Builds 1992 LJ78 build... yes another one

Joined
Sep 12, 2021
Messages
17
Location
spring lake, NC
Glad to finally have the truck and now be able to post on here! tons of great builds on here with so much info!

little over a year ago I had a 2020 Trailboss that the wife and I planned to build out. little did we know the truck just wasn't for us... aside from the fact that it got 15mpg and my commute to work was about an hour or so on a good day. we did have some great times in the truck and fell in love with off-roading. Now we're back and this time we pulled the trigger on a 1992 Toyota LJ78 2.4L diesel with 145k miles! Yes, it might not be the full heavy-duty Australian Landcruiser 70s but it fit our goals and budget. We couldn't justify spending $50k on troopy nor could we find one that we liked enough to even consider. So we landed on an LJ that was already imported into the states.

30mins into picking up the truck in Michigan we ran into an overheating problem which left us stranded for 48hrs in the middle of Indiana. but after working through the night with 2 great Autozone employees we limped her home we turn a 12hr drive into a 16hr back road drive

what's been done so far?
  1. several coolant flushes
  2. new thermostat from a 80s 4runner
  3. new upper hose but it'll need to be replaced seeing as insides are caked in murky residue
  4. new bulbs all-round

Plans?
  1. Full front and rear 2in lift kit from Ironman 4x4 foam cell with heavy duty springs. 25% off labor day sale came in handy the weekend we picked it up
  2. New steering damper from Dobinson's (SD59-824) on order
  3. Suspension bushing (which I haven't found)
  4. Bed inside the truck seeing as we have no desire to own or sleep in a rooftop tent.
  5. Roof rack and ladder from frontrunner
  6. ARB front bumper
  7. Classic looking KC lights
  8. custom exhaust and radiator
  9. fifteen52 wheels and new tires
20210913_171838.jpg
 
Joined
Sep 12, 2021
Messages
17
Location
spring lake, NC
Little bit of an update on the build. the good, bad and of course the ugly!

New steering damper from Dobinson's installed but ill have to order a new mount for it... I got wild with a grinder and took a tad bit too much off. it'll hold for now. LC80 mounts look almost the same so I might order one and see how that goes. If anyone knows the exact answer let me know. thanks in advance


20210911_131134.jpg
20210911_102732.jpg


Finally got my ironman 4x4 2in lift! Wasn't able to install the front but that's for another weekend haha. In order for me to install my lift in the rear I had to dislocate the rear Panhard rod to only find out the OEM one doesn't fit anymore due to lift. So another part to order but that's life. Also if anyone cares rear springs are rated from 0-330lbs and fronts are 110-220lbs

20210919_111243.jpg
20210919_130905.jpg
20210919_131749.jpg


Now the bad.... cooling system sucks on the LJ78s! Big truck + small fans = wtf Toyota! I serviced the fan clutch which wasn't too bad but now looking back was pointless seeing as ill be doing an electric fan. But now I know what to do so another skilled acquired. Radiator is shot to hell so ill be ordering one this week along with new hoses that aren't filled with crunchy rust. I've done multiple flushes an used several rust removal chemicals and still picks up trash in the system. also i can hear it crumbling inside when i shake it around... time to let that old thing go.

Plans to get it all together and running by Overland East this year! count down begins
 
Joined
Jul 3, 2004
Messages
4,416
Location
Anchorage, AK
Have you read up on the care of an 2LT yet? The overheating has been discussed here over and over again. There are a couple of knowledgeable guys on here that have a good grasp on dealing with the overheating issues. Welcome.
 

GTSSportCoupe

2LTE abuser
Joined
Mar 23, 2012
Messages
7,915
Location
Victoria, BC, Canada
Nice work! Once LJ78's are setup right, they are quite rewarding vehicles. Had mine for nearly 10 years now and still love it.

Hopefully your cylinder head has already been done. But if not, by doing it you'll have more confidence in any case. It's not the end of the world by any means.

Removing EGR and associated junk, intercooling, tuning the motor a bit will transform it. They can make good power, run cool, and last like any other diesel with the proper care.

