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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My extra truck is a 1971 Toyota Hilux, which was converted to 4x4 during the mid-70's by my dad. This little truck has been thrashed, bashed, and rebuilt so many times that the state was no longer able to identify a proper VIN number and had to issue a new one identifying it as an "assembled vehicle" some years back. The engine is one of the few remaining original parts on the truck.

After 40+ years, the little engine is tired, to say the least. It is also an 8R engine, which means that it is getting harder and harder to find replacement parts. I've begun to think that it might be fun to convert it to diesel. A replacement engine would have to be fairly short to fit under this hood (even a 20R 4-cyl. is too long), but it wouldn't need to be terribly powerful. The truck is geared somewhere around 5.30:1, so it doesn't take much to make it move. It doesn't get worked as hard as it used to either, just putters back and forth to work during the winter.

Aside from the Volkswagen diesels, what sort of diesel engines are relatively common out there, that might be a good fit? I have kind of dismissed the Volkswagens ever since I almost bought a Rabbit (it blew up in the dealer's lot), but might reconsider if I heard a compelling argument.
:thanku:
 

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During a previous energy crisis, (late '70s, early '80s) MANY people put tractor engines in pickups for great mileage.

You could put a Kubota 3 cylinder in with room to spare, but, it won't end up a highway cruiser!!

Our neighbor put a 4 cyl JD diesel in a F250 4WD and claimed over 40 mpg!!

He could only fill it up at the local Southern States fuel depot, nobody sold road diesel then, except big truck stops.

It never went on the Interstate, but, it was not intended for that.
 

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you might want to look into a vw diesel jetta engine , vw has had large advances in the're diesel technology since the rabbit diesels , does the truck have a dirvorced transfer case ?
 

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My extra truck is a 1971 Toyota Hilux, which was converted to 4x4 during the mid-70's by my dad.

I've begun to think that it might be fun to convert it to diesel. A replacement engine would have to be fairly short to fit under this hood (even a 20R 4-cyl. is too long), but it wouldn't need to be terribly powerful. The truck is geared somewhere around 5.30:1, so it doesn't take much to make it move.
I doubt fitting a four-cylinder diesel in there would be any problem as far as length. I had several early 80s Toyota pickups with factory diesels. 2.2 liter and pretty gutless. But -at that time diesel fuel was cheaper then gasoline (instead of 50 cents more per gallon). 2.2 liter Toyota diesel could get 35 MPG if geared right.

I've put 2.2 diesels into Chevy/Geo Trackers and they come with engines just as short as your's - if not shorter.

Probably your best best is to find a rusted out Isuzu diesel truck or Trooper and use the engine and associated parts out of it for a swap. Of course, an older Datsun, Toyota, Dodge, Chevy S10, Chevy LUV, or Ford diesel Ranger would also work well. They ALL came with 2.2 diesels. A 2nd choice would be a 1.8 Isuzu diesel engine and trans out of an Imark or Chevy Chevette. Both came with 5 speeds with OD. I still have one sitting out in my field (1981 Chevette diesel).

A Volkswagen 1.6 would be too small and - most came in front-wheel drives which do not swap well into rear-wheel drive trucks. So, a Rabbit or Jetta engine won't work. You'd need a diesel out of a rear-wheel drive Volks that is harder to find.

RPMs will be a problem. Diesel engines make less power and torque then same size, and same bore and stroke gas engines. They also do not have the RPM range of gas engines. So, you need a way to keep RPMs down around 2500 MAX if you want any fuel efficiency. A 5.30 axle ratio would be useless - even with over-drive unless you just want to putt around the fields and woods. Useless on the highway.

I still use my little 85 Isuzu 4WD diesel mini-truck everyday. I love it; it's a work-horse. In the winter, I leave chains on it and haul firewood back and forth out of the woods. It will go in snow and ice where my big trucks won't.
 

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Toyota had diesel powered trucks in the 70's and 80's....I almost bought one I saw at a car lot,had a flatbed,and the frame was a patchwork quilt of plates and welds,so when I heard they wanted 3K for it,I ran away!...I knew a few guys who owned them,and they always raved about how well they ran and the fuel mileage....I saw a guy selling one of those diesels and the 5 speed tranny at a swap meet in CT for 150 bucks...had I been looking for one,I'd have bought it in a heartbeat...

