My Proffitts 1HD-FT 80 series conversion *UPDATED WITH PICS AND VIDEO*
My Proffitts 1HD-FT 80 series conversion
Ive been holding out posting about my build, but as we get closer to the completion date I invite you all to the grand finale of what has been a very lengthy and yet very rewarding process.
Firstly a little background … (apologies in advance – it gets a little deep!)
Growing up in the UK for the first 24 years of my life, I, as most Brits, have a fond relationship with the diesel engine. Where as 80% of the cars on the road today in the US are gasoline, 80% in the UK are diesel.
I always had a soft spot for the Land Cruisers, but in order to have one back in England, at a staggering $11 per gallon for diesel - you would need to sell your first born in order to fill it up!
Well a few years later I moved to the USA – hooray fuel prices are cheaper I thought, now time to find that diesel Land Crusier … alas no dice! Little did I know that the US market was only offered the gasoline variant. No problem I thought, I’ll just import one, after all I have family in the UK still, and they were more than willing to help with acquiring one for me and to assist in shipping. Canada was also an option too.
Then I ran into the 25 year import rule – DAMN you EPA!
A few years later after that dream was crushed, I managed to score a US Spec FJ60 that had a 3B engine transplanted into it from a donor BJ60 from Canada. I loved the truck dearly, however even after I added a turbo to it, the weight of the 60 (with all its ARB goodies, big tires, camping equipment etc) made it a bit of a dog.
Now I had my eyes on an FJ80 for a while, but simply could not justify to myself getting 12mpg especially when I brew Biodiesel as a hobby in my spare time (that’s another story )
Well after many hours on the ‘internets’, and searching through this very helpful forum as well as picking the brains from the guys on IH8Mud, I, as many others have in the past, found me a loophole – something called a ‘half-cut’.
For those of you that know about this, feel free to skip this section , others, read on ….
So, you cant bring in a diesel Landcruiser that is newer than 25 years old which I mentioned before as the EPA would crush it at the border before you got your sticky fingers on it, however, if you take said vehicle, and cut it in half before it gets to the US – say from the A pillar forward, and ship that ‘half’ across the pond, well then it comes into the US as ‘parts’ and is 100% legal. You then take that engine, transmission etc out, drop it in your 80 series (or vehicle of choice) and VOILA, you have yourself a legal Toyota Diesel Landcruiser!!
Maybe its an obsession, maybe its just wanting to point the middle finger at the man, I don’t know, but I was on a mission now to make this happen and build my dream Landcruiser.
So the 60 gets put up for sale, and I guess im not the only one with diesel fever, as I had a few offers within days of posting it, and it sold to a very happy chap out west.
After scouring the classifieds, it wasn’t long before I came across one of the cleanest 80 series I had ever seen. Lovingly looked after in a previous life by none other than Expo member Dave – aka Guambomb.
A 1994 80 series, fully locked, with 184,000 miles, ARB bumper, winch, OME lift, the works!
Man I was loving life! This thing is awesome. Now I had made a bargain with myself, that if I got this 12mpg monster I would stick by my guns and find it a diesel beating heart.
After a lot of research, reviews by other owners I decided upon a 12 valve 1HDT. I really wanted one with a 5 speed manual but was told that was a very rare option as less than 10% of these truck leaving Japan came with a manual transmission.
I contacted a few shops about doing the conversion, and decided to fall on the old wise premise of, “do it once and do it right”. If im going to go to all this headache im not going to attempt it myself, and im not going to have someone do this that hasn’t done it before. I wanted a clean factory looking install with everything working as it did with the gas motor.
Of the shops I spoke too, Proffitts Cruisers out in Colorado and Salt Lake city were the most helpful, had the most experience doing this kind of conversion, and, well, just look at the vehicles that come out of that shop, man I was sold.
Originally they were going to source an engine for me from Japan, however with the unfortunate Tsunami that happened over there, it didn’t look like it would happen.
After extensive research, emails, phone calls, I was coming up short. Now let me just say, this isn’t a ‘money is no object’ thing – I am a realist, I have a job, wife, 2 kids and a mortgage, and knowing how a project like this can get out of hand money wise, and so I was prepared to wait and look for a deal.
As fate would have it, a great guy called Bill, only 5 hours south of me contacted me about a half cut he brought in a few years back with the intention of doing a swap that never materialized.
And get this … he said it was a 1HD-FT (yes the 24v version only available from 1995-1998), with a 5 speed manual!!
After many conversations on the phone, and a trip to meet him, we came to a deal and it was mine.
Both trucks were promptly put on a transporter pointed West!
Through no fault of Proffitts, the conversion got off to a slow start, for which they were very apologetic but Im happy to say that everything went smoothly during the conversion process and we were able to stay (more or less ) within budget. John and the guys have been awesome at answering all my questions thoroughly (I think we have exchanged over 100 emails since I started putting this in motion a year ago!)
The truck I have been told is finished, and im flying out on the 15th of this month to look at it.
Sorry this post is so long, but I wanted to share with you all the story of how this came to be.
I will update with pictures, video and any questions or requests you may have.
Here is what was done along with the swap:
New Water pump
New Timing Belt
Rear main seal
3” free flowing exhaust
Engine Going in:
Wiring Harness from gas engine and diesel engine being joined in holy matrimony!
Thanks for reading, Updates to follow ...
"In Omnia Paratus"
80 series Turbo Diesel Toyota 1HD-FT Landcruiser, 5 Speed Manual, Triple Locked, gTurbo, 35" AT's, Metal Tech sliders, custom rear bumper with dual swingouts, Warn 9.5xp, ARB front, OME lift
LV-416 Explorer Trailer, CVT RTT