Parts & Such
We always encourage shoppers to support their local 4x4 shop and auto parts store, but sometimes the items you need can be less expensive by mail order and the Internet. Sticking to our scenario of a kid with his first 4x4 means we have little money but plenty of time (as opposed to the reality of adulthood, when we have neither). I contacted RockAuto (www.rockauto.com) and checked out the prices, parts, brands, and availability, and was pleasantly surprised. If I needed a part now I’d have to pay the price now at the shop around the corner, but if I was willing to wait a day or two RockAuto could ship me nearly anything I needed for basic maintenance items. I knew that some stuff like the clutch needed replacing, and I had to get seals, tune-up parts, and the like just to keep the vehicle rolling for the next imaginary six months. With mouse in hand I ordered tune-up parts, a fuel filter, a pump, wiper blades, a clutch, wheel bearings, seals, brake rotors, and other such stuff for around $500. I figured that all the stuff would have been paid for at a rate of $100 a month on a kid’s fast food salary and he would fix the truck a bit at a time.
Toyota axles are as tough as they come in stock form with little tires but need a little help in the traction department. Simple and easy to work on due to the dropout design, the 8-inch units easily hold up to 33s and a four-cylinder, the axle splines are the same size as a Chevy 12-bolt, and the drum/disc brake combo works well. But the quest for real traction means more than a limited slip—we needed lockers to win. The most effective and least expensive unit for the Toyota is the drop-in style Spartan Locker from Randy’s Ring & Pinion. It simply replaces the stock spider gears inside the differential carrier and gives you positive, automatic locking diffs. Again, the buy-in isn’t cheap, but the bang for the buck is there. In a kid’s scenario, he could do one end a month rather than all at once, and do all the wrenching himself.
Low gears and lockers are a couple of important items for real wheeling, and since our engine was only a 20R now coupled to 33s, we were out of the prime powerband when off-road. While the ’80s axles had 4.10 gears, mine is a ’79 with stock 4.37s. This made the axle gears OK, but we needed lower transfer case gears. While Mariln Crawler basically invented dual transfer cases for Toys, the company also makes lower gears for the stock case. I decided this was a better bet for the kid, as no floorboard, crossmember, or driveshaft changes were needed—it’s a bolt-in with 4.7:1 gears instead of the stock 2.28:1. With a manual transmission, I could still shift up if the ratio was too low for mud or sand. Pricewise, a rebuilt, low-geared Marlin Crawler transfer case, because it is the heart of the performance upgrades, is worth every penny.
Any kid will tell you a junkyard (or Craigslist) is heaven when it comes to saving money.
Tires were a dilemma. I had to have 33s to have any chance of wheeling to win, and anythin
Our lift kit came in the form of used stuff from the scrap pile behind Marlin Crawler: fou
Since the stock clutch was toast we replaced it with one from RockAuto. The flywheel was p
The Actual Install
Without a doubt the luxury of having the help of Toyota experts at Marlin Crawler made this build easier than it should have been. As with any build, there are many tips and tricks that only comes from experience, and Marlin has it. Any question or decision was met with a wealth of information and advice.
For sure, the Marlin crew would not have normally done some of the stuff I did in their shop. For instance, they know as well as I do that the differential dropout should have been cleaned and painted while the Spartan lockers were installed. But a 16-year-old boy would have a hot date waiting and wouldn’t take the time or money to clean and paint, so we didn’t either. We looked at this project as a stepping stone. This is how the kid would build it, and he goes back later when his financial situation improves. Finally he graduates high school, gets a job or goes to college, and then can rework and modify his truck more and have more experience to boot.
With the clutch job done the tranny goes back in. The four-speed is the little-used L43 de
But on other stuff, Marlin himself put down the law just like a kid’s dad would—safety is everything. Those small changes like front brake lines? Well, yes sir, they were replaced.
We worked for four days to put the truck together with the whole shop, front office, and shipping department pitching in, so if we actually considered the price of labor in the build we would have blown the budget, but for the sake of argument all the labor could have been done at home by any beginner off-roader; I just had to recruit some help to make it happen in a short time for the magazine. Marlin Crawler is like a family (half of the employees literally are), and I personally can’t thank them enough for schooling me in the way of the Toyota.
The stick gets a new plastic bushing on the end, for a whole new shifting experience.
California seals in Marlin’s world are called Eco-Seals, as they protect the environment f
With the Spartan locker in the dropout and installed in the housing, we checked the axlesh
The front lift was easy to do since we swapped to Marlin’s U-bolt flip kit. We even found
The rear lift was the same: Replace with used springs and Daystar bushings, Pro Comp shock
Only the engine needed servicing, so we started with the starter. While it worked fine, Ma
Since we had to take the carb off for a rebuild, and the distributor out for the power ste
The truck had sat for 10 years, and crud in the gas tank was abundant. Fernando cleaned it
Our final step was to replumb the vacuum lines for the emissions system. Big Mike (Marlin’
Cost Breakdown So Far
Vehicle cost $1,500.00
Fuel pump, mechanical 28.26
Fuel filters 16.59
Wiper blades (2) 6.80
Brake rotors (2) 28.88
Brake pads 6.31
Crankshaft seal 2.18
Clutch kit 87.79
Draglink kit 18.45
Carb kit 26.89
Haynes repair manual 16.27
Rebuilt low gear transfer case 899.00
Tranny bushings and parts 37.50
U-bolt flip kit, both axles 118.00
Axle and pinion Eco-Seals 50.00
Randy’s Ring & Pinion
Spartan locker (2) 641.04
Spring bushing kit 50.00
Front and rear shackles 180.00
Pro Comp USA
ES3000 shock absorbers (4) 150.00
Springs and drag link 100.00
Mickey Thompson MTX tires (4) 400.00
Power Steering conversion 200.00
Parts total 3,063.83
Grand Total 4,563.88
841 S. 71st Avenue
400 W. Artesia Boulevard
6680 Odana Road
1543 N. Maple Ave
Randy's Ring & Pinion (Yukon Gear)
10411 Airport Road SE