1985 Toyota 4×4 Pickup Truck/Hilux – Review

1985 Toyota 4×4 Pickup Truck/Hilux – Review


1985 Toyota Pickup – when a truck was still
a truck. This is my 1985 Toyota Xtra Cab I’ve owned
since 2010. I sold my boring, reliable, 45 mpg civic to
daily drive this 4×4 beast 100 miles per day – with no regrets. I bought this truck because of its rugged
off road capability, but I told my wife it was for hauling materials and wood for improvements
to our first home. It took a couple of years to figure out that
an off road toy doesn’t equal a reliable daily driver. So, I bought a 4-door when my family started
growing, but had fallen in love with my Yota and began restoring it to the vehicle you
see today. After 10 years of ownership, I’ve spent
a good amount of time repairing just about everything on this truck from the frame, to
replacing engine, body & paint work, and all kinds of mechanical stuff. If you’re subscribed, you’ve seen my how-to
videos. It’s about time I do a full review and show
you all the details of the 1985 Toyota Pickup (or Hilux if you’re outside North America.) Toyota designed the 2nd generation Pickup
in 1984 and kept this body style through 1988. The squared off front end and hard lines gave
the truck a tough masculine look. The 4wd model looks more aggressive with flared
fenders and bed sides compared to the 2wd trucks, and features a more refined grill
over the egg crate style of the 2wd’s. The trucks were available with a standard
6 ft bed or a 7 ft long bed and they’re known for rusting away… more on that later. My truck is the Xtra Cab, only available with
the standard bed, which offers 2 feet of cab space behind the driver’s seat. That extra space provides a cargo shelf, but
isn’t big enough for rear jump seats like the S10, Ranger, or Nissan Hardbody had. Safety. It wasn’t really a priority in 1985. My mostly bare-bones truck is a great example,
lacking such options as a passenger side mirror, or a rear bumper. I mean, the rear bumper was the bed. You don’t even need to press in the clutch
pedal to start the truck. That was intentional in case you stalled or
flooded the engine in deep water. You could put it in first gear and drive the
truck out in 4 low, using the starter motor. Construction. The 80’s Toyota body was the same compact
dimensions as an S10 or Ranger, except the Toyota was considered a half ton truck due
to its frame & suspension. These trucks are built on a rigid fully boxed
frame instead of the C channel frame that the big 3 were using durimg this era. There’s no doubt that boxed frame reduces
twist off road, but would become the Achillies heel of Toyota trucks for years to come, thanks
to rust. On a C-channel frame, the inside of the frame
can be cleaned. Once debris and moisture gets inside of the
boxed frame, it’s about impossible to remove it all, leaving ideal conditions for rust
to form. That rust continues to eat away the inside
of the frame until it’s cut out and replaced with fresh steel, or the frame breaks. I’ll put video links to both of those situations
in the description. This is a major problem in road salt states
and Toyota trucks would have frame problems for decades to come. Some people weld plates over the existing
frame when they start to look bad, but that’s only a bandaid to buy some more time while
the rust gets worse inside. 1985 was the last year of the solid front
axle for the North American 4wd Pickup. The rest of the world had the solid front
axle until 1997. Toyota felt that North America needed a smoother,
more refined independent front suspension like other small trucks had. So in 1986, Independent front suspension with
torsion bars were standard on all Pickups. “SAS” “Solid Axle Swap it” “IFS
Sucks.” says the internet. Listen. You don’t need a solid front axle to have
fun off road. Yes it’s stronger and more durable, with
less components to break, but don’t pass up a clean 4wd because of the IFS. For most normal driving, IFS is fine and it
is less harsh than the solid front axle. If you’re doing serious offloading, or rocks
are your thing, then you’ll want the solid front axle. The 86 and up trucks received a 3” wider
rear axle to match the 3” wider IFS. My truck has the wider rear axle, along with
a Sky front widening kit, which helps the IFS alloy wheels sit more flush with the body. Both the solid axle and IFS 4wd trucks came
with manual locking hubs, but automatic locking hubs were optional. The 4wd trucks had a 225/75R15 tire. You can use a 31″ tire with no issues, but
as you go bigger with the factory gear ratio, the engine is going to work harder, especially
the 4 cylinder – more on that in a second. These alloy wheels have a 33″ tire. I also have a set of 35” tires that I put
on once in a while for offroading, or driving over cars. The 35’s fit this truck great with a little
cutting to the lower front fender area and 6 inches of lift. It’s re-geared with 5.29’s, but I’ll make
a separate video of all the modifications since there’s a lot. Horsepower. Also not a priority in 1985. This truck has the carburated 22r 4 cylinder
engine, good for a laughable by today’s standards 97 HP and 128 ft. lbs of torque. It’s crazy to think that was the norm back
then. If you wanted more power, 85 was the first
year of the optional fuel injected 22RE, good for 113 HP and 140 ft lbs of torque. For 86-87, a turbocharged 22RE was offered,
bumping horsepower to 135 and 173 ft lb of torque. In 1988, Toyota only offered the 22RE or the
new 3VZ-E 3.0 v6 which put out 150 HP and made 180 ft lb of torque. The 3.0 v6 didn’t carry on the bullet proof
reputation of the 22R and 22RE though. They became notorious for leaking head gaskets. Although they can take a beating, the 4 cylinders
