1988 Toyota Custom Cab Build


Did you figure out how to make the missing fiberglass tent poles? I just got one and I bought driveway marker fiberglass poles from home depot for $3.29 each. I think they will work but I just need to figure out how to make the caps that go on the end. If you had any luck with the poles, I would be stoked to hear what you did.
Yeah I was missing one pole and got one of these, came with the perfect ends and everything. I had thought about getting fiberglass marker poles as well but came across these while I was at the store and it worked awesome, pretty cheap too. https://www.ganderoutdoors.com/coghlans-fiberglass-tent-pole-repair-kit-206065.html


Got the custom cab back on 4 wheels again today. I ended up getting lucky and finding a pair of upper control arms instead of repairing my broken one. However after running the kit for a while and seeing the weak points on the control arms from both my own and from images that Nate the creator of Blazeland shared on instagram I decided to take the time to make some reinforcements in the hope that I won't break anything in the front suspension again.

The LCA bushing sleeves aren't thick enough and are prone to cracking, after removing the bushings from my LCAs I actually found the one of mine had been repaired previously. PSA for anyone making their own control arms bushing manufacturers give you a recommended wall thickness for their bushing! The Downey control arms were not up to snuff so I gusseted the sleeve with 11ga steel plate. I cut out the gusset to size then using a oxy-acetylene torch to heat the plate I shaped the gusset around a piece of pipe in a vice using a hammer and vice grips then tacked it to the control arm heated some more and hammered to get it to conform to the control arm. The wall thickness of the tubing for the structure of the control arm is supposed to be a bit thin as well so I added another gusset to add some more strength to the control arm itself.
LCA pre weld by Luke Hoffman, on Flickr

LCA reinforcements by Luke Hoffman, on Flickr

LCA reinforcements by Luke Hoffman, on Flickr

Gusseted LCA by Luke Hoffman, on Flickr

My UCA were also beginning to crack on the bottom were the torque arm mounts. The UCAs also got the same treatment as the lowers with a 11ga steel gusset around the bushing sleeves.

UCA pre weld by Luke Hoffman, on Flickr

UCA comparison bottom by Luke Hoffman, on Flickr

UCA comparison top by Luke Hoffman, on Flickr

The original torque arm mounts I had were the earlier 1986-88 torque arms which I found out are known to fail even on stock suspension sometime. I replaced them with 89-95 v6 torque arms which are significantly beefier and I don't think I should have another failure with the new arms.

Torque Arm Socket by Luke Hoffman, on Flickr

The UCA cross shafts that were on the long travel arms when I got it were quite pitted and one even seemed slightly bent so I pulled the cross shafts from my stock control arms and they ended up being in much better condition, so I used them instead.

Cross Shaft by Luke Hoffman, on Flickr

My bushings were pretty shot and were awfully squeaky ever since I got them, so I ended up putting in some fresh bushings. Again luckily the UCAs I got came with some in good enough condition to use as I wan't able to find a new replacement of the same dimension after doing quite a bit of internet surfing. I also wasn't able to find a direct replacement for the LCA bushings but I was able to find some with the right OD and ID but they were too long so I ordered them and cut them down to the right dimension. Added a healthy dose of poly bushing lube and when I reinstalled there's absolutely no more squeaking!

Fresh Bushings by Luke Hoffman, on Flickr

Assembled by Luke Hoffman, on Flickr

Got some inspiration from Summit Cruisers Jr's 4runner build and decided to make a bolt in LCA crossmember out of some tubing I had laying around leftover from a harness bar I made for a friends BMW.

LCA Crossmember by Luke Hoffman, on Flickr

LCA Member installed by Luke Hoffman, on Flickr

Hoping to get the new tailgate made this week. I'm also going to check out a rear axle that's for sale near me. Hoping to do the chevy spring swap and potentially axle swap soon too.


Got the new tailgate made yesterday and added some rubber mat in the bed for flooring. I used scrap 2x4s and 3/4" plywood I had laying around. Because it kind of blocks the taillights and turn signals from certain angles I added an led strip third brake light that has turn signals, running lights, and reverse light onto the tailgate right below the rear window of the topper. I do plan to fiberglass over the wood, body work it, paint and add some weather stripping to make it seal well. I'm going to add a chain so I can use the tailgate as a table or let it swing down to get in and out of the camper easier.

