Starting a Taxi Business in Uganda? There Is More Than Meets the Eye


A typical investor in the taxi business in Uganda is going to encounter two key issues even before they start making their first shilling. I explain these issues below.

When I first bought a used taxi from my grandparents, I took it for repair to a mechanic in the Wandegeya suburb. He “over hauled” it and told me it was in perfect condition. One week later, the differential had developed a few problems. Next the crank shaft had a few issues. I eventually over came these issues but then came the witchcraft story.

A typical Ugandan reader is probably surprised that I haven’t raised the issue of business and witchcraft before. It seems many Ugandans firmly believe that going to the witch doctor and giving your last white goat(and with no spot of black) is going to turn your business into an overnight success even if you cannot differentiate(no pun intended) between cash as profit(which you can use as dividends) and cash from sales(which you should not use until all expenses are settled).

So the witchcraft story is this; I hired my cousin John [not real name for obvious reasons] to work as the taxi’s first conductor. He according to the family rumour mill “bewitched” the taxi because:

*Day 1. The suspension broke.

*Day 3: The crank shaft developed further problems.

*Day 5. The differential was shaking again.

*Day 7: The taxi knocked someone crossing the road at Ndeeba.

In the 1 month that the taxi was in business, I made only Shs 7,000! Oh, I used that to bail out the driver at the police station. I am not one to consider the validity of the witchcraft story but that brings me to the taxi business and factors to consider if you are to invest in it.

First the CONS (of course)

1. Mechanics without ethics

There is a possibility that when I took the taxi for refurbishment, the mechanic to whom I entrusted the repair provided me with a pro-forma invoice for parts he didn’t install, obtained them second hand or third hand or even that he didn’t carry out all the necessary repairs. How could I verify that with no knowledge of the intricacies of a car, let alone a second hand taxi from Bungokho?

You can of course get round this issue by instead taking your Toyota Hiace (the predominant model used for taxi business in Uganda) to Toyota Uganda’s repair workshop. Don’t expect of course to pay Shs. 7,000 for repair. They use computerised diagnostics and their mechanics use a logging system to bill you by the hour. Oh and of course they use new and genuine parts so forget that used crank shaft your mechanic Kakooza will find you from Kisekka market. As per the Toyota Uganda website, you can expect to start paying for servicing for a Toyota Hiace Model from Shs. 183,900.

2. Difficulty of revenue verification

Unless you are driving the taxi yourself or install cameras just like the London Buses or National Express buses in the UK, it is virtually impossible to ascertain passenger numbers on any given route at any given time. I know many a business owner will circumvent the issue by not paying the driver/conductor wages an instead demanding a fixed daily/weekly sum say 6 days a week with Sunday being the “driver’s day”. The driver’s day being the day he doesn’t pay you as all revenue will go to wards earning their keep. This may work to an extent until the driver/conductor tells you:

“Mukama wange, Walk to work etuletedde bizibu” [My Lord, we were unable to make sufficient money today owing to the “Walk to work” demonstrations].

He then proceeds to hand you half the agreed fee. How do you verify that driver’s story?

Oh there will be numerous of those stories. Next time it will be that Uganda Taxi Operators and Drivers Association (UTODA) is fleecing them and they have fought back, then another day; Traffic Police “search and stop” operations have resulted in massive delays followed the next day by a strike by drivers. Of course you as their “Lord” cannot be inhumane and continue to demand the fixed sum can you?

Like I have hinted, if you are seriously considering investing in this sector, perhaps you can find a supplier for on board cameras. However for simplicity and line with the norm in Uganda, I will therefore propose that the potential investor stick to the common practice of agreeing with the driver a fixed “contractor” rate for a given route. I would however recommend that this rate be verified through corroborating with different drivers of the route the taxi will ply.

3. Starting capital and cost of financing

Owing to a vehicle being considered to be a key asset in Uganda,it is pretty common for this investment to be financed by a commercial bank loan or lease financing from companies such as DFCU Leasing Limited. In addition many car dealers are happy to provide loan financing. You can get a decent used taxi (complete with stripes and fixed seats) for about Shs 17m going by my research information from

Now the key issue in respect of cost of financing. Following the recent increase(November 2011) by Bank of Uganda of the Bank Rate to 29%, I can expect that the commercial banks will increase their lending rates to an average of 31%. The Bank rate is the rate at which commercial banks can borrow from the Central Bank as a lender of last resort. The significant cost of financing will as we shall see later on will have a significant impact on expected return on capital.

4. Long period over which to realise profitability and to recover your investment

I now set out my analysis of the estimated profitability for this business.

I have estimated that the investor is purchasing a taxi to ply any one of Kampala and its suburb routes. I am using the most common model which is the “contractor model”. The model being that the driver provides the investor with a fixed agreed daily sum for 5- 6 days a week with the 7th day for the driver/conductor to earn their keep.

In this model, the driver/conductor therefore incur all day to day expenses that is; fuel, daily and monthly UTODA fees, loading fees,KCC fees, stage fees et al. The owner will however incur costs of repairs and maintenance as well as insurance costs.

Summary of profit position:

Revenue per month: Shs 750,000 (estimated at Shs 30,000 per day for 25 days)

Repairs and maintenance per month: 183, 900 (estimated from Toyota Uganda workshop information)

Financing costs: 439,167. (estimated on interest rate of 31% on a 17m car. The rate is estimated on Nov 2011 Bank of Uganda Bank rate plus a 2% margin)

Insurance(3rd party): 4,167

Monthly net profit: 122,767

Annual profit(A): 1,473,200

Capital cost(1994 Toyota Hiace, used)(B): 17,000,000

Return on capital(B/A): 11.54 years!

As can be seen from the above analysis, forget your money in this sector. You can of course now at this stage if you like go visit the witch doctor who will perhaps use his spells so that customers prefer your taxi to all others and he will also magically my analysis above to give a return in perhaps 1 month. [Please note that the last statement is made in jest and I wouldn’t expect a serious investor to consider witchcraft for business success].

5. Saturation of the market and related moves.

There are too many taxis in Kampala or almost anywhere else in Uganda. It seems every where you turn there is a taxi and so I don’t even need to go into the details of this but it is certainly worth noting the trend for this sector. As there are too many taxis in Uganda, judging by several reports from UTODA, eventually the politics surrounding this industry will be played out and then the several government initiatives to try to de-congest the new and old taxi parks in down town Kampala; and instead move taxis to out of town satellite taxi parks like Ndeeba will become a reality. Alternatively we may finally see a move to commuter buses instead of taxis as promised by former Mayor Nasser “Seya” Sebagala.

And Now the PROS

1. Fair return on capital, assuming no financing.

The main advantage for this sector therefore is for the investor who is going to invest without incurring the cost of borrowing. I set out below the projected return on capital without the cost of financing:

Revenue per month: Shs 750,000 (estimated at Shs 30,000 per day for 25 days)

Monthly Repairs and maintenance: Shs 183, 900 (estimated from Toyota Uganda workshop information)

Insurance(3rd party): 4,167

Monthly net profit: 561,933

Annual profit: 6,743,200

Capital cost(1994 Toyota Hiace, used): 17,000,000

Return on capital: 2.52 years

As can be seen from above, the return on capital without cost of financing reduces to a 2.52 years from the onerous 11 years in the first analysis.

