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Redee – 1986 4Runner

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    It started with a conversation. And at the point when I heard “stored in my barn”, I got a little excited..


    Anyways, having 2-young children, bi-weekly truck payments, and having just (1-day prior)bought the BigRunner, my excitement was of poor timing.  But alas, determination, penny pinching, and total disregard for spending a few nights in the dog house, and I was in position to purchase another 4Runner from an awesome seller; thanks again Steve.  Upon giving Steve a verbal “yea I want it”, he allowed me some time to liquidate some crap I owned (actually things I liked, but not nearly as much as 4Runners) to come up with a deposit, and then make a series of installments based upon a completely unwritten payment plan, and no definitive time-table for completion.  Like I said before, an awesome seller.

    Something to note which may bring a deeper insight into my 4Runner addiction.  The discussions of cash deposits, payment plans, shipping, and build plans all went into place WITHOUT ever seeing the truck in question.  All I did know was that Steve owned it for 21-years, it was never a daily driver, it had roughly 125,000km, a Chevy 350 mated to an auto tranny, air locker, and almost no rust.  Yea, the last bit was most intriguing.  32-year old Toyota in Canada with “no rust”….  SOLD!

    Alright, backstory and extreme fan-boy out of the way,  time to write about the Barn Find, which has named “Redee”, pronounced the same way one would say “ready”.  Strange spelling I know, but I blame the writers of South Park and their “Woodland Critter Christmas” episode.  Before Redee, there was 4Runneree my 1989 rust bucket some of you may have seen in Ardbeg, Purple-ee the 1987 Texas 4Runner I bought from Rick (Zombie from SONTT), Big Truckee the 1987 4Runner you all know as BigRunner (now Yoda care of Nick_386), and Little Truckee my 2013 Tacoma.  See a trend?

    Redee is a 1986 Toyota 4Runner SR5 trim, Red on Red with brown interior, originally a 5-speed truck.  Currently powered by a Chey 350 from an unknown source, TH-350 3-spd auto (no overdrive arrgh), with an Advanced Adapter mating to the original gear driven t-case.  As I understand it, the original owner (1986-1993)may or may not have swapped in the Chev motor, but it was the 2nd owner (1993-1997) who “customized” the truck with all the 90’s mini truck accessories.  He was also responsible for the interior fire which put Redee into semi-permanent storage.  Before owner 2 sold to Steve in 1997, he quickly and hastily removed an elaborate stereo system, selling off the components separately without properly disconnecting everything.  Sometime after bringing home his new/used truck, Steve’s neighbor informed him that his truck was on fire.  Steve was puzzled, but not taking it lightly, ran to extinguish and save his truck.  With smoke billowing out partly cracked windows, Steve was shocked to see no flames.  Stumped, Steve opened doors to locate the source of smoke to extinguish whatever may be brewing.  What he found, the previously removed subwoofer still had livepower wires under the carpet, shorting out and smoldering.  In no time, the almost-on-fire carpet was removed, and Redee suffered hardly any damage.  Since Redee was not a DD, Steve parked it in his uncles barn to slowly chip away and create a masterpiece.  From 1996 through to 2004, Steve did just that, chip away at his 4Runner, taking it out for “Just a couple tanks (of gas) a year”.  In 2004, Steve and his wifebroke ground on their house, and Redee was parked, set on the back burner for another day.

    Stage left, Enter Thomas.

    Cash deposit, Sept 2017.
    5 installments, completed May 2018
    Delivery day, Fathers Day June 17th, 2018.

    The day had come, Redee was home.  My wife and daughters set eyes on yet another 4Runner in our driveway for the first time.  They were compelled to take a look inside, but upon getting within 25-feet of Redee they were halted dead in their tracks.

    Task #1.  De-stinking.  Ugggghhhh.  15-years of dead mouse orgies in a tin can.  Easily one of the Top 3 most disgusting smells that I’ve yet to smell in my 30-years of smelling things.

    Task #2.  More de-stinking.  I suited up head to toe in coveralls, hooded shirt, rubber gloves, respirator and shop vac, in early July midday.  My goal was to remove all the dead mouse orgies, and all the poop I could find.  Luckily for anybody still reading, I have no pictures of my findings.  A half dozen carcasses, more nests, big ole bucket of turds, and a soggy headliner that must have acted as mouse orgy central.

    Task #3.  More de-stinking.  I got my dad to help me swap out the hardtop for the Canback top, and let Redee air out, for 3-weeks.

    Task #4.  Scrubbing.  I began scrubbing every inch of sheet metal, to make sure there’s no residual mouse debris left inside to make my family sick.  Unfortunately, that’s as far as I’ve gotten since July 9th, when I took a spill off my dirtbike and broke my collar bone.

