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I started a build thread on toyota minis' forum but it being a sunrader, i feel as though this swap/build thread will help people who are looking for the answers of how to better their builds. This is a copy and paste:


Post #1


"To keep all my questions and the answers as well as my build in one place, I felt it would be a good idea to start a build thread with a good layout of what i have, what my plan is, and if anyone has any input, it would be much appreciated.

A little background:

As many people my age (im 25) probably are, im tired of paying rent and buying a house with interest rates at 6.5% is just unrealistic so my girlfriend and i decided to look into RV/Vanlife to cut our costs and save for a down payment while enjoying living on the road. After deciding we didnt want a vehicle with monthly payments, all new vans were out of the question and old vans or rvs were the main solution. We needed something big enough to fit us two and our 65lb dog while not being so massive that it cant park anywhere. This led us to a 1978 Toyota Sunrader based on the hilux chassis. Its the size of a large jeep or modern truck in length while having ample standing room and sleeping area (bed in the cab over is a full when closed but expands to a king). We also liked the rear hatch version we found so we can essentially remove a wall and open the RV up more when we are settled in a spot.

After flying to New Mexico to pick it up and finding it gushing oil out the timing cover like a hydrant, i found a shop in Santa Fe that helped me out and got it fixed for us asap. They even let us sleep in the shop in the RV while we waited overnight for parts. Automotive Professionals, they are awesome, if you are in Santa Fe, they are good guys. We then drove to Austin where i had to get some work done and then started driving home to CT. The engine ended up blowing the rings in middle-of-nowhere Arkansas and we loaded it on to a penske flat bed and towed it the rest of the 2k mile journey home.

The plan:

Currently, the RV has a blown 20r, L43? from my understanding transmission, and a "foolie" dually rear end. I have already sourced and bought a full float 6lug rear end from a late 80s motor home as well as a w55 trans from a late 80s pickup. The last of my parts needs was an engine. With 22REs being harder to find these days, especially in the northeast, i opted for a 1997 Tacoma parts truck with a 3RZ as a swap. I plan to use the existing harness and ECU to minimize cost while also getting the vehicle running sooner so i can feel comfortable renovating the RV part of the camper as there is no point in starting that if the vehicle doesn't run.

Questions i have as of right now:

The 3RZ i know will not just bolt in to the existing mounts so i've been looking online for mounts that would help it just bolt in while maintaining the 5° lean the engine had from the factory. Because i have a 20r, despite it being a 1978, these engine mounts should work:

Has anyone used these or tried this? Should these work?

The w55 came out of a late 80s toyota pickup truck, from my understanding, the bell housings for trucks were different than those that came on the cars for similar engines with toyota. I also have the bellhousing that is on the tacoma if necessary but from my understanding, that is a R150 4WD trans which would make the bell housing completely different and there for unusable for my needs.

Will my W55 trans with truck bellhousing bolt to the 3RZ without modification? Or do I need to find a different bellhousing?

Let me know what everyone thinks and i appreciate any help in advance.




Post #2


Heres a build update:

Moving forward with the dismantling of the '97 Tacoma. A few issues i plan to run into:

ECU: So the vehicle i bought is a 4wd automatic and i am swapping the engine but not the transmission. I will need to buy a separate manual ecu for the 3rz to make it work instead of shorting the automatic stock ecu. As the following 3RZ Swap Guide details, its easier to just buy a manual ecu and swap it in. The guide is also a mostly Tell-All for 3RZ swaps so read the whole thing anyways if you plan to do this swap.

See the guide here: https://board.marlincrawler.com/index.php?topic=19275.0

ECU Continued: I plan to swap in the stock ecu in an attempt to save money but this will bring upon a unique collection of issues. The first issue is the OBD-2 codes that i will not be able to turn off unless i spent mountains of time on getting them fixed. The code that i am especially haunted by from a bunch of previous vehicles is P0420 which is an emissions code. That is just one of many that i expect to encounter but in an effort to save $3k, i'm going to try. If i fail, Haltech it is.

