Pickup or "van" from rear-ended salvaged Prime?

Discussion in 'Prime Main Forum (2017-Current)' started by The Big Sleaze, Aug 29, 2020.

  1. The Big Sleaze

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    I'm seeing pretty reasonable prices (under $4K) for what looks like still very drivable semi-wrecked Primes with low miles (under 20K) and rear end or side damage that are "totaled" due to high cost of repairing to factory condition.

    Nothing like having a non-wrecked example if dealing with a wrecked car to repair (espeically if new and complex like a Prime) which I got.

    So I'm toying with idea of buying a RETK-but-Running Prime for conversion into El Camino or Panel Van sort of thing. The new bodywork would be "utility" flat and/or corrugated, lexan, steel or aluminum attached to existing forward body work with rivets (new metal would overlap onto roof and partial rear doors).

    The idea would be to get most of a late model, low miles Primes value at low cost as well as have a Prime more suited to dirty jobs and rough use (and lots of laughs from onlookers).

    IIRC there has been a sighting of Prius based mini-truck.

    Any thoughts? Anyone want to share how they'd do this? I'd be willing to do a pretty rough job.
    This would be WAY too much effort trying to fake it IMO.Prius pick-up truck???? | PriusChat I'm thinking more like raw aluminum or corrugated lexan coming back from end of front door.

    General layout of concept. Corrugated material would more or less follow profile of front-view and go straight back. Optional lumber rack would double as frame to carry flat panels to convert into weather-'resistant' but lockable Panel Van.

    This might work better with plain Pruis and would be really cool for AWD, but Prime seems by far most likely donor, so I guess the bed would need a removable section and there would be vent for the battery.
    20200829_160241[1].jpg
     
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  2. Salamander_King

    Salamander_King Senior Member

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    You should read @Gary Kiviniemi thread on Gen2 conversion to Trius. He is amazing. Not the PRIME, but the concept is the same.
    Project Prius Truck Pickup Trius conversion. | PriusChat
     
  3. The Big Sleaze

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    Yeah, that looks pretty sweet and really like the way the rear racks match the roof line curve.

    But I'm going for absolute minimum required work for maximum payload volume hauling mostly big box shaped things. I mentioned the corrugated material would follow the body line and go straight back, but I guess instead it would gradually become straight vertical at the tailgate. The tail gate would be same material on frame or plywood and on simple door hinges and simple gate latches. Going for an industrial motif. No way I'd every come close to finishing what Gary has going.http://classiccarsmarks.com/images/full/rare-1966-citroen-cv2-truckster-1.jpg

    FAQ: What would happen where the corrugated material ends meet the non-corrugated Prius bodywork? Caulk, lots of caulk (and they make little filler pieces but only for structural support).
     
  4. bisco

    bisco cookie crumbler

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    bondo baby, bondo
     
  5. The Big Sleaze

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    nope, too much work and not the look I"m going for. I'll run a strip of masking tape before caulking but that is about it.

    Plus don't think bondo would be good between the very thin and flexible Prius roof that is likely to be beaten up and whatever joins to it. It would crack and pull away and not want to come back together cleanly. So I'm thinking pop-rivits and Sikaflex, and Closure Strips.

    If not gal-steel maybe this stuff with 'closure strips' on a steel frame and where the panels meet the car's roof. Palruf 26 in. x 8 ft. White PVC Roof Panel-101336 - The Home Depot

    Anyone got good pics of what the "bones" of the Prime is especially the rear unibody/frame and suspension connections? I figure I'd toss all the bodywork behind the front doors, saving the tail light connections and gas filler and that is about it, then attach new simple right-angles only framing.

    I'm a carpenter not an auto-body guy.
     
  6. bisco

    bisco cookie crumbler

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    nothing wrong with a hardwood car
     
  7. The Big Sleaze

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    Nice grain plywood with low-profile exposed exterior framework for true "Woody" would be another way to go. But might become high maintenance, like a freaking wooden boat.

    I'm leaning towards corrugated Gal-Steel mostly because steel will be more forgiving to attach and less chance of attachment points failing than wood or plastic. If I'm not able to make it look like real body work like Gary, I might as well at least make it "utility". I have seen cute Utility Body(with storage and hatches) for Toyota pickups but I'm sure they are quite heavy and wouldn't fit.

    Mostly what I'm trying to do is get a nearly new Prime for $4000, but I figure I'd have to do SOMETHING with the wrecked rear end, if nothing else so the cops wont keep pulling me over to see if I'm OK. I could mount the required rear lights on my new construction but trying to do that on a wrecked rear end to pass basic Salvage inspection very problematic.
     
