1988 FJ62 Build – Weekend Chief (1 Viewer)

Joined
Apr 15, 2020
Messages
42
Location
Patchogue, NY
Starting this thread to document the work I’ve done on my 1988 FJ62, but mostly to call out the people and vendors on the forum that have been a huge help throughout the process!

My wife and I had been looking for a 60 Series for years and we were finally in a position to pull the trigger in February 2020. Living on Long Island (and the Northeast in general) – you don’t see many 60 Series around, so I figured we’d need to look out of town and have one shipped in.

I’m definitely not a mechanic and did not have much (…any) experience working on cars, but our budget ($15K and under) dictated that I’d have to get comfortable under the hood – fast! We found a really clean 240K mile 1988 FJ62 in North Carolina for $9K and had it shipped up to Long Island the second week of March…just in time for COVID lockdown! Exterior and frame were free of any rust and interior was dirty but in great shape. The paint job was SUPER faded and was really the only cosmetic issue. The truck had spent most of its life in Texas, then a few years in Georgia before heading to NC.

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COVID lockdowns and “working from home” were really the perfect time to get introduced to and learn a new skill. I love working with my hands and my day job is definitely NOT that – so this was actually an incredible opportunity to spend some time doing so. None of the following would have been possible without my father-in-law, who has been working on cars forever and just finished restoring his ’79 FJ40.

Let’s just say we are at the opposite ends of the mechanical skill spectrum – working with me was probably like working with a 5 year old! I am really good at holding things and taking selfies, though.
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Joined
Apr 15, 2020
Messages
42
Location
Patchogue, NY
Step 1.

First things first, in preparation for knuckle and brakes re-build – clean the 32 years of dirt, oil, Georgia red clay and wasp hives from the frame, axles, etc. The underside was pretty gnarly. Thankfully my driveway was under construction and now all of the above crap lives in the RCA under blacktop.

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We rebuilt the knuckles using the kit from Cruiser Outfitters, then it was time from the brakes. New rotors, calipers, and lines. Also installed new tie rod ends from Cruiser Corps and new OME steering dampener.

Last step before getting NYS inspection and getting on the road: valve job and replacing the old duct taped air cleaner hoses – thanks to City Racer for those!
 
Joined
Apr 15, 2020
Messages
42
Location
Patchogue, NY
Step 2. Disaster Strikes

End of July, I dropped the Chief off at my local mechanic for inspection. While it was there, I figured it was a good time for a coolant flush…what could happen?

I was so pumped to get this thing on the road in time for the end of the summer – we’re almost there! It was 2 days before I heard from the shop – which was weird, so I called for an update. The desk guy had me on hold for a few mins…which wasn’t a good sign. He came back and said “Uhhh, during the coolant flush, a large chunk of the engine block flew off!” WTF! I immediately drove down there to see what happened….and slightly excited to see this “chunk.”

It ended up not being a chunk – but a pretty large hole in the back of the engine block. This is where the project took a real turn – and mostly for the better.

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@gnintz convinced me to get the Chief back to the house so we could assess our options. The project turned from “let’s make this 250K engine work” to tracking down a rebuilt 3FE. Of course I would have preferred to swap in an LS, etc., but budget and resources pushed me back to the 3FE. This also gave us the chance to really clean up the engine bay, clean and paint components and frame, etc.
 
Joined
Apr 15, 2020
Messages
42
Location
Patchogue, NY
4. The Reincarnation

If we were going through the fun of pulling the old engine, I figured that we should look at a tranny rebuild as well. With help from the forum, I was directed to Georg at Cruiser Brothers. They hooked me up with a rebuilt A440F with HD torque converter and transfer case.

@orangefj45 recommended Yota1 for my rebuilt engine.

Both were ordered and on their way to us.

Additionally, we’d need a new exhaust – so I went with the @OTRAMM stainless exhaust, probably the nicest part of the car…

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The only snag/delay we hit at this point was at the point of installing the drive plate to the crankshaft. Unbeknownst to us at the time the bolt sizes changed between 1988 and 1989 3FE. We were trying to use 10mm that we had from the original engine, but they were obviously super loose. After some cursing and thoughts of pushing the Chief into the lake – we did some additional research and found that the new crankshaft needed 11mm bolt, which seem to not exist on planet earth. We ended up figuring we could use SAE 7/16 after chasing the existing holes with a tap, and that worked fine and we were back on track!

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Joined
Apr 15, 2020
Messages
42
Location
Patchogue, NY
5. Interior and other cosmetic updates

Once the car was back up and running – I figured it was time to tackle some cosmetic things + get the interior cleaned up. I ordered the upholstery sets from Cruiser Corps and carpet kit from @dnp. I was able to get both of these done on my own in 2 weekends. Love how this came out. Still need to update the door cards. Also upgraded to @TRAIL TAILOR b pillars - awesome.

