For many years I attempted to drive up snow covered mountains in BC with a 2-wheel drive Pontiac Vibe for camping/snowshoeing/skiing. Usually we’d get stuck half way up the mountain, find a place to pull over and safely park and then hike the remaining road the to the trail head. We were usually passed by someone in a nice 4x4/AWD vehicle who just looked at us bewildered as they drove past us up the mountain. No doubt they were thinking “it’s only 6 inches of snow”.
Well the time finally arrived for us to have a second vehicle. In March 2012 we bought a 2007 Toyota 4Runner, Sport Edition, 4.7L V8. Needless to say I skipped all the compromises in between and went for basically the most capable vehicle within reason. With the current economy, people weren’t really buying a lot of vehicles with V8’s, so I negotiated a really great deal on this vehicle used. We were keeping the vibe for a more economical around town vehicle, so gas mileage wasn’t the #1 factor in the choice. Sherilyn is rather uncomfortable driving in snow and my brother and some other family live in Kamloops (through the Coquihalla mountain pass). So capability was the big motivation here. I’d like to be able to visit family anytime I want and take on the local ski hill or hiking attraction while I’m at it!
The V8 4Runners are full-time 4-wheel drive which also means they have a proper center differential (the V6 models aren’t quite as beefy and shouldn’t be used full-time). It also has traction control, anti-lock brakes, down-hill assist, etc.. Those really give you some confidence when driving in snow as it’ll beep at you if you are loosing traction and you know to slow down. The V8 model also comes with a transmission cooler and bigger disk brakes as part of the standard towing package. So I’m ready to go if I get the chance to borrow a boat or camping trailer.
This page is where I’m going to keep a journal of sorts to document the various upgrades, modifications and accessories for my 4Runner. Hopefully some of my installation notes for things are helpful to others doing the same kind of upgrades.