02 Double Cab 4x4 project - frame compatibility question

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Hey all, long time all things Toyota owner (Taco's and lots of Land Cruisers) but first time in a Gen1 DC 4x4. I bought this truck off a friend for a song as I love the DC 4x4's and remember wanting one when they were new. This one is perfect for me (scratched and slightly dented already as I use it for wheeling and general house duties) but has a thrashed (rusty) and cracked frame. I have done two frame swaps on Land Cruisers so that's my plan.

Questions:

1. What is the frame compatibility for the 01-04 DC 4x4 Tacoma? I need accurate information here. I assume it's specific to the DC Gen 1, but thought I'd check. Also, is a Pre-Runner same?
2. Any leads on clean frames? I would be interested in complete with diffs, springs and wheels as well to ease in transport or just bare frame.

Few pics of the truck (and my BJ42 :)

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Nice! I dig the pinstripes. :cool: The 1G doublecabs are awesome trucks.

The Prerunner frame is identical to and interchangeable with the 4x4 frame. Note, however, that the 3.4L V6 used different frameside motor mounts vs the 2.7L 4cyl. (Judging by your wheels, I'd guess yours is the 4banger....?) So if you don't want to cut/grind/weld the frameside motor mounts, you'll want one that matches whatever your motor is you're swapping. FWIW, the 4x4 ExtCab frame length and dimensions are the same as well, but the rear cab and front bed mounts are different. Again, could be cut/grind/welded to match as needed if you have the skills. EDIT: Just remember too -- Look for a 98+ ExtCab though. The earlier ones had some rear spring hanger differences. (Or if you're down to move those as well, they can also be relocated on the frame -- front spring hangers 2″ forward and the rear shackle hangers 1" rearward).

I don't have any leads on a frame for ya, but if I were looking, some places I would start looking would be: local craigslist, local facebook marketplace (though fb marketplace is super sucky now with all the ads and retail sellers :-/ ), local fb tacoma groups, and the tacomaworld forum. Could also check car-part.com and see if there is something decent close to you from a wrecker. If you want to go crazy, they should still be available new from Toyota as well. I just did a quick check on the 3.4L V6 frame (part 51001-04340) and the 2.7L 4cyl frame (part 51001-04330) and it shows available in different parts of the US. Priced at ~$4000 USD though. :oops: Dunno about Canada though--but worth a shot if you're looking to make it perfect underneath.
 
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Hey, thanks for the reply appreciate the insight. It's a bit of a weird truck as it has no power windows or locks and base wheels but it's a V6 and 4x4 which I actually like. Interesting that the frame is same on the extra cab, if only the only difference are the mounts. I am pretty handy with the welder and grinder and an extra cab is way easier to find. I'm looking on craigslist and fb now because all the other copart or iaai are cross border (I'm in BC, Canada).
 
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Cool. Gotta love those base trucks. It just needs manual hubs up front and a manual transmission.... ;):)

I too think you'll have a much easier time tracking down an extcab frame as well. They seem to be far more plentiful here in the States too. Then just need to relocate/add a couple frameside mounts and you'll be good to go. Keep us posted in here. I'll keep a look out for ya as well. :beer:
 
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Oh just remembered! -- Look for a 98+ ExtCab though. The earlier ones had some rear spring hanger differences. (Or if you're down to move those as well, they can also be relocated on the frame -- front spring hangers 2″ forward and the rear shackle hangers 1" rearward.)
 
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Oh just remembered! -- Look for a 98+ ExtCab though. The earlier ones had some rear spring hanger differences. (Or if you're down to move those as well, they can also be relocated on the frame -- front spring hangers 2″ forward and the rear shackle hangers 1" rearward.)

If you're down to move leaf mounting points then there are several other options besides the stockers or aftermarket replacements out there. How much of a wheeler do you want?
 
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I don't wheel as much as I used to and usually take my 40-series, but do tell! I was initially thinking of just doing a like for like frame swap with stock springs and set up for light towing, but you know how it goes....while I'm here. I like the idea of buying a rolled extra cab with a 5 speed and doing the conversion while I have the body off. I tend to hang on to manual Toyota's based on the last 20 years and grow tired of the autos quickly.

I will probably use this truck as a permanent cabin run around and highway truck to haul supplies, kayaks etc.
 
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I don't wheel as much as I used to and usually take my 40-series, but do tell! I was initially thinking of just doing a like for like frame swap with stock springs and set up for light towing, but you know how it goes....while I'm here. I like the idea of buying a rolled extra cab with a 5 speed and doing the conversion while I have the body off. I tend to hang on to manual Toyota's based on the last 20 years and grow tired of the autos quickly.

I will probably use this truck as a permanent cabin run around and highway truck to haul supplies, kayaks etc.

I can't remember off the top of my head but I do recall it being Chevy leaf springs for more load capacity and also more flexing. If you get a wrecked one I would stay stock leaves then. What I did was use two sets of leaf springs to make one set. Split both leaf packs and then assemble one set from two. I forgot to order longer U bolts when the day came so I just left out the overload leaf. Went from a 4 pack to a 6 pack. I cut the eyes off of one set and ran them inside and basically made them fit right. Luckily the friction pads lined up right otherwise I would have had to drill holes for the pads to mount in. Fairly simple process and I honestly don't know why it isn't as popular. You'll need longer U bolts and a pair of the fine thread 3/8" leaf bolts.

