First Foray into 4Runners - My 1st Gen Build

Summit Cruisers Jr

Active member
Well I finally got it out of the garage...unfortunately it went right back in. Refreshing so many things is bound to highlight issues that I didn’t know it had to begin with.

For starters, the rear driveshaft isn’t too happy. Despite correcting the pinion angle when welding on the perches, the driveshaft angle is slightly over 20° and it vibrates. I’m currently researching what to do and it seems like I’ll have to have a double Cardan shaft made and cut off everything on the rear axle to point the pinion up at the T case. Not a huge annoyance as I figured I’d be lucky to be able to use the stock length Ds as it was showing the slip joint splines barely at full droop. I’m still bummed about the idea of having to cut everything off of the axle though.

Because of the rear drivelines vibes, I pulled the rear driveshaft to run it in fwd. It was still vibrating in fwd and there was a gear howl when letting off the gas to coast. After taking off the wheels and running through the gears, 3rd gear in 4H sounds like a box of marbles and the floor starts vibrating. With all new u joints and the driveshafts feeling great, it has to be the T case so it looks like I may need a fresh one or an in-depth rebuild if I plan to use 4wd.

While trying to figure that noise out, I noticed the new CV axles have a wobble to them as they rotate. Not sure why new ones would but maybe it’s just the duralast gold CVs. I bought them because they seemed to be on the higher end of the parts store options and have a lifetime warranty so I could get them swapped no matter where I am/go.

Anyways, I drove up to KC today where I start my new full time job tomorrow and picked up another windshield on the way in Wichita to use with the windshield gasket. The PGW FW00471 turns out to be slightly bigger than the other one which is still about 3/16” to a 1/4” too big around all the corners for the gasket to fit.





As it sits waiting for me to drive back to town and work on it.

Recommended books for Overlanding

Long Way Down: An Epic Journey by Motorcycle from Scotlan...
by Ewan McGregor, Charley Boorman
From $35.66
Lone Rider
by speth Beard
From $27.64


Just curious - did you take any pictures of the Blazeland assembly process? I'm intrigued by their builders kit...

Summit Cruisers Jr

Active member
Just curious - did you take any pictures of the Blazeland assembly process? I'm intrigued by their builders kit...
A few. It was fairly simple and would have been a breeze if TNA Performance had not plasma cut them. Nate used laser to cut all his and from what friends had told me, everything was very professional and clean. I had quite the opposite experience...especially after being given the run around for 6 months on why they weren’t ready.

None of the holes in the UCA extension plates even let a smaller bolt pass let alone a 3/8” bolt so I put them on the drill press before continuing. I later found out once everything was welded, that the holes didn’t really vertically line up so I had to drill everything again to get the bolts to slide in.

Lots of edge clean up and cuts that weren’t perpendicular to the piece made the tabbed and slotted parts incompatible. It also didn’t ship with the cut guides or UCA hardware so I ended being out another $80 for that stuff. I also couldn’t get them to send me the installation guides once I had the parts but luckily Nate of Blazeland hooked me up with all the info I needed. To this day, TNA never sent me the install guides and I just stopped wasting time with them. Overall, it was a bit of a nightmare, but in the end, turned out fine. I should have just designed my own arms if I had known it was going to take this long.

I still plan to at some point and convert it to coilovers. That and a 1UZ is really all that’s left.

Laser cut left over part on the left and plasma on the right. If they go back to laser or waterjet, it’s a great value. The plasma parts were a headache, but still overall I’d probably buy them again if they weren’t so flaky/deceptive on shipping dates

Summit Cruisers Jr

Active member
And I guess I’ll throw some pics up of my fabricated outboard shock mounts. The trickiest part was getting them to angle out the shocks so the shock body will clear the leaf spring u bolt plate. I also put a ton of effort getting the mounts to go as high as they could in the wheel well to maximize uptravelA85D2D22-0920-470A-A8BD-31B234A27DAA.jpeg

Like everything I do, I like things to bolt on so I used some scrap 80 series swing out 1/4” latch plates that my waterjet guy cut instead of using 3/16” and welded nuts onto the backsides. Then I cut holes in the frame so the nuts would be recessed and captive and welded the plate to the frame. Little fun fact, I could bolt up a pintle hitch to these if I wanted to haha

Lower mounts were also custom and there’s a pic of them on the rear axle several posts up. As it sits, with 14” travel kings, I have about 6” of uptravel but the leaf springs start getting flat. I’m sure this will change a little bit as the ride height drops and more weight is on it. I still need to set up rear bump stops.

Surprisingly, droop is limited by the Chevy 63s, and I have roughly 2” of additional down travel after full droop for articulation if the axle is pushing the other side down.



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Summit Cruisers Jr

Active member
Well I put the first 100 miles on it while I was in town last weekend. I was really planning on being able to drive it up to KC, but with a lingering sinus infection and being exhausted I decided not too since it had some front end vibrations above 65mph...
My dad is taking it to the local Toyota dealership tomorrow for their $49.99 alignment so hopefully that all goes well and he’ll meet me out in NWA with it this weekend so I can pick it up.

The second gasketed windshield is in after another half dozen attempts only to have it crack 99% of the way in so I’ll be getting a THIRD windshield sometime down the road and installing it. For now I’m going to run it. Third time will be the charm and I’ll post up a detailed guide and maybe a video on it because there’s so much mud information out there.

And here’s some before and afters




Trying to escape the city
Hands down the best looking 1st gen out there. If anything, it's got to be one of the best transformations I've seen. Color choice of each trim piece is perfect! Well done.

Summit Cruisers Jr

Active member
I’ve got about a thousand miles on the truck now. The sound deadening was a great call And I can definitely tell that the random drone/noise from the cargo area has been reduced. I installed some 3M PPF on the fronts of the rear flares and the fronts of the front fenders last weekend. I still need to do some more, but ran out of it. Once that was done, I ceramic coated the whole truck and all windows except for the rear window.

I used Car Pros CQ UK 3.0 and it took me about 4 hours. It was a little nerve wracking at first because you have to be mindful of times between coats so I basically did one side of the truck and hood, and then did the other side of the truck and tailgate.

With the paint protected, I took it out on a rural backroads rip the other night and snagged some pics. Unfortunately some cloud cover came out and ruined the lighting, but it only made this paint change color to an almost black which was wild.

The ride quality on this thing is still blowing me away, but I can definitely feel at times where the front end could definitely use some more compression dampening for big hits, but overall it’s been great for daily driving and all the washboard and train track jumps it has or hasn’t seen haha.


Recommended books for Overlanding


Please...90% of this forum is truck building and not overlanding. Look at the number of vehicle builds vs trip reports.

The 4Runner stays and you can keep scrolling or start your own forum. Besides that, the OP uses this truck (and his other one very well built one) to support quite a few camping and biking adventures that are scattered throughout his thread.

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Lol I would say half the people on here never actually go “overlanding” but more building and Discussion on tire size and awning mounting . This is one awesome build and can’t wait to see how all your suspension mods turn out on the trail .