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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Tinman's 1978 Toyota 4x4 conversion headache & progress thread.

Hey guys, new member here long time lurker, and I used the F*ing search engine lol, search SAE or Darvan, Zero results. :(

I picked up "The Frog" a few weeks ago, from my extended family after the patriarch passed away, right now all I have is a truck in storage, with a build date of Oct, 77, emissions decal for a 22r, a SAE toyota conversions sticker and a DARVAN conversions sticker. The engine is a V6 with a dizzy located at the front of the engine, a firing order of 165432, a Holley carb on top of a Holley Street Dominator intake manifold, I've searched high and low and haven't gotten anywhere in my search for this Toyota "HILUX" 4x4 badged truck. I'm hoping that the title will soon turn up so i can learn at least the registered year, although this truck was last tagged in 1981.

The engine really seems to want to go, but I'm not getting spark, working backwards, I found that the dizzy signal wire to the coil is shorted and pops the circuit breaker on my power probe. I ran out of light to open the dizzy cap and have a look inside.

Problem is, I'm not familiar with this engine so I don't know how to buy parts for it. I'm hoping someone can identify what I'm looking at so i can hit some trails in the San Bernardino Mountains here in California.

If anyone is local, I'll buy the beer if you wanna take a look at it to help ID this Mystery Truck.







 

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I know that before '79 they were using jeep transfer cases and front axles on the conversions. That is a really cool piece of Toyota history. Post up some more pics of the drivetrain. Don't fuck it up.
 

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It is definitely not an 81. 78 or older for sure so 77 makes sense. Could the motor be a Buick 231? It was a popular motor swap back then.

Edit: I just did a Google image search for "Buick 231" and I am now 99% sure that is what you have, that or it is some other gm motor in the same family if there is such a thing.
 

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The Buick 231 was a popular swap before the Chevy 4.3. The Buick was my first thought too.
 

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Seen this in some of the early Ford Couriers. They would swap an entire Jeep drivetrain into an import mini truck. Buick V6, trans/tcase, axles, everything. Avoided specialty engine/trans/tcase adapters that weren't available back in the day.
 

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should be a divorced adapter to a model 18 transfer case. Dana 27 or 30 front end.

Engine is more than likely a Buick engine. But they had 2 that were popular swaps. one was the odd fire. Rear axle will just be the stock 2wd rear axle for a toyota. with the perches on the axle flipped.

emissions label should be a for a 20r and not a 22r.

Truck all together normally would not be worth all that much. I have had datsuns, and ford couriers set up the same way. But yours is pretty nice. I have been eyeballing the 75 and older hilux or stouts, or maybe early datsuns to avoid the smog.
 

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First thing I would do is make sure the fuel lines a new!!!
I burned a good car to the ground after it had been sitting for years and the fuel lines leaked onto the motor...one back fire and up it went!
JB
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Sweeet!!! Thanks Guys! That's an awesome link AM4x4! it needs more than just the fuel lines changed, its had a rag sticking out of the gas tank for as many years as I've known it! I have a busy week a head of me but I hope to get the truck out of storage soon, so I can get more pics and figure out the dizzy problem.

I noticed that Buick V6 has an upgraded ignition system from mine, is it possible to swap that into my truck? I'm getting negative out of the signal wire to the coil, so it's safe to say somewhere, I have a short.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Update

I went through a couple sets of points and decided that they had to go. So I ordered all the parts, started the install this evening and tomorrow I'll set up the hot wire into the new distributor so I have less spaghetti floating around the engine bay.

Also, I'm considering changing the color of the wheels any suggestions?
 

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clean them up and repaint them white
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Yeah it's cool, but I'm getting tired of it holding down the driveway. i'd like to see it keep some trails from wandering off for once!


This weekend i swapped in an HEI Distributor, thought I'd be smart and set it up the correct firing order locations on the cap for where the buick diagram thought they should go... Not sure if it was the discharged battery or the 16 gauge wire I ran to the dizzy but the truck didn't start the first try so I'm waiting for the battery to come off the charger to try again tomorrow.

Anyone interested in taking this headache off my hands? Many of the old gremlins already chased off...

How come these trucks have become so rare that it's so difficult to find out anything about them? They were supposedly the reason Toyota started factory producing 4wd trucks right? I know that I've never seen another one on the road and come to think of it, I'm not sure I've seen more than a couple outside the old advertisements and articles...

/Rant.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
My powdercoater will do them for a very competitive price so I was thinking that I might as well get them cleaned up while I swap tires. What color do I want? I dunno.

Also, I need to swap out the pitman arm, I'm guessing it's CJ5 and the front leaf springs are flat as pancakes and I need to get the axles away from the bumpstops, they measured +/- 38 5/8" would that be approximately close enough to be cj5 leaf springs?
 

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Discussion Starter #17
*Update* We have ignition.

I finally gave up on the prestolite points distributor and ordered an odd fire HEI Dizzy. I corrected the firing order positions to factory locations and damn if she didn't start right up!
 

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Discussion Starter #18
We have ignition. One problem though that nearly every jeep owner that has done this upgrade has faced. There really isn't much room to adjust the distributor. It hits the intake manifold bolt or it hits the fan. So bye-bye mechanical fan, hello electric replacement. While the radiator is out, I figured might as well repaint it.
 

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That truck is a 77 hilux origionaly 2x4 that we converted at Darvan, the motor is a crate buick motor, it should have a GM auto bolted to it and the front axle is a dana for sure I think it should be a 35 maybe. Specialized would purchase them from us or the dealership and then throw their sticker on it, theyprobably but the roll bar and bumbers on. I worked at Darvan from 76 until 79 when Keith the manager killed himself and Dale owner of darvan went out of business and everyone went on to Flying Hi. I am the one that did most of the V6 conversions so quit possibly that truck was built by me. Very cool that it survived, I would love to see it in person !!
 
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