Tundra struts are the same just beefier, BTW. Plenty of OME springs to fit your needs. Swapping the cab shouldn't be hard either. I remember seeing a DC cab on a regular cab chassis. So they shortened the bed to just a couple of feet depth and gave it a little bit of a dovetail. LOL. Looked capable.
 
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I thought I'd give a little update as a lot has happened! So I ended up buying a rolled truck of the same vintage and color with less mileage and a oh so sweet rust free mint frame for a song. Frame swap time! Here are some pics. I'm cleaning things up as I go along and will be boxing the new frame for added strength as I have a trailer that I haul often.
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Frame done. Came out great, nice and strong. I made my own templates and unlike many of the ones available online I went all the way to the factory boxed section - requires removing gas tank etc. but well worth it. I also kept my spare tire carrier and modified it and the gas tank bracket which are welded on now and gusseted instead of bolt on. Rounded off the rear with some blasted and POR-15 parts including a nice OEM hitch + wiring for a brake controller and OME ARB sport shocks. I plan on redoing my leaves by adding extra leaves in the near future but want to get it driving soon as I have a trip coming up. Cab and box back on, just need to hook it all back up. One interesting thing is that the "new" frame came with ABS and the old truck did not, so contemplating going back to non-abs for simplicity.

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Nice job! I like how you kept the spare tire section. --my Tacoma had the rear of the frame boxed and they just left that spare tire section off (seems the common thing to do when you box it in) but I have been wishing it was there so I can run the spare underneath. Been thinking of doing something like you did. Gotta find somebody that doesn't need theirs first though... heh
 
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Nice job! I like how you kept the spare tire section. --my Tacoma had the rear of the frame boxed and they just left that spare tire section off (seems the common thing to do when you box it in) but I have been wishing it was there so I can run the spare underneath. Been thinking of doing something like you did. Gotta find somebody that doesn't need theirs first though... heh
I agree, also bugged me that all "kits" I saw get rid of the spare tire carrier. I did the same thing with the fuel tank cross member as well. I have a donor truck, but it's super rusty including the carrier.
 
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Okay, all back together (mostly) to the point of being able to take it for a ride. Unfortunately, the new motor has an issue with the throttle body which took me an afternoon to track down as I initially thought I mixed too many wires but it turns out the motors are just on the cusp of a change (lucky me!). One is a manual throttle body with a cable actuated transmission kick-down cable, the other is an electronic throttle body with no kickdown. Damn, always something! I tried reverting back to the cable setup but the silly engine harness is one piece with the transmission and it's a pain in the behind to swap. I'm now trying to solve the throttle body issue - going to go through the factory tests, but looks like the throttle body is sold as an assembly only ($1000 plus) and a common problem. hmmm....

Symptom: throttle up to say 25% is dead (like nothing happens), engine idles high, throws code P0505 and once past 25% it's normal but shifts hard. I think it's either the Throttle Position Sensor or the motor. Pics of the two throttle bodies for comparison in case anyone has any bright ideas.

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I had to replace the throttle body on my 2003 right after I bought it back last December. Got the tb online from McGeorge Toyota for just under $500. Pretty common failure on these etcs-i -- especially if you're Supercharged.

If you can find a way to do the older one, do it.
 
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Well here is an update on the saga that is well beyond the frame swap. So I figured out my throttle body problem after pouring over some wiring diagrams. The 01-02 Taco's are totally different than the 03-04 Taco's. Wiring harness is completely different and thus the new throttle body just won't work. I even made up a handy conversion spreadsheet but it hurt my head as to how many wires were in different pins and how many did not have homes, so I ended up finding a used 03 harness (fusebox and behind dash) and convincing the yard I bought it from to pull it carefully for me (they complained....a lot....like had to keep convincing the guy to keep going and ended up paying for it though the nose). Regardless, that's the plan this weekend. Have to do it in one day otherwise I'll forget where all the crap plugs in.

In other news, ended up bolting in a shiny new ARB bumper, cleaning up my wheels, installed mudflaps and started cutting up my old frame. progress!
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Well that was super fun! Actually it's a lot easier than it looks. My advice for anyone attempting is to sort of do the removal and install at the same time - I ended up taking 1/2 of the harness out, starting at the passenger side and installing the new one before ripping out the rest of the old one. It's much easier to keep track of the routing and all the clips. Another thing I did which helped immensely was to leave all the plastic clips in the body by removing them off the harness (they are all just taped on with electrical tape), it helps you locate the harness rather than pulling them off (damaging the little feet that hold them on). I taped all of them back or zip tied and it worked great keeping it nice and factory stock. Had to splice about 40 wires (all soldered and heat shrunk and all in places where the harness does not move, plus supported on both ends) as the harness I bought was not 100% complete and there were slight differences due to the donor being from an extra cab not a double cab. Started first try without any codes and runs absolutely beautiful! I have an air bad light on as the only light due to the extra cab having the ability to turn off the passenger air bag and the double cab does not. I still have to find a switch and install to make it all complete. I'm calling it done for now.

One nice side effect of having the dash out is that I serviced and cleaned my heater ducts and blower etc. There was a worrying amount of crap in there, so nice to have it clean and dust free. It felt like poetic justice to have the Taco haul it's own old carcass to the scrapyard - even got $50, so spent it on nice fresh oil for a couple of oil changes.

Next up, off road light and new head unit install and getting ready to swap out some front control arm bushings and shocks as it rides like a shopping cart.


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