1994 2nd Gen Hilux Surf 3.0 turbodiesel 'Sasquatch'

#1
Hi all

Lurked around the forum for a couple of years and figured I should really get around to posting the story (and a couple of pics) of my Hilux Surf, named Sasquatch.

In 2014 I wanted to find a good base and build up a tough overland vehicle capable of sustaining two people on long-distance surf-exploration trips with a high capability both on and off road. Of the many factors to consider in finding the right vehicle for the job, the utmost was of course reliability. For its low-end torque for off-road driving, cold-weather resistance, increased fuel economy and superior fording capability, it would have to be a diesel, and augmented by a turbo, so on-road driving wasn’t laboured and the vehicle was able to keep up with traffic.

I was also very keen to keep it as light as possible, helping to retain a good fuel economy and nimbleness off road - I didn’t need 8mm thick chassis armour and an exo-skeleton. During my search, I naturally kept coming back to the Land Cruiser’s little brother, the Hilux 4Runner, or Surf, as the Japanese exports are known. With a 1.8t kerb weight, the 2nd-gen Hilux Surf is almost half a tonne lighter than the similarly-aged 80-series Land Cruiser, and offers 5mpg better fuel economy, running the 4-cylinder 3-litre 1KZ turbodiesel (as opposed to the 6-cylinder 4.2-litre 1HZ naturally-aspirated diesel in the 80-series).

The Hilux’s engine and transmission is a proven drivetrain offered in Land Cruisers too, fitted in some 70-series (the successor to the iconic 40-series), Prados, and the latter 90-series Colorado models. There’s also the build quality – these transmissions have been known to be opened up at 200,000km with no metal shavings found on the magnets. The 2nd-gen Surf’s interior can comfortably become a camper, with occupants sleeping inside, as opposed external ground camping, or having to carry a heavy roof-top tent. Accessing your bed from the cab is of course totally weatherproof, better insulated, and allows for much increased security. After a few weeks of searching, I found the perfect base model: a black, imported 2nd-gen 1994 Hilux Surf SSR-X Limited, totally stock, kept in a car port and only used on the weekends. The second-highest spec level offered new, it was in damned near as-new condition and had clearly been cherished its whole life with a full service history. It arrived off a ship from Japan in 2002. Roll forward a dozen years and here I was, arriving with a one-way train ticket and £1,200 in my pocket.

It's been a long, fun build since then, including shakedown trips into the Picos de Europa mountains in Northern Spain (sleeping 5,200ft up above the snowline of one mountain where backcountry skiers were unloading below us the following morning), another European trip (covering 3,000km through 5 countries, including some excellent mountain forest tracks in both the Bavarian and Austrian Alps), and most recently another 4,000km trip through 3 countries, mainly on a surf mission to the far SW tip of continental Europe, including hundreds of kilometres of off-road driving through the Serra de Monchique in Southern Portugal, and some excellent coastal tracks and sand driving in some south and west coast wilderness areas. It also came to the rescue of a number of people in the worst blizzard conditions Britain has seen for decades last winter, working multiples nights in recoveries of immobilised vehicles, delivering health workers to emergencies, and in getting to people stuck in snow drifts in remote areas on the cusp of hypothermia!

Anyway, let's get down to business, here's a list of the work in the last 4 years:

