View Full Version : Am I crazy here?

09-27-2011, 01:48 AM
Ok, a little history. I have an 02 Tacoma that is outfitted per my signature below. I have about 140k miles right now.

My bushings are now going bad and I am getting rattles and squeaks. I believe my truck is overall in solid condition but I am not sure how far I would go away from a parts source.

My technitop tent had a leak in the cover which lead to the tent sitting in water for a while leading to corrosion on all of the hardware, mold on the fabric, and a few damaged zippers. The tent may eventually become a project for someone else.

I plan on building a bed replacement camper with room for 4 adults to sleep comfortably as well as some really cool features, but that will be for another thread.

The question I have is:
I would really like a SAS Tacoma sized rig with a turbo diesel and possibly a manual transmission as a foundation. I will probably go no further south than Mexico and I may go north to arctic regions. Is it REALLY that bad to go that far away from stock? With the money I would have to spend on a new Tacoma I would be able to fund a pretty well built rig.

What do you guys think? Is it that hard to build a very custom reliable rig. I would try t use as many stock parts from other vehicles as possible.

09-27-2011, 03:59 AM
Surprising that no one is stepping up to the plate to render an opinion so I guess I may as well. I am a huge fan of diesel power plants, even conceived of a four cylinder Cummins TD for a Defender 90. Great plan but the cost was extraordinary ($15,000+) . In your situation, your idea of a turbo diesel conversion may make a lot of sense if you can obtain, install, and drive your diesel for as long as it takes to amortize the outlay. Here in metro Denver we are stymied by the emission issues making diesel conversion somewhat painful. Last time I was in Mexico (2007) the Hylux was available there. Don't know if it was diesel or gas. Manafre and Spectre in SoCal used to import a shed-load of Japanese only market parts and engines, some diesel, which may or may not be available. Bottom line, the torque and mileage of turbo diesels is alluring; can you amortize the cash outlay? You may well need to put an additional 200K on your '02 Tacoma to justify the final cost. It's not just a different engine; can your original gearbox and driveline abide by the extra torque? Add in a different fuel tank (potentially), fuel pump, etc. It's a game of dominoes! Best of luck! Bottom line: why isn't the Hylux or Tacoma available here with the TDI????

09-27-2011, 04:55 AM
Thanks for the response.

I wish I could buy off the shelf what I want, but I don't see that happening.

What I really would like is an fzj80 suspension and frame with my body and future camper with a diesel. I thought about trying to import a diesel cruiser but parts are hard to get here. I don't think Mexico has as many diesel toyotas as one would expect. So, I assumed that I would need a 4bt from cummins or a 4bdt from isuzu. It seams easier to do a SAS on my truck than to do body swap.

I may be speaking gibberish at this point.

Everyone, please feel free to chime in on options or opinions on this day-dream project.

09-27-2011, 06:08 AM
Why yes, you are crazy... ask me how I know. As a point of reference see my report on performing a SAC with dual radius arms, much like the setup found on an 80 series Land Cruiser. It documents one example of the mania you describe. http://www.expeditionportal.com/forum/threads/52397-Past-the-point-of-no-return...?highlight=

Since performing this conversion last spring I've traveled about 18K miles this year (coast to coast, Canada to Arizona, and later this week for the VT Overland Rally and the Fall Crawl in PA) on this suspension and have been very happy with its offroad performance and stability and predictability on the highway.

I think I share your vision; like any automotive hobby there's an element of self-expression and satisfaction in designing and building a specialized overlanding vehicle. My Tacoma is not everyone's ideal vehicle but it has bridged the domains of simple trail vehicle to moderate rock crawling that I do all the while carrying my gear securely.

There are several Toyota diesel options, the 1KZ and 1KD engine swap, performed most notably by dieseltoyz in San Antonio. Another option you mentioned I would discourage is the Cummins 4BT because of its size, but would like to learn more about the B3.3 that's being discussed in another thread on this forum. It's installation in a FJ60 has been pretty exciting to observe.

Can you justify the cost? No way. But are we doing these things to our trucks to see how frugal we can be? I have a capable, reliable truck that has done everything I've asked of it - it's more adept than the driver. When (if ever) I sell it will I get what I put into it or what I think its worth? Never. Yup, I'm crazy. But I'm the guy who smiles every time I drive the truck.

There are a couple of other things I want to do eventually like an auxiliary fuel cell and a Helton heat exchanger. When I win the lottery that diesel engine will get fast-tracked for installation. The mania persists...

Ramblings of another crazy guy, tsk, tsk.

09-28-2011, 02:28 PM
Yes you are crazy. Unfortunately on this forum, crazy is good. Screw it. It's paid for and will be what you want!

09-29-2011, 02:41 AM
Can you justify the cost? No way. But are we doing these things to our trucks to see how frugal we can be? I have a capable, reliable truck that has done everything I've asked of it - it's more adept than the driver. When (if ever) I sell it will I get what I put into it or what I think its worth? Never. Yup, I'm crazy. But I'm the guy who smiles every time I drive the truck.


The real question is why the infatuation with diesel? What will you be able to do with a diesel that you couldn't do with a Toyota gas engine like the 2uzfe?

