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3rd Gen 4Runner SAS

Toy4rnr

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So I bought this factory e-locker 1997 4runner with 212k miles and timing belt done and wheeled it with the stock balding 31s on it for the last year. I decided I wanted to do something I have always wanted to try so I pursued solid axle swapping it.

Parts List:
WFO Concepts SAS radius arm builders kit
Fox Emulsion 2.0 10" coilovers with Viper 200/200lb coils (8"/12")
Ford High Pinion Dana 44 (4.88s open) with 1977 Chevy Dana 44 Inner C's and outers for 6 lug.
FJ80 8 wrap coils in the rear
Some cheapo Rough Country N3 shocks for the rear
SRQ Fab track bar correction brackets for the rear
Warn Premium hubs
Chromoly inner and outer axle shafts with Spicer u-joints

The swap is almost done, I am literally waiting on a single threaded insert for my draglink. I will post more with explanations and pictures in this thread as I gather up my pictures.

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Toy4rnr

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One of the first road blocks I ran into was I bought this axle off my roomy who had bought it off some dude that thought it was a good idea to put Dana 30 inner C's on it. So I ground the inner C's off my chevy dana 44 (which had 3 inch tubes) and cut the dana 30 C's off my HP44 housing. Due to it being narrower now I picked up some 3" OD 5/8ths thick DOM, cut two sections of it with my chop saw and had my roomy take them to work and machine them down for a 30 bomb. We machined them to slide into my housing, match the 2.75" OD of my housing and leave the end at 3" so y C's from the Chevy would fit. I then heated the C's up and slid the new tube ends inside.

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Toy4rnr

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Next step was to cut the housing so when we slid the new ends in it would match factory width. Lucky for us my roomy is going to HP44 swap his Ranger so we had another HP44 to grab measurements off of. We made the part of the ends that slide into my housing 0.005 bigger than the ID of my housing tube. I heated it red hot and slid it in leveled with pinion angle and caster corrected as seen with the angle finder. My soon to be sister in law who welds for a living came over and welded the tubes for me as I wanted someone with tons of experience to do that part as I was afraid of warping. I then welded the inner C's myself.

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Toy4rnr

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Next step once the axle was a complete housing was to rip the IFS out. A plasma would have made this much easier, but we had two grinders with cut off wheels so we made do. I then cleaned up the frame and welded on the plates. Drilled the holes for the steering box and tacked on the shock towers. I made the mistake of welding all of my bungs and ends ahead of time thinking they were precut, I was wrong. So you can see that lower link was way too long.

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Toy4rnr

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I assembled the radius arm brackets and tacked them and the coilover tabs onto the housing and hung it for mockup. Once we found the link lengths and got everything positioned I burned in the shock towers. During that time my wheels and tires showed up at Discount so I ran down and had to throw them under there for fun. Looks pretty tall since its on those huge jack stands, should be 24" frame height all said and done. Running 35" BFG KM3's and some 15x8 steelies with a 3.75" backspace.

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Toy4rnr

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Next up was the track bar bracket. Took some massaging of the frame plates with a flap wheel to get it to sit flush but we got it. After being shipped the wrong steering shaft parts twice, Summit send me some Borgeson steering joints for my kit as the TG ones were mislabeled when shipped to them. The Borg steering shaft joint would barely not fit the splines on my 4runner so I got fed up, we cut the old splines off the old steering shaft and welded it to that joint. Works great so far!

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Toy4rnr

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Getting pretty close here. Got the axle under there, measured and mocked up with the upper links installed into the brackets. We rotated the pinion to the proper angle and tacked them in place for time being. Once we verified everything looked good and the axle sat centered I tacked on the track bar bracket. I later cut it off and we marked where it needed to go as it looked like it was going to interfere with the draglink in the position I had it. I also burned in the upper link mounts to the lower links. We then took it to the bench and I finished welding the track bar bracket.