used plastic guides for the single row timing chain in this generation of trucks, which
could eventually allow the chain to wear through the timing cover, mixing oil & coolant, if
the proper maintenance of the guides, tensioner and chain are ignored for too long. There are also aftermarket metal-backed guides
for a better piece of mind. There was also a diesel that’s kind of rare
to see in the US, but it made a little less power than the 22R. The 4wd trucks had a 5 speed manual transmission
while the 2wd pickups had a 4 or 5 speed available. Both had optional automatic transmissions. Interior. My truck is the mostly bare bones DLX model, so
it’s pretty basic compared to a modern truck. That’s how it was back in the day. Trucks were utilitarian work horses designed
to function, not keep your family comfy on a road trip. First off, you’ll note the lack of power to
the doors with the crank windows and manual locks. These doors don’t even have full door panels
covering the whole metal door. The SR5 got all of those things, they even
had carpet! Instead of carpet, this truck has a vinyl
floor covering. The original floor mats were thick plastic
and cracked into pieces after 30 years. The Xtracab came with buckets instead of a
bench seat, but only the higher trim levels got a center console. Forget about power seats. There’s a dome light on the rearview mirror,
but the SR5 got fancy with dual map lights. No tachometer on this truck… you just get
a feel for the right time to shift after driving it for a while. A tach was standard on the SR5. AC was optional, but so were vent windows. These guys pull a surprising amount of air
into the cab when the truck is moving. A lot of vehicles had these back in the day
and I wish they would make a comeback. This xtra cab has the optional sliding rear
window. By the way, if you ever have to replace a
rear window on these trucks, the Xtra Cab window is an inch taller than the standard
cab rear glass. My truck did come with tilt steering and the
adjustable speed windshield wipers. The Inclinometer was optional and I added
one, along with an updated radio. I swapped the quartz clock from another truck
– There used to be a blank plate there. You’ll notice there are quite a few blank
switches where there would normally be options on the SR5 and 4-runner. 4-Runners are nearly identical to the pickup
from the back of the doors on forward. Toyota did a minor interior update for 87
models which added fake stitching molded into the plastic dash pieces, some color matched
plastics to replace some of the black pieces, and a slightly different dash pad that still
cracked as easily as the original. Southern heat and UV rays really take a toll
on the interiors of these trucks. Up here in the north east, our interiors are
mostly preserved, but everything metal rusts. I mentioned the frame problems earlier, but
there are also rust issues with the rocker panels, floor boards, core supports and last
but not least, the bed. You see, the 84-88 beds are made up of multiple
pieces and that’s why there’s a horizontal seam going across the outside. The bed cargo area surface actually extends
beneath the removable side panel covers and there’s a hidden space behind there. Water, mud and salt can also sit behind the
panels and that’s where the welds that hold the beds together begin to rust. Most people don’t clean behind the panels
and by the time rust bubbles appear on the outside of the seam, it’s already ten times
worse on the inside. That’s why you see so many flat beds on these
trucks. I put a fiberglass bed on my truck and I’ll
put a link to more info about that in the description. Starting in 1989, Toyota used a bed with solid
bed sides, like other manufacturers. and they will eventually rust, but it starts
from the bottom edge instead of the middle. Top Gear spent a couple of episodes famously trying to kill a 4wd Toyota with everything
from a wrecking ball, to fire, to drowning it in the ocean, even parking it on the roof
of a building and demolishing the building. The truck wouldn’t die and it earned a permanent
spot in their studio. There’s a reason the Toyota is the preferred
vehicle of militant groups around the world. Toyota earned its respect as a capable offroad
vehicle, straight from the factory. With a lift, bigger tires, gears and lockers,
you can have an offroad vehicle that will get you most places. These trucks are 35 years old now and there
are still plenty of abused bashed up trucks on the trails and rocks that refuse to quit. But that won’t be the case forever… These 4wd trucks were only around $10k new (around $23k adjusted for inflation in 2020.) Toyota trucks have always held their value
in the used market. Then a few years ago, clean, low mileage examples
started showing up at the big auctions along side classic muscle cars, and selling for
over $20k. After 30+ years, 1980’s vehicles are becoming
collectible, especially imports. Yeah, a lot of these trucks were sold in the
US, but far few nice examples are left. Prices are on the rise for the second Generation
Toyota Pickup. It’s not too late to find a good deal, but
if you want to own one, now is the time. I only see prices continuing to rise for these
trucks, because they just don’t make them like they used to. I’m an enthusiast, owning 8 of these trucks
so far, and I’ll probably buy more. I still don’t consider myself a Toyota expert
just yet, there’s people out there that know a lot more than I do, so if I missed anything
please let me know in the comments. If you have any specific questions on my truck,
let me know and I’ll be glad to answer. Thanks for watching!