|Last Update: May 27, 2007
|This 1989 Toyota 4x4 was purchased by me in early 2000 as a bone stock plain jane Toyota pick-up. It would be my first and so
far only expedition 4x4. After owning Toyota cars for a number of years, it was a no brainer which make I would go with when
the decision came to upgrade to a 4x4 truck for our adventures into the back country.
It has also undergone numerous modifications. In some cases, replaced by different modifications. For example, this truck has
had no less than three entirely different suspensions, numerous tire/gear combinations and numerous other major modifications
before we settled on what you see here today.
The truck originally came with independent front suspension, which served us well, but was later swapped out with a solid front
axle for more durability. Over time, things like larger tires, lockers, lower gears were added, in what may seem like an attempt to
build an extreme off roader. In fact, the purpose of this truck is primarily long distance vehicle dependent expedition travel,
primarily in the Pacific Northwest. Much of that travel is on paved roads, so the truck is designed accordingly. With the least
amount of lift to clear the SAS and accommodate either 33" or 35" tires, but is also designed to tackle very old roads and off
road trails that we might encounter in our search for remote historical sites, including old mines, ghost towns, logging camps,
abandoned railroads and other sites.
What is a "light duty" expedition rig? Well, our trips rarely last more than a week or so. And despite a 5400lb fully loaded
weight, our Toyota is relatively light weight. A heavy duty expedition rig, would be something more like this. For more
expedition vehicle related info, I highly recommend visiting Expedition Portal.
Below is a list of the current modifications to our truck, including photos, information and links to other articles on my site with
more detailed information.
Back to the main Homepage
|Basic Specifications at Glance
|Year: 1989 Toyota Pick-up DX Built: December 1988
Engine: 2.4 liter, 4 cylinder, 22RE Transmission: W56 5 speed Transfer case: Forward shift RF1A, 2.27 to 1
Front axle: 1985 Toyota solid axle, w/ Land Cruiser FZJ80 front differential, 5.29 gears, ARB locker, Longfield birfields
Rear axle: 1989 Toyota solid axle, w/ V-6 differential, 5.29 gears, Lockrite locker
Tires: 33x12.5-15 Goodyear MTR (formerly 35s) Total suspension lift: 4 inches Loaded Weight: 5300-5400lbs
|The front fenders were cut several years ago, before the solid axle was installed to give better tire clearance. The stock bumper was removed and
and in its place is a very heavy duty brush guard that was custom made by my Dad out of stainless steel. It serves double duty as a winch mount,
light mount and hi-lift jack mount. The winch is a WARN X8000i unit.
The rear bumper was also made by my Dad. The tube and mounts are stainless steel pieces and attach to the frame with straight 1/2" steel
brackets for strength. A custom square tube swing out steel rack is sometimes attached to the rear. It's entirely removable, and now usually left off
the truck, but when attached, can carry a spare gas can, water, or anything I choose to configure it to carry. It originally carried a 35" spare tire, but
that was removed when I discovered I couldn't see out the back window.
Today, the rear tailgate has been beefed up and supports two 2.5 gallon jerry cans and a small emergency fire extinguisher.
My Dad also built square steel rock sliders that are welded to the frame. They are extremely heavy duty and are designed to support the entire
weight of the truck when necessary.
The canopy is an aluminum unit with glass windows, and while not pretty, it's entirely functional.
A custom snorkel was built using an ARB snorkel head and ABS pipe. And a police style remote pillar mounted spot light was installed.
The black square on the hook covers up a hole caused by my foolish first attempt at building a snorkel.
Otherwise, nothing too fancy here.
|The rocksliders were built by my Dad. These are
strong and easily support the weight of the truck.
Check out my Rockslider article for more pics
|The front winch mount/brush guard was custom made
by my Dad out of stainless steel. It holds a high lift
jack, 2 150 watt KC lights and 2 100 watt fog lights.
Custom, but not fancy, turn signal lights were added.
|Recently, I added two 2.5 gallon gas tanks that
are attached to the rear tailgate, but doesn't
impeed lowering the tailgate. These tanks
were formerly carried on a tire rack, but this set
up reduces overall weight.
|The three antennas. From
foreground to background. CB
antenna, AM/FM antenna, Ham 2
meter/440 antenna. The CB
antenna is quick release and only
mounted when it's needed, which
is not often.
|This has been perhaps the best lighting mod I've ever
made. This is what the cops and utility crews use.
