DIY: How to rebuild a Hilux

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Words and images by Jaco van der Westhuizen

How do you turn a 1994 Hilux SFA farm bakkie into a V8-powered showpiece? Turns out that it takes more than a few days and a fistful of dollars. The result? Priceless…

I have a total fascination with Toyota vehicles, mainly Hiluxes and the SUVs, but things really got going about five years ago when I was working part-time for a mining equipment company in Middelburg. At this time, I was waiting for my renewed work permit allowing me to go back to Angola, where I had been working for Caterpillar as an expatriate. One morning, one of the “old toppies” rocked up in his old farm Hilux, a wonderfully abused 1994 SFA with the 2.2 petrol engine. It looked like something only a mother could love.

I immediately offered the man R35 000 for it, and paid him the same day. He had to phone his wife to come and pick him up from work as I’d insisted that the Hilux was going home with me! After many days and countless hours of Googling the hell out of rebuilding and engineering sites, I decided to rebuild the Lux completely from scratch, and fit a V8 Lexus engine.

Disassembly and cleaning started on May 02, 2012, but, as I am a perfectionist, it still took three years of stop-go work, and a lot of help from my father, Phil van der Westhuizen, before I was able to take “Blitzkrieg” on its maiden voyage to Sodwana Bay. Now that was an amazing voyage with the old man and an old van.

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