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1984 Xtracab 5th Wheel

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Old 04-17-2017, 11:10 AM   #1
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1984 Xtracab 5th Wheel

First Thread! Let me start by saying thanks to everyone in the yotatech community for all the contributions you've made over the years; I've lurked here for years, benefitting from this mass of info.

I grew up on 80s model Toyota's​ and currently own a 1983 Sunrader (purchased in 2012 with 34800 original miles, and have put another 20k traveling all over the US) and a cherry 1984 Toyota XtraCab Solid Axle 4x4. The truck has OME heavy suspension lift, rebuilt axles, de-smog, ARB front bumper, Warn M8000, and rides on 31 BFGs at factory gearing (4.10) with the factory 5-speed manual.



I imagine right about now you're thinking "sweet, nice ride, welcome to Yotatech, etc.," well...

Let the flaming begin: So I've acquired a 1986 Bigfoot 5th wheel weighing in at 2700lbs with a gooseneck tongue weight of 550lbs, and it is equipped with trailer brakes. It will only see use within 100-150 miles of the house. My plan is to have a Fab/trailer shop install a quality gooseneck hitch with a hide-a-hitch mounted to the frame below the bed, as well as a quality brake controller.



I will be doing the FJ Disc/caliper/dual diaphragm booster upgrade upfront, swapping the low-milage 22r from the Sunrader, and may do a new Marlin W56, as well as swap in 4.88 diffs.

I'm not concerned with the 22r's ability to handle this, as the Sunrader is 6800+ lbs gross on a factory 2wd drivetrain (save for the 1-ton factory rear axle) and has been coast to coast (slow and steady) through all manner of mountain passes, BLM back desert roads, and nearly every National Park in the lower 48.

I know there are a LOT of members who will now think "this is bat˟˟˟˟˟ crazy, this guy is nuts, how could you do that to that 84!" Etc... Know that this is a compromise [wife] in order to keep my beloved 84, the alternative would be sell it and buy a quad-cab Tacoma or Tundra and I just can't do that. So, I'm starting this thread to document the process, as there was absolutely no information out there on anyone doing this to an 80s pickup - closest I came were people hauling the same camper with '03 and '06 Tacomas and they reported no issues, but offered very little detail.

Cheers,
The Goat
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Old 04-17-2017, 02:07 PM   #2
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Hope it works, but just in case..
"In nomine Patris et Filii et Spiritus Sancti."
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Old 04-17-2017, 04:01 PM   #3
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Hope it works, but just in case..
"In nomine Patris et Filii et Spiritus Sancti."
Thanks, I just might need the entire Holy Trinity for this one.
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Old 04-17-2017, 06:34 PM   #4
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Firestone airbags or Timbren load levelers and you are golden
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Old 04-17-2017, 06:57 PM   #5
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Firestone airbags or Timbren load levelers and you are golden
​​​​​
Thanks, I'd seen some of the Toyota RVers using the Firestone Bags a few years ago. Will have to check out the Timbrens.
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Old 04-18-2017, 06:02 AM   #6
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No flaming here. Probably not going to get anywhere in a hurry pulling that thing, but sounds like you've got the all important stopping covered. Cool camper, and as long as it's safe, I don't see why not. What happened to the Sunrader that you are robbing the 22r from it?
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Old 04-18-2017, 07:22 AM   #7
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No flaming here. Probably not going to get anywhere in a hurry pulling that thing, but sounds like you've got the all important stopping covered. Cool camper, and as long as it's safe, I don't see why not. What happened to the Sunrader that you are robbing the 22r from it?
Yeah, I'm sure it'll be slow going but don't mind that. Nothing wrong with the Sunrader at all, just want to put it's 54k engine in my truck (truck has 200k) before I sell it this fall (don't need both the RV and the camper).

Last edited by The Goat; 04-18-2017 at 07:27 AM.
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Old 05-28-2017, 05:23 AM   #8
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So, finally got the hitch installed. After ordering an under mount hide-a-hitch gooseneck and Silverado hd2500 install kit, I realized the massive amount of fabrication it would take to adapt it to my project. So I went back to the drawing board and found, what turned out to be the perfect solution.

I ordered the Reese 30035 Universal 5th Wheel Rail Kit. This kit will take a standard 5th wheel or gooseneck hitch so there's more versatility. I ended up mounting the frame brackets to the exterior side of the frame rails because there were no available interior spaces that would line up on both sides. I did have to modify the mounting rails by cutting exactly 2" off each end so they would fit between the wheel wells in the bed,
and I also had to elongate two of the upper mounting holes in the shorter L-brackets that bolt the bed/rails to the frame (see below, upper left hole elongated toward the center appx 1/4")
I also had to notch the passenger-side rear bracket to clear the welded stud for the rear upper shock mount where it protrudes through the frame rail (see below, left-hand -rear -bracket is notched appx 1"X1/2").

I used the included fish wire to pull the studs through a hole on the back side of the frame right of the bracket for the front (see above right) brackets, and used a hole on the front side left of the rear (see above left) brackets. The only other modification was for the rear most mounting bolts that went through the bed, that were not going through the L-brackets, needed the washer ground flat on one side to fit against the bed support (see below)


These were tight quarters to wrench in, and it's a one-handed challenge to get the washer, lock-washer, and nut threaded. I put a weight on top of the carriage bolt in the bed to help keep it from pushing up while I got everything on and threaded. Then it was turn-by-turn with a 3/4" box wrench to tighten.

