Updating this page right now Jan 2017

The idea : Build a campervan, for all terrain exploring, diesel powered, based on the Kubvan. Lots of folks have put VW Diesels into Toyota 4X4's for obvious reasons, however putting a Toyota diesel and 4X4 running gear into Grumman Kubvan is another story.

Update table of contents
January 3rd 2011
December 17th 2010
November 30 2010
November 18 2010
November 9 2010
November 3 2010
October 2010
Toyota Engine Removal
Old thoughts


Hard to imagine we started this back in 2010 with plans to go camping in 2011 heh heh

Well it's officially 2017 watch for the latest spurt of energy !

This was 2015/16

Abandoned the Toyota Engine in 2012    

Toyota 2.2 Litre Diesel

camper van kubvan streach
The Toyota diesel engine The Postal CamperVan Project The body stretch
The 1982 2.2 litre L series Toyota normally aspirated diesel with a 4 speed 2WD transmission, a good clean running engine, will need to be completely checked over and reconditioned as needed. Normally aspirated water cooled 1.6 litre VW diesel powered Grumman Kubvan, all aluminum body and frame, front wheel drive, VW running gear. A cool ride. Need 18 inches of additional interior space to make it comfortable to sleep in, we also needed some frame rails to tie the rear suspension in.


October 2011

Finally sorting out the solid front axle install, and finally have the rivet tools for putting the back of the box on.

Hopefully if I make some progress in the next few weeks I will post some more pictures

Jan 2011

Built a davit to lift stuff into the work shop and moved the 2L engine block into the shop to start the rebuild.

Found this link on Island 4X4 complements of Moterra

Toyota service manual downloads...

manuals for most of the cruiser and hilux models plus some others aswell.. diesel engines...trans ...and one for body and chassis just find the one you need and download the torrent.           


Update December 17 2010 goto top of project

Only a few days till Christmas, not much for progress in the last few weeks. I did mange to pickup more aluminium for the body extension and found a source for solid rivets on Ebay. While researching how to actually do the riveting I found this cool site that explains the process quite clearly.

Rivet Gun Notes and Riveting Tips

Update November 30 2010 goto top of project

It's been a bit slow the last couple of weeks on this project but I finally got the front rails cut and test fitted,Kubvan front frame rail

 next step is to fit the front springs and shocks. I cut out the front spring hangers off the old toyo frame to reuse here. You can just see the front of the leaf spring on the left bottom, and the shock in the foreground. Lots of bolting and welding to come but the pieces are coming together.

While replacing the Mazda rear axle with the Toyota rear axle, a minor problem arose with this in that the Toyota axle spring mounts are spaced about an inch further apart. I all fits together but I will have to adjust the mounts later.

The gasket kit and the rings finally arrived if the weather warms up I will be ready to put the engine back together, carports not heated.

Update November 18 2010 goto top of project

Two panels cut and fitted for box extensions and front frame construction begins.

kubvan body stretch kubvan interior stretch kubvan front axle frame
Left body panel fitted, and frame extension Interior U channel for bracing Front frame spring hanger and engine support

Update November 10 2010 goto top of project

Another cool link, All ya wanted to know about diffs :

And more than you thought you would ever want to know about Shackles :

Removed the old tranny, replacing oil pump housing, sourced a tranny. power steering pump, oil pan and pickup, ordered gasket kit and rings. Sizing up front frame rails.

Toyota 5 speed 4X4 transmission Toyota Diesel oilpump housing
Got tranny, thanks Derek Need to replace oil pump housing due to damaged water return line.
Toyota diesel oil pickup Toyota diesel 4X4 oil pickup
Gotcha #1, you have to change the oil pan and pickup due to front axle configuration on a 4X4 Original on the left, the new one on the  right,
toyota diesel engine block Toyota diesel head removed
While we have the engine out need to check cylinders and head All looks good cylinders within spec, so are bearings, ordering standard rings.
kubvan new front frame rails Kubvan toyota engine mount
Sizing up front frame rails, to hang springs and mount engine.
Note: Toyota front frame placed underneath for ease of size up.
Inside frame rail dimension 24 inches, sufficient for engine mounts
Outside frame rail dimension 29 inches, just enough to pickup spring hangers.
A beam across the front should tie it all together similar to the original config.

Update November 3 2010 goto top of project

1- Started to test fit the engine into the the compartment to see what I need to do to glue it all together. I am using the old toyo truck frame as working platform to allow me to roll it in out from under the van while I get the frame rails and bell housing clearances sorted out. Looks like I will be building a front end frame rail that connects to the existing body frame rails. The new frame rails will provide the engine mounts, pick up the front of the leaf springs and tie in the shock towers to the body. The fire wall will need to be cut away to provide space for the bell housing. See pictures below:

toyota diesel engine on frame Kubvan engien bay
Toyoto Engine and tranny sitting temporarily on Toyo front frame for ease of moving around during size up. Kubvan engine compartment showing end of frame rails, old rack and pinnion steering still needs removing
toyota engine kubvan engine bay kubvan toyota tranny
Engine below Kubvan engine compartment, body frame rail in foreground. Tranny looking aft to differential and rear leaf springs
toyota diesel Kubvan install Toyota in kubvan engien bay
Engine raised as far as it will go with tranny attached, need to remove a section of firewall to allow it come up about 8 inches Looking from the top, toyo frame rails line up with where kubvan body rails come through, looks like it might work

2- Picked up enough aluminium extrusions to start putting the back of the van back together, located a transmission and some needed engine parts

Found some interesting links below regarding diesel conversions:

3 - A really great Link about diesel conversions :

4 - Another informative link about engine versions and conversions


Update October 2010: goto top of project

Well summer would be done and it's been a busy time, were moving right along with this project, I have been learning about 4X4 construction, by dismantling several vehicles.

suzuki LJ80I started with a rusted out Suzuki LJ "the price was right", although the design is simple I decided it was not a good choice mostly due to wheel base width, I have since sold some parts and still have some around if anyone is interested.

The second vehicle was a Mazda 2600 4X4 another Mazda 2600

case of serious rust but again the price was right, I did use the rear end to design and fab up the rear end spring bracket mounts. Investigating how to match up a VW Turbo diesel to the transmission did result in some machining and fiddling around but in the end came to the conclusion that I was going in the wrong direction as far as engines go. I realized it was going to be way easier just to find a Mazda diesel that already bolted straight up to the tranny.

Mazda 2600 rear axle

After a lot of research looking at vehicles and even coming close to buying one I concluded that the Mazda diesel was not a good choice due to parts availability or the lack of to be more accurate. The picture to the left is the only part we ended up keeping from this demo and in the end probably only keeping the springs and tires.


Well at this point your asking yourself how many vehicles is this Mazda b2600 wreck drill

guy gonna wreck to get where he needs to be, well bottom line is the first two vehicle's did not cost me anything I managed to sell a few pieces to finance the overall project, I learned a lot about import trucks and ended up with lots of nuts, bolts, bit's and pieces that will no doubt come into use somewhere along the way. We did have a bit of fun as well with the Volunteer Fire Department by staging a drill night with the Mazda after we finished with it. On it`s last day it ended up at a 2nd training exercise in how to open a vehicle up with saws and chisels.

Toyota engine removal: goto top of project

In the meantime I got a line on a 85 Toyota 4X4 gasser which I was planning to only use the front solid axle. The overall Mazda experince led me to realize I should just use entirely toyota running gear which started me looking around for a toyota diesel which I found in an 82 toyota 2wd. So that was the third vehicle I stripped to the ground. See the dismantle video below:

A lot more wrenching now leaves me with a 85 Toyota front and rear end, a set of mazda rear springs and a 2 litre Toyota diesel with a 5 speed 2WD transmission.

All I need to complete the puzzle is a compatible transfer case or an entire transmission/transfer case that will bolt to the 2.2 diesel.

The Tranny I have is 2WD possibly an L52 variation, the best advice so far seems to be find a L52 type transmission with transfer case and then mix and match what L52 I have.

If you have any questions, advice, parts or want parts that I have

 contact me at this forum on

or the address below

LINKS:  I have found these sites and forums to be helpful along the way:                   A great local site with very helpful people.       Site is short of a sys op but also lots of good folks on here.                                                Toyota drivetrain specs                 Toyota Differential ID             Toyota VIN number lookup and parts lists                                             Toyota Manuals       Drawings            Toyota Timeline, changes to design over the years.    RF1A, Top shift mod 


Some old thoughts : goto top of project

front axle This is a Suzuki if I am not mistaken frame work showing the running gear mounting configuration. rear axle

So for thought here is some idea's on places to start, A VW product, might be easy that would give you all wheel drive but it would cost, and would not be rugged enough for 4X4 without other modifications.

R28 engine and Transmission Caddy drive shaft adaption Golf all wheel drive
An VW engine and Transmission This is an all wheel drive install in caddy using the  All wheel drive engine and transaxle
 A modified  Golf all wheel drive rear end from an Audi.