"The Stormtrooper" 4thGen 4Runner build/adventure/shenanigans thread

Roody

Adventurer
Well only six months after selling my VehiCROSS, I'm back...this time with a 4Runner. Which is coincidentally what I set out to buy before purchasing the VX in the first place. Strange how things can come full circle, isn't it?

Anyways, I just introduced myself over on the 4Runner forum so some of what's below has been copied/pasted. This thread will serve as the hub for my build, adventures, and random shenanigans that come up with the truck. Hopefully things will go smoother than they did with the VX. They already have, so that's a good start.

Some of you may recognize this truck, as I bought it off a fellow member on here-- djtc is his username, he's a great guy and not just a true 4Runner lover but a true off-roading and adventure enthusiast.

The truck is 2005 V6 Limited, purchased in January of 2017 in Ottawa (Canada) and imported into New York by yours truly [spoiler alert: it was a PITA but is totally do-able]. Here's how it sits as of this writing:



Modifications as of now (Feb. 2017) are:
-Toytec Superflex HD springs (rear) and Eibach springs (front)
-Bilstein 5100 shocks
-16" steel wheels and 255/85/16 BFG Mud-Terrain KM2s
-SPC upper control arms
-Custom front bumper w/secondary DRLs and integrated LED lights
-Front skid plate
-Snorkel
-Sleeping platform w/drawers and cargo area track lighting
-CB radio w/Firestick antenna
-Projector headlight conversion
-Custom roof rack w/Smittybilt awning and LED camp lights
-Rock sliders
-Deep cycle batter
-High-clearance tucked exhaust w/Dynomax muffler



The plan is to use the truck to take me on the trips I've been dreaming of doing for fifteen years or so but have never been in the position to make happen. Moab, Rubicon Trail, Black Bear & Imogene Passes, and so on-- that's just the tip of the iceberg. The 4Runner will also be used for trips to the "local" wheeling areas: Rausch Creek, AOAA, Maine, etc. And, of course, it will be subjected to the usual stuff, like beach trips and getting to the trailhead for hard-to-reach hiking spots, and the likes. It won't see much day-to-day use as I have a WRX for that, but should supplement the Subaru nicely.

I will be writing about the Stormtrooper for the automotive site I contribute to, Hooniverse. Pieces specific to the site will be slightly or very different from what I post here depending on the topic. For reference going forward, all in-depth Stormtrooper updates for Hooniverse can be found by clicking this link:
Stormtrooper 4Runner

Future mods are limited...for now, at least. Obviously there's a wish list but this is very much a budget project. Ideal additions would be lockers, belly skid, on-board air, heavy duty rear bumper, back-up camera, winch, LED reverse lights, and an auxiliary input (for phone/iPod).

And that's really about it for now. I don't have any huge modification-based plans for the truck itself, but do have big plans to take advantage of it as a platform for exploring and knocking off bucket list adventure items alike.

I'm pretty damn excited about this truck and can't wait to start wheeling it. Hope to meet some of you in the future, and see some of you on the trails! I'm already signed up for the big FJ event at Rausch Creek at the end of April so that should be a good place to start if those of us in the Northeast section can't plan a meetup or trail run before that (which hopefully we can). Either way, I'm stoked to get the Stormtrooper out on the trails.

Cheers,
Ross
 

Watt maker

Active member
Welcome. That's a nice 4runner and I remember some threads about it. I have a 2008 4runner that is setup similar and we drive that thing all over plus it's my daily driver. They are great vehicles with some quirks and very few widespread problems. Thanks for sharing and I'll be checking out those links.
 

Roody

Adventurer
Welcome. That's a nice 4runner and I remember some threads about it. I have a 2008 4runner that is setup similar and we drive that thing all over plus it's my daily driver. They are great vehicles with some quirks and very few widespread problems. Thanks for sharing and I'll be checking out those links.
Thanks!


So I'm up against my first problem. Need to pass inspection but have a check engine light in the way of that. At first we thought it was the crank position sensor, then a solenoid, and now the shop the truck is at is saying it might be the cats. I'm going to check the codes and go from there, probably starting with replacing the O2 sensors.
 

djtc

Adventurer
Almost made me shed a tear when I saw this ;( . Don't worry you wont need a locker. Its a beast the way it is, I don't know what it is but the truck makes it through everything.
 

Roody

Adventurer
Almost made me shed a tear when I saw this ;( . Don't worry you wont need a locker. Its a beast the way it is, I don't know what it is but the truck makes it through everything.
Haha I knew you'd see this at some point! Lockers are very much on the dream list...things that are unnecessary but I wouldn't mind having. And still hoping to make a trip up to visit this summer!
 

