1979 Toyota Pickup - millennial edition - older than I am. Tell me all about it. (1 Viewer)

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Just bought this '79 Toyota pickup:

qUom70O.jpg


Background: I blew up our '97 Land Cruiser's engine. It turns out that our oil pressure gauge actually wasn't dead, we were actually getting no oil pressure. Still managed to drive it 7000+ miles before I developed a severe rod knock. That should tell you all about my level of intellect and mechanical competency. So we need a vehicle while we source a new 1FZ for our Land Cruiser, and we picked this one up for 1500. It runs and drives, but it's positively third-world. I love the way it looks. As you can see, the body is not straight, and the driver's side body mount thing is smashed. I don't know if that's even fixable.

This one's got 92k on the original 20r motor and a lot of body damage and rust. It rides surprisingly well - that said, this is the first manual I've ever driven - but the story of how @math figured out how to drive stick will be for another time. That said, it's absolutely a cool truck. I was faced between buying a cheap new sedan for a daily driver or something more like this. Living above 10,000 feet, we'd get about two weeks a year to use our sedan, and let's be real, I'd want to plunge the damn thing off a mountain the whole time. This is much slower and much colder, but sometimes, sacrifices must be made in the name of self-respect. Life is too short (as is my commute) to drive a boring car. This thing is just full of that character stuff old mechanics talk about. Or maybe it's just rust, not sure.

More pics:

7cvfHJj.jpg


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I'm going to leave it largely as I've found it, with a couple exceptions:

1) New tires. The 35's on it are dreadful and dry-rotted, so we're going to put some of those neat military tires on it. It looks like it has a 6-7" lift on it. Can I fit 46" tires on it?
2) I'd love to straighten the body and replace the smashed body mount. This is a cool truck and I love the way it looks. I'd like to put an original grille back on it and make it look right again. Is this possible?
3) The long term project, either a 1KZ swap or a 22re swap. Sorry, you salty old mechanics, fuel injection is one of the few things the future got right.
4) Probably going to give it a good clean. The knuckles are actually invisible under the mud, and probably require a sensitive archaeological operation to find.

(Disclaimer: I ridicule millennials a lot. I am one. Please don't be offended for me.)

More pics and investigation forthcoming, but it's pouring snow outside, so those will come later. In the meantime, school this youngin' about what we've just bought. Wanna soak up that knowledge and be less crappy.
 
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Is it the photo or are the back wheels actually at an angle?

Just went outside and took a look, but it's very dark and snowy. The wheels look like they're dead straight, and there's no unusual wear on the tires to indicate that they're off camber. How can I tell for sure? Put a plumb line next to them? Spirit level?The axles also look perfectly straight and undamaged.
 

PAToyota

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That should tell you all about my level of intellect and mechanical competency.

No offense, but taking on a restoration/rebuild/build out of a vintage truck with minimal mechanical competence may not be the best course of action… I’d give myself an honest assessment of my mechanical skills before taking on such a task. Also, if this is a daily driver, what will you be driving while this is apart for work?

1) New tires. The 35's on it are dreadful and dry-rotted, so we're going to put some of those neat military tires on it. It looks like it has a 6-7" lift on it. Can I fit 46" tires on it?

Just look at the pictures… Does it look like you can stuff 10” larger tires in there? If you’re not convinced, take a ruler and mark a line 5” from the existing edge of the tire and stand back. Again, does it look like you can stuff 10” larger tires in there? Further, if this is a daily driver, what are you doing with 46” tires? Also, consider the power needed to spin 46” tires. Do you really want 6mpg in a daily driver?

2) I'd love to straighten the body and replace the smashed body mount. This is a cool truck and I love the way it looks. I'd like to put an original grille back on it and make it look right again. Is this possible?

The various body panels are out there, so just a matter of buying them and putting them on. The question is how much did the previous owner do to it previously? IE: Did he cut off various body mounts to swap in non-OEM pieces?

3) The long term project, either a 1KZ swap or a 22re swap. Sorry, you salty old mechanics, fuel injection is one of the few things the future got right.

