Is the FZJ80 worth it in today’s market?

So I recently picked up a 1997 Land Cruiser for 8k. 226k, CDL only, minimal rust underneath (AR/MO truck). I knew all the issues it has going in: typical leaks, all rubber parts in the truck have seen better days, exhaust is deteriorating, fluids needed replacing, etc. It is a solid runner, but I’m starting to feel overwhelmed by the amount of work/$ that will be required to get it up to snuff for more remote travel and longer trips without having to worry about breakdowns etc.

I’m also starting to regret having passed over some substantially cheaper options like a 1st gen Xterra, which was going for 3k in similar condition/mileage. I may end up having to cut my losses for something more affordable.

Basically my question is: is the high buy-in for the 80 series justified when compared to other similar budget 4x4 platforms?
 

tplane2

Member
Worth it if you can do the work yourself. Not worth it if you can't. 80s are officially a "classic" in my book and even though they are well built and mostly reliable, they need TLC at this point in their lives. If you can provide the labor, the OEM parts (only way to go), are fairly priced and can get any neglected 80 fairly healthy with a couple thousand bucks.

You mentioned the Xterra for 3k. The difference there is your 80 will continue to appreciate and will be worth more after you put some sweat equity into it. Can't say the same for a clapped out Xterra. You made the right choice in purchase, its now whether or not you want to hold on to the 80 and clean it up, or sell it for what you got into it and wash your hands clean.
 

phsycle

Adventurer
Old trucks are old trucks, no matter what brand. As you found out, you’ll need to put some money in to baseline.

But once you do, I’m sure it’ll serve you for many many many miles.

At one point in my life, I wanted an 80. In fact, a neighbor has a nice 1998, triple locked, all stock and in good shape. Original owner. He won’t part with it. But I may consider that if it ever comes available.

But I will go into it knowing I’ll need $5-10k to baseline. These are enthusiast trucks, not turn key.
 
Worth it if you can do the work yourself
Yeh I'd like to say I could do most of it myself but I'm not sure I trust myself to overhaul the cooling system or replace a valve cover gasket without making some dumb mistake and losing coolant or oil pressure though. Maybe I'm just psyching myself out though. In the past I've preferred to drop the car at the shop and not worry about it, but that may have to change now.
But I will go into it knowing I’ll need $5-10k to baseline. These are enthusiast trucks, not turn key.
5-10k seems pretty steep for baseline if you're doing the work yourself, unless the truck needs a top end rebuild? In any case, I'll have to space out the work a bit with my budget. Cooling system is my first priority.
 

Christian P.

Expedition Leader
Staff member
I am fairly certain that a First Gen X-Terra for $3000 is going to need some work too, probably similar to the LandCruiser.

Between the two I would keep the Land Cruiser.

Or I would just fix it up a bit, sell it back, take your $8k and put that as a deposit on a newer vehicle.
 
I am fairly certain that a First Gen X-Terra for $3000 is going to need some work too, probably similar to the LandCruiser.

Between the two I would keep the Land Cruiser.

Or I would just fix it up a bit, sell it back, take your $8k and put that as a deposit on a newer vehicle.
Other than the cost, my only misgivings about the Cruiser would be its size and the auto. I'm used to a single cab OG Tacoma, so in the 80 there will be a lot more vehicle to maneuver down those tight Arkansas trails. Also I prefer the driving experience and increased bushproof reliability of a manual. Neither of those are dealbreakers though.

Do you think the 80 with its solid axles would outclass the Xterra or similar IFS rigs off road, even if the latter were equipped with aftermarket rear locker?
 

nickw

Adventurer
As cool as I think Cruisers are - they don't last forever and a high mileage one while being well built is going to have it's share of issues. Rubber cracks, plastic breaks and old stuff just falls apart.

A buddy has had an 80 for years, crashed one, bought another one with 2XX k miles and it's been a huge hassle and constantly being worked on....but he likes em.

Enthusiast rig for certain, you can't just roll into a Toyota dealership and have them fixed....they really need to be dropped off at an Indy shop that knows them or better yet, a cruiser specific shop. I know a lot of parts are no longer available in the std. supply chain channels....but some cruiser shops have them and/or specialty shops...
 

Arktikos

Explorer
Yeh I'd like to say I could do most of it myself but I'm not sure I trust myself to overhaul the cooling system or replace a valve cover gasket without making some dumb mistake and losing coolant or oil pressure though. Maybe I'm just psyching myself out though. In the past I've preferred to drop the car at the shop and not worry about it, but that may have to change now.

