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Toyota Pickup Powered By Freightliner Diesel
Great mileage and more power is what Sheldon Martin got when he installed a Freightliner diesel engine in a Toyota Tacoma pickup. The truck now gets 30 mpg on the highway and 26 mpg in the city compared to the 26 and 20 mpg ratings for a conventional 2009 Tacoma.
"I've had the truck running for a year and a half and put 20,000 miles on it," says Martin, who actually used parts from a couple of totaled-out Tacomas to "build" the truck.
A 2001 Toyota Tacoma that had been submerged under water for several years contributed the cab, bed, frame rails and suspension. A rolled-over 2002 Tacoma 4x4 provided three doors, cab interior, fuel tank and steering linkage.
"The Mercedes OM612 diesel engine, T1N transmission and all related electronics came out of a 2003 Freightliner Sprinter 2500 that had rolled on its side," says Martin. "It only had 27,000 miles on it."
The 5-cyl. engine was a tight fit and required multiple alterations to the Tacoma engine compartment. The taller engine required modification of the engine belly cross members and removal of the front differential. A completely new cross member for the transmission was needed as well. Front to back was also tight, with the engine positioned inches from the firewall. The A/C auxiliary fan is partially recessed into the front bumper.
"I used the Mercedes viscous fan, a Tacoma radiator and a Tacoma A/C condenser with a Flex-a-lite fan," says Martin. "All the engine accessory drives, such as the alternator and A/C compressor, are from the Sprinter. I built an aluminum cold-air intake box with a K&N filter, and the exhaust is a custom 3-in. with a Magnflo performance muffler."
One of the added complexities involved unneeded Sprinter electronics. The engine and transmission control modules, antilock braking system, and antitheft systems were designed to communicate with each other. All had to be hooked up and functioning, even though they had no practical purpose with the Tacoma system.
Once he had the guts of the transplant worked out, Martin painted the truck and installed Autometer gauges on the pillar for boost and exhaust temperature, and installed a Scan-Gauge on the steering column. All of the Tacoma instrument cluster gauges, including the tachometer, work by means of custom pulse wheels and electronic converters. He also replaced the 4.10 ratio locking differential with a non-locking 4.53 ratio axle for better fuel economy.
Martin acknowledges the job was challenging, but well worth the effort. "I spent Saturdays and evenings for about seven months (including body work) to get it running and several months more driving it to work out the bugs," he says. "With a good set of tools and lots of time, anything is possible."
Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Sheldon D. Martin, 1186 Park Road, Elverson, Penn. 19520 (sheldon@marcoequip.net).

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2009 - Volume #33, Issue #2