Theyre gaining popularity faster than a politician in favor of pornography and free booze. We see them on the trail with increasing frequency. Theyre becoming cheaper to buy and easier to build, thanks to the multitude of shops building hard-core parts. Were talking about Toyota pickups and 4Runners. Way back in the dark sprung-under days of four-wheeling, if someone said trail Toyota it was naturally assumed he was speaking of an FJ-40 Land Cruiser or FJ-55 pickup. While its true that these Japanese Jeeps are nearly bombproof in factory form and lend themselves to building as well as their American CJ brethren, their increasing scarcity is driving up the purchase price. However, you can buy a Toyota pickup or 4Runner and outfit it for serious trail duty for near what youd expect to pay for an unmodified Land Cruiser. Heres how. Axles Front Axles While Dana and GM fronts utilize U-joints to allow the wheels to turn side to side, Toyota axles feature somewhat problematic Birfield joints. The problem really comes into play when large tires are used in conjunction with lockers. Like a U-joint, Birfields usually blow when the wheels are turned. You can upgrade to heavy-duty Birfields called Marfields or Newfields, or All Pro sells heavy-duty Birfield and axle assemblies that are warrantied for 90 days. As for housings, the nongusseted versions tend to bend. Check out the stats below. Housings'79 and earlier*No gusseting *Prone to bending '80 to '83*Short gusseting *Better, but still susceptible to bending '84 to '85*Fully gusseted *Most sought-after to knuckles Most commonly available gears:*4.10*4.88*5.29*5.71 (guaranteed to break) Brute-strength tipUse the reverse-cut, high-pinion centersection from an FJ-80 up front. They're much stronger than the minitruck units.Housings '79 and earlier *No gusseting *Prone to bending '80 to '83 *Short gusset Rear Axles These rear axles share the same gears, carriers, and drop-out centersections.'85 and older *10-inch brakes*55 inches wide*1.274-inch, 30-spline axles*6-on-5 lug pattern*Found on solid-axle-equipped pick-ups and 4Runners'86 and newer*11-inch brakes*58 inches wide*1.274-inch, 30-spline axles*6-on-5 lug pattern*Found on IFS-equipped pickups and 4Runners Four-cylinder*Lighter housing*Smaller third member bearings*Identified by six external fins on centersection*Shorter pinion gear (less ring gear engagement)*Found in all '79-'85 trucks and '86-'95 four-cylinder-equipped trucks Six-cylinder*Heavier housing*Larger thirdmember bearings *Identified by eight external fins on centersection*Longer pinion gear (more ring gear engagement)*Found in '86-'95 trucksRear Axles These rear axles share the same gears, carriers, and drop-out centersections SteeringWhen performing crossover steering, such as with All Pro's Hy Steer kit, you'll need to use an IFS-type steering box in addition to obtaining the steering arms, tie rod, drag link, and pitman arm. SOURCES Advance Adapters 4320 Aerotech Center Way P.O. Box 247 Paso Robles CA 93446 805-238-7000 All-Pro Off Road Advanced Off-Road Research Inc. Man-A-Fre L.C. Engineering Downey Off Road Mfg. www.downeyoff-road.com Trailer Products Inc. 1261 N. Buena Vista St. Hemet CA 92543 Specter Off Road Autofab 10996 N. Woodside Ave. Santee CA 92071 6-19/-562-1740 www.autofab.com Fabtech Motorsports 1000 Beacon St. Brea CA 92821 www.fabtechmotorsports.com Malotte Can-Back Toyota Racing Development Marlin Crawler 1543-B N. Maple Fresno CA 93703 www.marlincrawler.com U.S. Body Source Northwest Off Road Specialists Enjoyed this Post? Subscribe to our RSS Feed, or use your favorite social media to recommend us to friends and colleagues!