1992 FJ80 As A Daily Driver and Kid Hauler (1 Viewer)

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Recently, I purchased a 1992 FJ80, which I had planned on using as an occasional DD or weekend fun vehicle that doubles as a snowmobile during the lovely North Dakota winters here. I've finished up some body work and am making good progress at base-lining the truck (only 50% left on the front axle rebuild). It will need new tires and there are some nagging issues, but nothing catastrophically wrong at this point. However, I wanted to ask you to weigh in with your experiences.

First, I didn't notice til recently, but the rear passenger side hub is missing one lug stud. I didn't notice during the inspection because you sort of take that for granted. How hard is it to address something like that? Second, it will definitely need new front pads, but I'll get to that probably before winter sweeps in.

The interior is in good shape and if I can get the truck in good condition overall, I may actually sell my 2007 Dodge Ram to keep my fleet from getting too large. There's a lot of variables for me to consider, but what I'm more interested in is how is an FJ80 for commuting purposes? I know that it'll drink gas, but that won't be a budget issue for me. I'm more concerned about overall reliability (I'm aware of the reputation the Land Cruiser holds) since I consider commuting a different thing altogether than exploration.

Finally, my wife and I are expecting twins in March of 2015. Not bad for my first trip around as a father-to-be! I'm familiar with the lack of safety features on the FJ80 outside of structure strength, but do any of you using your truck for child transport duty? I'm not certain how child seats are supposed to fit in the 2nd row, so any input regarding that would be appreciated too. My wife and I are discussing the possibilities of the car shuffle based on what makes the most sense, but I'd like to keep the '80 in the mix if possible. It'd be a question of whether we keep the '80, my Ram or get a Grand Caravan as our second vehicle best suited for kids since our other vehicle that staying is a Honda Civic that would be for commuting purposes.

Wow, what a wall of text. I look forward to your input!
 

retrofive

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Other than the MPG the 80 is great DD and kid hauler IMHO. My girl turns five this Tues. She was brought home in the 80 and loves it! I am comfortable with her in it safety wise, but anything could happen. With said I did retire the 80 to DD purposes and bought a 3rd 4r. She still prefers the 80, but all the running around the 4r made more sense.

For the lug stud, I snapped one of mine and didn't want to deal with it, $20 fixed/installed at our local Les Schwab.
 
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I've got one kid in a carseat right now and we're expecting a second soon. As far as rear ward facing goes i have yet to test it. But a front facing carseat does just fine in the middle. Im thinking i may just fold the middle row down and run the kids in the third row seats when the time comes. If my 22 month old had to sit directly behind either of the front seats(atleast with his big greco seat) his feet would probably sit on the shoulders or the headrest of the seat. The rear stud is easy enough to smack out and pull a new one through and if i were you i would get something like an ebc greenstuff brake pad or some form of stoptech or dba. The oem pads arnt near as aggressive as they should be and dont provide adiquate bite. Also think about switching to a dba or stoptech slotted rotor for better longevity when using more aggressive pads. As for reliability i mean there are the standard cooling, headgasket, axle, maintenace ticks that all cruisers have but if you stay ontop of it i would trust it as much or more than my old 7.3L diesel. When you go to get carseats i would suggest doing test fits or search for reviews of seats that fit in passenger cars well as thats pretty much how much space is between the second row and the front seats.
 
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Also think about the winter when you make a decision to get rid of the cruiser or not. I bought mine because even though my big ass excursion has 4wd its not as agile and effective in the snow. Going to a fwd van will definitely account for loss of overall bad weather performance compared to a full time awd platform. That being said congrats on the up and coming kids!
 
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Kennesaw, GA
Congrats on the Kiddos! For what it's worth, my wife and I have a 3 month old, and it is much easier when we take him with us in the LX than it is in our DD (Mercedes C-Class). His rear facing seat fits just fine. In fact the diaper bag fits nicely on the floor in front of it and there is ample room for the passenger to grab it while we are driving. The massive stroller fits in the back nicely with the 3rd row folded up.
 

nukegoat

Should have bought a Jeep
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I'd be concerned about the safety issues of driving my kids around in a 22 year old vehicle that likely has rust issues
 
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I think you'll be fine. The structural integrity of the 80 is awesome, and although the newer cars with the alloyed steel have better strength, there is still plenty of steel and crumple zones in the 80 so that I am comfortable putting my kids back there (and soon, letting them drive it).

The sheer mass of the vehicle helps too, as there is no substitute for mass in the safety equation.

Although no crash tests exist for the 80 (that I know of) I know that the overall design (big mass, crumple zones) is very safe.

Also, the full-time 4WD is really unbeatable in the snow. I have a 2-door Tahoe, and I'm looking to sell it, as the full-time 4WD with the viscous coupling is just awesome in bad, wet, sloppy weather, which we get a LOT of in the PNW.

Good luck!

-Muddy1
 

retrofive

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Being my 80 was my first "truck" and now having it and a 4r, the 80 is amazing in ice/snow/sleet/rain. It just plants its fat ass on the surface and goes. Several icy mornings hopped in the 4r and throw into 4wd. :doh:
 
Joined
Dec 11, 2012
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Thanks for the feedback, everyone! Do you recommend a specific brand of carseat (ideally one that fits two babies or ones the '80 can accommodate two of)? Also, should any tire/wheel shop be able to replace that missing lug stud?
 
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Any tire shop can do the stud. There are sites dedicated to identifying what carseat is best for you. Just throw it up on google
 
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I used my current 80 as a DD for our boys. I now have handed over the keys to our 16 year old. I feel it is a solid vehicle on a very strong platform, obviously no airbags but armored front and rear bumpers help…
Congrats and good luck with the kiddo's!
 
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Most stores that sell car seats will let you take them out to the car and test fit them. My wife and I did that and it was immensely helpful.
 
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The Graco Nautilus is what our kids rock in all of our vehicles, they are the best and most comfortable car seats according to our kids. They are forward facing so you won't really need one until your little one is out of their rear facing but they will last a long time as they grow, it's the last one you will buy.
 
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Knoxville, TN
I'm all about using an 80 as a DD and kid hauler as that is exactly what I'm doing with mine. One thing to consider, though, is that most (all?) car seats these days are designed to work with the "latch" system. Obviously older vehicles don't have the latches... Not the end of the world as the newer car seats will still work using the seat belts to secure them, but it is more of a hassle and honestly they don't work as well.
 
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Up until we got the wife's new 4R my 92 was our kid hauler and it is still my DD. I am showing 368K on the odometer and it has yet to get home under it's own power. Other than a pretty good rear main seal leak it hasn't given me any issues other than regular maintenance. I have a 10 year old, 2 year old, and a 11 month old and they all fit just fine with plenty of cargo room in the back. The car seats come with a little chrome bracket that you lace the seat belt through and holds them good and tight. The car seats are a bit of a PITA to install and remove but its not like you are doing it every day.
 
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I am showing 368K on the odometer and it has yet to get home under it's own power.


Wow, you really have been patient with that vehicle! :steer:

Haha just kidding....

The trick with mounting car seats without latch is pull seatbelt all the way out and just keep pressing and pulling, pressing and pulling pressing and pulling until the thing has the seat mashed in.
 

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