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Old 12-11-2020, 10:50 AM #1
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Big Bessie's build thread - kcdehart

Starting this to give my more pic-intensive posts a home. I'm a decent ways through where I want the old girl to be at this point, but hey - better late than never.

Picked up this old girl (who I promptly dubbed 'Bessie') in August 2016 with 159k miles. Pretty much 100% stock except for some ugly stick-on chrome trim and a bondo'd on front towhook.....we'll get to that in a bit.

Mods!

Aesthetics
  • Retrofitted headlights - Acme H1 bixenon kit from TRS
  • Unknown brand ditch light pods on Rago ditch light brackets with Laminex film
  • Hella Optilux 3000K halogen high beams and fog lights
  • LED blinkers F/R (resistors spliced in on the fronts - stops hyperflash for F/R)
  • LED reverse lights
  • Facelift tail lights
  • Custom license plate bracket - power sourced from trailer plug
  • Black front bumper garnish
  • Napa awning
Power
  • lol
Cooling
  • Hayden 699 Transmission cooler installed in-line
Suspension
  • Bilstein 5100s and OME 885/895 springs
  • SPC front UCAs
  • Front swaybar delete...
  • 3rd gen rear swaybar endlinks
Armor
  • LFD Offroad front skid plate
  • Jegs weld-together/weld-on sliders
Brakes
  • Goodridge 2" extended stainless steel lines - all 6
  • Semi-metallic Centric Posiquiet pads
Wheels/tires
  • 295/70R17 (33.3") Yokohama Geolandar G003 tires
  • 1st gen Tundra/Sequoia wheels - plastidipped bronze
  • 1.25" Spidertrax wheel spacers
  • TPMS bypass
Comms
  • Cobra [insert model number here] CB radio w/ 5' antenna - it's tuned and works OK on the highway, but barely better than my $25 Baofeng UV5R in the mountains
Interior
  • Fog light switch - mounted to left of dash in a factory location
  • USB charging ports in center console switch location
  • Scion T10015 head unit
  • Weathertech floor mats
  • Cupholder mod!
  • Rear hatch interior opener
  • Sleeping platform

Pretty sure I took this the day of purchase. Pretty much immediately threw on a (used) set of 265/70R17 General Grabbers - the tires on it were OK tread-wise, but had TONNSSSS of dry rot. And thus began the mods



A week or so later I learned just how much of a pain cleaning mud is



First time up Flagpole Knob (west of Harrisonburg, VA). Wanna say this was like 10/2016?



Really didn't do many more mods till winter 2018. Added 5100s and OME 885/895 springs. During this, discovered that my LCA bushings were seized, my UBJs failed shortly afterwards. Soooo, the whole front end ended up being rebuilt suspension-wise. Only upgrade there was to SPC UCAs.





And then in 2019 I found rust....



Last owner (or a dealer? not sure) had let the front radiator support rust out. When the towhook fell off, they'd used something (bondo? Not exactly sure, but it wasn't metal.) hide the rust hold around a towhook, then undercoated the entire vehicle. This towhook pulled off in my hand one day. Pretty....not fun....experience.

Ended up grinding out all the rust I could find, and rebuilding the rad support with the help of a friend with a welder. Fast forward to 2020 and it's looking like I should do the same thing with the rear crossmember. Hoping to get a full rear bumper before too long though, so may hold out for that. I used rust reformer and undercoating on it after taking those pics.



Also found a hole near the center crossmember where it meets the frame :/ Things seem solid elsewhere, so I'm just dealing with these as I find them and crossing my fingers for a frame recall (hah). Not sure how else to go about it.

Didn't touch it much for the rest of the year other than black headlights, ditch lights, and a bunch of misfire troubleshooting that ended up being a sticking injector.

2020 came around and I went to Sequoia wheels, (used) 285/70R17 KM2s, and a Rigid Armor tire carrier. Added a CB radio, cute the bumper, blacked out my fog light/blinker housings, and replaced my steering rack and busted front bumper garnish in the spring.



During the second half of the year, I've replaced my incredibly sketchy KM2s (see below pic) with 295/70R17 Yokohama Geolandar G003s (which I absolutely love). Did a bunch more cutting on the poor girl and added 1.25" Spidertrax spacers to make em fit.





Hit a pic limit, so splitting up this post. Will add a mod list.
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Last edited by kcdehart; 08-20-2021 at 11:55 AM.
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Old 12-11-2020, 10:50 AM #2
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My most recent projects have been a headlight retrofit using TheRetrofitSource's H1 kit and Panamera V2 black shrouds.





Annnd sliders! Got a kit from Jegs for $280. They're .12" DOM. Kinda wish I'd gone with a kit with a kickout, but oh well. I'm pretty happy with these, and don't think I do hard/rock stuff often enough that it'll make that much of a functional difference.



Will be adding gussets in the near future.





