It’s about time we introduce the fourth member of team Life Remotely. Our truck -- Blue. He’s periwinkle blue or as Toyota called it, azul... seriously WTF it’s blue.
Blue is a 1997 Toyota 4Runner SR5 with 140K on the dial. Built solid, back in the day when trucks were not made of recycled aluminum cans and plastic.
Finding Blue was a long and drawn out affair. We had exact specifications that had to be met or the truck was automatically disqualified through the magic of Excel. Color was not a criteria.
Our criteria for a overland vehicle was as follows:
Our pickiness pointed to one vehicle -- the 3rd generation Toyota 4Runner. Highest reliability ratings for any mid-size SUV in that was actually imported throughout Central and South America.
See this article for more information on choosing an overland vehicle.
We found Blue in Portland, Oregon, a pampered little baby, with a full service history, a clean title, and the right mileage.
Blue’s Bill of Health
Before we bought Blue we called the Elemonators in Portland to do a full inspection on the vehicle and eliminate the risk of us buying a lemons... hence the name Elemonators. These guys need to be in every major city. Blue passed the inspections with flying colors.
Last week we took Blue in to see the doctors at Toyota of Seattle, we had them do a full inspection and a 120K service. They told us we needed to replace the shocks, a tie rod and the spark plugs all of which we could do ourselves. Both the shocks and spark plugs we’d planned to upgrade before heading south anyway.
Last weekend we replaced the inner tie rod and took him in for an alignment. Firestone did a full inspection and once again, everything checked out A-OK.
So far, Blue has exceeded our expectations. In eighteen months we’ll have have pictures of him parked at the end of the world, provided he doesn’t follow in the footsteps of his namesake and drop dead in a pool of KY Jelly.
Stay tuned for more!