Controlled from inside the cab, it shines 150 watts any
where you want. This is perfect for those night time off
roading adventures and for locating camp or hard see
roads. Just remember that if you use it in the woods, you
could be mistaken for a poacher.
|The rear rack, started out as a tire rack, was later
reconfigured to hold two 5 gallon jerry cans and now is
configured to hold one 5 gallon jerry can, and one 5
gallon water jug, plus a fire extinguisher. Today I rarely
use the rack due to weight issues and its easily
removable. More on my rear canopy page and on my
rear tire rack page.
|This is my custom snorkel using ABS pipe and a Safari Snorkel head. This acts as a scoop for cold fresh air for most driving, but if I was to make a water
crossing it should do the trick keeping the water out. If the crossing was too deep, I would reverse the head, as seen the picture on the right, to avoid any splash
water getting into the engine. So far, it has worked out great. The spotlight on the A-pillar prevented a full Safari snorkel from fitting, so this was my only
option. It's a little unusual, so it gets a lot of comments.
|On the roof I mounted a low profile roof rack and storage box. Low
profile by necessity to allow the truck to fit in my garage. I generally store
lighter items up here to keep the center of gravity as low as possible.
Note: a new Thule Rack was recently installed to replace this one.
More pics and info coming soon.
|Recently I added a rear amber strobe light in the
back. This came from the many times that I've
parked the truck along side a road to investigate
sites or take photos and the strobe is a safety devise
to warn traffic in the area.
|Suspension & Axles (solid axle swap) & underside
|After many experiments, some costly, I've settled on a solid front axle suspension, dumping the IFS and installing a 1985 Toyota front axle using an
All Pro SAS (solid axle swap) kit. The solid axle has worked well for extreme off road conditions, but there was a trade off. It doesn't handle as well
on the highway as the old IFS set up. We spend a great deal of time on the highway on long road trips, and the nicer ride and better handling of the
old IFS would be welcome sometimes. It's a trade off. For an extreme off roader, SAS is a huge advantage. But when I had IFS, I learned to respect
the rugged Toyota torsion bar IFS design. Looking back for the type of off roading that we do, we could have easily gotten away with just keeping the
IFS, but the SAS does allow for added security and ability when off roading.
The front axle housing is from a 1985 4Runner. The front diff is a high pinion unit from a 1990s Land Cruiser 80 series, and contains 5.29 gears
with an ARB air locker. The front axleshafts are stock, but the Birfields are "old school" Longfields with the welded ring. The steering uses the stock
steering box, All Pro steering arms and rods, Land Cruiser 80 series tie-rod ends, and a modified Land Cruiser 80 series Pitman arm. The front
drive shaft is a custom unit from High Angle Drive lines with 12" splines and a clearances CV joint. Front springs are All Pro 3" springs, but
dearched to give only 1" of lift The All Pro front spring hanger and longer shackles give a total lift of approximately 4". Check out my Low SAS lift
article for more information on how I achieved this lower lift SAS.
The rear axle housing and axle shafts are stock. The diff is a V-6 unit with 5.29 gears and a LockRite locker. At some point the LockRite will
probably be replaced with an ARB, but it has served me well. The rear drive shaft is a custom unit, with a custom CV joint, stock U-joint, stock
spline, and thicker tubing. Rear springs are custom Alcan 56" units, with relocated spring front frame spring perches. Rear shackles are heavy
duty longer than stock units. Total rear lift is approximately 4". I also added a Budbuilt high clearance traction bar to help curb the wheel hop.
The transmission and transfer case are stock. I'm often asked why I haven't installed a lower geared or dual transfer case system. The answer is
that I've never needed either. While it would have been nice sometimes, our primary use doesn't justify the cost. I prefer the current low range
gearing for most of the off roading we do, such as in sand, or dirt roads.
Shocks are Bilstien 5100s at all four corners. They seem to do the job just fine.
