Hilux 550hp 2JZ 1978 Hilux Build

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Jun 3, 2015
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241
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SW Utah
Sweet.

Are you going to need a cross over tube above the engine for additional stiffness?
I'm thinking about something like that. I'd like to swap the front to coilovers eventually (assuming I keep the stock front suspension) and when that happens I'll see about bracing the shock towers to stiffen everything. In the interim I think this will be good enough.
 

yotadude520

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This is badass!! Really digging the fab work on this.
 
Joined
Jun 3, 2015
Messages
241
Location
SW Utah
Was traveling over the weekend and going racing so didn't get anything done, but I made a good bit of progress yesterday and today and had to share it!

I came back to a bunch of Summit packages. The fuel cell should show up later this week along with the shifter I ordered. I also ordered stuff to do brake lines and found a grille from Thailand so bought that.

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First thing was to change the radiator and engine coolant ports to AN fittings. The whole cooling system will be AN20 lines. Due to the radiator having a fair bit of room where it'll be mounted, I just welded the bungs straight to the radiator outlets. The engine side I cut the old hose connections off to save room. These may be the best welds on the whole build!

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I also installed a new thermostat when reinstalling the housing.

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The next part of the cooling system process is... the roll bar! The plan is to mount the radiator off the "C pillars" which will be angled back, this way the radiator will be (probably not) out of the way somewhat and suck air up from under the truck. I think I'll make some little air scoops to throw air up into the radiator too. With that said, I needed to build the C pillars so I could mount the radiator! First up was bending the roll bar, which having the lift helps hold tubing at the right level especially since I was working with a full stick of 1.75" DOM I had laying around.

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The roll bar was a bit tricky, I wanted to do one piece with all bends since I thought that'd be better looking than any abrupt tube junctions and angles. I also now definitely plan to get bed sides and just run them for aesthetics and have minimal if any real "bed", so the lower tube bend needed to just clear where the bed side would eventually sit. The next issue was the roof of the Hilux isn't flat, and I don't have a way to do a radiused tube so I decided to do two 12deg bends on the roof line so the center section would be flat then angle down slightly before curving down at the edges. And lastly I wanted the tubes to sit about flush or tiny bit past the body. With all that said, and one attempt failed by the second bend, I ended up with this 6x bent tube!

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I am extremely happy with how this turned out! I've tried other complicated bends before (this one isn't THAT complicated since it's all in plane and mirrored to be fair) and usually end up having to do a cut and sleeve to rotate different sections. I'm very happy that the roll bar ended up being pretty close to planar (close enough to massage it by hand). The biggest "issue" is the bottom bends didn't seem to be even or something and to be aligned with the body, the drivers side would sit overly inboard versus the passenger leg would be in the "correct" position and flush with the outside of the frame. But minor issue that really makes no difference functionally, and after 6 bends and 12ft of tube, being 1" off on one leg and spot on everywhere else is something I'm happy to live with!

To prep the frame for welding, I first cleaned everything and after just tack welding to the frame noticed that I was actually welding to that s***ty little cross member bed support thing which was bad. So I cut that cross member out and ground the welds out so the frame was flat and welded the roll bar straight to the frame. I don't have any photos of this, so we'll have a lot of text and then just jump to the finished photo.

I then made the C pillars out of 1.5" DOM and connected them to the frame where there's a big tubular cross member. The passenger side was perfect and by "origin" for reference, so with the passenger side in I used an identical C pillar tube on the drivers side which then pulled the roll bar into plane and aligned it with the body to the same extent as the passenger side. After that I replaced the cross member thing I cut out with a 2.0" DOM tube. I will most likely cut out the carrier bearing cross member in front of this one, and just rely on this cross member for the "rear cab cross member" and then I can run a one piece drive shaft. Finally, I ran a diagonal from the passenger frame side to the top of the roll bar. I didn't want to get fancy with any tube junctions so just ran the tube to the bend in the roll bar instead of to the C pillar junction. With this orientation the tube shouldn't block any of my vision either. And here we are!

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Little mini cage turned out pretty good for a days worth of work, and this is why I had to post an update for today! Next up will be mounting the radiator, and then I can run the cooling lines.
 
Joined
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Messages
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Also a photo from last night, I realized the hump in the body was for the driveshaft and was really just a continuation of the trans tunnel (for some reason I thought it wasn't that before) so I cut the tube cross member and bent a U piece and welded it in and capped the ends off. I will have to cut out the cross member in front next and then the driveshaft will have a clean shot back.

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Also today I got some of the parts I ordered last week from Thailand! New headlight shrouds, which I already have some but these were included with the grille I bought which hopefully shows up tomorrow! Thailand seems to be the only way to get most parts via eBay.

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And then what I'm most excited about! Just got my Autosports Engineering shifter in! I will install this tonight. It requires some disassembly and modification of the rear of the transmission since it moves the shifter to the top access cover instead of hanging off the back. I have yet to shift the trans, so this will be huge! Also shout out for including Skittles
:rofl:


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Joined
Jun 3, 2015
Messages
241
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Slight change of plans for today's work, before pulling the body to install the shifter I wanted to get the radiator mounts in since I planned to set the radiator height to sit just below the window line. This pushes the radiator as far forward on the C pillars as possible without impairing vision, and giving more room for bed/suspension space behind the radiator.

