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Advice sought on RHD to LHD conversion

Discussion in '80-Series Tech' started by mot, Oct 24, 2003.

  1. mot

    mot

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    OK, I have considered exporting/importing an 80 with turbo diesel and 5sp from Europe(except the UK) to the US when I move back next year. But I have not had too much promising of a lead, yet. Not to mention it seems like most of them have a lot of miles on them, too. I guess not any more than ones in the US, but...

    It seems like vehicles here in Japan have less miles/kilos(it's a small country)and in immaculate conditions(not many of them even have rock chips on them).

    So I'm wondering, would it be a worthwhile option to export a 5sp turbo diesel(maybe with a cool console box) or a petrol wagon with rear AC and then convert it to LHD later on.

    Has anyone done anything like this, not necessarily with an 80, but RHD vehicles in general or vise-versa? I guess if I had to, I could drive it RHD for awhile(my wife would kill me, but...) :D

    Or would it be too cost prohibitive(I know that's all relative, but...). I could not do the conversion myself, so I would have to have the dealer or a shop do it for me, either with new or used parts. Any ball-park figure on either one of them?

    Would the dash with airbags or without them make that much difference('93-'94 and '95-'97); i.e., steering wheel with air bag and the passenger-side airbag interchangeable with LHD model's?

    Who knows, it might not even be legal. One guy here said that it would be next to impossible.

    By the way, here is the YAHOO JAPAN auction link with Land Cruiser search done with pics shown. I don't think you'll have to log on to be able to view. I didn't have to. But if you do, I apologize in advance. Take a look and let me know what you think. You might find it interesting.

    http://list1.auctions.yahoo.co.jp/jp/2084016698-category-leaf.html?f=&alocale=0jp&mode=2

    Note: The "H10, H3, H..." numbers between the mileage and the price mean the Japanese year(we use 2003, too). But "H7" is 1995, "H8", 1996 and so on, meaning how many years the Emperor has been running the country :p

    Anyway...have pity on me. ::)

    Any wisdom would be very much appreciated. :cheers:

    mot
     
  2. Asiarider

    Asiarider

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    I don't know anything about the conversion but I have driven a LHD in Africa for many years in a place where only RHD were sold. You get used to it. The only problem is to overtake because you cannot see the other traffic until you are half way on their lane. That is a bit difficult but otherwiese really now problem.

    I think the conversion must be difficult. I agree with you that you can find the best LC's with all options and very low mileage in Asia. If there are no import restrictions to the States you should really bring one of these dreams home.

    Mike
     
  3. cruiserdan

    cruiserdan SupportingVendor Emeritus Moderator

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    One way to do it would be to aquire a totaled LHD US vehicle with the same style dash and start swapping parts. The frame will require significant modifications and the front axle housing will need to be modified or swapped as the panhard rod is reversed. At a minimum you would need the dash, cowl, wiper parts, steering box, steering arms, pedals, dash harness, engine harness, mirriors, steering column and I'm sure a ton of other stuff.

    D-
     
  4. mot

    mot

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    Mike and Dan,

    Thanks for your replies.

    How did I know that the answer was not what I wanted to hear :'(

    I feel like I'm back to square one. I guess living with a good FZJ with AT w/o cool box/rear AC would not be the end of the world. :p

    I'm sure I'll come up with another scheme before moving back though :flipoff2:

    Thanks again!

    mot
     
  5. semlin

    semlin discouraged user

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    I'm guessing it would be cheaper and easier to swap a diesel and 5spd into a LHD 80. Either that or try http://www.toyota-gib.com/ or Holland or for a LHD diesel source. There used to be a number of overseas car export companies in Holland a few years ago.


    Many old Rolls Royce owners manage well here with RHD. It can also be useful for checking rural mailboxes, or delivering newspapers.
     
  6. Bradass80

    Bradass80

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    I saw SOR was selling those rear AC units on special the other day for a ridiculously low price of $780.Brad.
     
  7. mot

    mot

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    Semlin,

    That's a great idea about mail/newspaper delivery truck. I don't have a job lined up in the US, yet. So that might work well for me :D I would try a link the link, too. I have tried contacting a Toyota dealer in the Netherlands, but have not heard back from them, yet. But we'll see...

