4Runner 3.4 a good choice?

Discussion in 'General Chit Chat' started by ponykilr, Mar 22, 2015.

  1. ponykilr

    ponykilr Guest

    Looking for a small SUV. 4Runner is on my short list. Is the 3.4 as reliable as purported?
    Is the auto trans reliable. Any known issues? Fuel mileage? Comfort on a trip?

    Found a nice 2000 with 146K. Might go check it out today.
     
  2. 5lugger

    5lugger Member

    Joined:
    Aug 4, 2014
    That 3.4 is a great motor. I have some friends who run it and it killlllllz my 3.0. Good gas mileage and good power, can easily get 300k with good oil changes imo
     
  3. hurt4x4

    hurt4x4 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Sep 12, 2012
    Location:
    Greensboro
    X2. Great motor. Be sure the timing belt has been replaced, if not I would get that done first thing.
    The 3.4 pulled my 4runner around just fine with 4.10s and 33's.
    The only negitive thing I have heard transmission wise is that the trans cooler that runs through the radiator Will sometimes leak and mix your trans fluid/coolant.
     
    Last edited: Mar 22, 2015
  4. Skinny

    Skinny Active Member

    Joined:
    Dec 20, 2014
    Location:
    Wilmington, NC
    Great platform to work with, especially if you get one with a rear locker (pretty rare option in the 4Runner). 2000-2004 are pesky years as they tend to be Cali emissions which means two cats and also drive by wire. Not problems but not cheap to fix if you have issues with them. Plus the tcase is usually a combination push button/lever along with tons of traction control/skid/ABS garbage.

    Overall pretty bulletproof if they have been serviced like mentioned above. I would pay close attention to the steering and suspension up front. Steering racks tend to develop play especially with bigger tires.
     
  5. Hunter44

    Hunter44 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2014
    Location:
    Asheboro
    X3 very good and reliable compared to the 3.0 which is a piece of :poop:
     
  6. Blkvoodoo

    Blkvoodoo professionally useless Moderator

    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2005
    Location:
    Archer Lodge
    the early ones ( 96-97) had a few head gasket issues, most of those have been fixed, my (late)'97 lasted 200k before the head gaskets went, still had the composite head gaskets on it ( the failure prone gaskets ) new gaskets are MLS ( multi layer steel ) and last presumably forever. ( new ones in mine are MLS ) I got lucky and caught the failure just as it had happened ( wife drives it, I check all fluids weekly, found low coolant and went from there diagnosing and found #6 cyl had coolant leak ) it didn't over heat so no head issues.

    Timing belt, if it's not documented, plan on that and water pump soon after purchase. though it's not real critical, it is NOT an interference engine. BUT if the water pump fails and it does over heat, you'll be looking for heads. ( not cheap ) Use Toyota RED coolant, don't mix with green or with DEXcool orange

    5spd Runners were built until 2000, then auto only

    trans coolers in the auto radiators tend to blow out with age and fill trans with coolant ( search "strawberry milkshake" on the Toyota truck forums) if it hasn't been done, plan on swap to external cooler.

    Runners came with 15 and 16" wheels, bigger wheels mean bigger brakes, it was mostly SR5s that were 15" wheel

    mine is a '97 SR5 5 spd, non-locking rear, was equipped with 3.91 gears from factory, the rear diffs are known to have pinion bearing issues ( relaxed crush collar, bearings get noisy ) mine had been rebuilt, but the 3.91 gear is hard to find and super expensive compared to the more common and readily available ( and much cheaper) 4.10. Mine had still has a 3.91 front diff and a 4.10 rear ( i have a 4.10 front, just too lazy to change it, I don't use 4wd much and have the front diff actuator on a switch so I can use low range without engaging 4wd, makes moving trailers around a breeze )

    I average 18-19mpg in mine, when I'm driving, about 14-15 when pulling 3500lb camper ( wives mileage is a little lower, she forgets to go into 5th gear )

    Ride is decent, early 3rd gen Runners had recall on rear springs, mine had the recall performed with updated springs, they still sagged ( sitting on bumpstops unloaded ), I replaced with a set of MOOG rears, have KYB Gas A Just rear shocks, fronts were new strut/spring assemblies I bought off Amazon, being an SR5 it's lighter than the Limited ( less sound proofing and other crap ) so it sits up about 2.5" higher than stock, which I like, I use air bags in the rear coils for hauling the camper ( 450lb tongue weight )
     
    Chris_Keziah likes this.
  7. ponykilr

    ponykilr Guest

    Kevin, excellent and thorough response. Thank you everyone.
     
