About to plunge into JDM Cruiser nerd land... am I crazy? (2 Viewers)

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I am hoping to get the $.02 from USA 70 series owners! This is a long post, so I appreciate anyone's thoughts! Please chime in!

I'm about to pull the trigger on a JDM 1990 HZJ73 with 100k miles. I'm very excited, I've always wanted a diesel Cruiser. It seems like the right mix of family friendly and old school Land Cruiser awesomeness. I would be perfectly happy trundling around town in an FJ40, but life dictates I level up on the comfort/safety/reliability factory. I just parted with my FJ40 that I've had a 7 year long love/hate relationship with for top dollar which is going to give me the money purchase the new Cruiser with a slush fund leftover to throw a little into it to get it trail ready.

I am going to have to pick it up from out of state from a reputable dealer. I've had my fellow Cruiser nerds scour pictures and discuss, and the seller was gracious enough to Facetime with me for an hour and go over every single aspect of the truck in real time and has spend hours on the phone discussing the truck with me. All of the boxes are checked: no rust, no leaks, knuckles look good, good interior, clean engine bay, ect. This would be my 4th Cruiser, I've had two FJ40s and a clean 96 FZJ80 but this is my first 70 series and my first diesel Toyota. I've driven a couple of 70s, and a handful of diesel Cruisers and love em. I have had diesel cars, so I know the basic diesel rundown.

This truck needs to be what my last FJ40 wasn't: trail ready, daily driveable, reliable and relatively economical. I work from home, so a commute currently isn't an issue although I want it to be able to commute if the future calls for it. My wife has to be able to drive it. My daughter has to be comfortable in it, I plan on introducing her to some overlanding and to the Moabs and Rubicons of the world.

A little about the truck: RHD, 100k miles (whatever the KM equivilant is), e lockers, AC, H151 (right?), clean factory 1HZ, everything seems to be factory minus a small OME lift and shackles. The timing belt was just done. Injectors have not been serviced but by all accounts everything seems to be in order. The price is right! I couldn't get US spec 80 series or properly built FJ40 for this kind of money. Even a Rubicon Wrangler Unlimited in equivalent condition is untouchable at this price! Most importantly perhaps is that this plan is wife approved, she's actually excited about it!

Plans for the slush fund: make it badass but not super extreme. I want to do smart mods to make it what I want it to be, but I don't want to throw money away if I won't get anything out of it. After I drive it for a couple of weeks to make sure I don't have any gremlins rearing their ugly little heads I have the following plans:

-Gears, 30 spline fronts and possibly rear shafts

-A full suspension rehash by my good friend at Atlas Spring. He will make make some slick new leafs for it (we did this on my FJ40 and it was bitchin!) and we will throw the nice shocks I have leftover from my FJ40 at it. Planning on around 3" of lift.

-I have a set of new 37s I had planned for the FJ40, but I may trade them in for a set of 35s.

-I have a wicked stereo system leftover from the FJ40 that I plan on wiring in with voltage converters.

-Depending on where I end up with budget I may do a set of 4:1 gears in the t case instead of getting super nerdy on the suspension bits. If I can get away with it I may choose to run the 35's with the stock gears (4.11s I assume?) and go with the 4:1 gears for the right mix of highway manners and crawlability.

-I'll throw some sliders at it and I might try to do a winch bumper on there if budget allows on this first round.

-Future plans include a roof rack to haul my crap around and sport a roof top tent for family camping trips. I may decide to try and do a biodiesel/WVO conversion. I don't think I'll want to mess with a turbo set up as much as it's tempting. Reliability and fuel economy trump my need for speed.

I am really looking for feedback as I plan my budget. My questions for 70 series owners:

-Am I crazy or does this seems like a great candidate to finally fill my daily drive/trail machine desires? Am I missing something? This seems too easy.

-What gears am I likely to want with 35s? 37s? How will this thing drive day to day with the stock gears and 35s? I don't need this thing to be fast, I don't care. I just can't stand a truck that feels lethargic and can't drive up a hill or throw sand, I do like gears. But if I can roll with 35s on stock gears it frees up a lot of funds to do things like the transfer case gears and dial in other bits of the truck.

