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1981 Pickup Build - Old Yeller


Somewhat Retarded
May 19, 2020
Member Number
SLO County, CA
Shitbox evolution.

Jan 21, 2019 <-------This date is the date of the original post, it will be on all of the older post so I can reference it for later use if needed

1981 Toyota Pickup, bought off of CL

How I got it: 22r, Carb, Manual, Stock Gearing and TC, HUGE Body Lift, previous owner said new motor was dropped in and only has around 100,000 miles (not so sure on the accuracy of that since the OD doesn't work)

To Do List: (This list is outdated and missing shit, just read the thread)
  • Running on Propane - DONE
  • IFS Power Steering Box w/ Marlin High Steer Kit - DONE
  • 4.88s all around - DONE
  • Spartan Locker for front - DONE
  • Yukon Spool for rear - DONE
  • Chevy 63s w/ Ruff Stuff mounting kit - DONE
  • U-Bolt flip kit from Sky Mfg - DONE
  • Trailgear 5" leafs for front- DONE
  • Dual cases 2.28 front and 4.7 rear w/ Advance Adapter kit - DONE
  • Triple stick set up by RADesigns - DONE
  • 37s - DONE
  • Rock Sliders - DONE
  • Rock bumpers & winch up front - DONE
  • Roll Cage - DONE
  • Bucket seats with 4 points - DONE
  • Probably more that I am forgetting

When I bought it



How it is today


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Feb 18, 2019

Well, after a stupid long time in the shop for what was supposed to be a quick fix, turned into a rabbit hole of small problems. She is back in my garage now running better than ever so I am happy.








Not the best, but not the worst :homer:


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Feb 25, 2019

Got some more progress done over the weekend.

Started on the Rear Up Front swap, using the SKY Mfg boomerang shackles.
Used the rears mixed with some leafs from the front packs, definitely added too many to start with, oops :homer:. Will be removing some this week after work.

Also built a quick and dirty rear bumper with tubing I had laying around.

Fronts taken apart


Rears before adding leafs


Conjoined packs, definitely a little excessive, will be removing the bottom 3.
Read on here somewhere people add as many as they can initially, and then remove them to lower it to the right height, I may have went a bit far.



Stopping point for the night.

Feb 27, 2019

Removed the bottom 3 leafs, was able to reuse the stock center pins. It is sitting pretty high up now compared to before. I will have to see how it sits after the winch bumper and that extra weight sags it down, may have to add one leaf back in but we will see




Mar 8, 2019

Got some progress done in the steering department. Removed the stock steering rods and steering box, got the new arms and Tie Rod mounted, going to do the Drag Link and IFS box this weekend. I felt dirty putting those nice and clean parts on my dirty as shit axle, I plan on cleaning the entire axle to repaint and weld a truss on, so don't worry too much :flipoff2:


Old Box


"New" IFS Box from a junkyard pick, plus my second T-Case that is waiting on Advance Adapters to hurry up and send me the doubler


Need to cut off the rest of the stock steering, beer got in the way of that last night :homer:

Mar 11, 2019

Got the IFS box mounted and the rest of the high steer put on. Have some frame stiffener plates coming in the mail, when I get those I plan on running more passed on the IFS box mount, but it is good for now.



Old Pitman arm was stuck on there pretty damn good, had to cut into it and then try the puller tool again to get it off.


Test fitting


Didnt get too many pictures of actually mounting the plates, but here is the finished product



Cut out a good portion of the body mount, plated it out further since I took out a lot of the original mount



I also got the Power steering pump mounted and ready to go, but then realized that I was missing the belt pensioner, a quick search resulted in me finding them for sale for upwards of $200 :mad3:

Found a cheap one for $20 somewhere and ordered it, not sure why most are crazy pricey..
Got a 75 series landcruiser pitman arm that is lesser of a drop. Still debating on if I should mount the tierod on the top or bottom of the pitman arm. If I do the top I may need to french half a tube into the frame to make room for the drag link.

Or, anyone know of a pitman arm that is almost flat, that will fit a Yota steering box? Or does anyone have a 2wd pickup arm that'll fit the ifs box?



Mar 18, 2019

Took the body lift off this weekend. Went down to a 1" body lift from SKY Mfg., pretty happy with how it sits. With the 63s and RUF it sits almost at the same height as it did when I got it, on stock leafs and 6" body lift.

