V8 Delica Build Blog

I’d been tossing around the idea of repowering the diesel Delica with something more reliable and powerful. A few guys had used the Toyota V8 (1uzfe) with success as it bolts straight on to the Mitsi’s transmission.
The reason it can do that, is that both the Toyota and Mitsi (and some other brands I believe) have their transmissions supplied by Aisin Warner. The 4 speed auto in the Delica S1 van, is the AW4 series and it’s exactly the same as Toyota’s A340/41 series.
The Soarer/Crown 1uzfe V8 uses this transmission.
So all you have to do is swap the Mitsi’s Bell-housing, converter, input shaft and pump for the V8’s one and everything bolts up apparently.

Doing this conversion to the Delica van is no small job. Its a squeeze getting the V8 in there width wise and requires cutting part of the front panel out of the van to get enough room to slide the lump in there. Also, once you have done the conversion, the vehicle will need to be re-certified (engineering certificate) in order to be legal for road use.
Not to mention you also have to wire in the Toyota’s ECU etc into the Mitsi’s system.

As fate would have it, I was saved the pain of doing all of this when a van came up for sale with everything already done.. I bought it.
Its got the later model vvti version of the 1uz motor fitted. Its all certified and running so most of the hard/expensive work has been done.

The conversion, while being functional, is a bit scruffy in my eyes and I will be tidying things up as I go.

Some photos below:

So before I could even begin to tidy this creation up, a problem arose..
It stopped and will no longer start.
I suspect it has much to do with the somewhat hacked up standard ECU and immobiliser-defeat box that the previous owner had fitted. I’m no electronics expert, so I will get a local shop I know of to ditch all that garbage on top of the engine and fit a link ECU.
Expensive? Yes, but I want this thing to be reliable and I just don’t trust hacked and bypassed electronics.

Edit: May 2018:
So I’ve had a Link ECU fitted to the van and the electronics box monstrosity above the engine is gone.. To be honest, the original wiring job was a bloody mess not to mention a fire hazard and death trap. I have moved the electronic fuel pump from the engine bay down to beside the fuel tank as they don’t like having to ‘suck’ fuel up. They are designed to be gravity fed and PUSH fuel up to the engine.
The large diesel fuel filter and prime pump that had been re-purposed for petrol is now gone in favor of a simple steel inline filter.
There’s still plenty of work to do around the engine bay. The space vacated by the fuel filter and pump, behind the battery,  will be used to house the wiring loom patch blocks and fuses inside a suitable box of some sort.
I still have to sort out the radiator, thermo fans. air intake etc. That needs to have its air-temp sensor fitted. I still need to get an o2 sensor fitted in the exhaust.
Once that is all done the van will be road tuned to get the best out of the ECU mapping.

An in other news…….
This cool gadjet is a tiptronic controller for the Delica’s old 4speed Auto. Its made in Aussie by http://www.headley2009.com especially for the Aw4 transmission. It has its own micro computer which interfaces with the standard Mitsi TCU and allows manual gear changing via a toggle switch on the replacement 4wd selector knob. It also allows manual torque converter lockup – nice!!!

Edit: 17-05-18
I have not yet fitted the tiptronic gadget above as there is still much to do in the engine bay.
I have decided to relocate the battery to inside the van and use the vacant space to house an ‘electronics box’ containing all the relays/fuses/etc that were just in-the-way…

I still need to do plenty of engine bay work as yet. The air intake pipe will be replaced, and possibly the entire airbox. It will eventually have a snorkel but I’m thinking the commercially available plastic ones will be too restrictive as it will be narrowing down the intake from 90mm to 77mm. I’ll probably get a snorkel made out of 90mm stainless tube.
The standard plastic radiator will be replaced with a 42mm all alloy  unit and the plastic expansion tank will be replaced with an alloy one as well. Both of those items will be donated by my other van.

