1985 FJ60 Upgrades and a Rookie Mechanic (1 Viewer)

Joined
Jul 15, 2013
Messages
11
Location
Bloomington, Indiana
I own a 1985 FJ60 2F that for the better part of the last 25 years has been a “seasonal” vehicle used as the primary vehicle at my in-law’s vacation home near Glacier National Park and more recently as my hunting/camping truck in Bloomington, Indiana. As my daughter will earn her license in about 18 months, I would like to convert it to my daily driver. I have three issues that are slowing me down.
  • Limited automotive knowledge on my part. I can change the oil and plugs and I swapped out a bad starter but I have never done anything extensive.
  • Lack of expertise in the area. I have called a handful of shops in a 200-mile radius and while a lot of people are “interested” I have been less than impressed with their services, e.g. “I would do a complete engine swap”, “This would be a perfect rock crawler”, “I call you back…”
  • Cost. I know that some of the upgrades will not be cheap, but I have called shops in Texas, Colorado and Georgia and they all want to see the truck in person before even beginning to give me a ballpark figure and driving 10 hours for an estimate seems silly.
So here I am trying to learn as I go.

I believe the truck spent it’s initial years as a working truck and I believe it had a wench, plow or similar on the front at one point based on some of the additional electronic buttons that were added into the consul. It also spent a lot of it’s 105k miles on dirt roads. The bottom portion of the body was sprayed with a dura/rhino-liner to cut down on damage. Otherwise I believe most everything under the hood is stock.

Overall, the truck is in great shape and runs really well. The interior is very clean, the body has limited rust and it has received regular maintenance. In the last ten year’s she has received: a new starter; fuel pump; distributor, plugs and wires; radiator and hoses; upgrade of the headlamps with the Daniel Stern lens, bulbs and wiring harness kit; fog lamps; tires; powder coated rims and bumpers; and a radio.

I believe that there is a couple of major upgrades I should consider but they raise questions:
  • Make the necessary upgrades to eliminate the manual choke in the hope that she will fire up a bit easier/faster in the winter. Which I hope to be able to figure out on my own, but I am not sure the best way to go about making this happen. Is it as simple as adding in an electric choke or do I need to swap for a full Weber carb?
  • Eventually move to a H55F or similar 5 speed transmission although the current four speed is great for around town and makes me drive the posted limit (most of the time). This work I assume I will someone else do but who? Or can I simply order the parts (which ones) and get a mechanic friend to help me swap this out?
  • I know I am missing something. I have to be missing something that I should consider doing but what?
A couple of ancillary upgrades I would like to accomplish are:
  • Moving to an XM radio but I think I will need to upgrade the antenna but this, hopefully, would be easy.
  • Add in a set of Land Shark Outfitters new Reef Drawers
  • A Tuffy Center Console.
  • Again, I know I am missing something. I must be missing something that I should consider doing but what?
Any direction that any of you could provide including recommended threads to read (I follow a few already), mechanics to recommend, resources to contact in South Central Indiana etc. would be greatly appreciated. Yes, of course I will also add some pictures soon.

Happy New Year Everyone!
 

RodrigzCrzr

SILVER Star
Joined
Jan 17, 2012
Messages
2,873
Location
Culver City, CA
Maybe a good idea is to rebuild the carb! And check the asc switch. Green plug running in front of carb.
Couple people here on Mud that can rebuild your carb. All you need is to remove it drain it and ship it.
If your going to go with a H55F trans good idea to rebuild transfer case since it need to separate from the 4 speed.
Also read up on the 5 speed lots of pros and cons to it. And different reviews about it.
Cruiser brothers sells what you need for a transfer rebuild.
 

OSS

Joined
Jun 30, 2017
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3,333
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Oblivion
In all honesty, if you can replace the starter on the cruiser, you can fix anything on it. Everything is that simple. Transmission swap requires a good jack.
The 5 speed will still keep you going the speed limit. Not worth the money & expense unless the 4 speed is shot or you're sick if it
 

Ocho77

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Jan 18, 2014
Messages
1,740
Location
Michigan
I’ll echo everything that @OSS stated. It’s pretty easy to work on if you know ‘right tight, left loose’.

If all else fails, bring her up to Michigan. There are a few of us up here and we love having another cruiser to look at!! They are rare breeds around these parts. We also have a big cruiser get together at my place every summer. I’ll pm you a link once I set the party date for this summer.

Go Hoosiers!

Cheers,
Jonathan
 
Joined
Jul 15, 2013
Messages
11
Location
Bloomington, Indiana
I’ll echo everything that @OSS stated. It’s pretty easy to work on if you know ‘right tight, left loose’.

If all else fails, bring her up to Michigan. There are a few of us up here and we love having another cruiser to look at!! They are rare breeds around these parts. We also have a big cruiser get together at my place every summer. I’ll pm you a link once I set the party date for this summer.

