1981 Toyota pickup hotrod

The 1UZFE EGR Delete Kit is available for sale here.

1981toyminitruck

New Member
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10
I figured I could make a build log for my project and maybe some people would be interested in it and I could get some support if needed on lextreme. A bit of background for me is I’m a journeyman welder by trade and have loved building 4x4 vehicles when I was younger. I love old Japanese cars too so I originally bought an ls400 as a donor to swap the engine into an old pickup. As time went on I ended up getting out of 4x4ing but still had the car as a donor for a project. I finally found a suitable sleeper for a fun haver build, a ratty looking patina riddled 2wd, light weight 1981 Toyota Pickup.
W1i8Arv.jpg
 
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1981toyminitruck

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I’ve never had a fast car before so my goal for this truck was to have something a go fast summer unit and later on my goal was to have something that handled too and was updated and comfortable inside. So I set about ripping my ls400 apart. I took the front suspension, crossmember, steering assembly, engine, transmission, driveshaft, rear subframe with suspension components, dash, and console. It was then time to cut the truck frame up, design, and build a frame to accept the ls400 components.
 
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Zuffen

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5,539
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Sydney, Australia
The cars nice but the Border Collie is better. Sorry.

Keep us posted on progress as there are plenty of interested people.
 

1981toyminitruck

New Member
Messages
10
The cars nice but the Border Collie is better. Sorry.

Keep us posted on progress as there are plenty of interested people.
Haha thanks, yes Axel the mini Aussie is pretty alright you know! Here’s some more pictures of the build so far.

LS400 tear down

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While the engine was out I put it on the stand and did some maintenance work like seals, gaskets, water pump, timing kit, got the alternator and starter rebuilt, replaced the power steering pump as it was leaking onto the alternator. I also installed a shift kit in the trans. I would have loved to do a manual conversion at this point but a CD009 was out of my budget. I also figured with the shift kit might be a good alternative. If I decide to put forced induction on the truck down the road I will be
upgrading to a stout trans like the CD009.

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I spent hours going through the ls400 wiring harnesses removing components of the electrical system I wouldn't be using in the truck.

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With everything I needed stripped from the LS it was time to start on the frame modifications.

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The engine bay is pretty tight, I am leaning towards rebuilding the inner fender wells. I'm a little hesitant though because I don't want to have to do it again if I decide to turbo charge. I'm still up in the air as to what type of forced induction I would go with for this build. I want to do some track days with this truck so some quick spooling twin turbos would be what I would go with. I would rather do this opposed to supercharging because I really do enjoy fabricating and the feeling of a turbo charged car going into boosting is a feeling I love. But space is a such a premium I may have to supercharge instead and spend a bunch more money than what I could build a turbo kit for.
KlUsKRv.jpg


Being the LS track width is a fair bit wider than the truck was it has some wheel poke so with help from my brother, who does auto body, we will be making something like a wide body Toyota pickup! I'm also planning to run a wide wheel and tire set up in the rear so this thing will actually hook up. I'm leaning towards some Rotiform LAS-R wheels with aerodiscs for a kind of modern retro look.

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This is the most recent picture I have of the project so far. The dash is mounted up along with the steering column. The massive holes in the floor have been repaired, the back wall of the cab has been modified so the center console from the LS will open enough to be functional. The dashboard had to be cut to fit inside the cab and for the window cranks to be usable. I'll have to figure something out for that to make it look better but for now I want to get this thing running and driving so I can finally drive it this summer! Its been two years since I started this project and I'm itching to drive it something fierce haha! Next up is deciding what brake pedal set up I will be using and seats and mounting all of that stuff.

4MXBunL.jpg
 

Spinnetti

Member
Messages
372
Location
KY
Cool project! I had an 81' 4x4, and a 4x2 also looked about like that in tan color - It needed rear brakes and I had supra spares so I machined up the necessary bits and gave it 4 wheel discs lol.
 

Zuffen

Super Moderator
Staff member
Messages
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Location
Sydney, Australia
Do you plan on fitting a front strut brace.

The "wings" look like they could flex or even fold up if worked hard.

Some more gusseting of the "wings" would make me happier.
 

Spinnetti

Member
Messages
372
Location
KY
Do you plan on fitting a front strut brace.

The "wings" look like they could flex or even fold up if worked hard.

Some more gusseting of the "wings" would make me happier.

Gusseting would make a huge difference. I was thinking the opposite though - that tubing and plate area is 2x the size of most tube frame builds I've seen. With good gusseting could be a lot smaller. I find that touring car chassis are a great reference for this sort of stuff. I'd be tempted to just straight up make a tube chassis instead of box, but I love the project and props to the builder!
 