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Toy4rnr

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Took the housing outside, painted it up and began assembling the shafts. I had already pressed the balljoints into the knuckles weeks ago so at this point once the paint dried we began assembling the axle. We made a couple trips to the auto parts store to get the proper inner wheel bearing. We then forgot the seal so we had to make another trip. For future reference we are going to keep any parts that come off donor axles and be sure to bring them with us to the parts store. I had the parts, but we failed to take them with on a few occasions thus leading it to being a guessing game as to which "1977 chevy truck" the axle was for. After finally getting all the parts we began assembling the axle. We forgot to put the caliper brackets on like rookies as they were sitting outside. Out of sight, out of mind I guess. I cleaned them up early this morning and put some paint on them. When I disassembled one of the hubs the spindle lock ring spun in the spindle. Luckily I had experience with this when I took the donor axle apart, nothing a punch and hammer didn't solve. We were also lucky the Dana 30 inner spindle nuts worked as the pin got sheared off somehow.

At this point we have the front axle fully assembled with calipers installed and bled. Powersteering has been partially bled, it was super frothy so we are letting it settle for a bit. For powersteering I am running the TG Tacoma conversion kit. It DOES NOT come with a lower pressure fitting and my box didn't come with one so I had to order one. I also needed to order a sector shaft nut. At this time I am waiting on my threaded insert for my draglink. Once it arrives I will cut the RH threaded side down 4 inches, put the new insert in, weld it, paint it, and install it. Once that is done all it needs is rear spacers to match the full width axle and the rear wheels and tires installed to be able to move. Once it drives and is aligned I will be taking the rear 3rd member out and regearing it to 4.88s. Shouldn't be too bad as I helped my roomy regear his Ford 9 weeks ago while waiting for parts to arrive. So that is where I am at now.

TLDR: Front axle is assembled, waiting on bung, need to regear rear.

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Toy4rnr

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Still waiting on the draglink bung. Should be here Saturday or Monday. Dropped it down onto its own weight, about 22" frame height right where I am able to mount the tires. About 3-3.5" up travel.

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Toy4rnr

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Steering is finished up. Got it up to 40mph no issues. Needs some plastic and some useless metal brackets to be trimmed, bumper needs trimming and an alignment then its time to regear the rear.

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snout

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Subscribed. Don't want to crap up your thread but just wanted to say this is good stuff.
I'm in the process of collecting parts for a similar built on my 2000 4Runner.
 

Toy4rnr

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Subscribed. Don't want to crap up your thread but just wanted to say this is good stuff.
I'm in the process of collecting parts for a similar built on my 2000 4Runner.

No problem! If you have any questions let me know.
 

Toy4rnr

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Trimmed the stock bumper, no more rubbing. I had to remove my windshield washer bottle as my tire would snag the motor and pull it out of the bottle, need to find a solution for this still. Also the front isn't articulating as much as I wish it would, but its likely due to having no bump stops on the rear and the FJ80 springs are pretty dang soft causing the rear to do all the work. This pic the passenger side coilover was at about 6" of extension and driver was about 2.5", ride height is about 3.5" extension. I knew there was going to be binding with a radius arm setup, but I am hoping I can figure out how to get the front end to do more work. I tried backing up a mound and it kept the front pretty level while flexing the rear super hard. More testing needed in a better area.

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Wulf

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Trimmed the stock bumper, no more rubbing. I had to remove my windshield washer bottle as my tire would snag the motor and pull it out of the bottle, need to find a solution for this still. Also the front isn't articulating as much as I wish it would, but its likely due to having no bump stops on the rear and the FJ80 springs are pretty dang soft causing the rear to do all the work. This pic the passenger side coilover was at about 6" of extension and driver was about 2.5", ride height is about 3.5" extension. I knew there was going to be binding with a radius arm setup, but I am hoping I can figure out how to get the front end to do more work. I tried backing up a mound and it kept the front pretty level while flexing the rear super hard. More testing needed in a better area.


​​​​​​Does the 4runner have the washer bottle in the front of the pass fender well like the Tacoma does?

If you don't have ABS there is a smaller factory bottle that bolts to the inner fender where the abs module would be. I ran that for a while til I put a compressor there. Now I have a nalgene bottle shoved between the airbox and core support on my Tacoma.
 

rockota

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Trimmed the stock bumper, no more rubbing. I had to remove my windshield washer bottle as my tire would snag the motor and pull it out of the bottle, need to find a solution for this still. Also the front isn't articulating as much as I wish it would, but its likely due to having no bump stops on the rear and the FJ80 springs are pretty dang soft causing the rear to do all the work. This pic the passenger side coilover was at about 6" of extension and driver was about 2.5", ride height is about 3.5" extension. I knew there was going to be binding with a radius arm setup, but I am hoping I can figure out how to get the front end to do more work. I tried backing up a mound and it kept the front pretty level while flexing the rear super hard. More testing needed in a better area.

amazon has some decent bottles. I had been using an FZJ80 reservoir on the Tacoma, but the amazon special fits much better.

https://www.amazon.com/Universal-Win...s%2C165&sr=8-4
 

Toy4rnr

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​​​​​​Does the 4runner have the washer bottle in the front of the pass fender well like the Tacoma does?

