First Foray into 4Runners - My 1st Gen Build

Hey everyone, I figured I would start documenting my 1st gen's progress on ExPo.

I’ve never really worked on any 4Runners, but I was born into a Land Cruiser family and have been working on Land Cruisers most of my life. From a young age, I remember helping my dad install seat belts on the second FJ40 he restored, and we still enjoy working on things together when our schedules allow. I'm a full time college student so this 4Runner build won't be overnight, but I am eager to quickly get it roadworthy and looking decent.

Here’s my 80 Series

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And here’s a link to the thread if you’re interested. I’d like this 4runner to be on par with my cruiser someday.

https://www.expeditionportal.com/forum/threads/the-restoration-and-build-thread-for-my-1992-fj80.137011/



Backstory:

One of my parents’ neighbors had just sold their house, and they had this ‘88 (203.5k miles) sitting next to their barn out back. It hadn’t run in several years, and at first I wasn’t totally interested in it. I wasn’t really looking for a project, and had just spent a large amount of money on other things for my cruiser so I wasn’t exactly trying to spend more money as I am really only able to do work when I’m not in class. They rolled it over to my parents' house and basically said, "if you can get it running and don’t want to buy it, we will pay you for getting it running". Needless to say, I got it running and after a drive around the neighborhood a huge grin showed up on my face. I’ve been wanting a manual for awhile and have really been itching to find an FJ40, but the prices on those are just unobtanium for me. Despite how slow people say these are, this thing felt like a Rzr to me compared to my Land Cruiser.

$500 later and it is now mine.

For starters, this thing won’t be a big time trail rig. At least right now it won’t be. I have my 80 for trips and wheeling. I want to build this thing for ripping gravel roads, bike hauling, light pick up truck duties, and everyday driving. I am going to keep it as light weight as possible.


As I am a full time student, I’m certain this won’t be completed anytime soon, but these are some of the things I would like to do and dream of doing. I’m sure as time goes on I’ll change my mind between certain things..like running a soft top full time.

Fully redone interior with black carpet and Chilewich floor mats/accents
Body off to sandblast and paint frame
Full Respray. These are the colors I am leaning towards right now. Something that won't show scratches and has a flat look to it is where my mind is right now.
TRD Pro "Cement"
Ford Raptor “Leadfoot”
Aston Martin DB11 AMR "China Gray"
Audi "Nardo Gray"
Porsche 911 “Slate Gray”
Lamborghini Grigio Telesto

1UZ/R151 swap #savethemanuals (96/97 SC400 donor or older for non interference) for practice before diving into a 2UZ swap on my 80...
Short throw shifter
Possibly a quarter panel chop and pick up tailgate if I commit to soft top full time
Custom bumpers and sliders
Skids/drivetrain lift
V6/e-locked diffs

JD Fab front LT with boxed lower arms and King coilovers
Chevy 63/LT rear with outboard shocks (requires 1.25” wheel spacers out back)
New door panels and cargo panels (ABS or aluminum depending on weight/cost)


Realistically, within the next year or so, I just want to get this thing base lined, deal with the passenger quarter panel that has a huge hole punctured into it, and get it road worthy with a refreshed interior. Surprisingly, there is like zero body rust. There are a few bubbles developing around the sliding windows in the top, but nothing going on with the body except where the quarter panel is punctured.


So far I’ve done as of 4/28/19:

Replaced:
Fuel pump and strainer
Plugs, wires, cap, rotor
Valve cover gasket and grommets
Muffler with a turbo muffler p/n: 16807CB and new tail pipe
Tail light lenses
Front bumper corners
Tail light and turn signal bulbs
Interior dome light cover
Shift boot surround
Side view mirrors
Oil change with Napa 10w-30 synthetic and platinum filter
Fuel pressure regulator
All belts
R134 AC Compressor
R134 AC Drier
O rings on all AC fittings except those in the cab
Flushed and converted to R134
Brake fluid
Clutch fluid
Radiator
Radiator hoses
Thermostat
Clutch master cylinder
Clutch slave cylinder
Carpet with mass backing from ACC
Screws holding door edge trim with #10x1/2 stainless screws
Exhaust manifold gasket and front stud
Blocked off the air injection tube, EGR piping on back of intake and passenger rear side of the block
Tailgate carpet panel with CNC cut 3/16” ABS panel
Rear cargo panels with CNC cut 3/16” ABS panels
Steering wheel with a black one from a 1986 model
Dash bulbs