  8. ponykilr

    ponykilr Guest

    Well I found another one with 136K. Hard to find any with under 200K so we are going to go look at it today. 2000 SR5 auto 2 owner.

    These dang trucks are expensive, but I get it, they last forever.

    I am still torn between 3rd gen Runner and a 97^ XJ.
     
  9. ponykilr

    ponykilr Guest

    Well tonight, I found a nice one I could afford. We have looked at several and have been disappointed each time.
    This one is a 96 (like the flat noses better than the 99^) Limited with rear locker.
    Runs and drives perfect with new tires and brakes. Timing belt/WP just done.
    Has every option as far as I can tell. I hope it's a good one.

    ai7.photobucket.com_albums_y252_ponykilr_4Runner_96Runner_zpsqdiycqp6.jpg

    ai7.photobucket.com_albums_y252_ponykilr_4Runner_96Runner2_zpsdr4ujq9y.jpg
     
  10. Bushwhacker

    Bushwhacker Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2005
    Location:
    Indian Trail NC
    That thing looks very nice and clean for a 96! We picked up an 01 4Runner for an extra family hauler last fall and absolutely love it...the wife's right foot really likes the fact is is supercharged. Lol!
     
  11. 83oldyoda4x4

    83oldyoda4x4 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 13, 2008
    Location:
    NC
    I ran my 1997 5spd , from 140,000 to 185,000 with no issues loved it. only reason i sold it was to get a truck. It averaged 19 mpg on stock tires then with 285's did about 18mpg. Yours looks clean you will enjoy it.
     
  12. ponykilr

    ponykilr Guest

    We only have vehicles that are paid for, so finding a nice one of these is tough for what I wanted to spend.
    It was woman owned since 99. It has a few little cosmetic things I will fix but heck it's almost 20 years old!

    The clear markers and corners I am not sure about, maybe they will grow on me.

    I found drivers leather seat bottoms on ebay for $200 and the rear bumper has a dent, so that has to be fixed.
    I am thinking about letting a well known welder guy build me a rear plate bumper.....

    Needs an antenna, I understand the power antennas are broken from the factory LOL
    I saw where a Tacoma fixed antenna is easy to do.

    Gonna do the "blue wire mod" so the locker will work in 2wd and 4hi.

    Wasn't smoked in, interior is nice (other than drivers seat cushion) and everything works.
    I didn't know the rear window went down on this gen truck. I had a 95 once with the tail gate but this has a lift gate, will be cool when getting a 2x4 or something at Lowes.
     
  13. Bushwhacker

    Bushwhacker Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2005
    Location:
    Indian Trail NC
    Our antenna is broke too....have not got around to fixing it yet. Seems pretty easy from what I have seen. The guy I bought mine from got a drivers seat bottom foam piece from the Toyota dealer and swapped it out. Made the seat good as new.
     
  14. Franklin

    Franklin Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 21, 2005
    Location:
    Ramseur
    I bought a 01 Limited w/ 98K in 1/14. Back seat was never even sat in.

    Get a B&M cooler for it, drop pan and flush tranny if it even looks suspect. Pump quart/refill when you have the new line to cooler on. t4r.org has all the tutorials you need. The lines in the radiator WILL corrode and coolant will spill into tranny line and you get the milkshake. I get 16-17 around town, 19-20 on the road.
     
  15. ponykilr

    ponykilr Guest

    After having this truck for over a week, I absolutely love it. It has so much power it makes my old 3.0 Runner seem silly. It is comfortable with a firm sporty ride but is not harsh.

    I did the blue wire mod so the locker works in all transfer case modes. It made my "test hill" easily in 2wd even with the street tires.

    I replaced the left rear chrome bumper side piece (ebay $50) and did a thorough cleaning of the inside. It was already clean but not old man clean like I like it LOL.

    Does anyone have a trailer hitch from one of these? Mine never had one. I also am looking for a set of the five spoke wheels like in the pic below and a stock front skid plate..

    I think I will do some 3" top out spacers in the front and some OME coils in the rear so I can fit some 255/85-16s.

