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General information about the various mods available to 4x4 vehicles covering pros and cons to assist in the decision of "Is this the right mod?"

Understanding OBDII Engine Systems and Fuel Mixture Control

Tech: Understanding OBDII Engine Systems and Fuel Mixture Control

When the Check Engine Light comes on due to the fuel mixture related error codes P0171 and P0172, or your 3rd generation Toyota with either the 3.4L V-6 or 2.7L 4 cylinder engine is just not running like it should, the oxygen sensor and the Mass Air Flow Sensor (MAF) are common suspect items. They do work closely together in performing their function, but without additional information on exactly how they do their job, it can be confusing to determine which might be at fault. Either sensor is too expensive to do a trial and error replacement to determine which might be causing a problem. This article will examine the role these sensors play, along with the Main Engine Control Unit to maintain proper fuel/air mixture control.

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Replacing Toyota AUTO Hubs

Aisin Manual Hub

In this article I will explain to you how each of the Toyota hubs works and what each one looks like. Hopefully this will help to end the confusion about the different types of Toyota hubs that have existed over the years. I will talk mostly about the troublesome AUTO hubs that some Toyota 4x4s came with between 1984 and 1989, and how to rid yourself of them if you choose to do so.

Toyota has always offered manual locking hubs on all of the Toyota has always used Aisin manual hubs. They are the best available hub on the market for your Toyota. Their quality and strength surpasses all aftermarket hubs. Unfortunately, their price also surpasses all aftermarket brands. Buying a 'new' pair of Aisin is out of the question. If you need to replace a hub visit a wreck yard and buy a used Aisin, or get a pair of new aftermarket hubs with a lifetime warranty.

With manual hubs, IF you have both hubs LOCKED, you will be able to shift into 4WD at any safe speed.

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Toyota Tech: Driveshaft CV Modification for Increased Angle

Toyota Double Cardan CV Joints

Toyota drive shaft CV joints, also known as "double cardan" joints, come in several different varieties. The ones in the front of straight axle (pre-'86) Toy's came from the factory with a max operating angle of about 35 degrees. The '84 and '85 versions are especially sought-after since they will bolt right up to later model trucks and the pre-'84's use smaller, weaker bolts.

The joints that come in the front of IFS Toy's can usually only go to about 25 degrees or less in stock form, and the ones that came in two-piece rear drive shafts are similar.  The max angle of these later joints isn't enough for use in the front of a lifted, flexy, straight-axle rig without damaging the joint (pushing it past its max angle), but it can be modified to achieve the higher angles. And since IFS CV's are generally cheaper and easier to come by, this is modification is fairly common. Some drive line shops like High Angle Driveline can modify your joint for you, or you can do it yourself.

All that needs to be done to the joint is some minor clearance (grinding) inside, but to do that you have to disassemble the joint-- and that can be the tricky part. This article shows the method I use to get the joint apart, and where and how to clearance it for more angle.

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Toyota Tech: Pickup and 4Runner Model Year Specifications

Toyota Tech: Pickup and 4Runner Model Year Specifications

Short Cuts
| Toyota Section | Toyota Tech | Maintenance Section |

Below are the basic features and options for Toyota pickups and 4Runners for each model year. This is a living document that is meant to be all inclusive, but certainly there are details that have been missed. If you have information that you wish to have added to this document, please email Harry Wagner. Contributions of pictures listed as "Coming Soon" are appreciated, as they are needed to complete this document. Further information can be found listed by part or by VIN.
1979 Toyota Hilux Pickup

1979 Shortbed Hilux Pickup. 1st generation
The Hilux pickup was first offered in a factory 4wheel drive configuration in 1979. This pickup featured a 20R 2.2L 4 cylinder motor backed by a L43 4-speed transmission and a RF1A gear driven 21 spline transfer case with the shifter on the top of the transfer case. Driveshafts were attached to the transfer case and pinion flanges with 8 mm bolts. Leaf springs and solid axles geared with 4.10 gears could be found at each end of the truck, the front controlled by a push-pull steering configuration. Both front and rear axles featured 8" ring gears and 1 5/16", 30 spline axle shafts. The two configurations offered were a shortbed with a 103" wheelbase and a longbed with a 109" wheelbase. These trucks can be identified by their round headlights and bench seat.

1980 Toyota Hilux Pickup

The only notable difference from the 1979 model is the use of 4.37 gears standard instead of 4.10s and the addition of a small gusset on the front axle housing.

