|This page will attempt to show the basic body style of each generation of Toyota pick-up 4X4 and
4Runner from 1979 through the latest Tacoma. The trucks included here are all U.S. models. For
information on Foreign model Toyotas, please visit the Foreign Toyota section of my webpage.
|1979-1983 Toyota Pick-up 4X4
This is not the first Toyota pick-up 4X4 as is commonly
thought. That honor technically goes to an early version of
the Land Cruiser FJ-45. In addition, 4WD conversion kits
were available in 1977 and 1978. But, 1979 was the first year
that the Toyota factory offered the 4x4 factory option in the
Toyota compact pick-up chassis.
These were the first Toyota mini-truck 4X4s. Engine options included the 2.2 liter 20R
carb motor unti 1981, when the larger, slightly more powerful 2.4 liter 22R was
introduced. The larger displacement was needed to off set increased emissions
regulations. The only 4X4 transmission available was a 4 speed manual until 1982 when a
5 speed manual became optional. Gearing in 1979 and 1980 was the rare 4.38, but
changed to 3.90 in 1981 and changed again to 4.10 in 1982. 225/75R-15 was the only tire
size available in the 4X4 model. The front and rear diff and axle was the very stout 8" diff
with 30 spline 1.3" axles. The few problems associated with this generation include single
wall cab and bed construction which lead to rust issues and a weak early generation
optional 5 speed transmission in 1982 and 1983 and relatively high 3.90 gearing on 1981
models. Excellent build quality and longevity has helped these trucks last several decades
and many are still on the road today. Rust, however was a problem and continued to be a
Toyota pick-up problem for this and the next generation.
Although very rare, Toyota did sell a pre-4Runner version in this generation called the
Trekker. It was actually a conversion done by Winnebego, where basicly they took a
Toyota truck, cut out the back cab wall, added a special canopy and added rear seating.
This was the basis for the highly successfull 4Runner design of future generations.
|1984-1985 Toyota Pick-up 4X4
This generation is commonly thought of as the most
desirable for off roading. A newer body style, and newer
ammentities, such as power windows in some models. It
was a more modern design,
but still retaining the rugged 8" diff solid front axle. This
generation included several engine options, including the
standard carburated 22R, the fuel injected 22RE in late
1984, and the standard and turbo diesel 2L motors.
|1985 short bed, single cab 4X4
In additional, Toyota offered the short and long beds, and also offered a new extra cab
model. A new 4 speed electronically controlled automatic transmission was an option
starting in 1985. New, less desirable auto locking hubs were offered in 1984. Standard
gearing was 4.10. Gearing for diesel engined trucks and auto equipped trucks was 4.30.
The only tire size available was the 225/75R-15s. The 5 speed tranny is this generation
was beefed up and is the same reliable unit found in future generations. The most
desirable models in this generation are the 22RE, 5 speed models and the very rare turbo
diesel 5 speed models.
|1984.5-1985 Toyota 4-Runner 4X4
The real first 4Runner was actualy the rare Toyota Trekker
from the prior generation. Based on the 1979-1983 body, it
was basicly the prototype to this, the mass produced
1984-1985 4Runner. The 1983 Trekker was actually a
conversion done by Winnebago. The 4Runner was
introduced mid year 1984 and started out as the upscale
version of the Toyota pick-up. Even the base models are
usually better outfitted than similier generation pick-ups.
For example, it was the first Toyota 4X4 to have the fuel
injected 22RE as the standard motor. The new 4Runner also
had the ability to remove the rear canopy for open air driving
and an optional rear bench seat for increased passenger
capacity. Features the Trekker first introduced.
The gearing and transmission options on the 4Runner are pretty much the same as the
pick-up. The frame and suspension is based on the same generation Toyota 4X4 short
wheelbase pick-up. This generation 4Runner is perhaps the most desirable Toyota 4x4 of all,
because of it's multiple person carrying capability, standard fuel injection and solid front
axle. The only year and model to have all three of these highly desirable features from the
|1986-1988 Toyota Pick-up 4X4
This is the year that IFS was introduced. The first year
of new "Hi-trac" front independent suspension. Toyota
dropped the solid front axle to make the truck more
desirable for highway use and to better compete with
other manufactures that had already gone to IFS.
