The summer and fall have been trying times for the 4Runner and my patience….and my budget. After preparing for and packing for one of my Redfish fishing trips the 4Runner would not start. convinced it was related to the aftermarket car alarm, which had been exhibiting some weird behavior, I did what any self respecting man would do, surf the web for forums and you tube videos that would help me diagnose and repair the problem. After wasting hours, I decided to reach out to a professional.
A couple days later, Douglas and I towed the vehicle to a neighborhood car audio shop and I had it removed and a new JVC radio installed that had a USB input / charger port that allows me to interface with my iPhone. The only problem was that after the removal of the car alarm, the 4Runner still would not start.
My next move after a very brief bout of, hey I’ll figure this out myself, was enlisting the help my daughter and I towed the 4Runner to my mechanics shop. After providing my daughter a short but instructive lesson in how to tow a vehicle that will not run, we made it to the shop with out a hitch. The shop is a small high quality operation in Gainesville FL called Performance Transmission and Auto Repair. Dustin easily found the problems suggested the course of action and expertly completed the work. It needed a started, relay and fuse. When it was ready, I rode my bike over and picked it up…back on the road again!
So what are my impressions of the 4Runner now that I have some miles and repair bills behind me? It's not been dependable...yet...and in fairness the repairs so far have been more or less to be expected for a 20 year old vehicle with over 100k miles. The 4Runner is a very capable, SUV with lots of room for its size, decent off road performance. The negatives so far (besides the repairs needed), the V6 engine is seems under-powered although in the lower gears and in 4WD the performance is decent. Fuel economy is average to poor. If I could wave a magic want the 4runner would have the turbo charged 4 cylinder diesel engine that is in my Audi.
If anyone from the Toyota corporation is reading this, the Hoginator and I would be more than willing to perform a long term field test on a new 4Runner, fully loaded, 4x4, and leather interior would be appreciated.