1981 HJ60 Build... with a Barra?

Joined
Aug 31, 2021
Messages
8
Location
Bunbury, Western Australia
While this is a build thread of my Land Cruiser, I figured that because this is my first Mud thread I would give myself a little introduction too.
I’ve always been into cars from a very young age. While I never had the facilities to work on cars myself (and I still don’t), I was always fascinated about the ins and outs of how they worked. Once I had been introduced to the 4WD scene by some friends in high school, I purchased a 2007 Holden Rodeo dual-cab ute at 17, after an unfortunate accident in my beloved Honda Jazz thanks to a HiLux driver (typical!). It was used as a service vehicle by the local Isuzu dealership and thus had over 380,000km on its 4JJ1 engine. Still one of the best diesel engines I have experienced, even with the very hard life it had.

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I did many camping trips in this car, and despite it being my daily driver, I had no little to no issues with this vehicle during my ownership. Not much was done to it aside from removing the huge steel toolboxes from the tray, adding 31 inch all-terrain tyres and a mint stereo system, for a 17 year old anyway. Would like to mention that the car in its entirety was paid for by myself which only really makes sense when I mention that I went to a private school where most kids had their cars paid for by their parents.
Fast forward two years, the Rodeo was long sold (I still regret this today) and I was driving a somewhat modified 2007 Honda Accord Euro, which ended up getting defected for being too low and excessive camber. Not sure what they were on about…

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Getting the car defected was inevitable but it did put me in a bit of a state. My girlfriend and I had always been talking about me buying another offroad vehicle so we could go on more camping trips together without having to borrow the father-in-law’s petrol Rodeo or hitching a ride with someone else. I was still very much into the 4WD scene despite owning a low car - apparently owning one type of car is meant to restrict you to only liking that type of car in today’s social media influence - and I had a particularly keen eye for the older-shape Land Cruisers. Where I am from, 80 Series Land Cruisers are dime a dozen and most of them are in pretty average condition and petrol. This led me to looking into the 60 Series Land Cruiser. At this time, diesel examples could be had for a reasonable price as they weren’t hit as hard by the Toyota tax or the Covid tax at this point. It was at this point that one of Chloe’s (my girlfriend) coworkers told us that her partner was selling his diesel 60 Series. It wasn’t meant to be unfortunately but the mishap in the sale fueled the fire to own a diesel 60 Series.
After much looking on Facebook Marketplace and Gumtree, I found this.

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Keen and not-so-keen eyes will tell you this is Freeborn Red. I had never seen this colour on a Land Cruiser before, let alone a 60. After messaging the owner, I found out it was a 1981 base model with the 2H diesel and had a 5-speed conversion from the later-year 60 Series. After consulting with the owner, Chloe and I drove from where we lived in Bunbury to Katanning, about a two hour drive. It was love at first sight for me. The photos on the ad weren’t the best quality and the Freeborn Red seemed to glisten in the sunlight. Maybe it was the paint swirls though, I’m not sure.
After filling up the fuel tank and realising that it had a long-range fuel tank, we set off on the very slow trip home. The 2H was never a spritely engine and when it’s carrying around 2000kg worth of metal and rubber, it was never going to break any records. That combined with the strangely short gearing (as of writing, I still suspect it has had different diff gearing put in it), it made its way home a few km/h slower than the speed limits.

I never got around to doing much to the Cruiser, it needed new tyres desperately so some Dick Cepek Extreme Country 33x10.5R15 mud-terrains were purchased as they were the only 33in tyre that suited the 15in stock chrome wheels that were available at the time. I still want some BFG KO2’s for the true period correct look but that can wait and the DC’s are doing just fine.

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This is where things go a bit pear-shaped. I had driven up in the Cruiser to see one of my best mates, also into his cars, and was about to leave his house to go back home. As I turn out of his suburb, the car cuts out for no logical reason. Odd. I pull over and restart the car, only now it is making a strange ticking sound. I’m no genius but when a car starts making strange ticking sounds it’s not a good thing. After calling up my mate for advice and his dad who happens to be a mechanic from way back, it’s diagnosed that the bottom end is completely shot. Not wanting to risk any more damage, I called a tow truck and had it towed 150km back home.
That brings us to now. After having it parked up at home for the last few months, I’ve decided to pull my finger out and try and get it running again. The original plan was to swap in a 12H-T factory turbo engine however Toyota diesels run a premium in the used engine market, fetching up to $10k for a good example. This just wasn’t viable as I’m currently 19 and not making huge amounts of money. All seemed lost until I thought about those friends who had introduced me to the 4WD scene all those years ago. One of them was planning to put a Ford Barra into his Nissan GU Patrol which he owned at the time however fell out of love for the car so the swap never ended up happening. This combined with the recent introduction to Richard Swindel-Hurst to my YouTube subscription box cemented the plan to try and swap a Barra into the Cruiser. Turns out there aren't very many, if any, Barra-swapped 60s around, so no pressure!
 
