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 Toyota Hi-ace Axle information

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Hiace4wd
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Model and year : 1994 Toyota Hiace 4x4 DIY camper
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PostSubject: Toyota Hi-ace Axle information   Tue Feb 09, 2016 10:53 pm

So I would like to write down a piece of info for everyone to use, about axles. Also for archive purposes.

This is not about what can be wrong with your axles, this is about the unknown options that you have, if you want to improve your Hi-ace.

Wheel PCD


Wheel PCD is usually 6x139.7mm (but there are 5 lug models). This means you can use rims (and spacer) from any off the major 4x4 models from Japan or USA brands.
However, while you can use 16 inch rims, you have to take care of maximum tyre size and wheel offset.

Rear axle


This link provides most info for identifying the rear axle: http://rsmotorsport.com.au/files/Identifying_Toyota_Hilux.pdf
but I'll summarize here.

Every Hiace is likely to be fitted with a G type rear axle, most likely G144 or G155. This is an axle with an 8 inch rear differential, which can also be found under a 4Runner and a Hilux. However, the final gear ratios can be very different. The PDF helps to translate the codes to final gear ratios.

G144 = 4.875 gear ratio - open diff - standard
G155 = 5.125 gear ratio - with LSD - optional

Use the following codes on the chassis plate to identify the rear axle and transmission:



Tranmissions are commonly 2 types in the Hi-ace vans of the nineties, manual R151 gearox (coming with 1KZ-TE engine in a lot of Super Customs)
Or G52 with engines like 2L or 3L. Also the petrol versions with 2RZ engines came with G52 or G55 tranmission.
Automatic gearboxes I have to check later. Those gearbox codes start with an A  Laughing

Limited Slip Differential (LSD)

A LSD is a differential that limits the amount of difference between right and left. As with an open diff, when one wheel has no grip it will just spin while the other wheel (having grip) will just be stationairy. An LSD will limit that difference, increasing grip when driving off-road. See the Wikipedia page, and check the section about Viscose diffs (the others were not used by Toyota): https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Limited-slip_differential

Toyota Hi-aces have been optionally fitted with these differentials. They are based on the viscose principle, and therefore need special oil for them to function correctly!!! The same kind of differential oil you would otherwise buy, but then the LSD type.
If your Hi-ace came with an LSD, it also came with a slightly higher final gear ratio!

To identify if you have an LSD type, check the axle code on the chassis plate, and see if it ends on number 5 (instead of 4). If so, you have an LSD, so take care of the oil type.
Another way is a sticker on the back of the diff mentioning "Use LSD oil only" but that sticker might be gone under a layer of dust. Example:



If you choose to source a nice axle with LSD (or lockers) from an Hilux or 4Runner, it will fit, but the final gear ratio might be different. This will cause a different highway rpm, which maybe is not so bad. But if you have 4x4, the you have to pay attention because you don't want a different final gear ratio in the back, different from the front differential (same goes with tire sizes). Because it will wear out your drivetrain much faster, because of a difference in rpm of front axle and rear axle.

Be aware that an LSD with high mileage (and wrong oil usage) can be worn out and not effective anymore, becoming an open diff.

Locking diffs
Lockers allow you to fully lock left and right, so both wheels will turn at the same rate. Please see the wiki for explanation: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Locking_differential

While Toyota has not offered them in the Hi-ace, you could source them from 4Runner axles or Hilux axles having selectable lockers. Again, same applies as above, so pay attention.

Next to that, there are aftermarker locking diffs available from brands like ARB etc, which allow you to lock the differential with a button (selectable lockers), using an air pressure system. This is quite expensive, but very powerful. You have to search for Toyota 8 inch diffs, because nobody will offer anything for a Hiace.

A more affordable choice are "auto-lockers" which decide to lock by themselves. That also works quite well, just don't apply to much throttle in the corners or it will lock up and you can go drifting Very Happy
But the price level is much much lower, and they will work quite well. They can be found from brands like detroit locker or lock-right locker. The nice thing is that you only exchange the internals of the differential, so you keep the pinion gear, and the final gear ratio stays the same, so you don't have to worry about that.

Here's youtube video explaining the auto-lockers quite well:
https://youtu.be/kL0hPEOStGk

Front axle


Of course, this only applies to 4x4 models of the Hi-ace.
The front axle is an IFS setup using torsion bars as suspension. Very similar to 4Runners, but suspension parts cannot be exchanged.
The front differential is the same however, it is an 7.5 inch differential. They only came as open differentials on the Hi-ace.
However, the interesting thing is that it is the differential diameter that has been used on sportscars (like Toyota Supra) and luxury cars (Lexus IS300). This means that you could take a Limited Slip Differential from such a car and fit it to your Hi-ace. But the final gear ratios won't match, and they are hard to find (and expensive)

But again, there is the option to buy an auto-locker, starting from a bit more than $300. Search for auto locker toyota 7.5 inch differential, and you'll find useful stuff.
As said, you only change the internals, so the gear ratio stays the same.

You could also buy a Detroit Truetrac for a 4Runner, and it will fit the Hi-ace. It is more close to an LSD than to a locker. As said, both cars have a 7.5 inch differential in the front, and you don't have to worry about final gear ratio, as you only replace the center.

What should I do?


If you're happy with your van, do nothing at all Very Happy

But if you want to improve grip, there are some options (disregarding a discussion about better tyres and tyre pressure)

If you have a 2wd:
- Try to find a LSD if you don't have one. An auto-locker is an option, but it might become somewhat tricky when using the throttle in the corners.
- In theory, a conversion to 4wd should be possible, but your gonna need a lot of parts of a wrecker 4x4 version (complete front axle, tranmission and transfer case, prop shafts)

If you have a 4wd:
- Try using a LSD or auto-locker in the rear.
- If you already have an LSD in the back, I would suggest to go for auto-locker in the front. This is what I'm going to in the end. The nice thing is that having an LSD drives like any other car, it's just helping when your stuck. An auto-locker is somewhat more tricky in the rear, but not in the front. Especially if you disengage the front axle, when driving on normal road.
- If money is not a problem, buy lockers for front and back, which you can lock by pressing a button (like ARB difflocks). Then you will apply power to all 4 wheels simultaneously!

But as said, nobody is offering anything for a Hi-ace. So you have to search for Toyota diff in 8 inch (rear) and 7.5 inch (front).

This is it for now, maybe I'll add more stuff later. Let me know if anything is unclear or missing.


Last edited by Hiace4wd on Wed Oct 26, 2016 2:17 pm; edited 1 time in total
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jagged1
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PostSubject: Re: Toyota Hi-ace Axle information   Mon Mar 14, 2016 9:03 am

Hi, I have a 97 2wd 2L Turbo with an automatic transmission. I was checking my wheel alignment and I noticed the rear axle isn't quite in line. Is there any adjustment on it?
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Hiace4wd
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Model and year : 1994 Toyota Hiace 4x4 DIY camper
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PostSubject: Re: Toyota Hi-ace Axle information   Mon Mar 14, 2016 9:47 am

jagged1 wrote:
Hi, I have a 97 2wd 2L Turbo with an automatic transmission. I was checking my wheel alignment and I noticed the rear axle isn't quite in line. Is there any adjustment on it?

I think it would be better to make a new topic for this.

But I think you have rear leaf suspension. So if the alignment is off it could mean that the centerbolt is broken.
if you want a workshop to check the centerbolts, you want to have new ones ready to put in.
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jagged1
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PostSubject: Re: Toyota Hi-ace Axle information   Mon Mar 14, 2016 11:31 am

Thanx, I will make a new topic. It has coil spring suspension.
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