Twisty Tinker Toy
With a license plate like "TWISTY," we were half-expecting to see Bill Springer bring his second-generation 4Runner to the trail on a trailer, but Bill really pulled off an on- and off-road work of art with this rig. We were able to put in some Montana road miles with him on the way to the trail, and this Toy held a straight line like a new car. All through town, on the highway, and up through the curves this 4Runner held onto the road, while still being able to walk through some twisty terrain that would tie some 4x4s into a pretzel.
And after spending a couple of days with Bill, we see why his 4Runner works so well. Bill spent countless hours in his super-organized garage, tinkering away and being very tedious about any and all work he did to his Toy. This is definitely the kind of rig that is all owner-built, and we know because we don't think Bill would let us or anyone else within 10 feet of his rig with a wrench.
A steel skidplate covers a large portion of the undercarriage, but Bill removed it so we could see his handiwork. A built TH700R4 had its rear output shaft changed to a Jeep-style 23-spline output to meet the Klune-V underdrive unit. The input of the Klune has been machined to meet up to the tranny with the help of a 311/44-inch JB Conversions adapter. The output of the Klune also had to be machined to meet up to the Atlas transfer case, which has also been modified with a 32-spline front output shaft (can you tell Bill's the type of guy who likes to tinker?). On the rear of the Atlas a speed sensor sends signals to the engine's ECU and digital dash. High Angle Driveline driveshafts with 7-inch slip yokes and heavy wall tubing send power to the axles. Just in case the primary disc brake system fails, Bill has installed a parking brake kit on the back of the Atlas, which is held up by the custom square tube crossmembers that give a flat mounting point for the skidplate.
Vehicle: Toyota 4Runner
Engine: 350 Vortec
Transmission: TH700R4 tranny with 23-spline output shaft
Transfer Case: Atlas with 32-spline output shafts
Front Axle: Chevy Dana 60 retubed by Dynatrac, ARB Air Locker, 4340 chromoly axleshafts, 5.38 gears
Rear Axle: Dana 60, ARB Air Locker, 35-spline Moser axleshafts, 5.38 gears
Tires & Wheels: 40x13.50-17 Goodyear MTRs on 17-inch Walker Evans wheels
Suspension: Front leaves and solid axle conversion, rear four-link with custom coils