-It has the auto hubs on it. I'm debating on whether to convert them to a set of Aisins or Warns, or run them as is. Anyone have an opinion?

-Anyone stuck 37s on one of these? Should be pretty much the same mechanically as on my FJ40 and 80 series, pretty straightforward and robust. My question is the body. I do not want to chop it up. I also want to keep it as low as possible. Any thoughts?

-The engine seems strong. No smoke, ect. What kind of fuel system issues am I likely to run into? I know that at some point I'll have to do the injectors. How big of a project? Is this something I should factor into the cost, or am I likely to be able to run it for the foreseeable future? If it isn't broken I don't want to fix it.

-The 24 volt system seems like it is going to be a pain in the ass. I have a nice Warn 12V winch, stereo, lights, ect waiting in the garage. Am I going to be able to make this work with 24 to 12 volt converters? Looks like the stereo and interior accessories are doable with little additional work. Am I going to be able to run amps on those converters? What about the winch? I do not want to half ass it. Is there a way to run this winch properly?

If you made it to the end of this, you'll probably be willing to answer some of these questions and throw in your opinion! Please do! I will post pictures and do a build thread once triggers are pulled.

Thanks guys!
 
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The 1hz will be fine in the 70 and have plenty of poke.
I would get rid off the electric hubs.
The injectors will be fine if it's only got 100,000 K
I would forget the 35 and run 33 inch tyres if you want to keep it low.
The easyway to run the warn winch would be with a warn 24 volt motor.
Sound like a nice truck for your family to enjoy keep us posted with plenty off pics.
Good luck.
 
Joined
Feb 28, 2005
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First off sounds like an epic truck! It stands out in a crowd as much as a 40 series that's for sure!

33's without a doubt are the way to go, IMO 35's are too big, I know when I measured mine which has a 3 inch lift, 35's would rub on the bottom of the wheel well, or be too close for comfort. Thinking about it, I do have factory height poly body mounts, but to me it's high enough.

It's insane to me you can't get a Rubicon for the same money. they really aren't even comparable, a jeep is a toy, the land cruiser is a piece of industrial equipment.

yea as far as running a 12v winch, i'd ask warn, the controller relays typically are the part that can't handle it, the motor will just run faster :). 24volt is nice, smaller conductors can be used. Although when you need a jump, lol. yeah.... best to keep good batteries in it :) this time I went with group 31's and man o man they're nice, but they do take up space.
 
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24V winch motor and any other bits needed to convert.
Maybe get a 4 door if you have a family, -77, or a troopie. These really don't have much interior room in the 70/73/74 series, but if you are fine with your -40 then you will be ok with the 70/73/74. Of course remember to start a new thread with pics.
 
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Thanks for the input. A 35" tire is definitely my minimum, kind of the cutoff for being able to get everywhere. I have to make sure this thing shows up my Jeep people. My goal is still 37s, especially since I have a brand new set. When we start the suspension we will probably unbolt the axle and move things around to get a gauge on what it would take to make the 37s work. I have a feeling it's more than I'll want to do.

Anyone have any input on the stock gears on 35" tires?

As for size, I'm good with the 73. Don't want something big. I've made it work with my company two door Jeep and the FJ40, I'm sure this will feel like a limo.
 
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its a bit of work with fender clearance to get the 37s to fit but its been done before and if your already mucking around with the suspension you can set it all up to fit, other than that go for it a truck with only 100k miles would be a good buy and the JDM trucks are usually pretty tidy and unmolested :)
 
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its a bit of work with fender clearance to get the 37s to fit but its been done before and if your already mucking around with the suspension you can set it all up to fit, other than that go for it a truck with only 100k miles would be a good buy and the JDM trucks are usually pretty tidy and unmolested :)

We'll see. I don't mind cutting sheetmetal but I don't want to compromise the wheel wells. Is getting bigger tires on this more about locating the axles or moving sheet metal? On my FJ40 we had about 4" total lift, we moved the front axle 1.5" forward and VOILA! Room for 37s with a small bumpstop extension.

What engine do you want?
1hz will have the small front
13b-t will be a big front

It's a 1HZ. If it's the smaller front that probably ends the 37" tire discussion. I know the 8" reverse is a good set up, but I don't think I trust it with a finer gear and 37's. That's ok though, 37s are probably trouble.
 
