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80 series axles+suspension under a Tacoma: suspension graft or body swap?

Discussion in 'Tacoma (Gen 1) - 4Runner (Gen 3)' started by theferg, Jan 24, 2017.

  1. theferg

    theferg

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    I have wanted 80 series axles under a 1st Gen Tacoma for years and spent a lot of time thinking about this (Even since back in about 2009 when I was in a 3rd Gen 4Runner cause I wanted 80s axles under my 4Runner) but I think it would just about be the perfect setup if the Tacoma had 80 series axles under it and a nice, low-profile, OEM-style coil-link setup. And I plan to do it in the next year or so...already back collecting parts I want to work it with.

    I am not satisfied with the huge amount of lift the regular SAS Tacoma builds end up with by doing your off-the-shelf conversions. The trucks are all WAY taller than stock, which I do not care for, and quite frankly, will not work for my type of driving/wheeling/camping. I also do not care for all the custom links and fancy coil-overs, and I absolutely cannot stand a non-toyota axle being used under there. So, long story longer, I'm taking a more OEM-Toyota-setup style approach to it.

    Here's the main things I want to accomplish:
    • Convert 2003 4WD DoubleCab Tacoma IFS axle and leaf-sprung semi-float, drum-brake rear axle over to 80 series Land Cruiser OEM front and rear disc brake axles with electric locking diffs, utilizing as much of the OEM 80 series coils and links suspension and front steering design and components as possible
    • Use as many OEM/original, stock, and off-the-shelf parts as possible from 80 series and other related Toyota trucks including T100 and 2nd and 3rd gen 4Runners in order to optimize ease of supportability and maintainability.
    So for years, I've been planning on grafting in the 80 series front suspension and steering as close as possible (seen a few builds done about like this over the years) and then grafting in the 80 series rear (thinking using 3rd Gen 4runner upper link position/setup since the tacoma/3rd Gen gas tanks are about in the same spot under there) and then in order to get the t-case to passenger drop, throw in a T-100 t-case (the one from the 3.4 T-100s will bolt right up with the proper trans tail-housing and output shaft setup--honestly not married totally married to this t-case any more, but one thing to note is that using that same T-100 tail-housing, you can also bolt up the older gen geared case :) .) (BTW, custom axle housings are not on the table for me. Way too much money, and way too much custom work and design and parts needed--which goes against one of my goals to keep it as OEM ish as possible for ease of replacement and maintenance.)

    But now, I've kinda been wondering... why not maybe transplant the Tacoma body and 3.4L V6 and trans onto an 80 series chassis? That way, the suspension and steering and frame are pretty much just money and no need to worry about that part of it.. Would only need to figure out the body and motor/trans positioning stuff. Obviously there's lots to it either way you look at it, but maybe building off the 80 series chassis is... "easier"?

    Also, another thing to note is I will also be ditching the factory Tacoma bed and running an aluminum Ute style bed. So pretty much only have to fit up the front clip stuff and the crew-cab body from the Tacoma. ("Only" haha!) So the wheelbase difference is inconsequential and I would only need to line up the front wheel opening.

    I'm not totally sure which would be easier. Anyway...I'd love to hear some constructive thoughts and ideas on this...
     
    Last edited: Jan 24, 2017
  2. theferg

    theferg

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    Frame vs frame, for strength and longevity, the 80 series wins hands-down side-by-side as the 80 is fully boxed where-as the Tacoma is not even close, and then you add in all the rust-prone issues the Dana mfg'd Tacoma frames have had... My 2003 frame is really, really clean, but I suspect that it is only a matter of time... :-/ I figure if I'm sticking with the 80 series frame, I will for sure be boxing it in and adding extra frame plates where needed as much as possible.

    And would the 80 frame be a lot more heavier weight wise? I mean, I'm sure its heavier, but would it be so much more so that a 3.4L V6 couldnt easily push it around with the Tacoma body on it...?

    And another thought on the frames... If sticking with the Tacoma frame and grafting in the 80 series front suspension... and since I care not for the stock Tacoma bed and will be doing a Ute flatbed (though I think this would still work with the stock Tacoma bed anyway), what about chopping off the rear of the Tacoma frame and grafting in the entire back portion of a 3rd Gen T4R frame? I figure this could really help with the upper arms cross-member positioning, as well as the coils, shocks, and panhard bar positioning (I believe the 4Runner frames are more boxed back there too). Just a thought. Not sure how much "easier" or not this would be, but it would allow the suspension geometry/positioning to just drop right in, per se....
     
    Last edited: Jan 24, 2017
  3. theferg

    theferg

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    Btw, yes, I just need a 4-door 79 series LC pickup.... heh :p But, alas, I am stuck in the USA where I don't really have that option....
     
  4. theferg

    theferg

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  5. r083rt

    r083rt

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    Never say never. You might contact someone at the LC Heritage Museum. Someone there might have a line on one. I know Jeremiah Proffitt had some a while back.
     
  6. AxleIke

    AxleIke

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    Just a quick point, but the T100 trans doesn't bolt to the gear drive cases. You can get an adapter to run the gear drives from Marlin. The only R trans that will run a gear drive is the R151. The T100 used the same chain drive pass drop tcase as the 3.0 V6 trucks.

    Swapping the taco body onto the 80 frame is going to be the easiest way probably. Or the least hassle, suspension wise. Getting the 80 rear geometry correct on the taco frame will take some creative, though not too difficult, fab.

    Also, you also save yourself all the hassle of the mosquito projects. The little annoying details that bite your timeline in the neck every time you turn around ( brake line brackets, ebrake stuff, steering box frame sleeves, etc)

    One other thing to check on is how much of your Taco speed/cruise/ etc runs off of the ABS. If it's like my 4Runner, the abs runs the speedo, cruise control and odometer. I'd check to see if the 80 ABS has the same signal pattern as the Tacoma and if not, how to change it so it does. I'm not sure if the ABS era speedos can read the older tcase speed sensors that were on the early V6 tucks and T100s.
     
  7. joseywales

    joseywales

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    This would be an amazing finished product. I'm referring to the body on 80 concept. You'd basically have a one ton Tacoma! I think it would be a big undertaking, but totally worth it. Far more so than putting 80 axles under a Taco.