Edit: June 18
Plastic radiator and expansion tank have been replaced with heavy duty alloy items.
No room now for the original bonnet latch 😦

Bonnet latch problem solved…

While fitting the new radiator I decided to fit an external trans cooler and not run any trans fluid through the radiator.. Thats a Davies-Craig unit below.
Finally got around to replacing that awful air intake pipe with 89mm alloy.

Right… A HUGE amount of work has been done over the last few weeks.
All of the Dobinsons suspension has been removed from the old van and installed in this one. Also the Towbar/Wheel carrier and the Bullbar and winch.
The roof tray and light bar is all on and professionally wired up.
I’ve had the wiring mess in the engine bay professionally done and its now contained in a semi-waterproof box positioned where the battery would normally be.
There are two batteries in the back. One Optima yellow for starting and winch duties and a normal lead-acid for accessories (house battery).
The van has been panelled and painted.
I have also fitted a 9′ rear diff out of a series 2 V6 van.

Nine inch diff from a Series two V6 van.

Over the last two months I’ve been working flat out on my new van to get it ready for the fishing/camping expeditions I hope to do.
The engine is finally dyno tuned, the wiring sorted, its been panel beaten and painted.
One thing that did show up on the dyno (and to a certain extent on a recent trip to Taupo) is the fact that the engine runs a little hot under high load.
Discussing this with the tuner (who also runs the same 1UZvvti engine in a competition truck) we decided it was just an airflow issue. It has a larger than standard radiator and two 12inch SPAL fans sucking through it but the problem appears to be that the air is obstructed from actually getting into the radiator due to the bullbar/winch etc.
I have since fitted a 16inch Davies-Craig ‘pusher’ fan to the front of the radiator. This is currently on a manual switch so that I can have it still running after shutting down.
This required a lot of surgery to make room for the fan between the grille and radiator

Other than that, she’s going well enough. I’m still having issues with the tiptronic unit digital display freezing which causes it to eventually lose TCL requiring a stop/restart.

There is still an endless list of little jobs to do.
I want to replace both the fuel pump and the regulator with new items as I have no idea how good/what quality are the existing ones.
The fuel pump is currently housed underneath the van approximately below the passenger seat. Its a bit exposed and I need to make a steel shield to cover it.
Ideally I’d like to get another fuel tank and fit a hi-pressure internal pump.
Maybe one day…
I want to make a retractable air scoop to sit just below the bullbar that will ‘scoop’ air up towards the radiator whilst on the highway. This would need to be cable activated or some such, so that I can close it on the move when entering offroad conditions. I might re-purpose the unused bonnet latch cable and lever for this..
I also need to mount the solar panel to the roof tray and wire it in to look after the house battery.

Nov 2018: Small changes have been made., I fitted a switch in the power supply to the tiptronic unit so that when the display freezes I can ‘reboot’ it while driving. The only downside to this is that you must slow down to 20kph or less when you do this. The reason being the unit has to calculate wheel speed to be able to activate TCL properly.
More of a band-aid than a fix I know, but its enough for now.

Edit: Dec 2018:
The fuel pump, while working fine, is noisy and buzzes like a mad thing, and the fuel pressure regulator has no gauge. I bought a new Walbro 550hp external pump and a new pressure regulator with braided hose and AM fittings.dav

The reg fitment was just a matter of replacing the existing unit as they are very similar in design. The pump, I positioned higher up on the underside of the body just above the torsion bar to avoid more of the mud, water, rocks etc that one encounters offroad.


Edit: Jan 2019
I’ve been experimenting to see what would be required in the way of power needs, to run my Vantage 82 litre fridge/freezer on solar power. The specs suggest that a 200w panel and a 20amp MPPT controller coupled with a 150ah deep cycle battery should do.
So now I have a 260w panel mounted on the roof tray. Its hinged on one side so that I can tilt it, or just lift it up to get underneath it for whatever reason.

This panel is feeding a Tracer AN Series 20amp MPPT Controller which feeds a pair of 85ah deep cycle batteries wired in parallel.