1981toyminitruck

New Member
Messages
10
Thanks for the props, input and suggestions! Yes yes, the frame is not complete yet. I'm planning on doing more work on the strut towers to add rigidity. The plan is to build a heavy duty bolt on strut brace from the same material used to make the towers and box in the front section under each tower. With the towers being tied in at the top it will essentially for a rectangle where the towers from the sides and the subframe and strut brace for the top and bottom. There will also be tubing running from the top of the towers that land on out riggers on the side of the frame. I needed the cab on to make sure these gussets fit around the cab. I am thinking this will give me the rigidity that I am looking for in the front suspension.

Does anyone have any idea for a radiator for this application? I'm trying to find something that will fit in here and has an auto trans cooler built in like factory as I don't want to buy a trans cooler set up just to take it off if I do a manual conversion. Also looking for something that I wouldn't have to upgrade if I run forced induction down the road. I was thinking maybe this? And just make some hard lines to route the hoses or something. 1964 to 1969 High Performance Aluminum Radiator | The Mustang Shop
 
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1981toyminitruck

New Member
Messages
10
Cool project! I had an 81' 4x4, and a 4x2 also looked about like that in tan color - It needed rear brakes and I had supra spares so I machined up the necessary bits and gave it 4 wheel discs lol.
Oh hell ya, that’s slick. I’m glad there’s another old yota pickup lover on here. I’d love to have an old 4x4 at some point again. Sounds like a pretty cool machining project. I wish I had access to that kind of tooling and the knowledge.
 

Spinnetti

Member
Messages
372
Location
KY
Will a stock LS radiator fit? I found factory ones shockingly cheap - I think I paid $100USD for a new Denso unit that I run in my race car, no worries :)
 

1981toyminitruck

New Member
Messages
10
Will a stock LS radiator fit? I found factory ones shockingly cheap - I think I paid $100USD for a new Denso unit that I run in my race car, no worries :)
I got my rad and everything figured out. I used the be cool radiator for a 69 mustang. The factory LS400 one was too wide.
 

1981toyminitruck

New Member
Messages
10
I’m having issues with getting the transmission to spin the tail shaft. I did have it apart with the torque converter off and also I installed the transgo shift kit. I followed the install instructions and watched the skid factory YouTube video for the torque converter install. I also have 2 quarts of fluid in the trans and it is showing on the dipstick with the engine running after shifting from park to L back to park. Should I pull a trans cooler line off and see if it’s pumping?
 

ivan129

BlownZX
Messages
206
Location
Some where down under
Nice build thread. Its sounds like you will need to add more trans fluid. Assuming u have a full convertor, an empty trans will take around 8 litres. If the convertor and trans was mt then you'll need around 11 litres. The trans wont do much without a full belly of fuild. If you have long coolant lines and a larger trans radiator then allow for another 1/2 litre. Good luck
 

Spinnetti

Member
Messages
372
Location
KY
Oh hell ya, that’s slick. I’m glad there’s another old yota pickup lover on here. I’d love to have an old 4x4 at some point again. Sounds like a pretty cool machining project. I wish I had access to that kind of tooling and the knowledge.
You've got mad skills all your own - keep up the great work!
 

1981toyminitruck

New Member
Messages
10
Nice build thread. Its sounds like you will need to add more trans fluid. Assuming u have a full convertor, an empty trans will take around 8 litres. If the convertor and trans was mt then you'll need around 11 litres. The trans wont do much without a full belly of fuild. If you have long coolant lines and a larger trans radiator then allow for another 1/2 litre. Good luck
Okay I’ll try adding some more fluid. When I put the torque converter back on I did fill it best I could. I’ll get some more fluid in it and fingers crossed it’ll work! Thanks for the reply and suggestion.
 

DouglasJent

New Member
Messages
1
I figured I could make a build log for my project and maybe some people would be interested in it and I could get some support if needed on lextreme. A bit of background for me is I’m a journeyman welder by trade and have loved building 4x4 vehicles when I was younger. I love old Japanese cars too so I originally bought an ls400 as a donor to swap the engine into an old pickup. As time went on I ended up getting out of 4x4ing but still had the car as a donor for a project. I finally found a suitable sleeper for a fun haver build, a ratty looking patina riddled 2wd, light weight 1981 Toyota Pickup.
W1i8Arv.jpg

Hey there, how far is your project going on? I would llve to see the pic when it is finished. I really like that car and that is why I came here to see more pictures from you on this car. I was actually searching for professional cv writer uk website online for my brother and while I was looking for it online, I found your post.
How far is your project going on? I would love to see the pic when it is finished. :)
 
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