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Vova

4wd Sunrader conversion

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Planning to pick up a Sunrader pretty soon. I really want a 4x4 but not willing to spend $20k+ on one.

My plan is to get a 1980-85 2wd Sunrader and convert it to 4wd.

My question is, are the early Sunrader frames the same as the early model truck frames? Could I just swap the Sunrader cab and box to a 4wd long bed frame?  Would I have to extend the frame rails?  I've searched and can't find how/if they modified the Toyota frame.
Plan would be to swap out the 22r for a Chevy 4.3l, a Toyota r151 5-speed, and a full floater rear axle (maybe a 14 bolt).
Thanks in advance.

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The shorty Sunraders only have the frame extensions behind the rear wheel. Mine is 112 inch wheel base same as the long bed trucks. Just needs a little extra butt support

Linda S

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6 hours ago, Vova said:

Planning to pick up a Sunrader pretty soon. I really want a 4x4 but not willing to spend $20k+ on one.
My plan is to get a 1980-85 2wd Sunrader and convert it to 4wd.
My question is, are the early Sunrader frames the same as the early model truck frames? Could I just swap the Sunrader cab and box to a 4wd long bed frame?  Would I have to extend the frame rails?  I've searched and can't find how/if they modified the Toyota frame.
Plan would be to swap out the 22r for a Chevy 4.3l, a toyota r151 5-speed, and a full floater rear axle (maybe a 14bolt).
Thanks in advance.

If you want a GM 4.3, why not just get an S10 Chevy truck with 4WD for the project? It would make the job a lot easier and probably better in the end.  

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I considered the same build until I decided I ultimately would not find the sunrader shell I wanted for the price I wanted to spend.  A frame rail extension should be simple for someone able to complete all of the other work you mentioned.  I understand wanting to do the motor swap and keeping the rest of the Toyota but you're probably going to get some hate from Toyota-fanatics.  Obviously these swaps have been done in many other Toyota's and a sunrader is no different considering its the same base truck as pick ups.  

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The most amazing Sunrader 4x4 I have ever seen has a GM 4.3 in it. Toyota original chassis. I have a 4.3 in my Tiger Provan. Gets as good mileage as my 22re Sunrader but fly's down the road. Best to do what inspires you

Linda S

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On March 27, 2016 at 0:31 AM, linda s said:

The shorty Sunraders only have the frame extensions behind the rear wheel. Mine is 112 inch wheel base same as the long bed trucks. Just needs a little extra butt support

Linda S

Do you know if there is any other frame support added?

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On March 27, 2016 at 5:24 AM, jdemaris said:

If you want a GM 4.3, why not just get an S10 Chevy truck with 4WD for the project? It would make the job a lot easier and probably better in the end.  

I've owns a bunch of Toyotas and like the suspension.  Defiantly want a straight front axle and not IRS. Toyota's are built tough!  Parts are also readily available.

Here is my rock crawler. 4.3l, r151 5-speed, dual transfer cases,  D60 front with 14 bolt rear. 40" swampers, Hummer bead locks, etc.

Maybe I should just put the sunrader on the back of it...

image.jpg

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4 hours ago, linda s said:

The most amazing Sunrader 4x4 I have ever seen has a GM 4.3 in it. Toyota original chassis. I have a 4.3 in my Tiger Provan. Gets as good mileage as my 22re Sunrader but fly's down the road. Best to do what inspires you

Linda S

My 1996 4.3l Toyota does 80 mph down the freeway with the 40" swampers.  Fits perfectly into a Toyota engine bay as well.  3 wires to hook it up with the Painless wiring harness.

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On 3/27/2016 at 12:31 AM, linda s said:

The shorty Sunraders only have the frame extensions behind the rear wheel. Mine is 112 inch wheel base same as the long bed trucks. Just needs a little extra butt support

Linda S

 

Did a search for sunrader frame conversions and stumbled onto this thread.  So if I'm reading this right, you technically could get an 18' sunrader and a 1st gen toyota longbed frame would be long enough?  It would just need some extra support?

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yes my 1986 truck is the same size as a regular long bed but  with the heavy duty dual wheel chassis. The one ton trucks have the same upgraded springs and staggered shocks. The biggy is the frame extensions at the rear. The coach needs the support back there or there would be quite the overhang. Just checked, SR5 4x4 also has the heavy duty spring and shock package. You would be on single wheels though. I don't think it's an issue with big wheels and tires that can hold the load. You'd have to pull the truck bed anyway so don't think welding frame extensions should be too difficult. No where near as complicated as installing all the tanks and wiring and other crap a motorhome needs. Kind of a lot of work. By first generation how old are we talking.

Linda S

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5 hours ago, linda s said:

yes my 1986 truck is the same size as a regular long bed but  with the heavy duty dual wheel chassis. The one ton trucks have the same upgraded springs and staggered shocks. The biggy is the frame extensions at the rear. The coach needs the support back there or there would be quite the overhang. Just checked, SR5 4x4 also has the heavy duty spring and shock package. You would be on single wheels though. I don't think it's an issue with big wheels and tires that can hold the load. You'd have to pull the truck bed anyway so don't think welding frame extensions should be too difficult. No where near as complicated as installing all the tanks and wiring and other crap a motorhome needs. Kind of a lot of work. By first generation how old are we talking.

