Buying a Used 4Runner - Help Me Decide

dwatmandwatman Member Posts: 2
edited March 2014 in Toyota

I'm looking for a 1996 Toyota 4runner or newer that has serious engine problems or is missing the engine. I want to put a different kind of engine in it and want to start from scratch, but don't want (can't afford) to buy a 4runner with a good engine and then through it out.

Gracias! dan


  • steverstever Guest Posts: 52,454
    Hi Dan,

    We aren't set up for buying and selling in the forum - try eBay or Or just ask your local salvage yard to do a search for you.
  • dwatmandwatman Member Posts: 2
    Thanx. I will do that. the reason I ask, is because i've always wanted a toyota 4runner and I've recently become anti-suv for poltical reasons and been wanting to do an elctric thing. I'm pretty sure a toyota 4runner isn't the best choice for an electric car, but I don't care. I really want one and it doesn't matter to me if I can only drive once a week to the store and back. Of course I would want to make it as efficient as possible and would be pleasantly surprised if it turned out it actually was a decent choice to stick bateries and solar panels in instead of an engine. I've just barely started this quest. Anyone heard of an electric toyota 4runner or anyone know anyone who was crazy enough to try it?

    gracias! dan
  • steverstever Guest Posts: 52,454
    Sounds like a fun project although it may be cheaper in the long run to buy a new Tesla Roadster. (Straightline)

    There are electric/solar car classifieds at, including a 2002 RAV4 EV for sale.
  • dash1dash1 Member Posts: 1

    Can you please answer a question for me? I am considering buying a well maintained '96 4Runner with 196,000 miles on it(original motor and tranny). Should I be hesitant about buying such a high mileage Toyota?


  • nippononlynippononly Member Posts: 12,555
    At 196K there are no guarantees, but Toyotas are pretty solid up to and past this mark generally speaking, and this particular model and engine series has a very good track record. Personally, I would pass if there is evidence it has been used for towing, otherwise I would go for it. Try and get maintenance records - they will tell you a lot at that mileage. Good luck! :-)

    2014 Mini Cooper (stick shift of course), 2016 Camry hybrid, 2009 Outback Sport 5-spd (keeping the stick alive)

  • maximus99maximus99 Member Posts: 1
    whats up dwatman, are you still interested in a 4runner with a bad engine? if so send me a private message or a friend new here so i dont know how to work this yet. get in touch with me if u are still interested. see ya.
  • tidestertidester Member Posts: 10,059
    send me a private message or a friend request

    We don't have private messaging so mailing is a good idea. You could also set your email address to visible in your member profile here so other Forum members will have access to it.

    Generally, people should be aware that we highly discourage posting email addresses in public postings. Your internet security is important to us.

    tidester, host
  • jsteinbachjsteinbach Member Posts: 5
    Ok, so here is what is going on. I'm a poor college student who will continue to be a poor college student for another couple years. Then I'm going to be a slightly less poor social worker.

    The point of all of that is.. I'm looking for a car I can afford, but I want reliability also. I'm SO afraid of buying something and then having a big tranny or engine problem, as I would be pretty much screwed. I live in Northern Utah so I want 4wd or awd. I live on the side of a mountain. I work on a big hill.

    I saw this ad on craigslist:

    1998 white 4Runner in great condition. 106K mi. 4WD, fully loaded with V6, auto transmission, sunroof, CD, 17 alloys, rebuilt title( minor damage, fender has been replaced), runs like a champ. clean.

    I actually haven't done a ton of research on 4runners, b/c it never occured to me that I could afford one. So what I'm wondering is.. 106k seems high, even though it's reasonable for this year. If I buy this car, should I expect to get at least a couple relatively problem free years out of it (I know at that year and mileage I can't expect absolutely perfect, but say.. under a grand repairs would be nice).

    Also, the asking price is about 9g. I know this isn't absolutely unreasonable, but would it be appropriate to offer less considering the rebuilt title?