My older brother has a Toyota skid steer,that is diesel...he had to find another engine for it,as he bought it with a blown motor all apart..he found a guy on E-bay in Indiana who had 2 Toyota diesel forklifts with the same engine,and he ended up buying one from him..only difference was the forklifts are 24V,and the skid steers were 12V..so he had to rig a second battery to power the fuel solenoid and altenator,but everything else was identical...I think it was a "2J" engine,and supposedly a few Toyota cars used the same engine,but few were imported to the USA...

I have seen some Perkins diesels from boats and tractors stuffed into full sized pickups,the ones I saw were straight sixes,but I am pretty sure some boats used 4 cylinder ones....Cummins 4BT engines are very popular for re-powers too,some of the Frito-Lay step vans had them installed factory,with a TH400 tranny behind them....its hard to get one now ,because a lot of off roaders skoff them up quickly whenever one comes up for sale....

www.surpluscenter.com has some diesels around 40-50 HP,but they aint cheap....Lombardini's ,and they would probably be "fun" to adapt to a Toyota bellhousing...when my brother was considering putting a gas engine in his skid steer,he found a website called "castlemania" on google,that had a ton of engine adapters,that would let you bolt almost anything to anything,but of course they were not exactly cheap...

There were more diesels in boats and backhoes,loaders and farm equipment than vehicles here,so maybe an agricultural junkyard or boat marina might be good places to go snooping around for one!...
 

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Our neighbor put a 4 cyl JD diesel in a F250 4WD and claimed over 40 mpg!!
I think your neighbor was inflating his figures by a lot. I had a Ford Ranger with a factory equipped 2.2 liter diesel and it only got 32 MPG at best - and that's not a full-size truck. My Isuzu 2.2 diesel mini-truck gets around 30 MPG.

The best fuel mileage I've ever seen verifed with a full-size Ford pickup was with a 3.9 liter, four-cylinder turbo Cummins. It could squeeze 28 MPG on a long flat highway trip.

John Deere diesels are not automotive. They are long-stroke engines and much heavier per cubic inch that the auto-types. If anything, the Deere engine would do worse, not better. Especially with their limited RPM ranges.

By the way, back in the 70s there was a place selling full size trucks with Deere, Mitsubishi, and Perkins four-cylinder tractor-diesels. None did much better then 20 MPG. Dodge even sold them for one year as "factory installed" in 1978.
 

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I have seen some Perkins diesels from boats and tractors stuffed into full sized pickups,the ones I saw were straight sixes,but I am pretty sure some boats used 4 cylinder ones...
Jeep and Checker motors sold cars and trucks with factory installed Perkins four-cylinder diesels back in the 60s. They didn't sell well and weren't around very long. 1968 Jeep was offered with the four-cylinder 192 c.i. Perkins diesel.
Also in 1968, Checker Motors offered the 236 c.i., four-cylinder Perkins diesel in their cars. Same engine as used in the Massey Ferguson 180 farm tractor.
1977 International Scout has the 198 c.i. Nissan diesel. 1985 Ford Ranger truck had a four-cylinder Perkins 139 c.i. diesel built under license by Mazda.
1980 Mazda pickup truck used a 135 ci. Perkins. In 1982, full-size Chevy pickups were sold in Brazil with 236 c.i., four-cylinder Perkins diesels.
 

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Winter of 03/04 I plowed some driveways with my first Toro 117 Groundsmaster with a Warn 54" ATV blade on the front. One customer lived in a house with 3 apartments. One of his tenants had if I recall correctly a mid 80s Toyota 4 door front wheel drive car with a diesel in it. She said about 450 were sold that year in the USA. Most parts guys had never heard of them and even some parts catalogs didn't even list the diesel. She had to drive to one specific dealer to get oil filters for it. It had some rust. I gave her my number to call me when she wanted to sell it. Within 4 months she called me as someone had hit her and totalled it. Another guy who also gave her his phone number offered her more for it than I did. He planned to use the engine for a generator.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Thanks for all the input! This gives me some ideas to watch for, and vehicles to look in. The engines with 5-speed options are particularly appealing, for obvious reasons. Current top cruising speed with a 4-speed is around 50mph, by 60mph I start to look for bits of the valvetrain in the rearview mirror. I may have to consider upping the gearing a bit, but the low gears were what allowed this tiny engine to do the work that it did. If I could get a comfortable 50mph again, that would be fine with me. Even 35mph would suit 95% of my driving. My axles came from a 1952 Willys Jeep, as did the Spicer 18 transfer case. I do have a divorced t-case, so there wouldn't be anything wrong with a 2wd donor rig.
 

