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High Mileage 2003 4wd

Discussion in '1Gen Sequoia Build Threads' started by LookingUp, Aug 7, 2018.

  1. LookingUp

    LookingUp New Member

    A few months ago I picked up a clean, rust free 2003 limited 4wd with right around 340k miles. I bought it from the 2nd owner, who had it starting at around 40k miles. It sounded like she drove back and forth from Raleigh to the beach, hence all of the miles. Overall, it was in great shape. It came with new Michelin tires and new brakes. I've seen a lot of examples of high mileage on these trucks, including a friend who has about 430k on his, so I was willing to take the risk, especially cause this could be bought without a monthly payment! Also, every single other 4wd I checked out was rusty.

    I've done the simple things, really just trying to bring it back to stock ride quality at this point - new shocks, sway bar mounts, steering rack bushings, coils/plugs, etc. Each thing has noticeably improved the ride. There was one thing that never seemed to change, though. The truck shakes in the body at higher speeds, especially above 70mph. After a lot of research on old forum threads, I came to the conclusion that it was the rear bearings. After a couple of calls resulting in sticker shock, I decided to tackle the project. The last couple of months have been spent planning and purchasing parts. I'm a relatively experienced hobby mechanic but this has definitely been challenging.

    At this point, the truck is up on jack stands in my carport. I pulled the axles and a buddy and I managed to get the new bearings, retaining rings, etc. pressed on over the weekend. This was our first time doing press work and it ended up taking us around 8 hours total to get the old stuff off and new pressed on. That time also included fabricating a tool for pressing on the bearings and rings (we had previously built one for pressing out the axle from the bearing, too). I think we could do it in a few hours at this point (and we will, on my buddy's Sequoia).

    Last night I was able to get the new seals pressed in and the axles reinstalled. I managed to get the parking brakes reinstalled, but not without a headache. For a while there, I was seriously considering burning the truck to the ground. That design is infuriating. Unless you have tiny fingers (which thankfully, my wife does), it's almost impossible to get the retaining springs on the shoes. I ended up running blue painters tape around the entire circumference of the assembly and that helped to hold everything in place.

    The end is in sight! Tonight, I'll be reinstalling the rear discs and bleeding the brakes. The rear axle will get some fresh gear oil, as well. I'm also replacing the breather vent on the axle. I'm fairly sure it is clogged and was forcing gear oil through the seal, washing out the bearings. I can see now why I was getting $1500 and $2000 quotes for this job...
  2. Tytus

    Tytus New Member

    it is hard to belive. Good luck with Your car - Sequoia is worth to have and drive it.
  3. LookingUp

    LookingUp New Member

    I had a lot of people waste my time, as if I wouldn't be able to figure out their truck was rusty. Any Sequoia I saw from MD or VA (didn't see many from further north) had rust, so I ended up looking at only NC trucks. My goal was to buy directly from a private owner, partially to avoid any chance that I might end up with a TX or FL flood vehicle, and also to judge the owner.
  4. LookingUp

    LookingUp New Member

    The truck is running and driving again. Man, what a difference!! It drives so much smoother. I still need to adjust my parking brake but I figured that could wait, since I had to get things back together for a trip tonight. I'm now starting to notice some other smaller shakes and squeaks. I think I'll throw in some new front bearings soon, given the condition of the original rear bearings, I can't imagine the fronts are in any better condition.

    I won't be building this truck into any kind of off-road monster but I do plan to do light over landing and will be taking it out on the beach on Ocracroke Island. If I get everything buttoned up and running smoothly, than I might be able to start looking at upgrades. I put some cheap Monroe shocks, just to get the blown OEM ones replaced, but I can definitely feel their rough ride. They're high on the list to replace, probably with some bilsteins if budget allows.
  5. Tytus

    Tytus New Member

    Good news. Carry on.
  6. ivbyiv

    ivbyiv New Member

  7. LookingUp

    LookingUp New Member

    Everything seems fine a couple thousand miles later, although I still haven't adjusted my parking brake yet. It did great driving around the mountains of NC with 7 grown men riding. I picked up the front bearings this week and plan to install them over the weekend. I'm getting a vibration in the floorboard which I'm hoping is the front bearings. if not, it sounds like there is a bushing in the front diff that often needs replacing.

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