Toying With IFS: 1992 Toyota 4RunnerPosted in How To: Transmission Drivetrain on March 1, 2011
Over the past few months we've used our '92 Toyota 4Runner to explore the vast desert trails and rolling countryside of Southern California. With nothing more than a 5-inch Rough Country suspension lift and a set of 33-inch Goodyear DuraTracs, the V-6 Runner has done surprisingly well. Though we've been able to cruise most of the trails that we've wanted, the lack of traction aids has hindered the Toyota's true off-road potential.
We decided early on that the 4Runner's IFS frontend would live longer if we kept the stock differential carrier open. This meant we needed a quality locking rear differential upgrade that could pick up the slack. After talking with the gear experts at G2 Axle & Gear, we decided to go with a complete third member replacement for the Toyota 8-inch rear. Packed inside the bolt-in third member is a fully automatic Detroit Locker that's paired with a numerically higher 5.29 G2 performance gearset. The addition of the rear locker will increase the 4Runner's traction, while the new gearset will help to rotate the 33-inch-tall cleats.
To install our new G2 setup, we went to the installation experts at 4Wheel Parts in Thousand Oaks, California. Though replacing a third member is relatively easy, installing the 5.29 gearset in our Toyota's 7 1/2-inch IFS differential was a very labor-intensive and precise process that we're glad we left to the pros.
While the jump from 4.88 to 5.29 gears was noticeable, the V-6 and auto transmission keep the 4Runner from being a real powerhouse. Without question the most apparent off-road performance gain came from adding the rear Detroit Locker. While on-road the locker offers a few handling quirks every now and again, off-road it helps tremendously with getting the Toyota down the trail. Overall, the entire setup continues to amaze us, and we look forward to seeing what else our budget-built IFS 4Runner can do.