Garage Queen: 1997 N80 Toyota 4Runner Limited – SOLD!

Feb 2021 | Classifinds, Truckin Tuesday

March 8, 2021 Update – we confirmed the seller of this “Classifind” deleted their listing, so we’re now able to call this one “SOLD!” While this one got away, please reach out either by email or call Rudy directly if you’d like to be informed when we come across something similar.

February 22, 2021 Update – we discovered the private seller of this nicely sorted ’97 Toyota 4Runner just posting a new listing to replace their original expired one.  The description, pictures, and asking price all remain the same.

Look at enough Craigslist ads over the years and you get good at spotting fastidious sellers who have thoroughly sorted the vehicle they are offering.  That’s the vibe we get from this 1997 Toyota 4Runner Limited originally listed in January 2021 on Craigslist in Whitehall, Pennsylvania (Allentown) with a very detailed description and great pictures for an asking price of $10,900.   Comparing this price against the NADA Guides Online Valuation Tool confirms this private seller has their 4Runner priced well above this guide’s “High” retail estimate of $6,575, so you’ll have to decide whether all of the work put into this 4Runner combined with the clearly Excellent condition is worth the premium asked. After watching the videos the seller provides, we would be very hard-pressed to find a similar vehicle in this condition for this price.

Launched for the 1996 model year, Toyota’s third-generation 4Runner SUV featured an all-new bodyshell and chassis heavily based on the brand’s also-new Tacoma truck. Despite moving upmarket with the rest of the mid-size SUV market at the time, Toyota differentiated the new 4Runner by retaining the rugged off-road character its competitors were sacrificing for highway comfort. Limited models such as the example featured here came equipped with Toyota’s 3.4 Liter 5VZ-FE V6 that produced 183 horsepower at 4800 rpm and 217 pound-feet of torque at 3600 rpm.

Significant changes from the second generation models include a larger body on a longer wheelbase, increased interior space, increased cargo space, dual airbags, ABS, lift-up tailgate, coil-spring suspension all around, rack and pinion steering, and aerodynamic contour designed glass headlights. Additionally, Hilux Surf versions immediately moved to 16-inch wheels and gained a center differential, enabling the use of four-wheel drive on hard surfaces without complication for the first time. The prior system was retained to give on-the-fly shifting between rear- and four-wheel drive as before. The new 4Runner was also available with a factory-installed selectable electric locker in the rear differential, a first for the 4Runner but available since 1993 in the Toyota Land Cruiser.  The 1997 model year received a few minor updates, including the addition of a color-keyed cargo cover.

In addition to the five video links the seller provides in his listing (see below to watch), we came across this 1997 vintage commercial on YouTube:

We were fans of the 4Runner when it was new and what is typical for most 4Runners of this vintage, they have been driven to near death. Not only is it a rare sight to find one that hasn’t met a similar fate, it’s great seeing such a fastidious caretaker completely sort this SUV for the next owner.  If you’re interested in driving a RAD Era SUV that is a cut above the typical Jeep ZJs and XJs of the period, this may be the SUV for you.  Good luck with the purchase!

Here’s the seller’s description:

“1997 Toyota 4Runner Limited, Garage Queen, Low Miles, 4WD, Restored

No emails. No trades. Call or text: 484-366-669two

Low miles 154K, Clean Title, Restored, New: tires, brakes, rotors, AC, struts, shocks, filters, fluids, vent valves, muffler, battery, rear bumper, ceramic coating…..see list below. Maintenance log included.

This 4runner Limited is the luxury edition and is loaded with options. After restoration, it now runs and drives like new. She looks great too. Frame is in excellent condition.

A partial restoration keeps the price low. No dents. One ding. Superficial appearance defects circled in yellow.

