Toyota 4Runner History
The most extensive and detailed Toyota 4Runner historical archives on the web. Year by Year changes, specifications, information and more...

1997 4Runner History:
The following changes are made for the 1997 model year.
1. Model Line–UP
The VZN 180L–GKPZA model (2WD Limited V6) has been added.
2. 3RZ–FE Engine
The DIS (Direct Ignition System) has been adopted.
  • The DIS (Direct Ignition System) contributes to the powerful high output by providing a powerful spark to the engine. The ignition system is the same as in the 3RZ–FE engine of the ’97 Toyota Tacoma.
    The engine control system has been partially changed.
  • The fuel injection system is changed from a 2–group type MFI system to a sequential multiport fuel injection type SFI system.
  • Instead of using the IDL signal input from the throttle position sensor, the ECM now uses the VTA signal to detect the completely closed state of the throttle valve.
  • A hot wire type mass air flow meter with a plastic housing is used for weight reduction. The mass air flow meter is the same as in the 3RZ–FE engine of the ’97 Toyota Tacoma.
    3. Tire
    P265/70R16 tires are provided as standard equipment on the 2WD Limited grade model, and as optional equipment on the other 2WD models.
    4. Differential
    Along with the availability of P265/70R16 tires as optional equipment on the 2WD model, the specification for the differential gear ratio of the 2WD model has been changed.
    5. Brakes
    The 2WD model that is equiped with P265/70R16 as optional equipment are provided with the same front and rear wheel brakes used on the 4WD model with P265/70R16 tires.
    6. Cruise Control System
    The control methods for the manual cancel function of the cruise control ECU have changed.
    Toyota's recent redesign receives minor changes. For 1997, 4Runner offers an all-new 2WD Limited V6 model, while SR5 grade models receive revised seat and door panel fabric. The 3RZ-FE four-cylinder engine receives a new Toyota Direct Ignition distributor-less ignition system for improved reliability and reduced maintenance, as well as an updated Sequential Multiport Fuel Injection (SFI) for greater economy and efficiency. Additional changes are to option packages and added standard equipment, including the addition of a new Radiant Red color, replacing Cardinal Red.
    All-new in February, 1996, Toyota 4Runner received completely revised interior and exterior styling, new drivelines and an updated suspension system resulting in record sales every month since. The 4Runner carries into 1997 with minor revisions and updates.
    4Runner is available in either two- or four-wheel drive configurations, with four-cylinder or V6 engines, with manual or automatic transmissions and in base, SR5 or Limited grade levels.
    The most affordable 4Runner is the four-cylinder, two-wheel drive model. Power is provided by a 2.7 liter 16-valve twin-cam four-cylinder engine producing 150 horsepower at 4,800 rpm and 177 lb./ft. of torque at 4,000 rpm. The four-valve design and independent intake runners combine to create fuel efficiency and power across the rev range. Stainless steel exhaust gas recirculation (EGR) piping and alloy crankshaft bearings contribute to improved engine reliability, while twin counter-rotating balance shafts help minimize the vibrations inherent in a large-displacement four-cylinder engine.
    Also available is a powerful V6 engine. The V6 displaces 3.4-liters and features a 24-valve, twin-cam design to boost power in the higher rev ranges, while providing the low-rev torque necessary for towing and off-road use. Long independent intake runners and a large capacity air cleaner help the V6 to produce 183 horsepower at 4,800 rpm and 217 lb./ft. of torque at 3,600 rpm. V6-equipped models are rated to tow 5,000 pounds in both two- and four-wheel drive configurations.
    4Runner is available with either a five-speed manual transmission or a four-speed electronically controlled automatic (ECT). The ECT is electronically linked to the engine control computer and momentarily retards engine timing when changing gears to ensure a smooth shift.
    All 4WD 4Runner models are equipped with Toyota's 4WDemand shift-on-the-fly engagement system, allowing the part-time 4WD system to be engaged at speeds up to 50 mph. 4Runner Limited models are fitted with a One-Touch Hi-4 switch for push-button 4WD engagement. On all models, the transfer lever is used for shifting from 4WD High to 4WD Low.
