Hilux 550hp 2JZ 1978 Hilux Build

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Jun 3, 2015
SW Utah
Time for another build :D Introducing my new 1978 Toyota Hilux I just picked up!


It is a quality unit with no engine, or bed... For real though, it was $300, has very little rust (mainly some surface rust on the frame) and came with a title. Dude had to hack off the middle of the bed for another truck he had, so good chance I can get the bedsides later. The lack of engine actually makes my life easier.

Story time and plans: I've been looking for an old (pre-80s) Japanese car or truck for awhile and haven't found anything at a reasonable price. I've never built (or even owned) what I would call a "street vehicle". Everything has been oriented and capable of offroading, and since I've started building engines for my buggy I wanted to get a little car or truck and put gobs of power into it. I think (and hope) this should be a lot easier than the buggy build. I can drop an engine in, tweak on stuff here and there, upgrade it and have it running and driving most of the journey. Building off of anything is much easier than the ground up!

I found the Hilux on Saturday, bought it Sunday (yesterday).










Since it's a Toyota I want to keep the engine a Toyota, and that's where I think a 2JZ build will be cool since it's a legendary engine, can make tons of power, and is a bit different (and arguably more compact) than a UZ V8. From researching so far, it looks like a 2JZ-GE (factory NA) are relatively common and much cheaper than the GTE turbo variant. The main thing is the GTE has oil squirters under the pistons to spray the bottom of the piston, the GE does not have this and takes extensive machine work to add--but from reading it sounds like forged pistons shouldn't need the squirters so it's really a non issue. A 2JZ-GE runs $1000-$2000 it looks like. At higher power levels a standalone ECU is needed, and then I'll have to swap out the rods and pistons to lower the NA compression (10.5:1) to the turbo level (8.5:1).

The next major thing is transmission: currently I'm looking at a CD009 out of a Nissan 350/370/G35 which is a cheap and pretty beef cake 6 speed. They run $800-$1200, need a $1000 adapter to the 2JZ, and can hold ~1000hp it sounds like. The alternatives are a R154 (3rd gen supra) which are pretty expensive, a T56 which are nearly the same price, or a V160 out of a 4th gen Supra which are insanely expensive. The Nissan is by far the cheapest transmission (including the adapter plates), one of the stronger ones, and very common.

What I'm thinking is buy a 2JZ-GE, buy a CD009 and adapter, and drop all of those in. That will setup the mounts and shifter location, and then I can look at building the 2JZ from there.

I want this to be a little street missile and a fun little truck I can take to car shows or autocross or go drift with. Nothing too serious. Probably throw a little roll bar in the back, maybe link the rear and tie the shocks into the roll bar, maybe do a flat bed. Tear out the interior (or lack of), do some PRP seats like the buggy and FJ have... It's so old and tiny there's really not that much to do, which is what I want and like. A little side project to build this up where I spend a weekend here and there and knock out one aspect at a time. I've owned it less than 24 hours, we'll see where the next few months go!
Here. We. Go.

Everything is coming apart real nice, I think I broke two bolts (lower fender) so far but otherwise it's been a breeze.


Sending unit and pump, which is kind of crazy considering it's (was) carbureted. I'm actually thinking of saving the sending unit/pickup and just swap the pump out and reuse it for the 2JZ. Flip side is it's probably easier to just check the resistance and get a matching sending unit and get an Aeromotive setup and drop into a fuel cell... Which on that note, the stock tank actually looks totally fine and isn't rusty... Though the idea of a fuel cell tucked in the middle right behind the cab is appealing too.


Pulled most of the s*** off the frame, ready to take it to the car wash. The frame is amazingly rust free, to the point I might not sand blast it and just hit some spots with a wire brush and then POR15 it or something. Also the front crossmember (subframe?) is completely removable and bolted into the frame. The entire front suspension/cross member can be removed which is kind of wild. It's also coil sprung in the front, which Toyota didn't do again until 1995 (17 years later) I believe. I'm guessing the 4WD models forced them to go to torsion rods to fit the front drive components. I'm not sure exactly how to fit larger shocks (or maybe the answer is you don't) since the front isn't a coilover but a coil with a shock tucked inside of it, so not much room to grow... Maybe in the future I'll convert it to true coilovers, maybe the future is soon since I have access to everything now :D


Look at the lack of rust! It's dirty, but besides the very back there's hardly any rust!


Onto the body. In the front the master is totally rusted, and where the battery tray was is all rusted.


The inside has the most rust of anywhere, and really not that bad. There's a few small rust holes, mostly on the passenger side. But for the most part it's surface rust, worst case it's a couple inch patch job.


