moot point.

I personally do all diffs and tcase once a year for good measure. I use them often, so I figure oil is cheaper than iron any day. I'd recommend if you are doing axles, do them ONE AT A TIME. If you remove both at once you will have problems. Also, a good idea to replace the seals for the axles while you do this, it's a major pita to take it all apart again because one is leaking.
Another point: if you are doing axles, that's a great time to replace the wheel hub assemblies since you need to pull the axle from the hub to change it anyway.
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Last edited by 81runner; 11-27-2019 at 04:43 PM.
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Old 11-27-2019, 04:43 PM #8
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So far after the bumpers and lift I've currently selected, I'm sitting right around $3k after shipping.

I can put the other $1k into maintenance and possibly swing the tools outside of my $4k budget, if nothing too expensive or specialized is needed for the work I need to do. I currently have half a case of diff fluid, extra air filter etc.

I'm pretty new to lifts etc. so I'm really grateful for all the advice here. I want to do things right and get as many miles and as much life out of my 4Runner as possible, so if I gotta spend more to get the vehicle ready for a lift vs buying cool parts I will.

I'm sure there are lots of 4Runner owners in Denver so am going to see if I can find a local 4x4 group or something as well.
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Old 11-27-2019, 04:48 PM #9
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I looked into the trans fluid flush, but read that the fluid levels need to be matched exactly and was pretty nervous about screwing around with the transmission generally. That kind of stuff is out of my league. Is it really as simple as drain, fill, drain, fill 14qts and call it good?

I had to replace the bushings on my Subaru, but once I realized what a PITA the bushings would be I just replaced the whole arm for each side. This is the same thing you are recommending here yes?

All the bushings on my vehicle are original OEM as far as I know. Which ones are easy and which would need to be pressed? I would like to just replace all of 'em.

Speaking of which, I would not mind getting a full round of maintenance/preventative maintenance done. I'm guessing I can go ahead and replace the plugs, and I'm sure lots of other things.

How involved would be the whole axle, seal and hub job? Any specialized tools for that? I have never worked on axles and hubs before. Have replaced brakes, rebuilt calipers etc. but nothing quite that involved.

Thank you so very much for the great information!

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"lifetime fluid" my @$$. Definitely recommend changing fluid completely. Don't flush at a shop that uses a machine, that can push crud back up into your trans and cause problems. Many reported on this forum just drain and fill a few times until the color of the fluid is improved. I did the change thru the cooling line on the radiator, was cake. Did a full 14 qt to be sure. No issues for me. Some people get a bit of TC shudder after this and add shudderfix, works well. Some have done this BECAUSE of the shudder.

Imo, OEM control arms are the way to go unless you need a better bj angle on the uppers, lots of available after market arms for this. I'm waiting on my set of freedom offroad ucas, spc is a real good option if you can afford it. Basically, you have to remove the arms to do bushings, so why not just replace the arms and save yourself the time and headache of pressing the old ones out. Ball joints can be replaced on the uppers if the bushings are ok, but then if you need to change the angle on the BJ's this is a moot point.

I personally do all diffs and tcase once a year for good measure. I use them often, so I figure oil is cheaper than iron any day. I'd recommend if you are doing axles, do them ONE AT A TIME. If you remove both at once you will have problems. Also, a good idea to replace the seals for the axles while you do this, it's a major pita to take it all apart again because one is leaking.
Another point: if you are doing axles, that's a great time to replace the wheel hub assemblies since you need to pull the axle from the hub to change it anyway.

Last edited by Superhero; 11-27-2019 at 04:54 PM.
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Old 11-27-2019, 04:51 PM #10
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You will need a sway bar relocate kit for the lift. Lifting brings the bar closer to the coilovers, it will hit and make noise, and probably limit range of motion. They are cheap, any generic kit for this model 4runner will work, no moving parts.
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Old 11-27-2019, 04:52 PM #11
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Replacing the axle is pretty simple. Make sure to buy OEM or CVJ rebuilds. The aftermarket ones suck.
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Old 11-27-2019, 04:55 PM #12
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Quote:
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Replacing the axle is pretty simple. Make sure to buy OEM or CVJ rebuilds. The aftermarket ones suck.
THIS! AM axles are complete garbage! Some times you can find factory remann decent enough, but if you plan to wheel, stick with OEM or cvj remann, they are there best.

Off topic, @phatcheeks , nice avatar! Where did you take that shot?
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Old 11-27-2019, 04:59 PM #13
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CVJ is a company or brand? I'll probably go with OEM if I can find a reasonably priced set.

You *both* have awesome avatars!

I do have some paint starting to chip here and there. Also minor hail damage. Wonder if I can get insurance to help with this. I eventually want to bedline the whole truck but that's way out of budget right now. I think I read somewhere $3k+ to get this done.


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THIS! AM axles are complete garbage! Some times you can find factory remann decent enough, but if you plan to wheel, stick with OEM or cvj remann, they are there best.

Off topic, @phatcheeks , nice avatar! Where did you take that shot?
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Old 11-27-2019, 05:07 PM #14
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Off topic, @phatcheeks , nice avatar! Where did you take that shot?
Thanks. Its at Hollister Hills SVRA. Fun place to go.
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Old 11-27-2019, 05:10 PM #15
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Quote:
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CVJ is a company or brand? I'll probably go with OEM if I can find a reasonably priced set.

You *both* have awesome avatars!

I do have some paint starting to chip here and there. Also minor hail damage. Wonder if I can get insurance to help with this. I eventually want to bedline the whole truck but that's way out of budget right now. I think I read somewhere $3k+ to get this done.
CVJ is a guy/website who rebuilds OEM Toyota axles. You have to send him your original ones back as a core to get the good price.
If you go to Toyota for axles they are $$$
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