By Brian Letendre
It was time to tear down the '85 4Runner donor vehicle. On the tear down, most of the interior was removed as well as the top, tailgate, rear bumper, and the hitch. A need to throw out a huge thanks to my buddy Philip for his help on a lot of this tear down. The good part about removing parst that I didnt need is I was able to sell them off giving me less than $1,000 to go before I could purchase the chassis.

After a long day at work, I was able to come home and get about 2 hours of tear down time into the front dash area. Here is what's left.

After the easier stuff, I was able to make additional progress on the tear down for removal of the body. I began with the radiator and this proved more difficult than planned because I forgot that this was a dual core radiator. For those who may not know, that means this radiator not only flows coolant through it to cool the engine, but it also flows another fluid for cooling. Most commonly, and in the case of The Spike, the transmission fluid flowed through it as well. So I drained the radiator, drained the Automatic Transmission, and while I was under the truck, I drained the oil as well (Knowing it would have to be drained later anyway). In the process of removing the bolts for the fan shroud and the radiator, the final bolt was blocked by the power steering lines, which also ran through the front core support to a cooling loop on the front of the truck. This meant the power steering fluid and system also had to be drained. It was just another thing that needed to happen, but I was simply not planning to do that at this time. Now I had 4 systems draining or still dripping with oil everywhere. A circus theme rang through my head as I laughed at the mess I was making, but the epoxy floor on the garage did it's job. With everything drained and the bolts removed, the radiator finally came out. Success! Of course, during the process I laughed, I cried, but most importantly, I won!

The second part of my goal was to get the wiring harness and the steering column removed. I wanted to keep the harness in tact if possible, and after after removing the dash and the front support brace I was successful. It was then onto the steering column. This proved to be a bit more work than I anticipated, but with careful consideration and examination for where the attachments were, I was able to removed the column.

I had put the body up for sale and the guy that wanted to purchase it stopped by to give me the cash for it even though it was not off the frame yet. So we needed wait a week or so because I wasnt quite ready for him to take it and his trailer he was going to use was unavailable.

So, throughout the next week, I got to work disconnecting the remaining parts from the firewall and getting the body ready for complete removal. The buyer arrived later with a trailer and we loaded the entire 4Runner on his trailer and took it to his friends house who had a hoist in the shop. (Side Note: Its a small world if you were'nt aware, his friend happened to be a relative of a close friend of mine who I've rescued on the trails from years past who also has his own Toyota rock crawler). We off-loaded the 4Runner into his shop and worked together to get the body hoisted off and rolled the bare chassis out and back on to the trailer. The entire process only took about 30 minutes thanks to the use of the ceiling hoist!

With the chassis back home, we got it rolled back in to the garage and put away for the day since we had some family activities to do. However, I did manage to drain the fuel from the tank and get the gas tank removed. 3 buckets of fuel were removed, too bad it was bad fuel and couldn't be used in our van.

With the body off, I was able take a closer look at the Transmission/Transfer case. It was not the model I expected as it appears to be a A340H, not an A340F which is easier to modify, so I've had to research options for this setup. After a few referrals, I was finally able to speak with Jim, formerly of Inchworm, and he and I chatted about an adapter kit sold by Low Range Off Road for the automatic transmission. It is the correct plate and I will need 2 top-shift transfer cases. Luckily, I have a lead on one already. Jim is a great guy and full of knowledge. He has relocated to Taylor, AZ to which I had to laugh because he is now closer to me than Low Range is, near Salt Lake, UT.

I had to borrow a steam cleaner in order to get the entire chassis cleaned up. Of course, I was having difficulty with the AMP draw needed from the house so, it was not done the as good as I was hoping it would be but, it is much cleaner now. After that, I pushed it back into the garage for another week of work. I was hoping to get the engine removed soon so I could get to cleaning and grinding on the frame. The chassis I purchased from Hendrix Motor sports was to be ready by the end of the month, and I would be heading out to get it. As I've been telling my neighbor, "then it will look cool, but still be a long way from done".

More to come!
God Bless.