4runner frame swap


New Member
May 1, 2017
Monroe, nc
I have 99 4 runner with some frame rust and I'm currently deciding between selling the vehicle or swapping the frame. So far no good bites on the selling option. A few questions regarding the frame swap option though. When looking for a frame replacement, are there other year models that are a direct fit/replacement for a 1999? Also is there anyone who has done a frame swap like this before, and are there any out of the ordinary tips or tricks I should know before starting. Is a lift required? Or just a hoist, cherry picker, and a few jacks? I've never done a frame swap before but I have rebuilt a few transmissions and engines. Just kind of nervous about what I might be getting myself into but again I am mechanically inclined.
I have swapped a cab on a truck before. This is a TON of work. I would only consider this IF

1- you can find a GOOD frame. Then I would pressure wash it and paint the whole thing in a good rust preventative. Make sure you clean the inside of the frame really well. There are a bunch of holes and internal braces that can collect small rocks, dirt, etc.

2- you just really love your truck.

3- you have a shop with a lift and a full assortment of tools. Remember, you will not only be removing the body from the frame (probably the easy part), but the complete drivetrain. The electrical stuff is easy since it is plug and play. All of the fluid lines (fuel, ATF, brake, etc) will need to be removed, replaced, and bled.

I’ve done some tough stuff before, but I don’t think I would want to do this.

Did it once. Had 3 good helpers and a 100 horse Deere to do the heavy lifting. Still one heck of a job, but very doable with friends. I’ll echo what @sgtbriangreen said, all those fluid connections make yours harder to do than mine. I only had propane and brake lines to hook up. All the wiring had been stripped out as well. Crawler vs Driver.
I appreciate the quick response SST. Your actually my first reply since I've joined. I replaced the rear bumper on it about a month ago and snaped 2 bolt heads off while doing so. I have a feeling every other bolt under it is going to do the same. The brake lines are almost gone in some places too. At this point I'm thinking about buying another junk runner (if i find the right one) and rolling it's frame, lines, tank, axles, shafts and all up under the current body then just swapping the engine, trans and everything under the hood. I have a shop with a lift and a few wrench turning friends I'm sure I could borrow. I really don't want to dedicate more than 48 combined hours on this project though. Does that sound like a long shot?
If you can find a good roller, I would still probably strip it and clean it well before starting the swap. It would be easier to swap the drivetrain without the body.
No clue. Newer than what I play with. I would assume anything in the same generation would swap.
I'll mention that I did something similar to a TJ. It took about fifty hours. Of course I also had to repair body mount sections on the tub. But that is replacing all brake lines with fabricated new ones. Lift/fork lift definite helpful though it can be managed without one ( Jack up enough to slide supports under the cab then lift until it clears tires and motor and wheel frame and power train out from under it) it's straightforward but very very time consuming. Certainly plan on replacing any bolts into the frame. I'd find a decent looking body with a blown motor or trans and go that route. Less work. If it's the same model, don't worry about the interior if yours is good. That's my two pence. Although, if you don't value your time very much fiscally, it's cheaper to swap the frame likely. Don't forget you'll also need to swap the axles and suspension if you get a junk yard frame since it will likely be bare. I think the frame was like $500 for the TJ. Under bid it big time but ended up being right at 2600 total out the door.