80 to 80 body swap in 3 days (1 Viewer)

txgringo

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After two and a half years, I'm finally about to perform the body swap to get my 80 back on the road. I've discussed it a couple times in a few different threads, but basically I turned it on its side and the body is toast. The frame, suspension and powertrain were unharmed, so I thought about several potential routes to get it back on the road in various forms (caged out truggy, fully bedlined with doors, restore it to its original configuration). Since it was a Sage 40th and I absolutely loved it before I wrecked it, I finally decided that I would find a body with a clean tub, doors, etc., swap that tub over to my chassis and have it repainted to the original Sage.

I found a Sage 40th that was totaled in a front end collision, so the front clip is pretty much trashed, but the body tub and doors are all great. A friend of mine had a 94 with a blown motor so I picked that one up for the hood, fenders, etc. Once I had the required body parts I called two toyota/cruiser shops near me and got estimates of $3000 and $5000 for the labor for the body swap, which was less than appealing. I wasn't crazy about the idea of trying to do the swap in my garage without a lift, so I've kind of been in a holding pattern for a while now. I found a localish member with a lift and experience with frame-off work and we've worked out an arrangement that is a lot more budget friendly and enables me to do some some simple "while I'm in there" work without having to pay shop prices for something that I can easily do myself.

I am looking for some guidance on what I should replace while I have the body removed from the frame. I need to have the parts on hand by 6/19 so I'm getting ready to place an order from Amayama or Partsouq probably tomorrow for any OEM parts needed.

  • Brake Booster (OEM, or are there other options?)
  • Fuel Filter
  • All body mount cushions (OEM, or are there other options?)
  • EGR Delete (may not remove the whole EGR; may just plug it and use a resistor so it can be reinstalled later if need be)
  • Rear heater hoses (should these be OEM, or just some generic hose material and play with the routing?)
  • Heater Core (debating on spending the money on this as I will have the dash mostly apart to do it and it looks like there is one available in Dubai, buuut that's just more money going out right now when my existing unit is just fine, for now anyway)
  • All hoses penetrating the firewall (gotta look at those and figure them out in the morning)
What else am I missing? Any thoughts or advice on the list of items above or anything else I should add would be greatly appreciated. You would think that I would be better prepared with a proper plan at this point, but I am not!
 

CaptClose

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We’ve done this job before. It’s more than a bitch, even with a competent group of guys...

@SipLife
@Cowboy45
@CenTXFJ60
@ceylonfj40nut
@truxsgarage
@fl4031003

Most of your list of parts, I wouldn’t bother changing out, unless you have a known issue. All heater hoses, yes. Body mounts, I’d just reuse.

I honestly think it’s a bigger job than one guy can do in his garage without a lift, but who knows, you might be very determined.

The interior will be gutted, so it’s a good time to dynamat, and replace the carpet if needed. It’s a fairly cheap and easy improvement. You’ll also have easy access to the fuel pump, but it may not require replacing.

The Pesky Heater Hose and fuel filter will be easy to get to, so I’d definitely get those done. Also, if you’re not 100% confident in your cooling system, it’s a good time to refresh that as well. Consider a new radiator, water pump, thermostat, hoses, etc...

Front seals can be done at this time too. Crank seal, oil pump cover, distributor O-Ring. If you haven’t done this already, do it now.

Are you also swapping drive trains? We transferred EVERY nut and bolt. Literally, every one of them. Basically, we moved an entire truck, over to a frame and empty shell. To this day, I’m not quite sure how it all got back together.

I tagged our team because they might remember some areas that we got hung up on. All in all, I think we made steady progress and nothing really stymied us for too long. We did have a no start issue when we got it all back together. I think that turned out to be a bad ground somewhere. Also crossed some fuel lines that had to be sorted later.

Anyway, with a lift, a tractor, every tool available to us, and a full compliment of very capable cruiserheads, it took us a four day weekend to get everything mostly apart and back together again. But even to this day, this truck is still in rehab getting minor details buttoned up.

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WNY For Now
I currently have the body off of my 95 for a refresh and drivetrain swap. I did it by myself in my old barn without a lift, but I have a lot of time on my hands right now. Lol.

The first thing I would be looking at is any rust mitigation as long as everything was accessible. Great time to clean up any surface rust on the frame/underbody.

Body mounts are all about condition. I replaced mine simply because I don't ever want to lift the body off again. Febest seems to be the best bet for the cushions. I got mine from Australia and even with the ridiculous shipping they were cheaper than Amazon. I broke one bolt taking them off and the lock nuts took a beating because the threads were a bit crusty, so I replaced all the hardware as well with OEM.

It's also a very good time scope out condition of brake lines and fuel lines. Hard & soft.

