Junkyard Find: 1983 Toyota Pickup, Adobe Rust Repair Edition

Murilee Martin
by Murilee Martin
junkyard find 1983 toyota pickup adobe rust repair edition

Toyotas of the 1970s and 1980s were quite reliable for the era, if you’re just talking about running gear. If you lived in a rust-prone area, though (say, a block from the Pacific Ocean in San Francisco), Toyotas were eaten by the Iron Oxide Monster in a hurry. Here in Denver, where the snow usually doesn’t stick around long enough to warrant the application of road salt and the single-digit humidity dries out pockets of moisture trapped behind body panels before they can cause much harm, you don’t see too many rust horror-shows in junkyards. However, being conveniently located to both the western edge of the Rust Belt and the salty-road mountains means that I do see some interesting approaches to the Rotting Toyota Problem. Here’s a camper-shell-equipped Missouri Hilux (sold as, simply, the “Toyota Truck” in the United States) with some fiberglass-and-body-filler bodywork that may have bought it another year or two on the road.

Actually, the shell came from Missouri; there’s no telling where the truck came from (though the shell appears to have been on the truck since it was new-ish).

Not even 200,000 miles on the clock.

Bondo over rust solves the problem in about the same way that painting over termite damage fixes your house.

I keep hearing that 20R heads are worth plenty to the guys who want to swap them onto their 22R off-road trucks and get higher compression, but I never see them removed at junkyards. Urban legend?

Mechanically speaking, this truck probably had a lot of life left in it, but watching shards of your vehicle tumbling behind you in the rear-view mirror while listening to the howl of wind through all the rust holes… well, it gets old.

There are parts of the world, however, where Hilux owners don’t worry about how rusty their trucks might be.

The Australians have always had better Hilux ads than North Americans.

See what I mean?

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2 of 27 comments
  • Lorenzo Lorenzo on May 26, 2015

    I don't know why the snow belt switched from sand to salt and chemicals to keep roads passable. I remember as a kid in Massachusetts, seeing trucks with claws remove the sand from storm drain boxes, to filter and re-use. Only a motorist class-action lawsuit could stop cities from dumping tons of Bonneville Salt Flats, Utah onto their streets. Last year, Boston didn't know where to put all the snow since they weren't allowed to dump it in rivers and bays like the old days. The western Great Lakes had the same problem the year before. So where does the salt and chemicals go when the snow melts? Into storm drains that dump it in rivers and bays.

  • Festiboi Festiboi on May 27, 2015

    This brings back memories. I had a 1978 Toyota Truck that I bought after college in 2002, affectionally named "Ghetto Truck". The panels mismatched in color, he smelt badly, was loud, and was just crude. I had a longer commute and wanted to keep the miles off my then-newer Hyundai Elantra. The truck was owned by a co-worker of my Dad's and he had purchased it for his teenage daughter. She thought it was ugly and refused to drive it, and it sat for years on a property. For $300, we unloaded the truck off him. It needed a new carbuerator, but otherwise, everything worked fine considering the 210k miles on it. I loved that truck and it was full of character. It did smell like exhaust, which has probably taken years off my life, but who cares when you're 20? The truck bed would rattle like the dickens over any bumps with a loud metal-to-metal clunking sound. There was a towel between the battery and the metal hood to prevent a reinactment of 4th of July fireworks. There was absolutely zero sound insulation in the cabin and the metal steering wheel was awful to hold onto in the desert heat. I placed another 30k miles on the truck over the course of 3 1/2 years and have pictures of it in front of the Hollywood Sign and Golden Gate Bridge. Eventually, life changes and too many parts wearing out forced me to sell it for $800 (in running condition) to a neighbor kid. Last time I heard, the truck was in Mexico somewhere. I still look back fondly on that truck, and any Toyota pickup from this era.

  • Golden2husky 78 Concept is pretty awesome to me -
  • Redapple2 Make mine a 110 Defender- diesel.
  • Redapple2 What is the weight of the tractor? What is the range at full load? What is the recharge time? Not a serious product if they are HIDING the answers.
  • Lou_BC "Owners of affected Wrangles" Does a missing "r" cancel an extra stud?
  • Slavuta One can put a secret breaker that will disable the starter or spark plug supply. Even disabling headlights or all lights will bring more trouble to thieves than they wish for. With no brake lights, someone will hit from behind, they will leave fingerprints inside. Or if they steal at night, they will have to drive with no lights. Any of these things definitely will bring attention.I remember people removing rotor from under distributor cup.