12HT vs 2F (2 Viewers)

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marshcat

SILVER Star
Joined
May 28, 2016
Messages
235
Location
Somerville, MA
As I search for a 60 to buy I've been gravitating towards importing from Europe vs. buying an American rig. Reading through old threads on this forum people describe the 12HT as meaningfully more powerful than the 2F, and much more comfortable to drive 70mph on the highway. However, when I look at specs the 12HT has 134hp/232 lbft and the 2F has 135hp/200 lbft. Quite similar.

The cost to my door of a good, low rust rig is pretty similar for an '87 FJ60 as it is for a European '89 HJ61. But the Euro rig has the downside of parts availability, an annoying 24volt electrical system, and I'd need to source + install air conditioning. Is the 12HT + H55 really that much better that it's worth the trouble?
 
I'll disagree with @ZCissner, I absolutely love my 12ht/h55f HJ61. I get up and down I-70 holding 65mph and 25mpg, but it does come with its downsides and if I were to do it again, I'd probably just LS swap a USDM 60. Parts availability isn't terrible for the 12ht and it gets better every day, but I would make sure you're comfortable wrenching yourself or have a great mechanic you trust. Glad to share more of my experience if you have questions.
 
I'll disagree with @ZCissner, I absolutely love my 12ht/h55f HJ61. I get up and down I-70 holding 65mph and 25mpg, but it does come with its downsides and if I were to do it again, I'd probably just LS swap a USDM 60. Parts availability isn't terrible for the 12ht and it gets better every day, but I would make sure you're comfortable wrenching yourself or have a great mechanic you trust. Glad to share more of my experience if you have questions.
I think we are saying the same thing, Yes, the 12HT and H55 is better than the 2F. No, It's no worth the trouble of 24volt stuff that is only getting harder to find, Non-US Toyota diesel parts that are also not super fun to get and ship in for around the globe. 100% agree to get a US one and LS Swap it, I've got a LS Swapped 60, a Diesel Swapped 60 and a Factory toyota diesel in my driveway and only one takes more than 5 minutes to find parts for. And thats before you get into the AC components the OP wants to add...
 
I think we are saying the same thing, Yes, the 12HT and H55 is better than the 2F. No, It's no worth the trouble of 24volt stuff that is only getting harder to find, Non-US Toyota diesel parts that are also not super fun to get and ship in for around the globe. 100% agree to get a US one and LS Swap it, I've got a LS Swapped 60, a Diesel Swapped 60 and a Factory toyota diesel in my driveway and only one takes more than 5 minutes to find parts for. And thats before you get into the AC components the OP wants to add...
I guess it depends on when you prioritize your time and money. IMHO it's absolutely worth it if you've got more than 2F time and money but not (quality) LS/cummins swap time and money. I went HJ61 partially because I love the high roof, but mostly because it's one of my daily drivers and the fuel savings has far more than paid off the extra expense for a few parts that are more expensive. I 100% agree that if @marshcat has the money to do/buy an LS swapped 12V cruiser that that's the way to go. But other than electrics and a few other parts the vast majority of parts are interchangeable with the USDM cruisers so that's not any more difficult.
 
PS, shipping parts from AUS isn't nearly as bad as the rap it gets, especially with the favorable exchange rate saving us money on the front end. I had an amazing experience buying a RHD carpet and some decals through Seige Overland. basically anything you need to source from AUS because it's not available here is gonna be an expensive job anyways so the shipping isn't really that big of a factor percentage wise.
 
I would buy a well sorted rust free 60 stateside and then swap in whatever power plant you want later. If you’re mechanical, 12ht is awesome but they are getting old and expensive. Unless your euro truck is confirmed extremely good shape you will be doing everything your stateside truck has likely had done to it. Plus adding winch bumpers tires etc. Just an opinion.,
 
Yeah rust free is #1 most important thing when buying a cruiser, especially 60 series. Mr. T is great at a lot of things, but rust prevention in the 80s was... Lacking to say the least. You can easily replace your entire drivetrain and suspension for the cost of fixing any rust that's reached the cancerous stage. I found that one out the hard way, but now I've got a cruiser that will last me for the next 30 years... Just don't ask me what it cost to get it there.
 
have you heard a 12h-t idle and run? it's a wholesome and pleasing sound. Wheeling it at just off idle speed because it's so damn gutsy is f***ing awesome and fun! Especially if you can grab a LHD version, you should import one...live a little, lol.
 
