Prius Hot Rod

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Introduction: Prius Hot Rod

How to make a Hybrid Hot Rod (or how to skin a prius).

Have you ever wanted a pickup truck with a dump bed and only had a small budget?

Here we will document the process of sourcing, dismantling and reassembly of the "Pruck2", the Prius truck.

Supplies

You will need two vehicles.

  • The donor vehicle (in this case a 2009 Prius)
  • The target vehicle (a 1953 International R180 truck)
  • A welder
  • A chain hoist
  • Some agreeable friends with metalworking and woodworking skills

Step 1: Here Is a 5 Minute Video With a Synopsis

Here you will see the tools and procedures without a lot of unnecessary footage.

Step 2: The Concept

  • My wife Jenny asked me for a truck to haul away yard waste, I didn't want an old worn out vehicle that needed maintenance all the time.
  • The decision was made to recycle this classic 1953 International with newer, more reliable parts.
  • Her design requirements were power everything and climate control.

Step 3: The Source Vehicles

We removed the cab from the manure spreader in a complete assembly with a chain hoist.

We then took the doors and interior and roof off of this 2009 Prius that had side collision damage.

Step 4: Fitting It Together or Skinning

  • The cab was moved up and down many times with the chain hoist to determine how much of the original firewall needed to be removed from the International. 24 inches in the floor of the cab was also removed forming a new footwell.
  • The Toyota was reinforced with steel plate, This also provides the new cab floor bottom.
  • Notice the Hybrid battery is relocated under the cab (and out of the elements) including the active cooling fan assembly.


Step 5: Building a Tilt Bed From Re-purposed Mahogany

  • A square tube steel was used to fabricate the bed
  • Roll pin hinges allow for simple reliable movement
  • Twin 220lb electric linear actuators (from Amazon or Aliexpress) provide the lift and are controlled by the left rear window switch
  • Siggy's wood boats in Scottsburg Indiana (A.K.A. Indianapolis wood products) provided the wood from this late 40's Chris Craft
  • Anticipating actual pickup truck use, aluminum stock was used between the planks on the bed rather than anything more expensive.

Step 6: The Electronics

  • All of the Toyota dash remains intact including the Multi-Function display and the air conditioning vents.
  • The speedometer was relocated behind the glove box opening. Challenges were involved with the gas gauge inclinometer. This was resolved by mounting it separately from the multimeter.
  • Flat black carpet with rubber backing was used sourced from a new office floor rug.
  • The original bucket seats were reused making it easy to include seatbelts as an upgraded safety feature.
  • The Toyota steering wheel was relocated by adding a few inches to the linkage.
  • The throttle is " drive by wire" and only required lengthening the wires.
  • Cruise, tilt, ABS brakes, A/C, and skid control were all retained.
  • Power window motors were installed along with new glass.
  • Door panels were fabricated from the headliner of the old Prius.
  • Total cost for parts was under 5000 dollars. Labor is estimated to be another 10k.

Step 7: Fender Liners and Registration

  • Aluminum fan ductwork from an old rooftop air conditioner provided fender liners.
  • The title and bill of sale from the donor Prius allowed registration to be completed.

Step 8: Enjoying the Truck

  • Halloween 2019 marked completion.
  • Fuel economy is 24mpg at interstate speeds and the wind noise from the mirrors is noticeable, however cruising around town at lower speeds provides 35mpg.
  • We drove it 950 miles to Florida in early 2020 stopping for a photo opportunity near Macon, GA.
  • Lastly, our daughter relaxes at a car show.
  • visit AutoBeYours.com for more Prius hot rods
  • Please consider voting for this Instructable!
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    39 Comments

    0
    crazypj
    crazypj

    1 year ago

    I wasn't going to vote for this but after reading through the 'stuctable' decided it was worth voting for. Anyone who does something this crazy deserves a vote.

    0
    wongman2001
    wongman2001

    1 year ago

    Really cool, did you put the orig Toyota emblems onto the Pruck too?

    0
    imwoody36
    imwoody36

    Reply 1 year ago

    only the synergy drive one...its fun for folks to guess. Odd we have noticed more women will strike up a conversation and then notice the toyota wheels.
    plans are to think up a name...any suggestions?

    0
    KnittersSerendipity
    KnittersSerendipity

    Question 1 year ago

    How did you preserve the donor truck metal surface to keep it from rusting?

    I am sharing this with my husband. He is a master model car builder. His favorite builds are rat rods.

    0
    imwoody36
    imwoody36

    Answer 1 year ago

    woody boaters are familiar with two part wood sealer called " clear penetrating epoxy sealer" I used it on the mahogany... and what was left over we brushed on the old truck. so far it has remained wet looking,( but is not). some would say that surface rust has already protected the truck and that removing it will expose new metal to the elements. There is even an instructable how to promote rust on new metal.

    0
    KnittersSerendipity

    This is a bit off topic, but...
    Very, very cool. In the 70’s my mom wanted an antique truck. Dad found her a 1927 Chevrolet Huckster, a pickup with a roof over the bed. They restored the roof and truck bed. The truck had been originally owned by a roofer who gave up his license when he turned 85.Mom was the second owner. The engine already had a few extra modifications, a modern radiator, carburetor. She still had to set the spark and adjust the fuel from the column levers like the original 27. It had a lot of pep, was able to go 50-55 easily. In 1989 the truck was sold to a boat marina owner in Buffalo, NY. The new owner finished the restoration, and used it to tow an antique Chris Craft to boat shows.

