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Old 06-22-2020, 06:46 PM #1
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My 4Runner Journey

Hello All,
My name is Andrew, and my 4Runner story begins last year. I was/am a student living with my parents, and we were in the market for a new vehicle. My car was going to my younger brother and it was time for me to get something else. I'm going to school to be an engineer and research is something I enjoy so I began to look at a bunch of different vehicle options. I settled on a 3rd gen 4Runner because of their reasonable price, great reliability, and capability off road. A seller reached out to me with a 2002 4Runner that he hadn't posted online yet for a great price, 130k miles, bilstein 5100, a 2in OME lift and a nice aftermarket bumper.


I knew the prebuy checklist and the potential issues and everything checked out, or so I thought. Well it turns out I didn't look hard enough. The winters get pretty harsh here in Missouri and the frame had a squishy spot that needed to be addressed sooner rather than later. I felt like an idiot, but you live and you learn. I decided that I would rather sell it and disclose the problem rather than deal with frame damage. I only ended up losing a couple hundred dollars because I got it for such a good price, but here I was without a 4Runner and back searching the internet. In March I found a guy asking $1000 for a 97 with what he thought was a bad torque converter. I messaged him, got the details and found a time to drive 2 hours down to see it. Turns out he had been cursed with the notorious strawberry milkshake ruining the whole transmission. He had already replaced the radiator and flushed the system, but it was too late. It would kick out of gear after a few minutes and was ruined. I talked him down to $500, as he just wanted to get rid of it, and towed it home in April. It took me a couple of months to remove the old transmission, order a new one for about $700 and install it. It also needed valve cover gaskets done so I tackled those while I was at it. So here I am, <$1500 into a 4Runner with 280,000 miles ready to make a few mods and have some fun. I've been lurking on the site for a while, but figured it was time to introduce myself as I have a couple of questions and am looking to sell the transfer case that came with the new (used w/ ~50,000 miles) transmission. Thank you all for reading.
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Old 06-24-2020, 05:01 PM #2
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Sounds like a pretty good score. Congrats on finding a nice 3rd gen!
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Old 06-24-2020, 08:53 PM #3
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Great find! 3rd Gen's are great build rigs - tons of resources and aftermarket goodies to make them uniquely your own (as I'm sure you already know!!). Look forward to seeing more!
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Old 06-24-2020, 10:10 PM #4
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Cool journey dude. I can totally relate as a engineering student myself. When I first bought my 3rd gen a while back it had been in a roll over accident but survived and it seemed like everyday I found something new just a tad wrong with it. Despite being super frustrated at times and blowing a clutch along the way, I still have the car and absolutely am so happy about it. They just have a way of making you smile all of the time. Just ordered my lift kit so stokes to put it in. Would love to chat some more about our runners
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Old 06-25-2020, 08:08 PM #5
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Interesting story! Another engineer adding my .02c, have always admired the 3rd gen platform and think you'll really enjoy the build. The journey is half the fun, despite the late nights any bloody knuckles
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