NOTE on my donor vehicle: The 3RZ came with 3 different types of ignition systems based on year (there is some variation based on which month but i'm not 100% on those dates so if you have a cross over year, take these numbers as a point of reference): The 1995-1996 3RZ had a distributor based ignition. The 1997-2000 3RZ had a 2-coil ignition system. The 2001-2004 had a 4-coil ignition system. You should be able to tell by looking at the motor.

Here is the potential ecu and engine harness i may buy if the stock ecu path doesnt work: https://snpspeed.com/all-go-fast-pr...00-ecu-for-year-range-97-00-w-2-coil-complete

3RZ Engine Mounts: From what i've researched, because my '78 hilux has a 20r, in theory the chillkat mounts should allow me to adapt the 3rz into the my truck. Im hopeful but not 100% certain. Will know more soon.

Here are the mounts: https://www.lceperformance.com/ProductDetails.asp?ProductCode=9010070

W55 to 3RZ: I believe these should bolt up just fine. The W55 came off of a 22RE which was in a 1985 pickup. I believe that means it should just bolt up to the 3RZ just fine. But, we'll see. This thread helped me a little bit but doesnt entirely answer my questions.

Here is the transmission knowledge thread i reference: https://toyotamotorhome.org/forums/...-l43-to-w50-and-w50-to-w55-transmission-swap/


Post #3


Update: The tacoma has been brought to where it will be stripped of its engine. Runs great and starts up fine every time which is awesome so i am confident on moving forward with dropping it in to my Hilux. Here is a trailering pic:



The 3RZ has been pulled from the Tacoma parts truck. Thankfully, it doesnt appear to have any leaks or cracks from my inspection. Planning on degunking it before putting it in to the Hilux. The only parts i now need to put the 3RZ and W55 into the hilux is the 3RZ to W series trans bellhousing (W59 4cyl). My parts truck unforunately is an automatic and im having trouble sourcing a bellhousing for the w55 to mount up.

Here is the engine right after removal:




Parts that im using to swap this engine and trans in are as follows:

1997 Twin-Coil 3RZ
Toyota W55 Transmission with W59 Bellhousing (must be a 4cyl manual bellhosing, start on drivers side)
1997 4cyl T100 Manual Trans ECU (ECU must match the transmission type)
Factory engine harness
LCE Engineering 3RZ to 20R engine mounts
3RZ Flywheel, Clutch, Clutch fork, Slave, and L43 Master Cylinder (Im not sure if this master cylinder will work, but worth a try because then i don’t have to buy another one)
Factory Hilux Trans Crossmember (This will need some adjustment holes drilled to accommodate the W55 but based on the following thread, it should work: https://toyotamotorhome.org/forums/...-l43-to-w50-and-w50-to-w55-transmission-swap/

Next up is removing the blown 20r and then the L43 (the trans worked great, just want a fifth gear for highway driving). The 20r and L43 will be for sale if anyone wants them.


Post #4


Update: The Sunrader has been moved to the swap location! Got it loaded onto my gf's brothers landscaping trailer (the rv supposedly only weights 3750 stock? so...well it barely fit. Check out the photo of it loaded up below:




And this is where it now sits while i wait for one of my friends to finish up their project in the garage before we pull this thing inside (the garage has 8'4 clearance, the camper is 8'3 or close so we may have to remove the roof vent to get it inside but it will be worth it).




Beyond the camper, i have received the 3RZ swap mounts from Toyonlyswaps.com. LCE had them on backorder and were nice enough to cancel the order for a full refund, they are very responsive so that was awesome. Toy Only Swaps got them shipped out quickly which was awesome too.

As for the wiring situation, i ordered the adapter harness for the 3RZ from Offroadsolutions.com that removes the need for the body harness from the tacoma as the body harness houses 40% of the fuel injector wiring. The adapter harness (haven't received it yet, takes about 2 weeks) is the fourth plug that goes into the 3rz ecu that the existing engine harness doesnt have built into it. This will save me so much freaking time wiring as there are only a few splices that need to be made into the RV's existing "body harness." I put quotations around it because it is a hack job i will likely want to redo but being that its a 1978, its mostly just positive and ground running to everything, not much for signal wires. Im also buying the harness because of my timeline, this is not a 2 year long build im doing, its a 6 month long build and anywhere i can save time, im doing it at the expense of more costly parts but i think itll be worth it.

