Phase 2: Lift, lockers, gearing, armor, and more
With the 4Runner finally running well, we are able to move forward with build. 4Runners offer quite a bit for those looking for a fairly capable rig right from the factory. And some would argue that the 1985 model year would be the most capable of them all as it offered not only fuel injection, a boxed frame, and the normal Toyota ruggedness, but also a highly desirable solid front axle.
Our client’s wish list for this phase includes lift enough to handle 35” tires, with the slight possibility of going to 37” tires at some point. The 4Runner would still need to be able to drive down the road and handle like it did from the factory, if not better. It needed the stock “push/pull” steering upgraded to crossover. He wanted selectable lockers with appropriate gearing front and rear. Wanted custom armor all around, to include both bumpers, sliders, and a simple cage tied to the frame for the front passengers. We took these desires and total budget into consideration when putting together the components list.
We decided to go with Trail Gear’s Classic 4” lift for the front and rear. They offer a fairly complete kit that includes things like IFS steering box mount, shock hoops, axle armor and truss, and complete crossover Hi-steering, as well as new, wider and longer leaf springs all around and all new hangers, shackles, shocks, stainless brake lines, and most hardware needed. Then we would install ARB air lockers front and rear with 5.29 gearing to help move and give traction to the new larger tires.. To all this we would add an IFS steering box, a set of 35” Dick Cepek tires on new FJ wheels, Spidertrax 1.5” wheel spacers all ‘round to finish out the suspension components.
We would then be fabricating a custom plate style front bumper, a custom set of sliders, and a 4 point cage that will be tied into the frame with bushings. And we will be finishing off the armor with a slightly modified rear Trail Gear bumper. And of course we can’t forget to mention that our client wanted us to take care of any and all rust. And he also wanted some custom bedliner work for the interior and lower sections of the body.
Received the first shipment of goods from Trail Gear, lift kits and bumper:
And then the second shipment from them, new loaded 3rd members, arrived shortly after:
With parts finally arriving, we made some room in the shop and brought the 4Runner back in and got it off the ground onto some stands
Just noticed my new favorite accessory of this fine rig. An original Denver Broncos logo sticker on the rear window: