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1978-PU 20R Where to start?

1134 Views 4 Replies 4 Participants Last post by  littlebean
Hi folks. My partners owns a 1978 Pickup with a 20R engine that was her parents when growing up. She's attached to the car, and despite how little we know, we'd rather "fix it up" than get a new car right now.

We don't have a garage, just a small strip of driveway, and since we don't know a lot, we're hoping to tackle some of it ourselves, and pay to have the rest done. It runs fine (still!) but we hope to make it more useful by upgrading some parts and taking care of the body, etc. My question really is...with so much needing to be done, where do we start?

More power
Smoother ride
Interior/Exterior Rehab

1) Any tips on triaging rust? We want to get it painted eventually...but its not doing great in the Northeast (yes, we know we should have washed it regularly...but didnt)

2) What's a full paint job run? Ballpark range?

3) Engine has 230k+ on it...should we have it rebuilt? If so, should we do that in the beginning?

4) Are there any good books out there that would be helpful? Anything on tuning 20Rs or toyotas that old or really just anything helpful at all?

5) What's a good order in which to approach different parts of the overall project?

Of course I have tons of questions, but this is long enough for a first post :)

Thanks in advance!
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4) There's a Chilton repair manual for 1970-1988 Toyota trucks that covers pickups, 4runners, and land cruisers, and so far it's been immeasurably helpful in my quest to maintain my truck.

Here's a link to the book on, but you may be able to find it cheaper somewhere else:
In my own personal experience I have found the Haynes manuals to be of more use than the Chilton manuals specifically because they tend to focus more on a smaller range of years, I think like as long as that body style was current. But both should be helpful to you. Not certain on the rest of the things though. they specialise in the 20r family of engines and stuff, lots of performace parts. 230k i say it woudnt hurt to get the old girl rebuilt, but you can save time and money when you get the engine rebuilt to have them replace it with a few performace parts at the time. what parts to use is your choice have fun with that pick-up i think it will last till you have kids to give it too
Thanks for the least I feel like I'm headed in the right direction:

* I bought the Chilton (Trucks 70-88) at an auto show last year for just a few bucks. I didn't know about the Haynes...thanks for that tip too

* Chronoti, thanks for the link. I had found them a few weeks back googling and had lost track of that link. Finding their stuff was key in our decision to keep and revitalize the truck, so I'm glad to see they are "recommended" :D Also, I just noticed they have a section for technical articles so I can get reading!

Thanks again for helping me get started...
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