“This is not just the truck that Toyota should have built. This is the truck which people assume Toyota DID build after they look under the hood. That is the awesome work of Diesel Toys. Why choose a 3rd generation 4 Runner? Well, because it is the lightest 4 Runner ever made, has the highest safety rating of any generation, and is arguably the greatest 4 Runner Toyota ever created. Add a 1KD-FTV engine and this truck becomes an entirely new monster. This truck has incredible power to climb the hills and mileage numbers that makes diesel the obvious fuel of the future. I chose this truck for many reasons. My life with four cylinder diesel engines started in 1982 with a beloved family vehicle that is still on the road today. From that point small and mid-sized diesel trucks just made sense. They were driven into popularity in those days by low diesel fuel prices. These small diesel engines enjoyed incredible fuel efficiency and were really able to take advantage of the torque of a diesel engine. The downside was a lack of power and life with soot. Because of this the U.S. consumer lost faith in these trucks with the last ones arriving in 1987. Thus started my wait. In 1995 the increase of the interstate speed limit from 55 to 70 created the next challenge, taking my little four cylinder out of the picture for highway use. Then I finally discovered Diesel Toys, and they took on a challenge that no other company could pull off.
When I contacted Diesel Toys. I asked for something that was going to be unique. Take a modern Toyota diesel powertrain from 2008 and put it into a 14 year old 4 Runner. My mission was for them to build the last truck I would ever need to buy. Their advice to select the newest vehicle possible for the conversion was wise council. I added my name to the waiting list. At the appointed time the truck arrived in San Antonio and the creation of the ultimate 4 runner was underway. Once complete, I can only say this thing is electric. This truck is impressive. It is impressively quiet. The engine is as smooth at 30 as it is at 80. It is impressively powerful. Yes 80 and hill are no longer an impossible feat, in fact accelerating to 80 exceeds what my 6 cylinder gas engine could achieve. It is impressively efficient. Now I expect to go over than 450 miles on a tank of fuel with every fill-up and I have my eyes set on much higher numbers than this. Only Diesel Toys has the knowledge and ability to pull this project off. They anticipated every hurdle. They provided wise council when critical decisions were needed, and they knew exactly where to source every part. Moreover, their attention to detail was borderline neurotic. This truck, for all practical purposes, is stock. Open the hood and this engine belongs in that engine bay. Every wire, every hose, every bracket looks like it came off of the Toyota assembly line. Even the front mount intercooler and hoses, belong. Not only did they do that. They made history. The first ever D4D engine to be installed in a 3rd generation 4 Runner. The only sad part is that most people who look at my truck want to give Toyota all of the credit.”
New Orleans, LA
“This truck is unbelievable! The conversion is so clean that I have to convince people it didn’t come from the factory like this.” It runs and drives perfectly and has exceeded my highest expectations. I absolutely love this rig. You have a great skill and I’m so glad you’re using it to put more efficient biodiesel capable vehicles on the road. Your attention to detail and thoughtful follow through make me feel lucky to have both found you and taken the risk of ordering a truck from a guy I didn’t know 4,000 miles away. You’ve treated me more like a friend than a client at every stage and I can’t wait to return the kindness when I finally get you to come visit Kauai. My only concern is that I’m going to have a really long wait when I’m ready to order my next conversion! Thanks a million! Aloha,
I own a 1994 Toyota 4WD DX extra cab pickup that was converted by Diesel Toys. The 22RE gas engine is gone, and in its place is a 3 liter turbocharged diesel with an electronically controlled automatic transmission. And it is good. If you have ever driven a 90’s era Toyota pickup, you know how useful they are, how well they are put together, and, unfortunately, how anemic they are on the highway. Driving 65 on the interstate just feels like work. Passing is a matter of planning and building momentum. Well, not so anymore…
I live up in Vermont, so my dealings with Diesel Toys were all by phone and email till I flew down to Texas to pick up the truck. He patiently answered questions and offered advice while I figured out what I wanted to do. I ended up buying a truck he had on hand and a diesel half-cut from an importer called JARCO. They kept me up to date during the conversion, calling me with updates and emailing me photos of everything from the new engine mounts to the gearshift. He always called and asked before deviating at all from our original assumptions. “They were compulsive about getting the details right. Aside from replacing a number of hard to get at wear parts, we also had the radiator rebuilt and a seat cushion re-sewn.”
