Townace and North America van the same mechanically?

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Townace and North America van the same mechanically?

Postby derek » Wed Jan 31, 2007 7:53 pm

Can parts from a townace fit into a North American van? In Vancouver BC there are several outfits importing these townaces--maybe I could get a whole drivetrain--and diesel!--from one of those low mileage vans...

Crazy thought, but might work...?
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Postby fang » Wed Jan 31, 2007 10:49 pm

I am generally uninformed, but I believe that the parts can mostly be interchanged.

I have also considered doing this.

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Postby Mr. Herbie » Thu Feb 01, 2007 12:58 am

I guess that one way to guesstimate if the drive train mounts are compatible is to compare them - but there is a shortage of N.American vans around here, though there are three or four Townies running about... :?

Most of the parts (except for the obvious) are the same as the N. American ones, and if there are specific areas that you would like photographed, I can take some for you. If you are swapping the engine and tranny, it should be pretty straight forward though...

Let me know if I can be of service.
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Postby fang » Thu Feb 01, 2007 10:40 am

Thank you Mr. Herbie. I believe that an engine swap is in the distant future for me -- my 1988 4x4 5-speed only has 250,600 miles on it... I won't bother swapping engines until this one starts to wear out.

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Postby Mr. Herbie » Thu Feb 01, 2007 2:27 pm

I'm glad that you have lots of patience - it will be quite some time before that will wear out...
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Postby derek » Thu Feb 01, 2007 6:29 pm

Thanks for the responses. After a bunch of reading and an email exchange with an importer t seems that the Townace and the North American van are basically the same van (but the townace having a higher roof and more goodies). The 2CT is supposed to bolt right up. But after doing a lot of reading on the Board of Knowledge (Ace Answers) on these town/masterace diesels that were imported to the UK, I have started to question the premise of the swap.

For one thing they are supposed to overheat easily:
http://members.spboards.com/viewtopic.p ... rum=ukaces

And the diesel's heads/gaskets are "delicate."
http://members.spboards.com/viewtopic.p ... rum=ukaces

A few other threads (including one on this site) I read about crankshafts breaking.

I guess people don't always write to say good things on these sites, but I certainly haven't read about as many problems with the 4Y's (even the high mileage 4Y's in north america) compared to diesels (even the low mileage diesel imports in the UK and Canada)... I guess in north America we think of the Toyota Landcruiser diesels even more bulletproof than gas ones, but it seems these little van diesels don't seem to be able to take the same kind of abuse as the gas ones--which is a lot of abuse!

While I am looking for a way to extend the life of our much loved yet mostly worn out van, I certainly don't want to aviod hills and drill out thermostats and install fancy electric fans and scoops and better heat guages (to watch with fear).

Does a Townace owner with a stock diesel have some good stories and prove these wrong? Like stories about driving over the Rockies while towing a boat, or taking the wife and umpteen kids and gear and tooling around in hot deserts with an engine with 250K on it (like many of the 4Y's on this site...).

Sorry if I offended any Townace owners! I am just hoping to incite one of you to talk me into a 2CT diesel swap...
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Postby Mr. Herbie » Thu Feb 01, 2007 9:56 pm

Good homework!

I read all of the horror stories before choosing to buy our Townie. It really made me think it through carefully, needless to say.

I remember having a work truck that had all the guages, like oil pressure, temperature, and a host of warning lights.

It also had a light that would come on when there is a problem and it said "check guages." Having a Townie in the rockies is not for you if you need an indicator lamp to remind you to check your guages, because your guages are indicating that there is an urgent problem.

That said, I have had to replace the head shortly after I got the van, because the timing belt broke. Head gasket set was $250 CAD and the head was $200 CAD - the same as my brother's 1990 Honda civic.

We have driven our van through some tough climbs - one was almost an hour in third gear with the foot almost to the floor. Over the summer we found that we were pushing coolant out the overflow resovoir, (it was around 104 degrees and climbing hard), to which I found that the rad cap seal was shot and the rad was not able to presure up. It was like driving with no rad cap. At that time I also noticed that there were a couple of marred spots on the metal that the rad cap is to seal against, which was contributing to the problem.

I replaced the rad cap and all was good for our everyday driving, but we took it for a hard run last week (we climbed 3300 feet in about 6 miles as fast as we could) and it still pushed some coolant out of the overflow, and when I went to top it up, again there was no pressure in the rad. I will be replacing the tube that the cap screws on to soon, but it is not something urgent for us.

Please note that the temp stayed steady at normal as the coolant was going out the overflow. If the rad was allowed to pressurize, I am sure that everything would be fine.

These vans have a vertical rad cooled with a viscous fan and a horizontal rad cooled with two electric fans. See image:

Image

Though I do believe that the cooling system is adequate, I am not sure that it was designed for life in the Canadian Rockies. I do watch the temp guage over long relentless mountain passes more than I did with our Honda.

