I've been gone from this forum for quite some time. In the recent years I've started DC Custom Fabrication in Cashmere WA. I haven't had a reason to be on the Toyota based Marlin Board but I'm back to share this very cool build with you guys.
Little background on this build. I've owned and built many different vehicles over the years from tube buggies to a very built JK that my wife drove for the past 6 years. After last years EJS I made the decision that the JK needed to be sold and a more capable family wheeler/expedition rig needed to be built. The JK had coilovers, long arm suspension, fully built axles, full drivetrain skids and custom bumpers. As great as the JK platform is, it left me wanting so much more in terms of a pitiful engine/trans combo which gets horrible fuel mileage and cant get out of its own way. I just couldn't justify a supercharger upgrade form RIP or a V8 Swap.
About 2 years ago I came by a cherry 1987 SR5 4cyl 5sp manual that was totally unmolested and unmodified. I have owned about 15 Toyota's over the years and have a weakness for the 1st Gen 4Runners especially. My wife took no convincing to buy it since she has a found love for them as well. We drove it for about a year and both fell in love with it as a occasional run around rig. I didn't know if our how I'd ever build it and just enjoyed the simplicity of the rig in stock form. My wife many times would steal it from me and threaten that I should never ever think about selling it (I know she's a keeper!)
Well about a year ago we took it on a trip to the mountains for her birthday and it got a horrible wobble in the front end on the way home. I drove it to the shop the next day for work and found that the spindle was completely shot. I did have a 85 Toyota axle laying around at the shop and planned to just do a SAS on the truck. Well my business was really busy so the project just started collecting parts for the build at some point. So that brings us back to EJS 2016. My wife drove her JK through all the trails in Moab including Pritchett Canyon. I could tell that with her driving the JK as a DD and our needs to have room for the kids who are now 4 and 6, we would be doing more trips as a family and need a very capable rig we could enjoy as a year round wheeling rig. The JK was going to either need a power upgrade and some hardcore axle mods, or we could sell the JK and buy her a more usable family rig like a Yukon. We then could build a streetable hardcore wheeler that we could take to CO, and UT without needing to be trailered.
SO.....The 4Runner now comes back into the picture. The engine was going to need some attention as some point sooner than later and I knew that if I'm going to do this, it was going to be done with all the bells and whistles I've always wanted in a 1st Gen 4Runner. V8 Power, strong axles, linked with coilovers and armor. I've developed a number of 2nd gen/1st gen Toyota products over the past few years so armor is already taken care of. I also have built enough SAS'd Toyotas trucks to know the limitations for linked setups and leaf setups in these rigs so I know what frame mods I'd need to make.
I had some Trail Gear Rock Assault axles that I purchased from a customer when he went to 1 tons on his rig a few of years ago. My plan was to use those, along with the 5.3/4l60 from a 04 Tahoe that I picked up from a rollover. The 4l60 would be mated to a Toyota gear drive case from the original 4Runner with an upgraded Longfield ouput shaft. Now I know the 4cyl case isn't amazingly strong but I wanted to use as many parts that I've had laying around the shop as possible.
I will be showing what I've changed from the original plan as I go through this build thread and explain why these changes have been made. The goal for completion is July 4 2016 for a Rubicon trip with friends.
Specs for this build is as follows:
-1987 1st Gen SR5 4Runner
-SAS with Trail-Gear Rock Assault axles (later changed to 04 SD HPD60, 60 Rear)
-Linked Suspension 3 Link Front, 4 Link Rear
-Radlfo 2x12" Remote reservoir w/compression adjusters
-New front frame from firewall forward
-04 GM DBW 5.3/4l60/toyota 4cyl case (later changed to D300 flipped to drivers drop)
-Relocated fuel cell to behind axle
-Stretched WB (TBD length)
-DC Custom Fab front/rear bumpers, sliders
-Warn 9500I winch
Here is the rig before the build started.
Lets just say this was a super greasy pig.
After a lot of de-greasing, the engine got completely torn down, inspected and regasketed.
All mocked up and bolted to the 4Cyl Toyota case