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Convert Toyota RV From 2WD To 4WD


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#1 Bandit

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Posted 19 August 2009 - 02:01 PM

Hi! Has anyone done this conversion before? I'm looking at using 1988 Toyota 4x4 long bed V6 automatic. Take the long bed off the 1988 and remove the Bandit shell from the 1985 2wd Toyota chassisy and drop it on the modified 1988 chassisy. Are there any issues or mods to make before installing the Bandit shell? Besides making the frame longer for the bumper?

#2 turtle

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Posted 23 August 2009 - 09:54 AM

You may want to consider an earlier 4x4 truck or spending some additional cash and putting in a solid front axle.

Anything more than a light slide in camper or a small Chinook might be straining the IRS front suspension more than it was designed to handle.

turtle - 1991 V-6 auto 18' Sunrader,

Downey Racing air intake,
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#3 Gulfstream Greg

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Posted 28 August 2009 - 11:08 PM

Our 86 sunrader 4x4 (sold it) had the IFS front end. I don't think there was an issue of straining it and the sunrader weighed in at 6800 pounds fully loaded. That said the solid front axle is the choice for serious 4x4 Toyota's. They do make kits to convert the IFS front ends to solid axle and in my opinion if you want the solid axle definitely choose the V6 chassis and convert the axle to solid. You will be a much happier camper with the V6 over the 4 cyl. As far as dropping the bandit shell onto the later year chassis it really should be simple, just reproduce all the mounts as they exist on the original chassis. One thing I would do different though for a serious 4x4 rig is to create those mounts using some sort of flexible connection so that the chassis can twist and flex independently from the coach. Real 4x4 off-road maneuvers really twist the chassis. The bandit is lite enough so that the stock rear end / axle with some beefier axles would probably be OK. Do a search for "Put the sawzall down" for another project like what you are thinking. I do have to defend the IFS front end though. Incredibly smooth ride down the road paved and dirt. I have driven many solid axle 4x4's and IFS and really prefer the ride of the IFS. The sold axle though does seem to offer much better traction in hostile environments. My 71 solid front axle Bronco will back up that theory. It has left many IFS Toyota's in the dust on severe roads, or I should say, trails. But that might also be a weight and issue also. The Bronco being heavier gets traction where the Toyota does not.

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#4 Bandit

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Posted 30 August 2009 - 01:29 PM

Hi Greg,

Thank you for your input about your 86 Sunrader 4x4. If the IFS can handle your 6800# Sunrader, I think my 3900#, weighted just a couple of days ago, Bandit should be no problem for the IFS. I won't be doing any serious 4x4 with my RV. Like you said, serious 4x4 trails requires flexing and a cab attached to a RV shell could be damaged. Looking forward to doing the White Rim Trail in Utah with the Bandit some day. Your average 4x4 with clearnace can do the multipal day trail. Just wanted the lower gears of the transfer case on hills in the back country and the 4x4 for bad situations. I got a 85 Toyota 4x4 for the serious Colorado back country trails.

The only mounts I will need to reproduce out of the eight used, is the two added to the frame extension at the back.

The "Put the sawzall down" project has some great ideas. I especially liked the addition of a rear sway bar from a 1991 4runner. The 88 Toy IFS already has a front sway bar. The 85 Toy leans a lot in the corners, even if it lighter and less top heavy. Also was not sure how to lift the Bandit shell from one truck to another until I saw the front end loader and strips in the one picture.

Gutted the Bandit interrior this week and found water damage to the bottom of the wood cabinets. Got too find out how the water got inside. There was no damage to the shell since it is all fiberglass. Looking at insulation for the walls since it did not have any from the factory. With the curved walls of the shell I do not know if the ridge foam insulation will work. Redoing the cabinets, walls, and roof looks like a big project. I'm thinking of getting any wrecked RV and putting the stuff into the Bandit. Welding I can do, but this fiberglass repair stuff I have never done.

