School my on a '89 V6 Pickup, gears, SAS, etc...

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Jan 2, 2003
Park City, Utah
Hi guys,
Been reading and trying to figure out/navigate the world of a '89 V6 Toyota Pickup.. I found one local that "the front diff is blown," it is high mileage with a newer engine and runs great, almost no rust on it and is even my favorite color :) The idea is sort of on a "whim" but it is actually my childhood dream pickup, LOL, I always loved the older regular cab Toy pickups :) The goal is a mild wheeler and usable daily driver, about a 2" lift I figure and 31" or 32" tires... It has some 32's currently, 1 or 2 are in bad shape that I will be replacing... Also has a new front diff from an IFS swap that is coming with it.

SAS wise, I wouldn't mind sticking with the IFS possibly, I have to run it and see how I like it. I have full fab tools and have done shackle reversals/cut and turn etc on Land Cruisers, so not scared of this stuff. I also love the FJ62 axle, if I can possibly find one I will use that in the front as it will match the IFS rear without the spacers. I do not particularly want to pay for a kit I figure...

The transmission is manual (which I also prefer). Because its the 88+ later V6 I believe it is a G150 which looks like it has a 3.8 first which is cool. I guess I would like to get the 4.7 low range and only one crawler box. This is where I am a little confused. Sounds like I have a chain driven transfer case? (I'm wondering if this is the issue with the "blown diff"). Sounds like I can use this case but am I miles ahead by sourcing a 22RE t-case and buying the gear kit with an adapter to the 23 spline trans output? Also does everything fit in the doghouse fine? On the trailgear site it says (and is this the case?)

V6 applications require the transfer case be replaced with a 4Cyl gear drive unit and V6 Adapter plate. Speedo cable, floorboard, drive shaft, and crossmember changes may also be required.

Secondly, on the SAS, if repairing the existing becomes a PITA then I figure I will go ahead and do this. I will also probably use the FJ62 housing. I can figure all of this out. But I also want to confirm that the V6 Toyota pickups also had a 4.1 rear diff ratio like the 4 cyl models? Will a 4cyl diff or say a Tacoma e-locker (I have done this too into 4 cyl housings) fit into a V6 rear axle housing (ie the bolt patterns are the same?). I have read that V6 have a larger diameter gear, but the diffs are interchangable - correct?

Thanks guys and sorry for all the newbie questions!
EDIT, OK I learned about rear diffs and the VIN and the gear ratio... And sounds like all the housings interchange?
Yes, all 8 inch diffs 79-95 will fit the front (solid axle 79-85) and rear housings. Yes the Tacoma/4Runner e-locker will fit these also, with slight mods.

The IFS on 86-95 trucks and 4Runners is one of the toughest ever built, you will not be disappointed with it as a daily driver/weekend wheeler.

You may hear about the V6 head gasket issues, but I think the 89 model years were built before the "new" gasket was used that caused all the problems.

The "4 cylinder" gear driven t-case has many more options for after market stuff. You're probably better of getting one and the V6 adapter and be done with it....

Welcome to Mud Newbie!!!! :flipoff2: Hehe
Very cool. I have been reading and seem to have come full circle, looks like I will keep the IFS and probably go Old Man Emu actually :) I suppose I was just lusting after information before figuring it out. Been reading up all day... :) Good to know about the 4 cyl stuff, I think that will be the plan. Looks like if I grab a 4 cyl t case and a speedometer I should be OK?

I am well aware of the head gasket but more importantly the #6 valve issue... I have always disliked this engine because it was so gutless yet still returned such poor mileage... Anywhoo, I will be psyched to get the truck. I havn't sealed the deal so I hope I'm not jinxing myself but I hope to make it work :)
you can call the dealer with the VIN of your potential candidate and they can check for recalls.
Jerod is right about the 89's. I had an 89 and when i called it was recall free.

The IFS doesnt suck. every time i turn around some one is always saying how s***ty the IFS is. most of them wouldnt know cause they either have a solid axle to start out with or are wheeling the snot out of some poor chevy luv. i have sucessfully failed (oxy-moron?) at breaking any component of my IFS. this includes accidently jumping a few times and over all being wreckless. on top of which, i am missing one of the three bolts that hold on the spindle assembly. sure the are disatvantages of IFS, but same goes for Solid axle. But since your not even gonna have some mega meats on there, there shoulnt even be a reason to SAS.

when changing from an auto trans to a manual, or a R150 to either a W or G series, you need to get the cross member from what ever trans you are swapping in.

the newer 92 or 93+ trucks used a speedo sensor. but it bolts up the same way the mechanical ones did. so a little swapping of things will keep it working.

the gear ratios of the ring and pinion varies. the easiet way to tell is the paint code under the flange. check out roger browns site ( ) for all the various ratios colors, and years.

i have never heard of using say a 89 rear axle and putting in say a 97 taco locker. i can visualize it and it seems like it would work. but I do know you can put either 6 or 4 third in to any axle of the first or second gen. again, i have never experimented with tacos. not even when i was in college. and in college, every one was experimenting with somthing.

the differnce between the ring gears in a 4 cyl and 6 cyl in any of the first or second gen ( not taco ) is the deck height of the ring gear. both are eight inch. the 4 cyl uses a single spider pinion and the 6 uses two spider pinion.
Cool. I did quite a bit more research and learned a lot...