2. Security for further financing

Assuming you have not borrowed to purchase the taxi then a further advantage is that in Uganda, vehicles are preferred assets to use as collateral for borrowing owing to the fluidity of the used car market.

3. Alternative one off uses

The advantage of the taxi of course is that you can use it for one off uses like private charters or for example for private uses of advantage to the investor for example; taking the children to school, for funerals or; like me in Uganda who in 2005 mustered the courage to take the taxi on a test drive in the night by going to visit that “Mzungu” girl I wanted to impress.

I think John’s witchcraft was already at work because when I returned home from visiting the girl, I crashed into the neighbour’s wall as I tried to reverse the taxi so as to make the tight turn into the home gate. I insist it was the witchcraft at work and of course not the fact that I had no experience whatsoever in driving a long vehicle!


First the numbers.

On the basis of my analysis:

*Capital investment(A): Shs 17,000,000

*Revenue per year: 9,000,000

*Profit per year (revenue excluding all expenses and interest) (B) is Shs 1,473,200

*Return on capital(years to get capital back) (A/B) is 11.54 years.

*If you however don’t incur the cost of financing then this return period is estimated at 2.54 years.

Now the basics you must get right before investing:

*Research on a fair contractor rate. As the preferred model in Uganda is to hire out your taxi to the driver/conductor, it is worth spending time speaking to various drivers and perhaps even UTODA to establish a fair price for your route and ensuring you get the agreed rate without any “mukama wange” stories.

*Consider cheaper financing options. Too often we ignore the advantage of pooling funds say from family members and friends. This can provide equity financing(interest free credit) rather than the crippling commercial bank loans.

*A decent and trustworthy mechanic is a must. Best of luck!


By principle I am wary of business models where you are unable to understand or verify the intricacies of the revenue recognition and can hardly verify the costs to establish efficiencies and so on that basis, for me this would be a “no-no” sector.

It however has the key advantage of simplicity of revenue stream and perhaps that is why this has resulted in the over investment in this sector including by [financially] illiterate people.

If you are therefore drawn to the simplicity of this type of investment plus the advantage that the vehicle is security for further borrowing then by all means invest in it and then all you have to ensure is that you do not hear tales from Kakooza of the “differential is shaking.”


Source by D E Wasake

The Toyota Motor Story – How Was Lexus Born?


It was more than a philosophical matter for Toyota Motor because of the money involved. The company, while comfortably in the black, could ill afford to pursue a misguided vanity project. But some argued it stood to lose more from staying out of the luxury market than by jumping in when its most loyal customers – baby boomers – were moving into their peak earning years and would soon be looking to buy more expensive cars. Toyota Motor wanted a high-end product line to prevent these loyal customers from defecting to other brands. The idea was to build a gilded bridge between the compact-car buyers of today and the luxury-car buyers of tomorrow. What’s more, it also needed to safeguard its revenue in an era of increased U.S. import barriers, to stay neck-and-neck with Japanese rivals who were planning their own luxury lines, and to keep its engineers motivated with new challenges.

At home, it sold the stately Century, a boat of a car with a 5.0-liter V-12 engine, used to chauffeur Japanese CEOs and cabinet ministers around the crowded streets of Tokyo. The often empty front passenger seat on this and other Japanese luxury cars was built with a removable cushion so that the back-seat passenger could stretch his legs through to the front seat. But at the equivalent of US$125,000, the car was deemed too expensive to compete in the mass luxury market in the U.S. Besides, Toyota Motor needed to update its export line-up with a car-lover’s car designed primarily to be driven by its owner, not a stately limousine to be driven around in.

Most significantly, Toyota Motor sensed opportunity. Present manufacturers of high end vehicles had risen and gone beyond the needs of the brand new era of car purchasers. Hence, Eiji Toyoda presented the strategy to penetrate towards the high end market. 6 years along with 50 percent of a billion dollars later, the initial Lexus was born. To Toyoda, it was not a matter of cost, only a matter of time. In his words: “For us, this was not only a tremendous challenge and a dream to fulfill but also an inevitable decision.” Yet even the most zealous proponents of a Japanese luxury-car program in the early 1980s could scarcely imagine what Toyota Motor would unleash upon unsuspecting rivals a decade later.

The company’s luxury division, the Lexus brand, has grown from a car enthusiast’s afterthought into the leading luxury brand in the U.S. It usurped Cadillac for that title in 2000 and has kept it ever since. In its debut year in 1989, sales of the untested brand’s two models – the flagship LS and entry-level ES sedans – totaled just 16,302 cars. Two years later it became the best-selling luxury import in the U.S. and had added a third model, the SC coupe. Today, just over two decades since the brand debuted, millions of vehicles sporting the Lexus L are being driven on the roads of America, a testimony not only to the brand’s popularity but also the durability of its cars. Indeed, it is not uncommon to see a vintage 1990 model year LS 400 or ES 300. Today, Lexus has expanded from the first two pioneer models to an industry-leading fleet of nearly a dozen different cars and SUBs, three of which have been added within the past two years.


Source by Ken Li

Tips to Repair Your Toyota Tacoma Temperature and Compass Display – Overhead Console


Toyota makes excellent, dependable vehicles despite what the mainstream media would have you believe. However, occasionally even the best designs have problems, and such is the case with the Tacoma overhead console. (Actually, the ambient temp and compass display is officially called the ‘accessory meter’ by Toyota.)

The display is designed to provide outside temperature readings, and also displays a digital compass heading. Unfortunately, the Mexican manufacturer of the part used both low quality solder and inadequate resistors, resulting in component separation from the circuit board. The result? A dead display.

You have a couple choices when this happens…if you are under warranty the dealership will repair it (actually, they replace it) for free…and word is that people are getting better quality units as compared to the originals. If you are no longer under the 3 year/ 36k warranty the news is pretty grim though…the new part and installation cost is well over $300! (There is absolutely no legitimate reason for this price…the hardware probably cost $75 to make, and the installation is very simple.)

Anyway, on to the recommendations for the do it yourselfer:

  • Removing the clear plastic cover:
  • -use a small flathead to carefully pry up each clip, bumping each one slightly over the edge until all are released. Don’t try to pull the cover off until ALL four clips are released, otherwise they break.
  • Soldering tips (get it?):

-Don’t use a gun style iron w/ trigger. These are too powerful, bulky, and generally don’t have a suitable tip. Get an inexpensive pencil style. I have a $400 digital station, but still use an el cheapo iron for day to day tasks.

-Stands are nice, and usually have built in sponges.

-Always keep the tip shiny with no hanging solder drops. Use tip cleaner and/or damp sponge to keep it that way…do this often.

-Don’t use lead-free (RoHS) solder, use 60/40.

-Take lots of breaks, and look up frequently to focus your eyes on faraway objects. It is likely that you aren’t used to working with small parts up close, and it can be frustrating. Take a break and come back later.

-If your hands are shaky, go drink a beer or two. It will help. Caffeine and sugar won’t.

-Don’t put solder on the iron to transfer to the work. The iron’s purpose is the heat up the *part* so that solder will flow.

