Toasty's '98 Montero Build


Looking for that thing i just had in my hand...
This is on my wish list. Wanted to do an LS but I think this is "easier/cheaper".
Yes. Especially if you did the early 1UZ and 4 speed.
Now there's always getting an LS engine for free from your uncle and just happening to know how to DiY everything could make the LS swap cheaper. I'll tally up the cost of this once i finish.


Expedition Leader
Toasty, I think my cheap AutoZone torque converter is failing in my rebuilt 2002 Gen 3 with the 3.5L motor. Takes a lonnnggg time for the truck to transition from Park to Drive, or even longer from Reverse to Drive or vice vsrsa. Once engaged, it drives well when on on the throttle, but it will lurch a bit on a soft start from a stoplight. Yesterday, while offroad in Low Range, it really struggled when in a rocky section, and it was impossible to be smooth on the throttle and it stalled a couple of times once stuck and churning the wheels.

This is my long winded way of asking what brand/source of toque converter do you trust or recommend?


Looking for that thing i just had in my hand...
Yeah, i don't know what issue you may be having. I think you're going to need to dig deeper in the transmission, no codes?


New member
any updates on the V8 Toasty-mobile?
I'd def be willing to pay for you to put together a "plug and play" engine harness together for a non-VVTI 1UZ



Looking for that thing i just had in my hand...
Dang, i haven't updated this thread in a while. Kinda forgot about it, I'll get on that. The swap is basically done but there's been wheeling to do and the Sierra Challenge has all my time going into the blue truck BUT I'm about to get back into this full steam. It needs fluids (which i have) a fuel pressure regulator (I also have) and maybe a tach signal decoder but there might be a work around for it so i haven't bought that yet. Hopefully i'll be able to start it up soon.

As for a plug and play harness, I'll post up the diagrams later but i don't really see a point in making a harness it's not very hard to splice in. The real work is the actual swap, maybe after I finish the three I've got I'll make some conversion parts but it's still far from a drop in easy swap. Non VVT-i will be easier but we'll see just how much, the next one is non VVT-i.


Well-known member
Are the tach signals single pulse/rev or 3 &4 respectively?
Obviously I have yet to do said swap.
Knowing me I would be looking around for a Hyundai V8 just so I can keep things all Mitsu.


Looking for that thing i just had in my hand...
Wow, re looked through this thread and it's terrible. I'll fix that.

So here's the modification to the A650 transmission, basically after removing the 2WD tail housing you cut down the shaft approximately .25" into the splined section. It's not super critical as there is a lot of shaft to work with and plenty of engagement.

Then the Rallyekraft tailhousing gets installed with it's spline adapter.


More on my test fits, the tri-Y headers barely clear the steering shaft. I originally cut the heat shield to clear but it was too much work to install, i may run into issue when I adjust my body later but that's a non issue ATM. These are from the VVT-i LS400, I tried the aftermarket Tundra headers and they don't fit at all. The LS430 3UZ log manifold fits best but i opted against it.


The front sump had to come off (the other three UZ's I have are SC400 rear sumps this low mileage donor was an LS400) and I did try the SC oil pan but I still had clearance issues. Some guys have used it successfully but i wanted actual motor mounts and not poly bushings and I definitely didn't want a custom or semi custom pan.


I sourced a GX470 2UZ pan, and sump. It required a dipstick relocation and one little rib to be removed.


This is the rib to be removed


GX470 pan and dipstick, I had to notch the heat shield to fit the dipstick.


With everything fitting nicely and motor mount pads installed I got the transmission in place to start on it's mounting.


Made a rough bracket to work off of.


To be continued...


Looking for that thing i just had in my hand...
With the drivetrain in place i whipped up a driveshaft, we'll call it a practice shaft...


.005" runout so not bad for a caveman like myself


...but I was dumb, the trans wasn't bolted to it's mounts when I measured so the slipyoke didn't have enough engagement to make me feel good inside.


I really wanted the Rzeppa joint for ultimate smoothness but I didn't feel like retubing it and welding it a second time, it was really time consuming to get it as true as I did. So I grabbed the truck's original 1350 shaft and cut it fit it and true'd it up, I think I got this one at about .002"
runout so maybe it'll be even better. It's certainly stronger.


Here's the trans mounted up and a cheesy bracket for A/T my shift cable, I may need to play with it a bit more but it shifts the range. The A650 and the Montero AW3 (A340) have the same amount of mechanical shift points (PRND2L basically) the extra gearing will be controlled electronically BUT with some clever wiring and a couple relays I'll have the extra manual shift points when I want to select them off-road. Essentially my OD button will have extra functions in place of the gated manual shifter the donor car had. More on that later.


Stabbed the T-case shifter after cutting a nice big hole in my tunnel.


Then made a little cap for it.


Just like that everything was a slight bit cooler.


Looking for that thing i just had in my hand...
Been doing a lot of plumbing, this is where the work is. I'm using a stock Montero radiator, I had the lower outlet rotated to point directly at it's top right corner and had the top outlet made to point down 75 degrees or so. I fit and brazed them myself to make sure my idea would work then took it to the radiator shop to have the tanks taken off and soldered from the inside and pressure tested. Note the thermostat housing on the UZ faces down and to the right.


I cut the outlet and flipped it to point to the bottom left corner of the radiator.


The reason for the rework of the outlets is that I wanted to use coolant hoses for heavy equipment for longevity and durability, this means they all need to be straight. It's also a super tight fit and in doing this I also committed to pusher fans, I got 3200cfm worth of fans coming so hopefully this will all work out for me. If not it's full custom radiator and slimline brushless fans $$$$ but I think I'm okay here. Hard to tell from the picture but I have a good amount of room between pulleys and the radiator. I fit the hose with it's natural curve towards the radiator as well so if anything happens it will move toward the radiator rather than get eaten.


Intake plumbing was pretty simple, two 45's and a 90 degree silicone elbows with two straight couplers one of which I drilled and tapped for the crankcase vent. The air box I just grafted a GS430 lower box into the Montero box, messing with the MAF sensor location on these can lead to trouble so I avoided that at all costs.


My filter housing put the filter super close to the diff mount, I really wasn't happy with it so I just bought a relocation kit and AN fittings. I will likely move this again but filter facing down because that will keep the location the same but give me more hose length to work with. Using -10 crimped fittings ended up making the hoses shorter than I wanted and that will shorten the life of them. Just a couple more inches will make a huge difference in longevity and less likely to leak in the future.


The filter is directly under the core support so it's a super safe location, if something smashes this far in I'll have bigger problems than a smashed filter.



Looking for that thing i just had in my hand...
Are the tach signals single pulse/rev or 3 &4 respectively?
Obviously I have yet to do said swap.
Knowing me I would be looking around for a Hyundai V8 just so I can keep things all Mitsu.
I haven't actually looked yet, it should be easy. I had originally wanted to do the Mitsu 8A80! They're not very common even in the rest of the world and the Licensed Hyundai Omega wasn't offered here either and I couldn't find much info on the Equus Tau V8's that came here so I don't know how hard it would be to mate a transfer case to it's transmission. Those Hyundai Tau engines make a lot of usable power, I don't know what they are or if they're based on old Mitsu stuff either. I'd be interested if you found some info.


Looking for that thing i just had in my hand...
I wish he made a shorter stub shaft so the Tcase does not need to go back that far.
He does and I wish I had bought that one, he will machine your supplied input gear to match the Lexus A650 so you don't need the stub shaft at all. I can't even tell you why I chose this one, it made sense at the time. It might have been a much longer lead time and I was impatient 🤣