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Joined
Aug 31, 2021
Messages
8
Location
Bunbury, Western Australia
I’m sure a lot of people are confused as to why I’m not putting a Toyota engine back into my HJ60. There are a lot of reasons, here they are summarised.

- Value for money/overall cost;
- Parts availability;
- Performance.

Value for Money/General Cost

When I purchased the vehicle, my original plan was to transplant a 12H-T into it. I already have the H55 transmission so I have what seems to be the “best” 60 Series engine/trans combination. What I didn’t realise is that 12H-Ts are very bloody expensive! For an unknown condition 12H-T in Western Australia, it looked like a minimum of $7000 for the engine ALONE. Bear in mind I paid that much for the 60 itself… Pricing also ruled out the 1HD engine line; I believe this would be the ultimate Toyota diesel for this car. Toyota diesels just aren’t good value for money and I will stand by that statement.

Parts Availability

It’s a blessing and a curse owning a 60. Heads turn wherever you look because they’re not overly common (at least in West Aus) but that same rarity means that parts aren’t easy to find. With my example being from 1981 making it 40 years old this year, it’s inevitable that things will break or get damaged with age. I’m not that surprised that my 2H conked it in the end, but it was a real annoyance that it did so 2 months into ownership. 2H parts are pretty thin so maintaining that engine was always going to be a struggle. If you compare this to the Barra, they are everywhere thanks to the popularity of the BA-onward Ford Falcon and Ford Territory that used this engine. The Falcon was the Aussie equivalent of the Crown Victoria now that I think about it; a four-door sedan with a great engine up front that could be had for not very much coin.
I digress. Having a much larger range of parts to choose from means that I can keep the ol’ 60 running for longer without emptying my wallet every time something goes wrong.

Performance

This was the big one. While I’m not intending on chasing huge power figures, even in stock form the Barra does quite well. The specific motor I am using for my conversion, the Barra 195 found in the final-gen FG Falcon, is a naturally aspirated motor producing 195kW at the engine (hence the name). When compared to a 1HD-T, it produces more power (+73kw) and more torque (+30Nm), albeit at different rev ranges - 122 kW@3,600/361 Nm@1400 for 1HD-T, 195 kW@6000/391Nm@3250 for Barra 195. I don’t have much intention of using the car at very low revs all the time, I want this car to be more of a reliable tourer than anything, so this doesn’t concern me too much however I do want enough power to get up and go without much hassle. Not factoring in for driveline loss, I’m sure I will be more than happy. I will more than likely try and get a bit more power out of it with a custom exhaust system to suit the conversion and a better intake setup but not much more than that.
If I really wanted to extract more power, I would go for a factory-turbo Barra or even go NA-T. Main issue with this, particularly the NA-T route, is that I would be forced to run 98 octane fuel or E85 rather than 91 octane. When I go on remote touring trips when the car is done, 91 octane is the only option in some places so running it on anything higher won’t work. Of course I will run higher octane in daily driving situations but sometimes there is no option but to run lower octane fuel. The naturally aspirated Barras tend to respond better to being given lower octane fuel, I’ve heard that they are tuned more for 91 octane than 98 but I may be wrong about that. Take it with a grain of salt, if you will.

Would I have gone for a Toyota diesel if it was more affordable? 100%. Unfortunately in my circumstance, it just isn’t viable and when I can have better performance with similar or better fuel economy, why wouldn’t I run a Barra? The main downside is that it’s not very common in 60 Series Cruisers, GQ and GU Nissan Patrols have far greater aftermarket support for this engine conversion but even they would have started somewhere…

Speaking of starting…

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Joined
Aug 31, 2021
Messages
8
Location
Bunbury, Western Australia
5th of September

The teardown has started! Didn’t take any progress photos and didn’t get a hell of a lot of photo-worthy stuff done anyway. Sorry.

12th of September

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This was after the second day of disassembly, I had my dad down at the shed to come help. Kind of a milestone moment for us since we have never worked on a car together due to a lack of resources, time and money in the past - definitely cool to have him work on such a big project with me.
Notice the pile of sandwich bags on the left side of the car (right side of photo) for bolt collection, definitely something I wanted to start doing early on so it’s easier to put stuff back on the car should I need to.
This photo also puts into perspective the amount of room the 60’s engine bay has, definitely enough for the Barra I would imagine.
I’m sure a lot of people will be asking why there’s a lot of black behind where the manifold would normally be, this is because the alternator oil outlet hose split [without my knowledge] while I was installing an upgraded alternator, shot out the back of the alternator and proceeded to drop oil everywhere. Never bothered to tidy it up in the end but this will obviously get attended to once the 2H has been removed.