09-29-2011, 02:59 AM
I'm a big fan of crazy. But I'm an even bigger fan of reliable. I have a friend who built a one-off frankenstein 4x4 diesel monstrosity. I love the idea of it, and the looks of it, but I also note that he doesn't take it far, often. It just seems he can never get the fear out of his head of "What if....?" (something not designed to work together breaks t when I'm 200 miles from nowhere...)

09-29-2011, 03:01 AM

The real question is why the infatuation with diesel? What will you be able to do with a diesel that you couldn't do with a Toyota gas engine like the 2uzfe?

Oooo, that would make the smile quotient go way high, wouldn't it? Problem with that engine is it's just too big to squeeze into the engine compartment of a 1st gen with my dual batteries, aux fuse block, air compressor, etc.

But why the infatuation? Because I can.

The 1KD and 1KZ have been fitted into that same sized space and mate with the A340 transmission. Plus, it makes that soothing diesel clatter and gets respectable fuel economy, and all that torque... you know in some quarters diesel is an aphrodisiac. We've also already established that I'm crazy.

09-29-2011, 04:41 AM
toyota diesel transplants: www.dieseltoyz.com

Good luck, and worth every penny in my opionion if your going to keep the rig till u die.

09-29-2011, 05:17 AM
I can chime in and say that you are not totally crazy. I have a 2004 Tacoma with the 1kz-te in it that Mister Tango mentions. Parts are not that difficult to get from Japan, and in some cases can be cheaper from Japan than from here in the States. I swapped out the automatic transmission that the engine came with and put in the USDM r150f tranny that you probably already have in your truck, so there are lots of local available parts if I need them. Not only that, but the engine mounts did not even need to be modified to put the engine in. It is a very easy engine to work on, and I have high expectations for its reliability. SAC may be down the road a ways, but I think that I will be able to get most places that I want to go with the IFS at the moment.

Where in the country are you? If you are nearby, you might as well come for a spin to see if it catches ;)

09-29-2011, 07:10 PM
The camper part- sure, all for that. I'm planning that right now as well.
The 80 series frame- as long as you're a fan of heavy.... but unless you came up with a complete diesel cruiser donor, I think its just not worth while. I like the trim outside dimensions of the gen1 Taco, but if you're adding a camper and wide axles, perhaps a whole cutaway on a Cruiser would work.
SAS/SAC- yes, the ultimate off-road performance is cool. The IFS can be made to work very nicely too. go with it, if you like.
Diesel- no way will you ever get your money back. But if you like the added range and torque, and money is there... do that too! I've decided for myself, that I'll only do a conversion, should the trusty 5VZ fail me.

09-30-2011, 06:13 AM
Mr. Ramdough... Mr. Petrolburner asks what the diesel can do that the gas engine can't do? Simple answer? Run under water. Yes! I've been there, done that. Any sparked motor, under water, can simply short out because of the spark plugs. Apples to apples, raised intakes, as long as the intake is above the water line, a diesel will chug along quite happily. Doubt it? Watch some of the old Land Rovers in the Camel Trophy videos. All of them ran just fine with water over the hoods! All of them were diesels. Also, as an aside, bear in mind the huge torque advantage, at low RPM, that diesel engines have over gasoline powered engines. Gasoline engines may well outstrip diesels at high RPM's but during the really crucial times of slow over-landing, are we not relying on the low speed torque to pull us through the cuds? As an aside, I was first alternate for the US Camel Trophy Team in 1992. Kind of like kissing one's sister but I can live with that.

09-30-2011, 01:11 PM
I recall hearing that now that you mention it about running under water. Also the low speed torque is great. I wonder though if you put the fuel economy into miles per dollar, is the diesel much different from my Tundra at 15 mpg? At say $3.85 per gallon, that's 25.67 per mile. What kind of mileage and price for diesel do you expect?

09-30-2011, 11:01 PM
Petrolburner... your cost analysis is spot on and alludes to my first response. Diesel pros: massive torque at low RPM's which is great for the really gnarly off-roading, can run underwater (with a snorkel and a sealed fuel filler), "better" fuel economy when over the road and off road. Cons: cost of conversion, availability of parts to perform the conversion even using all Toyota parts, availability of said parts for normal usage let alone "dire issues" (yep, even in a Toyota), availability of mechanics who know and understand the Toyota diesels let alone can perform competent service. Regarding your question of expected mileage: I suspect that a Tacoma with a diesel, on pavement, should achieve mid 20 miles per gallon so if you factor in cost per gallon of diesel fuel vs. gasoline, as long as the gas Tacoma can run regular, the gas truck wins every time. Even the Tundra would be more cost effective. Factor all the costs of conversion to diesel and one quickly realizes that a diesel conversion would probably take well beyond 200,000 miles to amortize. That is the sad, bottom line. Having owned many a diesel (currently have a 335d BMW...I'd love to drop that motor into an FJ 60!!!) I can appreciate Ramdough's passion but he'll never be able to justify the cost regardless of who makes the engine. Pity that Toyota chooses not to send diesel pickups to the US.

10-03-2011, 11:42 PM
It is a shame the rest if the world gets some better trucks and motorcycles from Japan than us. Strange to think with all the buying power we as a nation have, that it wouldn't be the other way around. Hopefully the new Jeep Cherokee diesel does well and Japan follows.

10-04-2011, 01:37 AM
i found your solution right here. newer tacoma, diesel swap, manual trans and sas'd. plus its pretty cheap!