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Joined
Apr 15, 2020
Messages
42
Location
Patchogue, NY
On the exterior: late night internet rabbit hole boredom and research + impatience on a paint job, led for some lipstick on a pig upgrades.

I installed @trailtailor vents in the rear and fender. Love getting rid of plastic when I can.

I also installed the Icon 4x4 side view mirrors – love the understated look of these (not the understated price tag…I must have been drunk when ordering) and was happy to see the peeling faux chrome go.

I then bought the 4Runner wiper upgrade from City Racer – nice, easy, 10 min mod.

Needed some new tires and I really love the vintage vibe of the 40 wheels (which @gnintz had laying around). Threw these on + BFG KO2.

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Lastly – threw some stickers that I had been collecting on the back.

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6. More to come

I have Speed Hut gauges coming in from @FJ60Cam later this week. I’ll document that once I install. Then the “last” thing (Narrator: There is never a "last thing"...) will be a new paint job. I’m hoping to start getting some quotes in the Spring. I go back and forth on the color – keeping original or going with one of the classic non-metallic colors (which I prefer).
 
Joined
Apr 15, 2020
Messages
42
Location
Patchogue, NY
Day off boredom - created a logo for the truck based off this Long Island Rail Road logo from the 1960s - not exactly PC these days, but really interesting. Non-COVID days I spend 4 hours a day on the LIRR, commuting to NYC from Eastern LI.

Branding and logos REALLY get me going. Stickers coming...

original weekend chief.jpg


weekend chief logo.JPG
 

Gundo

SILVER Star
Joined
Oct 1, 2020
Messages
118
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06877
Inspiring! Love the work you've done. Please keep us up to date on painting - I'm in same camp. I would love to find those same wheels
 
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Joined
Apr 15, 2020
Messages
42
Location
Patchogue, NY
The Weekend Chief only came with one mud flap - minor issue but these things drive me nuts! As most of you know, it's near impossible to find replacement mud flaps. I've been relentlessly trying to track one down - I've lost out on eBay a few different times. The prices have been outrageous - but I had become obsessed and was willing to pay! It was weird to me that there weren't any aftermarket OEM-ish flaps, either.

Finally about a month ago I stumbled upon this listing on eBay: Toyota Land Cruiser Fj60 FJ62 Rear Mud Flaps Splash Guards Rock

I held off for a bit - not really sure about them. Listing said they were "rear," but the flaps didn't say "LandCruiser" like the originals.

I had a few drinks over New Years - and just pulled the trigger. Figured it was worth a shot - and the price was less than the f*cked up, used OEMs floating around every now and then.

I haven't seen anyone else on the forum that has used these - so here's some photos of the install!

They came in from Florida - but seem to be produced in Venezuela (based on some amateur detective work on google):

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Overall - I'm pretty psyched about these. I'd recommend if you are desperate for an OEM-ish NEW mudflap set.

Only modification needed: the hanger they came with was too short. I just went to Home Depot and picked up an 8" metal plate to use and it worked out fine. No longer off-balance with one flap!

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Joined
Sep 29, 2004
Messages
2,118
Location
Houston, the lower bowel of TX
Step 2. Disaster Strikes

End of July, I dropped the Chief off at my local mechanic for inspection. While it was there, I figured it was a good time for a coolant flush…what could happen?

I was so pumped to get this thing on the road in time for the end of the summer – we’re almost there! It was 2 days before I heard from the shop – which was weird, so I called for an update. The desk guy had me on hold for a few mins…which wasn’t a good sign. He came back and said “Uhhh, during the coolant flush, a large chunk of the engine block flew off!” WTF! I immediately drove down there to see what happened….and slightly excited to see this “chunk.”

It ended up not being a chunk – but a pretty large hole in the back of the engine block. This is where the project took a real turn – and mostly for the better.

View attachment 2546368

@gnintz convinced me to get the Chief back to the house so we could assess our options. The project turned from “let’s make this 250K engine work” to tracking down a rebuilt 3FE. Of course I would have preferred to swap in an LS, etc., but budget and resources pushed me back to the 3FE. This also gave us the chance to really clean up the engine bay, clean and paint components and frame, etc.
Great work and love the name, very apropos.

So I can’t believe nobody mentioned this curious hole in this engine block...wonder if it started as a bad cast from the factory (?). Looks like the water jacket rusted a hole from the inside out through some thin metal...haven’t heard of that before but I guess anything is possible.
 