I guess it depends on when you prioritize your time and money. IMHO it's absolutely worth it if you've got more than 2F time and money but not (quality) LS/cummins swap time and money. I went HJ61 partially because I love the high roof, but mostly because it's one of my daily drivers and the fuel savings has far more than paid off the extra expense for a few parts that are more expensive. I 100% agree that if @marshcat has the money to do/buy an LS swapped 12V cruiser that that's the way to go. But other than electrics and a few other parts the vast majority of parts are interchangeable with the USDM cruisers so that's not any more difficult.
Wish I had the cash for a LS swapped rig! But those seem to be going for $35k+ when done right. More than 2F time and money but not LS swap time or money describes my situation nicely. I'm decent with a wrench but not amazing - can follow other people's instructions for repairs like replacing a clutch.
 
@marshcat good thing there's a tut for just about everything here on good ol' MUD. I've got plenty of FSM PDFs for the HJ61/H55/12HT if you decide to go that way—and the Max Ellory aftermarket manual is pretty solid too. Good for keeping a paper copy when you need/want it.

I'm about your level of wrenching skill, maybe a bit more. I've done a ton of jobs successfully on my rig like valves, boost controller, knuckle rebuild, brake replacement, sound deadening, new carpet...don't be too intimidated. Mostly, if you're willing to try and spend a bunch of time researching, you can get it done.
 
@marshcat good thing there's a tut for just about everything here on good ol' MUD. I've got plenty of FSM PDFs for the HJ61/H55/12HT if you decide to go that way—and the Max Ellory aftermarket manual is pretty solid too. Good for keeping a paper copy when you need/want it.

I'm about your level of wrenching skill, maybe a bit more. I've done a ton of jobs successfully on my rig like valves, boost controller, knuckle rebuild, brake replacement, sound deadening, new carpet...don't be too intimidated. Mostly, if you're willing to try and spend a bunch of time researching, you can get it done.
Appreciate the support! Will absolutely seek your advice should I make moves on an HJ61. In the meantime, is there anything in particular I should look for when inspecting an HJ61 for sale?
 
Appreciate the support! Will absolutely seek your advice should I make moves on an HJ61. In the meantime, is there anything in particular I should look for when inspecting an HJ61 for sale?
All the normal FJ things body and body mechanical wise, i think these have been covered pretty extensively on here so I'll skip them.

HJ specifically, I'd watch out for excessive smoke, either white/blue or black. There's a hefty puff on startup that you can ignore, it's just their nature. Thick black smoke usually means the owner has messed with the fueling (too much fuel = excessive smoke and too much extra heat = potentially a ticking time bomb for a VERY expensive rebuild.)

A pyrometer install is usually a good sign that the owner has taken care of their truck, or at least paid attention to how they drive. It's possible to do engine damage with EGTs getting too high before you see any sign of high coolant temps. Of course take it for a drive and make sure the coolant temps don't get too hot too. But these trucks have a massive coolant volume so it takes a lot to get them up above the gauge.

Also make sure the HJ actually contains a 12HT, the 2H also gets the HJ designation and you'd be in for a nasty surprise if you were expecting to go faster than about 45 from what I hear 🤣

If the owner will let you, pull off the rubber elbow piping that goes to the turbo intake and check the turbine shaft for excessive play. Can't remember the exact specs off hand, but do a search and you'll find plenty of info.

Check that the glow screen is functioning properly. My cruiser will start right up after glowing even well below freezing as long as I've got the choke set right. If it's not too cold, any hesitation on startup would be a warning sign. A 24v starting system is nigh instantaneous - mine starts faster and easier than my girlfriend's brand new Subaru.

Make sure the electricals are largely untouched, finding the correct wiring diagrams is tricky and unraveling some rando's bodge job is not fun at all...I'm 5 years in and I'm finally most of the way through restoring my wiring to fully working order.

