Builds Another FJ80 Build Thread (1 Viewer)

Joined
Jul 11, 2014
Messages
264
 
I have been lurking around here for a while, always admiring the 80 series platform which would sometimes cause me to second-guess my decision to build my '99 4Runner over the past few years. It was a great truck and did well at satisfying the urge to 4x4, explore and travel. However, I finally found the excuse I had been looking for to sell the 4Runner and get an 80. Having just had our 4th kiddo, I needed a 3rd row seat, right? Right! Admittedly, I was also influenced by the solid axles, more robust drive train and factory e-lockers ;)... and I was tired of breaking CV axles on the 4runner.

Here's the rig as of July 2016. Just finished the engine rebuild, body lift, 3.1 crawler gears and 345s installed.






But it didn't start out that way....

A nice lady down the street had been driving her kids to school for the past 15 years in a '97 40th Anniversary FZJ80 (sage) with factory e-lockers. I informed her that i would be interested in purchasing her old gas guzzler if she ever decided to part with it. A few weeks later, she bought a brand new highlander. Perfect timing!

Well, now I am beginning to gather the parts to build this into the trail/expo rig that will take my family and friends on many adventures, from John Bull to Death Valley and maybe even Dusy Ershim and Moab someday. The goal is to outperform the 4Runner offroad and hopefully not pay too much of a penalty in fuel economy.

Here it is the day I got it (March 2nd 2015). 100% stock. 172k miles.





And here's what I got rid of to make way for the 80:

 
Last edited:

ranma21

Supporting Vendor
Joined
Apr 18, 2005
Messages
3,248
Location
Houston, TX
 
 
 
Welcome to the addiction!! Looks like we are in a similar situation. I started out with a 96 3rd gen 5 speed 4Runner as well in 2003. It was a black one too, somehow got into landcruiser and never look back. The 80 is much more comfortable than the 4 runner and more suitable for long distance expedition given its cargo capacity. You will love it, love that color too. Keep the mid coming :)
 
Joined
Jul 11, 2014
Messages
264
 
Thank you for the welcome!

I started by washing, claying, polishing and waxing. Then removed all the seats to clean the carpet as best as possible and treat the leather.



I decided to try Plastidip on the flairs (since they have some paint fade) and side rub strip. Still not sure if I'll keep it this way.



Then came the wheels/tires. I picked up 5 Interco birdog with Duractracs (315/75/16). Here it is when I arrived at America's tire to pick it up.



A few weeks earlier I had ordered J springs, Fox shocks, rear bump stop extension, sway bar mount extensions, and extended brake lines. I was eager to try out the Fox shocks after reading many reviews about how the OME shocks are rather harsh. I also like that Fox has taken the time to build shocks especially for a lifted 80 series. When I opened the box, I was impressed with the initial quality for a budget shock. I have been very pleased with them. Very supple on the concrete freeways of SoCal. The extended length and travel make for some great articulation off road.

Removing the rear springs:



Stock front springs, NO rear springs (sitting on the extended bumps):



Stock front springs, J rear springs:



J springs front and rear:



The rear driver's fender is half un-painted due to some gasoline getting on the Plastidip. FYI, Plastidip doesn't hold up to gasoline.
 
Last edited:
Joined
Jul 11, 2014
Messages
264
 
Installed OPOR sliders. I'm not crazy about bolt on sliders, but it seems to be pretty common on Land Cruisers. My 4Runner's were welded and had short arms between the slider and frame. The Land Cruiser's enormous heft combined with the long supporting arms seems to me a recipe for the slider contacting the body. Here's one waiting to be painted and installed:

 
Joined
Jul 11, 2014
Messages
264
 
Maintenance:

Over the past couple months, I have been evaluating what needs to be done and have begun working on fixing leaks, base-lining, and taking care of other preventative maintenance. So far, the following has been accomplished:
  • Compression check - 168, 163, 166, 170, 165, 172
  • Replaced spark plugs (Bosch Platinum)
  • Replaced the passenger power seat switch - now the seat goes forward AND BACK!
  • Replaced failing hood struts (Strong Arms)
  • Replaced the air filter (WIX)
  • Power washed the underside. What a mess! The power washer removes all that grease/dirt simply by relocating it EVERYWHERE! Other parts of the underbody, the street, my clothes, my face... everywhere!
  • flushed and bled the brakes (Walmart DOT 3)
  • replaced valve cover gasket (OEM)
  • replaced spark plug gaskets (OEM)
  • replaced oil pump gasket (OEM)
  • replaced throttle body gasket (OEM)
  • cleaned throttle body
  • replaced distributor o-ring (OEM)
  • replaced front oil seal (OEM)
  • replaced belts (OEM)
  • replaced upper and lower radiator hoses (Gates)
  • replaced PHH (Napa Gold hose, constant tension clamps)
  • flushed cooling system (Walmart coolant)
  • power flushed transmission (Walmart ATF)
  • flushed transfer case (Walmart Synthetic 75w90)
  • changed oil and filter (WIX 51515)
  • replaced AC condenser (Denso)
  • replaced wiper blades
  • installed Weather Tech mats front and middle row






