Budget Builds, Diesel News & a Wolverine Stole the Spotlight in 2017

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It’s been a great year for Toyota trucks. From fascinating forum threads to CraigsList gold, here are the best stories of 2017.

We started giving you the best Toyota pickup and 4×4 content here on Yota Tech in 2017. We hope you find it as fun and informative as we do here at the office. It’s been a wild mix of interesting stuff happening in 2017, from tech tips to stories highlighted from the forums. With the New Year approaching, let’s take a look back at YotaTech‘s most popular stories of 2017.

#1: 1978 Toyota Wolverine: Craigslist Find of the Week


This Toyota popped up on CraigsList in the spring and it stands out from the 1978 crowd for a number of reasons. First of all, nobody can miss the unmistakable Toyota Motorsports paint scheme, complete with black hood. That’s a head-turner if we’ve ever seen one. Second, this ‘78 features an all-wheel-drive conversion one year before Toyota offered them from the factory.

There just aren’t many of these around and with Hagerty predicting rising prices on this era of Toyotas, we don’t think the $26,000 asking price is out of the question. This one’s undergone a complete off-frame restoration and it looks spectacular.

#2: Fast & Frugal: The $1,000 Budget Toyota Pickup Build

Toyota Pickup

We absolutely love seeing projects from our Yota Tech members and this cheap ‘91 Toyota 4×4 pickup project struck our fancy. Forum member jaretstuff scored this one for $300 with an allegedly good engine all of The Good Stuff: 4×4, 22RE, and five-speed manual. Naturally, things weren’t as they seemed at first; Jaret needed a new engine and some other things.

On the plus side, you can still dig up most of this stuff cheaply, especially if you’re a “Toyota freak” like Jaret. He found a replacement engine for $100 and had it running for half of his hoped-for $1,000 budget. Check out the build thread here.

#3: What’s Up in the Forums: Members Show Off Inexpensive Mods

cheap mods

Toyota’s 4×4 platforms excel at withstanding abuse. They run for decades under some harsh circumstances and they love taking punishment. But maybe even more than that, Toyotas excel at doing everything for little budget. From cell-phone holders to rebar skid-plate reinforcement, Yota Tech members can MacGyver together some cool stuff. Most of these come for just a couple bucks and offer practical utility. You can add them to your ride or maybe even tailor them to your purposes.

#4: Is Toyota Readying for a Truck Explosion?

With the opening and announcement of new Mexican assembly plants, Toyota could produce as many as 300,000 pickups annually. That’s a huge jump in production, more than 50 percent more than current capacity at 192,000 trucks. This follows what Toyota has reported as a supply shortfall stretching back a few years ago. In other words: The truck market has swollen and Toyota wants to reap the benefits.

Additionally, this September 2017 piece again explores the potential for a diesel Tundra and Tacoma. Yota Tech contributor Tim Esterdahl lays out the facts: Toyota’s production and the success of Big Three diesel models could force Toyota’s hand. The biggest hurdle is likely justifying the diesel price premium, but Dodge has shown that people will pay it.

#5: Toyota Pickup Engine Swap Advice

Toyota Pickup

What do you do when your 22RE finally calls it quits? After you’re done suffering bewilderment at the rare failure, you can ask Yota Tech like hoytyota84. You could find another 22RE, but that’s boring. With the engine out, an upgrade seems like the best course of action for the rock-crawling ‘90 Toyota Pickup.

Popular options included the GM 4.3-liter and 3.8-liter V6s (from different engine families). Keeping it in the family could include the 2.7-liter Toyota 3MZ V6. Or if you’re in the “Go Big Or Go Home” Toyota camp, you could go for a 4.0-liter 1UZ V8 from a Lexus flagship. So what’ll it be? Check out the story and the thread for more.

#6: Rare 1967 Toyota Stout Pickup – A South Dakota Museum Find

Like the Wolverine, this Stout comes to us as a supremely rare piece. This one turned up at a museum in the Dakotas. A little bigger than the Hilux, the Stout came stateside first but never really found much of a market. The styling looks a bit like a mid-1960s Ford if you squint a bit, but it’s still a unique Toyota design. We aren’t sure if anyone would consider these trucks valuable, but they were certainly interesting. A 1.9-liter 3R engine powered the pickup, a decidedly small engine in the time when base-model pickups carried hefty inline-sixes.

#7: 5 Reasons Why We Believe the Toyota Tundra Diesel is Dead

Remember above when we said things were looking up for the diesel Tundra? We were just kidding. IB’s Tim Esterdahl lays out the reasons we think the Tundra Diesel looks unlikely. From improving gas-engine technology to poor showings by the Cummins-powered Nissan Titan, we aren’t holding out much hope for it. We’d love to see it, of course, but we find it unlikely to pass.

#8: The Tacoma TRD Pro Is a Terrible Truck. But on the Other Hand…

Expectations are a funny thing. Yota Tech reviewer Christian Moe expected his loaner TRD Pro to operate like a capable mid-size pickup. However, he found it lacking in just about every in that regard: low maximum capacity and low tow weights, to name a couple. But the TRD Pro redeemed itself mightily if you can forget pragmatism. Toyota bills the TRD Pro as an off-road-ready pickup and they were darn right. Moe calls the truck “…the Jeep pickup MOPAR fans have been begging for…” They’re doing that bit right with the fun-first TRD Pro.

#9: What’s Up in the Forums: Amazing Member-Owned 1st Gen 4Runners

There isn’t much to this post, text-wise, and we’re fine with that. Our members take their ‘Yotas everywhere and this is simply proof-positive of that. These owners and their first-generation 4Runners go anywhere and do everything. Take a gander and let your mind start scheming your own trail adventures. Then come back and tell us about them on the forums.

#10: Old Tacoma Takes On New Tacoma. Can It Hang?

We’d honestly love to see more videos like this, not just of Toyotas. If you want to see how far a model has come (or not), you really need to pit it against its predecessors. OK, in a perfect world, that would also include its competitors, but beggars can’t be choosers. Autoblog took a modern Tacoma TRD Pro to the Pacific Northwest to square off with its 20-year-old self.

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