Basicly using the same body style as the '84-'85. Along
with a new front suspension, the rear axle housing was
widened by 3" to match the wider front end and slighly
The IFS performed fairly well Off road, but significantly lacked wheel travel. Only about
5" total up front, although Toyota called it a "high travel suspension". It did add front
clearance. And it performed and handled much better on the highway. The same 8" diff
and 30 splines axles were used in the rear as the prior generations, but a new smaller 7.5"
diff with 27 spline axles was installed in the front as part of the new IFS system. One
interesting note, overseas Toyota trucks would retain the solid front axle in most models
for many more years to come. For more info on the overseas Hilux, click HERE. Perhaps
the greatest feature introduced during this generation was more power. Toyota
recognized that owners not only wanted a nicer on road ride, i.e. the new IFS system, but
they also wanted much more power than the barely 100 h.p. 4 cylinder could provide. So,
Toyota introduced a turbo version of the 4 cylinder in 1986, in lew of a new V-6 that was
being designed for the truck and 4Runner. The turbo made 135 h.p. and significantly
more torque. With the introduction of the turbo 22RTE, Toyota also designed a new
stronger rear diff with 4 pinions and larger gears for the turbo and later the V-6 trucks.
Standard gearing was still 4.10 except for automatics which got 4.30. Again, the only tire
size available was 225/75R-15s. In 1988, the turbo model was dropped with the
introduction of 150 h.p. 3.0 liter V-6. In addition, the carburated 22R was dropped as the
standard motor for the 4X4 although it continued to be standard, but rare, for the 4X2
through 1992. The new standard motor became the fuel injected 22RE. New 5 speed
transmissions were also introduced during this generation. To withstand the powerful
turbo engine the R151F tranny was mated to turbo trucks and later the R150 was mated
to the V-6 trucks. The R series transmissions being based on the transmission design
found in the Toyota Supra Turbo. In addtion, a beefed up transfer case was included on
turbo models. With the introduction of the V-6 came a new chain driven transfer case.
The gear driven case of the 4 cylinder and turbo trucks is actually stronger than the V-6
chain driven case, however, but the chain driven case allowed for smoother operation and
shift on the fly into 4 wheel drive at higher speeds. This generation, like prior
generations also had a rust problem in areas on the country where road salt was common.
But the rust issue was mostly confined to the bed area. This was mainly due to a lack of a
seal between the front of the bed floor and the front bed wall and single wall bed
construction. This rust problem was solved with the new designs of the next generation.
The other problem involed failing headgaskets in the new V-6 engine. More info, click
|1986-1989 Toyota 4-Runner 4X4
Still based on the short bed pick-up frame, the new 1986
4Runner also got the same IFS suspension found in the
new pick-up. But, much like the pick-up, retained the
same body style as the '85 model. Engine options for the
4Runner were the same as the pick-up with the exception
that the fuel injected 22RE was standard from the
beginning. A turbo 22RTE was available in 1986 and
1987, but was only available with an automatic
transmission on the 4Runners. The new 3.0 V-6 was
introduced in 1988. Gearing was also the same as the
pick-up. However, production of this generation
continued into 1989 and the next generation 4Runner was
not introduced until 1 year after the new 1989 pick-up.
|1989-1995 Toyota Pick-up 4X4
The 1989 pick-up was the last generation of the Toyota
pick-up before the total frame up redesigned Tacoma was
introduced mid model year 1995. With each generation much
of the prior pick-up was included in the next generation. The
1989 truck was no different. The '89 truck used the exact
same frame and suspension as earlier trucks as well as the
same 22RE and 3.0 V-6 engines. But, the body and interior
were completely new and modern designs. It had a larger
body and the interior had more room and was also more
comfortable. Rear seating was now included with the extra
|1990 short bed, extra cab 4X4
|But, the greatest news was the introduction of optional new taller tires and gearing.
Toyota, for the first time, offered 31x10.5-15 tires, which were 3 inches taller and 2 inches
wider than the standard 225/75R-15 tire. In addition, Toyota included 4.56 gears in these
trucks to offset the loss of torque the taller tires would have caused. The taller tires
dramaticly improved the ground clearance and off roadablity of these trucks. The same
headgasket issues that plagued the original V-6 trucks continued into this generation.
