"The Border Runner" build thread: '87 4runner built for epic PanAm journey

marcus469

New member
Nice one Brenton and Shannon, I like the look of your truck. I just did a round trip to Costa Rica and back in my 89 4runner. It was great. A word of support on your tires, I've got 31" mtr treadwrites and they did just fine, loaded and doing 80mph at times, not a problem. Fuel economy was pretty bad especially at altitude in the hills but the truck was really solid.

Went down in 11 days from Tucson, far too quick but had to meet my wife and daughter off the plane. Came back in 2weeks with an expo member, Steve, who responded to a post on here. We had a fun time. Never got round to doing a report on here but if you want any info I'd be happy to tell you what I can.

Try to check out El Salvador, it was a revelation. Ruta Lenca in Honduras too if you can.

Cheers

Marcus
 

Ruined Adventures

Expo Poser
Thanks for the tips Marcus! La Ruta Lenca looks pretty awesome, I hope we swing thru that neck of the woods.

I believe I saw some of Steve's report from your trip, looked pretty awesome and I remember admiring your 4runner. Hopefully you'll keep up with our trip and shoot us ideas and recommendations when they come to you.

We're getting really close to departure (January 29th) and being away from the 4runner is driving me insane! There's still so much to do before we leave.
 

tanglefoot

ExPoseur
For lighting, I had some aux lights mounted on the front (but never HID--way too expensive, as you mentioned) but I never really thought they were very helpful until I moved them to the sides. I put my cheap pair ($20) of clear fogs (nice, diffuse flood pattern) up inside the front fender wells pointed to the sides. You can barely see them when they're off but at night in remote and forested areas, they really add scope and reduce that tunnel vision by nicely illuminating the areas on both sides of the truck. They always give me the warm fuzzies when I'm on the trail at night and I flip them on.

Unless you need to drive 60 mph through the desert at night, I've never found extra front lighting to be much of a help, myself. They mainly just blind everyone and make the natives grumpy.

The 4Runner's looking great! I love the OME springs and shocks on the '85--they really transformed the character of the rig--much more civilized! I really like your interior design!
 

Ruined Adventures

Expo Poser
Thanks Elliot, you made Shannon blush! (I assume you were referring to her?)
I put my cheap pair ($20) of clear fogs (nice, diffuse flood pattern) up inside the front fender wells pointed to the sides. You can barely see them when they're off but at night in remote and forested areas, they really add scope and reduce that tunnel vision by nicely illuminating the areas on both sides of the truck.
Cool idea! I may have to try something like that if we have time...

On another note, I got a little carried away today in the shop. Something's brewing...I can only give you a teaser pic for now.

 

Toyotero

Explorer
Gun turrent to shoot your way through N Mexico?

IraqTruck2.jpg


or RV roof vent?

metal_vent.jpg

I've always wondered how one of these would work out in a 4R.
 
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Ruined Adventures

Expo Poser
Yep, I cut a big friggin' hole in our roof. :Wow1:

Toyotero, you're getting warmer...



and that Hannibal Roof Rack I had for sale? Apparently nobody was interested in a quality roof rack discounted by over 60%...so I said to hell with it. I'll just hack that up too.



Now before anybody freaks out because I "ruined" a $1500 roof rack, let it be known that I found this rack on craigslist for next to nothing. It was already hacked up and the original mounting brackets were gone...besides, I do what I want!
 
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Ruined Adventures

Expo Poser
Now that you all think I've completely lost it, here's the whole reason that I went wild on my roof...



It's called a Fantastic Vent and it has a 12v reversible fan...those hot and stuffy nights in the back of the 4runner will hopefully be a little more comfortable.



Ahhhh, just pop the top open...



With the 4runner sitting as high as it is, you don't really notice the little dome-lens up there while it's closed...unless you're Andre the Giant (may he rest in peace) or you're looking down on it (shame on you), it just looks like another mall-cruiser.



Still have some trim work to do on the interior, but you get the idea. The fan has 3 speeds and it blows in/out. We could cook inside if we wanted to and it would work like an exhaust or we could blow cold air in thru the side windows and ventilate the stuffy air from the roof.



We also got a nice little 12v portable fan that perfectly hangs on the rain gutter of the rear slider window. We now have an intake and an exhaust fan to get the air moving a little. Maybe I should have cut a hole for a stovepipe chimney while I was at it, that would be nice for those chilly nights in the Andes mountains.



For those of you who like to carry gear on the roof of your 1st Generation 4runner, here's what it's all bolted to:



I found it 1/8" thin most the way around, then it thickens up to a whopping 3/8" thick in the fatter section. It seems that the thicker sections run from one side of the roof to the other, but I have no clue if there's a consistency to it or if I managed to cut thru the only thick section...let's hope this roof doesn't crumble in on me. I don't plan on using the rack to carry anything but a surfboard, but it's nice to have it just in case. I wanted to get rid of it, but nobody wanted to buy it so I figure what the hell...it may come in handy in the next 30,000 miles. Since I've mounted the rack thru several points, I feel like I've reinforced the roof a little. Skewed logic, but these removable tops aren't exactly designed by NASA engineers anyway...here's to you, 1987.
 
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CYi5

Explorer
Sweet vents! I think you're spot on if you're planning on sleeping in the rig; a cool, ventilated atmosphere will help so much!
 

ab1985

Explorer
What do you estimate the weight of your rack and cargo on the roof to be? Or more importantly, what's the max you'd be comfortable with? I'd really like a roof rack for light loads (think awning and maybe a solar panel and/or small amount of firewood), but that section of roof you cut out is scary. I'd love to get a can back to provide proper support, but I like camping inside the hard shell, and not sure how I would feel about a soft top in that regard.
 

Ruined Adventures

Expo Poser
What do you estimate the weight of your rack and cargo on the roof to be? Or more importantly, what's the max you'd be comfortable with? I'd really like a roof rack for light loads (think awning and maybe a solar panel and/or small amount of firewood), but that section of roof you cut out is scary. I'd love to get a can back to provide proper support, but I like camping inside the hard shell, and not sure how I would feel about a soft top in that regard.
My rack weighed 39 lbs and the Fantastic Fan that I added to the roof is about 11 lbs. I don't plan on having anything else up there besides the surfboard, which weighs 9 lbs. Add 5 pounds for straps and hardware then round up, that puts me at around 65 lbs total.

I've added a bungee cargo net to the interior, also mounted thru the roof. I'd guess there will be another 20 lbs of stuff up there at any time. This is mostly lightweight/flimsy stuff that's just tucked out of the way up there. I can't strap too much thru the bungee net, otherwise it bounces around a lot or sags really far down.

I guarantee there will be times that I put more gear up there. Nothing heavy and only for short side-trips. Sometimes it's not worth properly loading the gear inside for some reason or another, like relocating to a nearby campsite.

I think an awning and a solar panel may add up quicker than you'd think. Especially the firewood...I know of one occasion that I hauled a ton of lumber on my old roof rack and it was sketchy as hell, but it was a desperate situation. I won't be trying that again, but would it survive it a few dozen times? Maybe. Maybe you should think more about a rear swingout cargo basket or even a front receiver hitch to carry a cargo basket when you go on camping trips.
 
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