19th of September

It’s always good to break up what you’re doing sometimes. My girlfriend and I decided to tackle some of the interior at this point. While this is focused around getting the car running, there were a lot of things I also want to do surrounding the overall experience of the car. It’s never going to be quiet inside the car but I do want it to be improved so that means taking out the vinyl flooring and door cards and eventually putting in some sound deadening material, I suspect Car Builders will get a nice order from me at some point.
Again, not a lot of photos because we were too busy taking the Bus apart, I can state that for whatever reason the PO had different speakers in the front doors… strange.

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While we were removing the vinyl floor, I was really worried about the inevitable amount of rust in the actual floor of the 60. There is some non-structural rust in the body that I already know about but if I could avoid any more that would be ideal.
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This terrible photo tells the story: lots of dirt, but no rust thank goodness. There was some slight surface rust on the back of the rear seat but nothing that’s worth worrying about.
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The rest of the floor is in pretty good shape too, I didn’t get around to taking the front section of vinyl out but I know there will be some rust there. How much, I don’t know yet.
You can also see that we removed the original door cards (winders still intact, those bloody C-clips are a pain!), we will be replacing these with items from Australian Door Cards and colour matching to the Cordovan Brown that is found in the rest of the car.

Note the rear heater is still attached, I will eventually be removing this and bypassing the hoses as I plan to install some E46 BMW front seats with Torfab brackets (once they are back in stock for pre-86 cars) which match pretty well to the Toyota beige found in the interior. Plus the stock seats suck.

Any suggestions from fellow Mudders on what to do with the interior would be hugely appreciated, more than happy to steal any good ideas!
 
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DFXR

SILVER Star
Joined
Nov 18, 2010
Messages
962
Location
Oakland, CA
Great intro and good luck to you. I put e30 seats into my ‘85 (older floor plan) with some home-built flat steel adapters. Did not have to chop up the floor mounts as I think you may need to with the Torfabs. And you are right, the BMW tan matches well with the early 80s Toyota beige interior.
 
Joined
Aug 31, 2021
Messages
8
Location
Bunbury, Western Australia
Hello all, I’ll start by apologising about my inactivity. Working full-time and living 45 minutes from where the 60 is being stored makes it a little tricky to spend a lot of time on it but I’m making do with what I have.

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I’ve managed to mostly disconnect the accelerator pedal assembly from the car, just need to remove the throttle knob and haven’t entirely figured that out yet. But the pedal is separate so that’s all I care about currently. The engine I am using is DBW so I will have to figure out a bracket to mount the Ford Falcon pedal. Of course the brake and clutch pedals are staying as I am retaining the H55 transmission that was swapped into this car at some point. I would like to use the Toyota pedal pad (is that the right term?) from the original accelerator pedal so it looks somewhat factory down there. Not a priority now though.

You might notice that the vinyl flooring looks a little funny in that photo. I plan to remove the vinyl and put down some Car Builders/Dynamat for better noise insulation so I am prepping for that. The floors themselves look quite good, very minimal rust which I am stoked on! The rust in this car is mostly roof-based, so I would like to look into that once the car is running and driving again.

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I am also slowly starting to remove items from the engine bay that shouldn’t be there, the wiring in this car is disgusting so I will spend a bit of time going through this and throwing out what doesn’t need to be there. Not looking forward to that but I want this build to be tip-top where possible so this is just one of the things that will need attention.

One thing I was worried about was the rear heater. For those that don’t know, with the Torfab seat brackets for the BMW seats I have, you need to remove the rear heater. I think it’s because the seats sit too low, I don’t recall exactly why. I have done a lot of reading into how easy it is to remove and what was concerning me was the extra piping to the heater. Fortunately, the PO must have gotten rid of the piping at some stage but never removed the heater as it only had one small rubber hose looping the heater inlet and outlet together. Made my life a lot easier, now I just have to cover the holes somehow.

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In the top left you can see I have started to remove the factory deadening in the rear seat area. Now that I think of it, I probably should have just left this but my original thinking was that it will be a cleaner and less textured surface so the Car Builders sound deadening material has a flatter surface to stick to. We shall see if it was worth the trouble.

I am hoping I will be taking the engine out next week since I don’t have anything else to disconnect aside the engine mounts and bolts holding the engine and bellhousing together so I will post more when that happens!
 
Joined
Aug 31, 2021
Messages
8
Location
Bunbury, Western Australia
I forgot to mention that I have sorted out new headlights for the 60 as well! They are from BushDoof, a small company in Western Australia, the founder Nick Mitic owns a modified Nissan GQ Patrol and is undertaking a Barra engine conversion also! I have had these for a while but never got around to installing them. I decided to buy new housings for these as well, as the original set were very rusted and the screws were mismatched for some reason. Did you know that Toyota can sell you the little screws for these? Part number is 81136-12571 if anyone cares 😅
I will show you all these headlights when I go back to the shed, forgot to take any photos while I was there. :bang:
 
Joined
Aug 31, 2021
Messages
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Location
Bunbury, Western Australia
I have gotten confirmation that my custom bellhousing from Dellows is on the way! Should be getting delivered to work next Tuesday! All starting to come together now.
 

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