Tailgate by Luke Hoffman, on Flickr

Tailgate profile by Luke Hoffman, on Flickr

Tailgate up by Luke Hoffman, on Flickr

Tailgate down 2 by Luke Hoffman, on Flickr

Tailgate down 1 by Luke Hoffman, on Flickr

I've been working to organize my gear in the bed and rear seat area in an efficient way after doing some shakedown camping trips. Going to be doing a several day trip with 3 people coming up so I want to get the storage and kitchen dialed and make things easily accessible and secure.
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I took a trip out to Gilbert, MN to go to the Iron Range Off Road park a few weekends ago to do some wheeling with the off road group I'm part of. On the way I did a section of the Border to Border touring route which is made up of mostly dirt roads that connects the Northern corners of MN. I had a great time out exploring and wheeling and found some great campsites.

bendy trees by Luke Hoffman, on Flickr

camp back by Luke Hoffman, on Flickr

Posted up by Luke Hoffman, on Flickr

dock @camp by Luke Hoffman, on Flickr

Leaving camp by Luke Hoffman, on Flickr

Gilbert by Luke Hoffman, on Flickr

A tree had fallen over the road overnight while I was at camp on my second night of the trip, luckily I had my folding Sven saw in the truck to take care of it.

Time to get to cutting by Luke Hoffman, on Flickr

On my way back to my house after three aweome nights of camping the truck started to develop rod knock. Only about a hundred miles from home when the knocking started I stopped at an auto store and added some STP oil treatment which helped quiet down the knocking and finished the drive. I parked the truck and started looking for donor for an engine swap. I finally found a decent donor and went out to pick it up this afternoon.

T100 otwh by Luke Hoffman, on Flickr

T100 by Luke Hoffman, on Flickr

The donor is a 1995 T100 manual transmission 4wd 5vzfe with 179,000 miles and was the lowest mileage and cheapest donor vehicle I could find within a few hundred miles from me over the few weeks I've been looking. I would've preferred an engine with lower miles but the engine seems healthy and I need to get the truck back on the road as it's my main form of transportation.

3.4 by Luke Hoffman, on Flickr
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Started tearing into the swap the other day and got both engines pulled. The 5vzfe was seized to the tranny I struggled for several hours trying to get them seperated in the car and ended up cannibalizing the T100 so I could pull out the engine, tranny and transfer case still mated together. Just got my parts in yesterday afternoon to do the timing belt and water pump as well as reseal the 5vz. Also on the agenda this week is to modify the crossover to drop on the drivers side of the tranny and doublechecking all my wiring changes and do a thorough degrease of 30 years of grime and dirt on the engine bay transmission and repaint the front section of the frame before dropping the 3.4 in.

5vz ready to pull by Luke Hoffman, on Flickr

5vz pulled by Luke Hoffman, on Flickr

Dont know who needs to see this but if you're timing belt is more than 10 years old it probably looks like this!
5vz TB by Luke Hoffman, on Flickr

5vz stand by Luke Hoffman, on Flickr

3vz pulled by Luke Hoffman, on Flickr

beef tits

Active member
Good thing you caught that belt.

My Dad's 450k mile 1996 3.4 4Runner needs a new head... belt tensioner bolt backed out. Sad thing is he just had it changed by a clearly incompetent shop 30k miles ago. So sad to see a 450k mile 4Runner die because some dingus couldn't use a torque wrench.

Use AISIN brand parts or Toyota only. The kits are cheap. Anything from the big box stores is garbage.


Good thing you caught that belt.

My Dad's 450k mile 1996 3.4 4Runner needs a new head... belt tensioner bolt backed out. Sad thing is he just had it changed by a clearly incompetent shop 30k miles ago. So sad to see a 450k mile 4Runner die because some dingus couldn't use a torque wrench.

Use AISIN brand parts or Toyota only. The kits are cheap. Anything from the big box stores is garbage.
That is very sad, unfortunately I've heard many similar stories of a mechanic or technician who doesn't do the job right and causes serious problems, yet another reason why I like to do the work myself if possible. Yeah I agree with using the Aisin or Toyota parts, I ended up getting the Aisin kit with water pump.


