1992 Toyota Pickup Turns into Fun Project

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1992 Toyota Pickup

What starts out as a cheap score quickly turns into a full bore rebuild and engine swap!

If there’s one thing Yota Tech members share in common (aside from a love of all things Toyota), it’s their affinity for projects. Just a casual stroll through the forums is enough to convince anyone of that. So when we came across Lybrium‘s 1992 Toyota Pickup project recently, we knew we had to take a closer look. Mainly because the OP’s story sounds eerily familiar for many of us!

“Hey all, this 3.0 came onto my radar recently. And, well I kind of just bought it out of nowhere. I’ve been looking for the right compact truck for a project, and this one fit the criteria. The seller was motivated enough to come down significantly from his asking price, and now here she sits.”

1992 Toyota Pickup

And that’s when the fun began – initial cleanup and discovery! Which, as we all know, can be good or bad.

“The odometer reads 457,XXX. PO had it for only a few months and knew nothing about the work done or the PPO. So unfortunately, I knew very little about this truck before taking the dive. Luckily, after now spending a couple days cleaning, changing fluids, and removing broken crap, most of the surprises have been good ones. Frame is solid. Cab/int is immaculate. Had an hour long drive home with it on the highway, and I was blown away by how smooth everything felt, at almost half a million kms.”

Work began almost immediately, following a trip to the junkyard.

“Today I fixed the air bag suspension valves. The old ones busted in half when we tried to inflate them, totally rotted. Managed to get two replacements inflation valves at cap-it for 10 bucks. Had to do a little grinding to have enough of the valve sticking through, but they look good now!

Next up is the bumper. It’s salvageable IMO. Going to grind off the crap and shallow rust and put fresh rhino on.”

1992 Toyota Pickup

Next, it was time to begin disassembly. Which proved to be a lot of fun given all the rust. But it was nothing an impact gun and breaker bar couldn’t take care of! And then, it was off to enjoy this 1992 Toyota Pickup for what it already was – a fun off-road toy.

With winter right around the corner, however, now was the perfect time to start working on a long list of mods and repairs.

“It’s going to be a fun winter in the shop, here’s the laundry list:

Blast and coat frame
Coat and patch body 
Swap motor
Rebuild tranny
Replace (almost) all mechanical components.”

1992 Toyota Pickup

Then plans, as they often do, changed. But this time, it was for the better!

“Until this week, I was undecided about what direction to go with the motor. Originally, I was planning on getting a remanufactured 3vz. But with the cost of the long block itself plus all the new parts needed to compete it, I was having serious misgivings. Add on to that the overwhelming sentiment of distaste for the 3vz in general, by enthusiasts and mechanics alike, and I started to consider the 3.4 swap.

The good news is, yesterday I found a viable option to move forward on this. My local wrecker has a ’99 5vz pulled from a rolled taco with only 40,000 miles on it. With wiring harness and ecu from a manual tranny. So 3.4 swap here I come! Good thing I hadn’t ordered any engine components for the 3.slow yet.”

And when the OP said he was going to take this 1992 Toyota Pickup apart and rework it, he wasn’t kidding.

1992 Toyota Pickup

Soon, the new motor arrived, but strangely with a 2uz ECU attached. It took some time, but the OP eventually tracked down the correct piece in a junkyard. At this point, disassembly of the suspension has begun, and progress is coming along nicely. We like where this fun little 1992 Toyota Pickup project is going, that’s for sure! So be sure and head over here to catch up on the OP’s progress, as well as see how things turn out moving forward!


Brett Foote has been covering the automotive industry for over five years and is a longtime contributor to Internet Brands’ Auto Group sites, including Chevrolet Forum, Rennlist, and Ford Truck Enthusiasts, among other popular sites.

He has been an automotive enthusiast since the day he came into this world and rode home from the hospital in a first-gen Mustang, and he's been wrenching on them nearly as long.

In addition to his expertise writing about cars, trucks, motorcycles, and every other type of automobile, Brett had spent several years running parts for local auto dealerships.

You can follow along with his builds and various automotive shenanigans on Instagram: @bfoote.

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