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Old 11-19-2011, 06:34 PM
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JaysinSpaceman JaysinSpaceman is offline
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83 Toyota/VW TDI Expo Rig Build

So the title says it all. I am going to be building, for myself, a 1983 Toyota 4x4 pickup converted to diesel power via the install of a VW 1.9 TDI diesel engine. It will also get some upgrades along the way, such as (but not limited to), rear springs up front w/ slider boxes instead of shackles, 63" Chevy rear springs, crossover steering, larger fuel tank, flatbed, winch, 33" tires on 16" wheels, e-locked rear, etc... Most of your inexpensive upgrades for a better wheeling and long distance driving expo style rig. Just so you know this will be a fairly long term build, I hope to have it at least back to road status by this time next year, but that will be dictated by money and spare (not working) time in the shop.

Without further ado...

The starting point. 83 Yota sans bed and engine. (sorry about the pallet in the way, but you get the point)


And the other side. (for those without much imagination)

You'll notice here the lack of any paint on the back cab corner, thanx to someone at some point side swiping something and some really shoddy body work this corner will need to be replaced.

Lucky for me, I'm just the guy to do so. I have already pulled a skin from the junkyard and am just waiting for a bit of free time to change it out.


As you may have read in one of my other threads I will be building some spring sliders for the front end in order to keep it low and still get the travel of a long shackle. This is the start. Still waiting on UHMW coming from MSC to make the slider pads then I will add the guides.


And last is the new spring hangers for the Chevies in the rear. Pretty straight forward here. I am hoping to use the stock Chevy shackles in the rear so that is what the rear mounts are built for but if I need a longer shackle to match front/rear ride heights I my build something else.


That's the gist of where it sits right now.

For those that don't know about the TDI engines. They have almost identical power numbers as the stock 22r engines but down low where it is useful in a truck. It is easy to get 120-140 hp and 200-250 ft.lbs. out of the little 1.9 liter diesels while still knocking down about 30-35 mpg (this is the average mpg reported in other such swaps). One other nice thing about the TDI is that it weighs in at just a pinch more the the stock 22r, so there aren't a bunch of front end weight issues to deal with like other diesel swaps.

Once it is back on the road I will start to add things to round out the expo portion, on-board-air, welder, removable camping box (something like this), etc...

So that's the plan and it is a rather open plan at this time, so any constructive input would be very welcome.

I can't wait to bring you more installments,
Jaysin
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Old 11-19-2011, 08:36 PM
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looking forward to seeing what you do!
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Old 11-20-2011, 12:21 AM
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BTW, why not go with the 2.8 VM Motori diesel from a Jeep Liberty? Unless I am mistaken, its the same lineage as the TDI but a bit bigger.
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Old 11-20-2011, 11:25 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JaysinSpaceman View Post
And last is the new spring hangers for the Chevies in the rear. Pretty straight forward here. I am hoping to use the stock Chevy shackles in the rear so that is what the rear mounts are built for but if I need a longer shackle to match front/rear ride heights I my build something else.
The stock Chevy setup has the shackled in tension (hanger below the spring eye). I have seen lowering shackles used for these swaps because they are longer than stock, but beware they were not designed for compression and have been known to fold. I would recommend building your own shackles.
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Old 11-20-2011, 12:10 PM
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Old 11-20-2011, 12:30 PM
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Going to agree tension mount the springs.
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Old 11-20-2011, 02:19 PM
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BTW, why not go with the 2.8 VM Motori diesel from a Jeep Liberty? Unless I am mistaken, its the same lineage as the TDI but a bit bigger.
I looked into this motor some and one thing I found is weight, it's some 175-200 lbs more then the equivalent jeep gas motor which is already a fair amount heaver then the 22r or TDI. And when I looked into them they were also much harder to find and more expensive. Plus from the one guy that I know that owns one he never pulls more then 27 mpg tops all freeway and it is usually more like 22-23 mpg. One of the things I am looking for in fuel mileage more then outright power.

