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4Runner Crawler notabuild thread


Red Skull Member
May 19, 2020
Member Number
Los Alamos, NM
Starting this thread to document my (now) 1985 4Runner. I bought the 4Runner built already but there are changes that I've made and I'd like to start a thread to document breakages, changes, and just to get information or questions that I have out there in one place. Also, I want to get better about documenting things I do so hopefully a thread will help me do that.

I'm going to add in some background since I'm going to use this documentation
That is the 4Runner as sits currently. I had 2 other 4Runners before this one that I rolled. First one I bought was a 1987 that was solid axle swapped with dual cases, 4.7 gears in the rear case, locked rear limited slip front and 5.29's.

Shortly after I bought in June 2017:
And rolled in ~February 2018:
Bought a roller to body swap to replace the body and went about making the change:
Had the swap done in ~June 2018 and went wheeling. At this point I was using the 4Runner as a part-time daily and getting in as many trips as possible. Came in useful when we got hammered (for the area) with snow in January 2019:
Enjoyed that setup and and enjoyed just getting out and using it with a couple trips to Moab, Colorado and in the local canyons. Then I went to Moab in November 2019 and proceeded to roll coming down Z-turn on Moab Rim:

That was not a fun day and of course it happened on the first day of the trip. Lots and lots of beers were drank the following days having a good time riding along on the rest of the trails we ran that trip. I was bummed I had rolled and started thinking about the next move. Driving back from Moab, the 2 main thoughts between my wife and I were hack it up and cage/buggy it, or go through with another body swap. Searching craigslist led to a different answer though.
A 4Runner that I had seen for sale a few months prior to this popped up for sale again out of Colorado. When I had seen it before it was yellow but the person that bought it had painted green and I think that's about all he had done. The build was:
3 link front with full width chevy D44, detriot, 5.38's, Moser axles, Warn hubs, 16" SwayAway RaceRunner
4 link rear with D60, detriot, 5.38's, yukon axles, 14" SwayAway RaceRunner
PSC single ended hydro setup
Dual cases, 4.7 gear 23-spline rear case
Bobbed 12 inches
Rear mount radiator/battery
40" Toyo MT's on Allied beadlocks

Here are pictures from when I bought it in November 2019:

When I bought it, it was only able to fit 4 people and, having 3 kids plus wife, that needed to change. Started to move the radiator back up front and bought a PRP seat at 53" wide to replace the rear seat. The seat conveniently showed up the day of the 4400 KOH race so the kids have a nice seat for the race:

Also needed to figure out a top. I had kept the Softtopper top from the previous 4runner's and my wife likes to sew so we mad the top about 12" shorter:

She was thrilled to sew the canvas but I think it came out pretty good:
Then I was finally able to take it out in March right at the beginning of the COVID bullshit:

And proceeded to break the stub shaft on the passenger side. When it broke, I didn't think it was very bound up or hopping so I'm thinking it was ready to let go when I bought it. It also may have been worse than I thought as I was still learning how the rig handled and felt.

Unsurprisingly it took out the hub but at the time I thought that was about all. Should have known the spindle would be wrecked too.
Decided to buy Yukon Chromoly Shafts, SuperJoints and the Hardcore hubs. Hoping this will keep it together long enough to find and build up a D60 to swap in.

It also turned out the drive side hub was ready to fail as well when I pulled it apart. Got it all put together and after about a total on 10 minutes in 4-wheel, loaded it on the trailer and left for Moab in what turned out would be a short window I could leave the state without have to quarantine at home. Couple pictures from that trip:
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I ended up only running Metal Masher, Pickle Canyon and Poison Spider (which my wife drove a lot of) on that trip. I had some overheating issues the first day. Picked up a new electric fan with way more CFM than the rating on the one that was on and didn't have another issue the rest of the trip. This was in early June so it was about 90-95 by the time we were getting off the trail.
Back home from Moab in June 2020:

And that's unfortunately about all I've been able to do this year. There's been 1 or 2 other trips but we haven't gotten out near as much as we had planned on. I am hoping to keep this thread going with any updates or changes I make as well as just trip reports.

I do currently have a pretty bad shimmy/wobble at about 35 mph that I'd like to figure out because before it that showed up it was comfortable to drive up to about 60-65 mph which is nice for getting to the trails and not having to completely break down camp since we have an Alaskan camper slide-in we like to take on some trips. Hopefully at some point I'll have some actual tech to post but for now this is about all I have :flipoff2:
How'd the rear seat turn out? I'd like to put a prp bench in my 85 to match the fronts, but it seems like it would sit higher than the thin stocker. Mine had a random cushy seat in it when I got it and an adult couldn't ride in the back without hitting their head, and that was before the cage.
How'd the rear seat turn out? I'd like to put a prp bench in my 85 to match the fronts, but it seems like it would sit higher than the thin stocker. Mine had a random cushy seat in it when I got it and an adult couldn't ride in the back without hitting their head, and that was before the cage.

Rear seat came out ok. It does sit too tall for adults. I'm 6'2" and my forehead is above the cage. It works well for the kids though. I'm probably going to re-work the mounts over the winter to get it lowered. I would also go with a 52" if I were to do it again. Not sure this seat will come out without cutting the cage.
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Nice build. We carelessly went for that same line coming back down Moab rim last September. Landed in the exact same spot too...ugh...:homer:
Next few posts are just going to be updates to this from the past year since I haven't kept up at all. No real tech or anything, just updating

And I never kept up with this. Just like all the other threads I've ever started. Since June of 2020, not a whole lot as happened. Did manage to fix the steering wobble issue after maintenancing the front end. So something or things were loose is my guess.

March 2021: Tried to go wheel in Farmington for a bachelor party and the 4Runner ran like garbage, real bad miss, so gave up a road as a passenger :beer:

Once I got home, found a bunch of cracked vacuum lines. Replaced those and the spark plugs and it was back to running good. After that, made an early summer season cabin trip and spent time getting a JK unstuck.

Next up was an attempted trip to run Chinaman's Pass. That ended up on the side of the road after my truck died on the way up.
Good looking set up!
What caused the ford to die?
Fuel pump is what left us on the side of the road but then had more issues with wiring and connectors after replacing the pump. It was an ex-oilfield truck that had like 9900 hours when we sold it.
Nice 'Runner man! Also cool to see a fellow New Mexican in here! Definitely watching this thread
Well, I'll be updating this thread coming up. Went to go drive Chinamans Gulch outside Buena Vista and had a link mount break. This ended up snapping a coilover on the shaft.


Got it off the trail using ratchet straps, a chunk of wood and bolting a hi lift in place of the coilover

Dude, I loved chinaman gultch, once your all fixed up let me know and we’ll go again.
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