Great time to look at motor/trans mounts as well.

The "As long as I'm in there..." list can spiral out of control pretty quickly. Godspeed.
 

YMT

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I'm in a similar boat. I'm putting a 95 body on a 91 frame. I too don't have a lift. I will use my engine hoist and cribbing to lift and keep the body up to slide the chassis under.
I'm doing a 1" body lift, rear heater hose swap (from a 91 that's clean) and interior pieces from my clean 91. I also plan to dynamat since the 95 body is gutted. Also sunroof delete and roof rack rust repair since I'm in there.
Post pictures of your progress.
 

CaptClose

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These are exactly the kind of shiny bald heads you want to put together for a project like this. Reviewing an EWD, nonetheless. :flipoff2:

That was definitely no accident. CD and Jimmy are two of the smartest guys I know. Couldn’t have tackled it without those two. CD isn’t one of those guys that flash it around, but he has a PhD in something that I’m not even qualified to talk about. If you have a technical question, he has the discipline to research the entire issue and tackle the problem from an engineering mindset.... He can’t save you if you’re having a heart attack though.

Jimmy on the other hand, is imaginative in his approach. A great “outside the box” thinker. When CD’s methods fail, Jimmy can usually come up with a solution, and vice versa. A pretty formidable pair to have on your team. They’ve both trained their kids to be the same way.

@txgringo if you run into an issue, tag these guys. Chances are, they’ll have a solution for you.
 
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Someone please document the process and hours spent. While getting a few rough estimates to pay someone (including a Toyota Dealer Collision shop) to do a body swap, the costs ranged between $10,000 and 20,000. At that price
the math doesn't work, cheaper to buy another 80.
 

CaptClose

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Someone please document the process and hours spent. While getting a few rough estimates to pay someone (including a Toyota Dealer Collision shop) to do a body swap, the costs ranged between $10,000 and 20,000. At that price
the math doesn't work, cheaper to buy another 80.

I can tell you that after we did it, we all were talking afterwards during the brews phase, and estimated the labor would have been in the 10-15k range. It is very laborious. We touched literally EVERY nut and bolt. I want to say that it took 6 of us working pretty diligently and efficiently, 3-4 12 hour days to complete the job.... even then, we were not 100% complete. There was a lot of small details that still needed to be cleaned up.
 

CenTXFJ60

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Someone please document the process and hours spent. While getting a few rough estimates to pay someone (including a Toyota Dealer Collision shop) to do a body swap, the costs ranged between $10,000 and 20,000. At that price
the math doesn't work, cheaper to buy another 80.
Ryan (@CaptClose ) pretty much nailed it on this job. I’m the shinny headed (Pic above) one in the red shirt and have cut up and dismantled 3-4 80’s in the last few months. Also did a body swap on one of my rolled 80’s with the help of Coop (@samc2447 ). Having participated in the referenced body swap I can tell you I’d charge $10k or more to do that job if I was hired. The one Ryan shared was his cousin so we all pitched in and had a blast hanging out etc. All of these jobs have been done in my shop over the last 9 months. Now that I think of it...I’m pretty tired of working on 80’s :) although I have to admit they are very well engineered vehicles.
 

YMT

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I'm doing it myself- I enjoy tinkering on vehicles, and want to know as much of my vehicle as possible. I'm not rebuilding the engine or trans. As of now, I've taken apart 3, and feel, while I may be slower than most, I know the ins-and-outs of them (still a huge work in progress)- I can't put a price tag on that. I figure I will take at least twice as long as described above, since I'm going solo. I don't think I can give an accurate cost, nor do I want to. Plus I'm already in deep enough I can't account for prior. Hopefully others can document their work better.
 

CaptClose

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I'm doing it myself- I enjoy tinkering on vehicles, and want to know as much of my vehicle as possible. I'm not rebuilding the engine or trans. As of now, I've taken apart 3, and feel, while I may be slower than most, I know the ins-and-outs of them (still a huge work in progress)- I can't put a price tag on that. I figure I will take at least twice as long as described above, since I'm going solo. I don't think I can give an accurate cost, nor do I want to. Plus I'm already in deep enough I can't account for prior. Hopefully others can document their work better.

Absolutely correct. Just like eating an elephant. I can’t think of a better analogy.
 
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repair or replace the fuel filler neck and your going to want to replace the gas tank straps. the straps are easy but the half the mounts to the frame one is not accessible unless you either remove the body or cut through the floor to gain access.

if its just the body and they are the same year your easiest way to do that is separate the body from the frame with the interior harnesses installed in the body and keep the engine harness with the engine, don't bother removing and replacing one with the other its more work for little to no gain unless there is a known problem with one of them.
 