    ANY advice would be greatly appreciated! Both my parents are car people, so they can help me out, but I want to know what I'm looking at before I even approach them, so I'm not bugging them every time I think a car may be what I'm looking for
  • canddmeyercanddmeyer Member Posts: 410
    Rebuilt title, aka salvage title? No thanks. Whatever you are considering, pay the extra to CARFAX it. Consider a Subaru too.
  • jsteinbachjsteinbach Member Posts: 5
    Well, yeah would definitely carfax it. The only reason I'm considering it (depending on what carfax report says) is b/c I know a rebuilt title isn't always a huge deal. I totalled my crappy little car 5 years ago and it's still running strong (for now).
  • nippononlynippononly Member Posts: 12,555
    You totalled your crappy little car because it was crappy and little. It would take a very great deal of damage to total a 100K-mile, 8-year-old 4Runner. No amount of "fender damage" would do it. Definitely get the CARFAX. Beyond that, get some idea of whether or not it is totally stock, and if the current owner is the type to do lots of offroading or towing. If so, I would give it a miss if I were you. If not, then it sounds like a reasonable deal, and you can certainly expect a well-taken-care-of 100K-mile 4Runner to give several more years of trouble-free service. But I will say it one more time: GET THE CARFAX! And for $9 grand, you should probably think about having it checked out by a mechanic you trust too.

    2014 Mini Cooper (stick shift of course), 2016 Camry hybrid, 2009 Outback Sport 5-spd (keeping the stick alive)

  • jsteinbachjsteinbach Member Posts: 5
    Did not think about the size difference at all regarding totalling cars.. Glad I asked here before I committed to anything. Thank you :)
  • wvgasguywvgasguy Member Posts: 1,405
    OK Poor College Student, make sure you consider everything before you buy. How many miles do you plan on driving a year. Starting our with 100,000 may not make a lot of sence. Do you really need a large 4wd or will a RAV4 do (I know its not as "manly), but they get great FE and hold resale better than about anything else. Also what kind of loan are you getting (you said you were poor so I assume you'll borrow money). Right now you can get NEW 2006 4Runners with 0% interest I believe. By the time you finance $9000 at 7.5% (and possibly have to buy tires or make minor repairs) you might not be all that far from a payment on a new 4wd with no mechanical worries for 3 years and in three years you'll have a fairly low milage SUV that's still worth $20,000.
  • nippononlynippononly Member Posts: 12,555
    0% interest on '06 4Runners, is a 36-month term, I believe. If he is looking in the $10K range for a used truck, I seriously doubt he wants the $750/month note that would come with buying new. Buying the $9000 truck in the same amount of time at 7% will run $300/month or so. That's a heck of a big difference. Even financing the new truck over 5 years is a heck of a big difference, and then of course depreciation will be much more rapid.

    2014 Mini Cooper (stick shift of course), 2016 Camry hybrid, 2009 Outback Sport 5-spd (keeping the stick alive)

  • wvgasguywvgasguy Member Posts: 1,405
    Yea, I wouldn't think any college student could go 3 yrs.

    However 1.9% on $27,000 for 5 years is a payment of $472. With that you'd have a vehicle in 4 years with less than 50,000 miles that you only owe $5600 on and it's probably worth $15,000.

    Whereas with the used one you'd probably have a payment of $250 to 300 for 3 to 4 years and in 4 years you have a throw away with 150,000 miles on it. Hopefully you won't have a major repair during that time.
  • nippononlynippononly Member Posts: 12,555
    if you own(ed) a 4Runner, but most of them are not "throwaways" at 150K miles, certainly not ones that have had good care.

    Your way he comes up on a $500-700 bill for new tires before he is done making payments.

    Anyway, I am not going to argue which way is "better", just saying that you may be treating the "difference" in payments, etc a lttle more lightly than he might. I know when I was coming out of college, I was strictly a payment shopper the first few years, and regardless of the amount I would have been better off by going with the higher payment option, I couldn't have afforded to do so.

    But you HAVE whetted my curiosity - I wonder what he decided to do...

    2014 Mini Cooper (stick shift of course), 2016 Camry hybrid, 2009 Outback Sport 5-spd (keeping the stick alive)

  • wvgasguywvgasguy Member Posts: 1,405
    But you HAVE whetted my curiosity - I wonder what he decided to do...

    And obviously being a "poor" college student means something different to each person. I drove a new Chevelle Laguna S3 my senior year in college and traded for a Vette the day I graduated. Then again my Vette payment was $93/month. I believe I have a tear in my eye :(
  • wvgasguywvgasguy Member Posts: 1,405
    if you own(ed) a 4Runner, but most of them are not "throwaways" at 150K miles

    I'm not banking on it's value at 150,000 miles but I am counting on it having a better value at 60,000 miles than it's competitors. That's why I traded my Ford Expedition for it (I lost $14,000 on it and it only got 14 mpg, went through a rear end at 700 miles)
  • nippononlynippononly Member Posts: 12,555
    by the time he has driven the 100K miles he could reasonably expect from the cheaper used 4Runner, enough time will have passed that he will be in a position to afford a new car anyway. So why spend the extra depreciation on a truck he will just sell after 5-7 years?

