First Foray into 4Runners - My 1st Gen Build


Renaissance Redneck
Where did you find the disassembly info for the top, or did you just start pulling things off? I’d like to clean out all my window tracks etc this summer and do a repaint. I splurged on a Softopper so the hard top will be off until November or December now.519195
Where did you find the disassembly info for the top, or did you just start pulling things off? I’d like to clean out all my window tracks etc this summer and do a repaint. I splurged on a Softopper so the hard top will be off until November or December now.View attachment 519195
I pretty much kind of just started pulling things apart. I did read at some point on Facebook that the sliding window assemblies are just pushed out from the inside. It’s definitely easier if it’s been in the sun for awhile. One side was warmer and much easier than the shaded side. Then I just started unscrewing everything I could.

To get the windows out of the sliders, I had to open both and then put my feet in the tracks to hold it down. Then I pulled up close to the arc’d corner and the windows more or less fell out individually into my leg.

The rear fixed windows have a combination of bolts and nuts. I unscrewed all of them and then started prying lightly around the outside to get it to raise up. From my understanding, they have butyl tape on both the top and window which are separated by a foam center section. I used a narrow box knife to cut this as I went and then the window pivoted out.

Reassembly was pretty much the opposite, but it definitely helps to have another pair of hands and eyes to finesse the windows into the most perfect placement.
Love this build, can't believe that I am just now reading this.
Thanks man! I’ve really loved driving this truck around. So much so dare I say it might replace my cruiser on longer trips and whatnot down the road to leave my cruiser in better shape. I’d say it’s still in its early phases so there should be a lot more down the road.

A couple weeks back, my parents drove my runner up to Bentonville, AR and I drove down from KC in my cruiser and swapped them out. Driving the cruiser is nice with its superior amenities, but not being able to garage it and overall fear of damage due to lesser drivers had me wanting to swap it out.

My dad surprised me with a grille emblem for it which really helps this grille and headlight look.


I just dropped off my rear seats and RX300 headrests to be reupholstered in a fabric/pattern than matches my front seats.

I’ve been learning so much on Solidworks since I started my internship, and on the several days I’ve had with some free time, I’ve been working on my own 8020 extruded aluminum style tent design. The wedges are cool, but having spent plenty of nights in a roof top tent, I’d much rather have the volume offered by one that opens vertically. I’m still playing around with hinge lengths and whatnot trying to come up with the perfect setup. I’m also keeping my cruiser’s roof rack in mind as I would hate to have a tent overhang it as visually that seems unbalanced. If I do end up proceeding down this road, I will be building a new hardtop/softtop hybrid to go with it. All the ideas are in my mind, but the million little details are still overwhelming at this point.

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I had a 1982 Toyota truck long bed aka HiLux that had that same front end. I loved that truck, I should have never sold it.
Yeah those are easily my favorite. If I could have any Toyota truck of any vintage, it would be an 79+ first gen truck. Then maybe a new TRD Pro tundra I’d they hadn’t ruined it without the double hood scoop 😂
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Try taking apart the hvac box where the blower motor is attach under the glovebox. My 4runner was too blowing very weak after an AC charge. I open mines up and found dirt ,leaves, dust that had form since 89 .
Try taking apart the hvac box where the blower motor is attach under the glovebox. My 4runner was too blowing very weak after an AC charge. I open mines up and found dirt ,leaves, dust that had form since 89 .
Yeah that was one of the first things I did so the heater worked. I think it might just be the way it is.
Reinstalled my rear seats today after picking them up from Turner’s upholstery. They did a great job matching the pattern and stitching of my newer front seats which is exactly what I wanted. For some reason, my bottom seat latches aren’t catching right now, and I’m thinking there may be some spacer or something that was left off/lost in the process as I noticed 3 out of 4 yellow zinc plated bolts were gone and in their place were some flanged hardware store bolts.

I will probably spray the gray bars with bed liner next time I have that stuff out.

Not the best pic, but with no rear doors, it’s kind of hard to get a good picture of them. I also had the RX300 headrests redone to match.

Other than that, I haven’t done really anything but drive it. The miles have been piling on, and with the exception of it feeling like a fishbowl with an AC that doesn’t blow hard enough, it’s been great. I’ve been tracking mileage over the past 5k and it’s been doing on average 17.2mpg and I’ve seen one tank that was 19.3mpg with varied cautious driving. I’m at 211k miles right now and have several days left in KC before heading back home. I can’t wait to get home and clean the interior. I’ve been driving a bit on gravel roads and my rear tailgate seal does nothing so there’s a chalky dust on just about everything making it feel and look dirty which I hate. The perks of a black interior

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I checked several projects off my list last week. First off, I finally finished my cargo panels. The one pictured below has had a couple minor alterations in design, but this is the most recent one I had cut out. Once I get into the groove of this semester, I’ll probably throw the rear cargo panels and tailgate panel up for sale.