I don't have any in progress photos, but you know the process, so here's a photo dump:

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Spot the issue
:(


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It's not done yet! Obviously. My plan is to have two plates that overlap the edges of the radiator and clamp it down, but due to the fill nozzle I'm not entirely sure how to make that side nice looking. Also I need a way to mount the Ford Taurus radiator fan (the god of all electric fans if anyone was wondering), so if I can kill two birds with one stone with the hold down plates that'd be great. But like I said, TBD as to how those will be done...

In regards to the issue, the f***ing passenger side isn't remotely parallel to the drivers side
:annoyed:
at first I thought it was because the cage isn't C pillars aren't parallel but then I realized AFTER welding half of the mount in that the bottom semi circle cut out wasn't remotely seated against the tube! I completely forgot to check that everything was truly seated on the passenger side, and since there's four plates that ultimately get welded to the tube and the top semi circle and the two tangential plates aligned I forgot to check the bottom! The bottom semi circle is probably a 1/2" out of wack, to the point I didn't even try to weld it and just go with it.

I'm not really OCD, and if anyone has noticed there is a LOT of s*** that isn't perfectly aligned, but this is by far the most annoying since everything else looks amazing. With that said, the hold down plates will completely cover that asymmetric gap so no one (but you guys) will ever know, and the misalignment actually makes the radiator sit perfectly with like .030" of lateral slop where as I had designed in about .250".

Anyways... Overall I'm very stoked for how it turned out! It took me awhile to get everything straight in my head since the back plates are different, the top plates are different, and then I dimple died some of the small plates wrong so had to remake those. Definitely the fanciest radiator mount I've ever done, and the welds for the most part look awesome. This was one place I wanted to get sexy with it since it'll be right in everyone's face and always visible. Besides that stupid misalignment (which you can't really tell just looking at the plates) I think it looks great!

I probably won't have time this weekend to work on the Hilux, and will be getting more parts in, so next week should be pretty exciting!
 
Joined
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The cooling system fabrication is done! Or at least the stuff that truly matters. I cut out the two clamp plates and some tabs that I welded nuts to.

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The filler neck got a special little bracket to set the nut plate in a spot that clears the radiator cap, which is why this section wasn't included in the original plate. Don't worry I cut those bolts down too
:D


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Next up was mounting the Taurus electric fan which only has mounts on the top and left side, so I ended up using two bolt holes on the left and also cut out a little clamping plate and then cut out a clamping plate for the entire right side of the fan shroud which also wraps around a bit to keep it located vertically since there's nothing actually going through the fan shroud anywhere on that side. I then took some bolts, cut the head off, turned down a smooth neck on the lathe, and converted them to some studs and welded them on!

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In retrospect I wish there was a more elegant way for the radiator clamp plates to interface to the cage holders, the plates have some sharp angles that overhang that stand out a little too much. BUT that level of nitpicking means it's turning out really nice, especially for such a relatively complicated mounting setup going on. It looks great! I will add some rubber trim to seal the radiator fan better to the radiator, but otherwise all that's left is run the cooling lines and wire the fan up and cooling is done!
 
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Got the remaining parts from Thailand! Shout out to atomboys on eBay, they packaged everything super well and everything looks amazing, and got here way faster than I was expecting!

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It looks like there's a lower valance or something that connects the fenders and sits below the grille that I'll have to track down next.
 
Joined
Jun 3, 2015
Messages
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Still haven't touched the shifter
:D
today I started the fuel system, ie redoing the rear cross member. As usual I skipped photos of the boring parts, so enjoy some end result photos. This is some of the best work I've ever done, very happy with how it turned out!

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I then cut out the original cross member which was a few inches forward and spent a lot of time cutting and grinding to get down to just the frame.

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Fuel cell mock up:

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Where I cut out the old cross member there are some gouges and cuts that I need to patch up. It turns out the inboard frame plates are REALLY thin, like maybe 14ga or thinner (way under 1/8"). The inside of the frame is also painted and gross, I noticed this when I was plasma cutting and welding it that s*** was burning off. This is now an issue because I tried to mig and tig the holes in the frame from where the cross member was and it doesn't weld for s***, plus being really thin makes it hard. Hard enough to the point I'm thinking of just cutting out a large section of the inboard plate and welding a large overlay on it (seen in the bottom left laying on the frame), this way I can fillet weld the overlay to a section of frame I can clean. At this point I called it a day.

