1997 FZJ80 40th Anniversary #0411
I started my search for an 80 around a year ago after juggling between my Tacoma and then FJ60. Different trips warranted a different rig longer trips on the highway went to the Tacoma and shorter day trips to the 60. I always had dreams of building up the 60 to go anywhere off highway or on, but I just couldn't pull the trigger on the build. I got to thinking that a more modern and capable rig was in order. Enter the FZJ80, with a heavy duty frame, coil suspension and straight axles front and rear. This platform allows comfort on the road and gobs of off road capability. I narrowed it down looking for a 1996 and 1997 model for the OBDII and newest available years, lockers would be nice but not required, but most of all good service history.
The plan would be to build a dedicated overland/adventure rig that would be ready to go with out a lot of prep work or loading. I'm not talking fully loaded and ready for an expedition to Chile but, load the cooler and pack a bag and go. Drawers would be built to hold cooking and camp needs and for the most part be kept loaded in the truck, I would leave the tent on top since it would only see highway time if we are using the tent so MPGs are out the window anyways. The truck would be capable enough to go any were I would want to go in a fully loaded overland truck with a RTT and higher center of gravity. Tire size in the 285/75/16 range in a AT or MT, lockers would be great but not required for the build's goals. If the truck didn't have them then they would be a ways down on the list.
The FZJ80 the day I handed over the money
The truck you see above fit all of my search requirements and even better was found locally. 175K on the truck with a folder full of records, factory Diff locks front and rear and in a color I was a fan of. SOLD!
It was also fitted with an ARB Bullbar, Old Man Emu Low Lift kit (861 and 862 springs .5" -.75" over stock) and Yakima cross bars. I was able to mount my RTT and hit the trail "right out of the box" so to speak.
After a base line check and mounting the RTT we made a quick weekend trip up to Monticello Box, a classic Southern New Mexico rout in a tight canyon with lots of water.
The road fallows a running creek all the way through the Box.
The road is always changing with every flash flood.
The following post will cover:
Suspension and Tires
Roof Top Tent and Rack