1991 fj80- the offroad station wagon build.

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Jan 4, 2018
Naches, WA
Nothing fancy here but I picked up this 1991 fj80 cheap to make into my full time camping/fishing with the kids mobile until I can get the 40 built.



first step is to get the motor tuned up and then install the spartan i have in the rear. from there i will probably deflare as they dont match and then finish the front bumper to fit the winch i have. i really just want to go rally it and have fun with the kids so i am resisting the urge to throw on my 37's and regear.
took the old girl out last weekend for a quick day trip for a shake down. she did pretty good except it had a fuel delivery issue on the way out that was causing major surging and loss of all power to the point of not being able to even move in low range. I drained the tank and added all new fuel and that helped some but the idle is still very rough once warm and some surging. I have ordered a new FPR, damper, fuel filter and prefilter in the tank to eliminate those issues. I also bought new shoes and pads to make the brakes fresh. I am going to get out the timing light as well and check timing and clean the throttle body and AFM to see if I can get her running top shape and reliable. when the fuel is not surging she runs pretty well and pulls up the hill at 65 MPH well so I think she is a healthy motor, just needs some tune up.
little fire footage from the Evans canyon fire.



(sorry don't know how to embed video)
Luckily the wind shifted after they fought the fire on our side. if it would have been burning Monday the wind would have pushed it all the way down to our house.
not much update yet. I did get the FPR replaced and that seemed to fix the fuel surging issue. still need to do the damper and in tank screen but wanted to do one thing at a time to see results. I also added an amp back in where the PO had removed it so I got my radio back. also did the AFM 3 click mod and am going to check and set timing next. I am going to try and remove the cats next or pay to have them removed and see if that helps her breath better.

Did get to do some quick low range front yard drivers training:

she kept trying to floor it....lol still did pretty good for 8. I will make a wheeler out of her yet.

also put a down payment on this:

new work shop/ mancave for me!!!!
well no huge updates but I finally pulled the trigger and bolted up the 37's from the fj40 project:




completely stock suspension. I am going to commence trimming after I get back from T day visit to the In laws. I already have 5.29's and locker for the 9.5 from my fj40 parts but I still need a front 5.29 diff. I think I have enough marlin crawler gift cards saved up for the gears and a basic install kit. I just lost my job so money is sparse right now until I can get a new job. still trying to keep my shop build permit moving too so that is taking a lot of funds.

I also scored a parts rig. With title and running for 200 bucks. someone cut out the front axle to get to the high pinion 3rd so it would take some work to get it driving again but it has all the interior parts I need and some interesting spares.


the real score here is when I started looking into the front axle pats and the spare T case in the back of the truck.

when I was unloading the front axle parts from my truck I noticed some non Aisin or warn like I am used to. so I started cleaning them up and noticed a marks adapters sticker on the truck and realized they were some of the marks heavy duty hubs that come with the part time kit.


so I crawled under the truck and the t case would not free spool like a part time kit should and I got bummed. then I went to clean out the old tires and other randomness from the trunk and found another t case. can you guess.......
that one either has a busted center diff or a part time kit. I am going to have to tear it apart when I get home from T day.

Either way I think the truck was well worth the 200 bucks even with out the front diff and some weird noises coming for the transmission/ case.
finally got around to finishing up the front bumper and mounting the winch. added a quick little hoop for grill protection:

I installed the rear Spartan locker as well and then took it out to see how the Yokohama's would do in the snow. they did pretty well. not too many pictures but here are a couple.


definitely needs a front locker and a little lift, rear still rubs pretty easy. I am thinking I am going to build some homemade spring spacers to get it up about 1.5-2"

front locker wise, I have a good buddy of mine in Alaska that is sending me a full 3rd member with a ARB and 5.29's so that is a huge score. just need to get the compressor and install kit.

Also I finally dove into the T case in the parts rig and it definitely has a part time kit in it. thinking I am going to sell that to try and fund some chromo front axles. I don't really need part time with how I use my truck.
so in an effort to keep wheeling but also being unemployed and broke I have been concentrating on free mods to help. I decided to build some 2" spring spacers to keep my 37's from rubbing in the back so much while wheeling. for the front I copied the Metaltech style. Because I had the bump stop holders from the parts truck I decided to just cut those up and add a plate to make the 2" spacer easy and fast for the front.


for the rear I had not seen many home made spring spacers so I took out the rear springs and rubber spring isolator from my parts truck and started to make a metal spring spacer for the rear. my concept was to copy the print footprint for the bottom of the spacer and copy the spring isolator base for the top plate so it would rest on there well.


then I bent some 3/16" X1-1/2" strap into a tight circle and tacked and bent to fit the middle radius of the bottom plate.



little trick I learned if trying this. over bend and then open up the circle while tacking vs going big and trying to bend it tighter. it was a lot quicker.


forgot to take any painted pictures as it was the middle of the night but I finished up with a little spray paint after wire wheeling off the slag etc.
next I wanted to drop the bump stops in the rear too. I found some old fj40 front bumps I pulled off my other project and welded them onto the stock base for the fj80. only netted me about 1-1/2" drop so I might still need to ad some plate beneath to get me to a full 2" but we will see how the 37's and the cut fenders match once flexed.

these may or may not last long but it was a free experiment.

I also dropped the internal bump stop 1-1/2" as well by drilling out the stock mounting hole and welding on the metal cones that were supporting the front bump stops on the parts truck. this added right about 1-1/2" as well.


the inner bumps will still contact a little before the outers like stock and then only use the outers upon flexing.
all installed and ready to test. I ended up duct taping the rubber spring isolator to the top of the spring for ease of installation.
hard to tell from the pictures but it is definitely taller and I removed the front sway bar while I was in there to help the front flex a little as the rear usually does most of the work.


I still need some shocks as they are all limiting down travel now and my rears are completely spent. might need to just build some shock spacers and get some cheap stockers for now.


also found my old CB and a non ground plan antenna and cable in the attic so I decided to add that as well for some on trail coms. going out Sunday to play in the snow and try it out.

bigger upgrades to the drive train coming next week hopefully.
Looks sweet
Thanks man. I have been waiting on marlin crawler for some bearings and setup lots so I can get the 5.29’s in and install the front arb a good buddy of mine gave me for a front locker. I think sliders and rear bumper need to happen as soon as I can afford the steel too.
Test drive of the spacers went well. I didn’t get many pictures because the kids had my phone but I got some fun video of them driving it and loving it.
Nice home made spacers and bump stop drops! I like seeing how others reuse, fab, and improvise on a budget- it's giving my budget conscious (read, cheap) self ideas.
Keep up the progress!
I love how this is your "non project daily" on the cheap so you can work on your real project
Thanks man. Unemployment has given me lots of time to think of cheap or free ways to make it better. I am trying to scrape some money together by selling other parts so I can keep doing little things here and there.
Nice home made spacers and bump stop drops! I like seeing how others reuse, fab, and improvise on a budget- it's giving my budget conscious (read, cheap) self ideas.
Keep up the progress!
I love how this is your "non project daily" on the cheap so you can work on your real project
Hahaha, I was wondering who was going to notice that this rig has shifted some. With unemployment my shop plans have been paused so a full build out of the fj40 is also paused so I figured why not put some time into this rig to keep me wheeling until I can get the shop and fj40 going again.

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