1981 Toyota Hilux Pickup

1981 Trekker.
1981 saw the first major changes in the Hilux model. A 2.4L 22R motor replaced the previous 20R and could be found connected to a L45 4-speed or a L50 5-speed. Both transmissions contained "top" shifters for the RF1A 21 spline gear driven transfer case. The standard gear ratio used in 1981 was 3.90 and the front end received a new grill and square headlights in place of the previous round lights. 1981 saw the introduction of Trekkers made by Winnebago and Trailblazers by Griffith. These were the predecessors to the 4Runner.

1982 Toyota Hilux Pickup

Few changes were made to the Hilux for the '82 model year. The only significant difference was the return to 4.10 gears.

1983 Toyota Hilux Pickup

1983 Longbed Hilux Pickup.
1983 marked the last year for the first generation Hilux pickup. A L52 5-speed transmission was the only option behind the carbureted 22R engine and in front of the RF1A "top" shifting 21 spline gear driven transfer case. Luxuries such as bucket seats, air conditioning, power steering, and power brakes were first offered this year. Otherwise, technical features remained unchanged from the previous model year.

1984 Toyota Pickup & 4Runner

1984 4Runner. 1st generation 1984 pickup. 2nd generation
1984 brought a new body style for pickups and the introduction of the Xtra Cab and 4Runner. The shortbed pickup and 4Runner both had 103" wheelbases, while the Xtra Cab and longbed pickups had 112" wheelbases. The 2.4L 22R motor carries over from the previous model, but now contains plastic timing chain guides. The motor was backed by a G52 transmission mated to the familiar RF1A 21 spline, gear driven transfer case with a "forward" shifter. The front axle received additional trussing in 1984 and the driveshaft flange bolts were increased from the previous 8 mm to 10 mm, otherwise the axles and suspension remained unchanged. New options included a clinometer/altimeter in the dash as well as a rear heater on the 4Runner.

1985 Toyota Pickup

1985 Xtra Cab Pickup.
Electronic fuel injection was first offered as an option on 1985 models. A multitude of transmissions were first available in '85, including the existing G52 behind the 22R motor. The 22RE came backed with a W56 5 speed manual or A340F 4 speed automatic transmission. Trucks and 4Runners equipped with a manual transmission contained 4.10 gears, while automatic rigs typically came with 4.30s. Another difference between the auto and manuals were the transfer cases; manuals came with "top" shifting RF1A gear driven transfer cases while automatics came with VF2A chain driven transfer cases. 1985 was the last year for a front solid axle with leaf springs and push-pull steering. Automatic locking front hubs came standard on SR5 Xtra Cab model only.

1986 Toyota Pickup & 4Runner

1986 Shortbed Pickup.
More new innovations were available from Toyota in 1986. The solid front axle gave way to a new independent front suspension (IFS) utilizing torsion bars and a-arms. This new suspension housed a differential with a 7.5" ring gear and 1 1/8", 27 spline axle shafts. A turbocharged 22RE was added to the available 22R and 22RE to compete with Nissan's new V6 powered pickup. The 22RTE was available with an R151F 5 speed manual transmission in the pickups only, or a 4 speed automatic A340H as an option in pickups and standard in 4Runners. The R151F came backed with a RF1A gear driven transfer case equipped with a 23 spline output shaft instead of the standard 21 spline shaft. This transfer case utilized a "forward" shifter in models with bench seats, while pickups equipped with buckets had a top shifting transfer case. 22R motors once again came backed by G52 or G54 5 speed manuals and "forward" shift RF1A gear driven transfer case. The 22RE was available with either a W56 5 speed manual and top shifting RF1A 21 spline gear driven transfer case or a A340F 4 speed automatic tranmission with a VF2A chain drive transfer case. Other mechanical changes for 1986 were optional automatic hubs and a standard 3" wider 8" solid rear axle with larger (10") drum brakes and axle tubes. The automatic used with models equipped with automatic hubs was the A340H 4 speed automatic transmission came with an electronically controlled integral transfer case. A digital dash was optional on the turbo 4Runner and all turbo models came equipped with a stronger four pinion rear differential.

1987 Toyota Pickup & 4Runner

No significant model changes were made for 1987.

1988 Toyota Pickup & 4Runner

1988 Xtra Cab Pickup.
1988 saw the introduction of the 3VZE 3.0L V6 motor and the demise of the 22RTE and 22R motors. The 3VZE came backed by a R150 transmission and VF1A 23 spline chain driven transfer case or the A340H transmission with an integral transfer case. Vehicles equipped with this motor inherited the previous turbos' stronger four pinion rear differential and featured larger brake master cylinders and front calipers. The 22RE was still offered with a W56 5 speed manual and top shifting, gear driven RF1A transfer case or a A340F 4 speed automatic transmission with a VF2A chain drive transfer case. Other features such as body style, wheelbase, suspension, and options remained the same as the previous year.