If you're looking at a PTO equipped model, make sure it engages and turns freely - but only start it with the actual exterior lever disengaged. It's a strange beast and if you don't know what you're doing it can be quite dangerous to both you and the cruiser.

Check the sunroof for leaks. My gears were stripped out, but it wasn't leaking so I just ran a solid bead of silicone to make sure it stays sealed. You don't want your high roof rusting out, it's not like donor vehicles abound.

Shifting should be smooth and easy, although the h55 is a little bit notchy when cold so don't judge until you've got some heat in it.

Make sure your 4wd (hi & lo) is actually engaging, and check the locking hubs. Oem replacement hubs are available in the US though so not a deal breaker if they have issues, it's a pretty cheap and easy (although messy) fix. The vacuum 4wd system is way more of a pain, and i think I remember reading that it's possible for the light to indicate that it's on without that actually being true.

Make sure the alternator is putting out solid consistent voltage. Replacements are expensive, although usually a good old school alternator shop can rebuild them. I'd check with an actual multimeter, the gauge is consistent but not always correct.

Of course, take it for a drive. If you let revs fall pretty far after shifting and then ease on the gas you can really feel the turbo engage. Don't expect to get pushed back in your seat by any means, but you'll know when it builds boost. If that feeling is missing, walk away as either the turbo is seized, or already vomited it's internals all into the engine. Before turning up my boost (super easy, highly recommended mod), i could hold 55-60 all the way up and down I70, so if it's having a hard time on the highway, something's wrong.

I'm not sure where you're located, but make sure you do your research for what they will and won't allow you to register as far as originality, etc. Here in CO, they require all emissions equipment to be present and original, with a few exceptions for NLA parts. The guy in charge of it here is super knowledgeable and actually quite friendly as long as you treat him with respect and don't try to pass your coal rolling 1000+HP/tq Cummins as original equipment. He sat on the phone with me for 20-30 mins troubleshooting why I failed emissions this last time, and answering my "theoretical" questions on how I could add some more power and still be legally registered. That said, they can be quite strict, he even checked when i first registered the truck that my fuel screw safety wire was intact.

Also go through a good importer. You can save a few bucks DIY but it's a minefield you don't want to wade into unless you really like paperwork. Also there's a lot of pitfalls and gotchas to vknow about the JDM auctions if you source one from there.

Don't be too scared of RHD. It slightly lessens the value of your rig, but it took me about a day to get used to, and now I enjoy the crazy looks people give me. I've seen literal double takes, and one woman even covered one eye with her hand to make sure she wasn't hallucinating 😂. Imo, the biggest downside to RHD is listening to the same "wHaT aRe YoU, a mAiLmAn? Hahahahq" joke from inquisitive idiots at gas stations.

That's all I can think of off the top of my head, I'll update if anything else comes to mind.
 
RHD is no biggie. It's pretty cool actually. Dang drive-thru eats will get ya haha.

The mailman comments will never go away.
Yeah I'm not expecting them to...Same people who think they're clever when something doesn't ring up at the store and they say "I guess it's free then 🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣😂😩"
 
All the normal FJ things body and body mechanical wise, i think these have been covered pretty extensively on here so I'll skip them.

HJ specifically, I'd watch out for excessive smoke, either white/blue or black. There's a hefty puff on startup that you can ignore, it's just their nature. Thick black smoke usually means the owner has messed with the fueling (too much fuel = excessive smoke and too much extra heat = potentially a ticking time bomb for a VERY expensive rebuild.)

A pyrometer install is usually a good sign that the owner has taken care of their truck, or at least paid attention to how they drive. It's possible to do engine damage with EGTs getting too high before you see any sign of high coolant temps. Of course take it for a drive and make sure the coolant temps don't get too hot too. But these trucks have a massive coolant volume so it takes a lot to get them up above the gauge.

Also make sure the HJ actually contains a 12HT, the 2H also gets the HJ designation and you'd be in for a nasty surprise if you were expecting to go faster than about 45 from what I hear 🤣

If the owner will let you, pull off the rubber elbow piping that goes to the turbo intake and check the turbine shaft for excessive play. Can't remember the exact specs off hand, but do a search and you'll find plenty of info.

