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What's On Tap for Our 3rd Gen 4Runner

March 31, 2019.

Ever since we picked up the 3rd Gen 4Runner back in September 2018, we knew that it needed some work to really be a viable family adventure vehicle. Some of that work is cosmetic, and some is mechanical - but all of it took a back burner to the various trips that we had planned and the winter weather that prevented too much work on any of the trucks.

But now, things are starting to look up for the 4Runner. Spring is here - or at least threatening to be - and it's time to start getting on the list that I created when we bought this beast:

  1. Change most of the fluids (engine, diffs, transfer case, brakes, power steering, transmission).
  2. Remove the side steps and replace them with sliders.
  3. Replace the brakes, which are clearly in need of replacing.
  4. Get some new tires. We need something a bit more capable than these passenger-rated tires off a second-gen Tacoma :).

And - of course - there are a few more items that have popped up since we've started driving it:

  1. The interior smells...perfumed. I think two things are needed here: some seat covers, and a thorough washing of the rug. And by thorough, I mean it needs to be taken out and pressure washed. And I wonder if we can somehow wash the seats too.
  2. It needs a roof rack. I mean, if we're going to mount the @Cascadia Tents (CVT) Mt. Shasta RTT on it when we venture out, we aren't going to be able to use the OEM rack.
  3. It needs a storage system for the back to hold the fridge, our gear, and provide a sleeping area for @mini.turbodb.
  4. I want to get the lower ball joints (LBJs) changed as preventative maintenance - especially since we'll be taking it off-pavement. I'll likely switch these to the 1st gen Tacoma variant, so that the parts are interchangeable between trucks.
  5. It's got some sort of oil leak, somewhere. This needs more investigation before I even know what the issue is.

So, that's what's in store for the 4Runner in the reasonably near future. Well, most of it is in store - I did already take care of two of these items already...

First, all of the fluids got changed before we really started driving it - because it's always good to know that the fluids are in good shape. Second, a few weeks ago, it got some new shoes.

I knew what I wanted here from my previous experience with the Tacoma. I wanted something that would:

  • Fit without rubbing - that would mean that it's smaller, but that's fine for how we'll use this truck.
  • Provide good on- and off-road performance - since this is going to be our daily driver as well.
  • Be C-load, rather than the much heavier E-load that I have on the Tacoma, because I'm getting too old to lift those E-load tires all the time, and because I still care about MPGs.

With those things in mind, it took me about 7 seconds to decide on the tire I was going to run: Goodyear Wrangler Duratracs, in a 265/75R16 size, and with C-load range. I ran similar Duratracs on the Tacoma for a couple of years and really liked them. They were reasonably quiet on-road and did amazingly well on the dirt and snow - performing flawlessly through The De-Tour, my first two week trip.

Oh, and while I was at it, I got some new wheels to replace the 2nd Gen Tacoma wheels that looked a bit funky in my opinion - so now I'm running the Duratracs on the same Limited 4Runner wheels that I have on the Tacoma, and they look just as sharp if you ask me.


  1. Rich
    Rich May 2, 2019

    Where are you sourcing those rims?? I've been on the lookout for some in the NW, but haven't found any that were not thrashed!!!

    • turbodb
      turbodb May 2, 2019

      I got both of my sets off of Craigslist - just kept an eye out and pounced when I saw a good deal. I found them to be amazingly cheap (and both sets came with "worn out" tires) - I think folks sell them when they upgrade to new aftermarket wheels and just want to get them gone.

      I should add - thrashed wheels aren't the end of the world either. I mean, at least for me, I assume that I'm going to scuff them up pretty good on the trail.

  2. Mike Lodewyk
    Mike Lodewyk May 6, 2019

    Those wheels and the tundra 17" 5 spoke double spoke are my favourite. I'm getting a set of the 4runner wheels powdercoated bronze currently, for my 00 tacoma.

    • turbodb
      turbodb May 6, 2019

      Nice, I think Bronze will be a great color. I'm not to the powdercoat stage with these yet - not sure I ever will since they're bound to just get chewed up on the trail - but I do have a few cans of Duplicolor Wheel Paint (Bronze) and some gnarly wheel cleaner that I plan to give a shot here in the not-to-distant future. Just need to take care of a few other non-cosmetic things first before summer starts and it's all trips, all the time! 🙂


  3. Brandon
    Brandon February 16, 2021

    I had Pathfinder AT 265/75R16 tires on my Tacoma and did not like them. I replaced them with BF Goodrich KO2s 235/85R16 as I got a great deal on them. I put 100 miles on my KO2s and they felt good with a tired old stock Tacoma suspension. I like the skinny tire look too. I like 32" tires, and not sure if I will put 33" tires on my Tacoma.

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