Go Hoosiers!

Cheers,
Jonathan

Michigan eh? I grew up in Utica and my pop is now in Birmingham. I am a Sparty as well as a Hoosier. Where in MI are you located? Attending your event is a very real possibility. Thank you.
 

Gretsch

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Joined
Apr 3, 2017
Messages
1,543
Location
Plano Texas
x 2 on if you replaced the starter. may i suggest rooting thru here for nevergiveupyota's build thread...work in progress aka: badass. read the whole thing then ask yourself why you think you couldn't do what needs doing

I'll second this. If you need a shot of courage, read through that thread. If you can't get it from that then you just won't get it.

I really did not have much experience when I started here either. If you are willing to put in the time, you can get anything done on these you want to. Between the FSM, this forum, and some effort, you can figure any of it out. If I can do it anyone can, of that I assure you.
 

FJ Noob

GOLD Star
Joined
Aug 22, 2019
Messages
884
Location
Fayetteville, NC
I'll kick this horse one more time because I was where you are about 6 months ago. If you have some basic tools, some workspace, and patience, there isn't really much you can't do on your truck. If you don't have them, get copies of the Factory Service Manuals (Digital FSMs here) and just start browsing through them to get familiar....don't get overwhelmed. Remember, the truck is just a package of systems that you can isolate and repair/change when needed/wanted.

First thing I would do before "upgrading" is to clearly define what you want out of the truck and think about the plan to get there. A DD for you might be stock springs and tires. A DD for me could be a full Chevy LS swap, 80-series axle conversion, and 35" tires. You'll get ALOT of opinions and personal preferences throwing out open ended questions on MUD until you learn enough to get more specific. That could muddy the waters and have you end up wasting time, or worse, $$ on something you end up not caring for later.

Next, I'd just drive it for a couple months to get to know the truck and start sorting out any of the minor problems you may not have noticed before. If you haven't done so already, check out the 60-series FAQ section...particularly the "Oil Galley Plug Fixes" thread. Don't freak out over the horror stories, but that fix is the only one that really comes to mind as one to prevent a total "show-stopper".

After driving it regularly for a bit, reconsider your goals for the truck and re-address your plan. I was hell-bent on a H55 swap when I got my truck. After 6 months of driving it semi-daily, I don't think I care about it anymore. I can do 65mph fine and 70 if I need to. She's happiest (and the most fuel efficient) at 50-55 on state/county roads...the 4-sp is perfectly fine for this. I've re-evaluated and am moving on to other items.

One last thing...the search function on MUD is less than optimal. Here's a technique I was told last week to help.

1. Go directly to google.

2. Search for the following:
[Thing you're looking for] "60-series wagons" site:forum.ih8mud.com

For example, if you type " V8 Swap "60-series wagons" site:forum.ih8mud.com " you get the following results: v8 swap "60-series wagons" site:forum.ih8mud.com - Google Search

3. Try adding specific words/phrases with/without quote marks to narrow and broaden your search. 'Vortec' is a good one, "5.3" could be useful, 'H55' or 'H55f' or 'NV4500' can all be useful depending on your specific goal, and also pay attention to the dates on threads, since something from 2003 talking about an adapter which doesn't exist any more won't help!

Good luck with the truck, use MUD extensively, keep us updated!
 

60Works

60 Series Iron Works
Joined
Sep 28, 2009
Messages
1,550
Location
NH
Manual choke is your friend. Learn to love it. The stock Aisin carb is superior in every way to the Weber.

Once you've learned the magic combination (different for every Cruiser but very consistent) of choke to temperataure, how many priming pumps of the throttle and when to squirt them, and how to stick your tongue out just right - she'll fire up every time. You'll learn to trust her as much as any modern car.

Daily driving in IN, you'll want to flood your cruiser with undercoating like fluid film to protect her from salty roads.
 

WSOPgold2012

GOLD Star
Joined
Dec 28, 2012
Messages
1,096
Location
Front Range
Welcome to Mud!!

Living in Colorado at 9700' dealing with a carburated vehicle + choke took all the joy outtve my rig!! The temperature changes are drastic, from 0°-25° on any given day....that an driving at differing altitudes... 9700'-5000' it was nearly impossible to het the carb right...not for not trying...went thru 3 of em. The drivability was just turrrrible...always stalling...ect ect. Then i read Dustins thread:


And instantly decided to do the Sniper EFI conversion. Once in there i discovered a manifold leak that led to a Header install too....im happy to say i hvnt touched the choke since (cept a cpl times from habbit LOL) starts immediately at ANY temperature or altitude....and has yet to stall. Best thing i ever did on my rig....and that includes installing a heating core as it didnt have heat when purchased in '12 (this may actually be a tie).

Smthn to think about...beat of luck!
 

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