    And that’s the story of Redee so far.  Some was glazed over, some I’m sure I’ve forgotten to write down entirely, but that’s all the past, and I’m here to document the present.


    • This topic was modified 5 years, 10 months ago by toys-n-yotas.

    **saved for updates**



    **saved for updates 2**


    Good start!  Hope the collar bone heals up ok.


    Love the story! Can’t wait to cruise with you in Redee. How’s your collar bone now?


    Hey Guys, collar bone is starting to knit/mesh back together.  Dr said now is the riskiest time for a fellow like myself as I will probably feel “better” everyday but still another 4-6 weeks until the bone strength is back.  Basically, I was told to continue not using my left arm for another month.

    I spent the better part of yesterday cleaning mouse debris, spider webs, dirt and grime off the interior plastics.  A little Simple Green, warm water and a sponge and they look and smell way better.  For the plastics, I’m torn between applying a little Armour All to get a protective sheen on them, or keep them relatively clean to scuff-up and paint out the brown over winter.  Prolly leaning towards Armour All, this winter will be busy enough working towards a Safety & Driveabilty without worrying about cosmetic stuff.

    Today’s plan is to vacuum the interior (again) especially under the dash, and remove the last of the HVAC system.  I’ve already removed some old nests from the dash vents, but I’ve yet to make my way down to the blower motor and heater core.


    Ouch! that collar bone break looks nasty. With Slicks hand, your collar bone and my knee, maybe we should start a “Body Damage” thread.

    Looks like a great project. Looking forward to more updates.

    Its amazing how much damage them little demon critters can do. My Taco will be sitting in my shop space for a while as I pick away at it. Maybe I should be pro-active and set some traps and poison. I don’t need wiring issues due to rodents.

    Are you planning any suspension upgrades? What tire size are on it, in the pics?


    “Body Damage” loving it Ryan.

    I’ve heard that bounce sheets are deterrents for rodents, but I don’t have real evidence to support  regardless I liaded up the carpets I washed with them, so hopefully in the spring I don’t have to rewash ’em.

    Tires, currently has 15-year old 33″x12.5″x15″  AT on 10.5″ wide American Racing rims.  Tires are garbage now, badly dry rotten, perhaps one of them suitable for a full-size spare. Or more excitingly, the longest set of 11’s a Yota has ever laid. (Or a grenading t-case, hmmmm not very responsible).  Thinking of going with 33″ Duratracs, but would prefer a skinny tire over wide. Wish Duratracs had a 33/34″ x 9.5/10.5.  33×12.5 Duratracs go on sale monthly for less than $220 ea before taxes etc….can’t argue the price or performance you get.  And 33×10.5″ KM2 are too expensive for me

    Suspension, currently has a 4.5″ IFS bracket lift, and lift springs in the rear. Chevy 63s have been on my short list for years, but I wanna give the current setup a full year before I change it to see how well it performs as-is.  Perhaps add a trac-bar, something to curb axle wrap.

    Brakes, T100 master booster and front calipers will go on over winter, and new hard&flex lines front to back. I’ve had a propotioning valve in my tool box for 6-years now. Also had a t-case ebrake in that same box just as long. To rebuild the stock drums, or go rear disk?


    Love the story! Can’t wait to cruise with you in Redee.

      Excited to cruise next year, hope to take Redee to tons of beaches, lakes and lookouts the long way.


    I’ve got two things to add, I keep dryer sheets in my pop up trailer and it does work for bugs and critters.

    And if you already have the tcase ebrake I would definitely install that, and then go disk in the rear. It’s hard to make an ebrake work on disks, and the biggest downfall is having to pony up the money for a tcase ebrake, but since you already got it… run it!!!!


    I thought the rear disk would be worthwhile, but I never really saw the benefits on BigRunner as I only put about 100km on the truck, and that was with failed rear wheel bearings.  For rear disk, the cost/timing factor is there; I can either refurb the current setup with wheel cylinders and shoes for under $100, or swap to disk for closer to $400-500.  The tipping factor will be the condition of the rear wheel bearings, if they need to be replaced might as well go disk at the same time.  Glad I’ve got time to figure it out, but you’re right Evan, might as well get it done with half the costly parts already in my inventory.

    Working around the rain this morning, I got the oil and filter dropped and re-filled in the 350, pulled the old plugs and turned the motor over to prime it with oil.  I ran a fuel line extension through a new flow through filter and into a jerry can.  New plugs in, a little gas down the TBI and gaver a crank.  *holds breath with fire extinguisher ready* crank crank crank crank crank crank, nadda.  Pulled a plug wire off the motor, put on an old plug to check for spark.  Not even a weak spark.  If it ever stops raining today I’ll try to pop the cover off the distributor, I’m sure the rotor and points have at lease some corrosion on them interfering with spark.  If that’s not the case, I’ll have to start digging through connections and grounds to find a culprit somewhere.