From our experience, we tend to keep our head up as we are hitting the mountain passes, but that should change when we replace the rad filler tube. My brother's Townie regularly travelled from Revelstoke to Calgary - and that it another high pass.

I am sure that the other guys will have more input as well. One was driven across Canada...

Hope this helps!
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Postby g van w » Fri Feb 02, 2007 7:56 am

As I've written some time ago I've driven my townace 65000km since Nov. 05. It gets used every day to the tune of 1000km per week. It makes regular 300km highway trips at 115-120 kph and so far has done oK. I'm living in Ontario so we don't have the mountain conditions to deal with. I have installed the Mason alarm from http://www.townace.com and it really is needed for peace of mind. The van generally runs hotter than I think it should and often runs up to the warning buzzer when slowing down after highway use. Oddly enough I think it runs hotter in the winter than in summer and so far I don't have an explanation. Overheating is always on my mind where the LE motor I never even thought about.

I really don't think this is Mr Toyotas best engine. I get about the same mileage (27mpg approx) as I did with my gas LEs, I expected more...
Powerwise it's similar to the 4Y, though it's delivered differently of course.
The 3y4y series is bulletproof and most cases outlasts the body anyways so what really is the advantage of the diesel? The turbo diesel needs quality oil every 5000km where my LEs went 10,000 per oilchange with any cheap oil.
I just bought another townace ( this one was overheated apparently but so far seems ok). If i have to fix the engine ( headgasket and head plane) I'm really considering just putting a 4Y in instead. We'll see..
I've driven and loved the little toyvans since 1992 and have used up a bunch of them. In Ontario bodyrot has gotten most of them by now and if I would like to keep driving this style of van, the townaces are really my only option. Otherwise I guess I'm headed for a Previa...:-)
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Postby fang » Fri Feb 02, 2007 10:43 am

Thank all of you for the great thoughts and information.

The one big advantage of a diesel is the huge variety of cheap available fuels.

I am one of those people who can easily imagine an impending oil crisis. Simply having home-brewed biodiesel and/or vegetable oil/etc as options is very valuable to me. Fuel costs are high now and they only promise that prices will be getting worse. That's one reason I want a diesel.

The other is torque. The turbo diesel vans don't have much horsepower, but they do have torque. Since I am intending to put fairly large wheels and tires on my van the better torque will only give me improved fuel economy as I explore just how slow I can get that engine to turn while going down the road.

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Postby derek » Fri Feb 02, 2007 12:13 pm

What a wealth of knowledge--really hit the jackpot. Thanks so much GvanW and Mr Herbie.

Having a diesel pickup for years taught me that no spark plugs usually equals greater dependability and longevity, and I agree with Fang--I would love to be able to run on biodiesel and veggie oil! And greater fuel economy sure is nice too--it sounds like with the 2CT I'd get about 5 mpg better economy (currently get about 22 highway).

But after this post and sifting through a ton of old posts on the Ace Answers site (http://www.townace.com) the cooling system has me a little nervous. While like Mr Herbie says the van can go over mountain passes without overheating, it seems like if one part of the cooling system fails, and even with one overheat, there is a chance that the headgasket will go and even the head will crack. And after reading the Ace Answers and Board of Knowlege it seems that even with loving owners doing extensive mods and being really careful, they still can blow heads.

I've read that there is a similar diesel that also bolts into our vans in forklifts that has a cast iron head and a timing chain instead of a belt. I can well imagine why. Now that engine would probably be a great, if heavy, replacement, except that it still wouldn't solve the oveheating problem.

So thanks for your honesty. I'm leaning to sticking with gas. My wife and I like to spend time in the Southwest US camping in the desert out on 4x4 roads, and the gas van seems better suited.

GvanW--when your Townies finally rot out on the salt roads of Ontario, I bet there will still be some rust-free vans left in the unsalted US west. That is where I bought mine 1.5 years ago--an 89 with no rust from Spokane, WA. Even with major repairs/rebuilds it might cost less than an imported Townie. Just a thought.
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Postby g van w » Fri Feb 02, 2007 12:55 pm

I've spent many hours sifting through tons of overheating info on the townace site and I think the overheating "problem" is related to the age of the vehicle and condition of the radiators. Recoring the rads seems to solve the problem. As the rad gets old and won't shed heat ( either from clogged tubes or from fins coming unattached) they run hotter and hotter. Not the fault of the motor and no amount of fans is going compensate. I'll cheerfully stand corrected if anyone has differing experiences, I'm just collecting info trying to make my van last forever:-)

One odd thing with the townace is that the standard tranny vans have one rad while the autos have two rads. My question is; if you run an auxiliary tranny cooler outside of the rad, do you still need both rads?