Linda S

1968-72 was first generation. Very small and underpowered. If I had to take a guess, I'd say the poster lives in Cali and is looking to avoid smog testing.

It can be done, but would involve much frame strengthen and drive train updating.

Edited by fred heath

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Yeah I wouldn't go that old. Much lower gross vehicle weight. There are lots of counties in Cal that only require smog for initial registration. Like where I live. No worries about smog until I sell.

Linda S

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Linda,

Perhaps I wasn't clear on my posting. I think 1975 was first year for emissions. Many younger people in Cali buy earlier years with the intent of not dealing with the issue at all.

No factory smog equipment = No smog check.

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Yeah I knew what you meant but 75 and older aren't really suitable for more than a Chinook camper body. I was just letting people know that there are some less intensive smog options here in Cal. Once compared to every two years is so much less headache. Hint, you live in LA but your camper is stored and used only in a remote area. That remote area determines whether you have to smog or not.

Linda S

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Federal emission standards were started in 1968 that's one reason 68 cars were such dogs the techknowledgey just was not there. Most state got into the act eventually all of them of course with different ideals on how to implement it. Emission standards were not retroactive so whatever the standard was for that year that's what they have to pass.

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Thanks for the speedy responses you guys!  My bad....by first gen I meant the 78-83 pickups.  Which also happen to be my favorite.  Like a lot of people, I want a 4x4 sunrader but realize they are too far and few between.  Although they are pricey when they do come up, that doesn't concern me as much because that's what the market dictates they'll sell for.  And having a rig that was purpose built from the sunrader factory (allbeit with some well-documented flaws), is waaaaay better than scabbing together a rig IMHO.  

I came across that ad a while back of a guy who built a diesel 4x4 conversion and he said that he swapped it over to a 4x4 chassis.  Any reason why?  Were those chassis better than the standard 2wd chassis of the same year?  Or was this so he didn't have to scab running gear into the 2wd chassis - which I think would have been easier.  FWIW, I do think these sunrader's should be on dually axel.  Makes a lot more sense for the weight that needs to be supported not to mention the stability factor as well.  Yes I'm in California (San Diego) but smog is the least of my concerns as I would probably register it in Arizona anyways.  Welding frame extensions and/or gusseting doesn't scare me the least bit.  But swapping running gear or transplanting a sunrader camper onto another chassis does.  And unless I get really lucky in the next couple years and see a 4x4 on CL to buy, I think I'll be forced to find a neglected 2wd sunrader and start tackling some of my fears

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good read.  just got a few pages in.  that dude is pretty ambitious!

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On 12/6/2017 at 9:04 AM, Andrew_v949 said:

Thanks for the speedy responses you guys!  My bad....by first gen I meant the 78-83 pickups.  Which also happen to be my favorite.  Like a lot of people, I want a 4x4 sunrader but realize they are too far and few between.  Although they are pricey when they do come up, that doesn't concern me as much because that's what the market dictates they'll sell for.  And having a rig that was purpose built from the sunrader factory (allbeit with some well-documented flaws), is waaaaay better than scabbing together a rig IMHO.  

I came across that ad a while back of a guy who built a diesel 4x4 conversion and he said that he swapped it over to a 4x4 chassis.  Any reason why?  Were those chassis better than the standard 2wd chassis of the same year?  Or was this so he didn't have to scab running gear into the 2wd chassis - which I think would have been easier.  FWIW, I do think these sunrader's should be on dually axel.  Makes a lot more sense for the weight that needs to be supported not to mention the stability factor as well.  Yes I'm in California (San Diego) but smog is the least of my concerns as I would probably register it in Arizona anyways.  Welding frame extensions and/or gusseting doesn't scare me the least bit.  But swapping running gear or transplanting a sunrader camper onto another chassis does.  And unless I get really lucky in the next couple years and see a 4x4 on CL to buy, I think I'll be forced to find a neglected 2wd sunrader and start tackling some of my fears

 

Bumping the question for anyone in the know

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Not easy to make a 2wd a 4x4. My son-in-law estimated 5000 minimum cost and that was him doing the work for zip. Frame on a 4x4 is different too.

Linda S

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Gotcha.  Thank you very much for the reply.  I figured it would be 5-9k to do a 2wd to 4wd swap.  I just know it would most likely be easier to find a 2wd sunrader and convert it.  Easier in the way that they are more readily availabe than the unicorn 4wd raders'.  I just didn't know if there were frame differences between the 2wd and 4wd toyotas that made it more advantageous to use the 4wd frame.  Ideally I would love to find a 4wd and be done with it....and although the prices are steep....it is what it is.  But a 4wd sunrader comes up maybe once a year so I would stand little to no chance of getting one

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Just so you can see the best conversion I have ever seen. This was a complete frame off conversion with the frame lengthened on a newer Toyota king cab 4x4 truck. So pretty. made by a mechanic in New York.

 

sunrader conversion.jpg

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