When Brad Bonnett first picked up his '91 4Runner, he didn't really plan to take it four-wheeling. He just figured the Toyota would make a nice daily driver. A couple of years later he found himself starting to play around with it more and more off road. So he bolted on a 4-inch Trail Master lift kit and started to experiment. This lasted the Spokane resident about six months before he destroyed the independent front suspension in a local rock pile. Twenty-four hours later, the real modifications began.
The IFS (or what was left of it) was thrown out, and a Dana 44 out of a '78 Cherokee took its place. Both the 44 up front and the Toyota 8-inch in back were hung with Alcan springs and were equipped with 4.88 gears and Lock-Right lockers. Brad rounded things off with a Hy-Steer setup from All Pro Off Road, then spent the next couple of years just having fun with his rig.
Gradually, the desire to do more extreme rockcrawling pushed Brad into planning something far more wild for his Toy. To get started, he cut out the roof and bobbed the rearend 26 inches. To maximize articulation, he designed and built his own four-link, long-arm suspension, and then had a set of quarter-elliptic springs custom-built for the back, which he frenched into the framerails. After capping the corners with 35-inch Swampers on Willamette 15x10-inch bead-lock wheels, Brad was ready to move on to the drivetrain.
Pop the hood and you'll find that this four-wheeler still runs the stock Toyota V-6. Follow that back, and you'll find the stock five-speed tranny. But after that, you'll run right into the Marlin Crawler dual T-case setup, which gives this 'crawler a Low-range of 100:1. Everything is protected by custom 3/8-inch steel skidplates down below, as well as custom bumpers front and rear.
With his rig mechanically sound, Brad moved on to taking care of the details. Inside, he designed and built an eight-point rollcage and installed a custom fuel cell in back.
To keep himself and any occupants warm and dry in inclement weather, Brad had Pat O'Grady stitch together the mini soft top.
Brad Bonnett's 4Runner is stout enough to tackle any terrain in just about any condition. As it continues to evolve, we suspect we'll be seeing it on the trails for a long time to come.
|Owner/hometown:||Brad Bonnett/ |
|Transmission:||Stock five-speed |
Transfer case: Marlin Crawler
|Frontend:||Dana 44 with |
|Rearend:||Toyota 8-inch with Lock-Right |
|Suspension:||Custom four-link with rear quarter-elliptical springs|
|Tires/wheels:||Willamette 15x10-inch bead locks/ |