Installed:
Grease-able upper ball joints
Bilstein 3-4" lift shocks
1.5" BJ spacers
Moog 81043 coils (Zuk Mod)
31x10.5r15 BFG KO2s
Custom bike grip shift knob
79-81 pick up grille
7" round headlights using OEM buckets and Dorman 42408 retaining rings (Will be building proper buckets and surrounds in the near future)
2015 Ford Police Interceptor sedan seats (Front has an electric 6 way adjustable base with lumbar while passenger seat has been remounted on OEM rails to retain tilt and slide feature)
Canback Soft top
Factory inclinometer (backlight not yet wired up)

Cleaned or fixed:
Thoroughly vacuumed the interior and cleaned as much as I could
Door jambs, window rubbers, etc
Got the rear window working by grounding the door closed switch (only works with key in hatch)
Fixed the cables on the passenger seat so it now slides forwards
Vacuum Leak
The front door handle on the inside of the passenger door now opens the door
My dad clearanced the fuel door and spaced it out so it is now flush with the body with equal gaps. He also stripped and painted the wiper arms, replaced the fuel filter and several other things here and there.
All carpet/seats from behind the driver's area was removed and the floor was pressure washed
HVAC blower fan
Battery tie down

Removed:
Crinkled bumper valence
Non essential accessory wiring (stereo is still wired up in a less than ideal way)
Hideous side steps
Bug deflector
Heavy and cracked spare
Some dents (PDR)
Port installed cruise control system and all wiring

Painted:
Corner light trim
Wheels dark bronze and cleared them with a matte finish
Lug nuts black
Rollbar to match wheels

Priorities:
Change diff and transmission/transfer case fluids
Wheel bearings and front end rebuild (be nice to do this at the same time as a mid travel coil-over conversion with new CVs)
Bigger front brakes - T100 set up?
Fix dash cracks, new upholstery, proper cup holders, center console, heated front seats, SR5 gauge cluster
 
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nice !! its getting harder and harder to find 1st gens that are not completely thrashed or all chopped up for wheelin rigs .
Thanks! I didn’t realize what was even sitting in front of me. Just looking at everything it needed I wasn’t too interested, but now that I’ve been researching a ton, I would have been a fool to pass it up. I definitely want to preserve and modernize it in ways. No sawzalls getting used on this body haha.

Nice 1st gen! The more the merrier on the forums!
Thanks! The more the merrier indeed. Not too many people bringing these back to life here in Oklahoma like us!
 

DaveInDenver

Expedition Leader
I would seriously consider a 3RZ swap over a 1UZ unless you're completely dead set on it!
That's the way I'd go on a 22R-E powered truck. It's appropriate for the engine bay and won't eat up the drivetrain. Or a 2.8R Cummins, but different direction there.
 

bkg

Explorer
That's the way I'd go on a 22R-E powered truck. It's appropriate for the engine bay and won't eat up the drivetrain. Or a 2.8R Cummins, but different direction there.
2.7 eco-boost would be fun...

But it's easy to spend other people's money... I agree that a 2rz or 3rz is the best option...
 
At this point I’m not dead set on anything, but I’m a big fan of the UZ motors and fairly familiar with them. A R2.8 certainly would be cool, but I can’t afford the price of entry for one of those. I’ve seen sc400s in the mid 100k mile range for sale locally for $1000-2000 which seems like a fair price for a donor vehicle all things considered.

From what I’ve read, it seems like a lot of 22REs are being rebuilt in the early to mid 200k mile range. At this point I’m not even opposed to boosting this motor and playing with it as is, but I’m not counting on it lasting as long as my Cruiser’s 3FE, and I’m not trying to turn it into a money pit. The PO had no idea if anything in the motor had ever been touched, and judging from how everything looks, I’d bet it’s all original.

For similar weights and fuel mileage results, why exactly are the the 3vz and 5vz the typically swaps compared to the 1UZ? I’m sure the 1UZ would be capable of rivaling them in efficiency, but the power band and actual power are in a totally different league. Obviously I’d probably be dealing with a drivetrain that wasn’t designed for it, but I do have a spare 80 series rear axle that could go in if that were the case.

Even though a 1UZ and 2UZ aren’t the same and neither is my 4runner vs 80 series, I keep thinking a 1UZ swap would be a great learning experience for when it comes time to 2UZ swap my cruiser. As irrational as that sounds, it seems to make sense to me.
 

DaveInDenver

Expedition Leader
An early 1UZ from an SC400 might be OK, they didn't make nearly the power as the later ones IIRC.