-Your work should be bright and shiny when done, like a little bit of the liquid metal bad guy from Terminator II is holding your resistors on the board.

-Be aware of your iron. Don’t melt the plastic on your power button or cover clips. Don’t drop solder onto the board in random places.

-Put some solder on the resistor pads before installing new components. You should then have 4 shiny little bumps. You can use these to ‘tack’ the lead wires to by heating up the pad/wire with your iron. Once one lead is tacked, fully solder the other end, then come back and finish the job.

  • General tips and recommendations:

-Use new components! Go to Radio Shack (assuming they carry actual electronic parts these days) and get a couple 51 ohm lead wire resistors. 47 ohm will work, too. They are in parallel, so you can lay the leads against each other and solder to the board.

-If you use your old original SMT resistors, they WILL fail again. The ends will have oxidized and solder won’t stick well. Unfortunately cleaning/sanding won’t work, the layer of metal is too thin. Remember, time is money…just do it right the first time.

Good luck with your repair!


Source by G. Schmidt

FAQ on Modifying the Toyota Supra


What does BPU(TM) stand for? (BPU(TM) is a trademark of

Basic Performance Upgrades. These modifications are: A full length three inch down-pipe (with or with-out high flow cats), 3″ (75mm) or bigger cat-back exhaust system, raised boost (18psi), and the required boost cut eliminator (GReddy BCC) needed to achieve that boost without activating the factory fuel cut-off at 14-15psi. These are the modifications that have proven to provide the best HP-to-$$$ ratio.

What does the + mean when someone says BPU(TM)+? And what is APU?

That stands for any additional power producing modifications other than the basic BPU(TM) modifications. One “+” refers to Adj. Cam Gears and under-drive pulleys, the second “+” refers to a Fuel controller, ECU upgrade, etc. For instance, a Supra with the BPU(TM) modifications, plus a front-mount intercooler, would be called BPU(TM)+. If you added cam gears to that, it would be BPU(TM)++, and so on. The “BPU(TM)” term is used until you have an upgraded turbo(s). Then it is referred to as APU, advanced performance upgrades. This designation pretty much covers every modification that can be performed.

What are the first engine modifications I should perform?

I recommend starting with raising the boost of the stock turbos to roughly 18psi. This will require a quality boost gauge and a boost cut eliminator (GReddy BCC). You will achieve 15 or so PSI with the stock Down Pipe in place. This will provide an addition of approximately 30rwhp. After those modifications are completed, it would be a logical next step to install the Down Pipe and Cat-Back Exhaust at the same time. You will now be at full BPU(TM).

What do all the various “Free Mods” do?

There are many different “free mods” for the Supra TT. I will cover just a few of them here. The ones I will cover fall into three categories, boost control, EGR disabling, and TTC or True Twin Conversion.

Three of the boost control mods are: Bleeder-T Mod, Clamp Mod, and the VSV Bypass Mod. Each of these modifications raise boost levels without the use of a boost controller. But you have to keep a close eye on your boost gauge, and make sure they are not allowing the turbos to boost too high (18psi is a safe level).

The next mods, are the true twin conversion mods (or TTC). This modification disables the Sequential twin turbo operation, and causes the turbos to run constantly in parallel (both on at the same time). This is supposed to allow for slightly better mid-range power (before the secondary turbo would normally come online) and allows for a smoother power band, without the abrupt boost increase caused by the transition from primary to secondary operation. However, this does noticeably decrease low-end power, and increases exhaust noise levels, and therefore may not be desirable on the street. Two types of the TTC mod are, the traditional TTC mod which includes 2 methods, wiring the actuators, or installing a one way valve, and the Electronic TTC mod (ETTC).

The last mod I will discuss is the EGR mod. This disables the Exhaust Gas Recirculation system, which is meant for emissions, and therefore, this modification is for off-road use only. This mod is supposed to prevent the super heating of the number 5 and 6 cylinders, which may cause burnt valves.

How much power will my car make at BPU(TM)?

It varies from car-to-car, and the conditions as well as tuning. Most BPU(TM)-only Supra Twin Turbos, dyno between 370 and 410 horsepower at the rear wheels. This is usually achieved with moderate temperatures, a reset ECU (to erase anything bad the ECU may have learned), and often a little bit of high-octane un-leaded race fuel. On the street, power will be reduced, especially in poor weather, but at least 90 percent of the power should be retained.

What kind of 1/4 mile ETs and trap speeds should I run at BPU(TM)-only?

It varies WIDELY depending on driver skill. As well as track conditions, elevation above sea level, ambient temperatures, humidity, and pre-race preparation. But most fall between 12.3 to 12.9 ets with 112 to 119mph trap speeds on street tires. Times can drop well into the 11s with drag radials, a good driver, and good conditions, as well as proper pre-race preparation.

What is a BPU(TM)’d Supra TT’s top speed?

Speeds in the mid-high 180mph range should be achievable. Once the speed-limiter is disabled, by pulling the “TRAC” fuse of course.

Will the life of my Engine and Drivetrain be adversely affected with the BPU(TM) mods?

Yes, but not by a significant amount. If the car is maintained properly, and the car is treated with some respect for the components, you should maintain much of the power train’s life. Which considering the fact that the Supra is by far one of the most reliable and durable sports cars, it will last longer than most well maintained STOCK sports cars. The only Drivetrain components that will see a significantly shortened life will be the stock clutch. It will more than likely not last much longer than 8-10k miles once at BPU(TM). This especially holds true if the car is making repeated high speed runs using 5th and 6th gear at wide open throttle. If your stock clutch has high mileage on it, or is already starting to slip, you will need to plan on a new high-performance clutch. Also the stock turbos will be subject to a somewhat shortened life span (how short will depend on how you drive and maintain the car, as well as how much boost you will run)

What’s the reliability of a 600hp Supra Turbo?

Chassis, electrical, and suspension components should see little effect on reliability on street driven Supras. The stock 2JZ-GTE engine should hold up pretty well to this power level. Just how long depends on maintenance, and how hard you drive it, and how often. But typically Supras can go for years at this power level. The transmission reliability will depend on whether it’s an Automatic or Manual. A stock automatic will not hold this much power, a built transmission will be required, and it’s reliability will depend on it’s design and construction. The 6spd Manual should hold up just fine, as well as the rear differential and axles.

The only real reliability concerns at these low power levels would surround the actual modifications you perform. Excluding installation short-comings, the components utilized, even very high quality ones, may fall short of factory component reliability, as the built in compromises that exist in everything, would lean more towards the side of ultimate performance, than of ultimate reliability (Keep in mind we are talking about a Toyota here, whose reliabilty standards are exceptionally high) This may include fuel system components, turbo components, and especially electronic wizardry. Basically a set-up that is either VERY well conceived, or utilizes OE components as much as possible, without over burdening them, would posses *near* stock reliability. And tuning of the components, and component selection, and matching, would play a HUGE role in this.

What are the power limits of the various factory components (Differential, Transmission, Motor, etc.)?

