1987 4Runner- Expedition Build Up.


Adventure Photographer
Well, I've had a few friends ask me... "Why did you sell your nice Xterra and go 'backwards' and buy an old truck like that?" Well my answer was simple, to make a strong, reliable expedition type vehicle, using the "left over cash" from the sell of the Xterra to fund the build of the 4runner.

So, after selling my 2001 Xterra, which had a weeping rear main seal, I began my search for the 4runner.

Here is my Xterra....

And the new to me 4runner.

The truck is a 1987 4Runner. The body has 280,000 miles, motor rebuilt at 230,000 miles and the tranny was rebuilt at 220,000 miles. And most recently, which was really the only kind of "ehhh, why?" sort of worry for me, the head gasket blew in July, but was fixed and a re-manufactured head installed. Recent tune up, new master cylinder, and slave cylinder. The truck's interior an exterior is exceptionally clean, maybe a new paint job, but definitely well cared for. The seats have some custom made waterproof covers as well.

There are a few minor problems as received. Power steering gear box is leaking (may find a junkyard replacement). The seal at the rear third member is leaking as well--- which was one of those things that i didnt catch because the truck was wet from the early snowfall that morning...
There are a couple electrical issues too. Nothing major. The rear window has a home made switch in the driver's compartment that is the only way to raise or lower the window. I'm going to work on getting the factory switches to work. The windshield washer fluid sprayer isnt working. Not sure if its the pump, switch, or other.

PCV valve-replaced
Vacuum hoses- replaced
Fuel filter- replaced
Brake pads/shoes- replaced
Oil/Filter- replaced
Air filter- replaced
Exhaust manifold gasket, flange gasket, exhaust donut behind cat- fixed
New exhaust system- New, performance header all the way back.

Leaky rear third member seal- fixed
Exhaust leaks. Manifold and flanges- fixed
Compression test- results: 161-155-155-151


Safari Snorkel
Cobra CB Radio, External speaker
Cargo divider/pet divider
Roof Rack. Kustom. Warrior Products basket with custom mounts, drilled through fiberglass and backed with plate.
2" Lift blocks in rear.
265-75 R16 on '99 4Runner alloys. Bridgestone REVO tires.
Procomp E3000 shocks.
Performance header and exhaust.

Bought/Built, not added:

One rock slider
4crawler Ball Joint Spacers


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Mr. Leary

Glamping Excursionaire
Go to 4Crawler.com. Roger Brown has most of these issues already figured out...

Maybe we can take a good look at the power steering pump before you replace it... I have a hunch... :costumed-smiley-007

Rear windows seem to be a common problem. One thing to be sure to do is to go methodically and remove corrosion from all the grounds in the truck. If there aren't already issues, there will be sooneer or later. Headlights being dim is another problem like this. A weekend with a wire brush and you can eliminate many of these problems.

Going to be a fun build. Can't wait for updates on your progress!
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Adventure Photographer
Ok, so here are my plans.

I'm going to leave the truck stock until this motor craps out on me, in which case, I'm going to keep a 22RE, but probably put a more performance minded motor.

I'm going to install an Aussie locker in the rear, (I lied, I havent ordered it yet) I'm still trying to decide which gears to use--- need help in this department.

I want an ARB bumper, if I can find one for cheap, that's the way I'll go, not paying full price for one. Otherwise, I may go with one of the more rock crawler styled bumper/winch mounts. I'm going to fab up my own rock sliders soon, I need/would like a metal chop saw. Rear bumper isnt important at the moment, but inevitable.


I'm going to fab up a roof rack here shortly. This is what I have in mind, an externally mounted roof rack that allows me to remove the top.
I'll actually be using the roof rack for traveling, because we have a 3 year old little girl and 2 mutts that we take with us. I also have a hitch mounted carrier for if we go camping.
BUT, I may build a shallow drawer system to keep the things that stay in the truck all the time, keeping in mind the dogs. Speaking of the dogs, I picked up a cargo barrier from walmart, discounted to 7 bucks.


Not sure where a snorkel belongs. To me, its mostly "expedition bling," one of those things I've always wanted. It's on order.:)
I've got a CB radio, for trail communication, never needed it for anything else.
Dual battery system is in the plan. Never done this before though. Will likely have it in the back cargo area.
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What size lift and tires are you planning on running? If you are staying small, I would stay with 4.88s, unless you are going to be putting a great deal of weight on the truck do to tools, rack, etc.

Mr. Leary

Glamping Excursionaire
Maybe I should stay away from this thread... kinda like waving a flag in front of a bull...


Adventure Photographer
What size lift and tires are you planning on running? If you are staying small, I would stay with 4.88s, unless you are going to be putting a great deal of weight on the truck do to tools, rack, etc.
Well, the 31s on it now are fine, so it's going to keep 31. I'll probably go with 32" TSL Radials... just cuz. Eventually a full OME lift kit is in order.


Heretic Car Camper
4.88's for 33's, 4.56's for 32's (?)

I run 33-10.50's on my '84 Xcab with 4.88's. That makes the speedo correct.

Mike Carter has two 4rnnr's of this vintage body (IFS DD & LA trips machine), and his tech page is well worth looking up. He has fixed most of the window problems and I frequently see his write-ups referenced.


Nice find! Hard to tell from the pic, but it looks like your new rig is the same color as mine.

I drive a '98 Frontier daily as a company vehicle, but I always prefer my Toyotas, even the old-*** ones. I think you'll be happy.

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i went with 5.29's and 255/85's with a spool. personally, i love it. i do not however drive this truck everyday and you do notice the low gearing on the road (higher rpm's) but you also notice the lower gearing off road as well wheer it is quite an advantage. my .02. good luck with the build.

+1 on roger browns sight

i also ran the 32 10.5 swamper radials on s s10 a long time ago. actually was pretty pleased with these tires. good where and good offroad.


Nice find! If you find that you need lower gears for wheeling, go with a doubler or buy 4.7's for the transfer case. That way you will get better gas mileage driving to the trails and as a daily driver, but you will have the low range for the weekends.
Try and find someone selling their stuff that is moving on to another rig or just getting out of the game.