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Building a 4x4 rv


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#1 krj

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Posted 19 September 2009 - 05:24 PM

Hello out there. I'm new to this site and looking for some info. I would like an 18' 4x4 rv but there not so plentiful and out of my price range. So my idea (read pipe-dream) is to build one. Has anyone out there done this, or have any info on doing it? Some more specific questions: what years did Toyota make one ton dually, 4x4's, did they make any v6 one ton dually's, if not, can a v6 be put in, if so, what years and engines are compatable? Do the 18' have the same wheel base as the pickups? Any info or other sources will be greatly appreciated.
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#2 bajadulce

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Posted 19 September 2009 - 06:20 PM

Here's what I have discovered in my searchings in regards to wheelbase etc.

It seems the "longbed" was discontinued around 88 which is what these shorter RV's (18') were put on without any frame modifications (* between wheel bases). After 88, the longbed frame was still used, but came with the extra cab. All the beds were now the shortbed version.

In order for you to put a typical Sunrader 18' shell on a truck, you will need to find a longbed truck (aka pre 89). If you'd like to build an RV with a post 88 generation truck, you will have to extend the frame or do a cab swap as I don't see any longbed trucks in this era other than the T100 or Tundra. * Longbed being referred to as the distance from the rear of the cab to the center line of the rear wheels for sake of a shell swap.

Now there are some 2wd 18' sunraders it appears that are in fact on post 88 frames, but maybe they were a special order for the RV manufacturer as they wouldn't need a "bed" or possibly extended frames? Basically these are long bed frames with single cabs (what I did with my own project to get around extending the frame). I haven't looked at a newer sunrader to see if the frames were extended or the cab mounts moved etc, but everything that was sold during this time was either short frame w/ single cab or extra cab on long frame. So these setups are definitely not normal. I do not know of any 4x4 Sunraders that were made in this era which is also the start of the V6.

One member Monty, did in fact take an extra cab 4x4 v6 and extend the frame to fit his 18' rader. He has some pics in the gallery + talks a little about his frame extending in the sawzall thread.

There are also a few other rigs in that thread that were conversions and/or home built as was the case with the "super camper".

Good luck with your project. It would be a straight forward conversion for a pre-89 4x4 longbed or a T100/Tundra minus the rear suspension/desired axle work. Getting the shell high enough off the ground might be a bit of a challenge, but if there's a will, there's a way. Just be safe. :)

#3 krj

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Posted 21 September 2009 - 07:20 PM

Thanks for the input. I've found an 85 sunrader (looks to be the same as in your pic) right down the road from me. Rough shape, but I think it's workable. The 2 front windows are cracked, any sources for new windows. Also, what years did toyota make one ton dually 4x4's? Alternatley, could I take a 4x2 rig, beef up rear suspension and swap out a 4x4 driveline thus avoiding removing camper and putting it on another truck. One more question. Can a v6, say a 3vze engine fit in a mid 80's toyota? Thanks again for your help. Kevin
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#4 krj

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Posted 21 September 2009 - 08:54 PM

Whoa, checked out the sawzall thread, apparently your the man! Nice work. I don't want to sound like a kiss behind, but we think alot alike. I've been looking at making a custom rig, sans most creature comforts, similar to what you've done; more so for skiing (hence the 4x4 desire). Have also been pipe dreaming about the removable idea! I was thinking sealing the cabover part of the camper, not cuting the roof of the 4x4 cab I use, and making a canvas, or other material, closure for both the truck and camper. Maybe seal the two together with a boot similar to those used on truck toppers. Would love to hear if you've pulled it off yet. I've only gotten as far as the SuperCamper in the Sawzall thread so if you've done it and it's on there just let me know. As always, any info is greatly appreciated. Keep up the good work. Kevin
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#5 bajadulce

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Posted 21 September 2009 - 11:32 PM

The 2 front windows are cracked, any sources for new windows.

Those might be hard to find. I actually gave mine away to a member here, Toyoguy, a few months ago.. sorry. If you can rid your camper of those windows, the better I would think. The newer sunraders don't have wrap around front windows probably for a reason. In fact the newer raders I've seen don't have any windows there at all. There's a lot of water running off that part of the roof. The curtains were always closed up there anyways. You won't miss them. :)

what years did toyota make one ton dually 4x4's?

RV manufacturers prob stop building them around 86/87. Others would know more. They seem really rare and have never seen a 4x4 utility bed or stakebed toyota truck.

Could I take a 4x2 rig, beef up rear suspension and swap out a 4x4 driveline thus avoiding removing camper and putting it on another truck.

That certainly seems like one option. I'm pretty sure Nolan did something like this with one of his Chinooks seen on the main portal? From what it sounds, your camper will be gutted/remodeled. Once gutted, the thing doesn't weigh too much and you could get it up in the air without too much trouble. Toyoguy has used some jacks to jack up his shell through the windows. You might pm him to send some pics. Transferring to a new chassis would almost seem the easiest route. Maybe not tho.

Can a v6, say a 3vze engine fit in a mid 80's toyota?

Prob, but this would be a lot of work in terms of wiring harness, electrical components, motor mounts, and a host of other things. There are probably better engines for this kind of swap regardless.

I was thinking sealing the cabover part of the camper, not cuting the roof of the 4x4 cab I use, and making a canvas, or other material, closure for both the truck and camper.

That would seem very useful and a great idea if the truck was to be used separately! :)

GLuck and get some good insulation in the walls/floor/ceiling if you plan to use this as a ski mobile.

What about a chinook? That seems the easiest/lightest/most manoeuvrable of the toyotas to convert to a new 4x4 truck.




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