There have really not been enough failures to really pin point a limit for the various power-train components. The motor could fail at factory power levels if it was running dangerously lean. But when well tuned, the motors internals (Pistons, Rods, Crank, Head Gasket etc) are reliable to 700rwhp. But of course at these power levels, if the engine is not set-up and tuned properly, it is literally a bomb waiting to go off, however this would be just as true with a built motor. Some owners have pushed their stock internals to the limit and have well exceeded 800rwhp, and even approached 900rwhp. I still don’t understand how such an over built motor made it past the bean counters at Toyota Corporate.

The 6-speed Getrag is ridiculously strong for an OE transmission. Its limit’s will be affected greatly by driving technique, such as launching, and whether or not power shifting is used. Even driven hard, the Getrag should hold up reasonably well with 700RWHP. If you treat it with some respect, it should be able to handle around 800RWHP or more, although great care and respect will need to be practiced at those levels.

Differential, axle, CV Joint, and drive shaft failures are a VERY rare occurrence. So I don’t have much info on their failure limits. On street tires, it would be almost impossible to break any of these components at ANY power level. The tires would spin before they would put the driveline under that kind of strain. The tires act sort of like a circuit breaker. If you run drag slicks, this does not hold true of course, yet they have proven themselves to be 10 and even 9 second capable.

Will drivability, interior noise levels, and low-end power be adversely affected with the BPU(TM) mods?

Drivability is not adversely affected. Interior noise level depends on the exhaust system you choose. Some will make it far louder; some will actually make it quieter. But most are just a little bit louder than stock. But the added dBs are also combined with a MUCH sweeter exhaust note, so it’s definitely worth it. And the interior of the Supra is pretty quiet anyway, so on the highway, it will be VERY livable. As far as low-end power goes, the down-pipe will greatly decrease Turbo Lag. So low-end power and response is much improved over stock.

Will emissions be adversely affected by the BPU(TM) mods?

As long as a high-flow cat is used, emissions should not be effected, and you should still pass visual inspection. If you run without catalytic converters, you are doing so at your own risk, and you would not pass visual or emissions testing.

Will fuel mileage be adversely affected by the BPU(TM) mods?

If driven calmly, as in light throttle, mileage should not be significantly affected. Mileage will greatly decrease during however, if you drive “vigorously”, more power equals more burned fuel I am afraid.

Should I install an “Intake” (Open Element Filter)?

This is a bit of a yes and no answer. The stock filter assembly is a flow restriction, and an open element intake would increase potential flow. However, it will also draw in more heated engine compartment air, which can hurt performance. My advice is to either modify the stock filter box, or install a cool air induction box, like the Max Air. An added bonus of the open element filters, is that they allow you to easily hear the primary turbo and by-pass valve.

What about the stock intercooler?

The stock intercooler does a decent job up till about 17psi on the stock turbos, after that you would probably notice a significant gain, especially in warmer temperatures, with a nice front mount intercooler. However, keep in mind it will block some of the airflow to the radiator, as well as decreasing response slightly.

Should I replace the factory rubber Intercooler hoses with aftermarket metal hoses?

It wouldn’t hurt. But it won’t help a lot either. At the most you may slightly increase throttle response, but at least it will look nicer.

What about the fuel system, are the stock injectors and fuel pump large enough for BPU(TM)?

Yes, the stock fuel system is very safe and reliable to 450RWHP, although I would recommend a fuel pulsation damper bypass. Anything over that, and I would highly recommend having the car dyno’d, and using a wide-band O2 sensor (not a cheap A/F gauge connected to the stock O2) to check the fuel ratio at your high boost setting. 11.5:1 would be a safe fuel ratio.

What are the stock injectors rated at?


Would the Supra benefit from a fuel controller?

BPU(TM)’d Supras run a little on the rich side as far as fuel ratios go. This hurts power. What it does do is provide a safety margin that makes engine damage through detonation unlikely. If you get a fuel controller, and tune it properly (on a dyno, with an accurate EGT gauge, and a high band O2 (The Stock O2 sensors are not accurate), then you should be able to gain a noticeable amount of power. One of the most popular electronic fuel controllers is the A’PEXi S-AFC. The Fields SFC is good too.

What should I use to increase my boost level, an Electronic Boost Controller, or a Manual BC?

Using an EBC is the safest way to raise boost, it will prevent spiking and over-boosting. But it really comes down to your budget. If you can afford an EBC, get one. If you can’t, go with a MBC. And always keep an eye on that boost gauge. And whatever you are using to control boost, remember to not get carried away, I don’t recommend going regularly over 18psi.

What is the best Electronic Boost Controller?

There really is no BEST. Although the A’PEXi AVC-R is a nice unit, it provides much more control over boost than other EBCs, but it is also more complex to install, and tune. The new Blitz unit is also nice. Most of the large manufacturers make decent units. Just avoid fuzzy-logic equipped models if you still have the sequential stock turbos, they will become “confused” by the unnatural behavior of the sequential system.

When installing my EBC, do I connect it to both of the Turbo’s Wastegates?

The Primary Turbo is the only one with a wastegate. When in full twin turbo mode, the boost of both Turbos is regulated by the primary turbo’s wastegate. So, only connect it to the Primary’s.

Some people say I need to replace my ECU with a reprogrammed one, instead of just using a boost controller. Do I?

Reprogrammed ECUs for the Supra TT are VERY $$$. They are in the $1200 range. And they have not been proven to provide a significant increase in performance or safety on BPU(TM) level cars. Their merit shows itself on cars with upgraded Turbo(s). Just be sure you buy your ECU, or have it reprogrammed by a reputable shop that knows what they are doing. And have it tailored to your particular car (Driving habits, and Mods). And I would also recommend taking a look at the AEM Programmable system.

What is a safe boost level to run at BPU(TM)?

The general consensus is 17-18psi. Some people have taken it higher, but I don’t recommend it if you don’t have the money for a turbo replacement/upgrade.

Which Down-Pipe is recommended?

The RMM (or Rod Millen Motorsports) Cat-less Downpipe is the most commonly used. However many other brands exist. Some down-pipes, such as the Random Technology DP, feature an emissions legal high-flow catalytic converter.

Will a high-flow cat hurt performance?

It will have some effect on power output, but not a lot. Its exact effect on HP is not clear, but it probably costs a few hp at the most, maybe 5-15hp at BPU(TM) power levels.

What is a Down-Pipe?

It is the section of the exhaust system that connects the outlet of the Turbocharger’s Turbine section to the “Cat-Back” exhaust system. The Downpipe is also where the two catalytic converters are located, as well as the O2 sensor (or sensors in OBD-II cars).

I have an OBD2 car. Can I still install a Down-Pipe?

Yes. But unless the DP has a Catalyst and a second location for an O2 sensor, you will trip your check engine light, unless you get one of those O2 “black boxes”.

Which Exhausts are the loudest?

The Tanabe Racing Medallion, and HKS Hiper Titanium seem to be the two loudest systems.

Which Exhausts are the quietest?

The Tanabe Hyper Medallion, the discontinued Tanabe G-Power Medallion and the GReddy (SP) Street Performance seem to be the quietest. At anything less than full throttle, they are no louder than stock. But at full throttle they seem to “wake up” a bit.

What are some recommended exhaust systems?

It depends on your personal preferences. Below I will break down some of my recommendations based on certain combinations of preferences.

