You are an animal, wagovanman!. Can anyone tell what that small box/tank is for directly across from the red floor jack? It has a small vacuum line that runs to the top of the gas tank. A small line and a 3/4" hose that runs to the front some where in the engine bay. Since the truck had no front clip engine or trans. I dont know what they hooked up to. I am thinking maybe the CA. clean air act BS. If that is what it is can I safely remove that stuff without affecting engine performance?
Anyway, I am down to one useable eye and it isn't good enough to tell from the picture provided, but from what you have described (& knowing that it is a gen2) that sounds like the charcoal canister and how it SHOULD hook up into the EVAP system (the purge control solenoid) in the engine bay. From what I have read, and from my experience when mine was leaking, engine performance is not an issue, but you will get a code & a CEL if you live in an emissions inspection state.
Not too crazy long ago I responded to a thread inquiring about rectifying an AVAP system delete, and I quoted from my '03 FSM (which on that system should be quite similar). Give me a bit & I'll find the thread & paste a link for you. At the very least, there should be some informative reading there.