I bought this brand new few days before 9/11. I am very happy owning this vehicle up to now 04/09/2016 (154,000 miles). I have very few issues - the gas tank and the easily rustic chassis. The rest of the vehicle I did not find any problems. With the gas tank, I found having a hard time pumping gas. The gas dispenser nozzle suddenly clicks even when the gas tank is half empty. I brought my 4Runner to a mechanic and he told me their is a problem with the tank (one of the valves is not functioning - the valve closes easily and tries blocking the flow of fuel into the tank. In this situation, the gas pump thinks the tank is already full therefore disengaging the flow by a clicking sound. I just don't know if other owners of this vehicle suffer the same fate as I am. With the rustic chassis, I always washed the vehicle especially after a snow storm (leave in New Jersey). Salt accumulation under the chassis creates oxidation (rust). I spray rust remover upon seeing rust spots under the chassis and around the exhaust system. I used metallic brush to scraped the rust and apply rust remover and dried the surface before spraying with pain primer then applying protective black metallic paint over the primed areas.
Bought my 4runner w/ 50,000 miles in 2002 and it now has over 244,000. Amazing. Absolutely nothing major has ever gone wrong on this truck; typical oil changes, tires, etc. The MOST reliable vehicle I have ever owned. Still looks and sounds like a champ!
I drove this thing from Waterloo, IA all the way to PHX, AZ without stopping (besides to get gas). Never overheated, and I was hauling a 8 foot aluminum trailer. Engine is not powerful by any means, but it is reliable. Seats are comfy and interior design is simple with room for mods. I honestly believe this SUV was the best ever made.
The 2001 4Runner is an outstanding SUV. Reliable, excellent in bad weather, and built to last through the apocalypse. Ever seen the Top Gear episode with the indestructable Toyota? This is the cousin of the Hilux, the car featured in that show. Nothing can take this beast down. Problems are few and far between. 140,000 miles of service life and many more to go.