Added a 4" lift to rear and stock IFS(independent front suspension) and upgraded to 33" tires. The lift kit made the 4Runner look nice for a street machine but none of the lift kit was used on the final Crawler. (sometimes referred to as a 'Rock Runner'). A roof rack was added to carry more supplies.
Changed IFS to solid front axle from 1983 pickup and used special leaf springs, mounts and shocks. Installed cross-over steering system. Moved up to 35" tires. Added a locking rear differential. Which was later put in the front axle because they are to unpredictable and scary on the highway. Then went to have some fun in the mountains.
|NOW FOR THE BIG JOB|
Decided the 4Runner's weight was to much for crawling rocks. It was also top heavy which would cause it to roll easily. SOLUTION: Change to a pickup body and lose several hundred pounds. Starting weight was 4415 lbs. Warning: Do not try this at home unless you take dozens of high resolution pictures showing every part before removal. There are hundreds of different parts under the dash and hood. It would be impossible to remember everything.The body was removed by inviting 6 friends over to help with the promise of lots of beer. Be sure to get the work done first. Even with the doors, tailgate, and interior removed it was almost too much to lift. Would have been easier to rent a crane.
Sure glad we took all those pictures. All the dash and engine parts bolted up to the pickup cab with very few problems. But did spend a lot of time looking at the pictures. Once together, the engine was started to make sure everything inside the cab was working. It took about 2 weeks to remove 4Runner body and mount the pickup cab working evenings and weekends.
The front suspension was as good as it would ever be using leaf springs. But the rear would gain more articulation with a 4-Link system. The links were made by welding nuts into the end of steel tubing and using hiem joints and a second nut for locking. The stock fuel tank was removed to make room for the new suspension and exhaust system. The exhaust was changed from a single 2" to a dual 2 1/2" with headers. The rear of the frame was shortened about 6 inches and reinforced for a hitch/winch receiver. The wheelbase was not changed.
Nerf bars were finished which will provide some body protection. The front bumper and flat bed were almost complete. The body was fitted with fiberglass fenders. The rear fenders were shortened about 12 inches.
The only body parts used from the 4Runner were the plastic grill & headlight assembly and the hood. The grill was painted white instead of the stock black color. Wanted the front of the truck to retain the 4Runner look. Connecting the fuel system was done after all welding was completed for safety reasons. The original 4Runner had amber turn lights, so the wiring had to be changed from a 3 wire to a 2 wire circuit so a single red stop/turn light could be used.
1st - Learned that the fuel pump and filter connections had to be at or below the outlet on the fuel tank to work properly. Since the fuel tank was mounted in the only place it would fit except on the bed, which we did not want, the pump and filter had to be lowered. This also forced a complete rebuild of the rear skid plate that was designed only to protect the fuel tank. Now it also had to protect the pump and filter.
2nd - The battery was not being charged. The battery and alternator were checked and found to be good. But we weren't getting 14+ volts across the battery when the engine was running. We had a large voltage drop from somewhere. After 4 days of checking and testing, the 50 cent fuse (the first thing we checked and it looked good) was replaced and the charging system worked fine. Don't even ask because we don't know.
3rd - Rear drive shaft had a worn out u-joint. Since Toyota was one of the trucks that make their drive shafts with non-replaceable u-joints, the shaft had to be replaced. Guess they like selling them. Instead of buying a new one for $800 or a used one from a salvage yard for $160 (which might go bad at anytime) we had one made at a local machine shop that has replaceable u-joints. We felt this was the best way to go since 4x4's are hard on u-joints, especially when the drive shaft angles are larger than factory specs. And also a lot cheaper than a new one.
4th - Windshield wiper blades don't park in the same place each time. Still working on this problem.
Spring holders were made and attached. New rear Bilstein shocks, Hella off-road driving lights and safety harnesses were installed.
Then it was time for the ramp test to check clearances. Everything was fine and ready for the alignment shop.
The total weight went from 4415 lbs to 3200 lbs. A loss of 1215 lbs. Truck is not finished but couldn't miss hunting season. The little things would just have to wait.
A few more pictures of the best part of the project. Driving it. Also built a tandum axle trailer to haul the truck back and forth to the mountains. It rides pretty rough and it saves wear on the expensive tires.