For more info, click HERE. Gearing with the standard 225/75R-15 tires was 4.10 for 5
speed trucks and 4.30 for automatic equipped trucks. Trucks that came stock with 31"
tires got 4.56 gears. In 1992, Toyota offered a 4th gearing option, 4.88. This was found
only on V-6 trucks that had both an automatic transmission and 31" tires. This gearing
option was somewhat rare. This generation pick-up also introduced a new front diff
unlocking mechanism called ADD that replaced manaul hubs and made it possible to
shift into and out of 4 wheel drive, without getting out of the truck. Rear only anti-lock
brakes were also an option. Production of this generation pick-up continued until early
1995. While the Tacoma is also a 1995 model, it is actually a 1995.5 model as it did not
replace this generation until mid year.
|1990-1995 Toyota 4-Runner 4X4
This generation of the 4Runner, based loosely on the '89
pick-up body style, was not introduced until 1990, one year
after the next generation pick-up. While still based on the
pick-up short wheel base frame, there were some
differences. The same front suspension as the pick-up was
used in this generation, but a new coil spring rear
suspension was introduced. The same 8", 30 spline rear
axle was use, but coils replaced the older leaf springs. . The
interior was similer to the pick-ups, but more luxerious.
Many of the same options, including engines, 31" tires and
gearing were also offered on this generation 4Runner.
There were many differences between this new generation 4Runner and the prior
generations. For starters, the body was completely new. Gone was the removable rear
canopy. In fact there was not a canopy at all. Only one complete body shell. The 2 door
model was an option through '92, but most 4Runners sold were of the 4 door type. Some
models had the spare hung under the rear of the truck, much like the pick-up, but other
models had the spare hanging off of the rear in a special rear tire rack. Until this
generation, all 4Runners were 4 wheel drive. This generation introduced the somewhat
rare 2 wheel drive model. Unlike the 2 wheel drive pick-up however, the 2 wheel drive
4Runner retained the same frame and front IFS as the 4 wheel drive. The only difference
was a missing front differential and transfer case and 3.90 gearing. This generation also
introduced an optional 4 wheel ABS on V-6 models beginning in 1994 and the same
auto disconnecting differential found in some of the pick-ups. This generation remained
in production for 1 year past the next generation truck, the Tacoma, and was not
replaced until 1996.
|1993-1998 Toyota T-100 4X4
The T-100 pick-up was Toyota's first attempt into the
full size truck market. The T-100 can best be described
as a mixture of old and new. Based on the '86-'95
compact 4X4 truck frame, the T-100 frame was 6 inches
wider than the compact truck. The body was an all new
design. But the suspension, other than component
modification needed to accommodate the wider frame,
was an exact copy of the '86-'95 torsion bar IFS and not
the Tacoma IFS as is commonly thought.
However, many new Tacoma made famous components were first introduced on the T-100
long before the Tacoma first debuted. For example, the T-100 first debuted the 2.7 liter 4
cylinder in 1994 and the 3.4 V-6 in early 1995. While the front suspension and diff was the
same as the '86-'95 compact 4X4, the rear axle and diff was all new. It was a special 8.3"
diff design that was stronger and would later be incorporated into the Tacoma, '96 and later
4Runner and the new Tundra. The original standard engine for the T-100 4X4 was the old
3.0 V-6 found in the compact truck, until late 1994 when the 2.7 liter became standard, but
the 3.4 liter a far more common option. In 1993 and 1994, it was only available as a
standard cab model. Specificly targetting the work truck market, the T-100 was designed to
carry 4X8 sheets of plywood in the bed in between the rear tire wheel wells and with the
tailgate closed. In 1995 an extra cab model was introduced. The T-100, like the Tacoma
and Tundra that followed, was a North American only model and never offered for sale
overseas. Transmission options included both the 5 speed and automatic, although the
auto was not available in 1993. Gearing for the T-100 was somewhat unique. Toyota
offered three gearing options in '93 and '94, including 4.56, 4.70 and 4.90. The lower
gearing was used with the original less powerful motors, because 31x10.5-15 tires was the
standard tire option. 4.56 gears were used with manual transmission models, while 4.90
was used with auto transmission models. It's unclear which models used the 4.70 gearing,
although it was also likely automatic models. Gearing was changed in late 1994 and
remained the same for the rest of the production run with the introduction of the newer
engines. Manual transmission models got 3.91 gears, while automatic models got either
4.10 or 4.30 gears. 1998 was the last year of production as the T-100 was replaced with the
all new and larger Toyota Tundra.