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You don't need anything more than 33"s. Period. If you want to show up your jeep friends, demonstrate your superior driving skills with reasonably sized tires. The big ones will get you in trouble with the drive line, birfs, trans, etc. They weren't designed for huge tires. Or even 33"s, for that matter. And the 1HZ will not like it either, even if you add turbo. That's a lot of tire to get moving and these are already beasts of momentum. And then there's tip over... Do you plan to park in any garage? Mine is 7'2" with 33"s and OME lift.

If you want to look cool, keep it reasonable. 37"s will only make those of us in the know shake our heads in disappointment, while 33"s will still get you down the Rubicon.

The only reason Toyotas last so long, is that they are underpowered.
 
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Lol...

These can fit 35s with the appropriate lift.

37s will need an SOA for sure, and a fair bit of fender and wheel well clearancing. It's funny to hear others say that 35s or 37s are too big - I guess we drive different terrain in North America than down under, however, I would argue that most trails can be done really well on 33s or 35s and that cutting up a nice HZJ73 to fit big tires would be a shame. I've driven everything from 30s to 38s and I have to say that once you learn to drive the hard stuff on 30s, that anything bigger than that just makes it easier when you have larger tires - but weight and breaking parts can become a concern for sure depending on driving style.

You can run 35s (315 75R 16s) with OME springs and a bit of fender rubbing etc. (this has been covered in the past in this section so I'm not going to explain the ins and outs of this). I think this is a good size for the vehicle and you can stay spring under. However, I'd run rear springs in the front to take advantage of the somewhat longer leaves if that appeals to you.

The transmission is a H55F with a split case in that vintage.

Stock gears are 4.11s with an high pinion 8" in the front. The 4:1 gears have a 10% underdrive in high range.

The rear axles are all FF in any of the ZX models with rear disc brakes. You likely won't need to upgrade but, there are Nitro chromo axles if you do.

Personal opinion here but I despise WVO systems (we fix too many expensive screw ups from when these go wrong that I can't wrap my head around why you'd do this to your vehicle...).

Turbos don't really affect fuel economy or reliability if you're being sane. They do dramatically improve power and torque. Heat is the main killer of engines, not the 30% more power you get from a turbo.

If you're even thinking of going with Warn hubs you need your head examined, Aisins are far superior in every way imaginable. The stock hubs on an HZJ73 from Japan are going to be electric Aisins - work great until they don't....

Don't go too nuts on a roof rack, these are not made for them (FRP top) and are tall as it is. Pack less gear with you... the rack can be mounted at the sides on the front by the roll up windows and at the back on the rear. Don't overload the drip rails on the FRP top or you'll damage it.

24V is far superior to 12V in every way except that you have to use a voltage converter for you stereo. Embrace 24V and don't mess with it. Almost everything can be had for 24V and everything works better on 24V. Don't go butchering the system because you don't understand 24Vs and somehow believe 12V is better. Learn to love 24Vs and don't look back.

Honestly, it sounds as though you're still a little stuck in the 1970s and 80s FJ40 era with your thinking on a few things... An FJ40 and an HZJ73 are worlds apart in so many ways, but in others they are the same.

~John
 
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I wouldn't worry too much about driveline strength on 35's unless you are really going to beat on it. It's the same stuff as under an 80 series IIRC & I know quite a few people running 35's on those. One thing I have heard of is a grenaded front diff from trying to snatch out another truck in reverse - that small front R&P would be the weak point.

What you would want to fix with big rubber & the non-turbo mill is the gearing. I like my Mark's Adapters t-case gears as there is no compromise between highway & offroad. They are a little noisy though.

Cheers
Clint
 
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And note, do not use a 24v-12v converter for loads like lights, winch etc. Most good parts these says speak multi-volt like LEDs (usually from 9-36V) and ARB Fridges are 12-24V. Winches all work FAR better on 24V - half the current = half the heat, and often much better line speeds when fully loaded.

Get converter for your stereo and maybe a few other small gizmos, otherwise learn to embrace 24V. I have been running 24V since the late 80s on my Land Cruisers and almost cringe at thinking that I may have to back to 12V at some point... but I can shop around for another 24V truck rather than going with 12V.

