1994 HDJ81 Do-It-All "build"

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Dec 12, 2017
Picked up a new beater to replace my now-long-gone Gen2.5 Montero. I don't have a focused plan for it other than make it live long and be useful for all kinds of use. It'll need to be in no particular order:
1) Unstoppable in weather
2) Travel long distances in relative comfort (both highway and trails)
3) Carry a bike
4) Easy to transition between long and short trips
5) Reliable
6) Stay presentable enough that it doesn't make 'em say Ughhhhhhh for the wrong reason. The bar is fairly low.

The near-er goal is to see how it fits in the current "fleet" of redundant vehicles to see which one goes. Might be this one, who knows. (FZJ80, HDJ81, Diesel 7P Touareg)

I bought this in Edmonton, AB right before the border closed for Covid, 4Wheel Auto did the lion's share of work to get it to where it is at the moment. Cannot recommend these guys enough. :) It made it across the border the week after New Year's and i drove it home from Portland, OR last week.

Details: 1994 VX Limited Snow Version
Suspension: OME "J" spring lift, 1.5" pucks up front on top. OME panhards/steering links, OME rear arms, Land Cruiser Products rear endlinks, Land Cruiser Products front QDs, Landtank brackets, Metaltech 4x4 caster plates, Metaltech 4x4 extended brake lines
Driveline: Tom Wood DC front driveshaft
Motor: ZEAL power rod, FMIC (Greddy Trust core, crappy piping), Mamba FTE/GTX2867R, 3" custom downpipe/exhaust
Wheel/Tire package: Currently 16x8 +0 Work Deerfields with 285/75r16 Duratracs
Exterior/Armor: ARB winch bullbar, some sort of JDM tyte y0 roof bars, Depo headlights, LX450 corner lights
Other: Long Range America aux tank

Immediate-ish plans:
1) Replace crappy FMIC setup with something not-crappy (PDI, HPD) This also lets me install an oem intake to quite this thing down. The turbo noise is obscene
2) Baseline the truck in terms of cabin seals, switches, etc
3) Usable stereo
4) Swap to the old Montero wheel/tire setup (15x8.5 Enkei HR385 Hurricanes, 35x12.50 Cooper STT Pros)
5) Lighting improvements (Retrofit the Depos with some D2 projectors, mount some Stedi aux lights, convert exterior lights to LED)
6) Rust remediation. Chassis/body underside has already been blasted and POR15'd, but there are some mostly-surface body issues that should be addressed to prevent from worsening. Bottom of doors due to clogged drains, base of fender mirror, rear window frames show a little bubbling, etc
6b) KutSnake flares and rhinoline the lower 2 tone
7) Safari snorkel
8) Rehab weak AC system
9) Rebab rear heater stuff (or remove entirely? Anyone have feedback as to how cabin comfort fares without? I liked using the rear only on the FZJ80 to avoid getting blasted by the sun from the dash vents)
10) LRA fuel gauge isn't working. Break out the switch and gauge separate to have a gauge that doesn't suck.

Less-immediate-ish plans:
1) Roof rack (Prinsu?)
2) Rear bumper (OME?)
3) Bike carrying solution (I can just throw it in the back for now)
4) Possibly swap to bigger turbo. The Mamba is great, it could just stand to have more chill on the highway
5) Gears. We'll see if this is needed. I'm not really into rock crawling, and the truck has more than enough power to pull around 33s. Will test with 35s and also soul-search to see if 37s are in the future. If i do gears, ARB lockers will find their way in "while i'm in here"
6) Satoshi-style grille because the swag life chose me
7) Interior storage solution

Pics because nobody likes words.

As purchased: Disgusting grille/lights/bumper, hammered JAOS lift, some gross MB wheels.
2020-04-30_12-36-09 by concealer404, on Flickr

New stuff installed, blasted and POR15'd.
2022-01-08_01-41-39 by concealer404, on Flickr

2022-01-08_01-41-45 by concealer404, on Flickr

Leaving Canada:
2022-01-08_01-42-10 by concealer404, on Flickr

Tearing it apart in Portland so i could see to get home (and stand to look at it without getting vomit on my shirt)
2022-03-17_04-06-23 by concealer404, on Flickr

As was leaving Portland:
2022-03-17_04-05-59 by concealer404, on Flickr

Home, after a bath, with a grille, and Lexus corners:
2022-03-17_04-02-03 by concealer404, on Flickr

2022-03-17_04-02-23 by concealer404, on Flickr

And that's where we stand today. :)
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Took advantage of the Toyota Southeast parts sale to snag ~40 small parts, and pulled the trigger on the HPD Series 2 intercooler setup. Some immediate post-purchase regret because the performance and routing can be replicated for a good chunk less, but an easy button so close to summer (race car and bike season!) is welcome.

