First generation (’84-’89) Toyota 4Runners have gained cult status due to their removable tops and trail-friendly dimensions, even if they are underpowered with a whopping 104 hp coming from the 22RE under the hood. At the other end of the spectrum is the new fifth-generation 4Runner, with more plastic than Pamela Anderson and less ground clearance (than Pamela Anderson … or previous 4Runners), but the 270 hp 1GR 4.0L V-6 and plush coilover front suspension make you forget about all that.
Have you ever wondered what would happen if you took the best Toyota DNA from various decades and mashed them up into one SuperRunner? That is exactly what Ray Reser commissioned Stoffregen Motorsports to do, and the results are shown here.
“Ray wanted to shoehorn a Chevy LS1 V-8 under the hood,” builder Matt Stoffregen explained. “We had already built the Toyota axles though, and it didn’t seem like a well-balanced package. So we started to look at other options from a supercharged 22RE to a 3UZ V-8 from a Lexus. In the end, the 1GR V-6 was the best option due to the size, weight, and power of the mill.”
“Best option” shouldn’t be interpreted as “easy” though. The engine swap required some outside-the-box thinking, including machining a new intake manifold that utilizes a throttle body from a ’96 Ford Mustang Cobra in place of the drive-by-wire throttle body. An ECU from Adaptronic was tuned by Rebello Racing to retain the factory variable valve timing and overcome the theft prevention of the factory ECU.
Now Ray’s 4Runner is packed with plenty of passing power on the road, gearing for any possible scenario on the trail, and the reliability that Toyota is famous for. That is what makes this 4Runner a SuperRunner.
1987 Toyota 4Runner
Engine: 1GR-FE 4.0L V-6 with custom intake manifold, Mustang throttle body, and Adaptronic ECU
Transmission: RA60F 6-speed manual
Transfer case: Dual gear-driven with Inchworm adapter and 4.7:1 Marlin Crawler gears in rear case
Front Axle: Diamond Axle housing with high-pinion 3rd member, 5.29 gears, and Toyota electric locker
Rear Axle: Tacoma 8-inch with Front Range Off-Road Fabrication full floater conversion and disc brakes, 5.29 gears, and Toyota electric locker
Springs & Such: Off-Road Solutions front coilover conversion with Fox 16-inch coilovers, Skyjacker 63-inch long springs in rear, Fox air bumps
Tires & Wheels: 37x12.50R15 Super Swamper TrXus M/Ts on 15x8.5 Walker Evans Racing beadlock rims
Steering: PSC 1,600 psi, 4.5-gpm pump, reservoir, and ram; Earl’s 2x2x81⁄4 fluid cooler; stock IFS box moved 11⁄2 inches forward; Marlin Crawler steering arms; Parts Mike “one ton” intersect style TREs; 11⁄4x0.288 wall DOM tie rod and drag link
Other Stuff: Stoffregen Motorsports bumpers and sliders, Ramsey winch, LED lights, HID lights, trimmed fenders, custom graphics, Line-X interior, dual Viair compressors