Category Archives: Overland Vehicles

Series of articles showing the progression of a vehicle from stock to Overland capable. Also for articles about other 4×4’s.

More 4runner updates

I did a little more fabrication on the rear bumper recently. The hi-lift jack needs a home, so here is what I came up with.

Hi-lift Jack mounted with the rack closed.
Side view of the Hi-lift Jack mount
Hi-lift Jack mount from the back side.

The old tires where getting a little dull, so after a bit of craigslist surfing I found a set of Goodyear MT/r tires mounted on stock wheels for a song. The tires have pretty good tread left and should be good to go for a while. Especially since I’m putting around 3,000 miles a year on this rig now.

New 33 x 12.5r 15 Goodyear Wrangler MT/r tires mounted on stock wheels

Transmission and transfer case swap

I finally got around to swapping the original transmission out of the 4runner. While I was celebrating the odometer rolling over on 300,000 miles I realized that it was time to get this done.

What I did here was swap out the original G58 5 speed transmission and chain driven transfer case with a rebuilt W56 transmission and transfer case from a 1986 4runner. This is one of the stronger 4 cylinder combinations available from Toyota, which makes it a good swap. At the same time I also switched out the stock 2.28 low range gear set with a 4.7 gear set almost lowering my ratio by double. At the same time I also swapped in a twin stick shifter that allows for seperate operation of high and low range as well as two and four wheel drive. To top it off I finished off the swap with a new budbuilt crossmember and skid plate.

I’m looking forward to getting out for some wheeling soon to try it out. The little bit of testing I did was impressive. The low range gears are extremely helpful for getting over and throught tight spots.

Trail Gear rear bumper tire carrier part 2




In an effort to keep this fairly light weight I decided to go the minimal steel route. I added gussets where I thought I needed them and it turned out very strong. I’ll pick up some studs and lug nuts tomorrow and take some pictures after I have the wheel mounted.

Next up is a mount for the Hi lift jack, a back up light, the license plate, and a couple gas cans. Stay tuned.

Home brew snorkel

I’ve been thinking about doing something like this for a while now, and I think it’s about time. This Surf has a little different air box, but I think I can adapt mine and make it work.




I will probably get a head from Ebay and the pipe from a local muffler shop. The one thing I’m not sure about is the tube he uses going up to the pipe from the air box. I would think that smooth would be better.

2 meter ham radio into the 4runner

I got some time today to install my favorite 2 meter ham radio into the 4runner. It’s an Icom IC-V8000 radio that I’ve had for a few years, and has always been awesome to use. Installation was typical of this type of radio, so I won’t go into too much detail, except to note that I took the usual precautions. A short ground wire, and running the coax for the antenna clear of any power wires is important. Check out the pictures by clicking on the gallery for a photo tutorial of the install.

Wiper switch upgrade for the van

Swapping in the new wiper switch was an easy upgrade
Swapping in the new wiper switch was an easy upgrade

One of the things that I’m not too fond of with older cars is the lack of intermittent wiper functions. Having to deal with a drizzle by constantly cycling the wiper switch by hand is a good way to break the switch and the only other option is to let them run dry (and listen to it) or not run them at all. Not too safe to even have to worry about it.

I’ve been looking for a solid option to fix this problem for a while now, and after some serious digging I found the solution. For only a few years, in GM trucks from 78-83, there was an optional wiper switch available. Swapping in the switch and controller from these trucks is actually an easy swap, the only thing that needed modification on my 78 van was the opening for the switch in the trim piece. Easy.

It’s funny how such a little thing can make a big difference.

Here is the wiper switch that I used and here is the wiper delay control module that I used. The switch plugs into the module and the module plugs into the factory harness where the old switch used to live.

If you have an old van like mine and want to do this upgrade, this is the way to go. It’s not cheap, but it makes life so much better that it’s very worthwhile.