4runner models

Submitted: Sunday, May 04, 2003 at 22:15
ThreadID: 4728 Views:3673 Replies:13 FollowUps:0
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I have been working my way through the myriad of 4wd units trying to decide which way to go and have just about decided on a 4runner but am confused by the different models avaiable. Spend dollars up to 20K but ideally 15K.
My preference has always been diesel, but how does the 2.8 stack up against the V6 3L petrol.
Don't really like the idea of going to an auto unless there is a good reason for doing it.
As with most 4wd units it will probably live a lot of its life on the black top but I am planning for a trip to the cape next year - not the telegraph route.
If there is anyone out there that may be able to shed some light on the merits of the various models it would be appreciated, including differences in suspension, power plants, transmission, etc.
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Reply By: Andrew - Sunday, May 04, 2003 at 22:37

Sunday, May 04, 2003 at 22:37

I'm not an expert but use to own a 94 RV6 forerunner. I really liked the car but distance was limited with the standard tank (60 litres I think) took me around 400km from memory. Nice smooth motor if you want a bit of comfort. My V6 had IFS in it whereas I think the 4cyl jobs didn't. Not that it makes much difference but if you will be living on the blacktop mostly it may give you a better ride.

I put polly air bags in the rear because as standard all the 4runners seem to sag. the bags were great. H/D springs would also be a good alternative especially loaded up going to the cape.

A mate of mine had a dual cab 4cyl hilux petrol and it did everything he asked of it and I don't remember him saying anything about any trouble, just that he wanted a little more go go go out if it. He later got a 4.5 petrol 80 series cruiser which cured that urge!!!! but killed is wallet.

As an allrounder, I found the 4runner pretty unstoppable and on reflection I did most of my serious off road stuff in it. It never let me down. One thing I would mention is space!! they are OK for travelling with 2 or 3 passengers but when you cram it in there wasn't a lot of space in the rear. You definitely need a cargo barrier and if you need space a dual cab would be better. I'd go the 4runner V6 over a 4cyl.

My opinions only. cheers
AnswerID: 19124

Reply By: jonny dontknowmuch - Monday, May 05, 2003 at 08:44

Monday, May 05, 2003 at 08:44
i had a 94 2.4l hilux it was pretty good went alot of places i thought it wouldnt go. traded it in for a triton mainly for a bit more grunt. not sure how big my tank was i think it was around 70l. for 60l i was struggleing to get 480ks out of it.
if your set on getting a 4runner there is a surf site with 4runners on it i think you might be able to get alot of info from that.
AnswerID: 19140

Reply By: Member - Peter (WA) - Monday, May 05, 2003 at 10:13

Monday, May 05, 2003 at 10:13
Hi I have a v6 4 runner 1993 petrol manual ,I am averaging 8.2km to the lt on the black top and around 7km per lt off road , I find I have more than enough power even with a second tank full and heaps of water and gear. With the second tank 65lt mounted above the spear wheel I have a range of 900+ km on the black top . I have removed the rear seats and this has given me heaps of extra storage low down . I have fitted heavy duty rear springs and polly air bags , also gone for Rancho 5000 all around this gives me good ride on road and handles v well off road . They have a good ground clearance so so far have not been hung up on anything .If you want some ideas on a home made drawer system send me you FAX number and I will send some rough drawerings phewitson@westnet.com.au ,have gust had a return to centre steering dampener fitted and love it ,also see my details and photo on members rigs....4 RUNNER 4 EVER hope this helpsBorn to drive a 4x4 , not a keyboard
Peter York 4x4
AnswerID: 19152

Reply By: Member - Nick (TAS) - Monday, May 05, 2003 at 13:33

Monday, May 05, 2003 at 13:33
I own a 94 2.8 diesel 4 Runner and couldnt be happier.My parents own a 80 series which is also great but the smaller size of the 4 Runner gets me heaps more places where the crusier wont fit.We are heading up Cape York in 3 weeks time and planning to do the OTL both ways,let you know how we go when we return. Counten the sleeps!!!!
AnswerID: 19167

Reply By: jaycee - Monday, May 05, 2003 at 18:48

Monday, May 05, 2003 at 18:48
I own a 2.8 diesel model which you guys call a "grey import". I get 500km out of a tank of diesel. Its been over the hill and up the creek. They definitely get droopy bum syndrome which i fixed by putting 16mm coils in the rear. It has made the ride a little harder but you dont tend to notice it when loaded. As i tow a caravan it does tend to run out of omph as the diesel only runs around 68 kw. That was fixed with a turbo courtesy of the nissan skyline 3ltr plus a big bore exhaust. Now she flies. The turbo bolts onto the 2.4turbo hilux manifold which also bolts straight onto the 2.8 head. I ran water cooling lines and got mandrel bent pipework for the rest of the turbo setup. All up including the exhaust it cost $1000 NZ to turbo. Dont expect to get V6 preformance out of the diesel even with a turbo as it runs out of legs around 135km/hr, however if you can find a nice 2.8 and can spring for a turbo, do it!
AnswerID: 19185

Reply By: dreamer - Monday, May 05, 2003 at 20:47

Monday, May 05, 2003 at 20:47
Hey thanks everyone for your reply. Just one more thing.
Any comments on Manuual Vs Auto would be appreciated. Had someone tell me today that auto is much better but still have my doubts
AnswerID: 19194

Reply By: Member - Nick (TAS) - Monday, May 05, 2003 at 21:31

Monday, May 05, 2003 at 21:31
Our 4 Runner is a 5 speed manual,feel more comfortable with a manual out and about in the bush(run starting and towing) .Hilux/4Runner boxes seem pretty good as long as you dont tow/strain 5th gear,apparently they have a habit of stripping.
AnswerID: 19202

Reply By: Member - Tony - Monday, May 05, 2003 at 22:22

Monday, May 05, 2003 at 22:22
G'day All,

Mine's a 1993 V6 (SR5). Concur with all comments re: fuel (about 400km range), and sagging rear. A nice revvy engine on road, and pretty capable offroad as well. I prefer the manual for off-road control, though the comment re: heavy towing & 5th gear is good advice (use 4th as preference).