Again, I’m not sure that considering engine swaps is where to dive into learning how to mechanik…

4) Probably going to give it a good clean. The knuckles are actually invisible under the mud, and probably require a sensitive archaeological operation to find.

Definitely the very first step to assess what is there and what shape it is in.

Is it the photo or are the back wheels actually at an angle?

I was going to ask that too… That looks horrible.

The wheels look like they're dead straight, and there's no unusual wear on the tires to indicate that they're off camber. How can I tell for sure? Put a plumb line next to them? Spirit level?

If it doesn’t look like that in person, it may just be an optical illusion in the photo. If you have a plumb bob or spirit level handy, that would be the easiest start. Of course, first make sure that the ground it is sitting on is reasonably level… ;)

Again, no offense intended by these questions, but I really think you need to take a few steps back and think about what you’re trying to accomplish...
 
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@PAToyota

No offense taken, and you've made a fair assessment. That said, I've purposely sold my mechanical abilities short, mostly because I feel badly about destroying our 1FZ. I knew better, and I ignored the signs. I'm not doing anything but putting new tires on this truck till the 1FZ is back in the Land Cruiser. I'm at least certain I can fit 37's on it, though - which is crucial because the military ones are very cheap right now. I've actually done plenty on the Cruiser, I just think I often need to remind myself how little I really know. It's a "don't get cocky" thing. I can follow a guide and turn a wrench. And it helps that I feel the 20R is of somewhat smaller consequence than the 1FZ. I feel it's an engine I can handle, physically. Easier to get at everything (lol the top bolt on the bell housing for an 80 series), and I feel like pulling it is much less of an issue than pulling the 1FZ, for example.

IE: Did he cut off various body mounts to swap in non-OEM pieces?

No. He seems to have hit something and smashed the DS front body mount. I'll snap a pic when it stops snowing. If I didn't know any better, I'd say he rolled it and put new fenders on, but I can't find any other signs that it was rolled, so I'm guessing I'm wrong.
 
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PAToyota

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Ok, just seemed like you were diving into an awful lot and may not have had the talent to back it up. Better to undersell yourself than oversell and end up over your head.

I still feel that even 37s are big for a daily driver - particularly coupled with a 20R and mountains. Even a 22RE isn’t going to enjoy the larger tires. The 1KZ is going to give you more power to turn the tires, though. Still, there’s a reason the dual t-case setup is so popular in these rigs - slow and steady rather than power and speed.

You should be able to just replace damaged pieces then - maybe some welding to get the body mount back where it needs to be. Just a matter of how hard you want to throw your wallet at it for the parts.
 
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Ok, just seemed like you were diving into an awful lot and may not have had the talent to back it up. Better to undersell yourself than oversell and end up over your head.

I still feel that even 37s are big for a daily driver - particularly coupled with a 20R and mountains. Even a 22RE isn’t going to enjoy the larger tires. The 1KZ is going to give you more power to turn the tires, though. Still, there’s a reason the dual t-case setup is so popular in these rigs - slow and steady rather than power and speed.

You should be able to just replace damaged pieces then - maybe some welding to get the body mount back where it needs to be. Just a matter of how hard you want to throw your wallet at it for the parts.

I appreciate what you said. I'm here to learn, and part of learning is accepting that one doesn't already know. As for the power issue, allegedly, this truck is "regeared for 35's". I have absolutely no proof that this is true, but it happily does 35-40 up a steep grade, so perhaps it is.

I agree with you that 37's are too big for a daily driver, but since my town is so tiny and so rough, I figured I'd take the mpg hit. Up here, driving anywhere in anything is sometimes slow and inefficient. We're basically just using this for cat litter and groceries - the fun stuff is going to come later, when our 80 is our DD again. I got lucky and was gifted with patience, something many of my peers seem to lack - so driving slow is fine for now. There were days I had to lock all three diffs to get my 80 out of the driveway.

But I went out and took some more pics, and will post them shortly.
 