I flew down there the second week of February to pick it up. When I first saw it I was a bit stunned. I guess I am used to what 90’s era vehicles look like up here. Aside from the usual “loss of gloss” that happens over 12 years of operation, the truck was in beautiful shape. Everything under the hood looked fresh from the factory. The engine installation was clean and professional – good welds, neat wiring, clean metal, tidy pipes and hoses. And, oh, the power. I took it for a spin down a deserted dead end street, turned it around, hit the ECT button, and punched the accelerator. No turbo lag, just sink-you-in-the-cushions acceleration and a heartwarming rumble from the diesel. The ECT (Electronically Controlled Transmission) button moves the shift points to higher RPMs, giving the little pickup extra torque for Urban Traffic Combat situations. Even in non-ECT mode there is plenty of power for passing and maneuvering.
I drove the truck back to Vermont, a trip of over 2,000 miles, passing through Houston, Mobile, Atlanta, Raleigh, and (accidentally) Washington D.C. The truck cruised the interstates like a locomotive on rails. There was none of that “struggling” feeling at the 75 mph speed limit. The punchy acceleration allowed me to dodge the endless stream of 18-wheelers and squirt out of trouble spots. In the hellish high-speed jams of Atlanta (Mylanta?) the truck felt more like a sports car. Maybe I just don’t get out much, but having the ability to think, “I need to be in that gap three cars ahead and one lane over, NOW,” and make it happen is a novelty to me. I haven’t tried out the low speed pulling power, but I am confident.
When I got back home, I took the truck over to show a friend of mine, an experienced mechanic with a reputation for both surliness and anal-retentive standards in his work. I opened the hood for him and he peered in. “Wow. This looks like it’s supposed to live here.” High praise. “This is really clean.” Higher praise. “This is a good thing.” Highest praise. He admired the welding on the motor mounts and then told me I had done well. I have projects in mind for it: A vegoil conversion, an intercooler, and an PCV filter. Right now, I am running it on B20 (20% biodiesel) and just enjoying the ride.
I could not be more pleased with the work that you have done. My truck came back to me exactly the way you promised, just like it came from the factory. “I drove it home to New Mexico with the v6 engine and transmission in the bed and the ice cold ac on, and I still got 25 mpg.” That is now what I am getting in town for mileage. The other day I got 31 mpg on the road from Santa Fe to Taos (which is mostly all uphill). The intercooler really made a difference. I also appreciated your honesty,ethics, and attention to detail. You never told me anything that wasn’t so. I know that I will have my vehicle for many years of joy and service, and I owe that to you. I will never, never hesitate to recommend your services to anyone who asks. Thanks again.
Santa Fe, NM
As a serious environmentalist, the hypocrisy of contributing to Exxon’s pocketbook every time I went to fuel up my gas-powered vehicle was getting to me. So, I decided it was time to find a way to reduce my driving footprint. My problem was that in my business, as an Alaskan wilderness guide/outfitter, I needed a truck to haul gear and supplies. I didn’t want or need a monster full-sized American pickup; a small Toyota pickup served me well. I decided to find a Toyota I could run on straight or waste vegetable oil (WVO). I have been to Asia and Latin America and knew that there were Toyota diesels out there, but they were unfortunately not available for sale in the US. Still, I really wanted a Toyota diesel, and a Landcruiser just wouldn’t do. I searched the web and read all I could find about Toyota diesels. On a Toyota forum, I found Diesel Toys; which converts gas powered Toyotas to diesels using Japanese-imported Surf or Hilux turbo-diesel engines. Finally, I found what I’d been looking for.
