Where to start....
Little background on me. I work as a senior artist/animator for Disney at a video game studio in Salt Lake City. My wife, Michelle, and I have two boys and we all go wheeling together.
Few weeks ago in Moab.
I've been around on these boards for a while, and before that I was active on the old LCML and some of you may even have some of the old LCML stickers that I designed. Anyway, there's a lot of people here that I've known for a long time and others that are very new. For the bulk of that time I was focused on FJ40's since that's what I had along with a couple minitrucks. I got my 40 back in 1995 and that was my daily driver/wheeler for about 8 years. Somewhere in there we picked up a Subaru Outback for my wife along with my first minitruck that I built. In late 2000, my wife shocked me with the idea of selling her Subaru (that we were making payments on) and she'd drive the recently finished '85 reg cab minitruck that was paid for in an effort to save a bit more money. I happily supported that idea. Little background on the minitruck, it had a flatbed, 6" lift, 35's, 22R and a bench seat. So we sold the Subaru and my wife made a valiant effort to drive the minitruck, but we had our first son right about that time and she decided quickly that trying to fit both of us and a newborn in the cab of a minitruck wasn't going to work. So we said goodbye to the minitruck in March of 2001 and went on the search for an 80.
At the time, we were very active with Wasatch Cruisers and there was one 80 in the club amidst a whole mess of 40's and 60's. We liked how comfortable the 80 looked and figured we could wheel it on easier stuff with the family when we didn't want to take the 40. My search for the 80 found me on ebay looking for a factory locked truck in good condition. I searched for a few months but the ones I found were either too much money or not in the condition I wanted. On ebay I stumbled onto a truck that looked to be VERY well maintained, was very clean, already lifted, but didn't have lockers. I debated it for a while since I really wanted one with lockers. But in the end it was too good of a deal to pass up. The price was good and the condition was great, and on top of that I'd be saving several thousand $$$ since it already had a good lift and 35's. Only problem was it was in Houston, Texas and we were in Salt Lake City, Utah. I talked to the owner on the phone several times to get details and had my brother who lived in Houston go check it out. Everything sounded great so my wife and I flew down to get it.
It was just as we'd hoped. Very clean two owner car. Original owners were an older couple that babied it. Second owner was a single guy that was pretty gentle with it too but used good parts for upgrades and mainly drove it to the beach for surfing. So we bought it in September of 2001 and have enjoyed it ever since. When we bought it it had 110K miles on it, had about $4k in stereo upgrades, along with the lift, tires, and a used ARB front bumper that had been in an accident, but repaired and modified.
So over the past six years I have made very few changes, other than replacing tires, doing normal maintenance and driving it for another 100K miles. So here it sits with 209K miles on the clock virtually in the same state as when we bought it. I know, I'm boring, but the truck worked and I didn't feel much need to change it. More importantly my wife loved it and still does. I recently tried to talk her into a new FJ Cruiser to replace it but she declined since she loves the 80.
So here are the specs:
1993 FZJ80 no lockers, and semifloat drum brake rear axle
OME J springs and 1.5" spacers (had OME mediums when we bought it)
OME L shocks (had RS9000's when we bought it)
Outback front control arms
Slee swaybar drop brackets
Slee adjustable panhards
Stainless brake lines
Slee DC front driveshaft
Adjustable rear upper control arms (need to be installed)
315 75 R16 BFG AT's on factory alloys
Modified ARB front bumper
Homemade Wildyoats rear bumper
......and that's about it.
Future plans at the moment are for a rear Aussie locker and eventually a front ARB locker. A "J-Moose" style atv ramp roof rack. and maybe a snorkel. I also plan on modifying the ARB bumper again to accomodate a winch and possible cut off the tubes and build my own "shortbus" style bar on top. But as it sits it's been far more capable than I ever thought without lockers and has taken us some great places.
Here's some pics.
Hooked up for a test run as a tow rig in preparation for a trip to the Rubicon in the 40. After a 10 mile test run on the highway, I vowed never to flat tow with the 80.
Here's some shots of the suspension. Coils, spacers and L shocks
Outback control arms
Adjustable panhard and steering stablizer that's had better days.
Couple shots of the modified ARB bumper. I really like this bumper actually as the lower skirt has all been removed. It has great clearance.