All-in-all this was a great solution, and only about 6-7hours total. I'm very confident in the stability, and feel it's over-built for my intended application. Below is a shot of the gooseneck hitch in the bed rails. The rear rail is exactly 25.5" from the end of the bed for reference.

Last edited by The Goat; 05-28-2017 at 09:26 AM.
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Old 05-30-2017, 08:18 AM   #9
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Installed the 7-pin hitch plug and brake controller yesterday. Chose to mount the controller above the e-brake handle because I wanted to keep all the brake controls in the same area and I could rout the wiring through the same hole as the e-brake. Had to tap the brake signal at the sending unit above the pedal, it's a tight work space and it's the upper of the two wires (green and white with red spots) that gets the signal on the 84.
The 7-pin was mounted to the passenger-side rear inside the bed. Tapped the backup light wire under the bed (isolated by removing the rear tail light) and ran the trailer brake wire and 12V aux from the battery and controller to the rear on the passenger side above the frame rail.

And all hooked up, rides level and brakes work great.


Still need to do the Vented Rotor upgrade and dial everything in, but so far seems to tow perfectly fine. I also have to get rear view mirror extensions because factory ones won't clear the sides of the Bigfoot camper - which makes backing up nearly impossible. May also put a wireless backup camera on the rear of the camper.
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Old 05-30-2017, 11:30 AM   #10
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were those 1/2" holes that were drilled through the frame for the brackets?
hopefully it doesn't impact the frame integrity
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Old 05-30-2017, 12:22 PM   #11
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Yes, but only the outside - not through both sides of the box frame - and sandwiched with studs from inside the frame. This is exactly as all 5th wheel gooseneck install kits are done, so should not be any more risk than with any other truck I would think.

Last edited by The Goat; 07-04-2017 at 05:09 AM.
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Old 05-30-2017, 02:29 PM   #12
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interesting, the mount on my Dodge was a clamping system that went around the frame.
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Old 05-31-2017, 06:13 AM   #13
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Here's the video I loosely based my hitch install off of: https://youtu.be/RtxiruSr_1g
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Old 05-31-2017, 07:16 AM   #14
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That is awesome. Hills must be scary though, did you swap in 4.88s yet?
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Old 05-31-2017, 08:46 AM   #15
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Haven't gotten out with it yet just back and forth down the driveway to test everything, waiting on the mirror extensions and an inertia based brake controller (the one I originally installed is timed, and is a little jerky). I think the 4.88 will be later on, depends on how dogged it is on the hills.
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Old 06-22-2017, 10:08 AM   #16
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Went ahead and did the engine swap with my 1983 Toyota Sunrader. As both vehicles were de-smogged it went pretty quickly. Swapped oil pans, new Marlin HD clutch, pilot bearing, and throw out bearing, and LCE header for the truck.
Also, procured two 93 4runner factory 4.56 differentials. Installed the rear, should get the front done next week. Lots more giddy up with the new engine, header, and 4.56 gears. Gained 5mpg and got a lot of 1st gear back, as well as overall responsiveness. As this is my daily driver, figured 4.88 would have been too tall.

Last edited by The Goat; 07-02-2017 at 10:42 AM.
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Old 06-22-2017, 05:56 PM   #17
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This is cool! Did you end up putting air bags on it or was it not needed?
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Old 06-22-2017, 08:24 PM   #18
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This is cool! Did you end up putting air bags on it or was it not needed?
No airbags (yet). With the OME heavy springs in the back (I believe they're rated 500lbs above standard) the truck rides level with the tongue weight (appx 500-600lbs) on the hitch. After I do the front differential, and simultaneously do the FJ brake upgrade, I'll be taking the 5th wheel out for the first real test run. So far I've just gone forward and backward down the drive way to test the hitch and brake controller(s).
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Old 06-23-2017, 12:52 AM   #19
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I have pulled some heavy loads with these trucks but as long as you have the trailer brakes it should do alright for the short distance you are wanting to do. You wont be setting any speed records but think it will get the job done. Great looking truck you have and I dont blame you for either having to get rid of it or add a 5th wheel to it.

Welcome to Yotatech, I am 30 minutes north of you and am doing a larger build of a truck to pull a 5th wheel camper so like seeing how this build goes. I am going to be camping at Prairie Creek this weekend in my pop up camper. I like how the 5th wheel campers are set up over the other styles. That is a great looking set up you have.
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Old 06-23-2017, 04:44 AM   #20
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I have pulled some heavy loads with these trucks but as long as you have the trailer brakes it should do alright for the short distance you are wanting to do. You wont be setting any speed records but think it will get the job done. Great looking truck you have and I dont blame you for either having to get rid of it or add a 5th wheel to it.

Welcome to Yotatech, I am 30 minutes north of you and am doing a larger build of a truck to pull a 5th wheel camper so like seeing how this build goes. I am going to be camping at Prairie Creek this weekend in my pop up camper. I like how the 5th wheel campers are set up over the other styles. That is a great looking set up you have.
Thanks, yeah I think she'll do fine based on my experience in the Sunrader. Once I have the truck squared away I'll have to start on the 5th wheel renovation. We're sure going to enjoy the extra space vs the Sunrader. Had the Sunrader on Craigslist for a day before it was sold, seems they're in greater demand than back when I was looking for them in 2012.

Last edited by The Goat; 06-25-2017 at 04:28 AM.
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