Is there a bad year for the 4 runner


New member
I’m looking for a project truck and was wondering if there was a year to avoid for 4 runners. I have a 2015, but that’s the wife’s commuter and not going to be something I take off road. Thanks.


Id choose a 1st or 3rd gen over a 2nd gen. A 5th over a 4th if I had the coin. 4th gen is likely to be the most reasonably priced. Fine trucks, they just don't seem to have the following as a 3rd or 5th.


What are the goals of the project? That is important in determining what years to focus on.

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I would steer clear of the 2nd generation. The 3.0 V6 was not one of Toyota’s best ideas, under powered and head gasket problems.


The price of a V8 4th gen is climbing quickly. There is a TON of aftermarket support for them, and that V8 is incredible


Expedition Leader
I would steer clear of the 2nd generation. The 3.0 V6 was not one of Toyota’s best ideas, under powered and head gasket problems.
OTOH, the 2nd gen is overlooked. It shares a lot of stuff with 89-95 pickups, you can get 2 door versions still, very common to have stick shifts (if that's important to anyone else but me) and most importantly is a 3.4L is an easy swap for a 3.0L.
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I'll 2nd a vote to consider a 4th gen.

I have an 03 V8 with 275k on the clock, including a TRD Supercharger since 4k. I have owned this since new and Its been a very reliable truck and fun to drive.
I also have a 16 and the mileage is the same or slightly better on the 03.

4th gen is a solid platform, and you can still find some with reasonable mileage on them. Good luck.


Having owned a 2nd Gen, several 3rd Gens, and now a 4th Gen.... I would say go 3rd or 4th depending on your uses. The 3rd gen is smaller and more nimble but has a ton of aftermarket support. Great if your looking to build something for more technical trails. The 4th gen has the V8 option which is amazing. Also lots of aftermarket support but a larger and more expensive platform to start with. Probably easier to find a clean 4th gen nowadays vs. the 3rd gens though...
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Only have experience with the 4th and 5th gen's.

I don't know of any "bad years" to avoid for the 4th gen. It really comes down to whether or not you want a v6 or v8.

Toyota put 4 cylinder engines into some of the early 5th gen's (I believe 2010). I wouldn't get a 4 cylinder 4runner; the v6's are barely sufficient as is.


I've had a 99 , 07, & 11. 3rd, 4th, & 5th generation. sold the 99 and have the 07 & 11 now. Have done nothing but regular maintenance on all of them.

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New member
Thanks for all the info. The goal of the project is light over landing with trips lasting no more than a few days. Mostly solo travel, relatively easy off road with the occasional “I wonder what’s down that trail” mixed in. I made an offer on a 2007, however the owner hasn’t agreed to the price yet. Photos to follow if I take it home.