Got a fair bit done on the swap this week and hoping to have it finished in the next few days. I finished up all the wiring to get the engine to run by making an adapter harness to mate the 5vz engine harness to the 3vz dash harness, also modifying the 3.4 battery harness to move the battery to the drivers side. I'm hoping to adapt the T100 cruise control but still have a few thing to figure out regarding the wiring for that which I'll tackle later because I need the Custom Cab back in action. I got the 3.4 all refreshed doing the timing belt, water pump, resealed and painted oil pan, painted the valve covers, cam seals, crankshaft seals, and threw in some new spark plugs. I also cleaned the injectors and intake plenum throttle body and did a thorough degrease on everything. Painted the front sections of the frame as well as touched up some spots that were starting to rust in the engine bay.

bay prep1 by Luke Hoffman, on Flickr

bay prep 2 by Luke Hoffman, on Flickr

5vz ready2 by Luke Hoffman, on Flickr

5vz ready1 by Luke Hoffman, on Flickr

My passenger side motor mount pedestal from the 1988 3vz only hit 3 holes which is probably fine but I opted to find some mounts from I think a 93 3vz that hit all 4 holes but to get them to fit I had to chop the AC bracket.

chopped ac bracket by Luke Hoffman, on Flickr

The exhaust drops on the passenger side on the 5vz but on the 3vz the exhaust drops on the drivers side. There are ready made crossover pipes available but I wanted to keep the cost to a minimum on the swap so I cut up the crossover pipe and rewelded it to get it to drop on the drivers side, the only new material need was a 2" section of pipe I already had leftover from a previous exhaust build I did.

crossover by Luke Hoffman, on Flickr

I test fitted the engine while the crossover was just tacked together to make sure the downpipe fell in the right spot and to make sure the crossover didn't hit the firewall or anything.

test fit 1 by Luke Hoffman, on Flickr

test fit 2 by Luke Hoffman, on Flickr

Going to put the engine back in for good tomorrow and hopefully get it fired up. I still have to make mounts for the airbox and EVAP stuff as well as make a battery tray for the drivers side. I'm going to be putting in a new OBDII compliant cat in as well as an o2 bung to add the downstream o2 sensor and then the swap should be done. I'll add a better write up of which parts I used and some more info on the wiring and such once it's done.

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New member
You are going to love that 3.4. I swapped my 22r for one and it's like a whole new truck. I imagine the difference isn't quite so dramatic though starting with a 3.0.

How does hood clearance look? I had to put a scoop in the hood of my 84.


The swap has been running and driving for about 3 weeks now and I've just been doing a few little things that needed to be sorted out. I've put nearly 500 miles on the swap now without issue and its been driving great, much smoother running than the 3.0 and the extra power has been great to lug around the added weight of the Wildernest and gear. Overall it was definitely worth doing a little extra work to swap to the 3.4 instead of putting in another 3.0.

Before I get into the break down of what parts I used to make the swap happen (although I'm probably forgetting to add a few things I had to do) I'll say again that the donor I used was a 1995.5 T100 DX 4wd with Manual transmission. I ended up parting it out and after scrapping the shell I actually made some profit on it, making the swap pretty affordable. Here's how it sat before taking it to the scrapyard.

t100 scrap by Luke Hoffman, on Flickr

I used all the accessories from the 3.4. The alternator on the 3.4 is internally regulated so you can just the the wires and match colors from the 3.0 charging/headlight harness to wire it. To use the power steering pump from the 3.4 I deleted the idle up and got a new high pressure line from Off road solutions. To get the AC to work I used the 3.4 AC compressor and swapped the top plate from the 3.0 compressor to use the original 3.0 AC lines. I had originally swapped the clutch fan from the 3.0 onto the 3.4 thinking it would fit the radiator shroud better but the shroud would need to be modified anyway and I found out the 3.0 fans are known for exploding on cold start so I swapped back to the 3.4 fan.

For the fuel system I had to get a new high pressure fuel line which I again got form Off road solutions. The T100 3.4 only has one EVAP solenoid to purge the charcoal canister and the wiring is part of the dash harness, this is the only wiring I used from the dash harness until I get around to adding the cruise control from the 3.4. For the EVAP system I kept the 3.0 charcoal canister and just rerouted the EVAP lines from the Drivers side to the passenger side where the 3.0 charcoal canister bolted to from the factory.

I used engine mount pedestals from an 89-95 3.0 which bolted up better to the 3.4 block than my 88 engine mount pedestals as detailed in my last post. I had to use the lower transmission brackets from the 3.0 because I'm using the 3.0 R150f trans and not the 3.4 R150f.

3.0 tranny brackets by Luke Hoffman, on Flickr

I got a 3.4 clutch conversion kit and a new flywheel from yotashop. The clutch kit is a 3.4 disk with a stiffer 3.4 pressure plate and because I'm using the 3.0 R150F I'm using a 3.0 throwout bearing.