The setup seems to be holding its own against the 6amp consumption of the fridge-freezer at 14.1v. I’ve yet to try it on a cloudy day. Its hot and sunny this week.

Edit: March 2019.
A recent fishing trip to Mohaka

Today I made up a stainless steel drop down ‘shelf’ attached to the rear wheel gate.
It will be used primarily for the gas cooker as I’ve found using the cooker on a plastic fold-out table for any length of time causes warping due to the excessive heat. The shelf is hinged with three stainless hinges and bolted to the wheel gate with nutserts.

Edit: June 2019:

Occasionally when driving at night, especially when powering up hills on the road, I get the A/T light on the dash flashing a little. I thought maybe its was a transmission oil temperature warning of something. So today I fitted a trans temperature gauge to the pod, and installed the sender unit next to the Davies-Craig oil cooler I fitted a few months back. Turns out the cooler is doing a great job because the gauge doesn’t even get off the 60 degree starting point. The flashing A/T light is obviously not a temperature issue.

Next project is a biggie. I’ve ordered five new Cooper A/T tyres in (33s) and will get the guards professionally cut/welded/flared/painted etc to accommodate them. Watch this space……

Edit: July 2019
Tyres are done.. After much abuse of the finances the front guards are modified and the 33 inch Cooper ST Maxx tyres are fitted up. Makes it a different beast to drive. Rpm at 100kph has dropped to 2250 from 2500. Offroad the footprint is so much better and it doesn’t sink in to soft surfaces so much.

Edit: August 2019
One of the drawbacks of putting wider wheels on a Delica is that eventually you get to the stage where the sliding door won’t open because it hits the tyre..
An extended door hinge is available from delicagarage.com in Aussie, that allows the door to open further away from the body. I ordered one and the pics below will show whats needed to fit it.

The door trim will need to be cut and modified as well. I’ll probably just make a new one from aluminium plate.

Edit: August 2019
New brake disks, pads and manual freewheeling front hubs.
The 24 year old brake disks were starting to look a bit shabby, so I shouted her a new set and some good quality pads.
Also fitted a set of manual front hubs so I can disengage the front axles when touring. You see the L400’s front axles turn all the time, even when in 2wd. This just adds unwanted load to the engine and wear to CVs and boots.

Manual Hubs
New disks and pads
Job done

Edit: March 2020
We’ve been having some exceptionally hot weather this summer and this has brought up some issues with the van’s fuel system.
The external fuel pump I had fitted under the van beside the tank was cutting out and playing up because the fuel was boiling (I assume). When parked over hot ground or travelling slowly the fuel would start vaporising in the lines and the pump would overheat. I found if I poured cold water over the pump and lines I could get going again.
External pumps are not ideal for injected engines, which is why all manufacturers have the pumps inside the tank. This keeps the pump cool and also reduces noise.

After some detailed research I found that the fuel tank in my originally diesel van is exactly the same as the tank in the V6 petrol (injected) van. It has the same mounting plate for the internal pump, but on the diesel van there is no pump in the hole.
I managed to find a V6 pump carrier and associated bits, and ordered a new Walbro GSS342 500hp internal pump which is the same size as the standard Mitsi pump and fits into the tank perfectly.
After extending and replacing a few hoses and wires we are up and running again with a more sane fuel system.

Diesel pickup (bottom) and V6 one with new pump (top)

undefinedAbove – both the diesel and petrol tanks share the same access plate.

Below – Fitted with new hoses and wiringundefined

Edit: April 2021.
Front Lokka fitment.
The Lokka is an Australian Made ‘auto locker’. In reality its actually an ‘auto unlocker’
You see the Lokka is locked all the time you are in 4wd and powering.
It unlocks when you turn. Anyway there are several good videos on Youtube explaining how these lockers work.
So below is a collection of images as a little narrative of how I did mine in the van.