Now Let's Get to the Bottom of this Thing
Taking apart a vehicle bolt by bolt, plug by plug, is something I enjoy. Even as a child, I always liked taking things apart to see how they worked. This tear down would not need a lot of attention to how things work. I already know how most of the Toyota systems operate from working on my daily driver 4Runner and from building my Off-Runner. Still, I took my time so that I could save most of the parts. You never know when you're going to need a dash clock or dome light.
I started by removing the doors to gain better access to the interior and then I took out the seats to really open things up. After that I completely gutted the interior. Then I removed the engine and everything else under the hood. Lastly, I pulled all the body mounting bolts, and lifted the trans and t-case shifters (for clearance).
Now it was time for the fun part. I tried to think of a good way to remove the body from the frame. I don't have any equipment that would work, so I thought I would just get a bunch of guys over to help me. One night while I was looking at my project I got the idea that a Cherry Picker would work. The next weekend I wrapped a tow strap through the door openings and around the floor of the 4Runner. Placing the boom of the Picker in the center of the floor just behind the two B-pillars, I was able to lift the body almost perfectly balanced. With the help of one friend we were was able to float the body off the frame and set it on the floor safely and smoothly.
At this point I was also looking for more storage space. I was trying to keep as many parts as I could so that if I needed some thing for my project it would still be around. With this in mind I turned the truck body into a small storage shed. The doors opened nicely and it gave me a weather proof space that's easily accessible.
Although it's simple and fun work, a job like this is not easy. It took many hours of work and numerous broken bolts to complete. If you have time and tools, and want to learn how to work on cars, taking apart an old or worthless vehicle is a good place to start.
With the frame off I could make better assessment of what I was working with. To start there was a lot of rust. Everything from the transmission shifter back was solid surface rust. And the rear suspension was rusted beyond repair. I would need to replace the coil buckets and everything around them to even start to make the thing safe. I wasn't sure what I was going to do. I had already bought and taken apart this whole truck, I didn't feel like buying another one, so I decided to keep it and think of a reasonable solution.