And here's how she sits as of this post!

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Last edited by kcdehart; 12-11-2020 at 11:39 AM.
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Old 12-11-2020, 06:36 PM #3
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I had a similar rust issue on my rear crossmember/bumper piece but not quite as bad as yours. The corner holes were similar in size after I cut back to good metal. I welded in new steel which was actually pretty easy to do. Kinda sad to see a car that looks great otherwise just rust away underneath.
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Old 12-11-2020, 08:20 PM #4
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Yeah, I'm debating doing something like that for the time being till I get a rear bumper - that'll be down the road a ways. Could buy an entirely new rear crossmember, so I'm weighing that idea as well.
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Old 12-11-2020, 09:47 PM #5
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Those Yoko's are some chonky boys, rig looking good!

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Old 12-11-2020, 10:23 PM #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by montijo505 View Post
Those Yoko's are some chonky boys, rig looking good!

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That they are! Thanks!
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Old 12-14-2020, 03:43 PM #7
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Decided I'd go the cheaper route and just replace the rear crossmember rather than doing a full bumper. The bumper isn't really needed/$2k for one isn't in the books at the moment...but that rust certainly doesn't care.

SO, ordered the crossmember and endcaps this morning. Part numbers for anyone interested (though they really weren't too hard to find):

51209-35211 Cross-Member $287.97
51391-35090 End Cap $16.76
51392-35080 End Cap $16.76

McGeorge Toyota ended up having the best prices online. ~$10 cheaper for each end cap and $20 cheaper on the crossmember. 3-day shipping for it all was also only $27!

Hopefully these can be put on before the end of the year. Doesn't seem like too wild of a job - we'll have an assortment of cutting tools and a welder at our disposal. But if anyone has recommendations - particularly around making sure things are aligned - I'd love to hear em!
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Old 12-29-2020, 11:42 PM #8
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Spent some time fixing rust and exploring around where I grew up last weekend. Pics follow:



Found a hole in the main frame, as well :/



How close I am to losing my sh!t over this rust...



Some glamour shots with the new lights and sliders







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Old 02-01-2021, 09:22 AM #9
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Got a little snow yesterday (which is pretty rare for the area, as I understand), so I jumped on the opportunity to test out the Geolandars. They weren't bad, but their lack of siping really made itself apparent in the really shallow slippery snow. Tapped the brakes backing down my (rather steep) driveway and immediately started sliding. clawed my way back up, turned around in the yard, and proceeded to slide down forwards instead of backwards. I preferred that over not using the brake and hitting the road below at 20mph.

Once I got out and about the tires did fine. No issues. Hit a back road to explore and get some pics. They give a good visual of where she's come in a year.

Left: This time last year.
Right: Now



Played with the colors a bit on these, but I like em


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Old 02-02-2021, 11:01 AM #10
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I've been chasing some power drain issues for a while now. Noticed yesterday that I was getting a bluetooth signal from the OBD-II reader that I leave plugged into the 4Runner for Torque. Unplugged it, and fingers are crossed that solves the issue I've been chasing for around a year. I'm gonna feel pretty dumb if it does lol
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Old 02-05-2021, 01:54 PM #11
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Couple small additions recently...

Broke down and got some Weathertech mats for the rear as well. Figured it'd be good to have them for the winter so gave up on trying to find a deal like I did for the front. They fit great, so I'm happy!



I also grabbed a cupholder insert from Etsy. Fits perfectly, and showed up in 2 days. For anyone interested: Toyota 4Runner Yeti Cupholder Insert 2003-2009 4th Generation | Etsy

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Old 08-20-2021, 12:03 PM #12
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Recently added:
  • An interior rear hatch open button. Super easy process following this guide: Interior Rear Hatch release Button - Toyota 4Runner Forum - Largest 4Runner Forum

    Just bought a small momentary switch, soldered some longer wires onto it, and then spliced it into the purple with white stripe and the light green with red stripe wires on the rear door ECU. I recommend disconnecting the battery before disconnecting the plugs on that ECU. Otherwise, the rear door won't work, and you'll freak out like I did until you unplug the battery as a last ditch attempt to reset it

    When adding the switch, make sure it's small enough that it clears the metal behind the plastic cover panel. Also make sure you don't drill a hole in a spot where there's no clearance behind it..............yeah, made that mistake.......measure twice, cut once...

    I also recommend adding a cover of some sort so that you don't accidentally hit it when the vehicle's unlocked.

  • A sleeping platform that folds up so that the rear seats can still be used (bought from a friend for $100)


  • Napa awning! It's proven to be amazing for keeping cool at trackdays.
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Old 09-22-2021, 08:30 AM #13
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Annnnnnd looks like the headgasket is going. Getting that done next week to the tune of $3k+ :'(
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Old 09-23-2021, 01:28 PM #14
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Nice truck Good luck with the headgasket.
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