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t2ujO4E.jpg


At the risk of further lowering mud's already-low opinion of me, this is the first manual I've ever driven. As a millennial, I'm offended that I'm expected to use my brain for this (or anything), but I took it in stride and called a good friend who gave me the rundown on it. I managed to get the hang of it back through the mountains, and while it still loves to stall starting out, it goes. The shifter boots are nasty, nasty, nasty, so we'll have to replace those. The actual shifter is also sort of nasty, but I may pop it out if possible and powder coat it. The knob for the window is also long gone. I'm going to try to 3D print another one. I'm not sure what to do about the nasty door panels, either - they seem difficult to find.

I may be able to 3D print the shifter boots in flexible material, not sure. For the record, I'm a huge fan of 3D printing. I 3D print a huge portion of the things I need on a daily basis. This project would be more difficult if I couldn't just make a lot of what I need, and had to go track the stuff down.


76CQvke.jpg


Where to begin? At least the dash pad is easy to find on ebay. The glovebox doesn't close, and I'm not yet sure why. The latch appears completely intact, it just won't stick. I'll have to pop it out and (you guessed it) 3D print another one if I can't figure out what's wrong with the original. The plastic on the dash is long faded, so I'll try some Meguiar's on it before going to a junkyard and finding another set. The dash also has the same useless tiny pocket that my 80 does. Toyota heritage?

One thing I want to add is that the quality of the plastic Toyota used in the steering wheel is notable. It looks basically new. It's shiny and smooth. This plastic is now 38 years old, and it's still nice to touch. On an unrelated note, this is the first truck I've had with a metal dash. I love the way it looks.

A few more interior photos:

RjYEmuh.jpg


I don't know what this is or why it's here. I'll find out when I replace the dash pad.

RmTl8Ud.jpg


Previous owner blocked off the vents with cardboard. Truck's already cold as hell, so I'm not sure why he did that. Heat does work, it's just like pouring warm water into the Pacific Ocean to make it warmer.
 
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The smashed body mount:

uVT271b.jpg


Another angle:

SNg2qWL.jpg


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And the PS for comparison:

u67vxrq.jpg


One thing that seems evident to my eye is that, while the mount is smashed, the frame seems dead straight on both sides. Reading yotatech, it seems like the frame often kinks right behind that mount. Inspecting it closely reveals no damage to the frame. Perhaps I could cut the mount out and weld in another one?

Pics of engine, "parking brake", et al coming soon.
 
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Cool truck! I love it, but would definitely not go bigger on the tire size. No way is that a 6 or 7" lift, they were pretty tall to start with from the factory. Maybe a couple inches. It still has the old fashioned steering linkage setup. There's plenty of work to be done there. Body mount I wouldn't really worry about unless it's loose. What difference does it make being mashed up?
The older trannys were weak compared to later models, so I'd also swap the transmission when doing an engine swap, if you ever get there.
 
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Cool truck! I love it, but would definitely not go bigger on the tire size. No way is that a 6 or 7" lift, they were pretty tall to start with from the factory. Maybe a couple inches. It still has the old fashioned steering linkage setup. There's plenty of work to be done there. Body mount I wouldn't really worry about unless it's loose. What difference does it make being mashed up?
The older trannys were weak compared to later models, so I'd also swap the transmission when doing an engine swap, if you ever get there.

Thanks! Interesting, I didn't know they were tall to begin with - but most of the ones I see are bagged, so perhaps my perspective is skewed. As for the body mount, I find the truck looks a bit too much like a cat I adopted a few years ago:

iYQWp6g.png


Definitely a little bit skewed and not so great looking, and also not very smart, and also doesn't smell great. But like the cat, the truck is good. I also figured that it'd be inexpensive to fix the body mount. I'd find one in a junkyard, cut it out with a grinder, and weld the new one in. Or have it done, whichever. You mentioned that the transmission was weak - what specifically tends to break?

I desperately need power steering in this thing, and I'm told if I have a later head, it ought to bolt right in.