Subtle Styling / Very Low Cost:

-Random Technology (75mm, full stainless steel)

Subtle Styling / Low Sound Level / Moderate Cost:

-GReddy Street Performance (80mm)

-Tanabe Super Hyper Medallion (80mm, full stainless steel, 50-state legal)

Subtle Styling / Moderate Sound Level / Moderate Cost:

-ATR (75mm, full stainless steel)

Tasteful Styling / Low-Moderate Sound Level / Low Cost:

-HKS Dragger II (85mm)

Tasteful Styling / Low-Moderate Sound Level / Moderate Cost:

-GReddy Power Extreme (80-94mm)

-HKS Super Dragger (95mm)

Tasteful Appearance / Moderate Sound Level / High Cost / Super Light:

-Veilside Tear Drop Titanium (90mm, full titanium)

Tasteful-Wild Styling / Low Sound Level / Moderate Cost:

-TRD 2nd gen.

Wild Styling / Moderate Sound Level / Low Cost:

-A’PEXi N1

-HKS Hiper (75mm)

Wild Styling / Moderate Sound Level / Moderate Cost:

-A’PEXi GT Spec (95mm, full stainless steel)

-Blitz NUR Spec (80mm, full stainless steel)

-HKS Hiper Carbon/Titanium (75mm, CF wrapped muffler, titanium tip)

Wild Styling / High Sound Level / Moderate Cost:

-Tanabe Racing Medallion (80mm, 50 state legal)

Wild Styling / High Sound Level / High Cost / High Flow:

-HKS Hiper Titanium (104mm, titanium muffler)

What is the cheapest route to replacing the DP and Cat-Back?

Have a custom performance exhaust shop fabricate a complete 3″ exhaust system (Turbo-to-Tip). It should cost well less that $400. And then you can use the muffler and exhaust tip of your choice.

Which Fuel Cut Eliminator is recommended?

The GReddy BCC (Boost Cut Controller) is highly recommended.

What does the Fuel Cut Eliminator do?

The factory ECU is programmed to activate a fuel cut if the manifold pressure exceeds 14-15psi. It does this as a safety measure to prevent what the ECU sees as over boosting. The Fuel Cut Eliminator effectively eliminates, or at least raises the cut to a higher pressure. A reprogrammed ECU can also eliminate this function.

Which boost gauge is recommended?

Any high quality boost gauge will work well. Accuracy is the important feature to look for. Autometer gauges are a good value. The Japanese gauges, A’PEXi, GReddy, HKS, etc., have more features, but at a much higher price.

Where can the boost gauge be installed in the interior?

If you want to mount it in the dash, the two most popular places are the Clock location (which holds a 52mm gauge), and the Air Vent beside it (which holds a 60mm gauge). You can also use an A-Pillar gauge pod.

What is the stock boost pressure?


Are Cam Gears a good modification for the Supra TT?

Yes, they have been shown to provide a 5-15rwhp gain on a BPU(TM)’d car. But to extract their potential, you must have them tuned, by a knowledgeable tuner, on a dyno. And most of the power gains will be seen on the exhaust side. I also recommend buying cam gears which feature 5-bolts.

Are Under Drive Pulley(s) a good modification for the Supra TT?

Most of the crank-shaft under-drive pulleys require the removal of the factory torsional damper.

This is from :”this is NOT an external (harmonic) balancer, as the crankshaft is fully balanced, rather it dampens both the axial twisting couples produced by the firing pulses, and the radial bending moment from the accessory drive belt.”

Basically this device provides crutial isolation between the engine driven accessories, and the crankshaft. However, removal of this can provide a 10-15rwhp gain, but at a cost for long term use.

Do I need to upgrade the ignition when upgrading to BPU(TM)?

The stock ignition system is VERY capable of supplying enough fire for a BPU(TM)’d car. The stock ignition system uses 6 large coils, one for each cylinder. So the system is capable of supporting VERY impressive HP levels. You may need to change to a colder range plug with a tighter gap (see below).

What about the spark plugs, which are recommended at BPU(TM) or higher level?

Basically you want similar plugs as stock, but a cooler heat range and a smaller gap. The stock plugs are NGK BKR6EP-11 (2978) and are platinum tipped and have a .044 (1.1mm) gap. The ideal NGK replacement for a modified Supra would be the BKR7E (6097). It is one range cooler (the ‘7’), is non-platinum tipped (the lack of the ‘p’) and has a smaller .0315 gap (lack of the ‘-11’). This plug is also called the NGK 6097 and they are fairly inexpensive. Platinum tipped plugs are not desired for high power applications, Iridium plugs are more preferred. Unfortunately their doesn’t seem to be a BKR8E which might be better for high-HP Supras.

Another good plug to try is the Denso Iridium IK22 or IK24. These plugs may last longer than the above mentioned NGKs, but are also 6 times as expensive. The stock replacement plug would be the IK20, the IK22 is one step cooler, and the IK24 is two steps cooler than stock. The IK22 would be good for ~400rwhp to ~600rwhp. The IK24 would probably be a good choice above that. Two other plugs commonly used are the NGK 3330 (BCPR7ES) which differ much more from the specifications of the stock plugs than NGK 6097. Also the Rapid Fire #5 used to be very popular, but are more expensive, don’t last as long, and have fallin out of favor. Both of those plugs have been known to cause slight stumbling at idle. Plugs on Supras do not live long, usually around 5,000-10,000 miles. So I recommend replacing them with every other oil change.

What is the HKS VPC and GCC?

It is an electronic device, which electronically and physically removes the highly restrictive mass airflow sensor from the intake tract. VPC stands for Vein Pressure Converter. The HKS GCC is a device that allows further fine-tuning of the VPC.

Do I need an after-market Blow off Valve?

It is not absolutely required, but it is a good idea. The factory by-pass valve is prone to failure, and an aftermarket BOV is probably a wise investment for preventing turbo damaging compressor surge. And it sounds cool too. However, it must be noted that if you still have the factory mass-air flow sensor, a blow-off valve, which is vented to the atmosphere, may cause stumbling between shifts.

Can I run Nitrous Oxide on the Supra TT, even if I am already at BPU(TM) power levels?

Yes. Most people run 50-75 shot wet manifold systems. If you want to run a higher shot than this, you might want to consider a well-designed direct port system. I have seen as much as a 200-shot used on one of these systems, and an upgraded fuel system would be a must.

450hp just isn’t enough, what can I do?

Ah the possibilities Basically you are only limited by your imagination, and your wallet. You know what they say, speed costs money, how fast do you want to go?

The real power lies in Single and Twin turbo upgrades, and the options are limitless. You can either build a mild motor that puts out 450 RWHP all day long with instant boost response, or a 1000+ RWHP monster.

Unfortunately, things start getting more difficult after simple BPU(TM) modifications. Modification becomes more than “bolt on Downpipe, gain 50hp”. Things like tuning, parts selection, and matching combinations of parts become much more important. However, this is the case with ANY high HP car. Actually, even at exceptionally high power levels, the Supra TT is still easier to extract power from than almost any other performance car. But it should be kept in mind, that it wouldn’t be as simple as the BPU(TM) bolt-ons.