I love the coil suspension in these. Remove sway bars, some lift and softer radius arm bushings make it flex nicely for off road.
 
Joined
Sep 12, 2021
Messages
17
Location
spring lake, NC
Nice work! Once LJ78's are setup right, they are quite rewarding vehicles. Had mine for nearly 10 years now and still love it.

Hopefully your cylinder head has already been done. But if not, by doing it you'll have more confidence in any case. It's not the end of the world by any means.

Removing EGR and associated junk, intercooling, tuning the motor a bit will transform it. They can make good power, run cool, and last like any other diesel with the proper care.

I love the coil suspension in these. Remove sway bars, some lift and softer radius arm bushings make it flex nicely for off road.
Thank you! been reading your build and post on issues which has helped a lot! The goal is to make it as bulletproof as I can which I'm sure is everyone's goal lol.

I Will be getting a new radiator ordered soon and adding an electrical fan down the road. New filters, belts, and hoses are coming in little by little

before I started working on installing my lift I took it on a light trail by my job and was shocked at how good the 30-year-old suspension worked. ill be removing my swaybar this weekend and ordering a new Panhard bar for the front and rear from eBay. seeing as they no longer match up in the rear since I did my lift

when it comes to bushings on this truck which brands make kits for the LJ? id love to get a kit and replace all my bushings since several are going out
 

GTSSportCoupe

2LTE abuser
Joined
Mar 23, 2012
Messages
7,915
Location
Victoria, BC, Canada
Thank you! been reading your build and post on issues which has helped a lot! The goal is to make it as bulletproof as I can which I'm sure is everyone's goal lol.

I Will be getting a new radiator ordered soon and adding an electrical fan down the road. New filters, belts, and hoses are coming in little by little

before I started working on installing my lift I took it on a light trail by my job and was shocked at how good the 30-year-old suspension worked. ill be removing my swaybar this weekend and ordering a new Panhard bar for the front and rear from eBay. seeing as they no longer match up in the rear since I did my lift

when it comes to bushings on this truck which brands make kits for the LJ? id love to get a kit and replace all my bushings since several are going out


Don't use an electric fan; they simply don't have the power a clutch fan has, and can never move as much air. The alternators on these trucks are pretty low current too; and good electric fans will just load it down even more.

Buy caster correction bushings and put them in front and back. The ones that fit 80 series fit LJ78 also (the two axle end radius arm bushings; and front/rear axles are same). So just read up on it to find what works well for the 80 series guys. I bought some really soft ones that allow great articulation (but on the downside are known to wear faster). I'll try to find a link if you're interested. In this thread is a picture of how they look: LJ78 100mm lift on 35s - https://forum.ih8mud.com/threads/lj78-100mm-lift-on-35s.1232042/
 
Joined
Sep 12, 2021
Messages
17
Location
spring lake, NC
Don't use an electric fan; they simply don't have the power a clutch fan has, and can never move as much air. The alternators on these trucks are pretty low current too; and good electric fans will just load it down even more.

Buy caster correction bushings and put them in front and back. The ones that fit 80 series fit LJ78 also (the two axle end radius arm bushings; and front/rear axles are same). So just read up on it to find what works well for the 80 series guys. I bought some really soft ones that allow great articulation (but on the downside are known to wear faster). I'll try to find a link if you're interested. In this thread is a picture of how they look: LJ78 100mm lift on 35s - https://forum.ih8mud.com/threads/lj78-100mm-lift-on-35s.1232042/
I think I've seen your post on running a larger fan in the front instead of going with an electric fan.

So buy going with the caster correction bushing will fix the issues I'm having with the rear panhard bar not lining up after install the lift? I'm still new to working and modifying trucks lol. Yes id love to see that link and ill give your thread a read on it as well.
 