See my “1997 Toyota 4Runner Limited Garage Queen” videos are on Youtube. You can search “1997 Toyota 4Runner Garage Queen” in YouTube or copy/paste links below:






· New DieHard Gold Battery, 750 CCA, 130 reserve capacity

· New twin electrode NGK spark plugs (per Toyota’s specifications)

· New air filter

· New PCV and grommet

· Oil change and filter (synthetic)

· New fuel filter

· T-body cleaned

· MAF cleaned

· New no.3 coil pack

· New antifreeze 2X drain and fill

· New Denso AC compressor, receiver/dryer, condenser, expansion valve, and thermistor

· New timing belt/tensioner/pulley, water pump at 125K (prior owner)

· New radiator at 125K (prior owner)

· New Denso downstream O2 sensor

· New Walker muffler and tailpipe installed with heavy-duty 12mm bolts/nuts

. New fan clutch

Automatic Transmission and 4 wheel Drive

· New Front differential gear oil

· New Front differential vent valve

· New Automatic transmission fluid (2x drain and fill)

· New transfer case gear oil

· New Rear differential gear oil

· Rear differential axle/wheel seals replaced by previous owner

· New Rear differential vent valve

· Front and rear drive shafts greased

· New Toyota rear heater piping and rear hoses

Suspension, Steering and Frame

· New front Gabriel Struts (struts, springs, strut mounts)

· New front sway bar links

· New rear Gabriel rear shocks

· New rear sway bar links

· Front end alignment

· Frame cleaned and painted. FRAME is in excellent condition.

· Spare tire lowering mechanism painted and serviced

· New Steering Rack bellows

· Power Steering flushed


· New front rotors and pads

· New rear brake shoes

· Brake system flushed and filled with synthetic brake fluid

· New Toyota rear brake line

Tires and Wheels

· Original 16 inch Aluminum wheels painted and clear coated

· New Kumho Road Venture AT51, 265/70 R16 (Toyota spec), 112T tires with 3 peak mountain and snowflake symbol

· These all weather tires (better than all season) tires are quiet (no highway drone) and meet the minimum standards for snow tires (mountain/snowflake symbol on tire). These tires are for city/highway driving and off road 4wheeling.


· New rear bumper, bumper side panels, brackets, and hardware

· New front and rear wiper blades

· New license plate bolts coated with anti-seize

· Paint chips touched up

· Paint decontaminated (removes industrial and brake dust “iron’ contamination)

· Cutting compound

· Polishing compound

· 2nd decontamination with Gyeon prep

· “The Last Coat” hybrid ceramic SiO2 coating (lasts 6 months to a year)


Fully detailed: headliner cleaned, rug steam cleaned, leather and interior surfaces cleaned with APC


· Tow Package (up to 5000 lbs) with 4Pin electrical connector (stored out of site behind bumper)

· Ext. Color: Sunfire Red Pearl

· Int. Color: Oak Leather

· V6, 3.4L engine

· 4 speed Automatic Transmission

· 4 Wheel Drive (high “4H” and low “4L” speeds)

· 16 inch Aluminum wheels with 265/70 R16 (per Toyota specifications)

· Toyota Sunroof air dam

· Sunroof retracts and tilts

· Chrome bumpers

· Driver and Passenger air bags

· Cruise Control

· Running Boards (removed. Included with vehicle)

· Skid Plates

· Front Air Conditioning

· Rear Heater with temperature adjustment and High/Low fan setting

· Shift Knob Trim – Leather

· Steering Wheel Trim – Leather

· Wood grain

· Center Console

· Power Steering

· Steering Wheel – Tilt

· Abs – 4-Wheel

· Antenna Type – Power

· Radio – AM/FM/CD/Clock

· Gauge – Tachometer

· Wheels – Alloy

· Front Wipers with Intermittent settings

· Power Windows

· Power Door locks

· Rear Privacy Glass

· Window Defogger – Rear

· Rear Wiper

· Sliding Rear Window – Power Vertical

· Leather Seats

· Driver and Passenger Power Seats

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