Even though the interior has some rust, the actual underside is incredibly clean, to the point there's not even any rust identifying where the floorboard holes are.


Last photo for today, this little plaque is so cool :D I'm assuming a 28L means it's a long bed. I don't know if "Plant/G.V.W. P 11" means it weighs 1100kg? That would be ~2400lbs which seems plausible. The tag on the door frame says a GVWR of like 4200lbs, though doesn't list the trucks weight itself.


Next up will be to power wash the frame and body, then get the wire brush out and start going to town. Probably POR15 the frame, and I need to research if there's carpet or interior kits or just LineX the floorboards.
Rockauto lists carpet and vinyl floor for the truck. Use the MUD discount code. Search for Rockauto in the members.

That truck is very clean considering its age. It will be a good base to start something good.
OH s***


Picked it up this morning! $1000! 2JZ out of an IS300, with full harness and a bell housing :D



This is a naturally aspirated VVTI model, so a few minor changes between it and a turbo model, biggest being a 10:1 compression vs 8.5:1 so I'll have to swap out the rods and pistons, otherwise it'll make 1000hp! I also bought a CD009 off of eBay which is a Nissan 350Z 6 speed manual trans and with an adapter plate will work with the 2JZ.

I also revised the title from 700hp, after some research there are two main drivers to my "current" goal: pump gas and clutch. From the sounds of it 500-600whp is about the limit on pump gas at 16-18psi of boost. Additionally, 600ft-lbs seems to be about the torque limit of a single disk clutch, and a twin disk sounds like a pain in the ass around town and commonly make a lot of noise idling. So to start out tame, single disk "normal" clutch on 91 octane and that should comfortably put out ~550hp all day long. Could always have an E85 or race gas tune, but that's also 550hp in something that will weigh about 2000lbs. Small goals then go up from there :D

Thank you for the suggestion for rockauto and their carpet/vinyl floor kits @pappy I will definitely get one. I'm realizing Hilux parts are very hard to come by. Maybe someone can help me actually, is the grille and the body color matched piece around it two separate parts? I've found the grille on eBay, but not sure what the surround is called (assuming it's a separate part even). Reference photo:


If anyone has suggestions where else to find parts, I'm all ears. Ebay seems to be the only real source of parts outside of mechanical stuff. Luckily I don't need much, mainly the grille and surround, door panels, and the dash pad.
Original paint and very low miles just for insperation
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Lots of waiting lately, but my transmission finally arrived! It's out of a 2005 Nissan G35, same tranny as a 350Z. There should be a shifter and a driveshaft which supposedly is arriving in another box...


I also ordered a Collins Adapter which is just a plate (and flywheel) between the CD009 bell housing and the 2JZ block, versus most adapters which require cutting off the bell housing which I didn't want to do. That just shipped so might be arriving this week. Today I ordered a "Stage 3 Super Street" clutch and pressure plate, Wilwood clutch master, OEM slave, and a beefed up clutch fork from Z Speed Performance which apparently will handle 600ftlbs of torque from the crank and still be street friendly. I'm leaving for a week for work, so wanted everything needed to mate the trans and engine together by the time I get back. Originally I was gonna wait on the clutch, but I'd rather bolt everything together and not have to pull it apart before the first test drive.

The other factor to getting the truck ready is to get the cab repairs done so I can start modifying it, this obviously means patching the floor up so I started that today. I really need two lifts since I have to keep moving the cab off depending on what else I work on, so first task was loading the cab back on the lift.


And out with the plasma!



I have some random sheet of steel in the corner, maybe 16ga? My plan is to cut out overlays and place them on the inside, with the primary intent to weld the sheet metal from the bottom of the truck to the overlay so there's no gap for water to get in. If there's the option to weld on the inside of the cab great, but not a big deal. As for that circular part where the body mount is, I'm debating what to do, sitting here I'm thinking cut out an overlay with a hole and dimple die it, and if there's more depth needed than the dimple provides then weld a little tube section in that will be welded to the rusted part.

All I got around to was starting on the big section. Measured everything, drew up in CAD, cut on the table, and a little hammer work later:


I decided to weld the top side since it's easier to access and afterwards will go to the bottom and weld the body to the bottom of the overlay plate. Old plate vs starting to weld the overlay in:


And an awesome picture of a weld, I still need practice to get a consistent puddle. I remember in college tubbing the firewall on my 4Runner and trying to do it with the MIG I had, the TIG is always amazingly nicer to weld sheet metal!


