Buying my First FJ80 LandCruiser.

tacollie

Explorer
If you want to do harder trails and don't mind wrenching then the 80 might be a good option. 35s fit nicely. They are simple to work on which is good because they are old at this point. Keep in mind paint is expensive. I would probably keep the 4runner and save my pennies for something later down the road. Once the 4runner is paid off you will be in a better position to shop for a solid 80.

Am I the only that would rather go to a local shop over a dealership? Everytime I go to a dealership it leaves a bad taste in my mouth.
 
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nickw

Adventurer
I can get a lot of parts at the dealer. They adjusted the valves on it. They did more than basic maintenance.
Did you see the IH8MUD thread? Lots of parts are available....lots aren't and the 80s are not getting any younger.

Adjusting valves is very different than replacing a part that isnt made anymore...or having to wait for dealer to get it.

Sensors, major engine components, radiators, trans, tcase, axle and sus components are major....many of those parts dont exist in Toyota dealer inventory.
 

plh

Explorer
I daily drove 25 year + old trucks for years, however always had a backup. My commute is short, only around 4 miles. I would never recommend it as an only vehicle that needs to be relied upon. If you absolutely need to use the vehicle for work and during work you should be leasing something new...

and BTW - didn't the seller offer it to you for $1700 at first? what a flake.
 

hikingff77

Adventurer
Thank you for all the replies.

"and BTW - didn't the seller offer it to you for $1700 at first? what a flake."

To be 100% honest with you, I'm not sure. It could just be my memory. But I think it was around that.

I have a backup car that works great, wife works from home and doesn't use her care barely at all during the day, but I can see the issue come up of needing to be somewhere and not having her car, while mine is being worked on.

I only plan on this being temporary as I want to get something more new in a few years. It also kills me to see this thing go to someone else when I never see anything for this price on an 80. Only rust was on the back tailgate, two patches, and the corner of one rocker.

Which brings me to paint, paint is freaking expensive! Who knew? Not I. Over $4000 to do a simple white job. My friend worked for a body shop for years, family owned, he's painted many cars on his own and they look great. I really only want to get a couple years out of it as a work car, then I'll switch it to a second car.

I budget about $2500 in original maintenance, my friend is a mechanic and quoted me around $1000 to do some of the visible work it needs.

The paint is really holding me back. Everything else, including maintenance, which I know is huge, doesn't slow me down much. I'm never in the middle of nowhere, so although breakdowns are annoying and can be costly, I won't be stranded.

I set myself a timeline of next week to make a decision. Worst care scenario, I get it, bring it up to where it needs to be mechanically and then sell it.
 

plh

Explorer
Only rust was on the back tailgate, two patches, and the corner of one rocker.

I'm never in the middle of nowhere,
Rust sucks... how is the frame? What area of the country was this driven most of its life?

Don't surprise yourself, had to flatbed tow one of my trucks home a few years ago due to a minor breakdown but no parts available in the area, about 120 miles (interstate highway) not in the middle of nowhere. $500 just for the tow...
 

lumpskie

Independent Thinker
Did you see the IH8MUD thread? Lots of parts are available....lots aren't and the 80s are not getting any younger.

Adjusting valves is very different than replacing a part that isnt made anymore...or having to wait for dealer to get it.

Sensors, major engine components, radiators, trans, tcase, axle and sus components are major....many of those parts dont exist in Toyota dealer inventory.
You can still get long blocks, radiators, trans parts, tcase, axles and suspension components new. But I don't think I'd ever buy any of these new. For blocks, you can get quality oversized pistons... I'd go that route. For radiators, Mud lists lots of options for cheaper/better radiators. For axles, I'd either upgrade strength, or clean junk yard. Rebuild your tcase - all the internals are still available at the dealer... while you're at throw Matsuba lower gearing high and low range gears in there. (I think new tcases are still available too but I'm not sure) Suspension... I'd never put stock back on. (I went Autocraft Slinky/Icon). There are plenty of quality options out there right now. I almost view this moment in time as a renaissance for the 80 series. We even have a multitude of engine/transmission swap options out there these days. For some stuff, it's OEM or nothing. For other stuff, you can use quality aftermarket parts and not worry.
 

nickw

Adventurer
You can still get long blocks, radiators, trans parts, tcase, axles and suspension components new. But I don't think I'd ever buy any of these new. For blocks, you can get quality oversized pistons... I'd go that route. For radiators, Mud lists lots of options for cheaper/better radiators. For axles, I'd either upgrade strength, or clean junk yard. Rebuild your tcase - all the internals are still available at the dealer... while you're at throw Matsuba lower gearing high and low range gears in there. (I think new tcases are still available too but I'm not sure) Suspension... I'd never put stock back on. (I went Autocraft Slinky/Icon). There are plenty of quality options out there right now. I almost view this moment in time as a renaissance for the 80 series. We even have a multitude of engine/transmission swap options out there these days. For some stuff, it's OEM or nothing. For other stuff, you can use quality aftermarket parts and not worry.
Based on what I've seen over at IH8mud, long blocks, radiators, transmissions and axles are not in the dealer parts supply chain. As you point out, doesn't matter if your handy and don't mind a) doing your own work or b) taking it to good indy shop, my point was for many folks, that is out of their wheelhouse....but not for enthusiasts who know the 'players' in the cruiser game.

