By Richard

I have an addiction.  There, I said it.  I like these old Toyotas.  What’s not to like about old trucks?  Lack of power, poor fuel efficiency, no creature comforts… hey, that was supposed to be a rhetorical question.

Our trip has taught me to love the simplicity in all things.  When it comes to vehicles, that means something that I can work on with a basic tool set, manual windows, manual seats, no A/C, and no parking assist.  Apparently some people don’t want to park the car themselves…

We landed back in Canada after parking Little Red in Costa Rica and we needed wheels.  Sure, transit is great to get to work and back, but what about when we need to get into the wilderness and away from the city?  We obviously needed a Canadian adventure mobile that was capable, simple, and not too expensive since we do need to save money for the South American leg of our journey.  After chatting with Ryan at Disturbed Industries over the past few weeks about what trucks he knew of that were for sale, I ended up buying one of his.  Ryan had build the 22RE for Red as well as did the final prep on the truck before driving south.  I knew I could trust a truck that he built for himself.

This whole scenario reminded us of when people buy a puppy to replace a dog that died.  In this case we were replacing a truck that was being stored in Costa Rica… with a younger one of the same model.

Compared to our other rig this thing is a powerhouse.  I think that’s saying something about how slow Red is when loaded down with fuel, water, gear, and oversized tires without regearing the diffs.  The 3.0L has a totally different powerband than the 22RE and loves to rev. It works really well with the 5.29s and 35s. Driving a truck that’s completely empty instead of packed with all of our junk is definitely a nice treat.

At this point we don’t have many plans for the truck beyond cleaning it up and enjoying it, but we are missing our CVT Tents roof top tent already… sleeping in the canopy is a great second option.

1993 Toyota Pickup – The Green Machine
3.0L V6 (0.040 over with Proline parts, LCE head gaskets, intake/exhaust ports are gasket matched, smog delete with LCE EGR plates)
5 Speed w/ Aisin clutch
5.29s with Lock Rite locker in front and Supra LSD in rear
35×12.50R15 Pro Comp Xterrains
Pro Comp Wheels Rock Crawler Series 52 Black Monster Mod Wheel; Size 15×8
Pro Comp K5054B 4″ Stage I Lift Kit with Bracket, Block and ES3000 Shocks for Toyota Pick-Up/4Runner ’86-’95
Greaseable shackles, combo of mixed stock spring leafs, and 1” block in rear
2.25” Exhaust with Flowmaster 40 Series Muffler – 2.25″
Trail Gear Rear Bumper 120110-1-KIT
Trail Gear Rock Defense Low Profile Front Bumper 120189-1-KIT
HELLA 500 Series 55W Driving Lamp Kit
Toyota Fiberglass front fenders

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  • Brian

    These are great trucks and very capable offroad, but please keep them stock. Why jacking them up and put some ridiculous tires on it like Rednecks do?

    • Rich and Ash

      What can I say? There’s a little bit of redneck in all of us!

  • RSR

    3vze is a good engine all things considered, but it has a lot of room for upgrades. Basically, the V6 was largely a marketing ploy for the North America markets, and they crammed the V6 into a platform build for a 4 cyl 22re, so it leaves the ability to achieve significant gains for us tinkerers — getting it at it’s best it requires proactive maintenance…

    First step: Get rid of that awful air intake and replace it with a true cold air intake. Facotry is better than that… Denso makes a great factory airbox filter and you can do some factory deflector mods to really upgrade performance of factory box — dog here is the AFM…
    First step upgrade: Look into the Supra AFM swap (hint cressida V6 round airbox will fit your factory one).
    Good read:
    ***I strongly recommend a wideband 02 to tune the Supra AFM however and that’s an add’l $150 after the AFM cost…

    Step 2: Delete the crossover — some notes on yotatech, but either fab your own or look at using LC Engineering’s header crossover to make up everything but the downpipes. They have 10% off this weekend. The crossover crossing from passenger header into drivers header is what causes the #6 valve headgasket failure on these trucks (future Yota crossovers used
    Step 2 upgrade: To improve mpg and performance, LC Engineering’s catback exhaust set is VERY solid.

    Step 3 engine cleaning: Redline Fuel Injector Cleaner, then seafoam spray/bottle, then Amsoil Power foam, then Amsoil again.
    Step 3 upgrade: Replace your 02 sensor(s) — if failed/failing, doesn’t always throw a code.
    Step 3 upgrade Part 2: Amsoil engine cleaner (it’s detergent, not solvent based…).

