Deanfun's '97 LX450 - intro and work/play log

Discussion in '80-Series Tech' started by deanfun, Feb 28, 2011.

  1. deanfun

    deanfun

    Messages:
    88
    Location:
    Fort McMurray, AB
    Hi there!

    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:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    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-trailers-sale-wanted/166263-97-lexus-lx450-sale-12000-obo.html

    3rd owners' sliders thread:
    http://forum.ih8mud.com/80-series-tech/190232-my-97-lx-450-build.html

    3rd owners' for sale thread:
    http://forum.ih8mud.com/vehicles-tr...6-f-s-97-fzj-80-locked-arb-ome-lift-315s.html

    and finally, the 4th owners' for sale thread (from whom I bought):
    http://forum.ih8mud.com/vehicles-trailers-sale-wanted/447718-1997-lexus-lx450-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 :lol:

    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.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Gross...
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
  2. arndog123

    arndog123

    Messages:
    3,320
    Location:
    Everett, WA
    Nice LX.:)
  3. Trapper50cal

    Trapper50cal TEQ Frame of Mind Supporting Vendor

    Messages:
    5,516
    Location:
    Pagosa Springs, CO
    Needs a front axle service and some media blasting/powdercoating on a few items (I'm lookin at you sliders...)

    But that's a great rig with a ton of cool aftermarket items, that rear bumper (ARB) is a chunck of change...awning, RTT...friggen sweet.

    BTW, Welcome! :flipoff2: (<<<Mud Salute)
  4. Tyler93

    Tyler93

    Messages:
    484
    Location:
    Lander, WY
    I think your going to fit in well around here, judging by how compulsive you are. Welcome to mud and cruisers. The 1FZ is one heck of an inline 6, sorry yours is ill at the moment. I wouldn't wish that upon any Canadian:).
    Last edited: Feb 28, 2011
  5. Wheelingnoob

    Wheelingnoob

    Messages:
    4,360
    Location:
    Langley BC
    Welcome! I saw that truck for sale right after I got my LX450, looked like a sweet setup. They sum of the parts is almost what you paid for the truck.

    Bummer to hear about the engine knock, 1HD-T swap time :hillbilly: I'm sure Sheldon can help you there ;)
  6. timer00

    timer00 Just another LC driver

    Messages:
    1,210
    Location:
    NEPA
    Damn nice LX.. I hope to have the RTT and full out rear bumper setup by the end of this year.
  7. deanfun

    deanfun

    Messages:
    88
    Location:
    Fort McMurray, AB
    Spring Maintenance

    First things first: front axle seals are gross! An expensive phone call to Cdan and some creative shipping yielded some goodies!

    -replacement RH front brake caliper
    -front axle seal kit including trunnion / wheel bearings
    -new cone washers for the hubs
    -new studs, cone washers, washers and nuts for the lower trunnion bolts
    -cheap beer

    I bought a new '97 LX450 FSM from helm inc. This thing is IMMENSE! biggest shop manual I've ever seen. It should've come in a binder or in two volumes - I'm worried I'm going to start pulling pages out and tearing up the spine and I've barely opened it.

    I also picked up Marlin heavy duty inner seals and longfield HD wipers. I didn't end up using either. For the Marlins, some reading here on mud seemed to indicate that they might not be the best thing for a higher mileage 80 with some wear on the axles (which I ended up finding). For the Longfields... I got lazy and didn't want to fight with the apparent fitment battle that was going to ensue. The Toyota metal-rubber-felt setup looks cooler anyways. ;p

    On to the business:

    Fresh caliper and UZ100 pads
    [​IMG]

    Hub cone washers came out far, far easier than when I did the brakes a couple months ago. 3 minutes vs 3 hours! Pop!
    [​IMG]

    Hub removed. dirty, dirty dust shield
    [​IMG]

    things don't look any cleaner behind it
    [​IMG]

    Birf soup. Definitely not fresh...
    [​IMG]

    so much cleaner. it just feels good getting rid of all that goop everywhere...
    [​IMG]

    swapped birfields side to side, cleaned them up, repacked and stuffed into the housing. Ended up using Cat 5Moly for the birfields and shell rotella for the wheel bearings.
    [​IMG]

    Clean parts are happy parts!
    [​IMG]

    And everything's back together!
    [​IMG]

    I'm not sure where I am on the banana scale, but this was extremely easy to pull off over the course of a couple leisurely weekends. I spent probably close to 5 hours cleaning parts up in the washer. Removing that, this could easily be done on both sides in a day.

    Special thanks to innumerable threads on mud, including the birfield grease and front axle faq's. Also special thanks to Cdan for taking my money.
  8. rain76king

    rain76king Wheel more, post less GOLD Star

    Messages:
    2,623
    Location:
    South Shore, MA
    Sweet! Is that the ddx7017 stereo? Thats the one I am currently putting in my truck at the moment. What a pain in the arse!
  9. deanfun

    deanfun

    Messages:
    88
    Location:
    Fort McMurray, AB
    With the front axle all together, the cruiser was wheeled outside to enjoy the sunshine for a few minutes while it's still whole.

    What a pretty truck!

    [​IMG]

    But I tire of your engine-knocking antics.

    [​IMG]

    The engine is coming out for a rebuild! I plan on building something that is stock, but is ready for the likely-inevitable supercharger install. To that end, I'm going to go with JZA80 ARP studs and a stock-thickness cometic gasket in lieu of OEM parts. For the rest, the block & rotating assembly will head off to the machine shop to get cleaned up and checked out. I'm hoping I can get away with a hone - would like to avoid new pistons if I can. The head will get disassembled and cleaned. Likely I'll get the guides done, as well as a grind and new shims. The head was pretty noisy on this one so it definitely needs some attention. I may look into getting some light porting done, as well as some port matching to the manifolds if it looks appropriate.