Here is a link to the harness i ordered: https://www.offroadsolutions.com/products/ors-3rz-fe-2rz-fe-conversion-wiring-harness/

Lastly, the transmission situation. I don’t have a photo for this but as i've said before i had a W55 with 22re bell housing that needed to be swapped. After a lot of search and asking people to just sell me the bellhousing off a w59 that was in a 4cyl truck, i found a guy on marketplace in Lousiana that was willing to do it for me. Shipped it with the clutch fork which was awesome, had it in a few days. Took the old one off yesterday, the w59 3rz bellhousing bolted right up, it went so smooth i assumed something was wrong. I also purchased and have a 3rz clutch and flywheel which are ready to go on once i mate the motor to the trans.

Next up, the 20r engine and L43 trans in the Sunrader are coming out. The 20r has insane blow by but if anyone wants it, let me know. It is available, same with the trans. Pulling the motor next week and hopefully dropping the 3rz and w55 in.

Things im worried about right now:

Exhaust crossover pipe from the 3rz to the existing stock exhaust. I have a friend who is a welder that said he could build me one so that helps with the concern.

The oil pan is tall as hell. I also see a lot of people swapping in a rear sump as they come stock with a front sump but those people are 4x4 and im 4x2 RWD so i guess we'll see. Worse comes to worse, my welding friend used to work at moroso so maybe i can get him to build me a custom oil pan or there is one that fits. If anyone knows about this, let me know because i have no clue.

Things im thinking about:

I have no AC or heat in the existing rv. I just doesnt work. Im going to try to fix it an possibly go with an electric compressor system that i can mount remotely for AC but we'll see if i have the time and money for it.

I have no power steering, i cant find anything about a power steering installation on this year hilux. My hilux doesnt even come up in the repair manual i got for it. Its like the one year that no one seems to have information on which admittedly makes my life more difficult so if anyone knows about a power steering set up i can run, that would be helpful.



Post #5


More Photos:

The 3rz engine as it sits:




Custom Passenger engine mount from Toy Only Swaps:




Custom Driver engine mount from toy only swaps:




W55 Trans with W59 Bellhousing, W59 Clutch Fork, W55 clutch fork boot, new W55 Slave Cylinder, and 3RZ throwout bearing:








This is where it stands as of today.


Here is the original build thread for if i forget to update this one though i will do my best to keep it updated: https://toyotaminis.com/forum/threads/78-hilux-sunrader-build-thread-3rz-w55-swap.29601/

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There are very few second generation owners on this forum. There might be some slight interest, but the members of toyotaminis are the “go to “ folks for this type of upgrade.

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Fred, I know this is more of a third gen forum but interestingly enough, the 3rd gen platform is not much different from the late second gen platform. Im even using a lot of parts that are either from 3rd gen trucks or are designed for third gen trucks so a lot carries over and i think it may be helpful to some.


Linda, the main reason is the tacoma's frame was trashed. It had been boxed multiple times and wasn't straight unfortunately. This was a suggestion i got on the other platform as well because then my build would have been 4wd but yeah, the frame is junk.

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Too bad about the Tacoma. By the way we have quite a few engine upgrades here. Sunrader on a Tundra, Bajarader put his on a T100. and Mpanzar has a 3.4 engine in his Sunrader. I'm the boss here and I love a project. Kind of wondering how you're going to get that engine in that early small engine bay. Looking forward to it

Linda S

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Fortunately enough, there are engine mounts specifically designed to mount a 3rz in place of a 20r but for a '79-'88 i think and mines a '78. I was told it should work but clearance is the concern. I already see a rear sump oil pan in my future compared to the front sump i currently have on the engine. We will see, test fitting is happening tomorrow

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  • 5 weeks later...

Wow Linda, that linked site - prices start at $350,000.00!  I think the OP here will have a great functioning rig, and something of decent value as well when he is done.

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