Friday, July 22, 2011

1984 Toyota Mini-Cruiser Restoration: Part One Purchase and First Look

Mini Cruiser Restoration: Part 2 Delamination and Demolition
Mini Part 3: Mini Removed, Yota needs Help 
A truck/camper combination to surpass the ages. Not to mention dualies! One can not believe a motor home could fit in a single parking spot.

Our mission started with the simple want to sleep on the beach. A self contained vehicle was our need and we went on a mission, a Craigslist mission. We searched slide-in after slide-in, fairly priced or not until we realized this Tundra we drive can not carry worth its own weight in the bed. A Tacoma frame with a larger body. What will the Japanese think of next? So fate decides to give us the gift of the Toyota Mini-Cruiser with dual tires on the rear and a capacity over 2 tons.

Truck Condition:
This third generation Toyota Hilux is in great condition... well the 4 speed engine purrs like a kitten but missing gaskets have the engine and more covered in oil. What a mess. The exhaust seems to be missing and rusted. The frame has quite a bit of rust which of course, we hope is only on the surface. The original owners were smart enough to have the recalled rear axel replaced. RBR, the manufacturers of the mini-cruiser decided it was a good idea to add dual tires onto an inferior axel which ending in a recall that put them out of business. Smart.

The floors in the cab are rusted out. The dash is almost completely void of non-necessities. The necessities work. A pile of wires enters the engine compartment but falls short of connection. The title says it has 199,000 miles while the odometer will pass 100,000 in our tender loving care. The wiring of exterior lights is possibly ungrounded and does funny things with brake and turning signal combinations. No headlights made of fun trip home that ended in a dark ride up a narrow dirt road.

Mini-cruiser Condition.
RBR made these campers between 1977 and 1989 in Indiana.  Is that correct all you die-hards?

The camper is in rough shape. Walls are rotted behind separating seems. The ceiling leaks and is growing mushrooms. The counter is warped. The floor has been floored over. The paneling has been paneled over. Metal has been rusted over. The fridge is an original ice box. Some cushions are possibly original ;) The table is missing. Widows are intact. The bathrooms still remains complete with commode and shower.

I am thinking gravity fed solar hot water, solar panels, a wind mill for those windy days on the beach and pop out greenhouse windows. Eventually, veggie diesel.

Toyota Motorhome


Zen Forest said...

Inspiring - a fresh project just ripe with creative opportunities!

I have to share a blog with you - this lovely lady, Rima, spent a bit more than a year living and traveling around in an old Bedford TK. The images and stories are contained in the older posts on her blog at
Perhaps you will find inspiration and ideas there! :)


Kaija said...

Thanks! I will check out Rima's blog. I have wanted to travel for a long time now.

Holly Rhea said...

Hello, I am restoring on of these now. Have you taken yours on a journey yet? Wondering what your average gas mileage was. Thanks,

Kaija said...

Actually Holly, the living quarters were in such bad shape that we are rebuilding it. So, no excursions yet. I have heard an average of 17mpg for these minis though. Not great but better than my V8 Tundra.

rbr fan said...

Owned a rbr mini Crusier about one year put 2000 miles on it! 14-15 mpg

refuse vehicle hire said...

The highly capable Land Cruiser is perhaps alone among Toyotas in offering some semblance of personality, which is enough to make it one of our favorites from Big T.

Michael Cacioppo said...

Hi, can you or RBR fan tell me if there is an auxiliary or "coach" battery in these? I can only find the engine battery so far in mine....