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A Mercedes OM617 five cylinder turbodiesel (120hp), but it's a hair tight. An OM616 four cylinder is a better fit, but much lower hp (80-ish hp). Building a plate to mount to a Toyota transmission is easy. Either engine is a decent automotive diesel, they redline at 4000+, cruise easily at 3k, last 500,000 miles, and are fairly light.
I'm working on the OM617 swap into an 81 Courier, which is actually a bit tighter and requires cutting out the firewall.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
A 4bt would likely be a little much, for this truck. It had 95 hp new and considerably less now. I did look over an International Scout II with a 4bt conversion though- it was sure a neat little rig.
 

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We had quite a few "unusual" vehicles at the junkyard,including many forigen ones like Hillmans,Sunbeams,and Mercedes --even had a YUGO with 11,000 miles on it that was seized tight,but had a beautiful body still!...had quite a few diesel vehicles too,like Caddy Sevilles with the junk Olds 5.7 diesel,and some in Chevy Caprice wagons ,one in an El-Camino too,and we had an El-Camino and a Monte Carlo about 1978 vintage,that had 4.3 Olds diesels in them...(both still ran too!)..

We drug a 70's Mercedes out that had a diesel,and the boss drove it with his repair plate all over,it would run seemingly forever,on a full tank...also had an old Peougot diesel someone junked that ran very nice,but was so rotted it was ready to break in two...someone paid 500 bucks for it just for the engine & tranny!...(we figured it'd be there for eternity!).....

There was also one of the rare Dogde D-100 pickups that had a diesel,I think it was a 1978,it was a 243 cubic inch diesel--I was told it was a european version of the slant 6,but it looked like a typical "straight" 6 to me..it ran perfectly,but the truck was flattened in the back by a huge oak tree while it was parked at the former owners house!..a cranberry bog owner gave 500 for it,to use on a bog pump...my co-worker wanted to stuff it in his '86 W150 plow truck,he about cried when it got sold!....

Supposedly GM put a few Detroit Diesel 4 cylinder engines in the early 60's pickups,and I saw one at a swap meet once,but the owner wasn't there to talk too,I bet it was swapped in from a 60's step van,which also had them factory,more commonly...we had 2 of those at the junkyard,but both had been cannibalized of all the external parts already...I never knew GM put any Perkins in full sized truck in Brazil...I bet I'd be amazed at what other strange powerplants forigen countries ended up having in "our" trucks!...

If there is room enough to swap a small block chevy into your truck,a 6.2 or 6.5 diesel from a GM truck will bolt right up in anything a small block will fit into--though they might not be GM's best diesel,they are plentiful and cheap,and are mechanical injection,so no computer or other hassles to deal with...the're only about 140 HP and 300 ft lbs of torque,but thats plenty to power a small truck!..

If your not opposed to a gas engine,an early 4.3 GM V6 is a nice compact sized engine that has the same bellhousing as a straight 6 or V8,and you can use a carb on the TBI ones pretty easily by drilling a few holes and using a spacer plate,and swap in an HEI or point distributor to get around needing a computer...quite a few "rat-rods" around here are using those,they deliver great gas mileage and still make decent HP...and fit into small engine compartments a lot easier..
 

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I have read, but am not sure its true that the Diesel Rangers were only made for about 2 years 83/84 and through that time came with 2 different brands of engines.
 

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We had quite a few "unusual" vehicles at the junkyard,including many forigen ones like Hillmans,Sunbeams,

There was also one of the rare Dogde D-100 pickups that had a diesel,I think it was a 1978,it was a 243 cubic inch diesel--I was told it was a european version of the slant 6,but it looked like a typical "straight" 6 to me.
The six-cylinder diesel in the full size 78 Dodge trucks was a Mitsubishi diesel originally built to run irrigation pumps.

As to Hillmans and Sunbeams - I had many. All made by Rootes Group of England. I had two 60s Sunbeam Tigers that came with US Ford 260 and 289 V8s.
 

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I have read, but am not sure its true that the Diesel Rangers were only made for about 2 years 83/84 and through that time came with 2 different brands of engines.
Ford offered those diesels in Escorts, Lincoln Continentals, Rangers, and Broncos. Turbo and non-turbo. One engine was a Perkins design but built under license by Mazda. That was the 2.2 non-turbo that came out in 1983. In 1985, the 2.3 liter Mitsubishi turbo-diesel was used instead. Ended in 1987.
 
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