Note that your 80 axle won't work in the 1st gen 4Runner without a lot of work. The diff is offset on the Cruiser and centered on the mini trucks. Also your 4Runner still has rear leafs. And the track is quite a bit narrower. You might as well just start with a narrowed Ford 9" or Dana 60 if you're axle swapping or just go full custom Diamond with whatever third member you like. But you already have the more desirable wider rear end that matches the IFS so the easiest upgrade is a third member from a V6 or an e-locker from a Tacoma.

But it's the transmission you have, the W56 (I think, you may still have a G58 even), that will die first. They can start to break even with a V6, forget a V8. So you really should consider a R150 or R151, which came behind the V6 trucks and turbo 22RTE. Then the problem is finding a bell housing since there's never been a UZ with a stick shift in the U.S. you have to look to Australia.

Then there's the weight and clearance around the front diff. So suspension and steering would have to be considered.

Unless you're planning to go with an automatic and offset Cruiser t-case. Which would mean all of this is irrelevant.

The reason for the 3RZ is you can use the bell housing Marlin has from the W59 in the Tacoma and not have to change the transmission (assuming you have a W56) or t-case or anything. The intake and exhaust are all swapped sides, so you have to deal with getting the exhaust around the fuel tank but that's not insurmountable. Then it's just motor mounts and wiring. Just that simple, done in a weekend... ;-)

But seriously, it's the easiest swap for the return. You get 3.0L V6 power but it's not a ton of custom work since lots of people have done it. But it's like has been mentioned, if the point is to do interesting custom stuff then a Toyota V8 would be that. Just a lot of uncharted territory.
 
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bkg

Explorer
Cruiser axles in a mini are very doable... Off-set rear would benefit from being flipped (will take a little work on the mounting flange) so the driveshaft doesn't end up in the gas tank. For the front, the biggest issue is steering; but Hellfire Fab Works has that taken care of. Would I use the FJ/FZJ axles if I had them? Yup. Would I use them over Diamond? Nope. Would I use the FJ/FZJ brakes/diff in a diamond (even though it would take custom shafts)? Absolutely.

For engines, biggest reason for the 5vz being a popular swap from the 3vz is that it's nearly bolt in. 2rz/3rz into a 22re - easier than a 5vze into a 22re package and, as @DaveInDenver mentioned, can use most of the stock drivetrain. I would absolutely NOT - N.O.T. - put money into the 22re to try and boost performance. Unless you're willing to spend $5k+, you're never going to touch the 3rz stock performance... BTDT... Getting even 130HP out of a 22re takes work.

Personally... as much as I lust for a nicely build 1uz in my Tacoma... I'd do an all aluminum 5.3 LS first... MUCH easier to package than the UZ motors - those DOHC heads are very, very wide. Having said that, there are companies that are making the UZ motor swap pretty darned easy now...
 
An early 1UZ from an SC400 might be OK, they didn't make nearly the power as the later ones IIRC.

Note that your 80 axle won't work in the 1st gen 4Runner without a lot of work. The diff is offset on the Cruiser and centered on the mini trucks. Also your 4Runner still has rear leafs. And the track is quite a bit narrower. You might as well just start with a narrowed Ford 9" or Dana 60 if you're axle swapping or just go full custom Diamond with whatever third member you like. But you already have the more desirable wider rear end that matches the IFS so the easiest upgrade is a third member from a V6 or an e-locker from a Tacoma.

But it's the transmission you have, the W56 (I think, you may still have a G58 even), that will die first. They can start to break even with a V6, forget a V8. So you really should consider a R150 or R151, which came behind the V6 trucks and turbo 22RTE. Then the problem is finding a bell housing since there's never been a UZ with a stick shift in the U.S. you have to look to Australia.

Then there's the weight and clearance around the front diff. So suspension and steering would have to be considered.

Unless you're planning to go with an automatic and offset Cruiser t-case. Which would mean all of this is irrelevant.

The reason for the 3RZ is you can use the bell housing Marlin has from the W59 in the Tacoma and not have to change the transmission (assuming you have a W56) or t-case or anything. The intake and exhaust are all swapped sides, so you have to deal with getting the exhaust around the fuel tank but that's not insurmountable. Then it's just motor mounts and wiring. Just that simple, done in a weekend... ;-)

But seriously, it's the easiest swap for the return. You get 3.0L V6 power but it's not a ton of custom work since lots of people have done it. But it's like has been mentioned, if the point is to do interesting custom stuff then a Toyota V8 would be that. Just a lot of uncharted territory.
Thanks for all that info and that’s definitely a lot to consider. I definitely understand it all would be a lot of work, but I’m not afraid of putting in work and fabrication. I thought I mentioned above, but I would definitely be looking to mate an R150F to the 1UZ it as those seem to be good to 400ft lbs of torque.

