COVID-19 has affected every aspect of world commerce. Not only uprooting our day-to-day routines, but changing the flow of trade internationally. The overseas supply of quality, low-mileage Toyota diesel powertrains went from limited to completely NON-EXISTENT. People were not allowed to leave their homes, so they werent driving anywhere. As a result, this also meant that they werent wrecking vehicles. Mix this with the fact that new vehicle manufacturing also became extremely limited. This drove the worldwide demand for used vehicles absolutely through the roof. Diesel powertrains that (PRE-COVID) were selling for $16-18k are now selling for $24-26k. Instead of multiples to choose from, the auctions would have one or two. This made bidding extremely agressive as everyone was desperately trying to get them. To make matters worse, global shipping has seen a HUGE surge in both traffic and pricing. The cost of freight shipping 40ft containers literally tripled and transit times quadrupled. It has evolved to a point where we cannot sell conversions when the powertrains cost 200% of what they were quoted by the time you factor in shipping.
We went back to the drawing board and really began researching powertrains that in our opinion would be worthy of the Toyota brand name. The build quality needed to be there as well as power, otherwise the conversion doesnt make sense. Next, we wanted parts to be readily available and inexpensive. Back in 2016, we had extensively researched the R2.8 Cummins engines years ago with terrible results. You can read more about that HERE. We still regularly get calls from out-of-state shops that have bought into the R2.8 and are wanting to go a different route due to reliability problems with the R2.8. The R2.8’s just dont have the build quality or the power output for the price they demand. Mix that with the fact that they dont come with transmission provisions, are made in CHINA, and their track record for reliability is absolutely awful, we didnt even look twice at them.
The VM Motori A630 has been used in various iterations for decades in agricultural and mining industries. In 2014, RAM began using a version touted GEN I and badged it as the ECODIESEL in their RAM 1500 trucks. Reviews were positive with these GEN I engines and RAM quickly developed out any bugs with the 2016+ GEN II versions. In 2019 the all new GEN III engines were introduced which offered a whopping 420 FT/LBS of torque and 240HP. We got a chance to work with MOPAR on some development work in 2020 and walked away really impressed with the smoothness of the engine, the power, and the low noise level of the engine. In our test Ram 1500, we routinely returned 28-30 mpg in a full size truck. The power mixed with the refinement of the 8HP70 8 speed transmission was truy impressive. What concerned me was “why was nobody else offering conversions for these engines”? They seemed TOO good! The answer became obvious pretty quick…
We quickly found that the reason shops werent offering conversions using the A630 was electrical. As we have learned time and time again from talking with companies at the SEMA show every year since 2006, most custom automotive companies simply dont like wiring or electrical work. Its complicated, requires expensive tooling, and the expertise is in short supply. Most often requiring electrical engineering degrees. They just dont have the development capability in-house to develop this stuff. Contracting development out to other companies is also extremely expensive. As an example, typical costs for sub-contracting the development of a custom wire harness can easily exceed $100k. Thats just for one prototype. Imagine the costs in developing for several vehicles… Lastly, all 2014+ vehicles use CANBUS and LIN BUS vehicle networks which are diffcult to engineer around without the extensive experience. This can be a brick wall development work for most companies. All of the onboard systems need to be able to talk to each other in order to work properly.
We are currently purchasing these powertrains directly from MOPAR as complete, brand new crate engines. They come with a 2 year UNLIMITED MILEAGE WARRANTY, and come mated to an 8HP70 8 speed transmission. We use the factory Toyota transfer case via an adapter that we developed in-house so 100% of the factory Toyota 4WD system is retained. We have also developed the wire harness, engine and transmission mounting systems, and onboard controllers all in-house for the A630 into a 2016+ Tacoma and are now booking orders for them. We are not completely done with development work, but all I can say at this time is that 420 ft/lbs of torque in a Tacoma is something to behold. For pricing and availability, send us an email.