When I called Diesel Toys, they were honest and straightforward. I told them I wanted to convert a v6 5-speed. In Alaska, especially in the winter, a 5-speed is invaluable. Pulling a trailer on mountain roads, or driving in winter snow, I felt it was imperative. Diesel Toys listened patiently and informed me of my transmission options, but I knew I wouldn’t be happy with an automatic. So, I sold my ’93 pickup and found a ’98 Tacoma for the project. Diesel Toys helped me locate a Japanese import Hilux Surf half-cut, and in the spring of 2007 I began an odyssey that took me, the truck, a trailer, and the half-cut, from Georgia (through Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana) to Texas, where Diesel Toys dove into the project. Diesel Toys was ever-cheerful, overcoming problems that many-a-mechanic would consider impossible. They kept me informed at every step of the conversion; as a perfectionist, never did anything haphazardly, or without checking in with me.
When it came time to put in a WVO conversion kit, we both did lots of research, and spoke with several WVO kit suppliers. We found that only Plantdrive was willing to weld up a custom aluminum tank to go under the truck’s body. With outstanding customer service, Craig Reece got us all the WVO conversion components, including Plantdrive’s Veg-therm for pre-heating the oil. Later, we made a few adjustments at Craig’s shop in Berkeley, CA along the way. The transition between running on diesel to WVO is seamless with a VO controller.
“The conversion was completely worth it! I ended up with essentially a brand-new vehicle.” Diesel Toys took an automatic half cut and mounted it into a 5-speed truck. Amazing! The underbody, engine mounts, and all the fabrication & welding are done to perfection. Open the hood and you wouldn’t know they are not original. The engine is spotless! After the initial ‘test drive’ around the neighborhood I could feel the turbo power just raring to hit the highway. My truck then went through a serious test drive of more than 2,000 miles–taking me across Texas to California, then up through Oregon and Washington to British Columbia in the winter. My final destination is Fairbanks, where I run my wilderness expeditions. Unlike my old pickup, this truck has power to spare. Even hauling a trailer with the old engine and transmission, the engine performs on the highway and in the mountains, revving up to speed with ease.
I feel honored to own a real one-of-a-kind vehicle, created by a company who was willing to facilitate my dream, a company who follows passion to perfection. We started with a business transaction, and ended as friends. Thanks Diesel Toys.
Diesel Toys converted our 1997 Toyota 4 Runner for us and we could not be happier! Since we were flexible about shipping, they took us in earlier than expected. They handled our engines (the incoming and outgoing) for us and helped walk us through the processes. They cleaned up a couple of messes that our local mechanic made and didn’t tell us about in wiring. They set us up with links for replacement parts and continue to provide great support – even months after our truck has come home. Thank you for everything Diesel Toys! You made a very complicated and intimidating process go as smoothly and easily as could have been expected.
Stephano and Heidi B.
I have always loved Toyotas, specifically trucks. But the real question is how does a guy in Maui get a Toyota truck setup with a factory diesel engine? Well I got online with a friend’s help and found Diesel Toys. Coincidentally, I have a buddy that lives in Texas so I figured I would take a trip out to Texas, visit my buddy, check out Diesel Toys, and check out the operation. Right away I was impressed. You could eat off of the shop floor! Diesel Toys helped me locate a clean, rust-free Texas truck for the conversion and I flew back to Maui as the work began. Diesel Toys work and attention to detail is simply amazing! I had them custom-build another fuel tank and a setup that allows me to run the truck on waste vegetable oil. I love to beat the system whenever possible 😉 Throughout this process, Todd and I have become friends. I love driving my new diesel Tacoma and highly recommend Diesel Toys as a company to do business with. Thanks again!
