Smashed 1988 Toyota Pickup Gets a New Lease on Life

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Wrecked 1988 Toyota Pickup Front

The restoration of this ’88 Toyota pickup is proof that there might be hope for your wrecked truck.

In many cases, a 1988 Toyota 4×4 pickup with significant body damage and a bent frame would be a part-out, but forum member 86 SR5 4×4 has turned a badly-wrecked truck back into a great daily driver and off-road today. While the OP plans to eventually make this an Ivan Stewart race truck tribute, his first project was to get it back on the road and he chronicled that process in the Build-Up section.

The Introduction

When the OP first introduced us to his 1988 Toyota 4×4 pickup project, he pointed out that the truck probably needed more work than it would be worth when done. He also included a list of the items that needed to be replaced along with including some “before” pictures.

I bought this 88 base 4×4 pickup after it was wrecked and would of been for parts had anyone else got it. I tear down a ton of worn out and tired 4runners and pickups that need way more work than they are worth but I try to save them as much as possible. Even tho this truck reads 367k and the body is only decent I’ve decided to revive it and make it my shop truck and eventually an Ivan Stewart replica.

Here is a list of damaged parts:
Bumper
Hood
Fenders
Core support
Inner fenders
A/C lines
A/C Condenser
Radiator
Fan shroud
Fan
Water pump
Steering lines
Power Steering pump pulley
Fuse box
Crossmember

When the truck rear ended another truck it mashed the front so hard it pushed the radiator into the fan and pressed the water pump in to where it couldn’t spin. The ps pump pulley was crinkled and fuse box was broke off all 3 mounts.

To make part replacement easier ive decided to convert most the accessories to 4runner style including the a/c condenser, compressor, lines, core support, ps lines, etc.

Wrecked 1988 Toyota Driver Side

Fixing the Body and Engine

The OP began the restoration of this 1988 Toyota 4×4 pickup by tearing off the mangled front end.

Once the sheet metal and the core support were out of the way, he was able to remove the damaged engine components before mocking up the new inner fender wells and the core support.

1988 Toyota Front Metal Removed

He removed those “new” components to install the cross member, then he sent the truck off to the frame shop. Once it was seemingly straightened out, the OP re-installed the inner fenders, the core support, the various engine components and the headlights – meaning that he could drive his partially-restored 1988 Toyota pickup around a bit.

1988 Toyota Pickup Frame Fixed 1

When putting the final touches on the body, the OP found that there was still some frame work needed, so headed back there for some final adjustments. When completed, the truck drove nice straight and looked great.

"Before I was old enough to walk, my dad was taking me to various types of racing events, from local drag racing to the Daytona 500," says Patrick Rall, a lifetime automotive expert, diehard Dodge fan, and respected auto journalist for over 10 years. "He owned a repair shop and had a variety of performance cars when I was young, but by the time I was 16, he was ready to build me my first drag car – a 1983 Dodge Mirada that ran low 12s. I spent 10 years traveling around the country, racing with my dad by my side. While we live in different areas of the country, my dad still drag races at 80 years old in the car that he built when I was 16 while I race other vehicles, including my 2017 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat and my 1972 Dodge Demon 340.

"Although I went to college for accounting, my time in my dad’s shop growing up allowed me the knowledge to spend time working as a mechanic before getting my accounting degree, at which point I worked in the office of a dealership group. While I was working in the accounting world, I continued racing and taking pictures of cars at the track. Over time, I began showing off those pictures online and that led to my writing.

"Ten years ago, I left the accounting world to become a full-time automotive writer and I am living proof that if you love what you do, you will never “work” a day in your life," adds Rall, who has clocked in time as an auto mechanic, longtime drag racer and now automotive journalist who contributes to nearly a dozen popular auto websites dedicated to fellow enthusiasts.

"I love covering the automotive industry and everything involved with the job. I was fortunate to turn my love of the automotive world into a hobby that led to an exciting career, with my past of working as a mechanic and as an accountant in the automotive world provides me with a unique perspective of the industry.

"My experience drag racing for more than 20 years coupled with a newfound interest in road racing over the past decade allows me to push performance cars to their limit, while my role as a horse stable manager gives me vast experience towing and hauling with all of the newest trucks on the market today.

"Being based on Detroit," says Rall, "I never miss the North American International Auto Show, the Woodward Dream Cruise and Roadkill Nights, along with spending plenty of time raising hell on Detroit's Woodward Avenue with the best muscle car crowd in the world.

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