The destroyed engine stories tend to sound the same, "I was running along and suddenly noticed the temp guage pegged." Too late! As we know, there is more plumbing in these vans than the average house and lots of chances of leaks as things age.. but I agree the 2CT does seem to have a reputation for fragility in the headgasket dept.
I might well end up with a southern US van ( nearly got Bill Maleys about a year and a half ago when he sold it) but I really like the uniqueness and condition of the low mileage Townaces, not much wear on them, everything works , no rattles, etc. Also my new one has the 6 skylights and that's just too cool :-)

The 3Y/4Y motors also can be fragile if allowed to overheat. If you overheat them once, the head will warp and you'll be redoing the head and gasket. I've done three of them in the years I've driven them, average cost $750 to rebuild head and buy a gasket set and 8-10 hrs to do the work.. As a precaution, I generally replaced all the failing 1/2 inch heater pipes with rubber heater hose.


Love these things! G van W
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Postby derek » Fri Feb 02, 2007 1:43 pm

More great info, G van W. Actually what you are saying sounds like what I have been reading about maintaining (and rebuilding) the cooling systems is key. Point taken on the gas ones overheating and blowing headgaskets too.

Regarding mods, most of what I read was about electric fans and drilling out the thermostat (sounds like a really bad idea--thermostats are meant to keep the engines at optimum heat too, especially during winter). Like you I don't really get why people haven't focused on better auxiliary coolers or rads, especially up front where air might actually flow through it!! Vanagons have the rad in the front and the engine in the back, and they seem to cool just fine. The extra piping on a toyota might put a strain on the water pump though...

I have to admit being way jealous of the higher roof and those skylights and low, low kms!! It sounds like with lots of care owners make those Townaces last forever. Did you ever read any info on how many miles people get out of those diesels?
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Postby g van w » Fri Feb 02, 2007 2:33 pm

The higher roof is a two edged sword, underground parking becomes an issue, on the otherhand fullsize motorcycles go in effortlessly, even dirtbikes!
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Postby g van w » Fri Feb 02, 2007 2:48 pm

I have a dim memory of someone in this community doing a dual vertical rad setup on his townace. I think he's in Arizona and having no problems? I can't search right now (I'm supposed to be working;-)
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Postby timsrv » Sat Feb 03, 2007 12:23 am

That was lwiniarski. He is in Portland. I ran into him in Vancouver, WA a few months back. I slid under his rig and checked it out. The 2nd radiator was mounted vertically behind the front bumper. He had the job done at a radiator shop, so they custom built it to fit there. It was a top rate job. He said this totally solved his cooling problem. He also had the thing converted and was running on vegie oil. Tim
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Postby Mr. Herbie » Sat Feb 03, 2007 7:53 am

timsrv wrote:That was lwiniarski... I slid under his rig and checked it out. The 2nd radiator was mounted vertically behind the front bumper. Tim


Tim, you have made me curious - does the van now have three radiators - two vertical and one horizontal? :?
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Postby timsrv » Sat Feb 03, 2007 10:18 am

:? I am unfamilar with these, but I was under the impression his came stock with only one, then the 2nd one was added, but now I'm not so sure. You could PM him and ask. I'm sure he'd be happy to share any information you wanted. Tim
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Postby derek » Sun Feb 04, 2007 3:00 pm

Thanks again for all ther information. I stand very much corrected: the cooling systems sound sufficient for the diesels if they are working properly--I can't imagine much harder hills to climb than the two passes on Hwy 1 between Revelstoke and Calgary (the second pass going right over the Rockies). With a custom built second rad behind the front bumper like lwiniarski, it sounds like the cooling would be helped a great deal. But as his is a Masterace there is probably a little more room up front for a rad...

Thought I would share some of my diesel research:

Here is an excellent site that describes everything required to put in the L series into a gas toyota pickup (which I imagine is very similar to putting the C into a gas van). The guy who wrote it did the conversion himself, and it doesn't sound that difficult. http://vpizza.org/~jmeehan/toyotadiesel/

This is a link with stats on toytoa diesel engines (including C series):
http://www.geocities.com/MotorCity/Pit/ ... gines.html

This is a great site: http://toyotadiesel.com/forums/ Been reading about some people installing VW TDI's in Toyotas!
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Postby lwiniarski » Sun Feb 04, 2007 5:57 pm

I believe the 5-speed manual 4wd only has 1 radiator, where the automatic
has another radiator on on the bottom on top or underneath of the
air conditioning radiator. So the automatic 4wd has 2 radiators.
(the air conditioning radiator is confusing)

My masterace was manual 4wd. I found that there was actually
quite a bit of space in the front which was taken over by the
air intake. I remove this ductwork and installed a 2nd auxiliary
radiator which I had made to the correct size (about $300). This
2nd radiator is only about 6"x30", but helps quite a bit.

Here's a pic with the bumper off showing the second rad.

Image
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Postby derek » Thu Feb 08, 2007 3:32 pm

Hey, thought I would write to thank you lwiniarski for the pic and explanation on this really clever upgrade. Who knows why they didn't put an extra rad up front where it can get a little air! So sounds like it is working for you--but do you ever have any overheating at all while driving around in the Cascades or ever drive in the desert in Eastern Oregon?
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