For those of you who have been eagerly awaiting more info regarding the recent build on Jesse Illot's Toyota 22R Turbo propane setup here it is. After much consideration and careful contemplation into what he was looking for in a motor and not having any interest in an efi setup Jesse decided on a turbo propane powered 22R. Not being to common , he wanted something that would be reliable and simple. After all, we know that there is nothing worse then having motor issues when out in the backcountry.

So the wrenches came out and the building began,
Originally he was just going to a run straight propane set up but the power loss would be substantial especially considering there is not a ton of power to sacrifice out of a stock 22R. Jesse had little knowledge of turbo-charging but the idea intrigued him enough that he started researching the possibilities and the different options . Most people doubted it would even work, some laughing at the thought but Jesse wasn't about to let that hinder his ambitions. He continued researching and started to source parts that were readily available. A friend of Jesse's picked up a turbo off of a 1989 Dodge Daytona 2.2, research showed that this was the turbo for the job since it was already a workable system, was quite common and best of all right in his price range ( cheap) . So with the turbo in hand the system began to take shape.

If you new to propane systems, they may seem complicated but they really are a very simple system.
It consists of a tank, fuel line, shutoff, converter and mixer, all of these things are very easy to come by and quite cheap. Most if not all of the parts were from junkyards and parts that were lying around the shop….. and the BBQ.

Jesse hung the turbo in the engine bay where he figured that it would be out of harms way and be the most functional / accessible. He then went to work making a header that would hook up to the turbo, figuring his best bet would to be to use his old long tube header, he cut it up and utilize d what he could. Although confident in his “little BBQ that could,” he didn't want to start buying catalogue parts for something that was still untested. He cut off the flange at the head and used what bends he had in front of him, also making up a flange for the turbo and working with that . This whole process came together in about 4 hours of shop time . Next up was the intake side, originally he was going to use the carbed intake that was on the motor but he was having problems with that since he wanted to have the throttle plate on the compressed side of the turbo.
After some calculations he came up with a much better idea, why not use an efi intake and just block off all the injector holes and unused vacuum ports?
He bolted the intake on and rigged up the intake piping using 2 ½” u-bend exhaust pipe with silicone couplings using the t-bolt style clamps.

Now the one thing that even Jesse was not willing to cheap out on was the propane mixer.
He mounted the mixer on the intake side of the turbo and focused his attention on the little things.
This turbo runs both oil and water cooling so he had to get the plumbing for this life blood taken care of.
The engineers at Toyota are so thoughtfull that on the passenger side of the motor, smack dab in the middle of the motor mount they have a plugged off oil pressure hole. Armed with a few fittings and a 4 foot piece of 1/4" steel brake line he plumbed the oil to the turbo. How the oil was going to leave the turbo, well that was a whole other problem . It's important that the drain on the turbo points straight down, if it has the chance it will burn the oil and that is no good . Jesse took off the oil pan and welded in a bung for the drain and used some high heat hose for the connection from the turbo to the oil pan. The next thing on the list was the water lines, since to run propane you need to run water thru the converter, which is what takes the propane from a high pressure and converts it into low pressure because propane at high flow will want to freeze up. Jesse ran his heater hoses thru the turbo to the converter and back to heater, that made short work of that issue.


With the main part of the turbo setup rigged Jesse took issue with his heavy foot and the fact that he was sure to be like a giddy little school girl with his new found turbo (Not to mention the overly high RPM's Jesse prefers his motors to sing at). He decided it would be a good idea to install some sort of rev limiter. Jesse picked up a Jacobs Pro street ignition system that has a manual rev limiter and installed it between his lead foot and the motor. While dealing with the ignition Jesse decided it a good idea to give as much spark as possible to take full advantage of his fuel set up.

With just two more things to get finished up, the exhaust and fuel tank, Jesse was quickly getting this project licked. He went with a straight 2 1/2" exhaust since the turbo quiets the system down a fair bit.
For the tank he chose to go with a common fork lift tank. This set up saves a lot of space and allows tanks to be changed quickly. These two things finished up, it all came to life fairly quickly only needing a few tweaks and a bit of timing the system flashed right up and purred like a kitten.


Thus far Jesse's setup has been a successful one and he is very happy with the results of his out of the box thinking and hard work. If you 're looking to do something like this Jesse suggests spending a lot of time doing research and reading about how propane systems work. This is not a build for the unskilled or timid but saying that, it's a worthwhile project adding the fun of a turbo, while saving money on cheap BBQ fuel. This system runs on any angle, it's cheap to set up if you know what parts you are looking for and it's inexpensive to run. It also puts out a lot of power while weighing very little, producing great bang for your buck. It probably won't be too long before we see other Toyotas on the trails running systems like this, now to plumb in the on-board grill..

If you have any questions contact Uncle_Jesse on






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