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LEXUS 1UZ-FE Engine Swap My blood sweat and tears. It will be worth it!!

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  #16  
Unread 11-07-2009, 11:39 PM
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Here we go starting to look like a Tacoma again. With the main front supports welded up I can can finally start making some more tabs to mount the grill and headlights. I'll be keeping the factory upper crossmember for about one more day as I use it for reference to mount the grill tabs. It's so flimsy I just can't see bothering to reinforce it.

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  #17  
Unread 11-07-2009, 11:44 PM
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Showing the factory upper support. This picture showing things coming together. It's a bit tricky making things line up so that things will look factory. The crossmember looks good but is really weak. I'll probably cut it off once I take some more measurements and install a piece of tubing. Then I'll think about welding it back in and supporting it along from side to side. I'm about 50/50 on keeping it at the moment.

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  #18  
Unread 11-09-2009, 12:20 AM
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Now that I got the grill supported and in place I could cut out the upper crossmember. It's really interesting how the corner markers on the Tacoma actually connect the front of the side fenders and align them with the headlight. I'm lucky to have a neighbor who has a matching Tacoma so I could borrow some of his parts while I mock mine up. I gotta order them this week.



I have cut out and bent some 1" chromoly tubing to go across and before it got dark I made the side supports to mount it. I'll play it safe and wait until morning until I line things up and start welding the brackets that will hold it in. The whole front end is going to be removable so whenever I'll need to work on the engine or build my front suspension it will be much easier. I'll have gussets and plates on both ends of the bar that will have bolt holes to mount it on the sides. Then I can make some quick tabs for the front clip, radiator and finally the hood latch.
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  #19  
Unread 11-09-2009, 12:30 AM
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Yes this is a boring picture but to have the headlight mounts made and things pulling together means a lot to me. Besides the plastic and the side fenders everything else on this Tacoma front end is made from scratch at this point. I can't believe how much better this newer front end looks. I've always been jealous of the newer style front and most importantly the better headlights!

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  #20  
Unread 11-10-2009, 09:16 AM
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The beginning of building the removable upper support.



More supports will be built to secure the corner vertically as well.
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  #21  
Unread 11-10-2009, 09:18 AM
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Showing how those crazy angular plates on the ends hold up the headlights. It sure did take some time with some squares, measuring rules and levels to get it perfect.

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  #22  
Unread 11-10-2009, 09:20 AM
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And finally I can show how the radiator will be mounted. The tabs will be easier to make then I first imagined... depending if I want to make a carrier to cradle it in place or not. I would like to make one for the bottom but I can always make one later. Tab will work great for the time being. I'm just stoked to see the front coming together and looking like a Tacoma again.

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  #23  
Unread 11-10-2009, 09:22 AM
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Here we can see that I didn't want any chance of the lower radiator coming in contact with the ground which is a problem on the factory Tacoma setup. There is no way now. Of course that crossmember looks like a bumper but it is tucked up enough to go just behind the factory bumper. Eventually it will be used for support for a custom bumper or replaced. Most all of this work will be covered with the factory bumper. I'll be building the supports for that today as well as the mounts for the radiator. Then the front will be all done... I think!?

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  #24  
Unread 11-11-2009, 06:27 AM
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Just incase someone thinking of doing something similar. Here is a closer look at how I arranged the radiators. It took me a tad longer to spot and measure the mounts for the AC radiator just because it's really hard to hold these things in place and I'm a little short on clamps to hold things temporarily. You can't have enough clamps! Then I ran out of welding wire while putting the last couple of tac welds on the supports, blah blah blah...

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  #25  
Unread 11-12-2009, 09:54 PM
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Today I had to spend a good amount of time getting the bender to bend the tubing a little more and to do it correctly. And I had already welded on the inner supports so it was extra annoying but I got it. It doesn't feel like I'm making much process lately but the details I've been taking care of have to get done. I want to make sure these components fit together absolutely perfectly to make this truck user friendly in terms of servicing and taking care of it AND adding on more things in the future like a custom bumper, new offroad lights and air horns and stuff. I want stuff to be tight and organized up front.

To get the radiator in the front end you can either bring it up from the bottom or remove the bolts in the left side and swing the cross pieces open like a gate. It works pretty nice I must say.

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  #26  
Unread 11-12-2009, 09:59 PM
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I went through great pains to make sure that the factory Tacoma air conditioning condenser fits up in front of the radiator. I pulled it off too. I'll have to make custome aluminum lines to connect all of the AC components and this will come down the road. For now for the sake of time I'm just going to put the condenser up in the rafters until the spring time. Who needs AC in the winter? I'll survive until next year I'm sure. I'm just glad all the measuring and design work needed to make the room is over with!

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  #27  
Unread 11-12-2009, 10:03 PM
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Another tough subject to address on the front of this custom Tacoma front end was the mounting points for the adjustable headlights. I just didn't have a good place to attach some tabs so I grabbed some rod and welded it across the gap. It worked out great and looks pretty sweet. I removed the factory plastic mounting contraption and just affixed a long bolt in the empty hole on the headlight assembly. I'll soon put a tab on the rod I welded in place and then weld some threaded bolt length to the tab, THEN I'll use a double ended coupler to join them. This way I'll be able to simply twist the coupler to adjust the mounting point... if all goes well.

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  #28  
Unread 11-12-2009, 10:07 PM
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A picture showing some more detail on how things are arranged. Everything has plenty of room and is very symmetrical on both sides. It came out better than I thought it would. What really sucks is when you weld something it causes some shrinkage between the two pieces. From time to time this causes a tiny bit of warpage in other places so sometimes there is need for adjustment in another area in order to keep everything super straight. Why spend the time to be so perfect? You have to be anal on this to keep all of the lines straight where the headlights and grill lines come together.





This stuff takes a super long time to get right. I'll finish up the tabs tomorrow and then all of these front end parts will be off to the powdercoater!
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  #29  
Unread 11-14-2009, 10:52 PM
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Talk about custom this is kinda of ridiculous looking. Oh well it's what I'm rolling with for now as there is no way I'm buying the newer bumper to update and match the grill. This will surely force me to build an offroad style bumper made from tubing. I do want to make one eventually but I might have to make one sooner now that the front end will have to stay like this until then.

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  #30  
Unread 11-14-2009, 10:56 PM
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So does anything look different? Can't see much change in the front supports? Look again, a little closer.



Yeah right I spent all day making tabs, supports and measuring things a million times to get it just right. I'm really happy how everything comes together just in the right places. Building the whole front from nothing really was a fun challenge and the name of the game is plan ahead. I always kept in mind that I would have to mount more and more stuff as I went along so I made attachment points on the main structural stuff and used right angles as much as I could. This helps keep great reference points to measure from to keep things straight.



Orange Arrow: One of the mounting tabs for the front clip mounting points. The factory crosspiece uses rectangular holes and plastic clips for mounting but I prefer the round holes, no clips but zip ties.

Red Arrow: Inner headlight mounting tab.

Violet Arrow: Lower radiator support.

Blue Arrow: Outer fender support uses one cushioned bolt to mount each side.

Green Arrow: Main left fender support that uses a pair of larger bolts to mount each side.

What a bunch of work! Just glad to be done with all those details. Now to clean up some welds and cart it off to be powdercoated.
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