Thanks again for your input, this is a great web site.
Wes

#5 krj

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Posted 14 October 2009 - 06:43 AM

Hey Wes. Looking at starting a similar project myself. I'll start gutting my '78 Chinook this weekend, still thinking about and looking for the truck to move it onto.

Your question about the insulation caught my eye. The Chinook also has curved/angled walls so I am going to looking into spray foam insulation. I know its kind of spendy but if it can serve multiple purposes, i.e. can it be smoothed out and coated directly removeing the neccessity of paneling, it may be worth it. Just a thought, haven't gotten close enough to look into it yet.

I, like you, have welding experience but no fiberglass experience. Looking forward to learning something new. Hows the project coming along? Throw up some pics.

Good luck, Kevin

Hi Greg,

Thank you for your input about your 86 Sunrader 4x4. If the IFS can handle your 6800# Sunrader, I think my 3900#, weighted just a couple of days ago, Bandit should be no problem for the IFS. I won't be doing any serious 4x4 with my RV. Like you said, serious 4x4 trails requires flexing and a cab attached to a RV shell could be damaged. Looking forward to doing the White Rim Trail in Utah with the Bandit some day. Your average 4x4 with clearnace can do the multipal day trail. Just wanted the lower gears of the transfer case on hills in the back country and the 4x4 for bad situations. I got a 85 Toyota 4x4 for the serious Colorado back country trails.

The only mounts I will need to reproduce out of the eight used, is the two added to the frame extension at the back.

The "Put the sawzall down" project has some great ideas. I especially liked the addition of a rear sway bar from a 1991 4runner. The 88 Toy IFS already has a front sway bar. The 85 Toy leans a lot in the corners, even if it lighter and less top heavy. Also was not sure how to lift the Bandit shell from one truck to another until I saw the front end loader and strips in the one picture.

Gutted the Bandit interrior this week and found water damage to the bottom of the wood cabinets. Got too find out how the water got inside. There was no damage to the shell since it is all fiberglass. Looking at insulation for the walls since it did not have any from the factory. With the curved walls of the shell I do not know if the ridge foam insulation will work. Redoing the cabinets, walls, and roof looks like a big project. I'm thinking of getting any wrecked RV and putting the stuff into the Bandit. Welding I can do, but this fiberglass repair stuff I have never done.

Thanks again for your input, this is a great web site.
Wes


Not quite sure what the 'signature' is, so this is mine!

#6 Bandit

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Posted 16 October 2009 - 10:14 AM

Hey Wes. Looking at starting a similar project myself. I'll start gutting my '78 Chinook this weekend, still thinking about and looking for the truck to move it onto.

Your question about the insulation caught my eye. The Chinook also has curved/angled walls so I am going to looking into spray foam insulation. I know its kind of spendy but if it can serve multiple purposes, i.e. can it be smoothed out and coated directly removeing the neccessity of paneling, it may be worth it. Just a thought, haven't gotten close enough to look into it yet.

I, like you, have welding experience but no fiberglass experience. Looking forward to learning something new. Hows the project coming along? Throw up some pics.

Good luck, Kevin



Hi Kevin

Your idea of using spray foam is a really good. A better insulation R value, sound deading, no air gaps, added strenght, and good backing for the paneling. Diffently need your wiring and plumbing in place.

Finding a good long wheel base 4x4 is not easy. Most 4x4 are short wheel base and most long wheel base trucks are 2wd. Have fun looking.

Oh, I found a web page where is guy is doing a Chinnock onto a Toyota Tundra that you might might want to ckeck out. http://forum.ih8mud....bisoffroad.html

I'll get some pictures up in a few days. My camera and computer do not like talking with each other.

Later, Wes

#7 dogre

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Posted 16 October 2009 - 05:40 PM

A little off course, but has anyone heard of basing an RV conversion on one of the older Toyota FJ60 Landcruisers. It is definately a 4X, goes down the highway like a tank, but will pull tree stumps out of the ground with the low gearing. The reason I ask is that I have one in my garage. I purchased it new in '84. I like my old 'Toys'. Your thoughts?


Back roads are where it's happening. Happy trails to all!

