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1998 with e-locker

Discussion in '3rd Gen 4Runners (1996-2002)' started by hikeandfish, Aug 6, 2017.

  1. Aug 6, 2017 at 1:41 PM
    #1
    hikeandfish

    hikeandfish [OP] New Member

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    Hi everyone,

    This is my first post. I am new to forums as a whole so apologies if I do anything that bugs people. Just let me know and I'll be sure to remedy.
    I've wanted a 4Runner for over 15 years. When I was first out of high school I couldn't afford one so I bought a used Jeep GC instead. It got me to some great fishing spots and was an alright car, but I was t-boned and it was totaled. That was a while ago and I have not had 4wd since then.

    I am back in university after years off and need something reliable for the next two years. I almost bought an 2002 4R with 115k miles on it because I am in the market for a car and need something quick, and it was being sold by a friend of a friend. I decided not to because it was 2wd and the seller was asking way over KBB, which I understand is normal since they are such desirable vehicles. The 02 had some dents but was otherwise in great shape. The asking price just seemed more in line for what a 4wd should have been going for.

    After weeks of looking, dealing with sellers asking crazy prices for 250k miles or more vehicles, I finally found a 1998 with 4wd and an e locker. It only has 140k miles on it and he's asking a reasonable price. Everything he mentioned to me checked out on the carfax report.

    The 1998 has a slow oil leak the owner was upfront about. I am not a mechanic, but I looked under the car and could tell there was a slow leak by some spotting on the pan, but there are no spots where it is parked and he let me test drive it a while and I parked it and waited and found no oil spots after about 15 minutes. I also noticed the brakes weren't as sensitive as the 2002 but they weren't squeaking or anything.

    Carfax shows one accident in 2014 when the 4R was over 15 years old, but not total loss or salvage so I figured it was probably minor if it did not total a 17 year old car, I didn't see any indication of the accident, and all doors have original VIN on them. Current owner bought it 18 months ago and about 4,000 miles after the reported accident. He recommended that I change the radiator, or install a separate transmission cooler which I plan on doing right away. He also mentioned the lower ball joints but I checked on Toyota's website and this VIN wasn't one of the ones with the recall.

    I am having it checked out by my brother's Toyota mechanic tomorrow. It is costing me $50 which I thought seemed cheap. Hoping it will be enough to find any major red flags. I appreciated the seller being willing to let me do it.

    Sorry for the length, but what do you all think? Is what appears to be a minor oil leak on a 20 year old 4Runner any reason to not buy? I am really hoping this works out because if it does, I'll keep it forever, even after I finish at university and buy a newer car. With the e locker, it has the potential to be a beast. Thanks so much!
     
    Last edited: Aug 6, 2017
  2. Aug 7, 2017 at 8:14 AM
    #2
    jester243

    jester243 rabble rabble rabble

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    Hopefully it all checks out, sounds like fun, I'm not sure on that year but on any Toyota check the frame completely for rust.
     
  3. Aug 7, 2017 at 11:17 AM
    #3
    hikeandfish

    hikeandfish [OP] New Member

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    Had it looked at this morning. I'm not sure how great the mechanic is as he is not my normal guy. He drove it about two minutes, came back and lifted it and checked a number of things. Gave it an 8/10 for the year and thought the seller was asking about $500-$1,000 too much but since I have been looking for weeks, I know these 4Runners sell for more than they are valued. All the work he recommended came out to about $1,000 (timing and drive belts be changed, transmission flush, and a couple other small thing). I called around and got a few quotes from $1,000 to $1,600 for everything.
    Not sure if it's worth it. I really want the car but it's a little more than I was hoping to spend.
     
  4. Aug 7, 2017 at 11:30 AM
    #4
    jester243

    jester243 rabble rabble rabble

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    any idea why the current owner is selling it, the miles are really low for a 1998 but if you're feeling apprehensive now I would probably try to find another one.
     
  5. Aug 7, 2017 at 11:41 AM
    #5
    hikeandfish

    hikeandfish [OP] New Member

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    I know what he told me, but I generally don't believe or not believe what craigslist sellers say. I try to be objective but it is hard. I will say he was willing to bring it to the mechanic of my choosing and seems to understand my apprehension being a student and needing something that won't be a money pit for the next two years till I finish my degree. I am in my early 30s, but am back in school for a third career where I know (guaranteed) I will have employment and be making good money when I am done. For now I am fairly strapped though.
    Current owner is second owner. His wife is 8 weeks pregnant, and he bought her a new Sequoia a couple weeks ago. He has a 4wd Tacoma that he wants to add some armor to and do some other upgrades. He said he was going to build up the 4Runner for a recreational vehicle but with the baby on the way, he'd rather put the money towards the newer truck and make sure his wife has a nice new safe vehicle. Everything he told me regarding original owner etc checked out in carfax.
    I've been looking for weeks and have only seen them similarly priced with double the miles. The original owner according to carfax and autocheck only averaged about 7,000 miles per year. I start school in two weeks and need something before then. That's why I feel rushed to make a decision.
    Thanks jester, I appreciate your input a lot.
     
  6. Aug 7, 2017 at 11:45 AM
    #6
    hikeandfish

    hikeandfish [OP] New Member

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    Oh and the mechanic said he did not see any rust. I am no mechanic, worked construction for many years in my late teens and early 20s, but as far as cars go I am pretty much a novice. I loved having 4wd when I had it and now that I do not, I don't do many of the things I used to when I did.
    At any rate, I did not see any rust either, but I am no expert. I can watch youtube and do things like change starters and alternators, simple stuff. But otherwise I feel like I am at the mercy of what I am told by mechanic etc.
     
  7. Aug 7, 2017 at 11:54 AM
    #7
    jester243

    jester243 rabble rabble rabble

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    you might be better served for now to buy a small car while you're in school and go for a truck or 4runner afterward. I would hate to see you buy this and run into some issues soon after while you're still in school.
     
  8. Aug 7, 2017 at 11:58 AM
    #8
    hikeandfish

    hikeandfish [OP] New Member

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    I've thought about leasing a small car. I have tried to find a small car (camry, corolla, civic, older avalon and a few others) on craiglslist and ran into more scams than I can explain. But you might be right. Maybe I should just keep looking. I'm in a hurry though. I have a lot to do in the next two weeks and don't want to spend the rest of my break car hunting. Ugh!

    Anyway, thanks again! I'll definitely take into consideration your advice. sincerely appreciate it.
     
    jester243 likes this.
  9. Aug 7, 2017 at 5:39 PM
    #9
    RidinOvah

    RidinOvah New Member

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    Welcome to the forum, hikeandfish! Happy car hunting and cheers! :)
     

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