1987 Turbo SR5

Skudman

New member
Hello all, Ive been lurking around the forum for about 6 months now and I figured I would go ahead and introduce my new-to-me 1987 4Runner and I. I have been wrenching on my rides for just over 5 years now as a side hobby. My 1983 Celica was my first project/daily driver:


Specs:
Port & Polish Head
1mm oversized Valves
262 RV Cam
Custom Coilover Front Suspension
KYB gas adjust Front and rear
Polyurethane Rear Linkage
ETC. you get the picture..


Unfortunately she was stolen and flipped. So I needed something new to wrench on, I wanted something more versatile, I live in the NW and something that has the capability to handle adverse conditions with good reliability was my goal. I stumbled upon this little guy in my search and I couldn't help but pick it up.


1987 Toyota 4Runner turbo SR5



And as with all things cool, it wasn't in the greatest of nick. 209,000 miles hadn't been very kind to her. Rear axle bearings noisy, rear axle seals leaking, Rear Shoes cracked, Brake cylinders leaking, Front pads needing replaced, Rotors warped, alignment needed, ball joints and tie rods bad, sway bar end links toast, turbo malfunctioning, TPS and VAFM not functioning, blow by pretty bad with oil consumption and leakage. Not to mention I don't think she had seen a coat of wax for probably its whole life. So I stepped into a bit of a project but I couldn't say no as she had all the right bits, very very little rust, two owner, Turbo!!!! SR5 Digi dash and factory working hubs with no weird noises, oversized valves, ARP studs, MLS gasket, 270 RV cam. I drove her for about two weeks before I dug into her, starting off with a nice spit polish, finding here to be original 1 stage paint I was rather excited.










After she was looking proper I went ahead and started fixing the bad nics. New wheel bearings and axle seals thanks to Trail Gears nice little kit. Purchased and installed new brake drums, shoes, wheel cylinders and drum hardware. New pads and rotors up front with a nice fluid swap. After diagnosing a rear main seal leak I dug into that, getting a new factory seal, seal saver and new retainer seal I got that all swapped out, what a PITA that was. Now for the turbo. Being my first turbo, i didn't know what to expect. She would drive fine under light throttle but through a CEL code 14 under medium to full throttle. So I started looking into possible problems, VAFM, Wastegate actuator, TPS...I found it to be the waste gate totally seized shut. After pulling it off I found it to be so knackered, the excess heat from being driven for who knows how long with a stuck waste gate seized the bolts into the turbo housing and even a through heating the bolts just snapped off. After a bunch of hammering I got the waste gate un-stuck and lubed the shaft with Moly-graphite (so it burned clean leaving no residue) and drilling out the remaining old bolts and tapping new threads I got her back together and back on the truck. running the proper 6-7psi thanks to my handy dandy HF cheapo boot gauge.



Now finding more oil form the back on the block I replaced the VC gasket and 1\2 moons, taking advantage and replacing the spark plugs, wires, cap and rotor. Also reworking the PCV to be filtered before it runs back into the manifold hoping to reduce the amount of oil I find in my manifold, also putting a breather filter on the front port of the Valve cover, instead of having it blow back into the cold side on my turbo. tossed on the LCE billet loom kit to hold my wires away from the turbo. BTW this kit doesn't work as it should with the factory turbo as the charged pipe interferes with the bracket, i turned it upside down to make it work for now.

it is supposed to look like this:


but I had to mount it like this:


The last two pics don't show the PCV filter attached. i just tossed that breather on for firing it up to make sure I was leak free.

I'm looking forward to my next big problem which is the heater core, as I was driving home last night I got a faint whiff of coolant and I fear she is beginning to seep.

Looking forward to many more exciting miles and great adventures with my 4runner. I know this site will continue to be a valuable tool for reference. :ylsmoke:
 

v_man

Explorer
great looking 'Runner ... it was my impression that the 2-door / 22re turbo combo was pretty rare ? nice find...
 

tanglefoot

ExPoseur
Slick!

I think the 1st gens were the only 4runners available with a turbo in the US. And, they are pretty rare. I believe they only came with auto transmissions, right? I heard the auto was programmed to help keep the revs in the boost range. I guess they didn't want any gearbox rowers lugging it around.

I was going to ask if it had the wacky gauge cluster and it DOES!
 

Skudman

New member
great looking 'Runner ... it was my impression that the 2-door / 22re turbo combo was pretty rare ? nice find...
Correct the late 1st gen 4Runners were the only US release of the 22RET, and it was only 2 years they had it as an option IIRC. Thanks, I snapped it up as soon as I saw her.

Slick!

I think the 1st gens were the only 4runners available with a turbo in the US. And, they are pretty rare. I believe they only came with auto transmissions, right? I heard the auto was programmed to help keep the revs in the boost range. I guess they didn't want any gearbox rowers lugging it around.

I was going to ask if it had the wacky gauge cluster and it DOES!
Yes just the late (IFS) 4Runners (1987-1989) had this motor as an option IIRC. I have yet to see another one. Yes, they only came with the 4 speed Automatic. But it did get the bigger beefier differential and manual locking hubs up front. It shifts rather early in the power band at light throttle (1,600-2,100 RPM) in "Normal" mode. It did come with the ECT "electronically controlled transmission" and it shifts about 500RPM higher in "power mode". Boost really sets in around 2,100 RPM and feels nice and solid.

I feel like I'm driving the DMC in Back to the Future, "flux capacitor...fluxing" when I fire it up.

That 4Runner is a keeper - near unobtainium nowadays! 22-RE-T and digital dash... so '80's cool! :drool:
Thank you!! Im hoping to keep it a long while!!
 

