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1985 Toyota Truck Rock-Crawler - Project Rock Truggy, Part 2

Side Parked Rocks
Christian Hazel
| Brand Manager, Four Wheeler
Posted March 1, 2001

Cockpit, Steering, Axles, and Front Suspension

Step By Step

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  • Project Rock Truggy.

  • With the basic cage built out of 13/4-inch 0.120-wall tubing and the transmission and transfer cases installed, the dash and center console could be constructed out of 1-inch chrome moly. Notice the mount for the factory computer that ties it securely to the cage.

  • Detroit Lockers were fitted to 4.88 gears and stuffed into the Toyota housings. The rear uses a standard centersection, but the front employs a high-pinion unit from an FJ-80 Land Cruiser that’s stronger than the regular pickup differential.

  • A pair of Steel Horse seats was tied into 1-inch bars and draped with Simpson lap belts from Coleman. You can see the battery kill switch behind the hole for the twin stick shifters, which were removed to make working on the interior easier.

  • A set of Tilton hanging pedals and remote reservoirs for the brakes and hydraulic clutch were mounted to the steering column support. A Quick Car circle-track wheel was used to hook up to the steering shaft. These parts, as well as many others, were found in the Coleman Racing Proucts catalog.

  • The interior panels were formed from 0.090-inch sheetmetal and either tack-welded to the tubing or secured with Dzus quarter-turn fasteners. The factory HVAC control panel still controls the A/C, but the ignition, fan, and lights are zapped by a NASCAR-type panel.

  • The rear was fitted with an All Pro disc brake conversion kit and slung under the Truggy for the final time. With the axle installed, the brake lines could be run and the Tom Wood’s driveshaft bolted in.

  • Here you can see the lower arms, as well as the All Pro Hysteer crossover steering system that places the tie rod nice and high for ground clearance. The front Doetsch coilover shocks were mounted without springs to allow the axle to be cycled and to check suspension geometry.

  • Another Tom Wood’s driveshaft connects the FJ-80 high-pinion centersection to the rear Toyota transfer case. This wishbone-type link was mocked up, but it turned out that a track bar was needed to retain full steering throughout the front suspension travel.

  • The frame was boxed and reinforced to accept the Howe-modified ’86-’95 Toyota IFS steering box. The box, along with a Howe high-pressure pump and hydraulic cylinder, makes for one-finger steering in the rocks.

  • A mount was fabbed on the front axle for the track bar, and the wishbone link was replaced with a single upper link that ties to the frame near where the driver’s feet lie. The track bar allows full use of steering and eliminates bumpsteer by forcing the axle to move laterally with the drag link.

  • Finally, an All Pro transfer case-mounted emergency brake was fitted up and hooked to the stock e-brake lever. Tune in next month for all the “little” things that make it run as well as the finished shots.

Last month we brought you the beginning of the ultimate Toyota rockcrawler buildup, outlining the interior cage, rear suspension, and drivetrain. This month we’ll focus on the interior, steering, and axles. We’ll also show you some of the front suspension, but as we’ll explain later, the finished design is somewhat different than what you’ll see here.

Since last month, the gang at All Pro finished the chrome-moly cage and set to working on making the interior and necessary components as Spartan as possible in the interests of functionality, ease of servicing, and light weight. As for the axles, stock Toyota pieces of various origins were stuffed with tried and true Detroit Lockers and assembled. The rest, as you’ll see from the photos and captions, is beginning to resemble a pretty serious trail killin’ machine.

For the finished version of the front suspension, as well as the body, fuel and cooling systems, and other odds and ends, you’ll have to tune in next month!