Project 4Runner

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After the last trip out the 4runner started popping the check engine light due to a lean condition in bank 0.  Due to a stumble during acceleration and an intermittent hard starting I dropped the fuel tank and replaced the fuel pump with a new one.  This didn't cure the check engine light but cleared up the other two symptoms. Over the course of the next few months I chased the lean condition be swapping out used mass air flow sensors and O2 sensors but nothing seemed to work.  It wasn't until I tore into the intake to try a new set of gaskets that I noticed there were two gaskets on the throttle body.  Perhaps the previous owner thought two gaskets would seal better than one? After re-assembling with just one gasket the check engine light has not reappeared. So it seemed like the mechanical stuff was finally under control so we have turned our attention to the interior.

Like most 4runners, the outer edges of the front seats were torn from people sliding in and out of the truck. All of the junkyard and Craigslist replacement candidates had the same issues so I eventually decided to go the seat cover route.

These covers are made from a canvas material (like a backpack) and I am happy to say are easy to clean pet hair off of.  I found these at GTCovers.

The next order of business was to come up with a better cup holder solution.  The stock cup holders are located high in the dash which is the worst place I can think to place a cup holder since any spillage can hit the HVAC controls, radio and shifter. I looked into swapping out the center console for a later model console which has cup holders built in but I could not find a reasonably price replacement.  In the end I picked up some plastic cup table inserts from a local RV parts store and attached them to a piece of aluminum that is formed to fit next to the e-brake lever.

Another modification was adding a power port in the rear cargo area so we would have a place to plug in our 12V cooler.

Our summer vacation this year was a 500 mile trip along the rim checking out some of the back roads and visiting some of the high country lakes to do some fishing. The 4Runner did really with only two small issues. The issue had me pulling apart the driver side rear drum brake assembly in the Knoll Lake parking lot trying to find out why is was getting so hot.  Turned out one of the pads had come off the piston.  I am thinking this may have occurred when I re-assembled the rear brakes after installing new pads.  The driver side was really tight going on. Re-seating the pad and backing the adjuster off fixed the issue.

The other problem was a broken sway bar bracket which was discovered after we left Knoll Lake and started hearing a new noise coming from under the truck. After stopping to investigate the new sound I discovered the bracket and ratchet strapped the sway bar to the frame as a temporary fix. Instead of buying new brackets I just re-welded the old one and then added some gussets to both driver and passenger brackets.

One of the other things I had been fighting was getting the rear window to operate again. After a few different attempts at getting the factory wiring to work (swapping rear window modules, switches and tracing wires) I finally came to the conclusion that mine would never work due to the missing rear window wiper assembly.  The previous owner had replaced the rear hatch after an accident with a new OEM hatch that did not have a wiper assembly.  It made for a clean look but also eliminated the wiper limit switches the rear window module was looking for to determine if it was safe to roll the window down.  I ended up wiring the rear window motor to a On-Off-On DPDT.  To get the power to the motor I utilized the existing wires by removing the rear window control module and then spliced into the harness near the driver side A pillar. I was also able to re-use the "up" limit switch, wiring it so it turns on an led light when the switch closes.

While I had the rear hatch apart I also installed an LED strip next to the OEM rear light to add some better illumination of the rear cargo area.

Speaking of illumination, the stock headlight adjuster clips were all either broken or stripped out due to the plastic tabs cracking so I was in need of some new headlight assemblies. Again, I tried the salvage route first but the prices people wanted for used headlight assemblies was outrageous.  I ended up getting some brand new OEM compatible housings off of E-bay for $75 shipped (that was both sides),  The are actually the non-frosted 01+ light housings which bolted right up to my 96.  The difference in light output was literally night and day better than the old setup.

Somewhere along the way I moved the boost gauge from below the 12V port at the bottom of the center stack in the dash to the much more visible location shown above.

I also added one more 12V port to the storage bin in the center console so we could charge phones and keep them secured while off-road.

For added ground clearance out back I notched the rear bumper and flipped the trailer hitch upside down.  The mod was pretty easy and it buys a solid 3" of ground clearance out back. One of these days I hope to get around to making some bumpers.

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