In the Apr. '10 issue we introduced Squishy, our '87 Toyota Extra Cab pickup. We salvaged it from the dead pile of projects behind Overkill Engineering in Nuevo, California. We did a little haggling and trading for the truck and struck quite a deal for the old 4x4, and now we are just itching to hit the trail with it.
The buildup is moving along and somewhat on track for the budget build we initially thought we could pull off. However, as all projects go, shiny new parts and gadgets are hard to overlook and a rig really can't be built without sinking some cash into it. To keep from spending any more money, we are using the engine and axles that were lying around from previous projects and that needed some rehashing to get into shape. We are also using a number of other parts we had lying around our garages. The guys at Overkill are doing a bang-up job and hope to have the truck up and running in a matter of weeks, just in time for the next big 4x4 event.
We are using a ProRock Dana 60 and custom Dana 44 front that was under another truck. The 60 is fitted with a Detroit Locker, and the 44 has an Ox locker and 35-spline shafts. The 60 is perfect for the rear of the truck, and the strong and lighter 44 up front will keep the rig nimble.
The truck's suspension will use a triangulated four-link design that Overkill Engineering has used on a number of other rigs. The setup works exceptionally well, allowing the axles to have maximum articulation without binding.
We sourced some new 21/2-inch-bodied Johnny Joints from Currie Enterprises. The 1-inch threaded shanks will be more than strong and dependable enough for Squishy.
For easy driving on the trail, we decided not to use the manual transmission from our old Tacoma. We traded it for an automatic transmission from an '03 Tacoma we also found in the yard behind Overkill's shop. We then rounded up a two-speed Atlas 4:1 transfer case and bolted it to the trans.
Atlas transfer cases are geardriven units that come complete and are easy to install. This case was fitted to our auto transmission in under an hour. With the powertrain bolted together, we were able to place everything under the truck. We'll give you more in-depth tech information on the Atlas, including its usage, in Squishy articles to come.
After the transmission and Atlas were mounted under the truck, Gabe Gile and Travis at the shop had the placement they needed for mounting the engine in place. This also allowed them to measure for wheelbase, locate the axles, and measure for control arm lengths and driveshafts.