Brian894x4’s Land Cruiser FZJ80 build thread.

#1
Do you guys mind if I start my own build thread? This rig will be replacing my 1989 Toyota PU SAS and so over the next few months, I'll be modifying it to fit the role that my truck has so faithfully served us for the last 7 years. The '89 truck will be hearafter known as our "legacy expedition rig" and it will be prepped and put up for sale very shortly to clear garage space for the new expedition rig.

The new expedition rig is a 1995 FZJ80.

Initial specs are:
1995 FZJ80, all stock
No lockers, but has at least an ARB rear in it’s future.
85,000 miles.
Previous owner just installed brand new 275/70R-16 BFG A/T KOs a few months ago.
Locally owned rig, I’m the 3rd owner. Two prior owners were ladies. First one rarely drove it and barely put 6000 miles on it a year. Second one drove it as a commuter car.
Color is Moonglow Pearl, which is a fancy way of saying bluish/gray.
Original purchase price in 1995 was $48,000 :Wow1:

It’s very clean and almost in perfect condition. The only negatives are that the leather has sort of cracked, but not ripped. I’ve since conditioned it and that actually made some dramatic improvement to the point that I think it’s savable. The other issue is that there’s a very slight leak from the rear of the engine, that could be a rear valve cover leak or could be a rear main seal. If it’s the latter, I’ve been told that rear main seal leaks are very common on FZJ80s and that I could probably just live with it for most of the engine’s service life.

There’s not a spec of rust anywhere and besides the clean interior and exterior, even the underside is fairly clean indicating that most of it’s usage was on paved roads.

Here’s some initial pics. The very first thing I did was remove the running boards that came with it and also the Toyota bug deflector (it was rubbing up against the hood and damaging the paint.). Also, the 3rd row seats were removed and all of the above will go into storage, since I don’t have much need for any of it right now.
 
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#3
Until I can get the truck sold, the LC will have to sit outside for a while, so my intitial mods will all be low key so as not to draw attention to itself.

In fact, the entire build will be fairly low key, compared to the neon sign that is our truck. Much of our exploring and research involves parking our rig somewhere and hiking down a trail, abandoned logging RR grade or up a closed road towards a fire lookout or abandoned mine. The truck just screamed out "I have lots of goodies for the taking inside me!"

This build will make an effort to compromise having all the necessary accessories and mods, without looking like it's a super spendy truck worth breaking into or trying steal.

My planned approach is keeping the vehicle fairly stock looking on the outside. The notable exception will be an ARB bumper and winch and some sliders. However, there won't be a roofrack or tall lift or tall tires or snorkle.
I had debated the roofrack idea, until it became clear that I couldn't fit in my garage with one, even with stock tires and stock suspension, so that was an easy decision.

This theme will extend to the interior as well. My truck has a dozen gauges and 6 million switches, plus two GPSes, 3 radios and a laptop. A total theft magnet. On the LC, some of these items will still be needed, but they'll be hidden out of view. I already have plans to install my radios inside the center console and external antennas will be easily removable. The GPS will be mounted in such as way as it's easily removable and securable. Same for the laptop. Extra gauges and switches will kept to an absolute minimum, possibily utilizing factory switches when feasable.

I haven't quite figured out how I'm going to set up the interior. I want to retain the ability to carry 3 passengers and myself on a long trip (one major reason for upgrading from the PU to the LC) so the 2nd row seats will remain in place. My initital thoughts are to just carry my gear, tools and spares in easily removable boxes/crates, rather than build a permanant set up like the rear of my truck.

My wife and I are not tall and I think we could manage to sleep fairly comfortably in the back of the Land Cruiser if we pull our storage boxes and out and store up up front and/or outside/under the rig. It's certainly more roomy than the back of my truck ever was. We'll see. A rooftop tent might be in our distant future, as well.

To power everything, I plan on a duel battery system, similier to my truck, but MUCH simplier. I'll be mounting a second battery on the passenger side with a controllable solenoid to seperate the two batteries while the engine is off. For now, the stock alternator will remain. I believe it's 110amps, which should be enough for my needs. I may eventually upgrade, but will probably just stay stock and rebuild it for reliability.

As far as suspension/axle/tire mods. I'm still debating.

