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  #1  
Old 02-26-2013, 08:47 AM
Telly Telly is offline
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Default Any 4Runner Experts Out There?

So I'm changing jobs and will be loosing my Tacoma. I might get the Tacoma in the departure deal but will probably sell it and buy a less expensive 4Runner (I need cash for home improvement projects). Of course I'm a big 80 and 100 fan but I need a rig that gets around 20mpg or better. Been looking on c-list for late 90's and early 2000's 4Runners. My budget is around $5,000 - $7,000. What is considered the "best" year of 4Runner in those years? Is the 3.4 have a noticable difference in power than the 3.0? I will be pulling a pop-up with the rig. Opinions on the 5-speed or auto? Any opinions would be appreiciated. Doug
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Old 02-26-2013, 08:55 AM
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AxleIke AxleIke is offline
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Yes, the 3.4 is a very large improvement over the 3.0. Both in power and reliability. I've rebuilt both motors and the 3.4 is a MUCH easier beast to work on. However, the 3.4 isn't a powerhouse by any means. The 4.0L in the later trucks is a much better engine, IMO.

In stockish form, both are going to get in the high teens, maybe 20 if you've got a 5 speed. The 3.4 will usually do better than the 3.0 for the same transmission/gearing/etc...

I have a 5 speed in my 99. I like it for driving, not so much in traffic. Also, the auto is easier to wheel (though I'm spoiled, as I came from a very modified truck with 4 speeds in the tranfercase).

The 99s came with slightly higher springs than the other years, but its only a little bit. If you plan to lift it, its a wash.

One of the biggest bonuses of the 3.4 over the 3.0 is the abillity to supercharge it. Mine is supercharged, and I love it. Makes the thing really responsive, and I can drive most mountain passes in 5th gear (where 55 is the limit). It can get up out of its own way as well.

with either truck, realize that 20 is about the top of what you can expect. 17-19 is more realistic.
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Old 02-26-2013, 09:34 AM
Telly Telly is offline
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Thanks Isaac! Here are a couple examples.

http://denver.craigslist.org/cto/3642281416.html
A little out of my price range but low miles.

http://denver.craigslist.org/cto/3603431478.html
Looks to be in good mechanical order and clean.

I can find lots of mid-90's rigs for cheap but I'm going to stick to the 3.4 engine years.
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Old 02-26-2013, 10:09 AM
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nakman nakman is offline
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I think you're dreaming if you think you'll get 20+ mpg in a 4Runner. 15 is more realistic. Particularly once you start lifting it, adding bigger tires, bolting stuff to it... then you're right down in the 12-14 range with the rest of the 80's and 100's.

If you want a guaranteed 20+ from a truck, then get a 2wd Tacoma. Just not happening otherwise, IMO.
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Old 02-26-2013, 10:26 AM
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I just logged a few 16.5 mpg tanks driving easy on I70 and 285 over the mountains. Even a 18.0 mpg tank on the front range on I-25. So that's the high end mileage with a 5spd. armored and lifted on 33's. So 18-20mpg stock on the hwy should be attainable.

Go for it Doug. Note. They stopped the e-locker in 2000-01 in favor of traction control which was nothing special at the time they made them IMO.
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Old 02-26-2013, 10:37 AM
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I know its a little newer than what you're looking for but if you can swing it.....I always got 20+ on my 2006 V6 around here. Very little mods though.
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Old 02-26-2013, 10:44 AM
Dirt Claude Dirt Claude is offline
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My 98' 4Runner with an automatic seems to suck down the gas pretty fast, probably around 14-15mpg. In stock form 18mpg was average, but it dropped noticeably with the lift, tires and extra weight. The winter blend gas doesn't help either.

I love my 4Runner and wouldn't hesitate to buy another one, it's been one of the best rigs I've owned by far.
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Old 02-26-2013, 10:47 AM
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Only experience I have is with the in-law's 2004 4Runner with the 4.7L V8

If I were looking for a 4Runner that is what I would be looking for. I loved it. I got close to 20mpg on the Denver to Moab run and I wasn't babying or hypermiling the truck. I used it to tow the popup to Grand Lake and it was really nice having the power going up the hills. This was in complete stock form.

Not sure what a V8 powered 4Runner goes for though so price wise it might be out of your budget.
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Old 02-26-2013, 11:07 AM
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Yeah but we're talking 3rd gen runners here for $5-$7k.. my experience with a '96 was 17mpg tops, and worse once I went bigger on tires (265 75 r16, not even that big). That was an automatic though.
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Old 02-26-2013, 11:15 AM
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corsair23 corsair23 is offline
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^^ Agreed...The in-laws also have '99 with the V6 and 5 speed. My FIL's comment on letting me borrow the 2004 over the '99 was that the '04 got better gas mileage.

I'm a believer that a bigger engine doesn't mean worse gas mileage. If the engine isn't having to work as hard to move the brick through the air then you can get better mpg. I once borrowed their V10 Dodge Ram to pull the popup to Moab. We averaged 18+ mpg as I recall because the truck was barely having to work to pull the popup
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Jeff Z. (the "not quite as skinny" one)
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'97 LX450 - aka "The Whale"
'97 FZJ80 Antique Sage AE #267, stock
12/74 FJ40, 2F, SM420, 4" Lift, ARBs, 33" MTRs

:

"...anything else i can do for you guys, how about i wash your car or mow your lawn while you figure out your firewall system? I am now boarderline insane/unibomber." Kipper

"That assumes I'm even capable of pulling and stabbing..." Jacket

"I really like having a detachable unit." Beater
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