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Father Son 4Runner Rebuild : Part 2

Written by  Phillip Jones
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Father Son first gen Toyota 4Runner rebuilt | Toyota Magazine

Where we last left off with the Williams’ 1985 4Runner project for 16 year-old Blake, the new engine from 22RE Performance was running and upholstery completed. Jeff reported that, “the new engine has exceeded our expectations. It runs perfectly - not a single issue after the install. I think that gets back to using mostly OEM parts.”download_now



For audio entertainment, the 4Runner was equipped with an upgraded audio system featuring a Pioneer touchscreen receiver, Bluetooth, and satellite radio. For sound delivery, they chose an Alpine Amp and installed 4 new speakers.

The 4Runner now rests on Skyjacker Hydro Shocks at all 4 corners. To aid with rear visibility, a pair of rear facing 2x2 lights were mounted below the rear tube bumper that came with the truck. For front bumper, the Jeff went with the tube bumper made by Addicted Offroad for the 1st generation 4Runner.

Rebuilt 1st gen Toyota 4Runner off road | Toyota Magazine



The Williams’ changed out the brake master cylinder to 1-inch diameter for increased braking. They replaced the majority of weather stripping in the doors and rear tailgate, and replaced the rear glass due to the old one being badly scratched. Future modifications include front and rear lockers, rock sliders, front and rear springs, front winch, and a light bar across the top of the cab.

Blake’s 4Runner became his primary source of transportation to his suburban high school. With its aggressive stance, large tires, and peppy new engine, Blake was anxious to get this rig off the pavement. On a sunny and cool Sunday afternoon, Blake, Jeff, and this author ventured over to the nearest off-road park to introduce Blake to what his 4Runner can accomplish.

 first gen Toyota 4Runner rebuild | Toyota Magazine
Northwest OHV Park is operated by, the city of Bridgeport, TX, just northwest of Fort Worth.  Bordering several rock quarries, this park offers numerous hilly and rugged trails at all levels of difficulty, making it a great place to learn to off-road. The large ProComp 35-inch tires provided the 4Runner with superb traction up the steep dirt trails, over small boulders, and through the mud. The axles flexed as expected in various flex zones, and the new engine pushed the 4Runner up steep slopes with ease. For the more challenging areas, Jeff took the wheel and relived his youthful days of off-roading in his former ’83 Toyota pickup.

At the end of the venture, Jeff and Blake headed to the mud pit where Blake repeatedly was able to turn his black truck into an earthen brown as the large tires spewed mud high into the air. The day was finished off with massive burgers at Rock City Co. in Bridgeport.

Father Son 4runner and Land Cruiser | Toyota Magazine


With more experience, Blake will grow comfortable with what his very capable 4Runner can do on the trails. Learning the truck’s capabilities, proper articulation, and gaining confidence in his truck will come with time.

A few weeks later, Blake posed his cleaned-up 4Runner on a farm field next to his father’s 1983 FJ40. It was a nostalgic moment seeing these two 1980’s Toyota 4x4 trucks side-by-side. Even more significant are the memories Blake will have of his experience of rebuilding his 4Runner with his father.

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