1994 Toyota Pickup Build Features Incredible Engineering

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1994 Toyota Pickup

If anyone ever doubted the resourcefulness of YotaTech members, just show them this awesome 1994 Toyota pickup build.

If there’s one thing that never ceases to amaze us, it’s the skill and resilience of YotaTech members. No task is too large, no beaten up old project too much to tackle. And when you can’t find or buy replacement parts, you simply make them. These are the qualities that set our folks apart from most of the rest of the world. You know, people who give up when the going gets tough.

New member RockinStock is fitting in just perfectly with the community after scoring his 1994 Toyota pickup. Despite the truck’s less than perfect condition, it doesn’t quell his enthusiasm for the build. Not by a long shot.

“Hi YotaTech! Excited to get more involved in this community which I have admired for a long time.

Backstory: bought this truck w/ 60k (I’m the second owner!) a few years ago (joined YotaTech the day I bought it  ) and of course it’s been fantastic. ’94 Extra 3.slow Auto 4×4. Bed was rusted pretty bad. Did a temp fiberglass fix for a while, then went to a wood flat bed. When I made the flatbed, I sandblasted the frame and axle and put on a couple coats of Mastercoat silver and white enamel and an OME 2.25 lift HD leaf set. Truck has 100k now.

1994 Toyota Pickup

The Plan: 22re swap w/ 5sp from ’95 donor w/ 160k runs nice shifts nice. Sticking with the 4.556 axles. 2″ BJ spacers to level the frame with the OMEs. 2″ body lift to clear high rock sliders, makes cleaning the truck easier (top of frame and stuff) and to clear 35s. PowerTrax gear locker for the rear. Home fab bumper w/ hitch receiver.

Reason: #1: automatics are the bane of humanity. #2: 22RE means hopefully less problems as the miles tick away. I’m also considering a diesel swap and the 22RE should be easier to pop out.

Future Plans: SAS 3-link front, 4-link rear with maybe a diesel swap.”

Ambitious plans, indeed. But it’s clear from the start that the OP has the wherewithal to make it happen.

“The Begining! Spent a couple hours here and there breakin ‘er down to the base elements just cuz that’s how I start on things.”

1994 Toyota Pickup

First, he spent a good six hours sandblasting the frame. Then it was time to future proof the base, which is always a good idea.

“Two coats of Mastercoat. Next up: white tractor enamel. I like white because it makes rust spots easy to see so I can fix them before they get out of control. I’m not going to bother painting the IFS because it’ll get cut off next year and it’s really not in good enough shape to make it worth painting anyway.”

1994 Toyota Pickup

If the intensive teardown wasn’t impressive enough, the OP reveals his plans to incorporate a little custom engineering into the build.

“I’m going to start working on BJ spacers for the upper control arm. I’ve seen the spacers people commonly use and since I’m machining my own anyway I thought I’d see if there is any better way to design them.”

So began a little research and a ton of math.

“I looked around on the internet and here a little bit but couldn’t find the exact factory control arm geometry. So I just took some rough measurements which should be enough to help me figure out if making fancy BJ spacers is worth the effort.”

1994 Toyota Pickup

Once he got that all sorted, it was time to get back to actual metal fab. To make the switch to a manual transmission, the OP used a rusted out donor truck.

“After the holes for the master cylinder were drilled, the manual pedal assembly and master cylinder from my donor rig bolted right in. My cab even had the extra threaded hole for the bolt above the clutch pedal!”

1994 Toyota Pickup

And before long, it was time to install the engine as well.

“The 22R mount is an inch or two forward from the 3VZ, so I torched off the 22R mounts, cleaned them up, cut them off, and cleaned the 3VZ frame. Then I bolted the 22R mounts on the motor and set it on the frame with the 22R crossmember so I could mark the mount location and weld them on.”

Next, the cab went back on the fresh rolling chassis and it was off to hit the road. The OP reports that his project is driving quite nicely at the moment. But a diesel swap still appears to be in the cards at some point in the future. You can follow along with the ever-evolving 1994 Toyota pickup build as it progresses here!


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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