1995 Toyota 4Runner

Well, I went and did it. Got me a new 4x4. The Tercel, bless her little heart, had finally reached a point where I didn't feel comfortable taking the old girl out anymore. Though, the final trip with me was a whopper. Four of us trekked out to lay waypoints for the Nav. Rally, and the snow hadn't melted yet. Mr. Toad's Wild Ride got me to the point where the snow was deeper than my wheels. The close call was when I slid off the road into a moat that had been dug out along the side. Nevada slush - snow and mud threatened to ruin the day. I saved the car and our trip - but the poor thing needed to settle down. Alas, no pictures from that day, I was mostly concerned about the muck.

So, here's the new boy...

4Runner and Tercel4Runner

Oh I suppose you are interested in the stats?


1995 Toyota 4Runner V6 SR5
4 Door 4x4
5 speed manual
181,000 miles and change
17mpg average
Sierra Beige Metalic with Oak trim

Cost? $5700

All in all, not a bad deal. Luann, the gal who sold it to me, was a very pleasant person and answered every question I had. I'd been looking at these for awhile and so knew at least what I did want and what I did not. So the first stop after the DMV was Toyota for a full, bumper to bumper inspection.

4Runner's V6However, what I was not expecting what the MAJOR repairs needed. The list is extensive - four pages worth of work order from the dealership. At least Dan made me fell good about going broke over this truck.

When all was said and done, nearly every part under the hood except the engine itself had been replaced. The only thing still outstanding is an emissions control device that leaves my Check Engine light on, sue me I'm lazy.

Also on the list of Do Now's was getting the locks replaced and rekeyed. One key works everything again, and I don't have to rely on the clicker to get me into this thing.

Let's go take it for a spin...Different locations

Now now now, that is mild off-roading. A hill climb here, a water crossing there. I did prove that this 4Runner is a very capable machine. But, as a disclaimer, I'd like to say, I didn't intend to get on this road and I seriously tried not to tear it up too badly. but the end result was fun...


However, something was still needing to be done. Something off-roadish. Something that would seperate my 4Runner from the rest of the millions out there.

First, though, I desperately needed a new windshield. Scoring an inexpensive one at the glass shop in town, I was finally able to see. This is a major issue when facing oncoming traffic at 5pm in Fallon.

Front viewBut that wasn't it - my 4Runner looked like everyone elses! I needed something... something... on top.

A rack, to carry the Hi-Lift, a shovel and axe, and whatever else I could throw up there. Now granted, there's tons of room in the back for any gear I can think of, but I don't want to be hauling gas strapped down in the back of my truck, talk about stinky.

Note that unlike many nicely equipped rigs, mine is lacking the factory roof rack system. Dad was cool and found that Thule makes racks for rackless, rain gutterless trucks like mine.

Installing the ThuleHere we are up at Reno Mountain Sports getting the whole system installed. However, while we were going to have a M.O.A.B. (Mother of All Baskets) put on, they ended up selling their one and only two days before we got there. grumble

Thule installedThere we have it, nice and finished. Now I look like every other car and truck that's owned by a skier/biker/paddler in the area. Something had to be done about that.

The only problem with finding a decent basket to go on top was that the results usually cost in the couple hundreds range. Average price that I was able to find was in the neighborhood of $400 to $500. Um, ouch.

So, we drove around town looking for someone who might have the MOAB in stock. No such luck. Then, on the way to the Performance Racing shop (eh, you never know), Dad spies a truck camper place and tells me to pull over. What do you know, they have a Garvin Industries Wilderness Rack - for $40! Score.

Garvin rackThis was going to take some work. Mostly, I didn't like the way it looked when it just sat up there, it seemed too big for the roof. So some wiggling and cutting got it narrow enough that I was happy with it.

Trying on the basketDad even managed to find a base for the rack - that oddly enough fit perfectly into my chopped basket frame. So precise it was actually spooky. But that left me with a black frame and a silver base. Oh no, that ain't happening. Hitting the store - we were now armed with spray paint.

So we sprayed the whole thing, rack, base, nuts, and bolts. A nice solid matte black so that there was not a speck of silver. I'm sorry - silver and chrome just do not belong on working vehicles. Too much work for something there simply to look pretty. I go by looks, and I want whatever I have on my rig to not only look nasty - but to have the brawn to back up it's claim.

So, after a day of playing, we finally got the whole thing done. Dad even went out and ordered a Shovel/Axe mount, and a Hi-Lift mount (a modified Shovel holder). Looking really good I might say - and what do you know, I can make it out to Lagomarsino despite that low hanging tree limb.


The next thing to go on was to organize the stuff I'd piled up in the back of the truck. Survival stuff, recovery stuff, spare clothes, etc. The only thing that was to remain in the truck was the portable jumper for the battery, and the awesome little self-heating meals that we found at a truck stop in Reno. Handy little boxes that contain everything for a hot meal. Had one while at Dry Lakes and yummy!

So, Dad found an ATV box meant to go on the back of the seat, however, it fit nicely into the rack. So, here's the shot with the box in place.


Now, I'm still going off-road when I can. We did a trip to Ione late in the year and the roads were... um, slightly damp. Well, here:

The next thing that I wanted to add was an additional power outlet. I have only the cigarette lighter, and I need to plug in my phone and my GPS. So a second one has become an essential.

Dad, again, proved he knows more about trucks than me, so he bought all the needed equipment to install a second outlet.We hotwired it to the battery so the GPS will work even if the truck is off.

Took awhile to find someplace to ground the wires as nearly everything inside the cap is plastic. So far, this is the only additional electronic toy I've added. But it has become extremely valuable.


The plug itself I tucked below the steering wheel. My legs are short enough that my knees won't bang into the plug. I'm so glad that I decided to put this one here, and I've learned that when the truck finally dies (years from now) I'll be looking for a replacement with multiple plugs.


Now, a new milestone came up one evening while I was driving home and thankfully I had my camera on me. I bought this truck with 181,000 on the odometer. Then, the big 200,000 rolled around.

Here's looking forward to the next 200,000!!