Joined
Apr 6, 2021
Messages
68
Location
chicago, il
Glad to finally have the truck and now be able to post on here! tons of great builds on here with so much info!

little over a year ago I had a 2020 Trailboss that the wife and I planned to build out. little did we know the truck just wasn't for us... aside from the fact that it got 15mpg and my commute to work was about an hour or so on a good day. we did have some great times in the truck and fell in love with off-roading. Now we're back and this time we pulled the trigger on a 1992 Toyota LJ78 2.4L diesel with 145k miles! Yes, it might not be the full heavy-duty Australian Landcruiser 70s but it fit our goals and budget. We couldn't justify spending $50k on troopy nor could we find one that we liked enough to even consider. So we landed on an LJ that was already imported into the states.

30mins into picking up the truck in Michigan we ran into an overheating problem which left us stranded for 48hrs in the middle of Indiana. but after working through the night with 2 great Autozone employees we limped her home we turn a 12hr drive into a 16hr back road drive

what's been done so far?
  1. several coolant flushes
  2. new thermostat from a 80s 4runner
  3. new upper hose but it'll need to be replaced seeing as insides are caked in murky residue
  4. new bulbs all-round

Plans?
  1. Full front and rear 2in lift kit from Ironman 4x4 foam cell with heavy duty springs. 25% off labor day sale came in handy the weekend we picked it up
  2. New steering damper from Dobinson's (SD59-824) on order
  3. Suspension bushing (which I haven't found)
  4. Bed inside the truck seeing as we have no desire to own or sleep in a rooftop tent.
  5. Roof rack and ladder from frontrunner
  6. ARB front bumper
  7. Classic looking KC lights
  8. custom exhaust and radiator
  9. fifteen52 wheels and new tires
View attachment 2792946
Hello,
Did you buy this from JDM import classics in 3 Rivers, MI?
 

GTSSportCoupe

2LTE abuser
Joined
Mar 23, 2012
Messages
7,915
Location
Victoria, BC, Canada
I think I've seen your post on running a larger fan in the front instead of going with an electric fan.

So buy going with the caster correction bushing will fix the issues I'm having with the rear panhard bar not lining up after install the lift? I'm still new to working and modifying trucks lol. Yes id love to see that link and ill give your thread a read on it as well.

Honestly, if your rad is in good shape, your fan viscous clutch has new oil (or is brand new), and you run the newer 82C 2LTE T-stat, you should not have heat issues. The reason I went with bigger fan etc, is I tow a camper, so put way more load on the engine.

I'm running stock panhard bars with a larger lift than yours and have not noticed them to be a significant issue. Maybe I need to look closer, lol. I think a couple guys here have upgraded to aftermarket (adjustable?) ones.

The purpose of caster bushings is to correct caster after a lift. This is most important for the front axle, as poor caster impacts steering stability (think shopping cart caster wheels). Toyota's OEM caster bushings for the LJ78 are super stiff though, and I found are the biggest hindrance to axle articulation. The bushings need to flex easily for the axle to articulate well. So if you buy softer caster bushings, you get added benefit of better off-road behavior.
 
Joined
Apr 6, 2021
Messages
68
Location
chicago, il
Yes I did! Price wasn't bad but had some issues with the vehicle 30mins down the road and was reimbursed for the parts I had to buy to limp her home
Those guys are kinda crook, they wont tell you the truth. They might come off as nice people but i wouldnt buy another car from them. On the drive home my fuel filter went out, had to limp it all the way home. If they do the basic base lining they say they do these minor issues should not happen. I have read stories of people buying these trucks from more reputable shops in the Northwest and driving them cross country without any issues. They didn't reimburse for any of the parts lol.
 
Joined
Aug 22, 2019
Messages
54
Location
Tacoma, WA
Great looking LJ! Welcome to the madness. I have had my 93 for 3 1/2 years now and have followed the bible that @GTSSportCoupe and others have so graciously put together for us LJ owners and thoroughly enjoy mine. My next step is an intercooler, but I have no problems navigating the mountains and forest roads of the Northwest. High mountain passes and Idaho's 80mph speed limit's expose the 2L-TE, but I am quite comfortable in the slow lane.. it's a Cruiser after all.
 
