Just Add Tube Work Bob Anderson's '85 Toyota Pickup
Most of the Toyotas we feature in Off-Road have long-arm suspensions and Ford 9-inch rearends or Chevy motors and Dana 60s. This is somewhat misleading though and a disservice to Toyotas, which have proven themselves to be tough, reliable little trucks over the years. Bob Anderson's '85 illustrates this point perfectly, although few people mistake it for a stock truck.
Bob works as an auto body and paint tech for Proffitt's Cruisers in Delta, Colorado, where he had access to the benders and welders necessary to create anything his fertile imagination could dish up. Unlike the Land Cruisers that often roll out of Proffitt's shop with V-8s, 44-inch Swampers, and Rockwell axles, Anderson's truck retains the entire stock Toyota drivetrain. These components have proven strong and reliable enough to allow Anderson to keep up with his big-tired buddies.
The stock 22R-E was recently rebuilt with all factory parts, offering reliability and enough power to get Anderson where he needs to go without overheating or placing too much strain on other downstream components. From there, the double-digit torque is multiplied by the stock W56 transmission and dual Toyota transfer cases mated with a Marlin Crawler adapter. From the rearmost transfer case, the now-significant torque is transferred through the driveshafts to the stock Toyota 8-inch axles, which have been enhanced with 5.29 gears and Lock-Rite locking differentials. The axles are capped with 38-inch Super Swamper TSLs wrapped around 15x10 aluminum rims. A later-model Toyota steering box and All-Pro crossover steering were added in order to turn the big tires.
If you are still reading, you are probably starting to wonder what is so feature-worthy about this truck. In addition to the amazing places that Anderson is capable of piloting his pickup, the suspension and tube work are certainly worth noting. The bed of the truck was removed for weight savings and to limit sheetmetal damage. In its place, Anderson and Proffitt fabricated a flatbed built of 1-3/4-inch-diameter, 0.0120-wall tubing and 14-gauge aluminum diamond plate. The stock gas tank was relocated from its original position to a safer location behind the cab and between the framerails. Behind the tank there is plenty of room for camping gear and tools, although Anderson leaves the spare tire back at camp. Even with this gear, the rear of the Toyota is incredibly light and climbs vertical ledges with ease. More custom tubework can be found gracing the front and sides of the truck in the form of half doors, rock sliders, and the front bumper, which houses a MileMarker 8,000-pound winch. The winch is rarely needed however, thanks to the truck's combination of low gearing, lockers, and supple suspension.
The front of the truck is fitted with All-Pro 5-inch-lift leaf springs and 14-inch-travel Bilstein 5150 shocks on custom mounts. The rear suspension is a depature from the norm, utilizing quarter-elliptical leaf springs and a triangulated four-link setup that works remarkably well with the light rear weight of the pickup. The leaves are frenched into the frame for additional ground clearance and attach to the axle with shackles to allow suspension movement. All the links are constructed from 1-1/2-inch-diameter, 0.75-wall DOM tubing and fitted with 3/4-inch rod ends for strength. Between the suspension and the flatbed, the resultant departure angle is nearly 90 degrees, ensuring Anderson can get himself out of any situation he gets in.
It might seem simple compared to high-zoot rock buggies and trophy trucks, however we feel that Bob Anderson's Toyota pickup wonderfully illustrates that with the proper tools and some imagination you do not need to spend a fortune in order to own a capable four-wheeling vehicle.