The tires are Goodyear Wrangler MTRs, 33-12.5-15 mounted in 15x8 basic steel wheels. The Wrangler MTRs are the best all around off road tire
I've used and work just fine on the highway for our long road trips. I formerly used 35x12.5-15 MTRs but the smaller tires have numerous
advantages for my rig that rarely sees extreme off roading. The spare tire is a BFG 33x9.5-15 tire.
|For more information on my SAS, check out my
Solid Axle Swap Page
|The front axle came out of a 1985 4Runner. The SAS kit was from All Pro Off Road and was installed in 2002. The front diff is a Land Cruiser 80 series high pinion diff,
but uses all new parts, including even the case. This is a stronger diff than the stock diff that came with this axle and the high pinion allowed me to raise the driveshaft and
use a CV joint for a smoother 4 wheel drive at speed and less vibration. The front diff contains an ARB air locker and 5.29 gears. Axle shafts are stock, but the birfields are
old style ringed Longfields which aren't as strong as the latest Longfield products, but still better than stock Birfields and plenty strong for most of the off roading that we do.
|The front driveshaft is a custom unit from High Angle Drive lines with a
12" spline. It now has a clearanced CV joint, but originally had single
|Front suspension is from All Pro using 3" springs, dearched to give only
1" of lift and All Pro spring hangers. The front hanger was recently
beefed up with square tubing, although I've had no problems so far.
|Steering utilizes the strong stock IFS steering box in
conjunction with All Pro's high steer system. A custom
shorter pitman arm was built by Front Range Off road to
keep the pitman arm from hitting the tie rod. This used
to be a Land Cruiser 80 series pitman arm.
|The exhaust is custom from front to back. An LC Engineering header is used, tied to a custom cat
converter via a 2.25" pipe. From the converter exhaust is routed to a Flowmaster muffler and exits
the rear through a 2.5" pipe. The custom crossmember is a heavy duty unit made by
Budbuilt. More info on my Budbuilt Crossmember Page.
|The rear axle housing is stock and came with the truck (see below for diff information).
The shocks are Bilstien 5100s which are found at all four corners. The springs are
custom 56" long springs made by Alcan Spring and give about 4" of lift when combined
with extended shackles. These springs are about 5" longer than the stock springs and
front spring perches had to be relocated forward using brand new Toyota spring hangers.
|I carry a spare tire in the stock location, under the rear
crossmember. The largest tire I could fit was 33" even though my
drive tires are 35". With an ARB locker up front, I can run a
smaller tire on that axle if it becomes necessary. The 33x9.5-15
tire just barely fits as these photos show.
|The traction bar is also custom made by Budbuilt and is designed to bolt on to the front horseshoe cross member and the rear diff.
It's designed to have as much clearance as the driveshaft and is very strong. The rear diff is out of a V-6 truck, is stronger than the
4 cylinder diff it replaces and contains 5.29 gears and a Lockrite Locker.
|The Engine and Electrical Systems
|The stock 22RE engine is one of the few components of the truck that is nearly original and stock. Shortly after I purchased the truck, I realized that
I would need to change out the timing chain. Fairly common on higher mileage 22RE engines. I purchased a high quality chain kit from DOA
Racing and installed it. I later installed an LC Engineering header and custom exhaust system. Other than that, the motor is completely stock and
original. Today it has well over 210,000 miles on it, but feels as strong as ever. While I would like more power, I can't really justify rebuilding it,
since it works perfectly fine. Someday, when it does wear out, I plan to install a totally rebuilt 22RE with high performance parts.
The Electrical system is one part of the truck that has been modified many times over. At one point, I had two alternators and three batteries in my
truck at the same time. It was a system that was over complicated, but worked well. When one of the alternators failed and I later decided to install
air conditioning, I went back to a single alternator system and cut back to only two batteries to save weight.
Today, the truck uses a single custom made 150 amp Nippon-Denzo alternator, assembled by Wrangler NW. I have one Optima Red top starting
battery in the engine compartment and one Optima Yellow top deep cycle battery in the bed area. Both are charged by the alternator, but the
batteries are remotely disconnectable, so that they don't discharge each other when the truck is turned off. While camping, accessories can be run
off of the deep cycle battery, without affecting the starting battery. Conversely, if the starting battery were to die, I could start the truck off of the deep
cycle battery. So, it's sort of a failsafe system.
|Check out my Electrical System Page to see my latest battery/alternator set up.
|Other than a header, the engine is basically stock and
original with over 200,000 miles on the clock. The red top
battery is a Optima unit. The AC was added recently from
a kit made by www.ackits.com Things aren't pretty here,
but it gets the job done.
|The second battery is an Optima Yellow
top, stored in the rear compartment
along with a relay and fuse system.
|Interior of the cab
|A lot of modifications were made to the cab. One overseas web article on my truck called it reminiscent of a fighter cockpit. In a lot of ways that's not
too far from the truth. Over the years, I've installed a number of gauges, numerous switches, radios, a computer laptop, GPS and other
components. A far cry from the bench seat, and spartan cab that I started with when I purchased the truck in 2000.