Also, I am going to be putting a new front leaf hanger that will lift it another inch, this will add more clearance for my pitman arm



Apr 23, 2019

Got a lot done over the weekend, wasn't able to take too many pictures, was under a time crunch for Easter.

Got the new front spring hanger burned in, don't think I got any pictures directly of that, and also mounted the winch.

The winch plate is lifted off the frame a good amount, I plan on tying the cage into it from the sides and rear when the cage is done. That will strengthen it some more, and keep it from bending under big loads.


I ended up putting some more supports behind the winch but never got a pic of them. I have faith it will hold up just fine. The winch bumper on my Tacoma was a piece of shit and held up just fine. This one compared to the other one is 10Xs better.


Winch mounted and the rest of the bumper & grill put on

July 2019

After I got it to pass smog and had the title put in my name, it started it have running issues, I knew it was the carb / shitty gas tank with shmeg in it. Since I already went through big headaches trying to get it to run properly enough to pass smog, I said fuck it and ordered a GotPropane kit. Night and day difference, glad I ditched that rats nest of vacuum lines. Stole a tank from work while my two 10 gal tanks come in. (Its been almost 2 months and I haven't heard when I am gonna get them, thanks Suburban Propane...:mad3

Also built some sliders, mounted new bucket seats off of tubing that comes up through the floor and connects each sides sliders for a secure platform for the seats. Going to make the rear hoop and rest of the cage next to finish the harness mounts.

Put 4:88s in the axles, as well as a spool in the rear and a spartan in the front.

Enough typing, here are some pictures







Welded the front axle truss and diff guard on this weekend, as well as finishing up the passenger seat mounts and sealing the floor pan where I cut though for the mounts.



Also got my 10 Gal tanks in the mail and mounted in the bed properly.

August 2019

Picked up about 100' of tubing this weekend for the cage. Bent and burned in the rear hoop with some supports. Cross bar has tabs going through the cab for the harness mounts, so my 4 points are finally completely in and ready to roll. Will finish up the rest of the exo when I get some more time.




Also got started on my dual cases. I was pretty much done, but when I was putting the triple sticks on the front case cracked. Not sure how, the bolt was no where near tight and had a good half inch until it bottomed out... I think the donor case had some gunk in the treads that I failed to clean out and it stressed it out too much?? I don't know. Anyways, I have a new case from Advance Adapters coming in this week, so I am hoping my duals will be mounted in the truck this weekend.

And yes, I know my case is filthy:flipoff2:


This bearing was a bitch to get off, had to join two sets of pullers to reach it. No local shops had any long reach pullers, gonna order one for myself.


Crack Kills

August 2019

I didn't get any pictures of the new case off the truck, I am the worst at remembering to take pictures, oops

Anyways, I replaced the cracked case with a new case from Advance Adapters, they are literally just up the road from me and I have a few buddies that work there so they were the fastest way for me to get a new case and get the truck rolling. Definitely a heavy duty case, so I'm happy about that.

Cases are both stock 2.28 gearing, paired with the 4:88s it shoots out a 100:1 crawl ratio which I am pretty happy with.

I also picked up some steel yesterday for the new driveshafts. 2 1/2" Sch40 pipe for the rear, and square tubing for the front.

Square Tubing Dimensions: Big piece= 2.5" O.D./2" I.D. x .25" wall.
Little piece= 2" O.D./1.5" I.D. x .25" wall.

I only got to the rear yesterday, took it for a spin and surprisingly I couldn't get it to violently shake, I have no speedometer but I got up to 5th on a straight away and it was solid. I am expecting it to change once I start bashing it on rocks.

Cases mounted with triple sticks from RAD Designs, great kit, easy to put together.


Square Tubing


Stock shaft pulled out


Pipe vs stock driveshaft



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Aug 2019

37s came in today, going to be fun clearancing for these big things

Pro Comp Xtreme MT2


Beadlocks should be coming soon, waiting to hear back form Lowrange on when they are shipped.




Got the frond driveshaft measured up, cut, and welded together this weekend. Didn't get too many pictures of it in the truck since it was hot as balls here in CA over the weekend.

13" of slip total



Some month 2019

Finally got my rims and beadlock spacers in, got 3 of 5 tires mounted, gonna get the rest done tonight!

October 2019

Got the tires mounted, they fit nicely

Although they rub more than a dry hand job when I turn, so I will be cutting some body this weekend


Got some of the exo cage done this weekend, still need to do the roof V or whatever the bars over the roof are called. Also will be tying it in to the front bumper/winch plate eventually.




