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The $4K 4Runner: Part 1

Posted in How To: Suspension Brakes on May 1, 2013
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Toyotas have a reputation for being tough and reliable, and they command a premium price as a result. Our newest project, the $4K 4Runner, is the exception. Its torsion-bar front suspension and bloated body make it less than ideal for trail use. But this Toyota only cost us $1,000 since it came with a blown head gasket when we bought it. This is a common problem on these 3VE 3.0L engines, which has earned them the nickname 3.slow. A few clicks on and we had the parts we needed to replace the head gaskets and were back on the road for another $800. Not a bad initial investment for a clean wheeling rig, but we still aren’t going to try and make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear.

Once we got the 4Runner running the first order of business was to gain a little chassis clearance without breaking the bank.

Why call it the $4K 4Runner? The goal is to make this Toyota more capable on the trail without sacrificing road manners, and to do it with a budget of $4,000 for aftermarket modifications. That means we don’t have the cash for a solid axle swap right now, and we don’t want to invest a bunch of money into IFS lift either, knowing that it will likely get cut off in the future. So we used a variety of products that moderately boost the 4Runner to make enough room for 33-inch tires without breaking the bank.

PhotosView Slideshow

Part Price
4Crawler 1-Inch Body Lift: 78
4Crawler Ball Joint Spacers: 99
Daystar Low Profile Bump Stops (3 pair): 27
Daystar Rear Coil Spacer: 85
Rancho RS90000XL Shocks: 445
BFGoodrich 33x10.5R15 Tires (5): 745
Samco Fabrication Tire Mounting and Balancing: 50
Sunshine Service Alignment: 99
Total: 1628

Don’t be the guy driving around with big ol’ mudders and a dinky donut for a spare. Even with our tight budget we sprung for a fullsize, matching spare tire, and it fits in the stock location under the body.

Measuring Up

Approach Angle (°) Departure Angle (°) Ground Clearance (at rear diff, in)
Before 42 27 9.25
After 52 35 10.50


Phoenix, AZ 85043
Madison, WI
Samco Fabrication
4Crawler Off Road
Rancho Suspension Products
Monroe, MI 48161
Sunshine Service

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