Nothing about the cab is really luxurious and sometimes I wish for comfortable leather seats and more room on those long trips, but it does the
job. I finally installed Air Conditioning in 2004 and it sure made a heck of a difference as far as comfort. The bucket seats came out of an mid
1990s 4Runner and required some drilling to make them fit. With all that stuff, it does become somewhat of a tight fit in that tiny mini-truck single
Both the headliner and carpet have been removed, adding to the utilitarian feel of the cab. The carpet was old and thrashed and was replaced with
black roll on bedliner. The headliner was replaced with an overhead switch panel.
|The front cockpit. Lots of new instruments, switches and modifications have been made here.
The stock instrument cluster was replaced with a factory tach/fuel/temp/oil pressure cluster out of an SR5 truck. The stock oil pressure gauge was removed and
replaced with a custom oil pressure idiot light. Mounted to the dash are VDO gauges that measure oil pressure, vacuum and battery voltage of the front and rear
batteries. An outside temperature gauge is mounted next to the steering column. The "deck light" switch controls the amber strobe warning light on the rear of the
truck. A custom winch switch is also mounted in the dash. The steering wheel is a custom unit and a GPS is mounted, which is used primarily to power to the PC
mapping system as well as give the driver accurate speed, heading and altitude information. A PC laptop is mounted just to the right of the driver and is primarily
used as moving map system.
|The factory bench seat was discarded a while ago for bucket seats out of a 1980s 4Runner (right side of far left picture). Today, those seats
have been replaced with far more comfortable bucket seats out of a 1995 4Runner. A Mag rechargable flashlight is mounted to the
passenger side floor and is always ready to go.
|The center console is made up of a custom laptop mount, and center armrest made up from a plastic storage box. In between the two seats
mounted to the rear wall is another storage box which has an AC converter mounted up top. My still camera normally lives on the upper shelf
for quick and easy access and below is the battery charger for the camera batteries.
|Upper and lower center swtich panels.
The lower panel consists of the factory AC/heat controls, and a stereo. Below that is my main light switch panel. Switches are from left to right:
Left Alley Light, Right Alley Light, Front off road lights, Front fog lights, rear back up lights, main power switch to the panel. The front lights can be
switched to come on manually or when the headlight bright lights switch is activated. The rear lights can be controlled manual or switched to come up
with the shifter in reverse. Below the switches are 4 power connections and a CB radio.
Upper panel houses, the front ARB locker switches, an ICOM Ham radio and other switches. Switches are from left to right:
Power to rear refrigerator, front battery relay, rear canopy interior lights, not used, powers stereo without key in ignition, aux interior cab light.
The front battery relay switch controls the relay that connects the front and rear batteries. It can be switched to have the batteries connect automatically
when the ignition is on or connect manually anytime.
|These photos show the laptop computer and mount. The mount is custom made by me using a docking station. The
laptop is only mounted in the truck for long trips or local research exploration trips and is almost exclusively used as a
moving map system using TOPO USGS mapping software, which includes the most detailed USGS maps possible. I
consider it one of my most valuable tools when hunting abandoned mines, historical sites and railroads.
|Interior of the Rear Cargo Area
|This area was recently redesigned many, many times. Originally configured to include a sleeping deck, that completely removed since its rarely
used and the area designed for maximum utility and storage. Almost everything is now stored in the cargo area,, spare fuel, water, tools,
refrigerator, and more. The large items like the Engel refrigerator can be easily removed if the need for more cargo space arises to conduct a local
errand around town.
|Check out my article about my
current and past rear cargo area configurations
|The rear tailgate is supplemented with a sheet of diamondplate bolted to the tailgate. A swing out tire/gas can rack can be bolted to the rear bumper, however,
recently I've gone to carrying two 2.5 gallon gas tanks in bolted bolted to the tailgate. This reduces weight by not using the heavy swing out rack and still allows
me to carry about 5 extra gallons of fuel. The tailgate can still be easily swung out. Another advantage of the 2.5 gallon cans is they are easier to manipulate
when trying to refuel than a larger, heavier 5 gallon can.
|This is the most recent rear cargo/bed set up as of April, 2006. For more information, check out my REAR CANOPY PAGE.