Joined
Sep 29, 2004
Messages
2,118
Location
Houston, the lower bowel of TX
4. The Reincarnation

If we were going through the fun of pulling the old engine, I figured that we should look at a tranny rebuild as well. With help from the forum, I was directed to Georg at Cruiser Brothers. They hooked me up with a rebuilt A440F with HD torque converter and transfer case.

@orangefj45 recommended Yota1 for my rebuilt engine.

Both were ordered and on their way to us.

Additionally, we’d need a new exhaust – so I went with the @OTRAMM stainless exhaust, probably the nicest part of the car…

View attachment 2546372View attachment 2546373
View attachment 2546374

The only snag/delay we hit at this point was at the point of installing the drive plate to the crankshaft. Unbeknownst to us at the time the bolt sizes changed between 1988 and 1989 3FE. We were trying to use 10mm that we had from the original engine, but they were obviously super loose. After some cursing and thoughts of pushing the Chief into the lake – we did some additional research and found that the new crankshaft needed 11mm bolt, which seem to not exist on planet earth. We ended up figuring we could use SAE 7/16 after chasing the existing holes with a tap, and that worked fine and we were back on track!

View attachment 2546371
Couple questions....WHERE did you find that bulletin on the 3FE flex plate, flywheel bolts? That’s a pretty big issue when converting a late 3FE (Oct. ‘89 +) to a manual trans, and not a lot of people talk about it. Lol.
Those bolts are available, btw. Overseas parts suppliers like Partsouq or amayama.com are treasure troves for tough to find OEM parts.

....and what’s the story on the no head rest FJ62 seats? Retro cool.
 
Joined
Apr 15, 2020
Messages
42
Location
Patchogue, NY
Great work and love the name, very apropos.

So I can’t believe nobody mentioned this curious hole in this engine block...wonder if it started as a bad cast from the factory (?). Looks like the water jacket rusted a hole from the inside out through some thin metal...haven’t heard of that before but I guess anything is possible.
Thanks @Skniper !

Agreed - we were definitely stumped by the hole and I couldn't really find similar stories on here. We found the hole during a coolant flush - suspected it dislodged years of dirt, oil, and rust etc. that may have been holding the hole together. The POs didn't seem to ever use coolant (along with other annoyances) - thinking the years of using water only could have rusted from the inside out. I was obviously pretty disappointed - we were getting some awesome compression, otherwise.

Couple questions....WHERE did you find that bulletin on the 3FE flex plate, flywheel bolts? That’s a pretty big issue when converting a late 3FE (Oct. ‘89 +) to a manual trans, and not a lot of people talk about it. Lol.
Those bolts are available, btw. Overseas parts suppliers like Partsouq or amayama.com are treasure troves for tough to find OEM parts.

....and what’s the story on the no head rest FJ62 seats? Retro cool.
We found the bulletin at our local Toyota dealer parts dept. (Sunrise Toyota). We were pretty desperate - I wasn't able to find any info on here re: bolt size change. I thought I just rec'd a rebuilt motor with stripped bolt holes!

Luckily they were able to provide the bulletin which really cleared everything up for us! I've used Partsouq a few times - recently to upgrade my sun visors to 70 series (great mod btw). Good to know they have NLA hardware too, thanks!

Re: Seats, they are just the original seats! The Cruiser Corps upholstery didn't come with pre cut holes for the head rests and I ended up loving the retro feel without them! So I'm just going with it until I feel like I need a change....

On another note, forgot to mention that I swapped in the new seat foam for the front seats from SOR. Such a difference, although it does raise you up about 2 inches!
 

Gundo

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Joined
Oct 1, 2020
Messages
118
Location
06877
Nothing as complex as engine rebuilds on my side, but real quick on the SOR seat foams - I’ve recently installed them and used the SOR gray vinyl seat upholstery.

Night and day difference, and you are 100% right about them being higher - 2” may be conservative! I knew it was going to be higher and more supportive, really liking it. At 6’3”, I still have plenty of headroom, even with a baseball hat on.

Finally - have to thank you - I’m now needing to look into the visor mod.
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Joined
Apr 15, 2020
Messages
42
Location
Patchogue, NY
Nothing as complex as engine rebuilds on my side, but real quick on the SOR seat foams - I’ve recently installed them and used the SOR gray vinyl seat upholstery.

Night and day difference, and you are 100% right about them being higher - 2” may be conservative! I knew it was going to be higher and more supportive, really liking it. At 6’3”, I still have plenty of headroom, even with a baseball hat on.

Finally - have to thank you - I’m now needing to look into the visor mod.View attachment 2551062View attachment 2551063
Looks great!

I can't take credit for the visor mod, big thanks to @Beams37 and this Sun Visors thread!

Here's mine! Took less than 10 mins - very easy mod!

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