If you just want something that will toast that pesky Viper GTS. Then focus on a mild single turbo upgrade (T04S04, T60-1, SP57-SP61). Along with this, you should install a front mount intercooler, a fuel controller, fuel pulsation damper bypass and EGT gauge. This is assuming you have done all the BPU(TM) mods, plus BOV, EBC, Cam Gears. With tuning, and a few odds and ends, you should be able to pull 450-500 RWHP (490-580 crank HP) numbers while on a stock fuel system (assuming it is in great condition). This would be a total investment of approximately $6,700-$11,500 in engine/electronic components (also includes the proper gauges). If you already have the BPU(TM) mods or FMIC, etc., you will spend less than this. The difference in prices reflects the cost of higher end parts and addition of a HKS VPC to replace the restrictive stock MAF.

The next level would require a completely upgraded fuel system, and performance cams would be recommended, as well as further electronics (programmable engine management such as the AEM, or VPC/GCC/ECU combo, etc.). This would allow you to run much larger turbos and injectors. You can make it past the 700RWHP range without needing to replace the internals of the motor with stronger components, even at these power levels, if properly tuned and maintained you should retain a fair amount of reliability while still on the stock internals, as some people have eclipsed the 800RWHP level while still running stock bottom ends in their Supras. If you choose to go ahead and build up the bottom end, then the skies are the limit as far as power goes. Just make sure to have part selection, installation, and tuning done by competent and experienced persons. Although this should hold true at ANY level of modification.

Should I install a Turbo Timer?

Absolutely. Unless you don’t mind sitting in your car while it idles down every single time you need to turn the car off. A Turbo timer keeps the engine running for a preset time once you turn off the ignition. So you can remove your keys, and lock up the car and not have to worry about it, it will shut off on it’s own. This is important for the life of the turbos. If the turbos are not given time to cool down, it can overheat the oil and cause coking which will block oil flow to the turbos and damage bearings and cook seals.

How much is the Supra’s power output affected by changes in ambient temperatures?

Very noticeably, just as with most turbo cars, the Supra Twin Turbo can be very temperature sensitive. Especially with the stock turbos and intercooler. On a BPU(TM) car, I would not be surprised to see a 10 percent reduction between 50-60deg temperatures, and 90deg plus temperatures

Will the stock clutch hold the power levels of a BPU(TM) car?

It depends on the condition and wear on the stock clutch. If it is in good condition, yes, it will hold the power, pretty well in fact, although you may experience clutch slip while at full boost in high gears such as 5th and 6th. If you drive vigorously, meaning you run at high boost frequently, then the life of the stocker will be GREATLY shortened. Be surprised if you see an extra 10,000 miles after BPU(TM).

Can I resurface my flywheel when replacing the clutch?

It is not recommended. Buy a new Toyota Flywheel.

Can I install a lightweight flywheel?

Yes, but be aware that they can create a lot of noise at idle, and can transmit more vibrations and shock to the expensive Getrag transmission.

Why is pulling the TRAC fuse beneficial over just turning it off with the switch on the center console?

Just pushing the “Trac Off” button only partially disables the Trac system. It disables the Trac throttle body and TRAC function through the ABS System (on 93.5-96 only), but not the Trac system’s ignition timing retard function. Unplugging the Trac fuse eliminates both functions, as well as the 155mph speed limiter, which works through the trac system. The fuse can be found in the main fuse box on the driver’s side of the engine compartment. It must be noted that removing the fuse will cause the TRAC light to stay on, but you’ll get used to it.

Will the TRAC system improve the cars performance?

NO. The Trac system was calibrated to improve traction in slippery conditions. It was not calibrated with performance in mind. When the Trac system senses a loss of traction, it comes on hard, cutting power drastically; this will do nothing but hurt performance. I also would not rely on the Trac system for providing stability at high speeds, if you were to loose control, it would be too slow and clumsy, and would more than likely hamper your efforts to regain control.

How can I remove the factory 155mph speed limiter?

Remove the fuse for the Trac system. The speed limiter works through the Trac throttle body.

What is the Supra TT’s top speed with the Trac fuse removed?

There is some debate on this subject. There are rumors that 180 can be achieved. But by going with the numbers, 168-172mph in stock form seems possible.

What is the Supra TT’s maximum theoretical top speed? Can it exceed 200mph with enough power?

Lets find out.

The Supra TT with the 6-speed has a stock engine redline of 6800rpm, and a 6th gear ratio of .79:1, with a rear axle ratio of 3.13:1. Now we multiply our 6th gear ratio times our rear axle ratio, and we find out our final gear ratio is 2.472:1. Now we divide 6800rpm by our total gear reduction of 2.472:1 and we find out our rear axles, and therefore wheels are spinning at 2751rpm at 6800 engine rpms.

Now we need to calculate our tire circumference. The rear tires section width it 255mm, and the sidewall’s aspect ratio is .40, so our sidewalls are 102mm. Now, to convert this to inches, we divide this by 25.4, which equal’s 4.015 inches. Now multiply this by two, since we have two sidewalls making up the total diameter, and add the wheel diameter of 17″, and we see a total diameter of 25.031 inches. Now to find out our circumference, we multiply that number times pi (3.14), and we find out the circumference is 78.59 inches, now divide that by 12 to convert to feet. And we get 6.549 feet total circumference.

Now multiply our tire’s revolving speed, by the tire’s outside circumference, and we find that the tire is covering 18,016 feet per minute, divide that by the 5280 feet in a mile, and we find we are covering 3.412 miles per minute, now multiply that by the 60 minutes in an hour, and we find we are traveling 204.7miles per hour @ 6800rpm in 6th gear. If the engines redline is increased to 7500rpm, which it often is, because of a higher flowing turbo. Then our maximum speed would be 225.8mph, given enough power of course.

For more go to Http://


Source by

Trick My Truck – Toyota Tundra Performance Add-Ons For Increased Gas Mileage and Horsepower


The new Toyota Trucks are easily the toughest, most powerful vehicles on the road. With the demanding needs of their owners, manufacturers have delivered new and game changing power with its 5.7 Litre V8. Nothing else has come close to it’s massive horsepower and torque advantage. But with this power comes a steep price, fuel economy dwindles rapidly with the rigorous use the use of this new and bold ride. Tundra owners depend on them for their hauling and towing needs, so there has to be some nice aftermarket products one can buy to help leverage better gas mileage. And so, the following are some of the most widely sold products available in the market place to improve not only your Tundra’s horsepower/torque, but also the fuel economy.

The elementary and basic add on these days is a simple high flow/cleanable air filter. Companies such as K&N and Airaid sell these performance filters at most retail outlets including Pep Boys, Autozone, and even Walmart. These air filters are easy to install, usually within 20 minutes and it’s one less piece of maintenance you would have to pay for in the future. The overall cost of just buying this will save you money in air filters over the life of the truck. Toyota Tundra owners will benefit from a 1-3 mpg increase and up to a 20 HP increase as well. And the great thing is, they only cost from $35-55 dollars depending on your individual application. In turn, be sure to add this quick and cheap performance goodie to your list of gas savers.

