1996 Toyota Land Cruiser Restomod- 400K+ miles White/Gray

Joined
Apr 25, 2016
Messages
237
Location
Orange County
Hi Mud- I have owned my FZJ80 for several years now and it has turned into an extensive restomod that I didn't originally plan on. I wouldn't have been able to get it where it is today without the help of this forum and am hoping to connect with some other members in Southern California and also provide my experience along the way. I have always loved the 80 series (especially white with gray interior) so when I came across a clean, high mileage example I was able to convince my wife it would make the perfect weekend beach cruiser. Here it is on day one, April 20th, 2016.
I hope this will help other members in their ownership and also be a way to document my restoration and modification along the way.

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Joined
Apr 25, 2016
Messages
237
Location
Orange County
I started off with a deep clean, new wheels/tires, floor mats and Paul's (@pfran42) LED kit. At this point, I had no idea the depth of the rabbit hole I was about to enter but have enjoyed the process and knowledge I've gained along the way.

I chose FN Wheels Five Star in light gunmetal (17 x 8.5 ET -6) and Yokohama Geolandar A/T-S (LT285/70R17E)
I am surprised this isn't a more popular wheel choice. I know it usually isn't a concern in off-roading but was very impressed with how light (~21lbs) they were compared to most of the limited options that were available. I also liked the classic styling that seem period correct in my opinion for an aftermarket wheel much like the SCS F5. Dustin at FN wheels is a great guy and had them machined for our larger hubs. I purchased a full set of 5 along with Wit's End Spare Tire leveling kit so the spare could mounted in the factory location. Joey's products at Wits' End are perfect in my opinion, he makes sure his products are overbuilt and field tested. My intentions have always been to use OEM or OEM + quality parts to ensure this vehicle holds up the way Toyota intended.

I used Hexomat gray floor mats all the way through to provide some protection to the carpet and have been very happy with them.

The LED kit was very easy to install and they have been trouble free for four years now. They produce plenty of light and draw less power which is a plus for camping.

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Joined
Apr 25, 2016
Messages
237
Location
Orange County
The shop I purchased it from installed an Ironman Nitro Gas 2" Suspension Kit (Performance Load) to freshen up the tired factory springs and shocks. To improve the handling at highway speeds, I installed a Delta Vehicle Systems Panhard bracket, it was a big improvement but I'm sure replacing all the suspension bushings will really be the "upgrade" I'm looking for since they are all original.

Anyone looking to install an Ironman suspension should note the DS and PS are reversed in their instructions due to their Australian origin.
 
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Joined
Apr 25, 2016
Messages
237
Location
Orange County
The second owner had rattle canned the front and rear bumper and it was starting to chip so I had them bed lined to provide more protection. It turned out really nice and 303 Protectant brings them back to life after hitting the trails.

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Joined
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Messages
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Next I started working on the interior. The previous owner had replaced the steering wheel with an LS400 wood grain wheel and I upgraded the sun visors as well since mine were beginning to sag. The original sound system was working but I wanted a refresh and not a sound system so installed a Clarion M508 head unit and Pioneer 6.5" TS-G1645R in the fronts and 4" TS-G1045R in the rears and sound deadened all of the exterior panels. This was a huge improvement and would highly recommend it to anyone looking for an inexpensive upgrade. This was my first time to install sound deadening and it took a very long time but was very happy with the result. I used Noico sound deadening material from Amazon and a door panel removal kit was very helpful.

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Joined
Apr 25, 2016
Messages
237
Location
Orange County
I had a headlight burn out so went through and replaced all exterior light bulbs with Sylvania ZEVO LEDs which look factory but brighter (does not bring unwanted attention or look odd) and I shouldn't have to worry about them burning out. I used the Slee headlight harness upgrade with Philips Crystal Vision Ultra bulbs for the High and Lows which made a big difference.

Since I was happy with the way the LEDs installed were working, I updated the dash lights as well which reminds me of an LS400 dash and doesn't look out of place since they remain adjustable and produce a clean, white light.

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Joined
Apr 25, 2016
Messages
237
Location
Orange County
My younger brother turned me on to some universal seat protectors that can be purchased on eBay or Amazon for around $60. I think half the members I have traded parts with over the years have told me they purchased them too because they fit so well and have an almost vintage JDM look.
The brand is called Sojoy

I also installed a Speski rack from a member in my home state of Texas.

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Joined
Apr 25, 2016
Messages
237
Location
Orange County
I decided to give 35x12.50R17 mud terrains a try. They gave me the look I was after and were great for off-roading but the reality was I needed to regear to drive it daily in California on the 73. They didn’t rub at all during regular on road driving.