I'm fairly certain, I have no intention of lifting the LC. Certainly not significantly. Since this will be an expedition rig that will see 90% highway/dirt/gravel roads and about 10% moderate off roading, I don't see the need for anything taller than 33" tires. I anticipate at least having to change out the front springs to compensate for the ARB and winch and I like the OME's stock hieght kit which would be about 1" depending on weight. But I have research to do in regards to what springs would work the best for my application.

Once I settle on a tire size (I'm thinking eventually, 285/75R-16 MTRs should do nicely) then I have to make a decision about whether I want to go to the expense and hassle of regearing both axles. Once that decision is made, is when I'll add lockers. Either just a rear ARB or ARBs front and rear.

I have ton of little mods planned, like raising the spare, CDL switch, hand throttle, etc, etc.

I haven't had a chance to update my website, but the build will be documented there as well, a little more extensively.
 
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adventureduo

Dave Druck [KI6LBB]
#4
Great looking 80. Perfect condition man. I drove to Sacramento from OC to get mine that condition.

I just recently bought mine in July and have been building it rapidly ever since for expedition use. I would love to see another FZJ80 build up. The 4.11's that come stock will be fine for what your using it for and that tire size. I've done the CDL switch and you'll love that too. Slee sells both the CDL switch and the hand throttle. Got my hand throttle on the way.

Keep us up to date!
 
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#5
I like your rig. Very nice. My dream set up. That's basically what I like to end up with in the end, rooftop tent and all. The rack and tent will be much further down the road, however. How does it handle with all that fuel and the tent up top?

CDL switch, 7pin mod, and hand throttle will be done very shortly since those mods are faily straight forward. Beyond that I have to get my truck ready for sale. But once the truck is gone and I can move the LC into the garage, things will start happening quickly.

At first, I said no lift, but now I'm leaning towards maybe an OME 2.5" medium load rear springs and heavy load front springs. Just to get things, like the cat converters out of the weeds.
 
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calamaridog

Expedition Leader
#6
Brian,

I'm going to say that 97% of people don't even see the improvements you will make.

Bling is NOT found on Land Cruisers.

Disable your truck at the trailhead and hike away. I wouldn't worry about it too much.

If the leather bothers you, there are replacements available.

Awesome truck. I look forward to seeing what improvements you make.
 

locrwln

Expedition Leader
#7
Brian894x4 said:
I like your rig. Very nice. My dream set up. That's basically what I like to end up with in the end, rooftop tent and all. The rack and tent will be much further down the road, however. How does it handle with all that fuel and the tent up top?

CDL switch, 7pin mod, and hand throttle will be done very shortly since those mods are faily straight forward. Beyond that I have to get my truck ready for sale. But once the truck is gone and I can move the LC into the garage, things will start happening quickly.

At first, I said no lift, but now I'm leaning towards maybe an OME 2.5" medium load rear springs and heavy load front springs. Just to get things, like the cat converters out of the weeds.
I was going to suggest the lift springs just for the ride improvement. It's hard to believe, but mine rides and handles better with the OME mediums. I still don't have a front bumper or anything, so I didn't need the heavy front springs.

The stock gearing is fine for 285's, so no need to worry about regearing, I did get the Speedo correction gear from Slee for the tranny shift points.

Can't wait to see the build, mines been slow in the making, but handles all of the desert and long road trips, loaded, that I have done. I just got my sliders done. My next big thing is working on a auxillary tank for more range.

Jack
 

DaveInDenver

Expedition Leader
#8
calamaridog said:
I'm going to say that 97% of people don't even see the improvements you will make.

Bling is NOT found on Land Cruisers.

Disable your truck at the trailhead and hike away. I wouldn't worry about it too much.
I won't go so far as to say you /never/ see bling on a Cruiser, but the sort of stuff we hang on our trucks I think makes them look less attractive rather than more. For one it makes them unique and stand-out, something that is bad for a would be thief.

Otherwise Drexx is about right on. Add a couple of defeats to make it difficult and just be happy. I put in a Tuffy center console in my Hilux and if they can get in to that quickly and quietly, they deserve whatever's in there. As far as radios, I wouldn't worry. They are after car stereos. CB and ham radios are hard to pawn (and anyone who's savvy enough to recognize a ham radio isn't a CB is probably not gonna be stealing radios) and so they are less likely to be targets.

This is not to say you shouldn't be careful leaving your truck at a trailhead, but basic precautions. It's not so much vehicle theft as content protection. It's pretty common around here to have theft at well known trailheads. This is primarily because the bad guys can watch and know you'll be gone for a certain amount of time. So locking boxes and covers to keep things out of sight are key. They are looking for an opportunity and if all they see are Tuffy boxes or wood boxes with padlocks with nothing interesting sitting out, they are more likely to pass your truck over.
 
