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Newbie looking to buy a 3rd gen. How many miles is too much?

Discussion in '3rd Gen 4Runners (1996-2002)' started by yota_addict, Apr 21, 2015.

  1. Apr 21, 2015 at 10:03 AM
    #1
    yota_addict

    yota_addict [OP] New Member

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    Newbie looking to buy a 3rd gen. 4runner. How many miles is too much? I hoping to find something under 200K miles but what about higher mileage ones? What should I think about or worry about if looking at high mileage 4runners? Things to consider or thing about replacing at >200K.

    Any help appreciated.

    Thanks
     
  2. Apr 21, 2015 at 11:14 AM
    #2
    Utah

    Utah Misanthrope

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    First Name:
    Kevin
    Land of Fake Beer
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    3RZ, OME, 5.29s, 4.7, locked/locked
    Nothing in particular. Any 3rd gen you buy you'll want to do lower ball joints immediately unless they're already new, and if it's an auto you'll want to change the radiator or bypass the stock trans cooler to avoid the pink milkshake. Other than that they're as good to go as any 200k+ vehicle.
     
    4Runnernut likes this.
  3. Apr 21, 2015 at 2:59 PM
    #3
    yota_addict

    yota_addict [OP] New Member

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    thanks for the info. I'll have to research the pink milkshake. As tasty as it sounds its probably not good, lol. I would think they would be more reliable than other vehicles at 200k+ with proper (at least basic) maintenance.
     
  4. Apr 22, 2015 at 8:37 AM
    #4
    Utah

    Utah Misanthrope

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    Land of Fake Beer
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    The Gray Bastard
    3RZ, OME, 5.29s, 4.7, locked/locked
    Everything else being equal, I'd take a 200k+ Toyota or Honda over anything else, any day.
     
    4Runnernut likes this.
  5. Apr 22, 2015 at 10:54 AM
    #5
    Ol'Blue

    Ol'Blue New Member

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    "Not all who wander are lost"
    Vehicle:
    99 T4R LTD- 33's and locked, 01 SR5-,SAS Sold...
    A few things here and there. Still dreaming up stuff
    At 200k,

    Just do a T-Belt job and the above stuff and you are golden for another 100k miles easy.

    I have two of them and one of them I daily drive has 256k on it. I drive it every day about 105-125 miles.

    Blue
     
    slipslifer likes this.
  6. Apr 24, 2015 at 6:39 AM
    #6
    tazwayneiac

    tazwayneiac New Member

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    Vehicle:
    1998 black 4runner
    2015-03-21 18.30.33.jpg
    I got mine with 236,000
    first thing I did was change the timing belt
    bought the water pump component kit at rockauto.com
    installed all the new parts with the kit
    changed all hoses radiator and heater
    glad I did the old water pump was leaking I had a mess
    under the plastic cover that houses the timing belt
    the old timing belt and the 3 outer belts were dry rotted and cracked
    I put in a new radiator too
    should get
    quite a few miles out of it now
    good luck
     
  7. Nov 21, 2015 at 8:19 PM
    #7
    Krawler

    Krawler New Member

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    The great thing about Toyota is everything is virtually unkillable. Miles is not that huge worry. Ps only one Toyota should die and that is the Prius.

    image.jpg
     
    Curt56 likes this.
  8. Apr 13, 2018 at 4:08 PM
    #8
    hogeyphenogey

    hogeyphenogey New Member

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    Hey all- looking at a 2001 with 84k... sight unseen, but the pics are pretty sharp! What's this pink milkshake issue all about? Should I be looking at a radiator and stuff? I'll do the t-belt just due to age anyhow.
     
  9. Apr 14, 2018 at 8:39 AM
    #9
    hogeyphenogey

    hogeyphenogey New Member

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    Why replace the heater?
     