- New head, head gasket, head bolts, water pump, cambelt, pulleys, tensioner, filters, belts, Aisin viscous hub, rad cap, full exhaust, hoses, re-cored radiator, 71 degree thermostat, TREs, front bads, discs and calipers, bearings, CV gaitors, rear universal joints, transmission solenoids, front drop links, rear ARB bushes and brackets, diff fluids, transfer box fluid and transmission fluid, 830CCA battery, bump stops
- Fully-sealed impact-resistant polyproylene Bravo snorkel (same design as a Safari)
- Auberins coolant sensor and gauge
- Aftermarket ATF cooler with separate line
- Fully waterproofed electrical connections underneath
- Full breather kits fitted for rear diff, front diff, transfer box and transmission (mounted high on firewall)
- 2" body lift
- 2" lifted heavy-duty Lesjofers rear springs
- 1.25" aluminium rear coil spacers
- 2" Pedders nitrogen gas shocks all round
- Pedders heavy duty steering damper
- 15" x 8" modular steel wheels (x5)
- 33" x 12.5" Toyo Open Country Mud Terrains (x5)
- Panhard bar cut and sleeved
- New OEM rear load sensing valve on custom lifted bracket
- New OEM front torsion bars, lifted 1"
- Rear braided steel brake hose
- Custom rear brake lines
- Aisin manually-locking freewheeling front hubs
- Rebalanced prop shaft
- Toe/camber/castor all laser aligned and adjusted
- Full Krown rust treatment on chassis, engine bay, driveline, suspension and body (on and in all panels up to the window line)
- Custom steel tubular front bumper
- Custom steel rear bumper with twin swing-arms, one for spare wheel, and the other for 60L of diesel in 3 lockable Jerry cans (bumper with rated rear recovery points for 4.75t shackles welded in-line with chassis rails)
- Custom aluminium roof rack, bolted to Thule roof bars, with galvanised mesh base
- Custom steel rock sliders
- 4crawler rated front recovery points, customised to accept the bigger pin for 4.75t shackles, mounted to chassis rails
- 2m x 2.5m awning
- Custom, low-profile, carpeted, full-length 3/4" hardwood marine ply drawset (on 48 skateboard bearings) for tools and expedition equipment, with 4 hinged side storage compartments
- Steel vehicle safe mounted and sealed through vehicle floor
- Waeco CDF-11 compressor fridge on a custom slide, wired to auxiliary battery
- 48" Hi-Lift jack, Hi-Lift winching kit, lift-mate attachment, 16ft of grade-80 recovery chain, 4.75t shackles, heavy duty tree-strap, 4m bridle strap, 8m tow strap and 10m extension tow strap, all lift-rated to 4t
- T-Max 12v compressor, with tyre repair kit, spare inner tube, valves and cores, and rapid tyre deflator
- Backup 12v compressor
- Longhandle shovel, mounted on rack
- 2 x fire extinguishers (one 900g BC in passenger footwell, one 1l E-series water-mist mounted on D-pillar)
- 2 x lifehammers mounted on front door cards
- 110Ah auxiliary marine battery (with 800+CCA) installed on a Durite split/charge relay
- 2 x sub fuseboards for all accessories, split independently for starter and auxiliary
- Twin air horns and compressor fitted
- T-1000 Thunderpole CB radio mounted on dash, along with twin battery voltmeters and Auberins coolant and EGT gauges
- 4ft Firestik top-loaded antenna for CB with heavy-duty spring base and custom aluminium base plate
- 5ft springer antenna for radio, with custom aluminium mounting bracket
- Griptaped sliders, bonnet and roofline above windscreen for roof rack access
- 2 x 9" Hella halogen spotlights mounted on front bar
- 2 x 12" LED light bars on roof
- 3 x 12v 20-amp accessory sockets installed inside rear D-pillar in the bed
- Fully armoured cables underneath
- 4" rotating 18W LED camp light on rear pole with optional yellow filter, custom hood, dimmer and speed-adjustable flash settings for breakdown warning
- Hidden kill switch in vehicle
- Uprated 4t bottle jack
- Sony Bluetooth stereo upgrade with uprated speakers all round and slimline 8" sub-woofer under passenger seat
- Dash holders for 8" tablet for maps, smartphone and USB-chargeable twin handheld radios for spotting
- 12v extra-quiet fan installed in rear for air circulation
- Mosquito-netted rear windows
- Twin self-inflating camp mats and British military Snugpak sleeping bags rated down to -12C
- Black-out 5% limo-tinted windows (on top of existing factory tint) on all windows from B-pillar back
- Pocketed side storage in the bed, including fully reflected cold-store in rear window alcove for food and cooking utensils/cutlery/equipment
- First aid kit mounted behind cargo net on opposite window alcove next to fire extinguisher, with matching stickers on outside locating their position in the vehicle
- Interior roof cargo netted for clothing storage, with drybag for dirty laundry (doubling as a washbag with detergent and water)
- Bed storage of cast iron camp oven, MSR Dragonfly stove and expedition maintenance kit, gas bottles, Stanley thermos, foldable SnowPeak chopping board, folding fire pit and grill (SnowPeak design), 12v shower, heavy duty jump leads and high-vis
- Large Maglite mounted on side of trans tunnel in front footwell opposite fire extinguisher
- High-level LED indicator repeaters mounted on rear spoiler with 3rd brake light
- Red LED nightlights fitted inside for reading and to detract bugs
- 20L interior water tank with tap
- Auxiliary 20L exterior water ex-military Jerry can on rack
- Locked and strengthened Plano military storage box on rack, with all spare parts and room for wetsuits
- Roof rack bag, containing 4 x recovery boards, 2 x Kentucky camp chairs, 2 x aluminium camp tables (one big, one small), tarp, bodyboards and fins
- Full emergency grab bag mounted on rear of drivers seat
- Trasharoo spare tyre rubbish sack