And that is the extent of "updates" :D I have everything on order for the engine and trans to work together so the only drivetrain components I'm really missing is a fuel system and radiator. I'm also looking at running a Bosch electronic booster, superfastmatt on youtube has a good video on it; they can be found on a lot of newer vehicles and only need 12V to create boost and looks the same size or smaller than the stock booster. I'm thinking there's a good chance of the truck driving with the stock 2JZ in May, and then it'll be time to start modifying things!
If your depth is low and the diameter is large enough you can form shapes like that using a thick piece of rubber for the 'female' die (backed by a healthy piece of plate) and a handy whatever for the male die with a hydraulic press. The closer the depth gets to equalling the diameter, the less well it works. I've done it a couple of times and always been amazed at how well it works.
Last photo for today, this little plaque is so cool :D I'm assuming a 28L means it's a long bed. I don't know if "Plant/G.V.W. P 11" means it weighs 1100kg? That would be ~2400lbs which seems plausible. The tag on the door frame says a GVWR of like 4200lbs, though doesn't list the trucks weight itself.


"28" indicates long bed, a 23 is a short bed. "L" indicates left-hand drive. The plant that built it is P11 and the GVW is not stated on this plate. In this case the door tag has that as you found out.
Little progress on the passenger side floorboard. Dimple die didn't go as far as I thought so welded a 3/8" tube extension to the bottom, I think it turned out great! Started tacking up the triangular area. Will have to cut out some little overlays for the remaining holes but getting there! I wanted to weld the body back together on the outside too, but starting to debate that considering how much of a pain it is to weld the sheet metal, especially since it's hard to get a tight fit. I might just tack it up and lay some RTV in, which I'm already gonna have to do on the top since the whole door seam area has factory RTV that I don't want to spend the time cleaning out enough to weld. I think weld just one side, and RTV the other side, and then probably LineX the bottom anyways and the top will get sound deadening and carpet over it.



Also, does anyone know where to get new body mounts besides overseas? Mine don't seem horrible but the alignment features to the frame are all broken off. I'm thinking I could just make a filler puck for the frame, but if there's new ones that'd be nicer. Do 1st gen pickups have the same size or close?
Back from two weeks of traveling overseas for work, and parts have arrived! Collins adapter:


This flywheel is a work of art :D



Then the "stage 3 super street clutch" from Z Speed. The Collins adapter uses a stock single plate clutch setup, and Z Speed had a lot of good reviews and this was their recommendation for high horsepower street setup. I also got the random clutch parts that the trans didn't have.


I've never really messed with manual transmissions, so I didn't have any idea what I was doing and by the 4th time or so of assembling everything I finally got it figured out :D There's a bushing (pilot bushing?) that the tip of the trans shaft goes into, and of course the one I needed wasn't included with anything. There was one included from Z Speed and it actually seemed to have the correct diameters for the 2JZ, but there would've been like 1/4" of engagement with the shaft which I didn't like. Plus the thing seemed to have a hardcore interference fit which I didn't like. So I made my own brass bushing that fully supported the end of the transmission shaft.


Engine and tranny ready to rock:



And finally everything is mated together! For real everything went really smooth considering I'm mating two different brands together and using two different companies between them.


And then it was time to throw it on the frame, roll it under the cab, and see how it fits! THAT'S A 2JZ HILUX


It is absolutely STUFFED in there. Holy s***, there is no room hahaha




The entire engine bay of the Hilux is about as long as the 2JZ is. Literally a hose at the back of the block is touching the firewall, and the crank pulley is touching the core support. The oil pan is resting on the front cross member, and the top of the engine is still inches above the hood line.


The transmission actually fits alright. I had to remove the trans crossmember, no hope of that working I don't think, but with the engine sitting in the only position it currently fits in and the trans cantilevered out the back it seems to clear the tunnel, though doesn't clear the steering hahaha



So here's the deal, and I haven't actually measured or justified any of this: I don't want to cut up the body, absolute last resort. The main goal is to lower the engine, which from my quick research of oil pans or dry sump systems is that those are way too expensive for what I want and most likely won't gain much if anything. The oil pan is a front sump, and there's maybe two inches from the back of the hump to the front of the cross member. So I can either modify the cross member, or modify the core support and move the engine forward so the hump clears and the engine can be lowered. It looks like doing either of those I can lower the engine by about 4", which maybe means the hood will clear, and means the angle the engine has won't be so extreme plus should help with the transmission clearance (maybe let the crossmember be used? Doubt it though). The issue with moving the engine forward through the core support is I don't have a grille right now and I think there's minimal room between the front of the grille and the core support, so moving the engine 2" forward might be more distance than there is actual body available. Also all of this is ignoring the fitting of a turbocharger and all the accessories for that, as well as a cooling system which I think is fair to say will have to be mounted out back.