|1995.5-2004 Toyota Tacoma4X4
The all new Tacoma. New not only in name, but from the
frame up. New frame, new axles, new engines and new
body. Virtually no part of the old truck was retained with
the exception of the R150 transmission and the same
carrier and gears in the front diff, although the front diff
housing was completely new. The most notable change
were the engines. Gone was the old reliable, but
somewhat gutless 22RE. Gone was 3.0 V-6. To replace
the 22RE, Toyota introduced a 150 h.p. 2.7 liter 4 cylinder
that was as powerfull as the prior generation 3.0 V-6, but
more fuel effecient than the 22RE. To replace the 3.0
V-6, Toyota used the same 190 h.p. 3.4 V-6 first introduced
on the T-100 pick-up. An optional dealer installed
supercharger from TRD boosted power to about 220 h.p.
|2001 Tacoma doublecab 4X4
|Another very notable feature was an optional new rear locking differential. Not a limited
slip, but rather a true electrically actuated locking differential, never before offered on the
Toyota mini-trucks, although first introduced a few years earlier on the Landcruiser 80
series. The rear suspension retained the standard over axle leaf spring design, but used a
completely new and stronger rear axle and diff. The front diff used the same 7.5" gearing,
but used a new high pinion housing designed to accommodate the new car like rack and
pinion steering. The front suspension, while still utilizing an independent design was an
all new design from the old double wishbone, A-arm torsion bar suspension. Instead,
Toyota designed a double wishbone coil sprung strut design, which handled better on the
road and gave a nicer ride, but arguable decreased off road strength somewhat. The
225/75R-15 was still the standard tire, with the optional 31x10.5-15 tires. Later models got
a larger optional 16 wheel, but similer sized optional 265/75R-16 tires. Gearing for the
Tacoma is little mysterious. It seems Toyota could never settle on which gears to go with.
Lower gear for more power, or higher gears for better fuel economy. In 1995, Tacomas
with 31s got the following gears, 4.10 for V-6 and 4 cylinder manual transmissions and for
V-6 automatics. 4 cylinder automatics got 4.56 gears. The standard tired trucks got 3.91
gears, except for automatics, which got 4.10 gears and some other manual transmission 4
cylinder models which got 3.58 gears.
Little from this new generation was carried over to the overseas Toyota pick-up Hilux. The
overseas Hilux went to IFS in 1998, but used the exact same frame as the prior '86-'95
generation U.S. model trucks. However, some sheet metal from the Tacoma can be found
in overseas Hilux models as well as the 2.7 liter 4 cylinder as an optional engine. For
more info on the Hilux, click HERE.
The Tacoma from 1995.5 through 2002 is the same basic design, but some seperate the
models from 2000 through 2002 as a new generation. Toyota slightly redesigned the front
end in 2000 and added lower gearing, but much else remained the same. The long awaited
double cab varient, an option that was available overseas since the mid 1980s was finnally
made available on the Tacoma in 2001, but hindered by it's only engine and transmission
option. An automatic mounted to the powerful, but not so fuel effecient 3.4 V-6. Toyota
introduced an all new pick-up for the 2005 model year.
|1996-2002 Toyota 4-Runner 4X4
Introduced one year after the Tacoma, the latest 4Runner
is only loosely based on the Tacoma. Sharing no body
panels, but the engines, and only the front suspension,
little else can be traced to the Tacoma. Becoming more
expensive with each new generation this one is no
different. This generation 4Runner retains some of the
off road prowlness of the Tacoma.
Available locker rear diff and available larger 265/75R-15 tires, seriously improve off
road performance. But in later years including the current model, only the most
powerful and expensive 3.4 V-6 is available. And worst, in keeping with a new sick
tradition of Toyota, much like most of the other Toyota SUVs and upscale trucks, only
an automatic transmission is available. Available gearing is similer to the Tacoma with
the exception that some V-6 automatic models, probably with the standard tires, got 4.30
gears. The new 4Runner was just recently released as a late 2003 model.
I'll have a write up on that model in the near future.
|Update and page revision coming soon!
|1988 short bed, extra cab 4X4
|1998 Tacoma short bed,
extra cab 4X4