That's pretty much it, probably missed a few things. I designed the vehicle so almost all heavy weight was to be stored as low down as possible and between the axles, with lighter, bulkier stuff up top. With 60L of extra diesel in addition to the 65L standard tank, it now has a 1,000km range between fuel stations, and a cruising economy of 22-23mpg. Fully loaded with 2 people and kit it weighs 2.7t, with only a slight weight distribution to the rear.

Anyway, here’s a couple of pics from the recent Portugal trip:







Owen
 
Last edited:
#3
Sure do, loads of this trip was off road, and some of it some pretty extreme tracks through wilderness areas in Portugal, tackling soft sand tracks, eucalyptus jungles, high ridgeline tracks, river crossings, logging access tracks, steep mountain climbs and descents, pine forests, 900m moorland (including the highest point in southern Portugal where you can see 60 miles to both the south and west coasts), cliff tracks, beaches, deep gulleys, washouts and boulders.

My mate I was travelling with is a chef who teaches other chefs, so we got some good local food from the market on the first day and he cooked up a tailgate feast every night. On the way back up through the Iberian Peninsula I polished off two 16-hour drives back to back, covering over 1,100km each day!










































Owen
 

Regcabguy

Expedition Leader
#4
Sturdy rig and great pictorial. What country are you in for the water shots?
My friend drove a Hilux diesel in Nicaragua. It transformed a diesel hater into a convert.
 

dman93

Adventurer
#8
Nice truck and pictures ... and travels. You know, except for the diesel, these 2nd gen 4Runners, many similarly modded, are still quite common in the US, at least in California. But it’s cool to imagine one in the UK and on the Continent. Very nice.
 
#9
Yeah we had a 1989 gen 1 Toyota 4Runner 2.2L petrol in Australia a number of years back, which did 16,000km in a month as I drove twice across Australia (including desert salt pans in WA, distant beaches in the south west, twice across the Nullarbor, dissecting the Blue Mountains, Gold Fields, Flinders Ranges and the Victorian High Country.)

Got it stuck on a remote beach in South Australia with an incoming tide, and 3 days later snapped the rear prop shaft 150km down a dirt track in the desert at 50C. Kept on rolling though!

Still, I'd rather the diesel :)

Owen
 
#10
Sure do, loads of this trip was off road, and some of it some pretty extreme tracks through wilderness areas in Portugal, tackling soft sand tracks, eucalyptus jungles, high ridgeline tracks, river crossings, logging access tracks, steep mountain climbs and descents, pine forests, 900m moorland (including the highest point in southern Portugal where you can see 60 miles to both the south and west coasts), cliff tracks, beaches, deep gulleys, washouts and boulders.