    For parts, I haven't spoken to Cdan yet regarding how excessively expensive this will all be, but I'm going to try and get the following done:

    -replacement radiator hoses
    -water pump
    -gasket set
    -accessory belt tensioner
    -pcv valve
    -perhaps a replacement radiator (i've got plastic tanks)
    -oil pump gasket
    -oil level sensor gasket
    -thermostat gasket (or two)

    I mention the last three because it sounds like they may not be in the full gasket set.

    I want to get some more information about the power steering pump to see if there's anything I should take care of while I'm in there. THe same goes for the oil pump. I'm aware of the near-unobtanium bushing and will be talking to the machinist about it. He supposedly has significant LC experience so I expect he'll have come across it before.

    It seems it also might be prudent to modify the wiring harness to better support the supercharger install while it's out of the truck. I'm going to have to track down the installation manual and see what has to be done. I know you have to add some length to the harness overall - I'll probably just separate out the relevant pieces and run them alongside the factory harness. They can be extended later if/when the SC happens. Is the manual kicking around on the forum somewhere?

    I'm very open to recommendations about other work I should consider doing while the drivetrain is out of the truck. I'll be pulling the Engine+transmission+case all at once so I'll have a good look at the tranny and case to see if there are any seals to replace there.

    Also if there's anything I should watch out for or talk with the machinist directly - I'm all ears!

    :cheers:
  10. deanfun

    deanfun

    Messages:
    88
    Location:
    Fort McMurray, AB
    It's a Kenwood, but an older model than that. Seems to work alright, although the GPS has froze up on me a couple times. PO had it installed along with the sirius antenna (which I don't use).
  11. Tacoma4life

    Tacoma4life

    Messages:
    330
    Are you sure it's rod knock? Rod knock should be apparent at all rpm's and regardless of load. It could just be knock/ping from to low of octane gas...
    Anyway, SWEET cruiser!

  12. kirkagosto

    kirkagosto

    Messages:
    254
    Location:
    Mississippi
    Rod Knock

    First off nice LX. I have a 96 and the noise may not be a rod. My powers steering pump was making a noise that sounded like a rod knocking and it was because it had air in the system and was cavitating i think is the word i found for it. I bled the air out and the motor was so quite with the hood down i couldn't hear it running. Might want to use a stethoscope or air hose and pinpoint the noise before you get into any expensive repairs that may be unneeded. Good luck with it and welcome to mud:flipoff2:
  13. deanfun

    deanfun

    Messages:
    88
    Location:
    Fort McMurray, AB
    Knocks only under load (even at idle in drive) and is definitely coming from the back of the engine, low down.
  14. kirkagosto

    kirkagosto

    Messages:
    254
    Location:
    Mississippi
    D light

    If the Drive light is not working mine didn't either and i was going to replace the bulb when i came across a thread where a person hit the dash to make it work. I did this and bam the light is on and has been ever since so you can try that if its still not working. I just noticed that it wasn't in one of the previous owner threads
  15. joseywales

    joseywales

    Messages:
    252
    Location:
    Whizzzler
    I was looking at that 450 when it was on CL... Glad you got it and not me! My wallet couldn't take all that work right now. At least you live in Ft. McMoney!:hillbilly:
  16. deanfun

    deanfun

    Messages:
    88
    Location:
    Fort McMurray, AB
    It definitely wasn't a steal of a deal - at least the previous owners were nice enough to thumb their way through most of the ARB catalogue for me.
  17. deanfun

    deanfun

    Messages:
    88
    Location:
    Fort McMurray, AB
    Looking for some guidance on a Cometic headgasket. I have already purchased ARP studs for the Opel v6 (070-209-4702 ) and want to make sure I order the right gasket.

    Seems like the stock thickness (0.053") and bore diameter (101.5mm) are all I need. Is this correct? Stock code for this one is C4530-053 and seems to be what's getting used.
  18. deanfun

    deanfun

    Messages:
    88
    Location:
    Fort McMurray, AB
    A couple weeks ago...

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
  19. deanfun

    deanfun

    Messages:
    88
    Location:
    Fort McMurray, AB
    I stripped down the engine to the longblock and borrowed the back of a friends pickup truck to cart it down to Wayne at Japanese Motorsport in Edmonton. He pulled apart the engine and it looks like I stopped driving it at the right time. Every rod bearing was trashed, and pitting in the cylinder walls indicates that water or moisture sat in it for an extended period of time.

    The crank is getting ground down 0.25mm on both the rods and mains. The block is getting washed (not dipped), decked and bored 1.0mm over. I only had to go 0.5mm over, but Toyota has no 0.5mm piston sets in the states (and if there are any hiding in Canada I don't even want to know the price...). The head is getting cleaned and planed. Valve guides, valve grind and shims as well. The intake manifold is going to be port matched, and if I have time I'll get the exhaust manifold done as well.

    Ordered just about every 1FZ component I can think of from Onur - save the supercharger - to the tune of $2,700. There won't even be a chance for gratuitous shots of new parts laid out as I'm going to have Wayne put together the rotating assembly for me.

    Thanks Onur for your advice and extreme proficiency at taking down my credit card number!
  20. flow

    flow

    Messages:
    254
    Location:
    Houston TX
    wow that is one sweet truck. lots of bada$$ parts for sure.

    one question: why not go with aftermarket rods and pistons? these parts are one of the very few areas where you can upgrade from OEM components. lighter, stronger con-rods and lightweight forged pistons should be easy to source and would easily handle the boost of a new supercharger :grinpimp:

    be sure to post a good video clip of the engine once its rebuilt. im eager to hear what a basically new 1fzfe sounds like. probably real smooooooooth

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