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Re: 97 4Runner too Old to Keep? [Re: brink] #1105130 07/16/19 07:55 AM
Joined: Apr 2002
Posts: 3,567
Snowtoy Offline
Roll Me Over
With the V-6, there is usually some amount of depression of the brake pedal before you feel pressure, and since the pedal feel is the same as before, what you are experiencing is likely normal. As long as you started with the tire that was furthest from the master cylinder by the way the lines are run, and worked your way back to the closest, you should be fine brake wise, I would be more concerned with the brake lines that may have issues with rust like the one you found.

More than tread lightly. Leave it like you were never there, nor anyone else.
'90 X-cab 4.88's 33 BFG AT's, rr ARB, Headers, Ignition upgrade, cold air induction.
'91 X-cab 5.29's 315's BFG MT's, rr ARB, custom bumper and flatbed
From the Off-Road World
Re: 97 4Runner too Old to Keep? [Re: brink] #1105575 06/03/20 06:10 PM
Joined: Jun 2006
Posts: 60
brink Offline OP
Getting the Wheeling Fever
A HELLISH update: Last July took the 4runner with 199k miles from NJ to Vermont for two weeks towing a small boat. Ran fine the whole time except when on the way home. It was hot 100 degree day, traveling on Rt 87. Made it to Kingston NY and took an exit for a pit stop. Wife stayed in 4runner with it idling and AC on. I was in a store and after 5 minutes she came running in with my keys saying the 4runner had smoke coming out from under it's hood. My stomach sank to the floor. I came out ,saw antifreeze under it, opened hood and saw no sign of a leak just steam. Turned ignition on and temp gauge was normal. Thought the overflow blew out some stuff. So we went to eat dinner, let it cool, when to an auto store to buy premixed antifreeze. As I added a half gallon to the radiator, iI notice a small amount of antifreeze leaking below the filler neck. Thought I spilled some.
We took off, and all was good for a few miles on RT87 and then it died. Every indicator light came on. Stuck in the shoulder on RT 87, boat in tow, 100ft from an exit to a service area. and its 100 degrees out. After many phone calls, the thruway tow company appears with two flat beds. I protested and said one could tow both 4runner and boat, which they did. After the 4runner is on the flatbed I notice gobs of grease on the flat bed. We got towed to the nearest exit to get us off the thruway, and were dropped at a Best Western parking lot along a side wall.. We waited a few hours there for the second tow company. Getting dark. The second tow company shows, proceeds to get 4runner on flat bed. Guy calls me over as he's taking photos with his phone of the front end. He shows me that the first tow company had it incorrectly J hooked and tore both CV boots. Hence the grease I saw earlier. I took photos too.

$1,700.00 later, we were home at midnight. Turns out the seven year old radiator ( I did not know they had a short lifespan) I had replaced when the original blew out, split along the front where the plastic tank meets aluminum. I was very concerned that the overheating damaged the motor, trans, etc. But I took a gamble and after a few days of work, new stat, radiator, hoses, it started right up like nothing happened. Then I installed new CV joints that I managed to get the first tow company pay for the parts. Photos came in handy. I has been running fine until a brake line blew in November. It now has 206k miles since then. Of course now there is a leak at the top of the CAT. Always something.

I learned my lesson and I hope my experience helps anyone else out there who may think about taking a long trip with an older vehicle with high mileage and after market parts that are unknowingly cheap. Now when I take it to work or anyplace within my AAA insurance circle, I think about that it has the original fuel pump, ball joints, master cylinder, on its way for a second timing belt, potential CAT if the muffler cement doesn't hold up and keep wondering it its really worth it to keep.
I hate the thought of throwing money into it for one thing, lets say a new CAT and knowing the others can potentially go anytime. The exterior is holding up some rust spots on hood, and both bumpers have small rust holes. Interior is perfect. There are times I wish it would just blow the trans or motor so I would have no choice. And then there are times I believe I have the toughest vehicle ever made. Anyone else go through this kind of thinking?

BTW: If you are ever stuck on a Thruway push your vehicle off it and save $300 for a one mile tow charge.

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