1977 Toyota Pickup SR5 Long Bed 20R from North America

Summary:

Great truck for hauling just about anything, very reliable.

Faults:

Replaced alternator after just getting the pickup 130,000 miles, replace the clutch at 135,000 miles. replaced headlight relay at about 140,000 miles. Other than that just maintenance, Fluid filters and tune ups. Very reliable.

General Comments:

My 1977 Toyota Pickup long bed SR5. Has a 5 speed manual shift, the 20R engine and 4:10 rear end. An aftermarket bed liner and a light weight Aluminum canopy that is easy to take on and off, I can even do it by myself if I'm careful.

I know the original owners son, who inherited it from his Dad (the original owner). I know that it was taken care of it's entire life and garage kept for most of it. The truck was given to me after the former owner had an accident that resulted in the LF fender, Front Bumper, Grill, hood and radiator being damaged.

I've done some up grades, air shocks on the back for heavy loads, trailer hitch, four inexpensive chrome wheels, a Weber 32/36, I installed a distributor and controller from a 1978 Toyota pickup so I could eliminate the ignition points. I installed a rear sliding window, carpeted dash cover, seat covers and made custom carpeted door panels. Also I added a delay wiper unit, a tachometer, and cruise control.

Pros:

Great truck for hauling just about anything. I've towed cars and trailers with my pickup that weighed more than the truck and never had a problem except that the top speed on the highway can be limited.

A couple of times I've hauled a ton of weight in the bed and towed nearly a ton of weight (at the same time) and have never had a problem. Even starting off on steep hills, I have never had a problem getting going, never had to slip the clutch to much and was able to stop comfortably.

The truck gets 22 Mpg or better most of the time. Sometimes it is a little lower, if I do a lot of heavy hauling, but I average higher gas mileage than my Dad does in his 1994 Ranger.

This 31 year old truck, and has been more reliable than my new minivan and my 1984 Honda. Even though it is carbureted it fires right up even when it is very cold outside.

Clutch is not too hard to operate and transmission is much easier to shift compared to other trucks of the same vintage.

Cons:

No power steering, air conditioning or 4X4 available.

Interior is small. It is okay when I am driving by myself, but if there is a passenger you’re sure to be elbow to elbow.

Limited storage space in interior for stuff like ropes, straps and tools (not that you really need to carry tools in this truck it never breaks down).

Manual steering wheel is not too hard to wrestle, but can be a bit of a hassle when backing up trailers or in tight parking lots.

When empty the top speed on highway with the throttle wide open is limited to only about 70mph (and almost 4,000rpm) wide open throttle, it use to be only about 60 mph, but it got a little higher after I installed the Weber carburetor. Top speed drops when loaded heavily and it is impossible to keep up with traffic on mountain passes even if the truck is empty.

Things I'd like to do to the truck:

I'd like to add air conditioning for those hot summer days. I'd also like to install four wheel drive, but I don't think that will ever happen as the cost and amount of work is daunting even to a long time auto technician.

Bottom line:

This truck is not all that comfortable to drive or ride in, it isn't flashy and won't win a race. However it is very reliable and will haul or tow anything you ask it to. It is a true first class unstoppable work truck.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 7th January, 2008

14th Sep 2008, 21:47

Hi,

In 1977 and 78 Toyota offered an optional 4 wheel drive pickup called the Wolverine. It was converted here in the U.S. using a Dana transfer case and Dana 30 axle, These were only available from Toyota dealerships.

Mike.

15th Sep 2008, 13:51

I'll bet the Wolverine trucks are extremely rare today.

25th Oct 2008, 22:23

I found and bought a 1977 Toyota Short Bed Pickup with the Wolverine conversion a couple of years ago. I found it in an Auto Trader in California. It is the stock 1977 Wolverine conversion with the dana 30 front axle and 20 t-case. It has the California conversion company and the Wolverine sticker on the rear tail gate.

The rig was in extremely good condition, body straight with no rust, mechanically sound, everything works how it should, It only needs a fresh coat of factory mustard yellow.

I drove it to my home in Alaska where it has been a very reliable daily driver until the 20R blew a head gasket. I've since lifted a running 1985 22R from a rolled 2wd and had it re-manufactured... ready to drop into the '77 Wolverine. I honestly don't know all that much on the history of the Wolverines, such as how many were made, but mine has been a great little 4x4.

My first rig was a 1975 2wd toy, and I always wished there was a 4wd of the same body style... Now I got my wish.

12th Jul 2010, 12:00

I have a 1978 Toyota Wolverine short bed. I am looking for a magazine that featured the truck.

Thanks Danny.

18th Aug 2010, 14:06

Mine has no trouble on highways at 70mph, and it's got everything original (minus small parts like filters etc) on it but the emissions control stuff.

I'd say it tops out more realistically around 90 on a downhill. :)

Also, as to winning races, someone's '77 is on youtube beating a Mustang, though the Toyota has had a V8 engine swap... still fun to watch that cute little truck go so fast!

3rd Feb 2013, 14:35

My '77 has had a couple things done, like no muffler, and I took the emissions crap off. My bed's bobbed 15 inches and I have no carpet, so I believe mine might be lighter than most, but it tops out at 98mph.

25th May 2014, 00:51

I have had my 77 up to 103 on flat land freeway. I love my 77, but my gas mileage is crap; about 12 on the freeway and about 3 in the city.

I need help adjusting my carb. Someone please help. Email me at shannonryanpatzer@gmail.com