#9
Congrat's Brian. You now own one of the greatest vehicles ever brought to the US, and with low miles too.

I really like the mod concepts and keeping things simple. Even without lockers the 80 is amazing on the trail.

I would consider an OME suspension, mostly to accomodate the loads and limit head-toss. Consider a 275/75 as a replacement too.
 

kcowyo

ExPo Original
#10
Congrats Brian!

I really like the color you found. I'm a big fan myself of understated but highly effective mods that don't draw attention. Under the radar is a good place to be.

I look forward to seeing your build. Hopefully you'll be able to figure out an ideal rear storage solution in less attempts than you did with your truck.

And you realize this is going to completely screw up your whole "Brian894x4" thing, right? :mixed-smiley-030:
 

adventureduo

Dave Druck [KI6LBB]
#11
Brian894x4 said:
I like your rig. Very nice. My dream set up. That's basically what I like to end up with in the end, rooftop tent and all. The rack and tent will be much further down the road, however. How does it handle with all that fuel and the tent up top?

CDL switch, 7pin mod, and hand throttle will be done very shortly since those mods are faily straight forward. Beyond that I have to get my truck ready for sale. But once the truck is gone and I can move the LC into the garage, things will start happening quickly.

At first, I said no lift, but now I'm leaning towards maybe an OME 2.5" medium load rear springs and heavy load front springs. Just to get things, like the cat converters out of the weeds.
Well it sways a tad when you try and make a quick u-turn hehehe.. but other than that.. it's not bad. The tent only weighs 125lbs.. so it's not that bad since the weight it spread out. The fuel is only in 2 of the cans right now and i havent ever had them all filled at once... i figure if i fill them all, i will be on a long haul through the desert or down into baja where i won't be taking any hardcore trails.

I have the OME 2.5" heavy springs on my rig and love them. They clear the 33x11.50's just fine and have a ride of caddy IMHO compared to other offroad springs i've used in the past. So far they haven't sagged out too much with all the bolt-ons... but we'll see , i still need to get the outback drawers installed, fridge and c02 tank in the back. Fully loaded last time out the rig sat level. Unloaded it sat stinkbug a bit... but i dont mind cause they're for function, not looks.
 
#12
calamaridog said:
Brian,
Disable your truck at the trailhead and hike away. I wouldn't worry about it too much.
If the leather bothers you, there are replacements available.
Fortunately, it at least has the factory alarm, which disables the starter, but like my truck, it will have a number of features that make it practically impossible to drive away in. What I worry about is someone breaking in and stealing valuables like my laptop, gps and tools. My Ham has a separate screen that looks like one of those fancy DVD stereos so a thief will likely think it’s a fancy stereo or DVD player, which is why I should I hide it.

kcowyo said:
Congrats Brian!
And you realize this is going to completely screw up your whole "Brian894x4" thing, right? :mixed-smiley-030:
Oh ya….it’s kind of a bummer. I was less than creative when I came up with that name years ago for another message board. And then I was foolish enough to name my website the same thing, having no clue it would grow into what it is now. Even my logo is based off my old truck. I may eventually redesign the logo, but my moniker will remain the same as will my web domain. It would take me months to change the domain of literally thousands of pages, plus they’d all lose their place in the search engine lists. So, stuck with it I am.

That’s why I’m going to call it my “heritage truck” even after it’s sold. ;)
 
#14
Yep, I bought it. No regrets. If a better deal ever comes up, I'd be willing to buy it too and sell this one. I know I could get at least what I paid for it for it pretty quickly.

The black one in bend looks nice. Wonder what the mileage is and if has lockers. I probably wouldn't do well with Black though.

I've seen about 3 Diesel 60s over the last few months for sale, both here and up north in Washington. All are high mileage base rigs with what appears to be transplanted 3Bs. It doesn't seem like the 3B would have enough power to push the heavy 60?

Hey Ken, if you know anyone who wants to sell an ARB winch bumper for an 80, I'm in the market for one. I'll buy new if I have too, but I'd like to see if there's a used one out there first.
 
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Mlachica

TheRAMadaINN on Instagram
#15
Wow, you've got a great platform! I love the color too!

Coincidentally, I'm working out details for a 1995 80 with 90k miles and is also moonstone :jumping:
 
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