Luckily I haven't bought a shifter yet either, but I saw one that mounts to the top of the transmission instead of the back, and it appears that will line the shifter up exactly where the stock pass through is which would be cool.


Finally, we threw in one of the old FJ seats and a PRP from the buggy. That cab is TINY. The angle of the PRP is so extreme that I sit too far forward, in this photo you can see the 4x4 block to try and push the seat further back and that seemed to work but then the seat is angled too far forward in my opinion. I'll have to try some of the other PRPs I have, though I think they all have that same recline angle. I was hoping to run this same seat since it's the comfiest seat I've ever been in, but the side bolster is way too extreme for how huge the steering wheel is.

Anyways! That wraps up the last two days. Very excited to have the engine and trans together finally. I have all the hardware for the engine and trans mounts, so maybe get everything fully mounted soon!
After some measuring I got the engine and trans set where I wanted.


The front crossmember had to be nearly completely cut out, though that allowed me to stuff everything without modifying the body at all.


With the engine and transmission setup I made the engine mounts.


The oil filter may be in one of the worst spots in history too!


Next up was the transmission crossmember, which I reused the frame mounting portion of.



Doing a mix of TIG and MIG depending on what I'm welding.


Installed and using the stock CD009 transmission mount. The one that came on the tranny is all torn so ordered a new one too.


And here is the truck off the lift with the engine and trans fully mounted! Nothing touches the body and didn't have to trim the body, so I'm very happy! Still need to patch up the front cross member.


With everything mounted I can now separate the body and frame and drivetrain. I've found this is the easiest way to lift the body since the body is so short it makes it a pain to lift with more than two arms.


And other pictures. Frame slid forward to measure things.


Transmission mount. This plate on the top lines up almost perfectly with the shifter pass through on the body, and luckily there is a shifter conversion to use that cover from a place called Autosports so I bought that today.


Passenger area. I'm going to run AN20 flexible coolant lines all around, and will be cutting/welding AN20 bungs to the coolant outputs.


Engine is angled back about ~6deg. There isn't enough room to run a radiator up front, so will have that mounted behind the cab. I got a 3" Griffin Radiator and will be using a Ford Taurus electric fan with it. I also removed the power steering pump, though it fits fine in the engine bay. Using flexible coolant lines will let me move stuff around without getting new lines too.


After measuring everything, I ordered the whole fuel system and the coolant system and the shifter. The fuel system is a fuel cell from Aeromotive with an integral A1000 pump, baffling, and sending unit. The A1000 is backordered three weeks it looks like, but I wanted to have margin with the fuel supply so between the A1000 and running all -10AN lines I should be able to push to the 1000hp range if I ever want to. My plan is to mount the fuel cell behind the axle; there is a cross member there so I think I'll delete that and add one or two that will hug the fuel cell, and allow the fuel cell to stay as far back as possible. Additionally I bought a driveshaft yoke for the transmission, so will need to decide if I want to run a carrier bearing or simplify it to a single driveshaft but I think that'll require modifying the cross member behind the transmission. With the exception of brakes, which I might be able to still use the stock booster (before upgrading to an electric unit), I should have most of the parts on order to start it :D
Since I'll have parts starting to show up soon, today I decided to fix the front cross member while the engine is still easy to pull. There's only about an inch left of it.


I decided to fully cut it out, plate it, and run a tube between the two sides similar to the trans cross member. Onto the lift the chassis goes!


I first plasma cut the remains out and then a grinder to smooth the edges, followed by a wire wheel to try and get a somewhat clean area near the welds. Before welding I then hit everything with a flappy disk and cleaned it with acetone.


I took some measurements and cut two plates out on the plasma table, and using a combination of a scissor jack and hammer got the plates formed into place.


I then TIG welded everything with .045" wire. Not the greatest welds, even with the lift it can be annoying to get into position but surprisingly everything welded really nice! I thought I'd have issues not being clean since it is a 44 year old frame caked in oil but it worked great!


I then measured, cut, ground, and sand blasted a 2.0x.120 tube. With it tacked in I quickly reinstalled the engine, made sure the oil pan cleared and the motor mounts still lined up to confirm the chassis hadn't moved and then welded it in with the MIG.


Quick coat of paint and the engine bay is done with the heavy fabrication! (For the time being


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