Joined
Sep 12, 2021
Messages
17
Location
spring lake, NC
Those guys are kinda crook, they wont tell you the truth. They might come off as nice people but i wouldnt buy another car from them. On the drive home my fuel filter went out, had to limp it all the way home. If they do the basic base lining they say they do these minor issues should not happen. I have read stories of people buying these trucks from more reputable shops in the Northwest and driving them cross country without any issues. They didn't reimburse for any of the parts lol.
Wow! Now to see someone else have a bad experience says a lot! Yeah we will never go back or recommend them to anyone. Prices are low but expect a rough truck. other than overheating due to crap Rad, hoses and mud in the coolant the truck is clean. no rust other than 30 year old surface rust which I plan to clean and cover with rust preventative spray in the future. hows your truck been so far?
 
Joined
Sep 12, 2021
Messages
17
Location
spring lake, NC
Honestly, if your rad is in good shape, your fan viscous clutch has new oil (or is brand new), and you run the newer 82C 2LTE T-stat, you should not have heat issues. The reason I went with bigger fan etc, is I tow a camper, so put way more load on the engine.

I'm running stock panhard bars with a larger lift than yours and have not noticed them to be a significant issue. Maybe I need to look closer, lol. I think a couple guys here have upgraded to aftermarket (adjustable?) ones.

The purpose of caster bushings is to correct caster after a lift. This is most important for the front axle, as poor caster impacts steering stability (think shopping cart caster wheels). Toyota's OEM caster bushings for the LJ78 are super stiff though, and I found are the biggest hindrance to axle articulation. The bushings need to flex easily for the axle to articulate well. So if you buy softer caster bushings, you get added benefit of better off-road behavior.
My rad is filled with churchy debris inside it that just keeps flaking off inside creating more. I've done more flushes than I care to admit and nothing has changed. Now I did change my t-stat out at a local AutoZone from an 84 4runner but I pulled it and noticed the new gasket is tearing. sooooo switching to the newer 82c t-stat wouldn't be a bad idea.

For whatever reason, my rear Panhard is no longer lining up after doing my lift. I might try banging it in someone and seeing what happens lol.

I did come across these from Dobinson
Capture.PNG
 
Joined
Sep 12, 2021
Messages
17
Location
spring lake, NC
Great looking LJ! Welcome to the madness. I have had my 93 for 3 1/2 years now and have followed the bible that @GTSSportCoupe and others have so graciously put together for us LJ owners and thoroughly enjoy mine. My next step is an intercooler, but I have no problems navigating the mountains and forest roads of the Northwest. High mountain passes and Idaho's 80mph speed limit's expose the 2L-TE, but I am quite comfortable in the slow lane.. it's a Cruiser after all.
When I was driving through West Virginia mountains she was moving 70-75mph no issues like a little mountain goat haha. I plan to tow a utility cart for bikes, kayak, and other gear, and a rare case of moving my 73 VW bug and 83 Mini so beefing up cooling, even more, is the plan.

But at what point do I stop and toss a bigger Toyota diesel engine in? Fit garage was selling 1HZ for 2k about a week ago if I'm not mistaken
 
Joined
Jun 16, 2020
Messages
229
Location
Calgary, AB
Nice rig!
But at what point do I stop and toss a bigger Toyota diesel engine in? Fit garage was selling 1HZ for 2k about a week ago if I'm not mistaken
Well, if a bigger Toyota diesel was your goal, then you probably should not have started with an LJ78. FWIW 1HZ's are not exactly ideal for towing either, and I believe most will say you need to get to a 1HD (preferably 1HD-FT) for that sort of stuff.
 
Joined
Sep 12, 2021
Messages
17
Location
spring lake, NC
Nice rig!

Well, if a bigger Toyota diesel was your goal, then you probably should not have started with an LJ78. FWIW 1HZ's are not exactly ideal for towing either, and I believe most will say you need to get to a 1HD (preferably 1HD-FT) for that sort of stuff.
I have a feeling once I build up the LJ78 and better understand it's limits I'll be content with keeping it lol. Price of my LJ was just perfect for my wife and I the other LC were wayyyyy over what we wanted to pay right now
 

Users who are viewing this thread

Top Bottom