  10. Mar 19, 2021 at 3:21 PM
    #10
    Seuse

    Seuse New Member

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    Nick
    Vehicle:
    98 4Runner
    None
    Currently at 537,436. It is my daily driver. I love my 3rd gen. It’s a 98 4x4. It’s all about keeping up with general maintenance.

    AF1299F5-E8CD-489D-B8B8-B741C3B9ACE5.jpg
     
    golfguy, SR5 Limited and Curt56 like this.
  11. Mar 20, 2021 at 1:07 PM
    #11
    PhantomTweak

    PhantomTweak New Member

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    Patrick
    OREGON
    Vehicle:
    1987 4Runner all stock, owned 32 years
    None. Bone Stock. EXCEPT: Brushguard, tow hitch, both welded to the frame. It's good to have friends and a fully equipped garage!
    I just bought a 99 4Runner with 384,000 on it. It was a fleet vehicle, and from the records I got with it, it was well cared for it's whole life. The dealer I bought it from did a ton of maintenance on it for me. Timing belt, ball joints, radiator, water pump, even replaced the ECM. Just a lot of stuff.
    It runs like a dream. I'm very happy with what I got!
    Pat☺
     
  12. Mar 21, 2021 at 11:08 PM
    #12
    Trekker

    Trekker Regular Member

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    Also be aware that Toyota up until 2000 did make these with a 4 cylinder. Its very reliable (I have it), and you don't have to worry about anything if basic maintenance has been done like regular oil changes (though they can take a lot of neglect but don't pay for someone else mistake). They do have a timing chain which depending the a person's driving style can last from 180k miles to a lifetime. I asked my mechanic and replacing the chain is not a cheap job, so make sure you hear no clacking from a stretched chain. It is an interference engine too.

    They aren't super fast, if its a manual it doesn't hurt around town, only on overtakes on highways does the lack of power become a bit annoying. I was so naïve when I bought mine that I didn't check the motor and didn't even know that they were made with a 4 cylinder until I was looking at a youtube video and noticed it didn't look like my engine. Worked out in the end but I got lucky.

    If it was a 4 cylinder, and it had oil changes every 5k miles and nothing was obviously wrong, I wouldn't blink buying one with over 250k miles. Just be diligent with your research and questions.

    Other than mechanical issues, look for rust, especially on the frame. Look for mud in the holes of the frame, if there is its guaranteed to have been off road at some point. Check the tires, check the spare tire, a lot still have the original spare (maybe see if you can get some price knocked off). Make sure that automatic transmission works, shift the vehicle into 4wd high and lo if your getting one with that, they rely on vacuum lines to change drive and it can go wrong (easy fix usually).

    Look what lights illuminate on the dash on start up, if some look missing then be even more careful. The base 4runners sometimes didn't have ABS, so if the ABS light doesn't come on don't immediately assume its been tampered with. Check the fuse boxes both in the cabin and under the hood. This is super useful, if fuses are blown there could be issues. If fuses are missing, it can indicate that you don't have ABS or that the seller might be hiding something.

    Check how much life is left on the brake pads, this stuff can add up. Knowing about it before hand can give you leverage. Check that the roof rack is good, there are a ton of screws on the roof that hold this stuff down. They can go missing and in rare cases cause issues when water gets trapped in the open screw holes.

    Check the radiator, I think the original ones were brown? If it is original you likely will have to replace it. Make sure its not cracking or leaking. Check that the tires have even wear indicating good alignment. Oh and check the age of the tires too, I've driven toyota pickups that had the original 30 year old tires; thats not only dangerous but it could be another thing to fix if you buy it, so figure it into the cost or negotiate a better price.

    Radio- most of these don't have the original radio. If it does check that the antenna lowers and raises, this is controlled through the head unit. If its an after market radio you might not be able to lower and raise it on command. The antenna motors often break, and I can assure you if it has an aftermarket radio the motor hasn't been used in many years and it likely wont work. Depending on the spec, these 4runners usually came with a cassette/CD player. If you keep the stock radio, the cassette player is actually more important than the CD player. You can get aux to cassette adapters, this modernizes the radio significantly and only cost as little as 5$. Some cassette adapters are even bluetooth capable. Or be old school and record your own cassettes, the stock cassette deck is pretty decent and has dolby B NR.