I have been a long time owner of diesel vehicles but was never able to find the just the right one. Owning one of the mid-sized utility trucks or jeeps available in other parts of the world always seemed like a slim possibility; until I ran across Diesel Toys. After talking with Diesel Toys and several of his customers I was convinced a solution was finally at hand. Even better yet, Diesel Toys was only a little more than an hour drive from my house! A 1999 Toyota 4Runner with 4wd and manual transmission was located in Crested Butte Colorado. The truck was shipped to me and after several months of checking out all the non-engine related systems, brought down to San Antonio for the conversion. The entire set up looks like it came direct from the factory. A “Plant Drive” Veg-Oil system was also installed. I have been driving the 4Runner now for about 6 months and am VERY pleased with the end result. Other projects still to come include the installation of the intercooler and a heavy duty suspension upgrade. Diesel Toys did a fantastic job through out the process and has always been readily available to answer all of my questions. This is a big project and Diesel Toys is the right place for the job. I highly recommend Diesel Toys to anyone interested in this kind of conversion.
As an ex-military (retired) and lifetime Jeep enthusiast, I searched high and low, scoured the earth, and even consulted higher authority to find a competent shop to even “consider” converting my 2007 Jeep Unlimited (nicknamed Millie) to diesel. I stumbled across Diesel Toys while googling. I was immediately drawn to their “unique” approach to the art of diesel conversions. Most companies seemingly try and re-invent the wheel with their approach leaving the end-product with much to be desired. What sealed the deal for me was that Diesel Toys uses factory Jeep drivetrains and parts. With a 12+ month backlog of eager customers, I patiently waited with the staff sending me updates as parts arrived, part suggestions, on things like undercoating the frame (lifesaver). Once the project began, it quickly became apparent that these guys are experts in their craft. Welding pictures, wiring, and overall step-by-step pictures really made me glad (a) that I was not attempting this endeavor myself, and (b) I had chosen the right guys for the job. The conversion process took a little over 11 weeks all the while I was watching my baby receive a heart transplant.
Once finished, I made arrangements with the staff to fly down and pick up my “new” Jeep. When I arrived, I was greeted at the airport by Diesel Toys and we treated ourselves to some amazing Mexican food. We then made our way to the shop. When I finally laid eyes on her, I was speechless! Fit and finish was better than anything I could have hoped for and they had even detailed the vehicle out for my arrival. I quickly leapt into the driver’s seat and turned the key….vrrooom! The engine was smoother and far quieter than I had expected with just a hint of “diesel” to it. We took it for a quick spin around the block and from then on my face hurt from smiling. Diesel Toys walked me through all of the “extras” and even put the Jeep on on the lift so I could admire all the handywork. We finished a few hours later and I drove to a hotel for some rest before setting out the following morning for Montana. I averaged 26.8 mpgs which for any JK owner is simply astounding fuel economy! In closing, I cannot recommend Diesel Toys enough! They have integrity, ethics, and a passion for detail that is hard to come by in this world.
I own a 2005 Toyota Tacoma 4wd double cab. After putting nearly 100k miles on it I really wanted a diesel. I researched getting a hilux but found that importing one would be insanely expensive. I found Dieseltoys and now I have an even better truck than a Hilux. The sound of the turbo is enough for me to know that I have the sweetest truck ever. Throughout the process they have been there to answer my e-mails, questions, order extra parts, and even shipped them to me. They have really gone above and beyond what any other company would ever do for me. Their support staff have hooked me up with their time and really I couldn’t have gotten the level of expertise they have given me time and time again. I really feel lucky to have found Dieseltoys and I am so glad I went through with this conversion. I can tell you that it is worth the wait! They have a waiting list so if you are thinking about doing this, do it! They’ll do it right! Diesel Toys has the experience. You will never find a truck like this in any dealership, nor will you ever get this level of service from anyone else. I have already recommended Diesel Toys to some friends who are thinking of getting diesels. You will not be dissappointed.