Got some spare doors and cut them in half, the pull handle bolt is just temporary, but honestly it will probably end up staying for a while




November 2019

Bobbed the bed this weekend, took about a foot and a half out. Pretty happy with the results. Didn't spend too much time sanding down the welds on the bedsides since its gonna get smashed in anyways

Cut off the rear end


Cut off even more, put in square tubing for rear bumper


Support for the bed



Set in place for before welding


All done up and painted


November 2019

Added some knuckle gussets and frame stiffeners this weekend. Haven't got the tires put back on just yet, but I'll do that this week after work sometime




Tacked in place


Not many other pictures, but here is the stiffeners and the gussets welded in and painted


The center hole in on the stiffener looks boogery cause I had to fill a hole in the frame with some scrap plate and just threw some beads over it, ugly but strong :flipoff2:
November 2019

Took it for a shake down this past weekend, ran great. However my alternator is toast, going to do the gm 1 wire upgrade dealio this coming weekend. Already got the TG bracket, picking up the alt after work today. Anyone have tips or gripes with the 1 wire mod?


December 2019

Took the truck out to Johnson Valley for Thanksgiving and the Johnson Valley Backdoor Bash. Truck did great, did a bunch of trails, nothing too crazy since I was with some lesser built rigs, but I was able to do Chocolate Thunder a few times, a part of Fissure Mountain and then Turkey Claw

Ran out of talent one night, blew a rear sidewall going up the right side of Chocolate Thunder, managed to flip the truck on its roof in a stupid spot where I definitely shouldn't have flipped it while trying to turn around on the trail :homer: Managed to only crack the windshield and get a few dents. Driver side door dent was from the day before pivoting on a rock.

Overall great trip, truck did way better than I could have imagined, not too bummed about the roll, I have been in far worse before, it barley got a scratch from it considering how bad it could have been! Besides, that is why we build these things, right?

Anyways, didn't take that many pictures since I was having too much fun driving, here are the pictures I did get

Before the trip I reinforced the rear half of the cage and tied it into the frame.



Unloaded and sitting at camp


Giant Rock


Near Giant Rock


Top of a trail with the Old Man and his Canam



Everything stayed tied down and mounted, just lost the empty road doggys out the bed which we picked up :flipoff2:



Couple mile drive on a flat through the wash to get back to the house


Spare mounted, damage report



Driver side, door was dented in by the pivot rock on Chocolate Thunder

December 2019

Got some work done this weekend. Since its on propane, my smog pump has not been needed but I left it in. I was planning on swapping my stock alternator out for a GM one wire alternator, but didnt feel like it would fit down where the stock alternator goes, replacing the stock one was a tight fit, and the larger GM one would be no fun.

So instead, I used pieces of the trailgear GM alternator swap bracket kit to replace my smog pump with the GM alternator. Wasn't too bad of a job, jut had to cut up the trailgear kit a little bit, and cut up the stock smog pump mount and join the two pieces.

Smog pump and stock bracket removed


The two brackets side by side


Cut in pieces


Alternator mount ontop of the smog bracket base


Welded in place. NOTE: This positioning is wrong, I needed to shift it over about an inch for the pully to line up. You can see the difference in the next picture.


Mounted in place. Notice the difference in bracket placement from the last picture.


Time for the top piece, here is the stock smog pump bracket compared with the trailgear kit. It had to be cut up and flipped so it bent the correct way.



Here it is cut, flipped, and welded back together


The top piece needed more tweaking, cut it shorter, and put more of a bend in it, I dont have any pictures of it off the truck though, here it is mounted up


My stock alternator is still in place for now, it is unplugged and the wires are taped up and tucked away. I am debating on keeping it in the truck to use as a backup if the gm one dies on the trail.

Overall I am happy with the gm alternator, puts out way more power, and I can run all of the lights and winch at the same time with no worry.
December 2019

Metal Dash just cause


Here it is all welded up and in place, waiting on a threaded rivet set to come in so I can install the accessory plug panel.

Jan 2020





Here are some shots of my dash, just put some rubber edge guards on the part where I would gash my knuckles open in a crash. On the fence about what I am going to do with it, it has a clear coat on it right now so it wont rust, but it throws a decent sized glare up in the right light which is annoying.