    I was hoping to get the truck fired up, so I could spin it around 180* in my driveway the easy way. With the nose facing uphill, I’ll be able to have better drainage from under the dash when I spray and wash it out.

    Positives from today. 1) the old oil was a great colour, with no water in the pan either.  2) Cranking the motor over and the mechanical oil pressure gauge climbs appropriately.  3) the fuel pump is pulling fuel into the motor while cranking over.  4) the plugs and filter I bought today were both cheap and correct on the first try.  I wonder if I’ll have the same luck with a distributor cap and rotor?

    ps. Is there anybody with child-sized hands who also stands 8′ tall interested in trying to remove the distributor cap from the maze of wire connections surrounding it?  I was previously advised to consider re-wiring the truck, a general cleanup is required.

    • This reply was modified 5 years, 10 months ago by toys-n-yotas.

    broken collar bone!?!? damn, you’ve turned into a machine workin’ on redee.

    tom, may i suggest checkin’ out a painless wiring system. i regret not using them when i stuffed the 350 into my ’79 ‘yota. gotta coupla buddies that run their systems in pro/street cars. one of em said a trained monkey could install it. keep at ‘er bud


    Painless wiring kits are pretty good. The wiring harness’ess’ess I helped install into a Mach 1 went really smooth and easy . The wires were labeled well and had extra length that can be shortened if needed. That being said, the Mach 1 suffered wiring issues with performance aftermarket   Do-dads, to the point where the Mustang was brought to a dedicated Mustang guru mechanic.

    IMO the wiring kit was really nice and worth the money to avoid hassles for the average vehicle build.

    I’ve  been looking at e-brake options and came to the conclusion that if I can swing a t-case ebrake system, financially, I’ll do it. If not, I’ll stick with rear drums. I’ve had issues with every vehicle I’ve owned when it comes to e-brake cables. Every one of them seized. To re-enforce the ebrake during heavy winching, I’m going to add a couple Wilwood line locks or possibly a Mico line lock if the price is right. I wouldn’t use line locks as an ebrake they aren’t designed to hold for long periods of time. If you brake a line or fitting, the line lock would be useless. Last time I winched my ebrake failed to hold.


    Mark, broken collar bone is still slowing me down, but after 8-weeks since breakage, I’m tired of doing NOTHING.  Chipping away slowly is keeping me sane, and finally paying off.  Redee has been in my driveway almost 3-months, and before my tumble I had hoped to have had the maiden voyage by now, but such is life.

    Ryan, glad to hear somebody has first-hand experience with Painless kits.  I’ve seen them used for years on the TV wrenching shows I grew up on, but never actually seen one in person. They look awesome on TV, but who really knows just how much prep/cursing/editing it takes to make a 22-minute show.

    I know Redee has run before on the current wiring setup, but under the hood it’s not pretty.  I have a bucket of removed OEM connectors and sensors, and unfortunately the other end of the removed harness is just dangling or zip-tied to a nearby fastener.  Who knows if I’ll clean up the wiring this winter or next year, I guess it depends how long and cold it is this year (ugggh, can’t believe I said winter already). I think I’m in decent shape though, as the Holley Pro-injection unit basically handles most of the 350 thinking (as far as I’ve learned, please anybody school me).  It has 12-colour coded wires going to it, 6 for power, 6 for sensors.  I’m pretty sure wednesday when the girls are at school, I’ll dig my way down to the distributor cap to try to clean up the cap and rotor.  If Redee coughs to life (or at least shows signs of waking up) I’ll head to Davenports to replace the cap / rotor / wires.

    I’ve never had trouble with the drums in any of my Toyotas, nor have I had brakes I deemed “inadequate”.  Ok that last part is a bit of a stretch, it maybe possible that 4Runneree had multiple failed master cylinders, and a leaking booster, but that just meant I got really good at stomping the brake pedal to the floor…in a panic.  Makes sense though, I had to put the clutch to the floor to start the 4Runneree, and put the throttle to the floor to merge and overtake, it’s quite understandable that the brake pedal wanted to feel the floor pans too.

    What is a micro line lock and how is it different from a “conventional” line lock?


    Edit.  just remembered that wiring WILL be a good part of my winter (uggh, such a dirty word) activities.  Currently no radio, speakers, interior lights or electric Rad fan controller.  My super fun garage full of “parts to be used another day” also has a full subwoofer setup I may add in.  I think I need to revisit Ed’s pickup build “I got 45 problems” for wiring motivation.

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