Yet to do:
  • Rear main seal is leaky
  • relocate AC drier - anybody got a kit or lines for sale?
  • Diff breather extensions
  • armor - Diff covers, skid plate
  • Interior LED lights
  • CDL switch - anybody selling a used one?
  • install decent horns
  • Get caster dialed in - will likely need bushings in addition to offset knuckle bearings - may ultimately need a DC shaft - I currently have vibes at 20-25 and 40-50 and, I would guess, 80-100
  • Front bumper - leaning towards ARB or Binks

Mods in the garage waiting to be installed:
  • 4x4 Labs rear bumper kit (dual swingout)
  • Nitro 4.88 Master kit
  • OEM knuckle rebuild kit including SPC 3 degree caster bearings
  • rear axle gasket/seal kit

Someday:
 
Last edited:
Joined
Jul 11, 2014
Messages
264
 
Got the rear storage box built. Allows use of 3rd row. Removable/Adjustable partitions. Anchored using factory anchor points. Lathches pending.





 
Last edited:
Joined
Jul 11, 2014
Messages
264
 
Well, I'm in the middle of an engine refresh due to this: HELP PLEASE! I'm stuck in the wilderness with a dead fxj80

But, to catch up on this build prior to my timing chain breaking....

In early August, I relocated the AC drier with an early model mount and tubes from Specter.

In December, motivated by an upcoming Death Valley/Defense Mine trip, I finally bit the bullet and had the axles rebuilt and 4.88s installed. I got a great deal from a highly recommended shop (Ramjet) and also had them rebuild the knuckles. All OEM seals, gaskets and bearings throughout both axles and the knuckles. I had them install the 3 degree SPC knuckle bearings to pick up some caster.
Before:

After:








I also replaced the brake master cylinder (with an AISIN unit) in hopes it would help with the squishy pedal. It certainly didn’t make a huge difference.


I replaced the heater valve and thermostat in hopes it would fix the fact that I don’t get any heat. I think this problem started when I had the coolant flushed back in June, but I just didn’t have a chance to notice until the winter time. Turns out my old heater valve and thermostat were fine. I’m leaning towards there being air in the system. I hope to do a proper bleed when I reinstall the engine.
 
Last edited:
Joined
Jul 11, 2014
Messages
264
 
Saved for a future post of past upgrades :confused:

Bumpers
Exhaust
 
Last edited:
Joined
Jul 11, 2014
Messages
264
 
Catching up on the engine rebuild…

After getting towed 190 miles home from Panamint Valley, the cruiser sat in the driveway for about a week. I was still thinking that it was an electrical short or failure of some sort. A fellow 80 owner was kind enough to stop by and let me pull parts from his daily driver to test with. We replace the coil, then the ecu and still nothing. Upon cranking the engine, one of my buddies suggested it might not sound quite right. So we decided to check compression. Hooked up the gauge to cylinder one and cranked the engine. ZERO. Ouch! Next, decided to pull the valve cover wondering if perhaps a cam had broken (an idea suggested by a member who posted in my stranded-in-panamint-valley thread). After removing the cover, a friend cranked the engine. Nothing moved. Ouch! I pressed on the timing chain and it was limp. I sat there stunned, never having expected that the chain would have broken.



After a week of combing through the forum, I was convinced that removing the engine was the best way to proceed with getting the timing chain fixes. It would allow me the access I need to replace the head gasket and install new timing components. So, got the beast towed over to my Dad’s garage and started tearing things apart.
 
Last edited:
Joined
Jul 11, 2014
Messages
264
 
Engine Rebuild thread: 1FZ-FE Rebuild - Restoring my FZJ80 from an early demise

Long story short, a previous mechanic had dropped an oil pan bolt into the pan while resealing. It hung out at the bottom of the oil pan for a few months until I hit a good bump and it jumped up in between the timing chain gear and timing chain. Instant death.:(
 
Last edited:

BlueCruiser84

SILVER Star
Joined
Nov 1, 2004
Messages
3,235
Location
Staunton, VA
 
 
 
Holy S**t I would have been pissed. All this because someone was a little sloppy??

I mean I guess you are getting lots of maintnenance taken care of and you know whe'll be good to go after this, but dang mayne...
 
Joined
Jan 29, 2013
Messages
117
Intense project! OCD much? How do you like the bird dogs? I actually met the inventor a couple years ago prior to going into production and they seem like a cool concept. Have you aired down much?
 

Users Who Are Viewing This Thread (Users: 0, Guests: 1)

Top Bottom