1989 Toyota Pickup & 4Runner

1989 Shortbed Pickup. 3rd generation
A new, rounder body style for pickups became available in 1989. Only the pickups received the new body style, not the 4Runner. With this body style came a much improved interior, galvanized beds, and a longer wheelbase for longbeds and Xtra Cabs at 122". Shortbed and 4Runners kept the same 103" wheelbase as previous years. Other changes included the optional 4.56 gears in addition to the to the previously available 4.10s and 4.30s and the location of the shifter used on the RF1A transfer case behind W56 transmissions changed from the top of the transfer case to the tailhousing of the transmission. While the basic suspenion and axles remained the same, the rear springs increased in length 3 inches to 51".
Rear ABS became standard on pickups in 1989, but is only activated in 2WD. Automatic Differential Disconnect (ADD), a vacuum operated four wheel drive system, was first available in 1989 as an option. 4 cylinder trucks equipped with this system utilized a 5 speed G58 manual transmission and a 26 spline VF1A chain drive transfer case or a A340F with a VF2A 23 spline chain driven transfer case. Starting in 1989 the 22RE received a revised intake manifold with an integral air control valve, otherwise the motor options remained the same as the previous year.
1990 Toyota Pickup & 4Runner

1990 4Runner. 2nd generation
The only significant change for the 1990 model year was the updated 4Runner, which shared the new, rounder body style that the pickups unveiled in 1989. The new 4Runner was available in a four door version for the first time, however a rare two door version was also available until 1992. Both versions of the new 4Runner came with integrated rooflines in place of the previous removable tops. All other features are basically the same as in the previous year. Note that starting in 1990 and continuing through 1995, the 3VZE motor was subject to special service campaign V06 for headgasket problems.

1991 Toyota Pickup & 4Runner

No significant model changes were made in 1991.

1992 Toyota Pickup & 4Runner

1992 Shortbed Pickup.
The only notable addition in the 1992 model year was the availability of 4.88 gears in pickups and 4Runners equipped with automatic transmissions. These gears came in a unique rear third member that is not compatible with other gears. A slight redesign of the front headlights, grill, and bumper also took place for the 1992 model year. Wheelbase, suspension, and drivetrain options all remained the same.

1993 Toyota Pickup & 4Runner

The two door 4Runner was discontinued in 1993, otherwise Toyota saw little reason to alter their rugged pickup line.
1994 Toyota Pickup & 4Runner

1994 4Runner.
Side impact beams, CFC-free air conditioning, and a third brake light became standard features in 1994, and four wheel ABS became an option on V6 models. These were the only changes to pickup and 4Runners from the previous model year.

1995 Toyota Pickup & 4Runner

1995 Xtra Cab Pickup.
1995 marked the last year of the venerable Toyota pickup before the introduction of the Tacoma in 1995.5.

1996 Toyota 4Runner


1996 was the first year for the all new 3rd generation 4Runner.  The redesign includes all new engines, transmissions, suspension, and frames.  For the first time, the 4Runners did not share chassis and sheet metal with the pickup, which had been redesigned and named the Tacoma.  The 4Runner is still designed and built in Japan by Toyota, with a full length boxed frame, where the Tacoma was designed and built in California with various components such as the c-channel frame and drive shafts made by the Dana Spicer Corporation.


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Anti-Sway Bar Bushing Replacement

After running some challenging four wheel drive trails, I found the anti-sway bar bushings were split and badly in need of replacement. It's no surprise really, since I never disconnect the bar while off-roading. Unlike the earlier models, the 2001 and later Tacomas have very short endlinks, so they don't offer much of an opportunity for fabricating a quick disconnect. That's fine with me, because during my attempts to measure the difference between connected and disconnected, I've never found enough of a difference to worry about. In other words, I could still reach the limits of travel with the bar connected. I have yet to test the flex with the new urethane bushings. If the suspension doesn't flex as well, I'll be visiting the dealer for a new set of rubber bushings. In the meantime, here's the info on the urethane ones!

Split Bushing - as I found it... ...and off the vehicle.

From the manufacturer's product listing, it appears that two sizes of bars were offered for the 1995 1/2 to 2000 Tacoma, a 26 and 27 mm diameter. The difference between those two sizes is roughly half the diameter of a toothpick, so you'll need a caliper or other fairly precise tool to measure your bar. I used the Energy Suspension 27mm kit, part number 8.5118G. It included bushings and washers for the endlinks, which are not needed for the 2001 and later models.

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