Alright so here's my first post kicking off my Toyota Hilux project! The base vehicle is a 1980 Hilux (or pickup as it's known here in the states) and it is a BEATER! The previous owners liked to buy relatively stock trucks throw big tires on them and abuse them rock crawling and it sure shows. But I got this one for next to nothing and it's frame is straight and rust free so I'm happy! So without further a due here she is the day I bought it.
As you can tell the body is practically a throw away. But the drive train is "relatively sound" ad as previously stated the chassis is in great condition. For my purposes it's perfect because by the time I'm done with it there won't be one part that will escape modification on this truck.
So at this point a little back ground about me would be good. I'm about to turn 22 and I have been working on cars basically since I have been able to hold a wrench. When I was 4 years old my dad taught me how to rebuild model airplane engines which set the basis for me wanting to learn everything I could about anything mechanical or electrical. My parents love telling a story about when I was 5 at bring your child to work day one of my dad's co workers had a broken calculator he gave me to play with. About 20 minutes later to his surprise I brought it back working. Fast forward a few years my farther and I built a replica of a Lotus 11 seen below. So there's a short bio of my mechanical background and I feel I am up to the task of what I am planning.
The Goal: Build a solid exploration vehicle setup for long distance exploration travel. Isn't that why we are all here? Here's where the "What the hell am I thinking" part kicks in. Plans for the truck thus far include a quad cab conversion, frame stretch, custom 5' bed that will incorporate minimum 20 gallon fresh water supply, fridge, cooking facilities, on board air, roof top tent with enough storage for 4 duffel bags plus chairs, fold up table, extra. rear airbags for load compensation, Mercedes OM617a swap, and long travel independent front suspension.
A note about the quad cab. It won't really be a quad cab per say as much as it will be a really long extended cab. I plan on adding 3 and 1/2 feet to the cab to facilitate 2 extra seats with sufficient leg room. There will be no doors in the rear but there will be windows! Ok not that exciting, but I don't think 4 doors are entirely necessary and I don't want to deal with the headache of custom building doors. Also this is where the frame stretch comes in. To incorporate a 5' bed as well as the cab stretch I desire, the frame needs to be lengthened a foot and a half in the middle. I've studied a lot of photo's of frame stretches and I think I have a pretty good plan of attack worked out for how to make this happen.
I think one of the most disputed aspects for expo vehicle design is independent vs. solid front suspension. I've read tons of info on the aspects of the two and I decided to go the IFS route for a few reasons. A) This vehicle is meant for long distance travel on dirt roads with the occasional off trail excursion, not rock crawling. B) Driver and passenger comfort are very important to me. Getting beat up while in transit because of a rough ride is never fun for anyone. (I've daily driven a Spec Miata and do not wish that stiff of a ride on anyone nor do I have interest in repeating that). C) I feel that if engineered well enough IFS can be just as durable as a solid axle setup. I'm pretty much sold on IFS at this point despite the requirement for the whole front end to be reconstructed.
On another note, I say that virtually the entire truck will be in some way custom which I realize can lead to major issues when it comes to breaking something in a remote place and locating replacement parts. However, with the exception of the om617 adapter (which if I break I think there is larger issues) and the front control arms, all of the drive line and chassis related components will be stock Toyota parts. Even the control arms are being designed around retaining the original ball joints to ensure parts are easy to find and plentiful.
So here is how it sits as of the moment.
The front axle was already traded last week for a complete IFS of a 90' pickup and I'm in the design phase trying to figure out the exact geometry I'm after so hopefully it won't be on blocks for too long. Next step will be removing the redneck fab angle iron sliders that were welded to the frame so I can start the preliminary body work for the quad cab.
So there you have it! It will probably be a bit of a slow start as we are still settling into our new place and I am lacking a lot of the tools I used to had access to in my fathers shop but it should be a pretty fun and semi unique project.