    Optional on all 4WD models is a locking rear differential with 4.3:1 differential gear ratio. Operational only in 4WD-Low, the differential locks the rear wheels together, forcing both to turn in unison, maximizing power transfer to the ground in low-traction situations.
    4Runner's suspension and frame work together to create a vehicle that is extremely capable off-road with long wheel travel and excellent damping characteristics while not sacrificing on-road control and ride quality. While other manufacturers have sacrificed off-highway ability in favor of on-highway comfort in their recent SUV offerings, Toyota engineers managed to combine both.
    Front suspension is a coil spring double-wishbone design using a closed structure for the lower arm that adds strength while minimizing unsprung weight. All models utilize low-pressure gas filled shock absorbers, while P265 tire-equipped models use stroke-dependent shock absorbers.
    The rear suspension also uses low-pressure gas filled shocks, with a four-link coil spring setup. All models are equipped with stabilizer bars front and rear, sized at 1.02” (26mm) front and 0.75” (19mm) rear.
    Steering is responsive thanks to a power-assisted rack and pinion design. To help minimize steering wheel vibrations and maximize feel in both on- and off-road situations, Toyota engineers used rubber bushings to attach the steering gearbox to 4Runner's frame.
    That frame features a wheelbase of 105.3 inches which gives 4Runner superb on-highway ride comfort and exceptional rear seat legroom. Extensive strengthening compared to the previous generation allows for more precise steering feel and suspension travel, resulting in an improved ride and excellent handling. In addition, dual front suspension crossmembers provide strengthened lateral rigidity during cornering and longitudinal rigidity during braking.
    4Runner is equipped with 11.6 inch ventilated front disc brakes, and when equipped with the optional P265 tire and wheel package, has 12.5 inch discs. Rear brakes are 11.6 inch drums. A four-wheel anti lock brake system (ABS) is standard on all V6 4Runners, optional on four-cylinder models. Because engagement of the optional locking rear differential removes the ability of the rear wheels to rotate independently of each other, when it is engaged the ABS system is automatically switched off.
    4Runner's list of creature comforts is long. It coddles occupants with full carpeting on all models, as well as four-way adjustable front bucket seats, 50/50 split folding rear seats, dual cupholders front and rear, tinted glass, a Deluxe AM/FM electronically tuned radio (ETR) with four speakers, dual fabric sunvisors, remote fuel door release, full instrumentation including a tachometer, intermittent front and rear wipers, and the industry's only one-piece swing up tailgate with an integral power window.
    The SR5 trim level adds front map lights, power mirrors and door locks, a digital clock, lighting for the ignition lock, ash tray and glove box, a tilt steering wheel, upgraded Deluxe AM/FM ETR with cassette player, variable intermittent wipers and privacy glass.
    Top-of-the-line Limited models further add leather seating surfaces with power-operated front seats, power windows, cruise control, a Premium AM/FM ETR with cassette, six speakers and power antenna, a leather covered steering wheel, Limited-logo floormats, a retractable cargo cover and color coordinated exterior cladding, fender flares and running boards. Mechanically, Limited models also receive P265/70R16 tires on alloy wheels, 12.5 inch front disc brakes, and on 4WD models only, the One-Touch Hi-4 selector switch.
    Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc., reported 4Runner total calendar year-end sales of 128,496 units, up 29.0% from prior year.
  • 1997 Detailed Specifications and color chart
  • 1997 4Runner Canadian Brochure (PDF) provided by nighthawk
    1997 Color Chart
    Exterior Interior Comments
    Desert Dune Pearl Oak  
    Natural White Gray or Oak  
    Radiant Red Oak  
    Sunfire Red Pearl Gray or Oak  
    Azure Blue Metallic Gray Not available on 4Runner Limited
    Lavender Steel Metallic Gray Not available on 4Runner Limited
    Stellar Blue Pearl Gray Not available on 4Runner Limited
    Anthracite Metallic Oak  
    Evergreen Pearl Oak  
    Black Gray or Oak  
    Oak Leather Trim standard on 4Runner Limited, Gray interior not available with Leather Trim Package

  • 1997

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