This brings me to the horror show that is the engine on this truck, a 20r supposedly with 92,000 original miles:

rGvt7tJ.jpg


That is a length of something stuck into what I assume used to be the place where the PCV system went. I'd love to hear y'all diagnose this thing just from the pic - it always blows my mind when guys on mud can point out flaws I'd never have spotted. I can see that it's got a Weber carb on it, and the throttle body return spring is anchored to a bolt. The coolant is bright green and clean, and the oil cap is sparkly clean too. I actually snapped the throttle cable on the way home, but more on that later.

More pics:

cwN38Nk.jpg

eROFLMk.jpg


The filth on this thing is incredible. I'll have to clean it somewhere that isn't my driveway.
 
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I've got an 82 same color but short bed. Cool old truck.

Simply out of curiosity can I ask where you live at 10K ft?
 
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I've got an 82 same color but short bed. Cool old truck.

Simply out of curiosity can I ask where you live at 10K ft?

Tiny town in Colorado - central CO region. Is it true that the short beds have a different fuel tank?
 
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Trans should be an L43 side shifter, kinda weak. Diff gears should be 4.37:1, with 33" tires it will still be a dog so skip the 35s. I see lots of hokey crap under the hood, no emissions stuff, that starter solenoid, air filter, blah, blah, blah.

As long as the heater 'works' and it drives, then 'ya done good'.
 

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The starter solenoid doesn't really mean much. It's a common fix for the no start and just clicking problem. Basically on older models and those with an auto tranny they send all 12 volts through a wire from the ignition to the starter and as your wiring gets old it'll sometimes just click and won't fire. The starter solenoid needs less amps to start and you wire it directly from the battery and have another wire going to the little tab where it activates the starter. I have it done on my own truck as qell.
 

PAToyota

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I appreciate what you said. I'm here to learn, and part of learning is accepting that one doesn't already know. As for the power issue, allegedly, this truck is "regeared for 35's". I have absolutely no proof that this is true, but it happily does 35-40 up a steep grade, so perhaps it is.

Jack up the rear end, put it in neutral, spin the tire, and count the revolutions until the driveshaft spins once completely. That’ll get you close enough to figure out the gearing - just past 4 revolutions = 4.11 gears, about 4.5 revolutions = 4.56 gears, almost 5 revolutions = 4.88 gears, past 5 revolutions 5.29 gears, etc.

It’ll happily climb at 35-40 with 37s, but going to 46s would drop that even further. Just understand that everything has its tradeoffs.

At the risk of further lowering mud's already-low opinion of me, this is the first manual I've ever driven. As a millennial, I'm offended that I'm expected to use my brain for this (or anything), but I took it in stride and called a good friend who gave me the rundown on it. I managed to get the hang of it back through the mountains, and while it still loves to stall starting out, it goes.

Learn to drive stick - and then you can learn how to replace a clutch… ;)

I may be able to 3D print the shifter boots in flexible material, not sure. For the record, I'm a huge fan of 3D printing. I 3D print a huge portion of the things I need on a daily basis. This project would be more difficult if I couldn't just make a lot of what I need, and had to go track the stuff down.

Probably easier to just buy one: Shift Handle Boots | Marlin Crawler, Inc.

The glovebox doesn't close, and I'm not yet sure why. The latch appears completely intact, it just won't stick.

It’s a “claw” that grabs a “bar” - usually there is something keeping the claw from latching. It’s been awhile since I’ve messed with mine, but I think there is a spring in there?

I don't know what this is or why it's here. I'll find out when I replace the dash pad.

Looks like an HVAC vent?

Previous owner blocked off the vents with cardboard. Truck's already cold as hell, so I'm not sure why he did that. Heat does work, it's just like pouring warm water into the Pacific Ocean to make it warmer.

Possibly to get more of the air to the defrost vents?
 

Mudder

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I don't think it'd be a bad truck if you're willing to put in the time to clean it up. I'd suggest looking into a swap sooner as the 22r is underpowered enough with stock tires at that elevation
 

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