It's a great system if you understand it. It's when you don't appreciate it that you will wage a battle against 24V and try to live in your 12V world that you will lose out. Trust me on this. 24V works very, very well if you take the time to understand it.


~John
 
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I wouldn't worry too much about driveline strength on 35's unless you are really going to beat on it. It's the same stuff as under an 80 series IIRC & I know quite a few people running 35's on those. One thing I have heard of is a grenaded front diff from trying to snatch out another truck in reverse - that small front R&P would be the weak point.

What you would want to fix with big rubber & the non-turbo mill is the gearing. I like my Mark's Adapters t-case gears as there is no compromise between highway & offroad. They are a little noisy though.

Cheers
Clint
I found the gearing too short on my HZJ77 running 255 85R16s (33.4" tall) and would have stuck with the 4.11s through 35" tires no problem. I'd have had 3.70 ( 3.73 in this application with the HP8" front end) and would have been happier on the highway.

The Mark's gears work great with the 3.05 for low range.

The 10% under-drive of the 4:1 gears is more than enough to run 35s if that's what you want, and is perhaps too low geared for the highway.


~John
 
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If you're even thinking of going with Warn hubs you need your head examined, Aisins are far superior in every way imaginable. The stock hubs on an HZJ73 from Japan are going to be electric Aisins - work great until they don't....

If you don't decide to replace the electrics in the short term (which is a reasonable choice if they work), invest in the torx tool to pull the hub cover off and carry it with you. Manually locking them in is a little fiddly, but its pretty cheap way of assuring you can still lock them if you need to / have gone to the trouble of getting out of town and then only have two wheels driving if they decide they're not going to work.
 
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Finally! This is the type of info I was hoping for!

I don't want to chop up the body, so I think I should start working on getting some 35s in place now and not worrying about it. Definitely keeping it spring under, the keeping that uptravel allows you to do more than 10mph when you aren't in the rocks.

You're right, most trails can be done on 33s-35s. I can get a stock JK Rubicon over the Rubicon on 32s, but that doesn't mean it's ideal. I work in the 4x4 aftermarket beat up a Jeep as part of my job, so I know where I want to end up. Once you've beaten a company rig and you realize what you can do with these things, it messes with your head!

Here's a question for you: On my FJ40 moving springs around was easy. It already had a shackle reversal and we just moved the shackle mounts back on the frame, then in the rear we knocked the hangers off and flipped them around and welded them back in a bit further back and could fit some long springs in there. I'm looking at how these are put together, any easy was to move the hangers around? Looks like everything is a bit more solidly built. Are there any easy options for running a longer shock in the front? I just used F250 towers in the FJ40, worked great.

It looks like the magic ticket on gears it to leave the diffs alone and run the 4:1 underdrive gears. I'm in.

I'm stoked to have the 24 volt system, don't plan on converting it out that just seems like waste. I am a little bummed rummaging around the garage and seeing the epic amount of crap I have for 12V, although it looks like I'll be able to reuse most of it with the converters, definitely not a good reason to cut it out.

I am definitely stuck somewhere between FJ40 land and modern JK hell, which is exactly why I want to do this. It'll capture the essence of my FJ40 with a real interior and AC with the diesel I've always wanted, seems like a winner.

I'm sure all of these questions would be answered once I got the truck in front of me, but this way I can start planning my budget and get everything ready once I get the truck on the way to me. My FJ40 sat in my driveway for so long that all I want is to get this truck, put a little into it and drive it. I don't want some dead turd perpetual project nightmare.

Thanks again for the facts, that's what I really wanted and needed. I'll make sure pictures and a build thread are here for all to see once I get things moving. Should be fun!



Lol...

These can fit 35s with the appropriate lift.

37s will need an SOA for sure, and a fair bit of fender and wheel well clearancing. It's funny to hear others say that 35s or 37s are too big - I guess we drive different terrain in North America than down under, however, I would argue that most trails can be done really well on 33s or 35s and that cutting up a nice HZJ73 to fit big tires would be a shame. I've driven everything from 30s to 38s and I have to say that once you learn to drive the hard stuff on 30s, that anything bigger than that just makes it easier when you have larger tires - but weight and breaking parts can become a concern for sure depending on driving style.