  8. bisco

    bisco cookie crumbler

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    be careful, the battery is pretty close to the bumper
     
  9. The Big Sleaze

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    I'd make a tow-hitch (which is mostly a big extra steel square tube bolted to and behind the bumper frame) part of the build, and rest of build would probably include 4x4 and 2x4 treated lumber to the very rear, so probably a lot stronger than factory Prime in rear end collusion and battery protection. Probably more firewall between battery and crew compartment than stock Prime (Pyro-Guard fireproof plywood and intumescent caulk behind front seats to make front of pickup bed). Might try to fit mini-truck "factory" rear window glass, either one piece or sliding rear window . Front/Rear door structural pillar intact and maybe tubular member added to help attach new bodywork.

    Speaking of Battery, one thing that miffs me is I hear for JDM the Prime has household outlet for Main Battery, which sure sounds handy. Might try a conversion since any warranty blown on a salvage car, and such an outlet would go well with the concept (even if JDM household means 220).
     
  10. Trollbait

    Trollbait It's a D&D thing

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    I'd go panel van. Then you don't have to address an issue of standing water above the battery.
    i once saw a postal truck that wasn't a right hand drive with a body of diamond plate, likely aluminum.
    Japan household is 100V. With appliances designed for such low voltage, the widget available for the Prime there is probably around the power output of an inverter you plug into the 12v outlet. People have wired more powerful inverters into their cars.
     
  11. The Big Sleaze

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    Good points, I'd LIKE a Prime Pickup as a toy, but Panel would be the smarter move mostly, and sadly, for low level theft prevention of even low value items. Thats why the optional lumber rack will be designed to have panels added (why aren't there lumber racks for picks that have that?) Same reason I've got a full size van not a full size pickup truck. I'm not too worried about building a weather proof battery cover, including 360 deg from road spray. Just make a box in a box rather that try to make one super good barrier.

    Reason I'd want JDM hack is Prime's main battery has several times power of 12v, and I'm assuming that just like you can set Prime for EV mode and SAFETY take the main batt down to near zero, the JDM system will do same with outlet, so no risk dead car if left on.
     
  12. Trollbait

    Trollbait It's a D&D thing

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    When the Prius is on, or the mode below that(ready?), 12v power is being supplied by the traction battery through a down voltage converter. When the big battery gets low, the ICE will turn on for power, or the car will switch to the 12v battery. Worst case is a dead starter battery, but I don't see a Prime battery getting drained overnight by something that could be plugged into the widget; even if not at full charge.

    The JDM widget plugs directly into the charging outlet. In addition to being 100V, most outlets in Japan are just 6 amps. If you could get a hold of one, it probably isn't feasible to make it safe to use with US tools and appliances.

    The widget isn't intended to be used as a back up power supply in case of an outage. There are home chargers in Japan that allow a plug in to work as a back up generator. They work with the CHAdeMO outlet on the Japanese Prime.
     
  13. bisco

    bisco cookie crumbler

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    i meant when looking at salvage that was rear ended
     
  14. Washingtonian

    Washingtonian Senior Member

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    I assume that the Japanese widget that produces household power from the traction battery at 100V produces AC rather than DC current. About half of Japan has 50 Hertz current and the other half has 60 Hertz. I wonder what frequency it produces.
     
  15. Trollbait

    Trollbait It's a D&D thing

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    Something to look at, but it sounds like taking out the rear quarter panel, with the sensors, is enough for insurance to total.

    It is an inverter. While it should be more efficient, and there might be less risk with using it than a basic inverter for a car, it can only be used for things outside the car, and when the car is parked.
     
  16. The Big Sleaze

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    Got it. Ones I've seen online say "starts" so I'm assuming that will include system self check, and I guess I'd take good look at battery.

    Now I'm trying to find someone who "has a clue" about Wth really goes on when a Prime takes a rear-ender. I'm assuming the battery is semi-well protected, in nothing else to avoid bad press, but maybe the frame bends FORWARD of the battery, and that is hidden reason for IMO very high repair estimates for what looks superficial.

    However the Primes I'm most interested in seem most side-swiped rear and passenger side.

    Also looking for info/pics/blueprints/shop manuals on where and how the "bones" are located and what forces etc are involved. Where are the attachment points on the frame for bodywork and suspension, etc.
     
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  17. Raytheeagle

    Raytheeagle Senior Member

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    If you are serious about this project, a $20 two day subscription to techinfo.toyota.com is in order ;).

    It'll have all that info and more:).

    Good luck and if looking for candidate cars, Rancho Cordova has Prii wrecks galore they use for parts sales(y).
     
  18. The Big Sleaze

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    thx, "Rancho Cordova" what exactly? Toyota Dealership? Can't believe a dealership pulls parts off wrecks. Yeah, I might do a road trip just to look at a skeletonized Prime or two.
     
  19. Raytheeagle

    Raytheeagle Senior Member

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    Nope, wrecking yards;).

    Benzeen is one of them and HP Motors has row after row of Prii:).

    I'd call before going, it they might be able to assist if this project gets serious(y).
     
  20. The Big Sleaze

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    Thx, I had HP Motors on my list of people to bother with stupid questions after seeing their re-built Primes for sale on Craigslist SF but didn't know their location, etc.
     
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