    The 4runners have metal bumpers, those can rust out. Look for smoke that comes out of the exhaust at startup. Check that all the exterior indicators and lights work. Look for bubbling under the paint, rust likes to start between the panel gaps. If you cant find rust between the panel gaps that is a good sign that the body is in at least fair condition. If the black trim around the windows or the arms of the windshield wipers look faded, its a good sign that it was kept outside (unless its from a sunny climate then that kind of wear is likely even on garage kept vehicles). Bring a scan tool and look if there are any codes. Look at the pedals, if the look worn but the mileage seems extremely low, be suspicious.
     
  13. Apr 9, 2021 at 7:26 AM
    #13
    ZapRunner

    ZapRunner New Member

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    I bought mine February of this year with 231k on it. Timing water pump upper lower ball joints were replaced before I bought it. Clean carfax with all service records and pricing. The only thing I did to it was the driveshaft. I noticed vibration over 65 mph and had my tires looked at as well as alignment everything turned out good. So I took it to a specialist and they custom built a driveshaft with one signal shaft with all new parts u joints yokes ext. She runs like a dream and I’m very happy with my purchase.
     
  14. Apr 9, 2021 at 2:05 PM
    #14
    mousemeat

    mousemeat New Member

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    1997 4 runner limited
    upgraded suspension, large all terrain tires
    my '97 Limited. picked it up at 250k. currently is almost 260k. just got done changing oil. runs like a bat outta hades...

    4runner 2.jpg
     
  15. Apr 10, 2021 at 12:52 PM
    #15
    PhantomTweak

    PhantomTweak New Member

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    Patrick
    OREGON
    Vehicle:
    1987 4Runner all stock, owned 32 years
    None. Bone Stock. EXCEPT: Brushguard, tow hitch, both welded to the frame. It's good to have friends and a fully equipped garage!
    My lovely wife and I just bought a 99 4Runner. It has 384,000 on the odo atm. The dealer we bought it from did a lot of work on the engine before we bought it. It goes like a scared jackrabbit. Heck, my 87's both do too, although the 4Runner is a trifle slow in 4th and 5th. My pickup was my DD for work, about 100+ miles/day. It has 375,000 on it, still almost entirely factory. I really should rebuild the carb, but it still fires right up, and runs like a dream. Someday :D
    These trucks are just bomb-proof! I love em.
    Pat☺
     
  16. Apr 11, 2021 at 12:11 AM
    #16
    mousemeat

    mousemeat New Member

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    1997 4 runner limited
    upgraded suspension, large all terrain tires
    the main thing you have to worry about is RUST. RUST has sent more 3rd gen 4Runner to the bone yard, than vehicle wrecks, etc

    the key is catching rust, early on..and stopping it cold..
     
  17. Apr 11, 2021 at 11:42 AM
    #17
    PhantomTweak

    PhantomTweak New Member

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    Patrick
    OREGON
    Vehicle:
    1987 4Runner all stock, owned 32 years
    None. Bone Stock. EXCEPT: Brushguard, tow hitch, both welded to the frame. It's good to have friends and a fully equipped garage!
    Or, to borrow a phrase...Nip it. Nip it the bud!
    Pat☺
     
    mousemeat likes this.
  18. Apr 13, 2021 at 4:03 PM
    #18
    Coloradorunner445

    Coloradorunner445 New Member

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    Its really more about the owner then the miles. Check for valve cover leaks, wheel bearing play in front and leaks in back. Those are some pretty common failure points. Other then that just make sure they changed the oil every 5k miles and didn't rail the shit outta it.
     

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