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Joined
Apr 25, 2016
Messages
237
Location
Orange County
I installed an ARB bumper and White Knuckle sliders for straight panel insurance. I also dropped down to 34" (LT285/75R17E) all terrains since the muds were too big, I eventually would like to get back to 35" but need to regear before I do. The new size is better for daily driving with stock gears and am surprised this isn't a more popular fitment for 80s.

The sliders need refinished and I have been thinking about using Steel-It black paint. I think it will become more popular with its durable finish over powder coat. I haven't been impressed with the ARB powder coat and would paint that as well. Has anyone tried this?

@JHB Cruising
The Yokohama G003 MT tires were great, I did notice the extra width being a nuisance parking in smaller parking spaces which are common in California but 35s are great if you live somewhere flat and don't mind a three point turn every once in a while. I never used them in mud but the performance was great and didn't notice the noise most people complain about with muds.

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Joined
Apr 25, 2016
Messages
237
Location
Orange County
I installed an OEM hand throttle and grab bar, it's great these are still available and at reasonable prices, I purchased both through Cruiser Parts for $50 each, that is the only positive thing I have to say about them. I never would have been able to install the grab bar without the guidance from this forum, it is a chore getting in there especially if you have big hands but love the piece. I installed it for my wife since she complained about getting up in the Cruiser and it has made it easier for her. I also replaced the worn shifter lever and Hi/Lo knob with new vinyl parts. I prefer the look and know they will look new for a long time.

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Joined
Apr 25, 2016
Messages
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On my way back from Vegas there was an accident at the top of the pass that completely stopped traffic. It was 100 + degrees and while waiting I heard what sounded like the transporter's (right next to me) hydraulics failing, it was a very loud noise that sounded like a high pressure hose blowing. A few minutes later I realized that noise was my AC compressor failing (not sure if the heat and/or altitude had anything to do with it) when my air conditioning quit working. After two and half hours of waiting, I made a U-turn and took an alternate route to try and escape the heat and get out of the grid lock. A lot of other people had the same idea because the small mountain town's roads I drove through were stop and go which caused my entire trip to take nine hours. It was a long day and it got even worse when I got home and noticed my engine was knocking. With 420,xxx miles I used this as an excuse to go through all the mechanical components and had the engine rebuilt and replaced everything except the radiator (it was replaced at 385K miles), alternator, and fuel pump. Everything else was replaced with OEM parts including the power steering pump and reservoir which both had small leaks. I would like to upgrade to Joey’s power steering cooler upgrade kit but have other things I want to tackle first.

I snapped this picture while waiting for the train to pass through my alternate route causing further delays. The train cars clacking on the track drowned out my engine knocking.

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mehbohdi

SILVER Star
Joined
Jan 24, 2016
Messages
372
Location
San Juan Island WA
I had a rear ARB that I touched up with rattle can black appliance epoxy. It actually matched really well and held up, I did get rid of it a couple of years ago, they are big, heavy and ugly. By the way what lights are you using to light the foot wells. Looks good
 
Joined
Apr 25, 2016
Messages
237
Location
Orange County
I had the drive shafts serviced and replaced a lot of the exterior trim and wipers arms that were showing their age. I had a new grill I was saving to replace the original beat up grill the PO had painted all black and thought this was an appropriate time. I experienced something very unusual during this process that I'm surprised I hadn't read about before. When taping off the gray part of the grill, 3M painters tape would not stick to the plastic. I even tried hot glue! It was the weirdest thing. I ended up looping the tape through the grill to protect the factory gray that provides a nice contrast. It turned out great and looks factory if chrome wasn't in during the 90s. I also installed some Narva (Australian market- never offered in the US) driving lights on the ARB. The last picture is how the Narva lights came before I painted the bezels black. They also come with blue, yellow, red or black inner bezels you can change out which is nice to have options.

I don't have a lot of experience with LED off-road lights but am blown away at the light these produce paired with the new headlight bulbs and Slee upgrade harness.

Complete suspension bushings, coil spacers to level the stance, axle rebuild and complete brake overhaul are on the horizon.

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Joined
Apr 25, 2016
Messages
237
Location
Orange County
@mehbohdi
They are LEDs I purchased on Amazon, link below. I had some extras left over and they happened to be the right size for the outdoor ground lighting in backyard. They turn on automatically every night and haven’t had any go out after close to 4 years of daily use during night hours. Give them a try, I think you will be happy.

AUXITO 194 LED Light Bulb 6000K White 168 2825 W5W T10 Wedge 24-SMD 3014 Chipsets LED Replacement Bulbs Error Free for Car Dome Map Door Courtesy License Plate Lights, Pack of 10 Amazon product
 

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