Tech Projects

Project Firebolt: The LSX Turbo Tacoma (Part 7): More Tear Down, Steering Relocation, & 8.8″ Rear End

Our first job of the day is to clear out the interior a bit which will give us room to work on a couple of upcoming jobs, like wiring this beast. Next out comes the Tacoma’s stock fuel system so we can install our new fuel pump and larger lines later on.

After that came a daunting job that required a good helping of trial and error — relocating the steering shaft to make room for the exhaust. With a little testing and a couple of new parts, I was able to solve this problem!

After that job, I needed to work on something that didn’t involve me cramming myself into the engine bay. I mentioned in Part 1 that we’d be swapping out our puny stock Toyota rear to a Ford 8.8 to handle the newfound power of our turbo V8. Well now it’s time to find one, so I went junkyard hunting and picked up a well broken-in rear out of a 2001 Ford Explorer.

What makes the 8.8 a popular choice for hot rodders is its low cost, good strength, ability to be narrowed easily, and plentiful, inexpensive parts and gearing options. To further sweeten the deal, this 8.8 came with disc brakes which will be a huge upgrade over our Toyota’s outdated drums.

After rolling the new-to-me 8.8 diff under the Tacoma to see how everything lined up, I loaded it back in the van along with all of our new differential parts for its upcoming appointment at the rebuild shop. I’ve been wanting to tackle a rear diff rebuild someday, but this time around, I’m going to leave it to the pros. I’ll give you a full rundown of everything we did when I get it back.

Finally, it was time to dream up a transmission mount. I expected plenty of crossmember cutting and welding, but thankfully I found an interesting solution while browsing the Summit Racing app: Summit’s Adjustable Transmission Mount! Its design is perfect for engine swaps, allowing up to 2.5 inches of offset, which makes reaching your crossmember mounting holes much easier compared to fabricating a whole new crossmember setup. Nice!

Need to catch up? See the first six parts of the Project Firebolt series here:

Out comes the dash which allows us to remove the factory engine wiring harness. (Image/Tom Tharp)

That dirty submarine looking thing is the Tacoma’s fuel tank. Turbo fuel system upgrades coming soon! (Image/Tom Tharp)

Ah, the age old battle of exhausts vs. steering shafts. A little welding and a small relocation took care of that conflict. (Image/Tom Tharp)

Mrrmph, mrrmph! Sorry, let me take off the mask…This is the best paint I’ve ever used! I love it! (Image/Tom Tharp)

Some lunatic tore apart my truck, so I had to resort to hauling this dirty lump in the old minivan. Sorry honey. (Image/Tom Tharp)

Here’s a look at how our Ford 8.8 and stock Toyota rear line up. Hey, not bad! (Image/Tom Tharp)

Summit Racing saves the day with their adjustable transmission mount. What a great, simple solution! (Image/Tom Tharp)
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One Comment

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