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Originally Posted by TheBandit View Post
The stock Chevy setup has the shackled in tension (hanger below the spring eye). I have seen lowering shackles used for these swaps because they are longer than stock, but beware they were not designed for compression and have been known to fold. I would recommend building your own shackles.
I know a lot of guys have used the stock shackle in compression without much problem and if I need a longer shackle I will definitely will be building my own. I was just cutting the front spring mounts so I figured I would cut some possible rear hangers while I was at it.

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Going to agree tension mount the springs.
Are you saying to mount the shackles like they were in the Chevy? I don't really think I have the room to do so, plus I think the bracketry would hang down so far as to hang up on everything while out wheeling. Is the tension shackle better then the standard shackle?

Thanx for the comments and suggestions,
Jaysin
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Old 11-20-2011, 02:41 PM
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I would still mount them in compression. The stock Chevy shackles are probably ok in compression, but I would consider boxing them in as a precaution if you can. It's the supermarket lowering shackles you've really got to steer clear of. I don't remember the stock shackle being very long, which was why I built my own using the Toyota frame side bushings. I used the hardware from the original Toyota shackle which has a standoff design to prevent over compressing the bushings. IIRC the Chevy frame side shackle bushings were volcanized in and would be harder to replace. The design is a little more difficult to build too. Buy ultimately it shouldn't matter because you are going to like the front slider boxes so much, you'll probably end up incorporating them out back too.

I will say the biggest issue I had with the Chevy springs was all the overhang out back. There are some 56" long Ford springs out there will almost the same front length and they have also shown to work well without all the overhang. If you look for Kajo4x4s original exocaged 4runner build on PBB he actually started with the Chevy springs and later switched to the Fords with good results, but he had to redo the hangers front and rear.
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Old 11-20-2011, 02:43 PM
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Autocorrect on my Android is killing me on these posts. Sorry for "supermarket" instead of "aftermarket" and "buy" instead of "but", etc
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Old 11-20-2011, 02:56 PM
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I couldn't type a post that long from a phone if my life depended on it, I would get old and die before I finished. And your lucky that the auto correct didn't make you type a bunch of profanities.

I am not really worried about the overly long rear springs, partly because I really don't wheel very hard and partly because this truck will have a full length flat bed because it will also be a daily driver/work truck. I am more interested in ride quality vs. load carrying capacity. I've ridden in enough unloaded yota pickups to know that they are lacking in ride quality dept.

If I end up needing longer shackles I will be going to a standard Toyota style shackle instead of the GM style and I will build a Toy style frame mount as well.

Thanx,
Jaysin
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Old 11-20-2011, 03:09 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JaysinSpaceman View Post
Is the tension shackle better then the standard shackle?
In my opinion, yes the tension mount is always better in every way! I just crack up at the various shackle flips I see... I find it funny that the factory particularly on the 1/2T up working chassis builds tension shackles and they do it for a reason(s) which if you think about it... All work better then the compression design
I don't know if I would build one into say a CJ (unless I was serious about flex) for a bolt on suspension, just for the PITA factor.
However, you are thinking about doing a slider to eliminate the side2side and at the same time going with the least stable design in the rear... I'd be looking at out-boarding the rear springs as far as I could and running a Tension shackle.

E
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Old 11-20-2011, 05:24 PM
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That does make damn good sense, E. Unfortunately, the springs are as far outboard on the axle as they can go already. I couldn't get out past the frame enough to clear. But I am definitely going to have to do some thinking on this. Maybe sliders for the rear as well, I'm just not certain I could get the low enough (ie. far enough below the frame) without looking really strange and cumbersome. But maybe.

Thanx,
Jaysin
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Old 11-20-2011, 06:35 PM
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Since you're doing a flat bed anyway, why not rework the back few feet of frame to get whatever shackle configuration you want? If you want the tension shackle, instead of outboarding it like Chevy did, you could have it in double shear and swing up into the frame.

Personally I think the tension shackle's benefits are highly outweight by it's properties of built-in rock magnetism. It sucks for ground clearance in the worst possible way. Conceptually, I think the slider box offers the best compromise of functionality, stability, packaging, and ground clearance. Just my opinion.

