Project Car SOTU: Stormtrooper 4Runner


We’ve all been there, past the point of frustration and agony and anger and heartbreak and “I fucking hate this giant metal piece of shit,” cresting the point of “why do I even do this?” and stepping well into the territory of, “I’d be better off if I had no involvement in this whatsoever.”
I was there, at that point, with the Stormtrooper 4Runner, wanting to push it off a cliff. And many a days and night as of late, this has been my sentiment towards the truck: aggravated, more so than any “toy” should be causing.
But luckily, it wasn’t all bad. The Stormtrooper 4Runner has been a project vehicle in every regard, but since our it’s also provided a few days of important, life-enhancing glory.
What’s been happening in the land of the Stormtrooper 4Runner? Read on to find out.


As much a paperweight as it is an in-a-pinch backup vehicle, the Stormtrooper 4Runner has once again been subject to both serious sitting and serious wheeling. Even despite my investing significant time and money in maintenance and repairs, its troubles have sidelined it quite a bit from being driven anywhere near as frequently as I’d like and in turn is causing a substantial amount of aggravation. And yet, I love it…

…Despite how much work it’s needed. Since over a year-and-a-half ago, I have done nothing but good for the Stormtrooper 4Runner. I have nurtured it back to health; cared for it; loved it. I even gave it its first bath in years. So after the last round of repairs, it decided to thank me for all I’ve done….

…In the form of the air conditioning shitting the bed going into the hottest week of the summer.

Since the last update, I’ve spent a considerable (read: way too damn much) time repairing, fixing, maintaining, and– problematically– stressing over the well-being of the Stormtrooper 4Runner. Though nothing has compromised the truck’s driveability, some things…like the air-conditioning shitting itself during the hottest stretch of the summer…have compromised my ability to enjoy it. That, and the fact that it feels like every time I drive it something either breaks or is testing my patience in its near-brokenness. Ah, but the repairs. The never-ending repairs.

Funny how you always seem to end up working outside in the dark


So, the latest slew of fixes:

  • Replaced camshaft position sensors (in an effort to chase down a CEL)
  • Replaced gas cap (in trying to hunt down an evap issue)
  • Replaced the CB mic cable (entirely my fault)
  • Replaced hood strut (yes, singular, since the other is rust-fused to the underside of the hood)
  • Re-installed the piece of fender/trim that came off courtesy of a tree at AOAA
  • Oil change
  • Installed new spark plugs
  • Installed new coil boots
  • Installed a new K&N air filter
  • Did a thorough seafoam cleaning of the engine
  • Re-charged the air conditioning (only for it to fail again three days later)
  • Replaced catalytic converters [this hurt my bank account]
  • Replaced oxygen sensors [this made my bank account cry]

Burnout or seafoam? Seafoam. No fooling anyone on that.


Amidst all the madness there have been some spots of joy with the Stromtrooper 4Runner. I had , and then a few months later subjected the truck to my first experience of snow wheeling  that pushed it past its capability…or rather, mine, being that it was my fault the truck was buried up to the axles in snow and required the first (and probably not the last) time I had to be winched out of a jam.

And I thought Toyotas were supposed to be trouble-free…but I guess that’s not exactly something you can expect with a modified vehicle of which you’re the 8th owner, and of which you’ve wheeled it and beat on it as a vehicle like this deserves.  It’s a good thing I truly do love this truck. But it’s a bad thing it’s nickel-and-diming me past wit’s end, as it forces its fate to be up in the air.

 

By |2018-09-13T08:00:53+00:00September 13th, 2018|Featured, Project Car SOTU, Project Cars|2 Comments

We the Author:

Ross Ballot
Automotive ADHD, personified. Usually found driving a Toyota 4Runner. Lover of all things off-roading; amateur autocrosser. Perpetually looking for the next vehicle he will regret.
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