1985 Toyota Hilux Restoration-Major Modification

Hi Guys,
First thread, long time observer.
I’m here because I’m planning on starting up a build/restoration but want to throw my ideas out into the world and see what happens. I’ve never done a project to this scale but am confident I can learn along the way and get help where I need it, starting mainly with the Overlanding community. So let me begin:

I have a 1985 SingleCab Toyota pickup 4x4.
-LCEngineering stage 3 22R
-Duel 45mm Weber sidedraft carbs.
-original transmission and transfer case.
-linked front end.

That is really the relevant information as I intend on modifying, or simply replacing many of the other major components. The truck has seen better days.. It has rust, on the frame and body. The front axle is slightly bent. The aftermarket bumper that was put on in 1987 needs to go, the cab cage that was put in 2004 needs to go. Unfortunately the thing has become a ‘Frankenstein’ of small projects that where never planned out together. the thing has had no real ‘goal’ to strive toward. So the goal:

I want to do a frame-off restoration/mod to the truck. I want to be able to push it offroad in speedy desert terrain while maintaining the solid front end but also have it be a solid overloading rig for long weekends out in the desert/mountains. Think of it as if it were a ‘2017, 1985 Toyota Pickup’. As a challenge to myself I want to try and keep the thing looking as original 1985 as possible with the following modifications. So why not do this to my new 2016 Taco? Because the old 80’s gen pickups are smaller, tougher, and more nimble than a new rig could ever be. I love these trucks and I love challenging projects. What I see this meaning:

-cleaned up, powder coated frame
-integrated front bumper, engine cage, cab cage, bed cage.
-fiberglass fenders, hood and bedsides to be easily removed to work on truck.
-redesign the front linked axle.
-replace axles with wider rock assault housings/shafts
-new wiring harness for truck, to include all accessories, new/old.
-decently weather proofed engine bay.
-new interior (custom designed dash)
-new brakes

the list of accessories is long but the idea is to try and include
-OHV lighting
-Diff Lock
-onboard air
-duel battery set-up

This is getting long so thats the basic summary. I’m slowly designing these systems in a NURBS modeling program on my computer, Im an architect in LA and am very familiar with Digital Fabrication and CAD modeling. So first steps in making this happen? I'm currently wondering what parts I should toss and replace vs restore vs upgrade.


That's some special suspension/axle work there. I wonder if the front axle warped when they welded on the brace? Are you planning on replacing the axle housing with an OEM housing, or go aftermarket? Pirate 4x4 has a wealth of info on Toyota axles and replacements. Look forward to following along on your build.