As I suspected/was learning, the suspension is controlled by torsion bars alot like a 100 series Land Cruiser. I seem to recall driving some IFS trucks that were sort of "flat" where the front suspension had gotten a little soft and sloppy, but this one looks pretty tight other than maybe worn shocks. I got some great advice about using the stock torsion bars with one of Roger Brown's spacers, or to possibly just go ahead and use Old Man Emu which as always is pretty solid and delivers that proven OME ride (and might just be the plan :) )

Also turns out he has had the 4WD "looked at" and it is, inded, the front diff that is blown. The truck also includes a new one sourced from a SAS conversion. I have basically all but written SAS off for this truck. Also I couldn't see it (which is odd because I'm usually good at spotting this) but the "lift" is a body lift. So that will come off as it will not be required. IFS stuff around here is cheap to come by, I even found a 4.88 diff with a lock right if the seller hasn't sold it yet. Will probably pull out the lock right though. The question is how much $$ do I want to put into it (and can afford) right away.

On the transfer case front, looks like I have to source a 4 cyl transfer case (which is not a big deal) - build that up and use the 23 spline Marlin kit along with their adapter. So it will be more in the $500-600 range instead of $300-400 rangle. No big deal.

On the e-locker front, I installed some tacoma 8" e lockers into mini truck housings before, it was not bad at all. I was just unsure if the 6 cyl diff had any differences versus the 4 cyl rear diff that would hurt that. Turns out the tacoma e locker will fit right into a v6 housing no different than a 4 cyl housing.

So basically my ideal setup / the setup of this truck will be:

- IFS front, tweaked to be super solid and probably Old Man Emu or just simple 1" Roger Brown Block spacers that will give a full 12" of travel. Something that will make the suspension good yet strong and supple.

- I like that this is the V6 3.slow versus the 4 cyl on this particular model. The engine is low mileage and supposedly runs great. So currently I'm not worried about the valve issue. Hopefully it is not a head-gasket affected engine but he already has 30K miles on it with no issues supposedly. Also has some aftermarket stuff on it including headers and a free flowing exhaust that will hopefully increase power as well. So I am happy though this is not my favorite engine.

- 5 speed (and the stronger V6 5 speed) which I greatly prefer. Recent clutch also at 30K miles.

- Body lift removed, brought back to stock height.

- Skinny 32" tires ideally.

- 4.10 for now, probably regear to 4.88 in the near future. Locker in the rear. And that's it really!

The truck itself is pretty clean and straight and almost no rust. Salt Lake City can be a crap shoot, sometimes some cars are rusted up, but others are clean as a whistle. Where I live is rust prone so I might pull it apart, clean and paint in some areas for preventative rust management. It would be a shame to see this truck get all rusted up. The only ding is a light one in the front right fender. I sourced a used one, correct color and everything, for $65 at a local junk yard. So I think this could actually become a pretty clean little truck eventually! :)

I'm meeting with the owner, hopefuly it will all work out and drive well.

I picked up the truck yesterday, I am psyched..

Foir suspension, I think I am going to do OME rear leafs, stock torsion bars, ball joint spacers, and old man emu shocks on all four corners...

Not sure on gearing, the 3.slow is actually powering it pretty well with 32s and the stock 4.10 diffs. I just want to make the ride a little better...

Thanks guys, appreciated... I'll post up a pic when I get one :)
Here is the truck.

After reading up a little sounds like the OME are really soft, designed designed for the stiff OME springs. Folks are saying run Bilsteins or some of the other cheaper options... I am planning on ordering Old Man Emu rears today (springs and matching shocks). I also ordered from Ball Joint spacers from Roger Brown. I have a feeling I will end up with the stock-heigh Bilsteins up front... And for now at least, the stock torsion bars...
Before you decide to regear and add lockers, you might consider the TRD elockers. You can get them in 4.56 from the factory and the cost of regearing and adding a locker is about the same or a bit more if you get a good discount on the elocker. That's assuming, like me, you would have to pay someone to do the gear set-up. If you can do the gears yourself then it's probably still a bit cheaper to go with regearing. Of course you can't get 4.88 from the factory, only 4.10, 4.30 and 4.56.

As you already have experience with putting these into mini trucks, you probably already know everthing that I just said but I thought it was worth mentioning.

Nice looking truck BTW!
What cha gonna run for rims? tires (32"?)

The 5-speed behind that engine is nice.... I had an auto '95 4Runner, great rig!

One of my good wheeling friends of long wheeled an '87 turbo mini single cab short bed for years, on 36's, kept the IFS, went everywhere of course... I think PM is the best method for keeping that set up functioning well. Also, not cranking the torsion bars up so much...

Can you propane inject that engine?

Sweet truck Andre!
Thanks guys, thanks Jeff also :)

Yes I have put that diff in the rear of mini truck housings -- definitely the way to go. I already found one for $450 shipped with the stock 4.10s. More than I want to/care to spend right now with a lot of other expenses. I like the idea of 4.56 though, and even better ordering new from Toyota -- hadn't thought about that! Yes it is a sweet truck, I am literally loving every second of it so far... Replaced the manifold gaskets last night. Was a PITA with tight V6 emissions controlled quarters but did it in a couple hours. Use OEM manifold gaskets (metal) that I had to trim the actual gasket part out and use separately because the bulges between the ports interfered with the header. But it sounds and is running great. In needs a tune up though IMO, light emissions/vaccuum leak work, new 02 sensor but is definitely running well and getting pretty good mileage too. I figure at least 15-17 or so, so about right...

I am planning still on that old man emu. It is badly in need of at least shocks. Unsure what to run up front, again I ordered the 1.5" lift spacers. The stock Bilsteins will be too short and the aftermarket a hair too long. Maybe that is better though, I dunno... The Ranchos on there though are really restrictive and limit droop very badly... For what its worth!
It has a new engine so I doubt I would get anything out of it... Jeff to answer your question probably 32" and the stock 15" tires. Take these rims, clean them up and paint something, and run them I'm thiking.. Or, 17" FJ Cruiser wheels with some tall narrow 17" tires I found off a rubicon that are closer to 33" but still not too big...

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