So a couple of weeks ago Manny (YankeeTaco) and I went junkyard shopping. It was a pretty successful trip for myself, not for Manny though. I picked up a windshield wiper switch
from a 98 Camry which has 4 variable speeds
, a low speed and a high speed. We found another from a 99 Camry but it only had one variable speed and wasn't in that great of shape so Manny didn't get it. I also picked up a 00 Prerunner spare tire carrier
. I can't carry my full size spare because a 99 non-prerunner, auto, v6, 5lug gas tank
. I have been wanting to do the 18.5 gas tank mod in my 4cyl for a long time.
I immediately changed out the windshield wiper switch outside of the junkyard and it took only a couple of minutes to change out. It fits perfectly, works perfectly and looks factory. I was so excited that I wanted it to rain
So the next weekend I head over to Manny's in the morning and take my bed off to get ready to change out the gas tanks. As soon as I pulled my old tank and compared it to the newish tank I realized they were the same tank.
So, we jumped in Manny's truck and headed back to the junkyard. Fortunately they let me swap the tank out for a 00 4x4 Prerunner tank. I compared my single tank strap with the 4x4 strap and besides the 4x4 skid plate the straps are the same size and length.
After we go back to Manny's place, I proceeded to install the new gas tank. The tank fit in the factory location perfectly. Unfortunately, the strap wasn't long enough. It was about a couple of inches short. I am not sure but it seems that the 4x4 and 2wd prerunners might have a different cross member or maybe some type of drop down bracked to compensate for the deeper tank. Anyways I temporarily wired up the strap to the cross member, installed everything else and put everything back together.
I had put in 5 gallons of gas at Manny's place and after I left, I went straight to the gas station and put in another 15.5 gallons
The next day I went to Home depot and found a solution to my problem. I picked up a new bolt with was a bit longer. I believe it was a M10-1.25-75. I will look at the package and double check when I get the chance. I took the bracket that bolts to the frame near the driverside tire and ground off the square bracket on the back so that it wont damage the tank when I re position it. I hand bent the strap to mold to the tank after figuring where it would be placed and took the piece of rubber padding that was behind the bracket and placed it behind the new position of the bracket to protect the tank. The bold worked perfectly and the tank is in securely. Good news is that the tank doesn't hang any lower than the front spring hanger, however, the 2wd skid plate doesn't do much to protect it. I did put the 2wd one back on though. You can use the 4wd skid plate but you will need to either get the 4wd strap or drill two holes into your strap. IT CAN BE DONE WITH LITTLE EFFORT! I can only verify that this swap works for the 96-00 Tacomas. The 01-04 Tacomas have two straps where the 96-00 Tacomas have one strap and the front of the tank bolts to the frame.
So for the next week I drove around with my new fatty tank sitting in the back of my truck. The first thing I noticed was that my a$$ was heavy and I had an extreme taco lean. I had a little bit of a lean before with my 3" drop blocks and never got around to fixing it. However, now, I have a serious drop especially with a full tank
Also the rear suspension was really sloppy, like a Buick, especially around right corners. I also noticed realized that I forgot to make the adjustments to the 4cyl fuel pump float and pump location within the tank to compensate for the deeper tank. Another thing I had to fix was the speekfreek track bar on the driver side. The bolt was pushing into the tank.
So yesterday, I dropped the tank, lowered the pump until it reached the bottom of the tank, and adjusted the float so that it actually went to the bottom of the tank. I currently have the walbro 190 lph pump in my truck which required modifying the bracket so dropping the pump to the new depth of the tank required only loosening the hose clamp and sliding it down as well as replacing the zip ties. To fix the track bar issue, I removed the bolt and ground down the spacer about 1/2" to bring the heim joint closer to the leaf spring hanger.
So next was the sloppy rear suspension. I happened to have some extra 2wd leaf springs laying around from my old taco which I had cut up to use as add-a-leafs without the super stiffness that the add-a-leaf for lift kits gives you. I took one of those and added it to the driver side only. After re-installing everything, the tank was clear of the track bar bolt and the driver side sits about 1/2" higher than the passenger side which I will fix with a 3 1/2" drop block. So basically I have the infamous taco lean, but on the wrong side now. With the tank full, the truck sits just about level and now, right when the fuel gauge touches the empty line, the truck takes about 15.5 gallons of gas. Also, the truck drives perfect now with the added factory leaf. It feels perfectly balanced around corners, over speed bumps and just in general. The only thing I have left to do is to get another drop block from Brian (Beefed Taco).
I would only recommend using the bolt as a fix for the tank strap if you are street only and not off-roading. Another option is to add an adjustable/non adjustable extension to the passenger side of the strap near the end where it doesn't touch the tank. I would be really easy to do if you have a welder and some scrap metal. Otherwise this is really easy to do. I absolutely love having a large tank now especially since I drive 400+ miles a week.
Here are some pics and I will upload some others later. Unfortunately I was unable to take pics of the pump and float since I didn't have my phone when I was working on it the second time.
So here is some general information for what I found out about the 96-00 Tacoma gas tanks. Only the v6 Prerunner 2wd and 4wd trucks have the 18.5 gal gas tank. You can use the 4wd skid plate on the other trucks as well. The 5 lug v6 has the smaller tank. Also only the 96-00 tanks are interchangeable. Any 96-04 Tacoma windshield wiper switch is interchangeable and the prerunners have the intermittent setting. As far as I can tell 98 and 99 Camrys are have the same basic type of switches as well.