The rear cargo area doubles as gear storage and a camping/sleeping deck. Most of the time, the following items are stored in the rear cargo area. On the left
side, a Engel Refrigerator, a storage box that contains numerous larger tools and supplies, and spare parts. In the front of the bed is stored two 5 gallon jugs of
water, hooked up to a pump (see below) and the auxiliary deep cycle battery. On the right is the water pump, fire extinquisher, a light storage box, and my main
drawer pull out tool box.
A special battery tender charger is prewired into the truck, to keep the rear auxiliary battery fresh since I sometimes don't drive the truck for a week or two at a
time. With small accessories always draining on the battery and sometimes draining it to 0 volts, this actually damages the battery and I've actually had to
replace this battery twice under warrenty. By leaving it on this special charger, that should be a problem of the past. A new rear switch/volt meter panel
contains a volt meter for the rear battery, and switches that disconnect all power to the rear battery, gauge light switch, battery relay fan switch, and canopy
interior lights switches.
|This is the fresh water system. The decision to build a complicated water system came from my experience in past trips of the difficulty of storing a 5 gallon
water container then having to remove it and untap the water everytime I only needed a small amount of water. This system allows me to double my water
capacity, keep the water inside the truck and clean but can be obtained at the push of a button.
The system starts out with two 5 gallon water jugs that are filled prior to a trip. Two water tubes connect to an RV pump, which siphons the water and pumps it to
a connection on the side of the canopy. A remote switch is plugged in to the side of the canopy and a small faucet tube is attached where the water comes out.
The pump pumps about 2 gallons per minute which is more than I'll ever need. The water is used for drinking, washing, cleaning and other emergencies.
|I recently purchased a special tent that is designed to extend the rear canopy by about 2 feet by covered the rear tailgate and canopy hatch. This allows for much greater
room to sleep in the back of the truck on long camping trips. I have a seperate article on this new truck tent.
|The Old Days
|From 2000 through early 2001, I had
only 31" tires, 4.56 gears and a rear
|In 2001, I upgraded to 33" tires.
|In early 2002, I installed a used WCOR
Long A-arm kit and 5.29 gears and a
TrueTrac LSD up front.
|Check out my article about the
Install of the WCOR IFS.
|Before I put the canopy on the truck, I needed a way to store all my gear. I built these boxes, and included a way to store items under the aluminum tool box, by mounting
it on hinges that allowed it to pivot up on one side. The set up worked quite well, but storage was still severely limited.
|I experimented with a number of different configerations for the rear cargo area. At one point, I had a rear mounted winch. It's 6000lb rating and small 1.5 h.p. motor
didn't justify keeping it, however, and I later sold it off.
|I also had an air compressor with a 2 gallon tank mounted under
the truck. I later removed these, when I installed the simpler,
more compact ARB air compressor in the engine compartment.
The tire/gas can rack was the first rack that my Dad built for the
truck. It was changed, because I couldn't see out of the back and
this was frustrating to me on the trail whenever I had to back up.
|At one point I had two alternators and three batteries. The
2nd alternator was bolted to the location where the AC
compressor would have gone and run off that belt.
|A number of different configerations for the rear canopy cargo area, before finally settling on the one that I have now.
|The TOY TECH PAGE has now been updated and included a number of detailed articles about many
of the above modifications. Check it out.
TOY TECH HOMEPAGE
|Copyright © 2004-2007 Brian McCamish, All Rights Reserved
Note about the photos on this site:
Most photos were taken by me. I usually allow people to use my photos for personal use or websites. Simply Email me.
|To see more pictures of my old set up, check out my
Four Wheeling pictures page.
|Check out my article dealing with my
minimal lift to add 33s.
|January 2006 marks the end of an era. The truck was
retired as our expedition 4x4. Its replacement is a
1995 Toyota Land Cruiser FZJ80. The truck has
served us extremely well and is still a great vehicle, but
the larger, roomier, more powerful and comfortable
Land Cruiser will serve our needs better, while retaining
the off road capability and reliability of our highly
The Land Cruiser will be built up to serve our expedition
exploration needs. This page and all our Toyota tech
related to the truck will remain on the site.
31" tires, locker, stock
Pictures Page 1
|And now...all about our original expedition 4x4