Classic Toyota Pickup Undergoes Dirty Transformation

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1989 Toyota Pickup

Yota Tech member waited a long time to start his Toyota pickup build thread. But the wait was well worth it.

Here at Yota Tech, build threads are a big deal. There’s nothing we love more than diving into our member’s builds, and there’s nothing our members love more than to show them off. So it’s no surprise that Dirt Garage, who runs a YouTube channel by the same name, found himself quickly getting hounded about the fact that he wasn’t documenting his 1989 Toyota pickup rebuild here on the site.

“Hello everyone! I run a YouTube channel called Dirt Garage. I’m constantly getting asked ‘do you have a build thread on Yotatech?’ ALL THE TIME. So I figured I should finally make one. This is my 1989 Toyota pickup back on April 1st 2014, bone stock!”

1989 Toyota Pickup

As is typical with this sort of build, plans started out rather modestly.

“First off I told myself all I want is a 2-3 inch lift and 33s and that’s it. So I jumped on eBay and got a set of ball joint spacers. Installed those beauties and I was mall crawling in no time. Eventually, I got some cheap 33s.”

But as plans typically go, the OP soon found himself wanting more. A lot more.

“Then I found myself getting into the more serious mods. Hanging around these forums too much back in the day convinced me that 3.4 swap was a must. The ol’ 3.0 was still running fine, it just leaked a bit of everything and was super slow. The automatic and 33s made it even worse. So I picked up a 3.4 with 370k on it for $550.”

1989 Toyota Pickup

The engine swap coincided with a 2″ body lift, and was soon followed by a manual transmission swap. Then, it was on to cosmetic mods, which included new fiberglass fenders to replace the rusty originals. Next up, a Trailgear 3″ IFS Eliminator kit that the OP installed in his friend’s driveway. A 4″ block and add-a-leaf followed in the rear, followed by a TG disc swap to fortify the back end of the Toyota.

With a fresh set of Blackfoot Grizzly wheels and 35″ General Grabber tires, this old Toyota was looking pretty sweet.

1989 Toyota Pickup

But soon, some snitch nearly ruined the OP’s project in one felt swoop.

“And then one of the worse days of my life happened. Somebody tipped off this RCMP that my frame was modified, and he decided my truck was no longer road legal without an inspection. There were A LOT of little things that needed to be done in order to pass a proper inspection. That and I had to find a shop that would even look at an SAS truck. I did all of the body work, I repaired the gas tank crossmember, and too much other stuff to list here.”

1989 Toyota Pickup

With his truck road legal once again, the mods continued. The OP soon scored a supercharger and rear lift springs and shocks to sort out his block setup, along with some new 37″ tires. But he isn’t finished yet – not by a long shot. So be sure and head over here to scope out the entire build thread and stay tuned for future updates!

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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