    Step 4: Look at replacing your injectors with Flamethrower’s newest ones (discussed over on yotatech as well.) Might as well do NGK plugs and wires here as well.

    Step 5: Run through the maintenance section of the FSM and check all the fuel, spark, throttle, etc sensors to ensure w/in spec (usually don’t throw a code). Set timing to 12.5* BTDC (might be able to push to 15* or so depending on fuel you run) rather than factory 10* as well.

    Step 6: Adjust the valves (they’re a pain on this engine and usually haven’t been done, unless you had a headgasket failure, then possible, but not definite).

    Throughout and ongoing: Replace all rubber lines and gaskets on the engine — power steering, coolant (including heater), door gaskets, vacuum lines (looks like most of your emission vacuum has been removed but nonetheless…).

    Otherwise, just run good fluids (Toyota Coolant, synthetic lubricants — my engine really likes Castrol Full Synthetic Extended/Ti — and I run Amsoil most everywhere else except engine oil) and filters, and you’ll have a pretty bulletproof engine/drivetrain. And the drivetrain (engine/tranny/diffs and driveshafts) on these 3vze trucks is more robust than the 22res…

    Truck looks great by the way and I love my extra cab w/ the SR5 package. One thing to check is if you have the towing package with factory pancake oil cooler (oil cooler should be removed and cleaned in ultrasonic cleaner — simple green works well — and then reinstalled as they fill with crap). Unfortunately, my wife doesn’t share the Toyota truck love — but she is a huge landcruiser fan, so my next build for her rig will be an 80s series landcruiser (probably technically a truck, but she doesn’t see it that way)…

    One last note — beyond above maintenance, this engine really isn’t worth rebuilding. For about the same $ if not likely less as mods beyond these (some of which, like exhaust, you can use with next recommendation), you can do a 5vzfe swap into this rig relatively cheaply. With a turbocharger that engine is about the ballsiest platform you can put in these rigs. And even stock, that engine gives you 25% more power and ~ a 5-10% mpg gain over the 3vze. And the 5vzfe is a much more friendly engine to work on than the 3vze — not a terrible oil filter location that dumps oil on you no matter what, valves easily adjusted, plenum/upper air intake is much less of a pain to remove (and properly contoured to minimize air restrictions), an electronic controlled engine that tells you what is wrong and eliminates most of the vacuum clutter from the engine bay, etc.

    Good luck and enjoy the new rig. Enjoy seeing your adventures.

    • Jeff Chartier

      Thanks for your detailed post…all great tips!. I live in San Diego and have this same exact truck, a 94′ – 3VZ – 5spd. It’s even the same color! I bought it in 2001 for $10,000 in flawless condition with 100k miles and I just hit 170k. (I don’t drive it a lot) I did the clutch myself last month. I’m sure it was the original. I’ve also done a lot of other things over the years (brakes, wheel bearings, starter, alternator, timing belt, water pump, cam seals, radiator, plugs, wires, airbox mod etc, all at ~150k..) Up next is the Oil Cooler, PS Pump rebuild, and rear pinion seal. I will also be doing all fluids again (gearbox, x-fer, front diff, rear diff) at the same time. I’m also switching up to 33’s and will probably move up (down) to 4.88 gears with some lockers this summer..just not sure what type I want to go with yet. — Lastly.. next month I’m doing the crawl-through cab mod. I’ve thought it out well in advance including CAD designwork (what I do) and with a wife, 6 year old boy, and dog it’s time. I even got the same matching rear seats from a 4Runner out of my local pick-n-pull. I’m in the process of designing a new gas tank this week with fill tube on drivers side. I may have to put it where the spare tire goes but I’m trying to put it in front of the rear diff if possible for more centralized weight./CG. If not I can always hang a spare off the back.

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  • Barry

    So jealous. I had the same truck (only 33s) and that thing was a tank….indestructible, noisy, rattly, crap gas mileage and absolutely perfect. Love the red truck more (sorry) but this is a worthy surrogate! Love your blog by the way.

  • Nik

    Is the camper shell specific to this model or is it a universal type shell that fits this Yota model? I’ve been looking around the internet for a camper shell with no luck for my ’93 as well.

    • Rich and Ash

      Hi Nik,

      Yes the canopy is specific to the truck model. It took 4 months of looking on Craigslist before I could find this one. Good luck on your search!!


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