    Bradass80,

    Wow. I did not know that about SOR offering the rear AC unit. Especially at that price, something comparible would be great. Is it close to the factory spec/setup? I'll have to check it out later when I have more time.

    Thanks guys!
    :beer:
    mot
     
  8. Jim_Chow

    Jim_Chow

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    [quote author=mot link=board=2;threadid=6694;start=msg54822#msg54822 date=1067005503]
    It seems like vehicles here in Japan have less miles/kilos(it's a small country)and in immaculate conditions(not many of them even have rock chips on them).

    So I'm wondering, would it be a worthwhile option to export a 5sp turbo diesel(maybe with a cool console box) or a petrol wagon with rear AC and then convert it to LHD later on.

    Has anyone done anything like this, not necessarily with an 80, but RHD vehicles in general or vise-versa? I guess if I had to, I could drive it RHD for awhile(my wife would kill me, but...) :D

    Or would it be too cost prohibitive(I know that's all relative, but...). I could not do the conversion myself, so I would have to have the dealer or a shop do it for me, either with new or used parts. Any ball-park figure on either one of them?

    Would the dash with airbags or without them make that much difference('93-'94 and '95-'97); i.e., steering wheel with air bag and the passenger-side airbag interchangeable with LHD model's?

    Who knows, it might not even be legal. One guy here said that it would be next to impossible.

    By the way, here is the YAHOO JAPAN auction link with Land Cruiser search done with pics shown. I don't think you'll have to log on to be able to view. I didn't have to. But if you do, I apologize in advance. Take a look and let me know what you think. You might find it interesting.

    http://list1.auctions.yahoo.co.jp/jp/2084016698-category-leaf.html?f=&alocale=0jp&mode=2

    Note: The "H10, H3, H..." numbers between the mileage and the price mean the Japanese year(we use 2003, too). But "H7" is 1995, "H8", 1996 and so on, meaning how many years the Emperor has been running the country :p

    Anyway...have pity on me. ::)

    Any wisdom would be very much appreciated. :cheers:

    mot
    [/quote]

    The prices I've seen in Japan aren't really much better than in the US, but the vehicles have low miles since most people just use them for R&R on weekends. I've looked into the importing thing...too many hoops to go through. If the vehicle was made after '95 or so, it must have dual front airbags. Also, you need DOT safety glass, VIN plate has to be riveted w/ SS rivets, DOT headlamps, etc. Before you buy, you need to find a registered importer, who guarantees to the gov't that they can and will perform the DOT required inspections/mods. You then have to apply w/ the US gov't to bring it in (like a $600 app fee), then post a bond worth 150% the price of the vehicle. If approved, the US gov't then sends you a document that says you now have permission to purchase the vehicle. Once in the States, the RI takes over and makes the mods. The good news is, if it's a '96 80, there is already a precedence established w/ the DOT, but only for left-hand drive 80s (only right hand drive vehicle approved so far is the Nissan Skyline GTR). One of the DOT req's is the vehicle needs to be able to pass crash tests. If it's similar to US spec models, you might be able to just get a letter from Toyota stating the RHD body is identical and performs the same in crash tests. If it's not sold in this country, say a HZJ78, they can make you crash one to see if it passes DOT reg's, so you really need to buy two vehicles. Not only that, but none of the 70 series have airbags, not even the '03 HZJ76 4-door hardtop w/ solid front axle, 1HZ diesel w/ 5spd, f/r diff locks version sold in Japan (for under $30K USD, might I add). So assuming you could avoid the crash test thing, you'd still have to get airbags installed if it was built after '95. The only case i know when you're totally exempt for DOT regs is if the vehicle is 30 yrs old or older, so if you import a 1973 cruiser, you're scott-free! So in light of all of this, one may as well import the mil-spec version HZJ105 from Toy. Gibraltar. You might still have to replace all the windows and headlamps and have airbags installed, but I believe Toyota uses a global standard on the 100s, so all 100 series bodies meet the same crash standards before airbags. The UN version also does have a collapsable steering column and plastic dash (DOT req). Not only that, at least you'll get the cast iron head, aux. tank, manual tranny, and 3rd world country gizmos. I don't know if the glass is safety glass. I know it has a green film so the windows don't come crashing in if rioters throw rocks through the window, but this might not satisfy the DOT. But at least you can buy replacement 100 series windows in the US (for $$$).