Another great addition to any year of Toyota Tundra is a that higher flowing custom exhaust. If you thought that new 5.7 sounds good, just wait until you install a custom exhaust system from Flowmaster, Borla, Magnaflow or even TRD. More complete air flow and an efficient system in dispelling burnt gases will up the Horsepower/Torque numbers and you will see a small increase in gas mileage to boot. Most manufacturers have complete, ready to install kits available. Additionally, the kits come complete with all the hardware, mandrel bent pipes, instructions and could be installed in an afternoon’s time with some basic hand tools. As a result, you’ll not only feel and hear the difference of a custom exhaust, but you’ll notice the increase of all the performance numbers.

And lastly, another easy and inexpensive performance item for your new or old Toyota Tundra is a performance chip. Performance chips are specifically designed to flash the truck’s computer to adjust shift points and fuel curves to net driver’s more power and torque. Plus with this easy install, the truck will also have more electronically enhanced transmission shift algorithms to save you on gas. The shifts will go out longer or shorter based on your driving demands. Companies like Hypertech and Superchips make chips for every application and costs no more than $80-125 depending on vehicle type. And so, the performance chip is an easy one man operation that takes minutes to apply.

And that is a small list of quick, cheap, and stress free performance products. With all three installed, most trucks net a 25% better fuel economy and up to 35-50 horsepower increase over the stock numbers. Of course, who doesn’t like a little extra boost in all of these areas?? Recently, there has been this trend of popular hybrid vehicles hitting the road. With the summer fast approaching, and almost certain hikes in gas prices, a hybrid type of Toyota Tundra doesn’t seem like a bad idea. There is a cheap and simple way you can convert your Tundra into a gas saving vehicle for the future gas price increases, and the IRS will even pay you tax credits for driving a clean fuel vehicle. For more information on how to get started and for more information, please visit my site below.


Source by Shaun Patrick Davidson

Japanese Business Structure – Toyota and the Keiretsu System


The Toyota Group (Keiretsu)

A keiretsu is a cluster of interlinked Japanese firms, centered on a bank, which lends money to member companies and holds an equity stake in these companies. By combining forces, these companies are able to reduce costs and risk, better facilitate communication, ensure trust and reliability and provide insulation from outside competition. There are two types of keiretsu, horizontal and vertical. Horizontal, inter-market keiretsu are diversified networks of large companies. These included the three aforementioned descendents of the pre-WWII zaibatsu. Vertical manufacturing and distribution keiretsu are asymmetric networks where small-firm sectors are dominated by large sectors.

The Toyota Group is considered to be the largest of the vertically-integrated keiretsu groups. The United States and most Western countries looked unfavorably upon the keiretsu because they interpreted such a business scheme to be that of an outlawed monopoly or cartel.

The Toyota Group is a terrific example of a highly successful, complex and prominent keiretsu in Japan. It is a member of the Mitsui Group, which is one of its main banks, but functions very independently of the bank. In the past couple of decades, Toyota has been on the top of the list domestically in the United States as well as abroad in terms of sales and profits. The parent firm generates, on average, $72 billion each year in sales with 72,000 employees. That equates to one million dollars in sales per employee, which is roughly six-times that of competitor, General Motors. Toyota has been the best selling car in Japan for over twenty-four years. This alone shows the clout and power of the Japanese keiretsu.

This company is the largest industrial combine in Japan and one of the largest keiretsu in the nation. Another amazing fact is that Toyota is much more than a car manufacturer. In fact, Toyota is a major participant in three telecommunication companies; it is a principle investor in a computer system development firm; and it holds stakes in an insurance company specializing in automotive insurance. Furthermore, Toyota operates four real estate firms, two financial firms and is currently exploring opportunities in the aerospace industry.

Due to the prominence of keiretsu in post-WWII Japan, only those employees that worked in core firm sectors benefited. Those who were forced to work at small firms suffered from low wages, limited career mobility and job instability. Much can be said for the keiretsu system, which, as seen in the case study on the Toyota Group, can yield much power and success.


Source by David J Stone

The Advantages of Buying a Toyota Land Cruiser for Sale


The Toyota Land Cruiser is one of the many four-wheel drive vehicles produced by the Japanese car manufacturing company, Toyota Motor Corporation. Developed back in 1951, Toyota’s version of the military jeep has become one of the most sought after all-terrain cars around the world. In the U.S., about 61,000 brand new units were sold since 2000. And with its continued improvements and the economy’s steady rise, the number of Toyota Land Cruiser deals is bound to rise in the coming future.

Now, you might wonder why it would be a good move for you to purchase a Toyota Land Cruiser instead of another brand or model. The main answer for this would be versatility, since you can always rely on this car to take you wherever you want to go, whether it is in the city, or the country, on dirt roads or paved ones. But then again, there is more to the Toyota Land Cruiser than just that feature.

First of all, this vehicle offers consumers a very spacious interior. This means you don’t have to feel suffocated or uncomfortable during long drives. With this car, there will be no need to tolerate being kicked by those behind you or having to draw your knees in. As a bonus, it can accommodate four to six people, including the driver. And it can even carry 8 if you use the 2 car seats at the back, which is also a significantly large area to double as storage.

Second, it is very durable and reliable, and has a lifespan of more than 10 years. It only needs one oil change annually, and parts are neither rare nor expensive. And since it is a vehicle made to withstand wear and tear, you do not have to worry about encountering hard rain storms or going through rugged roads. Its heavy constitution also ensures owners that they will not be easily manipulated by natural elements such as water and wind.

The third advantage of buying a Toyota Land Cruiser for sale is that it is quite a handsome car. It’s simple, but doesn’t look too boring. It is buffed up without appearing too gimmicky. It has all the entertainment and navigation tools you need. Plus, its driving performance is quite impressive. With the right customization, it can also look as luxurious and intimidating as a Hummer. Sturdy, solid, straightforward – this vehicle has all the qualities of a car that you would want to drive your family in.

And finally, the fourth advantage of acquiring a Land Cruiser is its price. Yes, it may not be as cheap as a Nissan Verano or Kia Soul, but it is quite affordable, given its specifications. Old models retail between $1,400 and $6,900. Moreover, those from 2008 to 2011 can be bought at around $47,000 to $60,800. And with the right Toyota Land Cruiser deal, you might be able to drive one home with a discount and a flexible payment term.

With all these in mind, one can understandably assume that the Toyota Land Cruiser’s pervasiveness and popularity is not a hoax, rather, a testament to the extraordinary engineering skills of the Japanese.


Source by Cedric P Loiselle

Toyota Hilux Surf – A Brief History, Ideal Engines


The Hilux Surf line of vehicles made by Toyota is predominantly classed as off road transportation. First introduced in 1984 into Toyota’s line up, they decided to not build the vehicle from the ground up as an entirely new model but rather took an existing model, the Hilux, and made modifications to it.

First generation of the model produced from 1984-1989

This first incarnation of the model was mechanically identical to the Toyota Hilux pickup. Toyota simply added a removable fibreglass top to it to change it into a Hilux Surf. All models had two doors and were identical from the dashboard forward to the Hilux. Almost all of the changes to make it a Hilux Surf were done to the rear half of the vehicle. Rear springs were downgraded from the Hilux pickup model and contained one less leaf. This resulted in problems later as with the addition of rear seats and the fibreglass top the rear leafs tended to sag over time.