Check that the glow screen is functioning properly. My cruiser will start right up after glowing even well below freezing as long as I've got the choke set right. If it's not too cold, any hesitation on startup would be a warning sign. A 24v starting system is nigh instantaneous - mine starts faster and easier than my girlfriend's brand new Subaru.

Make sure the electricals are largely untouched, finding the correct wiring diagrams is tricky and unraveling some rando's bodge job is not fun at all...I'm 5 years in and I'm finally most of the way through restoring my wiring to fully working order.

If you're looking at a PTO equipped model, make sure it engages and turns freely - but only start it with the actual exterior lever disengaged. It's a strange beast and if you don't know what you're doing it can be quite dangerous to both you and the cruiser.

Check the sunroof for leaks. My gears were stripped out, but it wasn't leaking so I just ran a solid bead of silicone to make sure it stays sealed. You don't want your high roof rusting out, it's not like donor vehicles abound.

Shifting should be smooth and easy, although the h55 is a little bit notchy when cold so don't judge until you've got some heat in it.

Make sure your 4wd (hi & lo) is actually engaging, and check the locking hubs. Oem replacement hubs are available in the US though so not a deal breaker if they have issues, it's a pretty cheap and easy (although messy) fix. The vacuum 4wd system is way more of a pain, and i think I remember reading that it's possible for the light to indicate that it's on without that actually being true.

Make sure the alternator is putting out solid consistent voltage. Replacements are expensive, although usually a good old school alternator shop can rebuild them. I'd check with an actual multimeter, the gauge is consistent but not always correct.

Of course, take it for a drive. If you let revs fall pretty far after shifting and then ease on the gas you can really feel the turbo engage. Don't expect to get pushed back in your seat by any means, but you'll know when it builds boost. If that feeling is missing, walk away as either the turbo is seized, or already vomited it's internals all into the engine. Before turning up my boost (super easy, highly recommended mod), i could hold 55-60 all the way up and down I70, so if it's having a hard time on the highway, something's wrong.

I'm not sure where you're located, but make sure you do your research for what they will and won't allow you to register as far as originality, etc. Here in CO, they require all emissions equipment to be present and original, with a few exceptions for NLA parts. The guy in charge of it here is super knowledgeable and actually quite friendly as long as you treat him with respect and don't try to pass your coal rolling 1000+HP/tq Cummins as original equipment. He sat on the phone with me for 20-30 mins troubleshooting why I failed emissions this last time, and answering my "theoretical" questions on how I could add some more power and still be legally registered. That said, they can be quite strict, he even checked when i first registered the truck that my fuel screw safety wire was intact.

Also go through a good importer. You can save a few bucks DIY but it's a minefield you don't want to wade into unless you really like paperwork. Also there's a lot of pitfalls and gotchas to vknow about the JDM auctions if you source one from there.

Don't be too scared of RHD. It slightly lessens the value of your rig, but it took me about a day to get used to, and now I enjoy the crazy looks people give me. I've seen literal double takes, and one woman even covered one eye with her hand to make sure she wasn't hallucinating 😂. Imo, the biggest downside to RHD is listening to the same "wHaT aRe YoU, a mAiLmAn? Hahahahq" joke from inquisitive idiots at gas stations.

That's all I can think of off the top of my head, I'll update if anything else comes to mind.
This is amazingly complete, thank you!
 
This is amazingly complete, thank you!
No prob! I've been in your exact same spot, and if someone had told me everything to look for I would've saved a loooot of money. No regrets though, I'm fortunate to be able to have saved a doomed truck from the parts yard and learned a ton along the way.
 
I think anyone is crazy to not have a Toyota diesel in their LC. They are lots and lots of fun- and turn lots of heads in a market where diesel powered vehicles aren’t common.

Who cares if it’s slow or parts are hard to find.
 
RHD is no biggie. It's pretty cool actually. Dang drive-thru eats will get ya haha.

The mailman comments will never go away.
I hear where you're coming from...but I'm still buying a LHD truck :D
 
I hope to someday have a 1HZ in place of my 2F
 

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