You can run 35s (315 75R 16s) with OME springs and a bit of fender rubbing etc. (this has been covered in the past in this section so I'm not going to explain the ins and outs of this). I think this is a good size for the vehicle and you can stay spring under. However, I'd run rear springs in the front to take advantage of the somewhat longer leaves if that appeals to you.

The transmission is a H55F with a split case in that vintage.

Stock gears are 4.11s with an high pinion 8" in the front. The 4:1 gears have a 10% underdrive in high range.

The rear axles are all FF in any of the ZX models with rear disc brakes. You likely won't need to upgrade but, there are Nitro chromo axles if you do.

Personal opinion here but I despise WVO systems (we fix too many expensive screw ups from when these go wrong that I can't wrap my head around why you'd do this to your vehicle...).

Turbos don't really affect fuel economy or reliability if you're being sane. They do dramatically improve power and torque. Heat is the main killer of engines, not the 30% more power you get from a turbo.

If you're even thinking of going with Warn hubs you need your head examined, Aisins are far superior in every way imaginable. The stock hubs on an HZJ73 from Japan are going to be electric Aisins - work great until they don't....

Don't go too nuts on a roof rack, these are not made for them (FRP top) and are tall as it is. Pack less gear with you... the rack can be mounted at the sides on the front by the roll up windows and at the back on the rear. Don't overload the drip rails on the FRP top or you'll damage it.

24V is far superior to 12V in every way except that you have to use a voltage converter for you stereo. Embrace 24V and don't mess with it. Almost everything can be had for 24V and everything works better on 24V. Don't go butchering the system because you don't understand 24Vs and somehow believe 12V is better. Learn to love 24Vs and don't look back.

Honestly, it sounds as though you're still a little stuck in the 1970s and 80s FJ40 era with your thinking on a few things... An FJ40 and an HZJ73 are worlds apart in so many ways, but in others they are the same.

~John

I found the gearing too short on my HZJ77 running 255 85R16s (33.4" tall) and would have stuck with the 4.11s through 35" tires no problem. I'd have had 3.70 ( 3.73 in this application with the HP8" front end) and would have been happier on the highway.

The Mark's gears work great with the 3.05 for low range.

The 10% under-drive of the 4:1 gears is more than enough to run 35s if that's what you want, and is perhaps too low geared for the highway.


~John
 
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Joined
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I have my own opinion of shackle reversals and I really, really do not like them on a Land Cruiser. I have done it, and it does improve ride somewhat - there are less small bumps felt and there is slightly better tracking on the highway.

However, there was a fad (my opinion) on these with the FJ40s and the downsides are not worth the upsides. I would not do one on any Land Cruiser, but again, that's my opinion.

And you're right, up travel is good for comfort, but down travel offers better 4 wheeling and 'balance' to how the truck performs. A lot of what's wrong with OME is the shocks are too short and I feel that the springs could be a few cm longer in many applications to improve shackle angle and ride; these are both things that can be worked around easily enough, though. The spring rates and free arch should also be adjusted a bit to load the spring more... and provide more down travel with decent up travel for comfort, but again, that's my own preference and I'm not going to tell ARB that they haven't got it quite right in optimizing their suspension systems for wheel travel and comfort.

Really, don't use a voltage converter for more than a stereo. Really, don't use one for more than a few things like a stereo... change that mindset.

Lights can have 24V bulbs installed, fridges run on 24V, winch motors and solenoids can be changed for 24V (and work better in any case on 24V)... there's very little that doesn't work better on 24V. .

Do some reading in the 70 series section on lifts and configurations, there's lots to read and find out. The front axle usually needs to go ahead a bit (20-25mm) and the shock lengths are not so much an issue as with the placement of the mounting points to optimized travel in the shock with how the suspension moves.

And, get out of your 40 series mindset. Park it. You're venturing in to 70 series Land now and it's a different beast in so many amazing ways and you can't compare back and forth, so just don't. It's the same (sort of) but not.

Just clear anything from your mind that you've done in the past with your 40 series and let it go. Sit on a rock near a river and meditate for a while. Find your space. Let anything 40 series drift in to your past and embrace a superior vehicle from the perspective of "the beginner's mind" and start all over again. (yes, really).

~John
 

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