Roody

Adventurer
Quick update on the Stormtrooper:

Overall, things are good. I've probably put close to 1000 miles on it and in general, the truck is doing great. However, it does need attention in a few places:

-Skid plate: needs to be re-attached on the passenger side
-Seafoam & spark plugs: the engine runs well but I’m hoping to improve MPG
-Suspension: not imminent, but will need to be replaced by summer
-Sway bars: the previous owner removed the sway bars entirely, and it could certainly use a set for road-going purposes. Cornering is… interesting. A setup with quick-disconnects would be ideal.
-Passenger side upper ball joint: about half-way through its life, needs attention in the coming months
-Driver seat: needs to be re-stuffed
-Rock slider surface rust: needs to be sanded and re-painted
-Shift knob: spins freely

Most crucially, the "major" issue is that something is causing a clanking noise in the rear end. I tend to think it's the parking brake sticking, but friends and those on the 4th-gen Facebook page have suggested looking into the wheel weights banging on the caliper, brake dust shield, or a heat shield smacking against something. Basically, it's a speed-sensitive noise of something hitting metal. It sounds somewhat hollow, but it's hard to place where it's coming from when I'm driving. It definitely comes from the back but I haven't had time to check it out just yet (hoping to this weekend).

A semi-related problem may be the truck's inability to coast. I figured that with the skinny tires (low-ish rolling resistance) it would coast well but speed comes off very quickly as soon as I let off the gas, even when going downhill. I'm thinking maybe the parking brake isn't completely disengaged even though the dash shows no light, which might be verified by the fact that the above-mentioned noise only started after I had the truck sitting with the e-brake on for a couple days.

Otherwise, things have been going smoothly.

I've written a few more pieces for Hooniverse which can be read at the links below. In them I go into much greater depth about the maintenance and upkeep I've done thus far.

Stormtrooper 4Runner: Modifications Explanations*|*Hooniverse
Stormtrooper 4Runner: Odds and ends, fixes and updates*|*Hooniverse

That's about it for now. I'll be cross-posting this on the other sites I'm maintaining build threads (T4R, FJNE) and am hoping to have updates on the things that need attention in the coming weeks. If nothing else, I need to sort out the noise issue and bolt the skid plate back down for the trip to AOAA that a few of us T4R members are working on, and then for the big 10th Anniv. FJNE event at Rausch Creek at the end of April. Time to get to work.



 

zidaro

Explorer
sweet ride. the short list is all done on it, thats awesome. can't wait to see your adventures come to fruit and all your future mods.
Loving my 4th gen i picked up last year
 

drsmonkey

Observer
A semi-related problem may be the truck's inability to coast. I figured that with the skinny tires (low-ish rolling resistance) it would coast well but speed comes off very quickly as soon as I let off the gas, even when going downhill. I'm thinking maybe the parking brake isn't completely disengaged even though the dash shows no light, which might be verified by the fact that the above-mentioned noise only started after I had the truck sitting with the e-brake on for a couple days.
Also check for a stuck caliper, common for 4th gens.
 

Simons

Adventurer
Hi Roody, congrats on your purchase! I've wheeled with the "Stormtrooper" and can confirm it's quite a capable rig. djtc had LOTS of fun with that truck. Can I ask what ended up fixing the engine light?


Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
 

Roody

Adventurer
sweet ride. the short list is all done on it, thats awesome. can't wait to see your adventures come to fruit and all your future mods.
Loving my 4th gen i picked up last year
Thanks! Adventures coming soon...

Also check for a stuck caliper, common for 4th gens.
Definitely think that could be the culprit but won't have a chance to investigate for a few days. It doesn't want to coast so I'm thinking something is frozen...

Hi Roody, congrats on your purchase! I've wheeled with the "Stormtrooper" and can confirm it's quite a capable rig. djtc had LOTS of fun with that truck. Can I ask what ended up fixing the engine light?
That's awesome! Yeah djtc (not sure if he wants his real name posted on here or not) couldn't have spoken higher of how the truck does on the trails, so I'm anxious to see how it does in a couple weeks out at AOAA in PA, and then at FJNortheasters 10th Anniv at Rausch Creek in April. As for the CEL...we cleared the code with a scanner and it the CEL stayed off long enough to get it through inspection, so it's still there (as are the other dash lights that come on when the CEL is on). I'm thinking it's an oxygen sensor...will be trying to remedy it once the weather improves. Hoping it increased MPG too...
 

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