If it's a 1995.5 to 2000 and you haven't already replaced the cast exhaust manifold, check it for cracks between the 2nd and 3rd cylinders. Also if you are running a CAI or aftermarket air filter, do a sparkplug reading. Check to see if you are running lean. Both occurrences can cause an engine to run hot.
Traveled the better part of 1600 miles over the course of a week, and the only issue the truck had was a noisy Aisin manual front locker. Stopped, picked up some grease, threw it in there, and was quiet for the remainder of the trip.
Probably traveled around 500 miles with the A/C on as well.
Temp needle never went above half.
One thing I will say though is that this truck has some serious power issues, as in, lack of it. Even at sea level was I surprised out how much the truck felt like it was struggling.
That being said I got almost 22mpg on one my fill ups! Mostly averaged around 18, though. 80mph for hours on end is to blame for that.
Glad the little 2.7l got you there and back. I have the same engine in a 99 4runner, and I agree it's underpowered, but I love the fuel economy and how easy it is to work on...(if necessary). It seems to be built like a Timex...just keeps on ticking.
Also, my engine is a bit noisy. Sounds like a valve issue. So I had them checked, and they are still within spec. And I have 215k miles on mine. Still going strong.