Friday, May 27, 2011

River's History

River Tam is a complicated 17 year old. Those of you who are fans of or have watched the Firefly/Serenity series know what I am talking about. In Firefly River Tam is an extremely gifted young girl who has an IQ higher than some zip codes. She is an expert in logic and thanks to some shady government types, can now read minds as well. This causes her much trouble through the series and her personality was very... quirky, one of my favorite lines she said in the show was "The human body can be drained of blood in 8.6 seconds given adequate vacuuming systems" and, while this seems disturbingly creepy, if you have seen it it makes perfect sense and is quite funny. A personality like this is what I feel my 4Runner (or FWhoreRunner) has, She works fine on some days and then for no apparent reason, stops working. She is very high-maintenance but not like a supercar high-maintenance, more of a "I don't want to go faster right now just because you push the gas" or a "I'm going to let my clutch slip a few times to scare you" type high-maintenance. 
 Not to say I haven't had my fun with River
it's just that sometimes I feel like I'm always fixing something, then something else, and then something else, yet nothing is ever getting fixed. Anyways, back to the history lesson. After I sold Alicia, I was in need of a vehicle, I was looking at Audi A4's and VW Cabriolets but I could never find one I liked. I had not really considered another 4Runner as my dad had one and I had owned 2 before and while I did like them, I was not looking to get back into one. After I left Florida I started looking for 4Runners in my hometown, my only requirements were that it had to be under $2700, running, and a 5 speed. I really wanted one with a spare tire on the back and was more looking for the 22r 4 cylinder instead of the V6 but that was not very important (I honestly have never seen a 22r 4Runner in person) I wanted a sunroof and my color preference was gray but again it diddn't matter. When I first saw the craigslist ad for River I knew I found the truck I wanted. It was gray, it had the spare tire, it ran, and it was a 5 speed! I ended up getting her for $1800!
When I first got her she had these crappy turbo stickers on the side that were promptly removed (the paint job underneath came with them too) and no running boards, so I started looking for a set of running boards. The truck also had a cracked sunroof (it ended up that the entire assembly was bad, but that was remedied in a previous post) and a few other little things (which ended up being a lot of little things). The easiest route to take for me would be to find a person parting out their 4Runner and strip it, and I found just that. It was my luck that someone rolled a 95 4Runner and then blew a headgasket in it and decided to part it out, I went to go get the running boards for $50 and ended up getting the whole truck for $200 title and all!
As you can see the interior was trashed, but it had a good amount of parts on it! I swapped tires to get the best tires on my truck and then matched the rim on the back so instead of this:
I had a matching set of 5 rims that looked like this:
The white parts truck was a gold mine, I got tons of parts from just about everywhere on the truck! I added the running boards, fixed some engine parts, swapped the radiators, and attempted fixing all the body damage to my truck with an updated front end but that ended up being too much work. My dad took the Cat-back and 3" HD springs and shocks, while my brother got a few small parts for the 4Runner he picked up around the same time.
We were forced (homeowners associations suck...) to get rid of the parts truck before too long though (and before I found a lot of missing pieces on my truck...) I ended up selling the truck to a guy who wanted the transmission and axles for $100 so I really got my moneys worth on that one. I do hope to find another deal like that on a 4Runner because we have 3 4Runners, a parts truck would be a lifesaver sometimes!
I got lucky on a Pioneer head unit from a friend and installed that (I had to hard wire it into the harness but I made sure everything was labelled and did a clean install too!) then found a decent deal on a 2600 watt amp and 2 300 watt subs, I got those and traded the double box for a single, got a 1400 watt sub, and turned the amp to about 1000 watts.
One nice thing about having a 4Runner is the amount of room in the back, I have slept in here in between classes quite a few times! It's pretty comfortable and the 5% tint on the back windows means it's hard to tell someone is in there so I don't get bothered too much.
Most of what I have done with River has been documented here but I love reading about the back story to many cars and I have done that here for those who want to read about mine. I would love to do a 1KZ-TE diesel conversion with a greasecar waste vegetable oil kit but not having a job kinda kills that. I will probably end up painting the fenders sometime soon and maybe the hood if I can, and de-chroming the truck while I am at it.

Engine wise the truck is pretty good, I have an 02 sensor and I am having trouble getting a bolt off but once that is done she should be good to go, there is a power steering fluid leak out of the steering box (just a seal) and the radiator cap needs to be replaced (way easy) other than that she runs good. She is down on power but I do believe that is the 02 sensor, if she still acts up I may have a vacuum leak somewhere I have to find.
Short term goals for the truck are fix everything and make it run right, stop rust wherever I find it, and paint it "right" (right being sand down to bare metal, 2 coats of primer, 2 coats of paint, and fully disassemble whatever I'm painting). If I can get a parts truck I will be fixing the A/C, replacing window motors, fixing the drivers side power mirror, fixing the bumper and the rusted mounts, adding a front hitch mount, possibly adding a second spare tire in the usual location under the truck, adding extra grab handles, adding the rear "spoiler", and probably a lot of other things that I am forgetting
I would like the dual layer center console my old 2WD 4Runner had instead of the rear heater console this one does, I'm not too worried about that though. I almost traded this 4Runner for a Miata and then an MR2 but I realized that I do love River through her quirks and I want her and an MR2, 2 vehicles also helps when one breaks.

This picture reminds me, I also need an antenna for my truck, I ripped mine out because it was bent and did not work. For some reason I love this body style of 4Runner, I would add some steel bumpers and a brush guard with tube steps and a safari rack to get the look I want however.
Overall I'm very happy with River, shes not perfect but I can accept that. Looking for perfection in a 20+ year old Toyota is not a good idea, you will end up broke. With me I always want to do better though and if I had my way River would be a completely different truck. If I can keep her she will continue to evolve as funds allow into my vision of what she should look like and how she should perform. Until then however, she will pretty much stay the same

No comments:

Post a Comment