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Heard that someone was able to remove their fuel filler pipe by loosening the body mounts and tilting the body up on that side?? IDK, something like that.
 

ScubaSteve80

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I have a heater core for sale if you need one. Came out of an 1995 LC that we are parting out. We also have a lot of new parts that were installed before it was totaled. We have a lot of the things people are suggesting to change if you are interested in making a trip to Tuscaloosa, AL to pick some stuff up. We do have the carpet as well. Just thought I would mention it.

 
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Heard that someone was able to remove their fuel filler pipe by loosening the body mounts and tilting the body up on that side?? IDK, something like that.


that is by the book the correct way but the body bolts could be super rusty and crusty and not a real option unless you have new body bolts and mounts as they may have to be cut off to remove. the not so by the book way is to cut it in half and reweld after install or cut out the mid section and use marine fuel line for the center section
 

txgringo

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A lot of good points here; thanks guys. I'd like to clarify the condition of my current setup and the goal I hope to achieve with this initial effort. My 80 was turned on its side, but is mechanically sound (just needs new body tub, doors, etc. moved over to my rolling chassis once my ruined body is pulled). My donor has all electrical hooked up. My plan is as follows:
  1. disconnect all electrical and hoses, body mounts, etc. on both bodies
  2. remove the damaged body from good frame
  3. install the good body on the good frame (replacing some specific items)
  4. reconnect everything that was disconnected in Step 1
The first shop I called was Proffitt's, and they estimated the job at 40 man hours. (At $75/hr, that was the $3000 estimate that I got.) Since I'm moving a 97 body onto my 97 frame, all the wiring from the donor body can remain in it and we'll just unplug from the donor frame and then plug it back into my frame/engine.

My hope is that two of us can accomplish this over 3 long days with the use of a lift.

@CaptBeardilocks My motor mounts are pretty fresh (maybe 30k on them) and my soft brake lines are newish Slee SS with maybe 50k on them, but I'll definitely look over the rest of the lines while I'm there. I'm planning to pressure wash the underside of the donor body and the frame on my 80 before I haul them down to Albuquerque. I'm definitely planning to coat the frame with some zinc-infused primer and black top coat while everything is off. I'll probably do the underside of the body with the same zinc primer and then hit it with some rattle can bedliner to help protect it from rock chips, etc. I feel the same about the body mounts; I plan to keep this 80 indefinitely and thought that I should go ahead and replace them since I'll have them all off anyway. Since it is possible to replace them later without a lift, perhaps I'll wait on replacing them.

I'm trying to find a replacement for this clip that holds the engine wiring harness in place and the grommet for where it goes through the firewall on the PS. My clip has failed and someone apparently cut away about 40% of the grommet in order to route some wires through that hole... If I were working right now, I'd likely drop the $600 on a whole new harness. Unfortunately it never works out that I have the time AND the money to do a project like this at the same time, so I'll be re-using the old harness for now.

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txgringo

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Thanks to @NLXTACY at Wits End, I got a few of the required parts coming, plus a couple things that I've been wanting to order from him for a while now! The kits he puts together just make jobs like this so damn easy!

I believe this is all of the heater hoses needed on the engine side of the firewall. I'm having trouble finding a readable diagram to determine what soft hoses are needed behind the firewall.

Also, it seems that the grommet and harness clip referenced in my last post are just sold with the new harness. My clip can probably be jerry rigged enough to safely retain the harness, but the grommet is missing on both of my parts trucks so I'm looking for options to fill that hole. Any suggestions on this would be appreciated.

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txgringo

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For those that have replaced all the heater hoses, what did you use for hose clamps? I'm thinking of going with constant torque clamps. Anyone have different advice on the subject?
 

txgringo

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We have moved the body over and hooked everything back up. We're troubleshooting a no start issue now. Turn the key and get no crank.

Here is what we have checked so far:

Alternator: 12V
Starter: 12V
Fusible Links: 12V
Neutral Safety Switch: 10.7V

These work:

Dome/map/courtesy lights
Horn
AC fan
Rear heater fan
Brake Lights

These don't work:

Hazards
Turn signals
Tail lights
Rear defrost

The locker switch will light up the locker lights on the instrument panel but we do not hear anything at the actuators.

When we turn the headlight switch on we can hear the relays click, but we don't have the headlights installed so we assume they are working.

This swap combined two 80s. We took the frame, suspension, powertrain, and engine wiring harness from my 80, which was running on Friday when we pulled it into the garage.

We used the body and all other wiring from the donor which was running prior to pulling the engine previously. The only thing we're suspecting right now is the Toyota security system which was installed in the donor truck but is not currently connected. It's at my house which is 4 hours away or I would have connected it just to troubleshoot.

Anyone have any tips on what we should be looking at?
 

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