SEMA 2007: Pickup Artists - Toyota's Talent Behind the Tundra Diesel Dually CrewMax

Photos and Words By: Mike Levine Posted: 10-30-07 00:30 PT
© 2007

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For more information and a video interview with Toyota's Warren Victor, also check out Chris Shunk's story at Autoblog.

Mark Amstock and Warren Victor (pictured above, left to right) have been thinking about making a really big Tundra for a long time. The two men created the vision for what the ultimate heavy duty hauler could be and championed the concept inside Toyota. The Tundra Dually Diesel CrewMax Project Vehicle is the realization of their dreams.

Mr. Amstock, Toyota's national truck and SUV marketing manager, is the mad scientist and idea man behind this monster pickup. He talks fast and enthusiastically about the origins of this truck.

"The question that consumers and journalists have been posing to us is, 'When are you going to do a diesel? When are you coming out with a diesel?' So, this being SEMA, one of our goals is to show the fun, surprising and unexpected side of Toyota, to keep people thinking, 'Man, what are they going to do next?' Well, this is it. We really wanted to do a diesel and we thought long and hard about the execution of what it should be. And here you have the ultimate Tundra Diesel CrewMax."

To help build the truck, Mr. Amstock brought Mr. Victor, the Tundra Dually Diesel's designer and project manager into the picture. Mr. Victor played the role of task master and detail man, making sure this truck fulfilled its charter and arrived at SEMA on time. He's deliberative in his answers and knows every bolt, stitch, and modification done to the truck from bumper to bumper.

The Dually Diesel started life as not one, but two Tundra CrewMax pickups that were grafted together to lengthen the frame, so it would support the oil burning powertrain and a 6.5-foot bed - a foot longer than a typical CrewMax. It also incorporates donor parts from a Hino medium duty chassis truck. The engine and transmission of course, but also the rear running gear and Meritor rear axle.

"We thought long and hard about diesel partners. Obviously, we have our company affiliation as Toyota with Hino, but then our NASCAR and NHRA teams are sponsored by Caterpillar. It was a tough decision but we decided to go with the Hino. They were generous enough to donate one of their medium duty trucks to the cause and also assigned us a dedicated field engineer - to help us figure out how we were going to get the drivetrain into the truck and convert it to a Hino (engine)," recounts Mr. Amstock.

Except for the Tundra Dually Diesel's custom split drive shaft, the entire driveline was lifted straight from the donated Hino truck.

Wedging the J08E 8.0-liter Hino inline-6 cylinder turbodiesel (normally intended for a 35K-pound truck) under the hood was a challenge. To get the 1,500-lb motor to fit, the body had to be lifted up off the frame by 3-inches, extra Deaver aftermarket leaf springs were added to the rear, and the engine compartment firewall had to be cut all the way to the back of the HVAC panel. The heating and ventilation knobs you see in the cab are strictly for show. The modified firewall ends about an inch-and-a-half behind those controls.

The engine has been "lightly tuned". Exact figures aren't provided but Mr. Victor says it's close to 300-horsepower and 600 lb-ft of torque - boosted from stock numbers of 220-hp and 520 lb-ft. He promises an engine life span of over 300K to 400K-miles.

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