Oh yeah, if anyone is interested, I made the dash from 1'x2' pieces of 16ga sheet metal




Cab shot

Jan 2020

Did some work on the front end this weekend. Pretty much just threw tube at it and I ended up with this, front part is removable to take out the winch if needed.





More tube



Hood notched and hood pins in place


Grill somewhat in place, this sides fender is still out of place from the roll, oh well


Her good side

Got my transfer case brake on just in time for KOH! Over the thanksgiving trip my stock parking brake just wasn't cutting it on the hills, ended up having to sit in the truck while someone else hooked up my winch to pull out my buddy's jeep cause my truck wanted to keep rolling without the foot brake applied. That was no bueno for me, this should fix it!



KOH 2020 went well, had an absolute blast! Truck ran great, need to tighten the T-case brake a little more. Blew another sidewall on these tires, looking into getting rid of them for something that can handle rock rash on the sidewall better. Also blew both birfields in one go in a tight spot, putting in chromoly shafts this weekend after I clean up the housing that got damaged a bit by the birf exploding.




Giant Rock


RIP Tire, blew on the lakebed on the way to Chocolate Thunder






Most of the issues happened late in the trip, so we got some miles down this trip, KOH is mostly about drinking and watching other rig flip anyways right? Chocolate Thunder was wild this year, looking forward to the next one!
Feb 2020

Grinded/sanded it smooth, looks rough still since it was gouged deep in some spots, but its smooth to the touch and shouldn't be an issue for the new RCV Birfs.


I should have looked at my knuckle when I initially took it all apart. While getting ready to put it all back together this past weekend I noticed my brass axle bushing had gotten torn into pretty good by the broken birf. So its still sitting on jack stands all tore apart while I wait for the new bushing to come in. Since it'll be on the jack stands for a little while longer I also ordered some Trailgear 5" leafs to replace the worn out RUF leafs I made originally. Went with the 5" ones since they will keep the axle in pretty much the same position as the RUF did, which will let me keep running the front shaft I made with no issues. We will see how she goes.
March 2020

Got the new RCVs in, trucks running good. Also put a hand throttle in while she was on jack stands.



Putting the new front leafs on this weekend hopefully.
March 2020

Took out the flat RUF leafs and put in 5" TG leafs. Went with the 5" because the kept the axle the same amount forward as the RUFs did, may take a leaf out if they dont break in and sit lower. Sits pretty damn high right now. Also need to relocate my shackle hanger a little bit back, new leafs are touching the frame lol. Have some new hangers coming in the mail as I type this.

RUFs hanging



5" TGs in


Sitting on rollers


Test run to the brewery across the river



Mar 2020

Truck has been running good, aside for the shackles resting on the frame lol, decided to fix it by welding on some new shackle hangers a bit further back. Its going to lift it even more, I will see how I like it when the springs finally settle.

Last run poser shot


Axle off, springs hanging. This is as far as I got today, got the week off cause this whole Corona dealio



Old boomerang shackles, and the new kit I got from SKY


I also broke my Cardan joint pretty good, new one coming in the mail. Going to chop the old one off and weld on the new one, easy fix

Got the new leafs in, new front driveshaft in, took it down for a test run and broke the front driveshaft because I didn't think to test the driveshaft clearance with a jack. Oops, replacements is coming in this week, as well as axle shims to fix the pinion angle that is off by just a hair.





April 2020

Got the axle shims in and on the axle, rolled it under the truck then decided that they were a ghetto way to fix the problem and ordered new perches. Cut off the stock perches and shims, put on the new perches at a slight angle to bring up the pinion angle a bit to where it was before with the RUFs which will allow the driveshaft to clear it self. Also stole and idea from Mr. Stubs Krunch build thread and extended the perches an inch to prevent any axle wrap which would grenade the shaft like before.

Also got my shocks and shock towers mounted, drove the truck to work today and the ride was way smoother than before. Going to flex it out with the forklift at the shop to measure for bump stops. I know the proper way is to take out the leafs in the leaf pack and all that jazz, but its a shit box so this way will be fine :flipoff2: not planning on jumping it or hitting whoops at speed, so the only time the bumps will be hit is at full stuff when flexing, so it makes more sense to me to take measurements like this anyways

Didn't take many pictures since I was in a rush to get it all done

Axle off the truck and cleaned up


New perches welded on, painted, and mounted under the truck



At the shop


Also took some measurements and may have used some of my Sugar Daddy Trump check on getting a hydro assist kit :smokin:
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