My mate I was travelling with is a chef who teaches other chefs, so we got some good local food from the market on the first day and he cooked up a tailgate feast every night. On the way back up through the Iberian Peninsula I polished off two 16-hour drives back to back, covering over 1,100km each day!






Owen
Great truck and great photos (y) In the photo of your mate cooking, I see that the spare wheel/carrier is in the truck. Do you have to remove it to open the tail gate or was there a problem with it?

SN
 
#11
Hi all

Lurked around the forum for a couple of years and figured I should really get around to posting the story …………………………

..................................here's a list of the work in the last 4 years:

- New head, head gasket, head bolts, water pump, cambelt, pulleys, tensioner, filters, belts, Aisin viscous hub, rad cap, full exhaust, hoses, re-cored radiator, 71 degree thermostat, TREs, front bads, discs and calipers, bearings, CV gaitors, rear universal joints, transmission solenoids, front drop links, rear ARB bushes and brackets, diff fluids, transfer box fluid and transmission fluid, 830CCA battery, bump stops
- Fully-sealed impact-resistant polyproylene Bravo snorkel (same design as a Safari)
- Auberins coolant sensor and gauge
- Aftermarket ATF cooler with separate line
- Fully waterproofed electrical connections underneath
- Full breather kits fitted for rear diff, front diff, transfer box and transmission (mounted high on firewall)
- 2" body lift
- 2" lifted heavy-duty Lesjofers rear springs
- 1.25" aluminium rear coil spacers
- 2" Pedders nitrogen gas shocks all round
- Pedders heavy duty steering damper
- 15" x 8" modular steel wheels (x5)
- 33" x 12.5" Toyo Open Country Mud Terrains (x5)
- Panhard bar cut and sleeved
- New OEM rear load sensing valve on custom lifted bracket
- New OEM front torsion bars, lifted 1"
- Rear braided steel brake hose
- Custom rear brake lines
- Aisin manually-locking freewheeling front hubs
- Rebalanced prop shaft
- Toe/camber/castor all laser aligned and adjusted
- Full Krown rust treatment on chassis, engine bay, driveline, suspension and body (on and in all panels up to the window line)
- Custom steel tubular front bumper
- Custom steel rear bumper with twin swing-arms, one for spare wheel, and the other for 60L of diesel in 3 lockable Jerry cans (bumper with rated rear recovery points for 4.75t shackles welded in-line with chassis rails)
- Custom aluminium roof rack, bolted to Thule roof bars, with galvanised mesh base
- Custom steel rock sliders
- 4crawler rated front recovery points, customised to accept the bigger pin for 4.75t shackles, mounted to chassis rails
- 2m x 2.5m awning
- Custom, low-profile, carpeted, full-length 3/4" hardwood marine ply drawset (on 48 skateboard bearings) for tools and expedition equipment, with 4 hinged side storage compartments
- Steel vehicle safe mounted and sealed through vehicle floor
- Waeco CDF-11 compressor fridge on a custom slide, wired to auxiliary battery
- 48" Hi-Lift jack, Hi-Lift winching kit, lift-mate attachment, 16ft of grade-80 recovery chain, 4.75t shackles, heavy duty tree-strap, 4m bridle strap, 8m tow strap and 10m extension tow strap, all lift-rated to 4t
- T-Max 12v compressor, with tyre repair kit, spare inner tube, valves and cores, and rapid tyre deflator
- Backup 12v compressor
- Longhandle shovel, mounted on rack
- 2 x fire extinguishers (one 900g BC in passenger footwell, one 1l E-series water-mist mounted on D-pillar)
- 2 x lifehammers mounted on front door cards
- 110Ah auxiliary marine battery (with 800+CCA) installed on a Durite split/charge relay
- 2 x sub fuseboards for all accessories, split independently for starter and auxiliary
- Twin air horns and compressor fitted
- T-1000 Thunderpole CB radio mounted on dash, along with twin battery voltmeters and Auberins coolant and EGT gauges
- 4ft Firestik top-loaded antenna for CB with heavy-duty spring base and custom aluminium base plate
- 5ft springer antenna for radio, with custom aluminium mounting bracket
- Griptaped sliders, bonnet and roofline above windscreen for roof rack access
- 2 x 9" Hella halogen spotlights mounted on front bar
- 2 x 12" LED light bars on roof
- 3 x 12v 20-amp accessory sockets installed inside rear D-pillar in the bed
- Fully armoured cables underneath
- 4" rotating 18W LED camp light on rear pole with optional yellow filter, custom hood, dimmer and speed-adjustable flash settings for breakdown warning
- Hidden kill switch in vehicle
- Uprated 4t bottle jack
- Sony Bluetooth stereo upgrade with uprated speakers all round and slimline 8" sub-woofer under passenger seat
- Dash holders for 8" tablet for maps, smartphone and USB-chargeable twin handheld radios for spotting
- 12v extra-quiet fan installed in rear for air circulation
- Mosquito-netted rear windows
- Twin self-inflating camp mats and British military Snugpak sleeping bags rated down to -12C
- Black-out 5% limo-tinted windows (on top of existing factory tint) on all windows from B-pillar back
- Pocketed side storage in the bed, including fully reflected cold-store in rear window alcove for food and cooking utensils/cutlery/equipment
- First aid kit mounted behind cargo net on opposite window alcove next to fire extinguisher, with matching stickers on outside locating their position in the vehicle
- Interior roof cargo netted for clothing storage, with drybag for dirty laundry (doubling as a washbag with detergent and water)
- Bed storage of cast iron camp oven, MSR Dragonfly stove and expedition maintenance kit, gas bottles, Stanley thermos, foldable SnowPeak chopping board, folding fire pit and grill (SnowPeak design), 12v shower, heavy duty jump leads and high-vis
- Large Maglite mounted on side of trans tunnel in front footwell opposite fire extinguisher
- High-level LED indicator repeaters mounted on rear spoiler with 3rd brake light
- Red LED nightlights fitted inside for reading and to detract bugs
- 20L interior water tank with tap
- Auxiliary 20L exterior water ex-military Jerry can on rack
- Locked and strengthened Plano military storage box on rack, with all spare parts and room for wetsuits
- Roof rack bag, containing 4 x recovery boards, 2 x Kentucky camp chairs, 2 x aluminium camp tables (one big, one small), tarp, bodyboards and fins
- Full emergency grab bag mounted on rear of drivers seat
- Trasharoo spare tyre rubbish sack

