U.....pdate on this thing, that I've come to love quite a lot. It's Currently sitting at 287.5k, with no mechanical problems. I'm still amazed by the fact that it still does not burn or use any oil, has no leaks, and has been incredibly reliable. I just returned from a 700 mile trip to NY and back, and it returned a hand calculated 20.7 MPG, so from a mechanical standpoint, it seems that it is as healthy as ever. Maybe I'll do a compression test and post the numbers when time permits......
I've done work on some of the cosmetic nuances that bothered me, and preemptively replaced the alternator, as the pulley finally started making noise. The alternator replacement was the easiest that I've ever done on any vehicle, given its location and the crazy amount of space in the engine bay.
Old and new.
The powered antenna has never worked since I've had the 4runner, but its always been stuck half-way up, and that's been enough for it to capture a decent radio signal. It ended up getting bent, and finally broken off, after multiple car wash visits, so I ended up replacing the entire powered antenna system with a "Whip" antenna from a similar year Toyota Tacoma. The whip antennas are easily removal, and I liked the simplicity of that vs. a new powered unit that was bound to have issues again in the future. I basically followed the DIY posted on T4R.org, http://www.toyota-4runner.org/3rd-ge...-question.html
While I had the head unit out, I finally wired the bluetooth microphone into the car, and hard-wired/mounted my ScanGauge II to take place of the ashtray. I bought the scan gauge to closely monitor voltage from the alternator, the water temp, and transmission temp (which unfortunately does not display on the 96-98 4Runners). It also has the ability to read OBD2 codes and clear them, but I haven't had any CEL's as of late.
When I bought the 4Runner, it did not come with the alarm/keyless entry remotes, but I realized while cleaning the interior that it was wired for the Toyota VIP RS3000 alarm system. I gambled on the system actually working, and referenced the FCC code listed on the main alarm unit to purchase a new remote from Amazon (for $68) . I followed instructions found online to program the remote, and to my surprise, the system actually works. I am now able to lock and unlock via remote, and the alarm portion works as well. The piezo chirper (the typical sound you hear on Toyota/Lexus vehicles when locking or unlocking them) is strangely only working when it is bitterly cold out, so that will need to be replaced at some point.
And finally, The factory wheels were in really rough shape, and I've been pondering it I wanted to even bother having them re-finished or painted, or if I just preferred to go with a new wheel. Since I've been driving it so much, I figured I would give myself a gift (most of my money has been going to non-car related expenses lately) and purchase a new set of wheels. I wanted something different.....i think I achieved that. Not everyone's preference, but I happen to like Bronze wheels.
Better pictures to come once I have a chance to clean the thing....she's filthy.
The elephant in the room is the rocker panel rust, which is getting worse and worse every time I look at it. I will look into getting that addressed (however that may look) before it gets out of control. I really need an "in" on a body shop that will fix it the right way (or tell me if its even worth it to fix).