    The way to get around this is to buy the vehicle overseas (say, the HDJ81), and strip out the engine/drivetrain/PS/AC/radiator/gas tank filler (diesel is a different size), ship those to the US and swap 'em in, then pay a junkyard $1K or so to dispose of the nearly mint body. Other way to get around it is to disassemble the vehicle and ship the chassis and engine separately, then reassemble the vehicle. This gets around the DOT approval issues.
     
  9. mot

    mot

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    Jim,

    Pheeeeew!

    Obviously you have looked into this already. I guess I might want to start pricing either a whole vehicle with 24v TD and 5sp or engine/tranny with related parts to see the price difference.

    I guess I will try to worry about who can do the install in the US after I get things sorted out over here.

    Many thanks for your valuable information. ;)

    mot
     
  10. drexx

    drexx

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    24Oct2003 (UTC -7)

    To add to Cruiserdan's reply, you'd also have to drill through the firewall to install the new steering linkages and pedals. If I remember correctly, the tranny levers have to be repositioned too.

    You'd have to get LHD headlights also. The wiper arms need to be repositioned, both front and back, as well as the front driver and passenger side door panels and window/door controls. Other than that, you're good to go!!! ;)

    'Cruiser trivia: According to Marvin Spencer of www.sor.com, the Philippines is his biggest customer outside of the USA (and without outstanding debt!). He said we're truly "nuts about 'Cruisers over there!", as he sells a lot of RHD to LHD parts to Filipinos (who convert RHD to LHD a lot, mostly imported from Japan).
     
  11. mot

    mot

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    Drexx,

    Thanks! The news just keeps on getting better :D

    I think I'm leaning towards the engine/tranny conversion. I'll have to start checking the parts in YAHOO auction, as well as other Cruiser sites here, unless I could get one reasonablly from Europe ;)

    Thanks again. :cheers:

    mot
     
  12. ginericLC

    ginericLC Wagon Wheeler! SILVER Star

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    Or look to Iceland! LHD Turbo Diesel 80 series already there. It it wasn't used as an ice buggy they are lower mileage units with relatively good lives.
     
  13. e9999

    e9999 You want to do what...? Moderator

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    wonder what they use these high-lift trucks for in Japan? Not that there is a lot of wild areas to go wheelin' I would think
    E
     
  14. ELLTEE

    ELLTEE

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    A friend who works State Dept just returned from mid-east assignment and brought back an HZJ75 "troopie" for his garage. :beer: Welcome home!
    A straight 6, 4.2 liter normally aspirated diesel with five speed, LH steering, manufactured in 1999 and used by one of the NGO relief organizations.
    I haven't seen the truck yet, but he says it's mechanically sound despite carrying the usual quota of dings and scratches, probably a bullet hole or two. :-X

    It's not impossible to import from Europe, it just takes a lot of patience and you have to fill out an awful lot of paperwork. :flipoff2:He happens to be very good at that :D

    LT
    8)
     
  15. mot

    mot

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    ginericfj80,

    Icelandic Cruiser. I'll have to take that into consideration. Probably never experienced any overheating situation there :D

    e9999,

    High-lift trucks here are, as you guessed, mostly for the show here. I have a buddy who owns an HDJ/5sp with 285's and lift who has never wheeled it before(granted it's not one of those monster trucks, but...). Kinda silly, isn't it?

    ELLTEE,

    I am not very patient, plus I hate paperwork :flipoff2:

    I just asked a dealer in Japan who would import/reimport troopie, LHD 100, LHD Prado, etc... how much it would cost to get a LHD troopie in Japan and WOW, was I shocked by the answer! I would take a troopie with a few bulled holes any day over a bunch of paperwork ;)

    mot
     
  16. Jonathan_Ferguson

    Jonathan_Ferguson ★ is in the wrong locale SILVER Star

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    I would guess that the Transmission Tunnel is totally different, As there is hardly any room for the Passenger - Let alone the Pedals. :-*