FIRST MUCHO THANKS TO WOODY FOR THIS AWESOME BOARD THAT HAS PROVIDED ME WITH A GREAT NEW HOBBY AND ENABLED ME TO MEET SOME AWESOME PEOPLE. THANKS TO DAN FOR LETTING ME SAVE A LOT OF MONEY AND FEED HIS DOGS AT THE SAME TIME. THANKS TO ALL MY SOCAL 80’S BUDDIES WHO HAVE HELD MY HAND MANY TIMES TO TEACH ME HOW TO WHEEL AND REPAIR/MAINTAIN MY RIG. SPECIAL THANKS TO SLOMO WHO HAS BEEN VERY PATIENT IN MY QUEST TOWARDS EARNING s. RAYJON FOR DONATING AN ENTIRE SATURDAY TO GET ME THROUGH MY 1ST BIRF JOB. SOCALFJ HIS HELP AND INSPIRATION/EXITEMENT ABOUT THIS MADNESS. THERE ARE MANY OTHERS OF YOU WHO HAVE MADE THIS SUCH A FUN JOURNEY AND I THANK YOU TOO (IF YOU ARE READING THIS, THEN THAT MEANS YOU!) Back in 2002 I bought my first Toyota Truck (2000 TRD 2WD Tacoma). At that time I was in Atlanta and always wanted a Toyota truck. This truck was equipped with a rear e-locker (I learned what a locker was a year after I sold the truck when I joined this board). My first Land Cruiser experience was back in 1996 when I got sick at a team basketball camp and had to be driven home 5 hrs. in this big black tank like SUV that my friend’s dad drove. As sick as I was, I could not get over how much I liked this tank. I actually felt proud to be in the front seat as we drove...kind of looking down on all the other “peasant rides” on the freeway. Fast forward to August of 2005 when I needed a new ride after moving to California since I had sold my truck and the 4Runner that followed the truck. Obviously I am a Toyota guy, so I was looking for a 4 door Tacoma/Tundra. I then saw a white 80 on the road and decided to see how much they were going for since they were not new anymore. I could not afford nor did I have time for a rig that needed a lot of attention. I found a very clean 94’ with 85K at a local car lot and started to negotiate. After about a month of negotiations, I was set to buy it. I was about to leave my house to go and agree to buy it and put a down payment down when I decided to check ebay one last time. There she was newly listed and in Long Beach (where I was living at the time) a white 93’ with 84K miles. I carfaxed the VIN and all was good….a born and raised Cali rig. I went right over to the dealership and drove it and checked it really good (thanks to all the research I was doing here at the time!) I asked him what the Buy it Now price was and it was a good $4K lower than the 94 I was about to go buy….SCORE! I told him I would take it and I immediately put down some coin. Well my wife stole it from me from day one (I had a longer commute and her Mustang got much better gas mileage)! She fell in love with it and really didn’t want her car anymore. We decided to sell her Mustang and look into another 80 OR a Land Rover Discovery (we both really like the Land Rover styling). Back to researching as I did not know much about the Rovers. It became pretty obvious, pretty quickly that the Rovers can very expensive to maintain and have had their reliability issues. I had since found a locked black 97 LX 450 with 85K that was loaded to the max (including the bling) for a mere $18,900 at a small used car lot in Santa Ana. I ran the Carfax and found that the LX had been on the lot for 8 months! I knew it was time to start some serious negotiations. After about a month of 2-3 visits/week, I drove off the lot in Dec 05’ with the black LX after talking them down $4,400. It was still more than I wanted to pay but the rig was so well maintained, low mileage and locked. I really did not want a black rig but it was too nice to pass up. I was super happy and my wife had a new 80 to drive (the always get the newest one right?) I had to play catch up with the white 80 as far as baselining the fluids goes. I did both PHH’s in back to back days at a time when I had zero confidence in maintenance……I can follow directions though and this board got me through it. The second one I did was in the pouring rain! Before this board and my Land Cruiser, I had never done a single thing mechanically to a vehicle except change my starter in my Taco. With the help of all the contributors here (especially my SoCal 80 brotheren), I have really learned to do a lot and save a lot of $ (which I then spend and then some on the rig so my wife still does not like you guys (and gals)). My wife did have a lot of fun at Surf-n-Turf last year. She went even though she was pregnant and she had a blast. She had so much fun in the dunes in boydmick's FW80 that she gave me permission to lift it even though it was her DD at the time and she was pregnant (Boyd says she had so much b/c his has a SC in it ) -pic of the white 80 on its only off-pavement trip under my command -pic of the LX the day I brought it home -pic of my pregnant wife and I @ SNT last year making her famous guacamole.