The airbox and battery locations are on opposite sides when switching to the 3.4 so I had to relocate the battery to the drivers side, I made my own battery tray/hold down which bolts in to factory holes in the chassis and required no modifications to the body of the car. I also had to run a wire from battery to the main power fuse on the passenger side of the car, I used 4 ga wire because that's what I had lying around. The battery being on the drivers side also interferes with the coolant overflow reservoir so I rotated the overflow and flipped the bracket, drilling a new hole in the core support to bolt it in. The T100 airbox is bigger than the later 4runner and tacoma airboxes and wouldn't fit so I ended up going to the autostore to see if they had a filter in stock that would work for the time being, I would like something a little bit better protected from water in the future. Unfortunately I forgot to write down the part number on the filter I used.

3.4 run bay by Luke Hoffman, on Flickr

As far as wiring goes I was mostly able to follow this wiring guide, http://www.flashpoint-dms.com/test/yotatech/5VZFE swap wiring (theMonch).pdf by TheMonch which I found on YotaTech. I had to make a few changes because my MAF sensor need power through the White-Redstriped wire from IE1 pin 9. I grounded IE1 pin 19 for the 4wd detection system although I'm entirely sure if I needed to or not. I also ended up not using the E4A pin 6 and 7 which is for the AC system after reading somewhere that it isn't necessary for the AC system to work. I to the plugs from the 3.4 dash harness which plug into the engine harness and the plugs from the 3.0 engine harness that plug into the dash harness to make an adapter harness to go from the 3.4 engine harness to the 3.0 dash harness so I didn't have to cut up the large wiring harnesses to make diagnosis of any future problems easier by not have any solder joints in the large harnesses. Because I was already messing with the wiring and the ECU I decided it would be a good time to relocate the ECU out of the passenger footwell where it could get exposed to water and into the glovebox.

ecu gb by Luke Hoffman, on Flickr

ecu relocation by Luke Hoffman, on Flickr

As far as hood clearance I was able to space up the back off the hood using the fuel rail spacers from the 3vze which allowed the hood to close fine, but I only did this temporarily until my hood scoop arrived. I used a hood scoop from a 1982 Ford Mustang GT, I wrapped the scoop in vinyl I had laying around hoping to add some flare and try to match the graphics on the rest of the truck although the colors don't match that well. I'm not too sure how I feel about the stripes yet but I'll be rocking it for a bit to feel it out and because it took me about an hour to wrap.

first long drive by Luke Hoffman, on Flickr

hood scoop profile by Luke Hoffman, on Flickr

hood scoop frontal by Luke Hoffman, on Flickr

I did a few shakedown camping trips with the swap out to some spots local to me and a trip out to one of my favorite campsites in the Chippewa National forest to catch the fall colors and do some mountain biking at Tioga Recreation Area in Chisholm MN.

3.4 first dt by Luke Hoffman, on Flickr

3.4 camp 1 by Luke Hoffman, on Flickr

Mississippi Camp by Luke Hoffman, on Flickr

I'm hopeful that I'll be done working on the mechanical side of the drivetrain for a while. I've got a trip to Utah coming up and I want to get the Chevy 63 swap done before I leave after having to put it off to do the control arm reinforcements and engine swap. I'd also like to do some work on my gear storage and make a rear bumper as well. I've been working on an expedition trailer to tow behind the Custom Cab too although I really have no need for one right now and it probably won't get used too much for trips and more for yard work and just general hauling, it's just another project I've been planning since even before I got the Custom Cab that I'm finally getting around to.

Brat trailer 1 by Luke Hoffman, on Flickr
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Got the chevy 63 spring installed. I'm running a 4 leaf pack without the overload. I'm using the skys manufacturing kit and shock mounts. The ride is leagues better and it does pretty well on washboard, there is a slight increase in body roll but its not as bad as I expected.

I put new bushings and wear pads on the springs and a new extended rear brake line. While doing the swap I did some maintenance that needed to be done getting rid of the rust forming on the frame, wire wheeling and sanding it then painting it with some epoxy paint. I also did a rough clean up on the rust on the bed and primed it just to try to help slow the spread a little for now.

63 profile by Luke Hoffman, on Flickr

63 front by Luke Hoffman, on Flickr

63 rear by Luke Hoffman, on Flickr

63 shock mount by Luke Hoffman, on Flickr