    0
    rodneyfrey13
    rodneyfrey13

    1 year ago

    Nice idea and looks cool :) , but you probably will not be able to climb a steep hill - not
    enough power :( Worse yet - it could be unsafe, "like riding a moped on the freeway" !? Toyota made some electric trucks that used the Tesla Powertrain - with about 200- 300HP - of course - that's another budget -LOL
    But- overall, I guess for around town - I would used it:)))

    0
    imwoody36
    imwoody36

    Reply 1 year ago

    thank for commenting! it has 109 hp and weighs 600 lbs more than a stock 2009 prius curb weight....so its plenty powerfull.

    0
    rodneyfrey13
    rodneyfrey13

    Reply 1 year ago

    ok. Would you please post info on how the vehicle is registered at the DMV - since it has shed a lot of weight - considering the original size/weight ? Thx in advance:)

    0
    imwoody36
    imwoody36

    Reply 1 year ago

    Although the donor was not a salvage vehicle, a police inspection for salvage restoration and the Title were all I used.
    It is titled as a 2009 prius.

    0
    rodneyfrey13
    rodneyfrey13

    Reply 1 year ago

    Thx for reply! OK. That's great and prob cheaper than the commercial license trucks usually have:)

    0
    starslayer
    starslayer

    Reply 1 year ago

    Stock 1953 international R180 = 165 HP @ 3000 rpm
    Prius petro engine = 110hp @ 5000
    Prius electric motor 67 hp
    Prius combined power = 177 hp (with more horsepower at the upper and lower end thanks to the electric motor)

    So it won't be any less safe or 'able to climb a steep hill' than the stock vehicle RPM, and in fact will have superior power across the board (though only a limited amount of extra HP at 'max load' its low and high RPM horsepower will be radically superior due to the electric motor)

    0
    rodneyfrey13
    rodneyfrey13

    Reply 1 year ago

    Ok. You did not build it but, if you are happy with it - that is what counts :) LOL -
    The stock Prius is a not a climber - I know that first hand - I drove one for a while - and at 32oo lbs it barely managed to stay the speed limit while climbing steep hills. In addition, the fact that you might be carrying a load .... and again -then
    of course - the stock brakes and tires are not rated for the extra weight
    either- just do a search for "tire load specs". I am an engineer and we engineers always look at having extra load capacity - and in this case extra HP. Stability is another issue - the
    center of gravity was altered - just look at the height of a 2009 Prius and the truck cab installed ! Placing just over 100Lbs
    on the roof of any vehicle changes the center of gravity in strange ways,
    making the vehicle unpredictable even with stability control!
    You don't have to believe me when I say "the Prius I had sounded like a dental drill when climbing steep hills - engine raced like crazy and it even slowed down to a max of 40 Mph - while everyone else was passing me":((( I heard the same words from a friend who owns one - so just do an internet search - and you'll find other owners posting complaints about the cars soft suspension / not so great handling and slowing down on steep hills!!!

    Btw - I like the idea of converting another Prius to full electric by adding another electric motor/controller by replacing the ICE and an additional
    battery pack/etc. - but that's been out of my budget for now.
    I will post it - if I get it done :))

    0
    starslayer
    starslayer

    Reply 1 year ago

    You seem to be.... very confused Rodney:
    1. I am not the poster, this is not my project, I was just commenting on your 'it will be so slow and unable to climb hills it will be unsafe' statement
    2. The prius is rated to tow an additional 1600 lbs of weight behind it, that keeps it within the vehicle engineer's specifications for adequate acceleration, braking, and turning. So the author's noted 'frame adds +600lbs of weight' puts it well within the vehicles specifications for acceleration and braking (allowing it to carry an extra 1000lbs within the bed)
    3. Its a hybrid vehicle which means it has a tremendous amount of weight at a very low center of gravity (due to the batteries), even significant weight higher up is unlikely to upset its center of gravity.
    4. I'm not sure if you have some special hate on for the prius, but the prius gets to 188km/hr in 39 seconds, by no means is it going to set any land speed records like that but 'barely managed to stay the speed limit' is pure fabrication.

    0
    dseymour4
    dseymour4

    1 year ago

    On the one hand, I think what you did is very cool. Kudos. But, why was your video in portrait? I could barely see anything.

    0
    Pa1963
    Pa1963

    1 year ago

    A cool project? A custom? Yes. Hot rod? NO! A hot rod build strips off parts and adds power to go faster! You added parts made it heavier and slower.

    0
    JamesA41
    JamesA41

    1 year ago

    Way awesome to see on instructables! Thanks for sharing all the detail on this easier method for a conversion now on instructables too. Voted also and have a Prius so this is like dreamy. For years, I've been wanting to do a more complicated mod using a modernized EFI ECU 18hp 694cc Briggs and Stratton horizontal shaft for the engine with the rest for the drivetrain for the most part... from a Prius. Just invested in the engine for $50 a few months back and I think I have all the MCU's I need. Time to visit the salvage yard that has the rest of the parts I need, next. Thanks again!

    0
    imwoody36
    imwoody36

    Reply 1 year ago

    very interesting! I would be glad to see it here when possible

    0
    wclapie
    wclapie

    1 year ago

    By the way, did you see Jesse James diesel motorcycle? It was a tremendous nightmare! Basically and engine with wheels. Look it up if you haven't seen it. Might give you an idea for a new project, who knows?

    0
    imwoody36
    imwoody36

    Reply 1 year ago

    we have stuffed a toyota hybrid system into a 32' yacht, and built the "priustoric" boat car from an antique thompson boat...perhaps a two wheeler would be too challenging? ha! for more details see the boatcar.rocks website