I then decided to clay bar the good paint and go over it with two stages of buffing compounds followed by a coat of wax. In the process, I removed all of the faded and sun damaged door ding plastic strips and the rear stone guards (might throw those back on). This has been something I’ve wanted to do for some time now and it’s great to finally have paint (except where it’s faded) that water beads up on and doesn’t have duct tape residue in places etc.


Then I took a trip out to the local LKQ and pulled a 3+1 set of 63” leaf springs off this ‘98 GMC. I used the ultimate swap kit from LROR. It was great getting these used springs for $100 because the patina on them matched the underbody of my 4runner’s.

The back end now sits slightly higher with no load or bike rack (gained 1.5”), but with some gear in the back, it leveled out really nice. I set the shackles at 30* and as of right now my shocks are limiting down travel but I still picked up nearly 4” from what I had.

I will eventually run some 14” shocks outside of the frame, but didn’t want to spend that much time and money at this point to make it happen. And I’d rather pick up a wider rear axle instead of using spacers on my existing one.

It rides amazingly well and I couldn’t be happier. The front suspension used to feel 15x better than the rear but now it’s the other way around.


One thing that seemed to have been kind of skipped over in the swap kit’s description was the lower shock mounting. It said original could be used but nothing bolted up. For the time being, I decided to elongate and widen the holes so the old shock mounts would be pinched in place by the u bolts and axle. Not ideal, but it’s quick and easy to remove down the road.

As of now that’s about it. Class starts tomorrow, but I do have a decent order of 1020 extruded aluminum coming in tomorrow for phase one of the new top build...
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I had a somewhat productive weekend working on a couple 4runner projects.
About week or two ago, after sessioning some speed humps feeling the rear suspension, an occasional clunk I had started becoming more common and pronounced. As it turned out, the lower bushing on my idler arm assembly was evicted from its home.

As with most things I do, if I am going to replace it, I might as well try and upgrade it. So I found that I could get a newer idler arm assembly and machined brass alloy bushings from 4Crawler. They have a great guide on all the different arm configurations and what works/doesn’t work.

I originally ordered a new assembly from autozone and got the inferior part so I then tried Napa. Of course I got the better part from them and some fresh brake pads for the front as well.

I went out to a buddy’s shop and decided I would throw the bushings in real quick and then throw it on the truck when I got home. Unfortunately the bushings didn’t fit. I emailed them, and they said to sand off the powder coat. After doing that, they still didn’t fit. So my stubbornness to install these upgraded bushings led to into about 6 hours of precisely filing, sanding, and wire wheeling two raised sections of the spindle down so it had a constant 20mm diameter.
Originally the part only came with one fat nut to lock it all together but the 4Crawler kit came with two different sizes so I could really lock it down which I really thought was a nice touch.



Then I started playing with the 1020 extruded aluminum and built the new hybrid top frame. Unfortunately, my canback hoops aren’t all equal and there’s quite a bit of variation between them so mounting the 1020 to it was getting pretty nasty and specific. I have decided I’m going to do away with their framework and build my own out of 1x1x.125. That should make everything a lot easier, and I’m going to try and construct a new track for the rear window as well.


I was going to make 6 of these and weld them to the tubing, but all of the bends were a little off and none of the sides were quite in the same plane. I know one side used to rub on my roll bar and I don’t know why I didn’t think of that first. Oh well. I guess at the end of the day I’ll have a canback frame in the parts pile as well.
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I love this build. Keep it up. We will be reunited with our 1st gen at Christmas and I am counting down the days.
Thanks Zach! Looking forward to seeing more updates and travels with yours when you back to it. I can’t wait for cooler weather to hit so I can get out and enjoy mine. Definitely going to hit up the ozarks at least once this fall.

Got all of my frame cut out today and some of it welded up. I’ve got 2 tubes that will run length wise, and one more cross bar that will bolt up to the roll bar (should look a lot cleaner than having tubes over and around the bar). I ran out of time today to finish drilling out all of the tabs to bolt those on, but managed to get the oil changed right as it hit 212k miles.

I’m going to try and get all the tubing done next Friday/Saturday. I’m thinking I may drop my RTT on it for a mountain bike race if the weather isn’t too hot and humid assuming I have time before heading out to race.

After tacking up the “hoops”, I test fit them and one was 1/16” of an inch off from its natural resting point but a slight pull and it bolts up with ease. I’m stoked with how well it’s all coming together.



Overall it was a great weekend. I went to coffee and cars with my dad Saturday morning, and we met a guy with an 89 pickup. He had a VVTI 1UZ in it mated to a W58 out of a Supra, and he also mentioned he has done a 2UZ swap into another truck. Very cool getting to chat with him, and turns out he only lives several miles away from where my parents live. Very tempting to dive into one for the remainding year that I’m in Oklahoma.
It sounded oh so good. He also had the radiators rear mounted since he wanted the motor rather far forward for easy access to everything since it had an unknown 250k miles on it.
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