If you don't have ABS there is a smaller factory bottle that bolts to the inner fender where the abs module would be. I ran that for a while til I put a compressor there. Now I have a nalgene bottle shoved between the airbox and core support on my Tacoma.

Yes it does, but I do have ABS so I can't put anything there. My ABS light is always on since the front sensors arent present lol.
 

rockota

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Yes it does, but I do have ABS so I can't put anything there. My ABS light is always on since the front sensors arent present lol.

you can yank all of that ABS stuff out, if you want... Just run the lines the old fashioned way. Then pull the ABS bulb.

if you wanted to. not that i would endorse that.
 

Toy4rnr

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you can yank all of that ABS stuff out, if you want... Just run the lines the old fashioned way. Then pull the ABS bulb.

if you wanted to. not that i would endorse that.

I'm just going to leave it. Its not hurting anything. ABS gets shut off alot anyways because of the elocker lol.
 

Stingray

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you can yank all of that ABS stuff out, if you want... Just run the lines the old fashioned way. Then pull the ABS bulb.

if you wanted to. not that i would endorse that.

'97 if you gut the ABS you don't get the light anymore, I gutted mine completely, but the speedo stops working, I had to convert to a transfer case pickup, but I'm running dual gear cases so parts were available.

I think '97 uses the ABS pick ups to run the speedo.
 

Toy4rnr

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Been a while since I posted. Some updates where I am at. I regeared the rear end myself with the help of a friend, unfortunately it took so many attempts to get the perfect pattern we went and ate dinner then came back and forgot the pinion seal since the flange was already installed and roasted that gear set (ugh I'm a dumbass). Ended up having a buddy regear it for me as I didn't want to go through another day trying to get another pattern. Regardless was a good learning experience.

After I regeared the rear and before I blew it up, we threw on my front driveline and filled the front diff with gear oil. Immediately it began leaking heavily out both tubes. The front was regeared by a shop and at first we weren't sure if seals were put in with how much oil came out immediately. It has been some time and have been playing around in 2WD putting it off since it began to snow and the garage was being occupied by my buddies Ranger getting an SAS and Ford 9 in the rear. Finally tore into it this last weekend to give it a look. There appears to be a seal in there and one can see the seal contacting the seal surface properly on my ECG chromos. Not sure what is going on here. Maybe I struck both seals during shaft install. I thought I was really careful, but who knows. Anyways, been talking with the shop as I don't really want to pull a Dana 44 apart without a case spreader. I guess it can be done, but I've come to find my ability isn't up to par with dealing with them in a timely manner and I would hate to burn another weekend (being a little impatient here also lol). Other than that, it has been great. Need to tune the front coilovers a bit, they've settled a tad since it rolled out 10 months ago. Going to start making bump stop brackets and limit strap mount points while I wait for the shop to get back to me.

Frame height: 21.5" under the passenger doors, I am super happy with how low I've managed to keep it. Surprisingly I never bottom out on the little rubber stop on the coilovers.
 
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btlovin

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Are you getting any more articulation out of that radius arm setup now that things are settling in a bit?
 

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Have you done the EIMKEITH panhard relocation bracket for the rear? It's way better than the TG design or an extended or adjustable panhard.
 

Toy4rnr

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Have you done the EIMKEITH panhard relocation bracket for the rear? It's way better than the TG design or an extended or adjustable panhard.
Mine is similar, I have the SRQ fab relocation brackets on the rear. They ended up really close to perfect for the FJ80 8 wraps.


Are you getting any more articulation out of that radius arm setup now that things are settling in a bit?
It seems to move around a bit more, but until I extend my rear bumpstops I get to the point where my tire is really stuffed into my fender. If I limit the rear up travel a bit I think it will help keep the body more level allowing the front to articulate more. It is radius arms though so I'm not expecting miracles. I think we measured I was at about 7" extension here, I didn't want to go any higher since that rear fender was getting some tire love lol.
 