    It would make it look like these.

    awww.toyota_4runner.org_attachments_3rd_gen_t4rs_46016d130800828350d9faad6b827a5a3c72cd667ea7f.jpg

    a2.bp.blogspot.com__75uX40fF56I_Tc2WftUVudI_AAAAAAAAAO4_KUL_8wFLRjs_s1600_IMG_2053.JPG
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 24, 2015
  16. ponykilr

    ponykilr Guest

    Just checked my mileage. All town driving and short trips I got 18.4! I wasn't easy on it either.
    I am very surprised and happy with that. I bet I can get over 20 on the hwy.

    I just filled up with 90 octane non-ethanol fuel (about .30 more per G) to see if there is any difference.
    Our Expedition will get 2mpg better with this fuel.

    ai7.photobucket.com_albums_y252_ponykilr_4Runner_6B219598_D10Abb8f9ed2fcaa41b80193182279b2cf83.jpg
     
  17. highcj5

    highcj5 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2005
    Location:
    dry fork, va
    is yours an automatic or 5 speed? been thinking about selling my 92 pickup and buying one of these year models. hate to sell my truck though, but need some more room for the kids. I will still have an f350 though when I need the bed of a truck. really like these 4 runners. :beer:
     
  18. ponykilr

    ponykilr Guest

    Mine is an auto. Shifts perfectly match the power and are very sporty when driven hard.
    I don't think I would want a manual in this truck. The auto enhances low end grunt too.
     
  19. Blkvoodoo

    Blkvoodoo professionally useless Moderator

    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2005
    Location:
    Archer Lodge
    Rockauto, there were 5-ish different suspension levels depending on how vehicle was set up from factory, mine is SR5 V6 5spd 4x4, I used rear coils for a fully loaded Limited, got 2" of lift for $45ish, front struts were same from Amazon, fully assembled $190 delivered. I'm running 245/70-16 tires currently

    GREASE the U JOINTS AND CENTER BALL in Rear Driveshaft, trying to find someone who can actually build AND Balance a Toyota shaft with a CV has proven to be pretty tough, getting it straight so it will not vibe @ 70 has been an issue. 2 shops, one had 4 chances and still hasn't got it right. the other was too far away to bother with returning it.
     
  20. ponykilr

    ponykilr Guest

    Did you take it to Metal Craft in Goldsboro? They have done a few shafts for me and friends and all have been perfect.
     
  21. Blkvoodoo

    Blkvoodoo professionally useless Moderator

    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2005
    Location:
    Archer Lodge
    no, never heard of them, may be somewhere to try in the future

    I've got enough invested in this one I should have bought one from the dealer, would have been better off. when this one frags, I'll try again.
     
  22. ponykilr

    ponykilr Guest

  23. Blkvoodoo

    Blkvoodoo professionally useless Moderator

    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2005
    Location:
    Archer Lodge
    It would figure they would be that close to me

    I still have the original shaft, but the yokes are worn/stretched so the cups spin in yoke. Kept it as a spare, "just in case" and bought one from a salvage yard and had it reworked, it was never "right" always had a vibe @ 65 mph and over (the other shaft doesn't not vibe at same speed, but it does vibe) both shops haven't been able to make it STRAIGHT at the CV end ( I have video of this in the truck spinning)

    , maybe sooner than I think on having one redone...
     
  24. highcj5

    highcj5 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2005
    Location:
    dry fork, va
    give us an update in a couple of weeks, after you run some more tanks of gas thru it. I have about made my mind up to sell my 92 pickup, (will probably kick myself for it later). the kids are getting bigger and the xtra cab in my Toyota is getting tight inside with them. don't like to drive my f350 everyday. I have a few guys I work with that have 4 runners. most of them say they suck on gas? one guy just bought a 2000 with 117,000 miles, owned by an old lady. just wanting to hear what you think after owning it a little longer and the newness wears off. thanks, jesse :beer:
     
  25. ponykilr

    ponykilr Guest

    My 95 2nd gen with the 3.0 was terrible on fuel, this one is shaping up to be pretty good. Perusing the several Toyota and 4Runner forums it seems my truck is not unique.
    I can already tell you that it really seems to like the non-ethanol fuel. It may not be worth it financially to use it cost/benefit but I feel like I am sticking it to the idiots that mandate it when I use it. It also doesn't leave the residues that the blend does.

    I have read that when fuel mileage drops off to clean the MAF meter as it is critical on these. They say to clean it every oil change to avoid any drop.
     

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