In regards to driveline drop and the 80 rear axle:

I haven’t even thought much into my cruiser rear axle and transfer case set up yet. I just said that as that’s what I have sitting around but once again I’m not deadset on anything right now, although it would certainly handle the 1uz power.

Obviously more custom parts = time and money, but as this is a “fun vehicle” I’m not in a rush to do a quick swap.

For now though, I’m just going to get to enjoying this thing for what it is and when the time arises, see what can be done.
 
Cruiser axles in a mini are very doable... Off-set rear would benefit from being flipped (will take a little work on the mounting flange) so the driveshaft doesn't end up in the gas tank. For the front, the biggest issue is steering; but Hellfire Fab Works has that taken care of. Would I use the FJ/FZJ axles if I had them? Yup. Would I use them over Diamond? Nope. Would I use the FJ/FZJ brakes/diff in a diamond (even though it would take custom shafts)? Absolutely.

For engines, biggest reason for the 5vz being a popular swap from the 3vz is that it's nearly bolt in. 2rz/3rz into a 22re - easier than a 5vze into a 22re package and, as @DaveInDenver mentioned, can use most of the stock drivetrain. I would absolutely NOT - N.O.T. - put money into the 22re to try and boost performance. Unless you're willing to spend $5k+, you're never going to touch the 3rz stock performance... BTDT... Getting even 130HP out of a 22re takes work.

Personally... as much as I lust for a nicely build 1uz in my Tacoma... I'd do an all aluminum 5.3 LS first... MUCH easier to package than the UZ motors - those DOHC heads are very, very wide. Having said that, there are companies that are making the UZ motor swap pretty darned easy now...
Good to know you don’t recommend boosting the performance of the 22re. That would have been probably something I would have been doing, if and only if, I had to rebuild this motor in the immediate future.

I’m not really interested in any LS swaps. If I were into that, I’d have probably already done one on my 80, but I just can’t bring myself to put anything GM into my stuff. Keeping it Toyota, in my mind, is a huge plus.
 
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DaveInDenver

Expedition Leader
There's nothing wrong with an 8" axle and a V8 if you use V6 third members. The axle itself can flex so with some trussing you'd be fine. Guys run Marlin Ultimates with 8" axles, so as long as you don't do a V8 with a doubler you'll be driving less torque than them. The bigger issue is the IFS CV axles. Once I had two lockers I never broke one again. The key is keeping contact with terra firma and not needing to bounce so much, which is what kills them.

Like I mention, the problem with a UZ is finding a bell housing for the R150/151. I think it's a custom thing from inconsistent sources. I dunno, just something I've heard. I'd probably be trying to source an H151F instead anyway, which is what it would have come with in a 2UZ 100 series with a stick shift.

Other than the novelty of a UZ I don't see the point. There's so much more to be gained on a dollar-for-dollar basis with a Vortec or small block. I think we all went through the "Keep it Mothership Toyota" at some point. But the reality is a motor is just a motor and once you decide to modify the vehicle I think all bets are off. A LS powered truck sure runs and sounds good.

The main reason I wanted to swap in a Toyota diesel (but never got around to it) was some vague romantic idea of bouncing my truck around on 3rd world dirt roads. But the PITA of trying to keep some hobbled together Frankentruck now 25 years on seems much less attractive. At least with a LS you can take the whole thing from a Chevy and have a pretty good idea what to buy at NAPA when it doesn't run.

I built a 22R-E with a Engbldr head, crawler cam, LCE headers, oversized throttle body and intake. It wasn't boosted but it looked cool. It was still really slow. Money on a 3RZ is MUCH better spent.

22re_029.jpg
 
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battleaxe

Captain Obvious
I did nearly the same thing Dave... Coming from turbo nissan engines to a 22RE was probably the biggest shock I've experienced with vehicles. I really didn't expect the 22RE to be THAT slow.

Meanwhile I had people at every turn telling me to swap in a 3RZ or 1UZ. Looking around now briefly, there's a ton more support for the swap than there was 6-7 years ago when I was looking.

Northwest Toys has a decent selection of swap parts. For example, if you went with most of their parts, you'd be sitting at around $4,500 to bolt in a 1UZ. (that's including headers, radiator, AC, etc.). Just the flywheel/clutch, bellhousing, and mounts is $1,700.
 
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