Chim

New member
That hood looks familiar.. I test drove one that looked just like this in Tigard Oregon around last August-Sept... This guy was selling it for his dad.. Is this the same one?
 

Skudman

New member
That hood looks familiar.. I test drove one that looked just like this in Tigard Oregon around last August-Sept... This guy was selling it for his dad.. Is this the same one?
Yea, that is the same one. I knew it was a bit of a project as it was overboosting and had a few problems. Brakes are sorted, overboost is sorted, Tire balance is sorted, axle seals are sorted. Besides I will be rebuilding it this summer. Why did you pass Chim?
 

Skudman

New member
84-87 pickups had the 22ret option too. The pickups had the choice for manual transmission too. I had a 84 2wd 5 speed extra cab turbo.

Nice truck, i like how it doesnt have the red interior that red runners would come with!
ahh I see, not as rare as I was thinking but Im still very satisfied since I have sorted most of the running/driving issues.
 

Chim

New member
Yea, that is the same one. I knew it was a bit of a project as it was overboosting and had a few problems. Brakes are sorted, overboost is sorted, Tire balance is sorted, axle seals are sorted. Besides I will be rebuilding it this summer. Why did you pass Chim?
It was really clean for sure but at that time he wasn't willing to negotiate on price and I knew there were going to be other deals. Also the rust in the door jambs bugged me. Did you get those taken care of?
 

Skudman

New member
It was really clean for sure but at that time he wasn't willing to negotiate on price and I knew there were going to be other deals. Also the rust in the door jambs bugged me. Did you get those taken care of?
ahh I saw that too Chim, I got him to drop a bit in price for that and a few other things, not much but some was better than none. I had a hunch it was original paint though, so a repaint is in the very near future anyway. For now they are taken care of, hit them with the wire wheel, rust inhibitor and some primer. It will last till summer when she goes in for paint.

Looks like you picked one up around that same time, looks pretty good. 5 speed SR5 IIRC?
 

4Rescue

Expedition Leader
That hood looks familiar.. I test drove one that looked just like this in Tigard Oregon around last August-Sept... This guy was selling it for his dad.. Is this the same one?
I was thinking the same thing!!! I lived right the trucks PO in Tigard until just recently. It's funny, there were a good number of 1st Gen 4Runners floating around that area (including mine) and quite a few more sitting in yards/garages I found over the years.

Glad to see it go to a good home Skudman. Looks like you're giving her the love she needs aye (and sounds like you;ve got the solid background to do it all too) the buff-up alone makes it look 10x better. Congrats on the new truck.

That's a pretty rare truck too, not having the typical "Red on Red" interior/exterior combo those Turbo 4Runners were famous for. You're spot on about the tranny too, the Auto only was indeed meant to keep the engine "on boil". Toyota felt that the heavier factory top would make the 4Runners more more slugish and therefore suited to an Auto that they could pre-program to try and keep the truck in it's power-band. The whole RET engine was basically just a stop-gap engine until they could get the 3VZ V6's into the 2nd Gen's to compete with the Nissan Hardbodies/Pathys and Isuzu's of the day that brought V6 trucks/SUVs to market sooner. That bit's always funny to me considering what the 3VZ turned out to be and the fact that Isuzu was using the 2.8L GM V6 which IMO is the most horrible engine ever to be produced... Yes I owned a 91 Trooper with one, I loved that truck and the BW 5-speed, but that engine... complete and utter boat anchor.

Cheers

Dave
 

bjowett

Adventurer
I had a black on tan 86. One of my favorite trucks. Add the 5 speed trans, better turbo, and intercooler… it'll be fun.
 

Skudman

New member
I was thinking the same thing!!! I lived right the trucks PO in Tigard until just recently. It's funny, there were a good number of 1st Gen 4Runners floating around that area (including mine) and quite a few more sitting in yards/garages I found over the years.

Glad to see it go to a good home Skudman. Looks like you're giving her the love she needs aye (and sounds like you;ve got the solid background to do it all too) the buff-up alone makes it look 10x better. Congrats on the new truck.

That's a pretty rare truck too, not having the typical "Red on Red" interior/exterior combo those Turbo 4Runners were famous for. You're spot on about the tranny too, the Auto only was indeed meant to keep the engine "on boil". Toyota felt that the heavier factory top would make the 4Runners more more slugish and therefore suited to an Auto that they could pre-program to try and keep the truck in it's power-band. The whole RET engine was basically just a stop-gap engine until they could get the 3VZ V6's into the 2nd Gen's to compete with the Nissan Hardbodies/Pathys and Isuzu's of the day that brought V6 trucks/SUVs to market sooner. That bit's always funny to me considering what the 3VZ turned out to be and the fact that Isuzu was using the 2.8L GM V6 which IMO is the most horrible engine ever to be produced... Yes I owned a 91 Trooper with one, I loved that truck and the BW 5-speed, but that engine... complete and utter boat anchor.

Cheers

Dave
Thannks Dave, She needed a little TLC when I picked her up. We recently moved into Tigard and after getting to know the area I'm pretty sure it used to live right around here. Maybe we will bump into each other around town.

Ahh yes, it likes to keep that turbo just at spool. I want to put a the Steed turbo manifold on and run a nice quicker spooling little turbo, Top mount intercooler, and BOV. It already has the 3" exhaust, over sized valves so I should have adequate flow but, I don't like his RV270 cam choice as it doesn't open the exhaust valve soon enough and has too much overlap, I'm just blowing "power" right out the pipe. Top end it falls flat on its face.

Interesting, I didn't even think about Nissan's. I was under the impression it was to compete with the American trucks. didn't the dodge have the 3.9L 6 options during this period?
 
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