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vdubinsd New Reader
5/20/15 12:01 p.m.

After viewing a recent thread about someone getting a dropped minitruck for cheap (damn you duke)I find myself cruising craigslist in search of something similar....need some opinions on what would be the best for me.

Been years since I had one so I dont know what to get. There seems to be plenty of them in my price range (under $1k-needs work is my middle name) and would love to hear some thoughts on my best choices.

  1. Nissan Hardbody. I borrowed one for a month or so 15 years ago; and I recall that even being a 4 cylinder automatic having decent power. Lots of em in pick and pull; upgrades (pathfinder) pretty easy...what are the bads?

  2. 79-83 Toyota. Had em, built em, jumped em, even rolled one. Kinda gutless (stock) and the beat to hell level goes up with the Toyota tax. Are 20-22R parts getting scarce yet?

  3. Mitsu/Dodge D50 Mighty Max. Delivered parts in one 25 years ago-gutless (was the smaller engine, 2.0?) but tough-I tried to kill that truck every single day and couldn't . But that was a long time ago...

Rangers are prerunners (to me) and S10 just does nothing for me...

What am I missing?

Goal is a somewhat reliable daily that can haul project parts around and survive scraping the ground sometimes.

Fueled by Caffeine
Fueled by Caffeine MegaDork
5/20/15 12:06 p.m.

mazda's? like these guys..



ebonyandivory SuperDork
5/20/15 12:10 p.m.

Chevy Luv, Ford Courier, Isuzu P'up? VW Caddy?

Cone_Junkie SuperDork
5/20/15 12:17 p.m.

One the few cars(truck) I used to own and miss, my Hardbody.

Basically Toyota reliability at 75% of the purchase price. Pathfinder bucket seats was one of my upgrades too.

Had it set up as a pre-runner with larger tires for a while, then dropped it with some low profile tires when it was used as a commuter.

vdubinsd New Reader
5/20/15 12:43 p.m.

Kinda forgot Mazdas...B2600 have more powa than B2000? Had one of those for a short time (B2000) and guess I forgot since it was sooo slow.

Chevy LUV/P'UP and Courier would be interesting..but finding parts would be a chore (I think?). Nephew had a P'up that was a huge pile...maybe mentally blocking it.

VW Caddy...would love it if I fit better (6ft 1 all legs)-and even having to force myself into it would love one (hence the user name)

Derick Freese
Derick Freese UltraDork
5/20/15 1:00 p.m.

I've done lowered Nissans before. If you redrill the front hanger for the rear leaf springs and reclock the torsion bars up front, you can get them pretty low. Pinto shocks fit up front with a bolt sleeve change at the bottom of the shock.

Their big downside is the wheel bolt pattern. Chevy and Toyota 6 lug wheels are the same bolt pattern, so there are a good few OEM choices, but the aftermarket leans toward the blingy side.

I'd look for a slightly newer Nissan. Look for one with the KA24 motor instead of the Z24 motor. Better power, fewer spark plugs, and you can use 240SX engine parts.

bmw88rider Dork
5/20/15 1:04 p.m.

I would go hardbody personally. I had a 4 cylinder extended cab as a parts pick up truck for a job I worked. I absolutely loved the thing. Pretty common to get with a 5 speed and with the Extended cab, there was a lot room in the cab.

Overall a tough truck and I would totally get another one if I had the need.

Derick Freese
Derick Freese UltraDork
5/20/15 1:07 p.m.

I should probably also mention that the truck served as a lawn service truck pulling a trailer for almost 10 years before I got it. Tough truck.

Trackmouse Reader
5/20/15 1:26 p.m.

The 20r parts are still cheap, a little scarce. The 22r parts still abound. And the 22re parts are still going for gold. My avatar tells all.

f6sk Reader
5/20/15 2:08 p.m.

Isuzu space cab just looks cool... but a bit into the 90s

RX Reven'
RX Reven' Dork
5/20/15 2:29 p.m.

I loved the looks and handling of my ’86 Mazda B2000 but even with a 5 speed manual, the carb’d 2.0 I4 was woefully inadequate.

High desert – two ATV’s in the bed – one fat brother in the cab…you could just reach 55 mph on level freeway running flat out.

So, even being a Mazda fanboy, I’d have to recommend getting a Hardbody.

