Bob_98SR5's Cupholder Mod
With regards to Step 1, many 4Runner owners who have successfully completed this mod have said that they did NOT have to strip the shell itself. However they ALL said that they needed to trim the bottom of the cupholder (black) pieces. Thus, it would be wise to test fit your shell and cupholder as pictured in Step 1 first before doing any trimming.
Also, here is a pic of the e-brake parts and the bracket that you will need to make it truly "drop in fit". Notice the difference between the original silver bracket vs this gold bracket. The gold bracket part number is 89180-35010. Sorry, I do not have the part number for the e-brake tub or the actual e-brake itself.
When I originally conceived of this mod in January 2003, I only started with the 99 center console shell and had to purchase the rest of the internal parts. The cost of this mod was approaching my threshold and thus, I modified and recycled many parts to make it "fit".
from Colorado provided the best tip and improvement to this mod thus far:
find a local junkyard or ebay seller and acquire the 99 e-brake assembly
as well as the silver bracket. Buying from a junkyard or ebay will not
only lower the cost of this mod, but also save you a significant amount
of time---you can skip Parts 2, 3, 4, and 5. Steps 3 and 4 are labor intensive
Make sure to specify color when ordering. This is VERY important that you do. You also must order the cupholder itself. The part number is 38904-35030 ($55). Always cross-check your part numbers and description of the item with your Toyota Parts supplier.
For all the things that Toyota does right in terms of product design, one of the worst design decisions in the 1996-1998 4Runner was the in-dash cupholder. This design lunacy serves as a convenient launching point for all beverages, especially coffee. I've had many instances where I hit a pothole or a speedbump and coffee splashed its way out of the lid and onto my lap. Not a good way to start off the day. Also it is not sturdy unit as most of you 96-98 drivers can attest to as it squeaks like caged rats, especially while driving with full beverages in the cupholder:
My solution to this problem was to buy the parts from a 1999 center console with the cupholder and modify it to fit the 1998 center console area. For the most part, that is all it takes but there is a fair amount of cutting and repositioning of parts to complete this mod. Like most mods that I've done thus far, its time consuming but after completing it, its fairly straightforward.
WARNING: You will be modifying and working on your e-brake during this mod. Thus, park your vehicle on a flat surface, chock your wheels, and make sure your 4runner is in "PARK" or 1st gear (5 speed). I cannot stress this enough.
1: Modifying the Center Console Parts
Take the 1998 and 1999 center consoles, clamp them together, and using the 1998 as a template, mark up the "excess" areas on the 1999 center console with a white grease pen. Here is a pic of the area marked for cutting on the 1999 center console and picture of modified center console. If you have a difficult time maneuvering the coping saw, use can use a dremel tool with a cutting disk as well:
Notice in the picture above right: There is a little piece of black plastic exposed. There are also other pieces that are exposed that are hidden by the dremel tool. You will need to also trim these black plastic pieces off to make it flush with the newly trimmed center console. Cut along these areas with the dremel tool:
2: Modifying the E-Brake Parts
To remove the e-brake assembly, unplug the e-brake sensor, unbolt the two 12mm bolts that fasten it to the e-brake tub, and then unscrew the two stacked, opposing nuts. To remove the cable, bend back the e-brake cable stay tab, and then slide the e-brake cable out:
Cut the e-brake rubber grip along the dotted line on both sides. Also, cut the top portion (about 1/8") of the e-brake cable stay. Cutting the e-brake rubber grip will minimize rubbing against the 99 center console rubber "slit". Likewise, cutting the top portion of the e-brake cable stay will minimize rubbing against the e-brake "tub". These are tips borne from experience---and it'll make sense once you assemble the 1999 center console.
Re-assemble the e-brake in reverse order but do not bolt on the e-brake back onto the 4runner just yet.
3: Modifying the Position of the E-Brake and Silver Bracket
Thanks to Butnut (Brian) for taking apart his 1999 Center Console to take the pic on the right. :)
Now here where this project stumped me a bit: As you can see, the e-brake for both years is centered within an e-brake "tub". Also, the top bracket that the 1999 e-brake sits on is longer in length (the top one, circled in yellow), which allows it to be off-set using the existing threaded holes. I imagine you could buy the 1999 tub and e-brake assembly but it is entirely feasible to make this work with slight modification.
Bolt on the bottom e-brake 12mm bolt but do not bolt on the top left-hand corner bolt. You need to offset the e-brake assembly as far to the right as possible. Pivot the e-brake assembly to the right until it makes contact with the top right bolt. Mark a hole with your white grease pen and then unbolt the e-brake assembly and move it aside. Drill a pilot hole and then tap a hole for a 10mm bolt through the e-brake tub and through the floor of the 4runner:
Test fit the entire e-brake assembly back onto the 4runner with the existing 10mm bolt (rear) and the new, tapped hole with the longer (1.5") 10mm bolt with lock washer and nut. Don't screw this on tightly, but just enough to secure.
4: Re-positioning the Silver Bracket
After unscrewing the silver bracket, screw it back this time onto the underside of your 1999 center console's cargo compartment. Take the center console, position it onto your 4runner, and then carefully marked the holes and rear slanted border with a Sharpie pen. After marking the holes, tap new holes or use self-tapping screws to mount the silver bracket in its new position:
5: Recycling the 1998 Parts
To remove the ashtray, remove the ashtray by popping it out towards you. Turn the center console over and locate the three metal tabs holding the ashtray to the center console. Bend all three tabs straight and then pull out the ashtray. To remove the cupholder, remove the two screws as shown and take a flat-bladed screwdriver, insert in the center, and gently pry/pop the part out:
Remove the 1998 lid by unscrewing the philips head screws. After removing, cut off the two plastic black tabs underneath (sorry, no picture).
After removing these parts, assembly them onto your modified 1999 center console.
6: Relocating the Rear Window and Alarm Switches
Take the wires marked "A" for alarm and "W" for the rear power window switch and run them under the center fascia, under the steering column, and up to the desired locations. Remove the cutouts, plug in the rear power window switch and RS3000 alarm displays, and plug the wires into them:
You do not have to remove the instrument cluster fascia (black plastic) in order to snap it in. You'll have enough hand room to run both the wire and the display in. Also, since the bottom panel is removed, it is easy to pop in the power window switch into the cutout. However, you will notice that the rear power window wire (marked "W" in the picture above) barely makes it to the right-most cutout. I may try to switch the location of the alarm display and the rear power window switch in the future, but as for now, its fine where it is located:
Reassemble the lower panel and the radio fascia in reverse order and now you are ready to install your modified 1999 center console. Drum roll, please!
7: The Final Fitting