Do your plans for the flatbed include round tube?
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Last edited by TheBandit; 11-21-2011 at 02:39 PM.
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Old 12-13-2011, 02:57 AM
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So I had a bit of free time today to get a bit of work done on this project. Over the weekend I had pulled the front end out in order to rebuild it and ready it for a crossover steering conversion. What I found wasn't the prettiest, the PO had done some work on it at some point and when it was reassembled they didn't add any grease to the knuckles besides packing the Birfields with a bit of grease and the king pin bearings were nearly shot due to lack of grease (I think they just wiped grease on instead of packing the bearings). Luckily for me I know the guy really only commuted in it for that last bit of it's life and rarely used the 4wd. I think everything that I am not replacing (ie. birfields, spindles, axle bushings, etc...) made it out OK. I have all the parts and will be putting it back together soon.

I have a few questions though, for those that have done a crossover steering conversion. I know I want to get rid of the torque link and brackets, easy. But what else do I want to remove or move as the case may be? It seems that the stock steering stabilizer bracket might need moving to work with the high steer? And should I move the shock mounts while I am at it for longer shocks? So anyway, let's hear your input, if you could have done something different what would it have been?

Thanx,
Jaysin

P.S. Bandit, the bed will be mostly square/rectangle tube and flat bar along the length for sliding tie downs, etc... And the more I look at the rear springs the more I think the sliders will be the ticket, I just have to see what the front height comes out at before I make my final decision.
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Old 12-13-2011, 11:33 AM
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I think for what you are building for you should ditch the complete front-end and swap in the Ford TTB set-up. You will be way better off at the end of the day.
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Old 12-13-2011, 04:36 PM
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I think for what you are building for you should ditch the complete front-end and swap in the Ford TTB set-up. You will be way better off at the end of the day.
Really? Don't those front ends have all sorts of issues? I did a bit of reading after your suggestion and found most issues are more or less correctable but it seem like a whole lot of complication for very little gain over a solid axle. It seems to me to be a bastard child of straight axle and IFS, that in between missing link stage that evolutionists and creationists are always arguing about. Why would this be a good Idea?

^This sounds argumentative, I don't mean it that way (I just don't want to rewrite it). I am just looking for justification of your comment.^

Jaysin
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Old 12-13-2011, 05:28 PM
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For the crossover conversion, you can remove the original stablizer mounts as they aren't located appropriately anyway. It's a good time to consider a little armor to at least protect the ring gear and some people like to shave the drain. You are trying to get this rig low and for that you will need to think carefully about locating the steering box and/or using a flat/less drop pitman arm. I would actually consider an upgraded low steer for this type of rig. Hi steer makes getting ride height low a real pain due to frame, pan, and steering clearances. It's been a long time since I've looked, but I remember a company (OTT? OTC? something like that) was working on or had made a behind-the-axle steering setup for Toyota axles that looked pretty interesting.

If you're doing a traditional shock hoop for 12" travel shocks, the original shock mounts should be fine. Even going low you can probably get a hoop high enough for adequate compression travel. As an alternative, I do like the design of the Trail Gear double-shear shock mounts that incorporate a knuckle ball gusset.

It is extremely important to get the right preload on the trunion bearings. You can do this with a fish scale and appropriate shimming. It's also important to get good alignment of the knuckle so the shaft runs centered or you can get seal failure or worse. There is a SST for the process, but if you refer to the PBB Toyota FAQs there are several alternatives to centering the knuckle.