1986 saw the model undergo some serious front suspension design changes. The solid front axle previously used was changed over to an independent front suspension setup. This allowed the model to be more driveable at highway speeds and also created more room in the engine bay allowing the use of larger engines in future models. While this change did have an impact on the off road capabilities of the vehicle the solid front axle was retained on the Hilux pickup models.

In 1989 Toyota released the second generation of the model, this model ran from 1989 – 1995, the vehicle was redesigned but kept its reliance based on the Hilux puckup. The newer generation still looked similar to the Hilux pickup but they also included a full steel integrated body instead of the bolt on fibreglass cap. This generation also saw the use of rear coil spring suspension system which in time would be known for having the same sagging issues as the leaf spring design did. Most second generation Hilux Surf’s are five door models. While most other manufacturers were making offroad vehicles as pickups with tailgates that folded down the Hilux Surf also had a window in the tailgate which had to be lowered before the tailgate could be opened.

In 1995 Toyota released its third generation of the model, this model would run from 1995-2002. Key changes for this generation were the exterior. It received an all new body shell on an all new chassis. In this generation the model shared practically nothing with the Hilux pickup. It began to have more in common with a Land Cruiser than it did with the vehicle it was originally based on. The body was made to be longer, more interior space was available, the inclusion of dual air bags, four wheel coil spring suspension, ABS brakes, and a rack and pinion steering system were a standard now where they had not been in the past.

In 2002 Toyota released its fourth generation of the model, this run lasted from 2002-2009. The chassis and body were once again changed significantly. The vehicle was now targeted at people looking for a medium sized semi luxury off road vehicle. Most of the chassis continued to be shared with the Land Cruiser of the same years.

2009 saw the launch of the present fifth generation of the Toyota Hilux Surf. This vehicle is still in production now and is in high demand across the world. Gaining popularity over the years in both off road markets and also for the normal commuter markets as well. This if a robust line of vehicles that ticks many of the boxes people are looking for when purchasing an off road vehicle.

Engines available by generation:

First generation:

  • 2.0L-3Y
  • 2.4L-22R
  • 2.4L-22R-E
  • 2.4L-22R-TE
  • 3.0L-3VZ-E

Second generation:

  • 2.0L-3Y-EU
  • 2.4L-22R-E
  • 3.0L-5L
  • 2.4L-2L-T
  • 2.8L-3L

Third generation:

  • 2.7L-3RZ-FE
  • 3.4L-5VZ-FE
  • 3.0L-5L

Fourth generation:

  • 4.0L-1UZ
  • 4.7L-3UZ-FE
  • 3.0L-3VZ-FE


Source by Wayne M Adams

Remember the Toyota Chinook? – The Little Camper That Helped Start an Industry


About 40 years ago the little camper was born.

Someone at Toyota USA decided that it would be a good idea to provide pickups for use by camper manufacturers. These vehicles were sent out to the camper companies as a cab and chassis unit. They did not have a pickup bed attached. The manufacturer of the camper attached their own camper body onto the chassis of the pickup. This became the basis for the series of campers known as the Toyota motor home.

Constructed in the late 1970s, they were tiny by today’s measure.

At first the campers were small, not much bigger than the original pickup body. One of the most common brands of camper of this type at that time was called the Toyota Chinook. This little camper consisted of a fiberglass body attached to the Toyota chassis. It normally had a pop-up roof with a vinyl enclosure.

Inside the camper, the accommodations were quite plain.

Along one side of the body there was a built in galley consisting of a sink and icebox, and a two burner propane cook stove. The other side of the camper was placed a couch which folded out into a double bed. This left a small aisle for standing, dressing, and other activities. Normally the inside of the camper was designed with the cabinets made from the same material as the body of the camper, fiber glass.

These small campers to be in popular with people wanting to travel inexpensively.

The little pickup combined with a camper body made a very economical unit for weekending and vacation travel. This model of RV was very popular with fishermen and hunters or couples who wanted a simple camper that they could park in garage. The use of the pop-up top built into the camper these vehicles would allow the vehicle to fit in a stall in a standard garage.

With the pop-up roof extended, there was limited stand up room inside the camper. This allowed the user to move around without bending over. The daily activities of cooking,getting dressed, and sleeping were all carried out in the warmth and protection of the solid fiber glass body.The limited features of these campers may extended stays a real challenge, but for weekends and brief vacations they were ideal.

One of the major difficulties of this camper was the lack of a bathroom.

For some people this was not a problem as they used the camper as a very comfortable place to sleep while camping in the outdoors. When used at forest service campgrounds or in wilderness areas this was ideal, but for use in crowded campgrounds or RV parks this soon became a problem. Another drawback of this camper was the lack of built-in storage.

While this little camper was ideal for a lot of people it was not quite the best camper for the growing RV market.

Buyers wanted more amenities and features that provided the comfort and convenience of home while on the road. Attracted by the sales of the Toyota Chinook type of camper, RV manufacturers began to design larger and more comfortable Toyota motor homes.


Source by Lee S Mcpherron

The 20 Year History of the Toyota Motorhome


For almost 20 years various manufacturers made the Toyota motor home in several models. During its heyday, this little camper was produced in over 60 different models and styles of motor homes.

Beginning with the rather small Toyota Chinook camper and carrying on through the largest of the Toyota based Winnebago and Itasca models, the Toyota based motor home help to establish many manufacturers in the RV industry.

Because of the large number of manufacturers it is not uncommon to see similar campers and very different names. The small overall size had to limit the variety of floor plans available. This caused a lot of the manufacturers to build virtual duplicates that varied only in some of the fit and finish type of details.

It wasn’t long until the manufacturers began to expand the size of the camper bodies. Using conventional manufacturing techniques found in the travel trailer industry, the stick and staple type of construction with aluminum siding became the standard.

In the decade of the 1980s production of the Toyota motor home peaked. Many different companies were producing many different models. Some of the larger companies that were in this business were national RV, the producers of the very popular Dolphin series. They also produced the Seabreeze models. At the same time Winnebago was producing the Brave, the Warrior, and the deluxe Itasca Spirit models.

Damen Corporation of Elkhart Indiana produce the Escaper motor home, while Coachman produced the popular Coachman and Savanna models. Leisure Odyssey was building the Americana, Santa Cruz, and the Laguna campers.

The Mini-Mirage was built by Mirage industries, while the still very popular SunRader was constructed with a fiberglass body by Gardener Pacific.

By the late 1980s the length of the camper body had expanded to 22 feet. This caused a severe overload problem on the original half ton pickup axle. A national safety recall was issued by the United States government to correct the problem. Most of the models were given a new one ton axle. However there are still a few units available today that have the unsafe axle. Caution is advised if you are looking at in 1980s version of this very popular camper.

In 1989 V6 appeared on the market in the Toyota chassis. This increased horse power became very popular with the camper owners and production continued until 1994 when Toyota stopped supplying the pickup chassis to the camper manufacturers for safety reasons. Winnebago produced some of the last V6 versions in 1994.

During its production lifetime, the Toyota motor home enjoyed a great popular success and was widely distributed across the country. Today the greatest number of units on the road seem to be concentrated on the east and west coast areas but these motor homes will turn up just about anywhere in the country.


Source by Lee S Mcpherron