I've been lurking for several weeks now after making a rash, poorly informed purchase decision that will surely cost me many thousands of dollars.
I've been into old toyota supra's for many years now, centered around the mkii generation of 82-86 and currently have one undergoing a longterm restoration. Given the environment in northern Alberta where I live, actually having
a supra to drive around isn't a huge priority - the roads are terrible, the drivers worse and it's winter 5-6 months of the year. There's a reasonable landcruiser community up here, and a large 4x4 community as a whole. I'd been considering getting into an older toyota pickup (think 85 extended cab) for a while to go play in the mud, but the appeal of something with more enclosed space called out to me. I'm also a sucker for inline 6's. I mentally decided to pick up an 80 series and began doing research (this is an amazing resource - far better organized and infinitely more mature than virtually every other enthusiast forum i've ever been on). Even though I wasn't intending to buy until the end of this coming summer, one of my coworkers (who happens to own a mogged 40-series with a 6.5 diesel) suggested I start looking at prices so I know what I'm up against.
Now I know how dangerous that can be - if you look for something you will find it
. How bad could it be?
First search on kijiji. First result. Top of the page:
I was sold already. Who couldn't want that? After speaking with the owner several times and essentially doing more of the selling than he did, I brokered a deal wherein the owner got exactly what he wanted and I got poorer. A lot poorer.
I ended up with a 97 LX450, originally out of California with 275,000kms on the body, less than that on the engine (claimed replaced in 2008) and lockers. The truck is somewhat familiar with this board. In fact I've managed to track down a few relevant threads, letting me follow the last few years of this vehicles life:
2nd owners' for sale thread: http://forum.ih8mud.com/vehicles-tra...12000-obo.html
3rd owners' sliders thread: http://forum.ih8mud.com/80-series-te...450-build.html
3rd owners' for sale thread: http://forum.ih8mud.com/vehicles-tra...lift-315s.html
and finally, the 4th owners' for sale thread (from whom I bought): http://forum.ih8mud.com/vehicles-tra...450-fzj80.html
Obviously the truck has been through a few transformations, so I'll try and list everything. This is more for myself as I can't really remember everything all at once.
- ARB front bumper
- Warn 9.5ti winch
- IPF Hybrid Assist lights
- ARB rear bumper w/ jerry can holder, spare tire holder and camp light
- ARB touring roof rack
- ARB Simpson II rooftop tent, annex, ladder extension
- ARB awning
- Exhaust jack
- Custom-built sliders
- OME J lift
- OME L shocks
- OME steering damper
- 315/75R16 pro-comp tires
- Powdercoated factory alloys
- Kenwood nav/gps/headunit
- some ridiculous alarm w/ remote start
Quite a few toys! These were added over a couple different owners it seems. Unfortunately, it seems that while significant expense was put into accessories, maintenance seems to have fallen a bit behind. Prior to flying down to so I could drive it back, I ascertained that it had a few
problems that required remedying:
- Check engine light
- significant rotor warpage (or whatever you want to call it)
- significanter wandering, especially when coasting or slowing down, or turning... or accelerating
- clinking noise on decelleration
A bit of research and the first of many payments to cruiserdan (I'm sure) resulted in a 3-day 40hr assault on the vehicle:
- new front rotors
- new remanned front calipers*
- UZ 100 pads
- brake bleed
- 4 new ujoints
- fluids - diffs, engine+filter
- drive belts
- air filter
- replaced egr modulator & vsv & vacuum lines (P0401)
Now that doesn't look like 40hrs worth of work - but take into account the fact that I'd never seen a cone washer before (and I don't know the last time they'd seen the good end of a brass hammer), and that the ujoints absolutely did not
want to leave the drive shaft for about 6 hours and
that it was a brand new unfamiliar vehicle I don't think it went too bad.
*a note on the calipers: I ordered remanned front calipers from Dan at American Toyota. I received what appeared to be a brand new
left front caliper (including pins/spring clip) which is awesome. The right front caliper, not so much - no matter how hard I tried, I could not fit the UZ100 pads. The pistons would not retract far enough, sticking visibly further out than on the left side. I ended up reinstalling the old caliper and the pads slid in no problem. A few phone calls with Dan verified the conclusion I'd come to - it looks like pistons installed in the caliper were the wrong depth. Something to keep an eye out for if you're going to go down that road.
Now that was all well and good, but the previous owner left a few
things out of his sell-job (or my
sell-job I guess). Let this be a lesson to reinforce all those people who say to look at lots of them and wait for one with lots of maintenance records. Don't but the first one you see blah blah blah
. I made a choice to roll the dice. I don't think I got burned because I was looking
for a project. That being said, the owner could have been a bit more forthright.
Especially about the rod knock
Well at least I think it's rod knock. The truck drove 1,600kms wonderfully. I kept revs below 3,000 and let it go as slow as it needed to to get up some of the steeper inclines over the rockies. Probably the slowest I ended up at was 70km/h. You can definitely hear it knocking away in there when under load though. Sigh. If anyone has any easy suggestions for verifying which rod it is, or that it is a rod, I'm all ears. I've tried pulling plug wires one at a time to see if removing the combustion load on the bad bearing would quiet it down - no success. More to come on that you can be sure.
Other problems I have to deal with (not all of these were missed by the previous owner):
- replace the cat-back & hanger & donut
- rebuild front axle seals & bearings
- replace control arm bushings
- install caster correction bushings (thankfully included in a big box of stuff in the back of the truck)
- finish baselining transmission and transfer case fluids
- investigate rear brakes to make sure e-brake is set up correctly
- replace valve cover gasket, front/rear main seals
- shaking DS mirror
- refinish the beautiful sliders
My goals for the vehicle are fairly undefined at this point. It's definitely a toy - not a daily driver. Mud and muskeg are the biggest 4x4 environments up here, but I really want to see if I enjoy expedition-type stuff - the cruiser is more set up for that anyways.
That was long winded but I just wanted to say hello. I hope I can contribute to this community and have a good time figuring out how wheeling and breaking stuff works
Special thanks to Sheldon @ GS Cruiser Parts for meeting me on my way out of town and providing hood shocks with zero notice. Your truck is pretty fantastic.
Also thanks to cruiserdan for the first round of parts, and for going the extra mile on the phone to help me figure out the caliper problem. I'll be in touch shortly...
A few more pictures. Compare them with some of the shots from the earlier threads.