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Old 11-18-2019, 11:36 AM #1
Pug25 Pug25 is offline
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95 4Runner Where to START!

Just bought a 95 4Runner SR5 4wd 3L Auto, 150K miles, looks like it needs suspension and steering all around. I am an above average amateur mechanic, but I am used to race care/track cars, I have never worked on 4wd. Plan is to get this up and running on the cheap so my son and I can take it to some local offroad parks and try out 4 wheelin. Since I have to change balljoints, front shocks, tie rod ends, bushings, etc etc is there anything I should "upgrade" rather than bring it back to stock? Keeping in mind I don't want to make anything close to an "extreme" build until I get deeper into the sport. Just have some fun and see where it takes me...

Been looking at Low Range Offroad should I mess with the 2.5 IFS lift?

Is getting a winch on it a priority?

Anything else I might want to upgrade etc for beginner offroading?

THANKS!!!
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Old 11-18-2019, 03:45 PM #2
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Be careful with the upgrade rabbit hole... It's a deep dark endless journey...

That being said, if I were you I would just get it back to stock. You're on the right track with ball joints and tie rods and such. Don't forget the steering idler arm. Those tend to go bad too soon. Once you start lifting you go down the path... Bigger tires, upgraded differentials, more more more. I wood recommend driving it and seeing how far it takes you based on your comfort level. I never recommend a full IFS lift since all it allows you to do is put on bigger tires since you're still dropping the diff by a large margin. For this suspension I can't recommend upper ball joint spacers enough. It allows for more overall clearance, and allows relaxation of the torsion bars (springs essentially) so the ride is much smoother. Pair that with a good set of OME rear springs and you'll be set.

Of course I'm partial to that set up since that's what I run and I can tell you it pretty much allows me to go where I want, just shy of full blown rock crawling.

These trucks are pretty darn capable out of the gate. No harm in going full rebuilt stock level replacements and larger tires (you can fit 32" tires on stock suspension no problem). That will give you all kinds of time to practice and see what you do and don't like

Winches are tricky. They are super convenient but it also gives you bigger balls to try harder stuff "because I have a winch" so be weary of that slope as well. A harbor freight come-along is super cheap and can do everything a winch can do just about.
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Old 11-19-2019, 12:52 PM #3
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If you're looking at mods, and this is primarily an offroad vehicle, consider an automatic locker. Automatic lockers are pretty cheap ($300) and you can install one yourself. The 2nd gen has fairly limited suspension travel, so it's easy to lift a wheel on opposite corners and get hung up on even mildly uneven terrain. A locker on either end will pretty much eliminate that issue.

If you don't plan to use it much on the highway in snow, install manual hubs ($100 for an Aisin set on ebay) and put the autolocker in the front. That's what I did (see signature), and I love it. Drives totally normally on the highway in 2wd with the hubs unlocked, and goes anywhere offroad locked in 4wd. The front locker makes it a handful when street driving on snow/ice, though.

I'd do the locker before the winch, for sure. I still don't have a winch - haven't really needed one.
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1994 SR5, V6, 5-spd, Aussie locker front, Aisin manual hubs, Truetrac rear, 33/10.50/15 BFG KO's, stock suspension, OBA (Viair 400C), Front Range Offroad twin stick, 221K miles. Dual 2.28 transfer cases, for a 90:1 crawl ratio.

Last edited by RonJR; 11-19-2019 at 12:54 PM.
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Old 11-19-2019, 08:52 PM #4
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Thanks for the info. Makes sense. Think Iíll add stock height Bilsteins all around and go through all the wear and tear bits. I read up on the Aussie locker, sounds like a limited slip on steroids. I am not familiar with the manual locking hubs. Why would I need those and an Aussie locker? Aussie locker up front and manual locking hubs in the rear? That way itís rwd open diff in the rear(unlocked) for road driving, all 4 locked when off road in 4wd? This truck will only be for playing in the dirt, and being in South Carolina ice/snow isnít an issue!

Thanks again for all the advice!
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Old 11-19-2019, 09:10 PM #5
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Sounds like you need to do some reading on lockers before you make any decisions. Briefly, an Aussie (or any automatic) locker is sort of like a ratchet that always applies power to the slowest wheel. Unlike the ratchets you're used to, it works in forward and reverse. It unlocks the faster wheel so you can make turns without skipping and hopping. It's similar in effect to an LSD in mildly slippery conditions, but vastly better when one wheel on an axle is lifted off the ground.

The locking hubs go on the front wheels, to disconnect the CV shafts and thus the locker from the front wheel rotation when you're on the highway in 2wd. Otherwise the nature of the locker is that the front drive shaft and internal gears in the transfer case will always be turning, even when in 2wd. That doesn't really hurt anything, but costs some gas and adds wear and tear. For a vehicle that is not a daily driver, it's probably not a big deal.

Being out west, my offroading is on rocks, not so much in mud. Lockers are very helpful when it's rocky and ledgy. For mud, an LSD might be almost as helpful, and is a lot easier to get along with on the highway. I like the Truetrac for an LSD.

The "offroad" sub forum on this forum has a good sticky article on lockers. Might want to check that out.
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2006 Sport Edition, V8, 181K miles, 2.5/1.5 Daystar spacer lift, SPC adjustable UCA's, 255/75/17 BFG KO2's load range C @ 40psi.

1994 SR5, V6, 5-spd, Aussie locker front, Aisin manual hubs, Truetrac rear, 33/10.50/15 BFG KO's, stock suspension, OBA (Viair 400C), Front Range Offroad twin stick, 221K miles. Dual 2.28 transfer cases, for a 90:1 crawl ratio.
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Old 11-22-2019, 08:51 AM #6
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Photobucket sucks, but the content is still good.

I always likes FOGs truck and they way he went about it.

Phase II, S.S. Minnow build thread
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Old 11-22-2019, 06:18 PM #7
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I recently purchased a 93, SR5, V6, 5sp with 220K miles. The front and rear shocks were shot and the rear springs sagged badly. I installed an OME 2 inch lift kit with torsion bars as I may install a winch at a later date. It lifted the back 4 inches and I ended up lowering the front 3/4 inch to make it level. The ride is great, firm but not harsh. I did go with the soft rear springs.
Since I use it 80% of the time off-road I installed a Spartan rear locker. It clicks when turning on the pavement and sometimes it sticks, squeals the tires and releases with a bang. You have to learn to be very easy with the gas when turning tight and slow on the pavement. In the dirt it works great and keeps you moving when you pick up a rear wheel.
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