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Old 09-30-2014, 11:37 AM   #26
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^ I would have bought that haha if I knew about it.
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Old 09-30-2014, 04:42 PM   #27
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Thanks guys there's some awesome info on here. I think I've changed my mind and am definitely looking for a 95-02 4Runner. I'm going to look at a few in the next few days, a 98, 99, and 00. Other than what has been already mentioned (rust, sagging rear end, and general service) is there anything in particular or common problems I should look out for?
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Old 09-30-2014, 04:56 PM   #28
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Headgasket. Strawberry milk shake. Rear window motor fail.
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Old 09-30-2014, 10:48 PM   #29
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rear window motors don't fail on the 3rd gen 96-02. they are more than a common problem on the 1st and 2nd gen 84-89 and 90-95...

if you buy a 3rd gen and your radiator looks old, or there are no records of having it replaced in the last 5 or 6 years, replace it anyways and install a new toyota thermostat and coolant and you don't have to worry about "strawberry milkshake" for a long time. radiators are cheep. they're about $180ish. cheaper if you got a hook-up.

3rd gen 4runners are the best value out of a mid size body on frame SUV. they are very very capable off-road, have lots of aftermarket (mod) options, are very very reliable, and have decent power and fuel economy considering their size. they don't have doggy tracking issues that the ford explorers have, and separating pinch welds like the cherokees, and bad engines like the grand cherokees, and poor drivability and bad NVH like the XJ/YJ/rubicon etc.

i have had 3 3rd generation 4runners. i still have the first 3rd generation 4runner i purchased and it'd be tough to take this one off me. i've had 2 2nd generation 4runners in teh past and they both suck in every way compared to my 3rd gen.

ps.. out of the 3rd generation 4runners, i would try to avoid the 00+ with VSC/traction control... they're not problematic, but they sorta suck for driving off-road as they do not have a locking rear differential as a factory option. 96-99 would be teh way to go.
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Last edited by narfy; 10-03-2014 at 12:00 PM.
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Old 10-01-2014, 01:06 AM   #30
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^ awesome, thanks a lot for that narfy! Definitely makes me feel more confident about spending a bit more to get something with such high accolades. I'll take a look at the radiator but doesnt sound like its too big a deal to replace anyways.
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Old 10-01-2014, 11:45 AM   #31
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VSC/Traction began in 2001. The e-locker was always an option and offered from 96-00 in all models. Multi-Mode was offered in 99-00 so those are the "money years" so to speak. Even if you don't intend on using the rear e-locker it's always good to buy one with it as it will greatly help it's resale value. The white/silver 99 Limited that's been on CL forever does not have it and is still for sale. I would have bought it if it did.

I'll add to the radiator issue and suggest blocking the factory trans coolers that runs through it and re-route through an external cooler like Hayden/B&M/Tru-Cool. This is to completely eliminate the chances of the strawberry milkshake but some may say it's over kill as just replacing the rad will help a great deal.
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Old 10-01-2014, 02:07 PM   #32
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Quote:
Originally Posted by narfy View Post
rear window motors don't fail on the 3rd gen 96-02. they are more than a common problem on the 1st and 2nd gen 84-89 and 90-95...
And even if they did it's not that big of a deal on 3rd+ gens. The early runners couldn't drop the tailgate unless the hatch window was fully down.

To echo what everyone else is saying, I wouldn't be at all afraid of 300k on a 4Runner. Many would say the vehicle is just getting broken in. Those people are exaggerating, but only slightly. Try to find something without rust (they're out there) and with some semblance of service history.

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Multi-Mode was offered in 99-00 so those are the "money years" so to speak.
Not to mention several other quality of life improvements in those years.
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Old 10-01-2014, 02:36 PM   #33
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Can someone explain what exactly the e-locker and multi-mode is? And how its different from regular 4Hi/4Low?
I'm trying to look online and figure it out but most of the resources I'm finding are more advanced threads about how to tell if a model has it, installing them, or how to service these things.
Sorry for the noob question..
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Old 10-01-2014, 04:17 PM   #34
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Multi-Mode is like AWD. The center diff is unlocked. You would use this feature in snowy or even rainy conditions where you are driving at normal road speed. 4Hi locks the center diff and you would use this for off-road conditions. 4Lo changes the gearing through the transfer case for when you need to crawl through something thick and heavy. The rear e-locker will lock up the rear end so the rear wheels spin at the same speed, like a posi. This is used if you are teetering(sp?) on 2 corners or if you are really stuck.