I looked at 2.4 & 2.8 Surfs before deciding on the V6, and don't regret it. The 2.4 lacked power, the 2.8 (being newer) was slightly over my price.

Word of warning: Mine blew a head gasket at 133K kms. Luckily I'd spoken to another 4Runner owner, who told me there was a recall by Toyota a few years back, to do with some fault in the design in a series run around 1993. Mine fitted the criteria, fixed by Toyota under warranty.

Overall, I think it's a terrific 4WD, especially if it's your first (like mine).

Cheers, and I hope you find a good one!


AnswerID: 19210

Reply By: ptcrowe - Tuesday, May 06, 2003 at 08:09

Tuesday, May 06, 2003 at 08:09
I had a 92 forerunner. Wasn't to keen on the IFS and the diesel motor while great in the bush was a bit of a slug on the black top. Diesel with a turbo and a manual box would be great.:)
AnswerID: 19226

Reply By: Member - Peter (WA) - Tuesday, May 06, 2003 at 08:59

Tuesday, May 06, 2003 at 08:59
love my manual,I prefer something that can be hill started if Battery goes flat , 5th is great for fuel eonommy on the hardtop ,if I have gearbox problems in the bush I have more opptions of getting home with a manual (bushfixes on linkages) Born to drive a 4x4 , not a keyboard
Peter York 4x4
AnswerID: 19228

Reply By: Surf - Tuesday, May 06, 2003 at 11:43

Tuesday, May 06, 2003 at 11:43
Dreamer, dont rule out a Surf, they are good value for money, and if you get have it checked out, you should be able to get a good one.

Surf owners call 4 Runners "Poverty Surfs" as they are so basically equipped compared to the Surf. You'd be surprised at what you can get for 20k in the Surf market, although they are harder to come by these days due to imports being stopped after Toyota and Nissan complained.

The pick of the bunch is the 3 litre, plenty of get up and go, but still fairly economical despite the vehicles size. On a country run, I can get close to 500km even with a full load (4 people + equipment).

Problems with the Surf include overheating, but this is generally cured with a good radiator flush and coring. Overheating isnt confined to the Surf, 4 Runners and Hiluxs are all prone to it as well.

The sagging bum is a common complaint in both the Surf and the 4 Runner. A suspension upgrade will solve that. Most 4wders do that anyway as part of the process of owning a 4wd.

Most Surfs are autos, its the same unit used in the Prado, and some Cruisers (I think), and has a reputation of being bullet proof. If you drive a manual, then an auto, most choose the auto, its that good.

Parts are not the problem they are made out to be. Dont tell them its a Surf and you'll save hundreds and be able to buy straight of the shelf. The 3 litre is the same engine as the Prado and current Hilux, and most of the other running gear is already sold on Aussie 4 Runners/Hiluxs.

As with any used vehicle, you take a risk. The beauty of the Surf as far as I am concerned is that you get a vehicle with very low mileage, lots of extras, the same Toyota reliability and its a fun vehicle to drive. IFS can be restrictive if you want to get heavy duty, but there are ways around that.

My next door neighbour had a V6 4Runner, he had nothing but trouble with it as it also ran on gas, so avoid that combination if you can.

Lots of people have gotten into 4wding thanks to such vehicles as the Surf and Nissan Terrano. Its a shame they are no longer imported, but it seems that they were taking new car sales of Toyota and Nissan. Goes to show the value for money I think.

Check out this site "http://pub12.ezboard.com/btoyotasurfdownunder"
AnswerID: 19242

Reply By: Jeff (Beddo) - Tuesday, May 06, 2003 at 22:16

Tuesday, May 06, 2003 at 22:16
I have owned two Surfs(still own one) - both have been Autos - drive manual 4WDs at work all the time - you can thrash a manual more, change up & down etc and race around the place - the AUTO cannot really race into a corner and change down thru the gears to slow down. Auto cannot be push started - maybe a problem if you get a flat battery. Benefits are in sand you select Drive in Low Range or High and your right - you'll be in the right gear - it won't stall, you will have the torque, don't need to cahnge clutches, comfortable in the traffic, rough stuff a lot easier to drive, not really concerned if you are in the right gear you will be. Select Low in low range and you will be slow enough for all the steep down hills and up hills etc. I drove both the manual and auto in the Surf and thought the auto was better. Go take a Prado auto & manual for a test drive and decide which box you like - I went for traffic comfort and ease of driving offroad. Have fun !Cheers, Beddo
Surf KZN185
<- Yengo NP, Central Coast NSW
AnswerID: 19307

Reply By: Stinky - Thursday, May 29, 2003 at 14:12

Thursday, May 29, 2003 at 14:12
On the Manual/Auto debate, I look at it like this. V6 Petrol you can go the Auto, Little Diesels (or petrols) you need the 5 speed.
The pros and cons of each - sticking to the trail either will serve you well, although the manuals are more adept at the steep downhill decents. At the first bog hole or deep water crossing you come to, the newbie 4WDer will wish he had an AUTO.
AnswerID: 21384

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