Saturday, January 3, 2015

7k: Go Everywhere, Slowly: 1988 Toyota 4Runner, TDI-powered

Have you ever wanted that feeling of looking at the gauge cluster in front of you and knowing you'll never explore the right hemisphere of either one? Of course not! But now you can! Making slightly more sense than the the TDI-swapped C3 Corvette we featured way back in October or the Supra-powered 4Runner (also in October) is this 4x4 Toyota 4Runner with a 1.9-liter turbo-diesel engine from a 1996 Jetta mated to a five-speed manual transmission. It's ready for anything... except 80 mph. Find this TDI-swapped 1988 Toyota 4Runner for sale in Medford, OR for $6,500 via craigslist.

Any Hilux-based Toyota truck has instant off-road cred. Butch styling, a solid axle in the front (until 1986), leaf springs in the back, and a sturdy yet uninspiring 22R four-cylinder in most models. Now with Vee-Dub oil-burning power, the seller has coaxed 30 mpg from the 2,700-pound truck, up from its EPA ratings of 17 on the highway. You don't sacrifice much power; horsepower drops from 116 to 90, with torque increasing from 140 lb-ft to about 155. It's titled in Oregon, but isn't expected to pass smog inspection in California.

Upgraded front and rear bumpers and new tires promise real off-roading capability. The truck also comes with a new battery and windshield, plus a 3-year-old paint job in Seasonal Depression Grayscale. The interior seems to have a seat cover zip-tied to the seat. Must be an off-road thing. Or, evidence of the 4Runner's 270,000 miles.

The interior also sports a rhino-lined interior, useful for washing out bugs and earthy "flower child" girls named Skye, both of which you're sure to attract with the removable top. With a clean, gutted interior, you're ready to fill the cargo area with a gun safe and a big tank for veggie fuel. Boom, instant zombie apocalypse tank.

See a trans-continental swap with better fuel efficiency? Email us at

PhiLOL actually likes the tuna here, but abhors structural rust. Save the manuals.


  1. I don't know why Toyota never released the foreign versions of the land cruiser, 4runner, etc.. with the diesels in America.

    Instead, I have to wait until someone imports a LHD model and decides to sell it.

  2. I think since this TDI engine is newer than the truck it's in, and a diesel, you can title it as such and forever be exempt from smog here in CA. It's what we did with our OM617 powered 1st Gen 4Runner. Took a smog ref, engine origination paperwork, and a change of motive power declaration. After that it became legally titled as a diesel, and we no longer received biannual smog requirements with our registration renewal notifications. This was about 7 years ago, pretty sure not a whole lot has changed since then.

    1. Almost impossible to do that without it being registered in another state first.

      Arizona is the easiest, many importers title their vehicles there as a diesel, and then when you title it in California, it has a state verified vin number and automatically registers as a legitimate diesel.

  3. That under the hood looks a little scary even lucas might give the wiring a thumbs down zip ties look to be temporary fix until they fail.

  4. If this has been turned up it may be pushing somewhere around 120/130 HP and double that in torque. That torque is what would make this thing useful anywhere compared to the 22re that it was born with. A friend of mine put a1.9 in an 86 golf 2 door with bigger injectors and a 3" exhaust it was a blast to rip around in.


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