That's pretty much it, probably missed a few things. I designed the vehicle so almost all heavy weight was to be stored as low down as possible and between the axles, with lighter, bulkier stuff up top. With 60L of extra diesel in addition to the 65L standard tank, it now has a 1,000km range between fuel stations, and a cruising economy of 22-23mpg. Fully loaded with 2 people and kit it weighs 2.7t, with only a slight weight distribution to the rear.

Anyway, here’s a couple of pics from the recent Portugal trip:







Owen
Great truck and write up. Just sorting my 2nd Gen for overlanding so I'll 'borrow' your list to double check my mods ;)

SN
 
#12
Haha sure mate, go for it!

Yeah I actually snapped my spare tyre swing arm off the rear bumper on the last day of the trip after battering it with corrugations! That was the emergency measure for the two-day trip back up through Spain and France.

Interestingly I only got that fixed today - rebored the hole in the arm from 25mm to 35mm to accept the new bigger pin!

Owen
 
#13
Haha sure mate, go for it!

Yeah I actually snapped my spare tyre swing arm off the rear bumper on the last day of the trip after battering it with corrugations! That was the emergency measure for the two-day trip back up through Spain and France.

Interestingly I only got that fixed today - rebored the hole in the arm from 25mm to 35mm to accept the new bigger pin!

Owen
Must have been some heavy corrugations! glad it's all sorted.

Considering driving to Portugal towards the end of the year if the Surf is ready in time as a shakedown for driving through Europe to see friends in Turkey next year, so I may tap you up for a few pointers later ;)

Nick
 
Top