    If I could have afforded a Vette out of college, I wouldn't have worried about the difference between a $300 and $500 monthly payment either! ;-)

    *face turns green with envy*

    2014 Mini Cooper (stick shift of course), 2016 Camry hybrid, 2009 Outback Sport 5-spd (keeping the stick alive)

  • jsteinbachjsteinbach Member Posts: 5
    SHE decided not to go for it. I liked the point someone else made about the difference between a rebuilt title for a little car and a rebuilt title for something such as a 4runner.

    So, I'm still looking. And for the person that asked if a 4wd was necessary.. Not exactly, but it would make me feel MUCH safer. I live in Northern Utah, I live on the side of a mountain so I'm driving up and down a steep road every day, my work is on a hill, and so on. Also, I work in a group home for people with mental disabilities so if we have to drive out in bad weather, I want something I know will be safe and won't be sliding all over when things get icy.

    I may end up going for a car w/o awd or 4wd but with traction control though and just investing in good winter tires.
  • nedzelnedzel Member Posts: 787
    Whatever you buy, get snow tires. I've got a 2003 V8 4WD 4Runner and I put snow tires on in the winter -- even here in Boston.

    The 4WD and traction-control wizardry is great for helping you go. But it doesn't do a darn thing to help you stop or corner. And a 4600 lb truck has a lot of momentum when you get it sliding sideways on an icy street, as I have learned from experience...
  • gls69gls69 Member Posts: 24
    I am not an expert on cars. However, a number of my patients reside in group homes. I am also the State of California pharmacology consultant for all board and care facilities.
    I would recommend you compare insurance costs for different vehicles if you are transporting patients, since you stated, "...if WE have to drive out in bad weather"..
    Good luck in your vehicle choice and your career. Caregivers for these patients deserve great respect.
  • purpleurkelpurpleurkel Member Posts: 3
    I have decided that my next vehicle is going to be a 4runner, I have the chance to get a black 95 4runner I dont know for shure if it is sr5 but it has 5speed, 4x4, sunroof, power doors/windows, 153k miles. I think I can get it for $6k, is this a good deal? how many gallons does the gas tank hold and how much mpg can I expect? the sticker says 'gas saver' on it. how is the 4x4 on the 95 model?
    I think I read the 96 4x4 was more advanced. Is 153k miles too many?
    I do alot of traveling and I am moving from oregon to kentucky about a week after I get this truck and I dont want to have it break down on me in the middle of BFE with all my possesions stuffed inside. The total trip is going to be around 2700 miles, I will have a passenger and probably 400-550 pounds of crap, what kind of mileage can I suspect?
  • steverstever Guest Posts: 52,454
    Sounds high if it's the 4 cylinder (would that be the "gas saver" model?). A clean 6 cylinder in my zip code retails for around $5600 so that's not far off, depending on the options (Used Car Appraiser).

    I didn't check all models - the V6 SR5 as a 17.2 gallon tank and the EPA estimate for the manual is 14/18. More specs (and different styles) can be found at the appraisal link above.

    You can also cross-check prices in the Toyota 4Runner: Prices Paid & Buying Experience discussion.
  • pilot_or_toypilot_or_toy Member Posts: 10
    Need your input: I’m looking for an SUV to last me 7 – 10 years and w/seating capacity for at least for six (occasional visit by the in-laws). I’m looking at a new 2007 Pilot LX; however, a friend is leasing a 2005 Toyota 4Runner Limited that he’ll be turning in at the end of the year, with end-of-the-lease purchase price of around $22,000. It’s a basic 6 cyl. 2wd “Limited” w/tow package (has never towed anything), leather, power seats, removable third row seats, side airbags, runboards, etc., expected to have ~30K miles; no problems w/vibrations, sulfur smell or rattles, garaged and dealer maintained. I’m in no big hurry, but should I get a new Pilot LX (~$23,500) + hitch and maybe a tranny cooler OR should I go for a three-year-old 4Runner Limited (out of warranty!)??? I like the 4Runner better b/c it’s truck based and has more toys. Either SUV would be mine on weekends only, as my better half would use it to ferry kids around during the week. I don’t need a 4x4 in S. FL and my trailer is only ~2500 lbs. I understand the Pilot is a crossover and not even in the same category as the 4Runner, but I’m a little bit worried about all the electronics wizardry and potentially more expensive maintenance of the 4Runner. Should I get an extended warranty? Any input is greatly appreciated.
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