Time flies--it's been almost five years since I created my intro thread: https://www.toyotanation.com/forum/5...authority.html
My family and I are still mainly using the van on trips to France, Spain and Italy. Two of the most unlikely vans to see at the Calais Eurotunnel depot:
I haven't done very much to the van, apart from adding things to the interior and a set of Work wheels from Japan. It proved impossible to find alloy wheels with the Hiace's offset and PCD anywhere in Europe, so I imported them from Japan via Miguel at Neweraparts. To get the right stance I fitted 1" lowering blocks in the rear and lowered the front 10mm using the torsion bar adjusters. Tyres were a bit of a shot in the dark, but I hit the target pretty much dead-on. (The picture above may be from before I raised the front slightly and lowered the rear slightly--I think it's more level now--the previous blocks were 1.5" and I think I had the front lowered 20mm.)
The wheels are Work XTRAP S1HC Wheels: 6H 139.7 18 x 8J + 35, and the tyres are Falken 225/55 R18 102 W. I wanted a fairly high load rating (it's a van!) and to fill up the wheel wells. The usual 225/50s they fit in Japan seem a bit too skinny and require a lower stance than I wanted.
Anyway, if I have one criticism of the van it's that it's kind of lethargic. And I was never a big fan of diesels. And I love the environment. So...I think the diesel has to go!
That's better. A nice, conservatively tuned Lexus V8 ought to do the trick. Amazingly, it should fit. At least a 1UZ-FE should--they actually sold an ambulance version of the Hiace van in Japan that was factory fitted with a 1UZ V8, so I wouldn't be surprised if a more modern version of Toyota's 32v aluminium V8 fit as well (pic is of a 3UZ-FE, but I think a 2UR-GSE would also fit). I roughly measured the Hiace's engine compartment and the "700mm cube" looks like it would fit without any mods to the engine bay. I couldn't really measure the height, but again, if Toyota did it once, I bet the engine isn't too tall to fit (it is located essentially next to the driver and passenger):
I'm thinking an automatic trans, air con, cruise control, big mufflers, a bit of sound insulation, upgraded front disc brakes, maybe a new differential. I need to do some more research on the engine and transmissions available (running second-hand ones seem to be under a grand), and decide if I really
want another project, but another incentive is the London ULEZ (Ultra-Low Emissions Zone), which is currently in effect in Central London, is supposed to extend out to the North and South Circulars in October 2021. My house is just inside
the 2021 ULEZ boundary, so I wouldn't be able to leave my house without paying some extortionate amount.
I'm really more of a bike guy these days, but I don't like slow four wheelers, either, and I did once install a 327 Chevy V8 into a Porsche 914, so I'm not an engine swap neophyte. I'm just not yet sure I want to spend days/weeks/months on my back under a van in the driveway, etc. Stay tuned!