*edit - 3FE blocks are gone. According to some of the Toyota gurus on IH8mud, the 1FZ's never came in long block form but there is a grand total of (2) short blocks stateside and in US dealer supply chain.
 
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GeoRoss

Adventurer
To the OP, just go in with your eyes open. You can easily spend $2500 getting up to date on the obvious maintenance. This is changing all fluids, checking all rubber hoses/lines cooling and brakes, etc. What condition is the suspension and all bushings? Does it have obvious oil leaks? Is the front axle leaking grease? How does the engine sound? This is just the highlights list. You mention having it look nice for work, this can be a real can of worms as you mention body panel rust.

Does it have factory front and rear lockers? Factory lockers in working condition can get $1700 by themselves.

I used to need my Land Cruiser as my main vehicle. At the time I commuted by bike so it wasn't a DD per se, but I did need it to pick up kids and the like. Doing major maintenance over the weekend was always stressful. I had to anticipate all parts needed and couldn't go through the inspect-replace as needed. There was the stress of what to do if things went sideways. When I picked up a second car all this stress went away. I could take my time and just plink away at things. It is now part of my relaxation time. I just did my second front axle service 15 years after the first one. It actually took a month of plinking away at it. I discovered my spindles were worn, so a delay to get those. Then discovered the birfields needed to be replaced, so another delay. Oops, late-model birfields need late-model drive flanges. I then took the time to paint the axle and knuckles. During assembly I mangled an axle seal. No problem, it could be down for a long time.

I could not have afforded/justified owning my Land Cruiser if I had to pay someone to work on it. For instance the AC compressor went out, actually grenaded. I was quoted around $2000 (I can't remember the exact number, but it was big) in parts and labor to replace the compressor, condenser, drier, thermal expansion valve. This included flushing all the lines and charging the system. I did it over a holiday weekend for about $500 in Denso parts. Lather-Rinse-Repeat for axle service, oil leaks, u-joints, EGR system, etc.

I love my Land Cruiser. I'm glad I own it. If I could pick up a project cruiser for $1700, I would probably do it if it was in generally in good condition. I would definitely do it has factory lockers as I could dump it with out loosing money. I would not do it if the cruiser was going to be my main source of transportation or if I had to pay some one to do the mechanical work.
 

T-Willy

Active member
@GeoRoss offers sound advice.

My Land Cruiser is reliable, but it's a second vehicle since it turned 20. Keeping it reliable requires observation and catching things that could go wrong before they actually do. Staying ahead requires time or money--you do the work, or pay a mechanic. These are important factors to consider before diving in.
 

hikingff77

Adventurer
Rust sucks... how is the frame? What area of the country was this driven most of its life?

Don't surprise yourself, had to flatbed tow one of my trucks home a few years ago due to a minor breakdown but no parts available in the area, about 120 miles (interstate highway) not in the middle of nowhere. $500 just for the tow...
The frame was clean as could be seen.
 

hikingff77

Adventurer
I took it for a ride today, nothing I wasn't expecting, rode pretty well actually. The motor sounds great, it needs an alternator. One thing that I never thought of, it doesn't have air bags. Now, I won't be using this for many long trips, but since it's an every day thing where I do see some busier roads, it's something that I didn't consider and does worry me a touch.

No lockers BTW.

Still not 100% sure but as much as I want it, I don't know if it's the best idea. General maintenance and getting it up and running doesn't bother me. I need it white, for my business brand, it's red. So I'd be learning how to paint a car. Which I like the idea of. I love working on my cars, but I can see how it can be a PITA. I do have a second car if this one is in the throws of being fixed.

Right now I'm leaning away from it just because of the air bags honestly. Since I have a second vehicle it's something I could work on when I have to.
 

sn_85

Observer
Keep the 4Runner. Honestly sounds like it's going to be a lot more work than you expect to upkeep & maintenance to baseline it as a daily driver. It'll get a lot worse MPG, no airbags, no ABS. I don't see any pro's here as a daily driver. Then you have to paint the car white...if you want it done correctly and for it to look good that's going to require a **** ton of work, learning, panel and body removal. Not to mention it means you're out of a vehicle for a good while if it's a DIY job. It's also going to add to the overall cost of the vehicle.

The 4Runner is newer, requires you to do nothing except typical fluids, more comfortable, and safer. It's DD ready and trail capable. The only way at this point to get the FJ80 is as a project car and trail rig but this one seems like a very bad idea to convert to a DD that has to be work specific.
 

hikingff77

Adventurer
I'm bailing on the LandCruiser. It was the lack of airbags that did it for me.

On that note, if anyone is interested, it's located in SE PA. He'll be listing it soon.
 
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