Waiting for the rain to stop so i can get the 35" 15 setup on the truck and start hitting some of the quicker corrosion spots. :)
Welcome, and good luck with your build. I also have an 80 (FZJ80) that does double duty as my bike hauler. I have a DC Fabrications rear bumper, but don't bother looking for them, since that company is no longer in business.

Why I picked it was because it has a hitch receiver, and I use my Rocky Mounts bike trays to haul my bikes. I have 2, but the extension to add 2 more if I need, which rarely happens. I really like the Delta rear bumpers, but they don't come with a receiver, so I have kept what I have for now.


The roof rack I have is a Prinsu, and it is great with the exception of the fasteners, which I am not a fan of. The Bowfin rack is essentially the same thing, but has better fasteners. I would buy that if I were to do this all over.

This is a great and very helpful community. I can't wait to see how your project progresses!
Thanks! Your FZJ looks great, and probably similar-ish to what i have envisioned for mine, just a little more "built." (It's also a white truck, small lift, etc)

I haven't really arrived at the solution i want long term for the bike, yet. I'd like an OME rear bumper because minimum thought required, i don't really need a tire carrier because i have one from factory. I do have a hitch receiver on the FZJ but i'm not sure if it'll work on the HDJ with the LRA tank.

First batch of oem parts came in. Got shorted a battery tie down and a window seal, but i'm sure they'll make it right. :)
2022-03-30_05-58-58 by concealer404, on Flickr

Test fitting the Montero's old 15x8.5 Enkei HR385 setup with 35s. Does not clear brakes without spacers, the 2" spacers i had on hand were way too big. Got 1" spacers for now, will investigate smaller solutions, or just go with the bigger Kutsnake flares if it looks gross. :) Will live with the 35s for this summer to see how i feel about them. If i need to re-gear, i'll probably gear for 37s and move to 17s with the intent to update to Tundra brakes.
2022-03-22_09-01-47 by concealer404, on Flickr

2022-03-22_09-01-56 by concealer404, on Flickr
Got the 1" spacers (really only need ~5mm but then i gotta deal with studs and such and that's not fun) on and the 15" Enkei/35" tire setup on. "Fits" much better with the J springs. Installed battery tie downs snagged from the Southeast parts sale.

Catch can shopping now, probably just get a Radium setup rather than paying HPD's insane prices. Located interior stuff from a forum member, so i'll gather up insulation/sound deadening stuff in preparation.

2022-04-04_10-47-28 by concealer404, on Flickr

2022-04-04_10-47-37 by concealer404, on Flickr
I did the sound deadening a couple of years ago. It made a big difference with the custom exhaust.

I’m running 35s on 17” rims and after steadily going up from stock, to 31s, then 33s, I realized I needed to regear for the 35s here in Colorado for the mountains. I went to the Icon/Slinky lift shortly thereafter, and that was a lot of work, but I learned a ton about my 80 that way. Best way to learn is doing what you’re doing. Good luck!
Thanks! :)

I did a pretty good deadening job on my FZJ, i'll probably just copy it exactly here. I'd like to add another muffler to the exhaust, it's surprisingly quiet for what it is, but turbos make things a little quieter.

I don't know if i'll NEED to regear for 35s, i make a lot of power. (24-25psi on a GTX2867R hybrid) My only concern is dropping RPMs down low enough that the EGTs get high because of less scavenging. It'll make enough power in overdrive to pull over anything, the only question is what heat is like.
Did you do the underside blasting and POR15 yourself? I need to do something similar because I screwed up and bought a NY/OH truck.

I've put maybe 4K miles on mine since I moved to TN 4+ years ago. It has been neglected, but I sold the NB2 to help kickstart working on it again. Haven't used my Pentax for even longer, but actually knocked the dust off of it and shot a few photos with the new ARB bumper using the Ricoh lens you gave me way back when. She still needs a lot of work, but I'm glad to see you're still in the game. Hope all is well man.

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