5-10k seems pretty steep for baseline if you're doing the work yourself, unless the truck needs a top end rebuild? In any case, I'll have to space out the work a bit with my budget. Cooling system is my first priority.
What's wrong with cooling system? PHH replacement is probably a good idea. You could hire any old shop to do that, have them do fuel filter at same time, otherwise everything should be fairly straightforward and easy.
Front axle may need to be rebuilt. If it ain't broke, don't fix it. For sure an Xterra would be a cheaper off roader. I'd rather have the 80 with its auto anytime, anywhere.
 
What's wrong with cooling system?
Nothing wrong per se: my temps usually sit at 190-194f on the highway. However most if the hoses look original and I figured an overhaul would be good PM. At the very least I plan to replace the HCV, tstat, water pump, PHH if I can source the part, and a good flush. I seem to be losing coolant slightly, so I'm hoping it's just a small leak from some hose rather than the HG.
 

Todd n Natalie

Observer
As cool as I think Cruisers are - they don't last forever and a high mileage one while being well built is going to have it's share of issues. Rubber cracks, plastic breaks and old stuff just falls apart.

A buddy has had an 80 for years, crashed one, bought another one with 2XX k miles and it's been a huge hassle and constantly being worked on....but he likes em.

Enthusiast rig for certain, you can't just roll into a Toyota dealership and have them fixed....they really need to be dropped off at an Indy shop that knows them or better yet, a cruiser specific shop. I know a lot of parts are no longer available in the std. supply chain channels....but some cruiser shops have them and/or specialty shops...
Agreed. I wanted one. I bought one. Roughly in 2012? Truck was a 1991. That particular truck was always giving me grief.

Got rid of it 6 months later.... funny enough it was an 2003 Xterra S/C that replaced it. The Xterra died a couple months later when the head gasket blew out....😐
 
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Arktikos

Explorer
Nothing wrong per se: my temps usually sit at 190-194f on the highway. However most if the hoses look original and I figured an overhaul would be good PM. At the very least I plan to replace the HCV, tstat, water pump, PHH if I can source the part, and a good flush. I seem to be losing coolant slightly, so I'm hoping it's just a small leak from some hose rather than the HG.
 

alanymarce

Well-known member
I may be missing something, however...

We've owned an 80 Series (1997 VX) and a couple of X Trails (not that far off the X Terra), as well as a variety of other 4x4s.

If I were trying to decide between these two the key question would be "What am I planning to use it for?". We drove the second of our X Trails around South America and it did a great job, in fact handled more demanding routes than we thought it could. However, the clearance was limited, the angles limited, and the space was limited. We never found ourselves unable to go where we wanted, and the space was OK, however when we replaced the X Trail we bought a Montero, which has better angles, clearance, space, and power, and this has taken us to places the X Trail would have been unable to handle.

We owned the 80 Series at the same time as the Montero (which we still have) - but on a different continent. The Series 80 is far more capable than the X Trail/X Terra and took us to places they could not have reached (although the Montero could).

So, back to my question - if you want to cross the Simpson or Maun to Kasane via Savuti, then the Series 80 is what you need. If you don;t wnat to take on this type of route, then the X Terra may be a better bet (and it'll still cross Parque Eduardo Avaroa etc.).
 

tplane2

Member
Agreed. I wanted one. I bought one. Roughly in 2012? Truck was a 1991. That particular truck was always giving me grief.

Got rid of it 6 months later.... funny enough it was an 2003 Xterra S/C that replaced it. The Xterra died a couple months later when the head gasket blew out....😐
1991-92 are arguably the worst years of the 80. Everyone who is considering an 80, buy a 95-97. Full float rear axle (avail in 94), better engine (than 91/2), and parts availability make for a better overall ownership experience.
 

Todd n Natalie

Observer
1991-92 are arguably the worst years of the 80. Everyone who is considering an 80, buy a 95-97. Full float rear axle (avail in 94), better engine (than 91/2), and parts availability make for a better overall ownership experience.
Well whadda ya know. Coulda woulda shoulda. Oh well. Live n learn.
 

plh

Explorer
A beautiful classic. Can get collector plates they are so old. Hard PASS for a reliable driver. Good luck getting parts quickly when you break down in the middle of ... (basically insert any city here)
 
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