I'm thinking of cutting a hole through the frame in front of the fuel cell and running a tube through it to create a second cross member so the two tubes will hug the fuel cell, and then I just have to make a cradle for it. I'm not sure how I want to try and execute that yet, on the one hand since I don't have to fully box the frame in like the rear it can be easy, but the hard part will be I need to cut through four layers of steel and keep it concentric and I'm not sure how best to do that. I was thinking a hole saw but that won't help much I don't think. Typing all this I think I figured it out though: cut some oversize holes with the plasma, run the tube through, and cut some tight fitting overlay plates that are like 1/2" wide and hug the tube. I think that'll be a sexy way to do it, and will reinforce the inboard part of the frame that is so thin.
 

ntsqd

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Or use a hole-saw tube notching tool clamped to the fame to poke the holes thru one rail. Then slide a tube thru those holes across the other frame rail. Square up the tube and mark it's OD on the face of the un-drilled rail. Find that center and repeat the hole-saw notcher trick.

Kind of how I made these holes:

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In my case I needed the plate to stabilize the saw while I was going thru the angled face.
 
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Or use a hole-saw tube notching tool clamped to the fame to poke the holes thru one rail. Then slide a tube thru those holes across the other frame rail. Square up the tube and mark it's OD on the face of the un-drilled rail. Find that center and repeat the hole-saw notcher trick.

Kind of how I made these holes:

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In my case I needed the plate to stabilize the saw while I was going thru the angled face.
That's a good idea! Too bad you're an hour or two late, I ended up just plasma cutting the correct size hole in the outer frame plates and then cutting a 0.25" oversize hole in the inboard plates and cutting out an overlay to cover up the oversized inboard holes. I like your idea a lot, using the tube as a guide is something I never once considered!
 
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Lots of progress today! Though I also only worked on the Hilux, so one would hope so. I decided to cut out the frame sections where the old cross member was and weld in new patches, and then for the new cross member I decided to cut matching holes on the outside of the frame and then cut oversize holes on the interior portion and put some overlay plates to cover it up.

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With the frame patches up and the two fuel cell cross members in place, it was time to make the fuel cell cradle. So time jump like 5 hours later and here we are:

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Two strap type things each 6" wide, and on the bottom the outside edge is bent up for a 2" lip to locate it laterally. Everything is tig welded, with the exception of the gap on the underside between the tubes and plate I wanted to weld too for some redundancy and the mig is great for filling in acute angles like that.

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The fuel cell has about 1/4" of total slop in both axis, and I plan to put some rubber or foam spacers in to make it sit snug. The top of the fuel cell pressure line is about 1/2" below the top of the frame, so if I add a bed there should be plenty of room to run plumbing. This fuel cell is 20 gallons from Aeromotive and has two vent lines, a sending unit, baffling, and their A1000 pump.

I will make a hold down plate next, and otherwise the fuel cell mounting is all done! I think this turned out great! I'm trying not to get super wrapped around doing good work, but it's cool to see my new base level of fab work is so much better than I was 4-5 years ago (when I started my buggy build). Practice, research, and better tools are allowing the Hilux to turn into a real cool little truck and it doesn't feel like I'm going at a snails pace to get it done!

I have a glimmer of hope I can start it this weekend, not drive but fire the engine up. I doubt it'll happen, still a lot to do, but we're getting mighty close! Once the hold down plate is done I think all the large scale fab work is done, and then it'll just be little brackets! Getting into the home stretch like plumbing and wiring and normal wrenching!
 

ntsqd

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I'm thinking that it's not going to matter a lot because hooking it up will be the challenge. It amazes me just how little rear tire traction my basically stock '73 SB-SS C10 has. It requires two bags of sand in the bed, placed at the tailgate, to even be driveable in winter weather.
 
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Nice work.

With that kind of power, are you planning to install some sort of anti-wrap for the rear axle?

I'm thinking that it's not going to matter a lot because hooking it up will be the challenge. It amazes me just how little rear tire traction my basically stock '73 SB-SS C10 has. It requires two bags of sand in the bed, placed at the tailgate, to even be driveable in winter weather.

My plan further down the line is to do a little 4 link and some pushrod suspension with coilovers, I'll also swap out the rear axle most likely at that point. Flip side is what ntsqd is saying, can't have a lot of force and stresses if the tires just spin. I'll have some fat tires out back (like a 325 or something?), but even then I don't know if that'll do anything. This is why I went to the trouble of mounting the fuel cell as far back as possible to try and get a little weight back there.
 

ntsqd

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I suspected the fuel cell location was for that reason as I've been looking at doing the same thing with my '73. Should probably get the LM7 installed first.....

I'd plan on spending a bunch of time with CAD (Cardboard Aided Design) laying out a push-rod system. It's really easy to get geometry the behaves poorly and fairly hard to get geometry that works well. I'm told that 9% Rising Spring Rate is the ideal.
 
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I suspected the fuel cell location was for that reason as I've been looking at doing the same thing with my '73. Should probably get the LM7 installed first.....

I'd plan on spending a bunch of time with CAD (Cardboard Aided Design) laying out a push-rod system. It's really easy to get geometry the behaves poorly and fairly hard to get geometry that works well. I'm told that 9% Rising Spring Rate is the ideal.

Oh don't worry, plenty of time will be spent drawing it up and researching :D everything I've built so far has been drawn in CAD too, so that's just another day! Do you have pictures of your 73?
 

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