The 4Runner build started off like any other - buy a junk truck for cheap, find a motor to throw in it and have the cheap truck find of the century. In the case of this one, it transitioned from cheap transportation to a beautiful budget build. Everyones kind of truck. Life for this 4runner was grim when we picked it up. Being named "Dale" by the previous owner was bad enough, but leaving "Dale" sitting without tires AND a broken timing chain was a stake through our hearts. We picked "Dale" up for about ~750.00 and a few hours of our time on a cold spring day. "Dale" needed some help to live.
The first step in helping "Dale" live was figuring out what to put in place of his broken heart. We had a block but no head and no accessories. We called in some favors and located one a good drive away that was powering a 4runner named "Snoopy". "Snoopy" was a very modified rock buggy and the owner was very sad to pull it all out as it meant "Snoopy" would be gone and the parting out process would officially start.
"Dale" was getting a heart transplant and while "Dales" heart was out, we decided to give it a total reseal. "Dales" new heart was clean on the inside and mostly clean on the outside. It was ready for the surgery. We mated it to the 5-spd transmission with a Centerforce Stage II clutch.
300 miles after the install we had an issue with water mixing with the oil and the machine shop diagnosed it as a casting alignment issue where the cylinder casting was off by the factory in the boring causing the cylinder wall to be to thin. Thankfully we bought "Dale" with a donor block and we brought it back from the dead. After a long visit with the machinist, "Dales" block was set under "Snoopys" cylinder head. It was the winning combination.
"Dale" was no longer "Dale" and we opted to leave it nameless for the time being. At this point it's worth noting that the ownership of the 4Runner was changed - it officially became Will's first vehicle. The 4Runner would stay in Missouri until the 'kinks' had been worked out and the truck was known to be reliable. Will visited frequently to help with little odds and ends. He adapted quickly and learned everything I offered up. We did a few things before it was transported to Will permanetly.
We addressed some issues quickly and others would take time to pop up. It was 28 years old at the time Will took ownership. One thing we noticed was a loose pinion flange on the rear axle. After inspecting, the rear ring and pinion weren't up for a rebuild. Will opted to upgrade from 4.10:1 to a 4.30:1 gear set I had lurking in the garage and we made it happen. Sometime later, I received a tire budget and made some recommendations. Will decided on the Kenda Klever M/T in the 235/85R16 variety. For the protection of the rear, keeping 'budget' in mind, Will opted for the Trail Gear tube bumper. It was a simple install and Will was able to help install one weekend while they visited. That same weekend we installed a 3rd Generation brake master and booster upgrade. Sliders were installed shortly after and the vehicle was ready for its trip south, to warmer temperatures.