Streetwiseguy PowerDork
5/20/15 3:27 p.m.

V6 hardbody with 300zx turbo swap.

oldopelguy SuperDork
5/20/15 3:33 p.m.


midniteson Reader
5/20/15 3:35 p.m.

Subaru Brat

daeman Reader
5/20/15 5:32 p.m.

I'm biased towards the Mazda cause I have one, but yeah, a bit gutless. On the up side, b2000 and b2200 are a good candidate for the Mazda f2t, or alternatively a kia sportage engine swap (early sportage motors are essentially the same as Mazda fe3/fe dohc, kia bought the tooling from mazda) which is a very popular conversion

Diff and gearbox wise the 2000 and 2200 are a bit on the weak side, but the 2600 gear can be swapped in (the 2600 gearbox doesn't have exactly the same pattern, but enough lines up to make it work)

They also quite willingly fit a ford 302 v8,its a pretty common conversion. Plus, out of all the extend cab trucks of the 80s, the Mazda has the best look and I need an extend cab to get my seat far enough back cause I'm 6'4"

Regarding the b2600 engine (g6), they tend to be very thirsty for their size and also quite prone to cracking cylinder heads.

I've also owned a hard body and agree,they are fantastic trucks.

They have great Nissan interchange ability, the L20,Z20/24 and KA24 all share the same bell housing pattern and engine mount points so swapping engines is a snap if you get an older girl.

Not sure if you guys got them in america, but by the early to mid 90s in Australia Nissan was selling hardbodies with vg30e v6's. Means shoehorning a 300zx quadcam twin turbo shouldn't be beyond the realm of possibility.

Pathfinder disc brake rear ends are a straight bolt in, wichh can also be fairly commonly found in LSD.

Handling wise the hard body is probably the best of the 80s minis. Look into hardbody racing for a bit of inspiration.

Cotton UberDork
5/20/15 5:35 p.m.

I like the S10 extreme with the 4.3 and 5 speed. If you haven't driven one of those it might do something for you.

"The Xtreme package on pickups Has ZQ8 suspension (1.5 inch drop springs, rear sway bar, stiffer front sway bar, performance shocks, 16x8 rims), Xtreme specific rims wrapped in 235/55/16 rubber, ground effects, tinted windows, quick ratio steering box, and a body color grille. It was available with either a 4.3 v6 or, a 2.2 inline 4; a 5 speed manual trans, or a 4l60e automatic; standard cab, or extended cab, stepside or fleetside."

Fueled by Caffeine
Fueled by Caffeine MegaDork
5/20/15 5:49 p.m.

must do work


Cone_Junkie SuperDork
5/20/15 6:16 p.m.
Fueled by Caffeine wrote: must do work http://forums.nicoclub.com/how-to-build-a-hardbody-pro-it-race-truck-t472000.html

Now I REALLY want another HardBody

It'll give me an excuse to pull the built KA24E from my 240SX, drop it in the truck, then swap something really cool in the race car.

Damn you for posting that link!!!!!

SkinnyG Dork
5/20/15 6:54 p.m.

I spent a LOT of time sorting out my Hardbody. I'd still have it if me and my two boys would fit in it long term.

Read all aboot it, eh?! The Hideous Hardbody

JacktheRiffer Reader
5/20/15 7:16 p.m.

Im gonna cast another vote for hardbody. I love them.

Fueled by Caffeine
Fueled by Caffeine MegaDork
5/20/15 9:17 p.m.


Race hardbody for sale.

Junkyard_Dog SuperDork
5/20/15 9:24 p.m.

Skip to the end and picture it painted.

Woody MegaDork
5/20/15 9:28 p.m.

A friend of mine just got rid of his late Hardbody. He was the original owner and some important parts were NLA.

Hungary Bill
Hungary Bill SuperDork
5/20/15 9:33 p.m.

Doooooooood! 80's Toyota 2wd with a 1uz!

Or my brother's truck

240sx engine and 5spd transmission make this thing a HOOT to drive

Vigo PowerDork
5/20/15 10:07 p.m.

I have an old d50 so that's obviously my personal choice (largely sentimental) but the first zq8 Sonoma I drove really exceeded my expectations, and this was after I already knew I didn't like working on them.

But they don't really seem compatible with the term minitruck.

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