Peep this: 3rd Gen 4Runner Buyer's Guide - Toyota 4Runner Forum - Largest 4Runner Forum
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Old 10-01-2014, 05:05 PM   #35
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^ awesome that's the exact link I needed.
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Old 10-03-2014, 12:10 PM   #36
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more useless tidbits about 3rd gen 4runners.

99+ had automatic climate control on limited models
96-97 had knob/slider manual climate control on all models
98+ had turn knob manual climate control on all models

99+ had heated power adjust mirrors. 96-98 had power adjust only
99+ models had the cup holder moved from a slide out cup holder above teh radio on teh dashboard (great place to put it...) to a fixed cup holder next to teh e-brake handle. they also moved the rear window switch from the centre console to the dash (where the cup holder used to be)
96-00 limited models had a rear differential lock
96-00 SR5 models had a rear differential lock as an option

99 models have the highest ride height from factory

01-02 limited models had homelink garage door openers built into the drivers sun visor
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Old 10-03-2014, 12:21 PM   #37
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I have a 3rd gen runner and love it other then being shitty on gas
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Old 10-03-2014, 01:34 PM   #38
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Well maintained Toyota 4runner 4x4 trade wtt trades ft

^ I'm close to a deal on this one and hoping to pick it up this weekend. We're just a few hundred dollars off on price (money I just can't come up with right now) and am hoping he decides to go for it.
Will keep you guys posted, and thanks again for all the help!
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Old 10-03-2014, 01:37 PM   #39
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if you get it and are looking for a stock bumper instead of that one let me know
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Old 10-03-2014, 01:46 PM   #40
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^ haha I actually will be. If I get it we'll talk.
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Old 10-04-2014, 01:09 AM   #41
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wow i think that is the shittiest 4runner posted in this thread.. why would you buy something in such a deplorable condition? yuck..
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Old 10-04-2014, 07:23 AM   #42
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I would pass on that. Its been up for a long while and iirc a member of our 4runner/toyota group went and took a look and said it was worse for wear then the pictures show.
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Old 10-04-2014, 10:09 AM   #43
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wow i think that is the shittiest 4runner posted in this thread.. why would you buy something in such a deplorable condition? yuck..
Because its the only one I can afford, lol.

Although its got a few dents and dings, those really dont concern me. I'm more concerned about its mechanical shape, and the owner says he has serviced a bunch of things (now whether thats true or not is a different story). Its also one of the few that are under 300k. When we went for a test drive it pretty solid.

..like I said I'm on a really limited budget and am already exceeding it with what I'm offering for this one. Tbh I'm even getting cold feet with the offer before he's even accepted it and am thinking I should just spend half the money on winter tires/rims for the Lex, keep the rest. So torn!

I guess I have some time to see if any better deals pop up.
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Old 10-04-2014, 10:11 AM   #44
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Get steelies and winters for your lexus
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Old 10-04-2014, 10:17 AM   #45
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Get steelies and winters for your lexus
Yeah I know, but as I explained in an earlier post I have a very specific alignment setup and any change in size/width/offset of whatever winter wheels I get will result in me having to get it re-aligned, and then re-aligned once again in the summer when I put the Volks back on.

I guess I can look for some Varrstoens in close to similar specs of my Volks and just slap some winter tires on them.
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Old 10-04-2014, 11:24 AM   #46
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It'll probably be cheaper in the long run tbh. Running a second car with insurance, gas, maintenance, snow tires, etc will probably be more than you can chew considering youre goin for bottom dollar on the 4runner. I bet you can get a nice set of wheels that fit the spec you need plus winter tires well under the cost of what I mentioned above.
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Old 10-04-2014, 12:36 PM   #47
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Yea you're probably right..
I guess I'll keep looking for both winter wheels and maybe a good deal on a 4runner for another week or two. See what comes up.
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Old 10-04-2014, 04:05 PM   #48
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your wheels don't change with your alignment. if you buy steelies, chances are, they'll have much shallower off-set, be narrower and will fit under your fenders with little to no adjustments or changes in alignment. don't forget, your car gets adjusted, not the wheels... slap some 16" steelies or used lexus GS mags onto your car, and some 215/60R16" camry sized winter tires, and you're good to go...
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Old 10-04-2014, 04:42 PM   #49
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this is what i got for less than a set of winter wheels and tires for the lols (of course mine does not look anywhere near the condition of this one)



yes it looks like crap, but for the price, 4wd, cheap on gas, engine is practically bulletproof (mine's got almost 400k), tons of space. i'm not sure if this would fit your "reliable" criteria though due to age of parts etc, but it IS a toyota.

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Old 10-04-2014, 05:51 PM   #50
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mmhmm

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