I have heard various arguments for packing the knuckle with grease, but my opinion is you really only need to pack the birf itself and the bearings themselves. Piling in a bunch of grease in the knuckle does no good because it's not circulated anyway and it makes replacing a birf a messy pain in the butt.
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Old 12-13-2011, 06:26 PM
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For the crossover conversion, you can remove the original stablizer mounts as they aren't located appropriately anyway. It's a good time to consider a little armor to at least protect the ring gear and some people like to shave the drain. You are trying to get this rig low and for that you will need to think carefully about locating the steering box and/or using a flat/less drop pitman arm. I would actually consider an upgraded low steer for this type of rig. Hi steer makes getting ride height low a real pain due to frame, pan, and steering clearances. It's been a long time since I've looked, but I remember a company (OTT? OTC? something like that) was working on or had made a behind-the-axle steering setup for Toyota axles that looked pretty interesting.

I have looked for low steer arms but haven't come up with anything. I believe the rear steer you are talking about is 4x4 labs but I think it would be even more of a problem then the standard High Steer as far as clearance. I could do the old welded passenger side arm for low steer but I am not really big on welded steering components, any thoughts here?

If you're doing a traditional shock hoop for 12" travel shocks, the original shock mounts should be fine. Even going low you can probably get a hoop high enough for adequate compression travel. As an alternative, I do like the design of the Trail Gear double-shear shock mounts that incorporate a knuckle ball gusset.

Can you shoot me a like to the TG mounts? I looked on their website and didn't see just what you are refering to.

It is extremely important to get the right preload on the trunion bearings. You can do this with a fish scale and appropriate shimming. It's also important to get good alignment of the knuckle so the shaft runs centered or you can get seal failure or worse. There is a SST for the process, but if you refer to the PBB Toyota FAQs there are several alternatives to centering the knuckle.

I have read a lot on this and have the pull scale for preload setting. I will definitely do something to center the knuckles.

I have heard various arguments for packing the knuckle with grease, but my opinion is you really only need to pack the birf itself and the bearings themselves. Piling in a bunch of grease in the knuckle does no good because it's not circulated anyway and it makes replacing a birf a messy pain in the butt.

I could see the thought here and it definitely makes sense, but I would have packed a lot more grease in them then had been done before. In my closed knuckle dana 44 on my Willys I have always run 50/50 grease and gear lube in the knuckles to limit leaks and still get slung around well, is there any reason to do so with the more closed birfield joint?
Thanx for your input.
Jaysin
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Old 12-13-2011, 09:01 PM
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Really? Don't those front ends have all sorts of issues? I did a bit of reading after your suggestion and found most issues are more or less correctable but it seem like a whole lot of complication for very little gain over a solid axle. It seems to me to be a bastard child of straight axle and IFS, that in between missing link stage that evolutionists and creationists are always arguing about. Why would this be a good Idea?

^This sounds argumentative, I don't mean it that way (I just don't want to rewrite it). I am just looking for justification of your comment.^

Jaysin
In My Opinion, and that is what follows:

First, IF you were building a "Wheeler" I would not have made the suggestion!
Having now logged something like 60k miles on our TTB Ranger, I have proven to myself that there is a place for the TTB and when I contemplate the ExPo build that is exactly the application. The era of the front leaf-spring has been over for 30-years; at this point in time the front leaf-spring is just dumb.
Most of the “problems” with the TTB design are operator error, in that changes are made to the design without understanding the consequences. There are several big name brands that offer pure Sheet for the TTB! That and things being used way beyond the design limits. My reason for suggesting it to you: IMO, it makes WAY more sense then the leaf-spring/slider set-up that you are contemplating. Second it will in-fact wheel amazingly well and finally you will arrive at the destination a bit less rattled.
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Old 12-14-2011, 12:24 PM
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That's exactly the kind of response I was looking for. And for the most part I dig everything you have to say. I even lay in bed and couldn't sleep for two hours last night thinking this is a great Idea, but this morning I checked out some pictures of the TTB axles and they are all driver's side differentials which will not work with the rest of the Toyota drive train. One of the only options I have seen for left drop transfers with the Toyota stuff is the Inchworm Lefty and at near $2K it's more or less out of the question, and I really don't want to start swapping transmissions and all the other crap that goes with it (especially since I have the adapter for the TDI to Toy trans in hand already). So while you peaked my interest sadly there ain't much I can do here, but thanx for making me think.

THanx,
Jaysin
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