Hilux Re-build thread - '83 longbed mini (5 Viewers)

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Feb 1, 2018
Huntsville, Alabama
Checked this '83 out last weekend. Dumped some gas down the carb and she fired up. Ran for about 30 seconds with no weird noises so we made a deal and hauled it back to the shop. Photos are where the gold is, but this is the only one I've got for now. More to come.


Spent the last week letting the critters escape, cleaning up after them, and gutting the interior to see what we have on our hands. All the fluids were old, but they're full. Filters were Toyota, and the few service parts on it are from good vendors. The AC still had pressure, for Pete's sake! Looks like someone took care of it once upon a time. Overall, it's a good little truck.

The immediate punch list so far is brake pads and master, wiper arms, a headlight, a corner lens, and sorting out an intermittent starting issue. Not too bad all things considered.

There's a spot or two of rust on the floor from a leaky window, but otherwise the cab and doors are in great shape. Gonna hit the rust with a wire wheel, some converter, and some paint. Got lucky there.

The bed is in better shape than lots of these old trucks but she's not going to win any awards. It's very serviceable though. Tailgate is a mismatch so that's getting deleted for a net or a tube gate. Still thinking on that.

I've got a list of go-to parts guys for Cruiser stuff, but it's been ages since I fixed up a mini. Any pointers for who is currently "the guy" to have the small detail stuff for the interior will be helpful.
Love the colors. eBay and marketplace are both good sources. Finding a parts truck is a good option too. Not sure if there is a “guy” but if so, I’d love to hear about him.
Keep the tailgate, hard to find in good condition.
Keep the tailgate, hard to find in good condition.

It's a tailgate sure, but im not even sure it's for a toyota. Held on with Stanley gate latches. I'll show it when I get some photos.
Love the colors. eBay and marketplace are both good sources. Finding a parts truck is a good option too. Not sure if there is a “guy” but if so, I’d love to hear about him.

I second this, had a tough time finding interior parts for my 1980 short bed and found most of my stuff on eBay. I’d give Yota Yard a call too. You can still buy a new oem dash in brown only although they are a bit spendy. May be worth while picking up a cheap parts truck with a clean interior so the small parts don’t nickel and dime you.
I thought you could only get a blue dash?? s***, I’ll order a brown one right now if they’re available.
I thought you could only get a blue dash?? s***, I’ll order a brown one right now if they’re available.

Blue is also available my mistake. @yotadude520 posted the link in my thread awhile back. It’s odd now it doesn’t seem to pull up the part anymore. I’ll edit this post with the link if I find it. Here’s the brown one I installed in my 80’.

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A few hours here and there and she's coming back to life:

Intermittent starting issue was a bad igniter. Starts readily now. Carb definitely need adjustment. Runs a little warm, but the rad barely warms up...got a stuck t'stat.

A well-intentioned previous service included a wheel seal installed backwards. Seal lip carrier had been worn off, which led to the lip getting yanked out, and then all the hub grease working its way out. Quite the mess. All sorted now.


Assorted snips of wiring were hanging:


Unsurprisingly, none of the rear electrics worked. There were a total of three harnesses in some fashion or another under there, and a stretch of yellow extension cord added for who-knows-why. All but the factory wiring (which was totally unmolested somehow) is gone. Plugged the rest of the circuits up and bam, it all came alive. Love it.

Brake hyds were a rusty mess. Wheel cylinders were totally seized. I managed to free up the calipers, but I'm not going to trust them long term. I'm game for upgrading the calipers to a more modern unit but I'm seeing lots of conflicting or unclear information as to which calipers are a direct bolt in without changing other parts. Any ideas guys?

Also still tracking down some flavor of windshield wiper that is compatible. I've heard a few that *should* work...just haven't seen the examples and haven't grabbed the parts to check.

Popped some lightly used tires on, too:


I expect another few afternoons and she'll be good to drive over for tagging I hope!
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Finally got back to Junior.

The PO's new ebay carb just would not adjust in to idle. Anything under about 1500rpm and it died. I threw in the towel and yanked it with plans to move to a known good weber I had on the shelf, then cleaned up the engine bay to see what else would need attn. That was at the beginning of summer...I popped the hood yesterday to find this:


Rodents. Dammit. Luckily it looks like this visit was either very recent or short lived. Found one little pile of turds, had a clean intake even sans the destroyed rags, and one de-insulated ground. No damage inside the cab, thankfully.

However, it's got wicked blowby now. As in the oil cap wants to jump off the VC. Gonna douse the cylinders with some ATF and see if I can free up that ring. Otherwise, I'm gonna have to put my thinking cap on for what to do with the project...rebuild or swap...TBD.
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November...sheesh. It's been a minute since I messed with this truck.

We burned the old gas out while burping the cooling system, again, and topped off the daytank with a few gallons of ethanol free. Still smoking blue. We said eff it, and took him for a few hot laps. I'll be damned if the smoke didn't clean up! So we wheeled.

Seat isn't bolted down which is creating some fun situations. Engine revs happily to 5k+. 4wd is properly notchy, and grabs on command with a smart shifter slam.

I love this little truck.





P.S. the clutch is shot. Worth it.
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Time to get the thing running on it's own tank. Got it dropped last night and found this:



The smell...so terrible. Drained a full tank of varnish from it.

Filled it with water and cut a nice, big access panel in the top and set to scraping. It cleaned up fine. Next step is shake rocks in it to take care of the remnant varnish dust then weld it back up.

Sender and pick up tube cleaned up to new, and 60 series fuel pickups use the same tank sock - I had one of these laying around.

Should be sorted tonight.
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I'd love to know the metallurgy of this old tank steel...it popped and spat and hated every minute of welding. And that was properly prepped and cleaned. A little heat got in it, sweetspot machine setting was found, and she became a tank again:


Patch and parent measured similar thicknesses, but holy crap...the parent material begged to blow through. Hopefully those welds aren't seen for a while.

Corrected a few more pieces of plumbing and he's on his intended fuel supply again.

Down to wipers, bolting the seat down, and some tags.
This thing going yet?
Oh yeah. I need to get wiper arms for it and get it legal.
Got him legal late this week. I'm conflicted at how little is needed to register a 30+ yr old vehicle in Alabama. Insurance card, driver's license, and a bill of sale.

Had another fun experience with registration:

Rego lady: "and what color is it?"
Me: "mostly green."
The ladies (including her neighbor): "*mostly* green??"
Me: yes, ma'am. My fiance had a similar reaction.

Got a laugh out of them this time.

Got parts inbound to seal the top end and tame this oil consumption. Blowby I can deal with for a while.

Gonna replace the fluids and put some miles on him on this week.
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Finally got around to getting the wiper arms sorted. Snagged a set from a 3rd gen 4runner. You have to grind 3mm off the height of the stud pocket, but then they're good to go. Popped 2x 13" wipers on em after this photo. Junior is in business.

Can you explain the mod to the wiper arms in a little more detail?

Shorten the pocket height a little like shown below. Otherwise, the pocket crashes into the link pivot stud before the arm snugs onto the stud.

It only came with one key. And I lost that one last weekend.

Searched for two days thinking of the hassle it would be to replace. But I tried the dealer on a long-shot-maybe with the key code. Not only could they make em, but they had 2 of the blanks! $10 later and I'm all set...with a spare no less.

All this on a 40yr old truck...unbelievable. thumbs up, Mr. T.

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