Toy4rnr

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Not sure what happened, but deleted my attachments since they were changed to something else.
 

Toy4rnr

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Central WA. I drive it around town quite a bit. Not the most efficient thing to do, but surprisingly it makes a dang good daily driver. Guess all my measurements were pretty spot on haha.
 

Toy4rnr

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Took my rig "wheeling" on Sunday (some little rocky stuff, mostly dry rutted roads), front end has definitely loosened up since the swap was first done. I got all my bump stops in the mail finally, been babying it to not bottom anything out and cause damage. I'll be installing those hopefully in the coming weeks.

I do have a question regarding my automatic in my rig. I have yet to have any problems, but the amount of rock around here isn't much until I get over to Reiter. But when the time comes, is there any reason I should look into TC lockup while crawling or just continue using the ebrake to slip the TC method? It has worked really well so far, I actually prefer it over my 5spd 84 that had a single 4.7:1 t-case. But someone was telling me in a ton of rocks I will want to lock my torque converter so I don't lunge over rocks. Somehow this seems like the people he knows who have problems with that are just terrible drivers. Looking for input from you more experienced folk.
 

YotaAtieToo

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Took my rig "wheeling" on Sunday (some little rocky stuff, mostly dry rutted roads), front end has definitely loosened up since the swap was first done. I got all my bump stops in the mail finally, been babying it to not bottom anything out and cause damage. I'll be installing those hopefully in the coming weeks.

One thing you can do to see if the radius arms are causing binding, is pull one upper link. Basically turns it into a wristed radius arm. Then you will probably find yourself wanting a sway bar and put the link back in.

I do have a question regarding my automatic in my rig. I have yet to have any problems, but the amount of rock around here isn't much until I get over to Reiter. But when the time comes, is there any reason I should look into TC lockup while crawling or just continue using the ebrake to slip the TC method? It has worked really well so far, I actually prefer it over my 5spd 84 that had a single 4.7:1 t-case. But someone was telling me in a ton of rocks I will want to lock my torque converter so I don't lunge over rocks. Somehow this seems like the people he knows who have problems with that are just terrible drivers. Looking for input from you more experienced folk.

Not at all, you want the converter to slip. 2 foot method works best for most. I usually kinda hold the throttle steady and modulate the brake. You'll probably end up wanting deeper gears. Check out the new NWF EcoCrawler. You can double up your stock case, or put any number of tcases behind it.

How do you like the 4.88s? I have 4.30s and can't imagine spending the coin to regear for such a small difference. I'm definitely going straight to 5.29s.
 

Toy4rnr

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One thing you can do to see if the radius arms are causing binding, is pull one upper link. Basically turns it into a wristed radius arm. Then you will probably find yourself wanting a sway bar and put the link back in.



Not at all, you want the converter to slip. 2 foot method works best for most. I usually kinda hold the throttle steady and modulate the brake. You'll probably end up wanting deeper gears. Check out the new NWF EcoCrawler. You can double up your stock case, or put any number of tcases behind it.

How do you like the 4.88s? I have 4.30s and can't imagine spending the coin to regear for such a small difference. I'm definitely going straight to 5.29s.
I thought about doing that. I thought there was a reason I didn't want to try that for my specific case, I don't remember what it was though. I'm running bushings axle side, heims on uppers where they attach to the lower link and Duroflex joints on the cross member. Maybe it will be ok, I am sure it binds a tiny bit, but with the rear having no bumps it ends up putting the body sideways unloading the side of the front axle that should have weight over it, either way it looks to be doing much better now.

That's exactly what I thought. I usually click the ebrake so it's a static drag on the drivetrain when climbing up stuff. I also use the two foot method. It is great to be honest, I am really digging the auto. I thought there was a deeper gear set for the t-case in there, I will have to look into that more, it would be nice to have a better crawl ratio. I find 1st is too low and 2nd is too fast right now if I'm just cruising down a rougher road. 1st can always be lower but is 2nd is lower that would be ideal. Thanks for the source :)!

I like them, to be honest I don't really notice much of a difference at all going from 4.30s, maybe a little better off the line, but otherwise everything seemed the same. The only reason I regeared to 4.88's is because I could not source reverse cut 4.30s for the Dana 44 up front. Otherwise I wanted to stay with 4.30s. No 5.29s either, either 5.38 or 5.13 and that's too far off from 5.29s.
 
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