Turbo Diesel: 1985 Toyota SR5 Pickup

This 1985 Toyota SR5 pickup is a rare find in this sort of condition, but especially desirable when fitted with the super elusive 2LT turbodiesel engine. This is one of those long-lived engines that you’ll find still humming along in some stereotypical desert truck with a rocket launcher on the bed, as their longevity rivals that of a diesel-powered W123 Mercedes. This example here on eBay benefits from both refreshed cosmetics and several pricey maintenance items, and bidding is currently at $8,600 with the reserve unmet.

The seller repainted the truck a few years ago, which also included new OEM-style graphics. This explains the gorgeous cosmetics, which also appear to incorporate a rear bumper delete. I think some tube-style bumpers are in order, not because they offer better style but because I’d want as much protection as possible around that pretty bodywork. OEM mudflaps appear unused, and the seller specifies that the tires and wheels are new replacements items. The bed appears to be a long version, but I can’t tell for sure in other photos. I really have to give the seller credit for tracking down the decal kit – it looks wonderful.

The interior was re-trimmed at the same time of the repaint. It looks quite nice, but is also typical for this era of Japanese truck which predominantly preferred inoffensive colors over actual style  (my ’86 Trooper has almost the exact same interior color scheme). All other interior surfaces present well, from the dash to the door handles, and there’s really nothing to fault inside the truck. The seller does not mention whether the Toyota left the factory with A/C or whether it still works if it did. Thankfully, this truck features a manual transmission.

The star of the show is the 2LT engine, which is a successor to the “L” 2.2L diesel mill found in my 1981 Toyota HiAce project, a diesel engine sans turbocharger that produces a thundering 71 b.h.p. The seller has installed a new turbo unit and timing belt, and also rebuilt the front differential and replaced the clutch. Factoring in the work already done and how infrequently diesel-powered, 4WD Toyotas show up for sale in the U.S., this example slides in nicely into the gap between reliable workhorse and appreciating classic. I’d use, enjoy, and smile knowing I’m never losing a dime on this thing.


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  1. Sherminator

    Compared to the vinyl bench seat in my ’82 Chevy S-10, those seats look quite stylish (and more comfortable). Agree with your bumper comment, I’d want some protection back there. Beautiful truck and I really love the diesel option!

    Like 6
  2. Raymond Smith

    Not a rear bumper delete. Rear bumpers were an option back then. Had to add one to my 86 I bought new along with a right hand side mirror. Someone is going to get a nice truck here for sure.

    Like 16
  3. sparkster

    I owned a 1995 Toyota xtra cab SR5 with 22RE fuel injected engine. It got 27 mpg on the highway with stock tiny boring tires. What I’ve heard as these diesels don’t get that much better. This standard cab has already got 54 bids up to $8700. These cabs are too small and don’t ride smooth by any means.

  4. Kevin Barr Staff

    This example is really neat: I had to run the VIN to confirm that the engine was swapped, and not factory installed – because it’s that tidy. Makes you wonder who did the swap and when it was performed, because it’s seriously impressive.

    Like 5
  5. Jimbosidecar

    There is no A/c looking at the controls on the dash

  6. suprarossa

    Non-SR5 with no A/C, gauges, etc. means it wasn’t a 22RE-T to begin with. Base USDM truck with a swap

    Like 3
  7. Burger

    Were the Toyota diesels good for economy and ease of maintenance ? Parts availability ?

    Like 2
  8. Glenn Schwass Member

    So neat. I wish you could get diesels today without costing the left one…and having to deal with Cow pee injection which I hear is thousands to fix if it has issues. I miss the old beasts. Too bad they rusted away here in the north east.

    Like 5
  9. chrlsful

    wonder how far into the teens ($) this’ll go?
    “…Thankfully…manual transmission….”
    Prefer auto in rd trucks. 5speed in off rd.

  10. Nevadahalfrack Nevadahalfrack Member

    Jeff, those “desert trucks with rocket launchers” are called “technicals”-though they’re usually mounted with a “Duska” (Russian version of our .50 caliber), they mount mortar tubes and other heavy weapons in them too. Those trucks are often passed along to the family generations if they’re not military.. which speaks well of the initial truck engineering itself!

    Like 2
  11. PDXBryan

    Jeff Lavern
    I LOVE this truck but I’m not sure these 2LTs had as stellar a reputation as the 22Rs. 2Ls had some head issues, I believe. It might be that they can’t handle overheating. I have a 1982 Diesel that a PO replaced the 2L with an Australian market 3L. MUCH better! Even with no turbo, it’s a trong little puller that gets good mpg (28-32 mixed).

    Like 1

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