#8 bajadulce

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Posted 16 October 2009 - 09:08 PM

@ Bandit on 4x4 chassis.
The Bandit looks like a fantastic candidate size wise for a 4x4 swap. That's going to be a really fun camper!

@ Wheelbase:
This might be the toughest challenge for the 89-95 generation truck if that's what you're after. While the wheelbase increased to 120", the problem is that those frames ALWAYS have an extra cab on them and thus the axle to cab measurements aren't anywhere near the same as the older "longbed" trucks (with the 7' bed which your camper is most likely based on). So you'll have to do something to get that extra foot or so of space needed between your cab and the rear axle. Monty actually extended his xtra cab frame (more than the 120") or you could extend a single cab frame (103") to the extra length. Myself, I put a single cab onto an xtra cab frame thus gaining the needed dimensions (actually gaining a few inches over the older pre89 longbed) while still retaining the factory frame integrity. Both aren't 5 minute jobs and each route has its pros and cons. You'll need to do something tho if you plan to use a truck built after 1988.

@IFS for 4x4 RV:
I would agree that you aren't going to be doing any serious offroading in a standup RV or even a chinook for that matter. You're just looking to have some more traction/clearance in those situations. The IFS is pretty nice for cruising those bumpy washboard dirt roads that's for sure. Doesn't the IFS truck sit a little lower than a SAxle too? Keeping a 4x4 RV's center of Grav low would seem a big priority. IFS is alot easier to work on.

@ Greg's proposal that the camper be on bushings.
I think this is a really good idea. Seems a 3-point system is really popular with the offroad campers. Affixed in the rear + 2 bushings up front. Are you planning on attaching the shell to the cab as well? Do Bandit's have a rubber seal or anything like that where the cab and shell join?
This topic @ Expeditionportal.com is quite interesting... and heated.
pivoting frames and mounting campers

@ Kevin learning fiberglass work
If you did any paper mache as a kid, you're well on your way to being a master boat builder! :o It's not too difficult. Fiberglass is amazing that's for sure. Just be sure to scuff/grind up the mating surfaces as poor adhesion seems to be a common error. That and ppl tend to use too much catalyst.

@ The chinook on the tundra:
I was following that thread for awhile, but apparently the owner lost interest in the project and is selling it in its unfinished state for 15K if I read right. Love the pic of the thing upside down in the shop! :o

@ The Landcruiser RV.
This has to be the most popular chassis for the serious "expedition" type toyotas. All of the Australian campers are on this chassis. Maybe the BEST Landcruser based camper I've come across has to be this one linked below. They have a pretty "lowkey" look about them that I particularly like. Nothing fancy, just simple and well planned out. They have a great .pdf file you MUST check out. I'd like to thing that my own poor man's version camper most resembles this style! :) I think they even have one design integrated on a flatbed! :)
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Here's there site:
www.tourfactory.de

And here's that incredible .pdf file I was referring to: (not in English)
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^^ CLICK ME TO BE BLOWN AWAY!

#9 XPSunrader

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Posted 08 January 2010 - 10:32 PM

This is great that I found this thread. I will be looking at a Bandit this month when I head backk to Massachusetts. I really would love to see some pics of your progress on this project. Also did you say you are in CO, Where ?

I need to make a choice, Bandit or 18' Sunrader. Unless I come across a Slide in Truck camper first.

#10 Maineah

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Posted 09 January 2010 - 05:39 AM

I agree with Greg the independent front end is plenty strong enough and then some. The main reason for using the solid front axle is clearance there is no lower “A” arm to get in the way. There is no way you will be able to realize the benefits of the greater clearance some thing sitting that high will fall over before you will be able to climb over “that big rock” that you may not be able to with the independent axle. The independent axle ride is far better and less prone to problems; having had Toyota’s with both axles by far the independent is much better in every respect except for off road competition. The solid axle is a pain to work on and every one you might find is going to be used read bad U joints, trunions and bearings. Retro fitting your newer one with a solid axle will be a night mare every thing is different.




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