"best" year FZJ-80 for off-road?

Joined
Oct 22, 2003
Messages
252
Location
NW suburbs of Chicago
Hi all,

I asked a question about land cruisers in another forum (cruizers.com), was directed here. Looks like lots of good info!

Anyway, I decided to retire my rusty 87 4Runner from dual-use (daily driver/off-road) to just off road. I'm now looking for a daily driver that can also haul a family of four on long road trips comfortably, towing a pop-up camper. It also must be as capable as possible off-road. I'm thinking $10-15k range (so's I'm not scared to let it get scratched). After much web surfing and reading, I think I've settled on a 93-97 TLC. Toyota reliable, big and powerful enough, and has front/rear/center difflocks factory OEM.

Now, as I read the newbie faq on sleeoffroad, it seems that 93-94 are "better": better radiator, less parts going beneath the frame, none of those STINKIN' airbags, and fewer of those weenie luxury items. I'd really like to get manual tranny too, but <sigh> looks like no-go without some import ha$$le. (I also hate leather seats, but don't think I can avoid them).

So, I know this is all opinion, but who disagrees? Is it possible to find a nice, no-rust 94 in great shape for $10k? Ideally I'd like to find one that already has OME, ARB and never been driven off-road (you know, like the woman with the brazilian wax, skimpy bikini and all the moves, but still a virgin-- I know, a fantasy).

Any thoughts? Any help? I've been looking for over a month now, and even in a big market like Chicago (where I am), there are slim pickin's, esp. rust-free.

Thanks,
Kenton
 

wob

Joined
Feb 28, 2003
Messages
2,597
Location
SC
[quote author=kenton link=board=2;threadid=6875;start=msg56563#msg56563 date=1067454805]
I'm now looking for a daily driver that can also haul a family of four on long road trips comfortably, towing a pop-up camper. It also must be as capable as possible off-road.
[/quote]


I would want the air bags for mostly on road with the fam.

:cheers:
 

woody

Staff member
Admin
Joined
Jan 15, 2002
Messages
10,361
Location
Toquerville UT
Website
www.TieRodMedia.com
94 is the year I would choose as well....unfortunately, patience is your only option with regards to locating one. They do show up however, just be prepared to drive a bit to find it.

(and welcome to ih8mud Kenton!)
 

cruiserdan

SupportingVendor Emeritus
Moderator
Joined
Mar 27, 2003
Messages
24,626
Location
Land Cruiser Heritage Museum broom closet
The only differences between 93 and 94 are the rear mud flaps, the rear seat belt locking method, and the early production 93's have R12 A/C. In addition, federal 93's do not have an EGR temp sensor to toss codes.

Welcome Kenton. :beer:
 

semlin

curmudgeon
Joined
Mar 27, 2003
Messages
5,236
Location
north of 49
there are endless debates about whether the 93-94's are "better" than the 95-97's. There is no consensus that the different radiators and transmission are better or worse, but mostly it's a good natured but inconclusive rivalry. For every argument that the a442 bus tranny is tougher there's an argument its not as smooth nor actually proven to be tougher, for every argument that the later obII diagnostic is more useful, there's an argument that the ObI diagnostic requires a paperclip instead of a $200 reader to decipher. The main thing is to get a good condition truck 93-97 with the front/rear locker option. The rest are details.

You can definitely get a good early model with lockers for $10,000 is you are patient and willing to travel a little (I did last year and prices have dropped). Get one stock that's been a mall cruiser and buy your own armour.
 
Joined
Mar 27, 2003
Messages
12,520
Location
Somewhere in the foothills...
Kenton,

I'll echo the early posters' welcomes.

>> I decided to retire my rusty 87 4Runner from dual-use (daily driver/off-road) to just off road. <<

Get a good FZJ80 and retire the 4Runner too. :D

>> I'm thinking $10-15k range <<

Plenty of FZJ80s are in that range.

>> ... and powerful enough, and has front/rear/center difflocks factory OEM. <<

The F&R diff locks are an option and only about 5-10% have this option. Many sellers will say they have them even though they don't know because they are under the false impression that their truck has *all* options. Look for the axle code and the switch.

>> ... none of those STINKIN' airbags, and fewer of those weenie luxury items. <<

Kinda like lawyers... you think you don't want them until you NEED them.

>> (I also hate leather seats, but don't think I can avoid them). <<

Great covers and others make some very nice, inexpensive, cloth covers that go over the leather and match Toyota fabrics and colors.

>> I've been looking for over a month now, <<

You must be patient, tenacious, prepared to travel, and most importantly, you MUST be prepared to pull the trigger when the right truck is in front of you.

-B-
 
Joined
Oct 12, 2003
Messages
55
do they only have Diff. locks as an option that says "DIFF LOCK" or is it in the tow package?
 

sleeoffroad

Supporting Vendor
Joined
Mar 27, 2003
Messages
6,354
Website
www.sleeoffroad.com
We don't see tranny's fail at the shop. Very rare occurance. The best 80 for the trail is the latest model year you can locate, for the money you want to spend, in the best shape in terms of maintenance and overall condition. If this is a truck you are going to keep for a long time, we advise on getting the best 97 model year you can.

Airbags - Never heard of one going of on the trail.

Tranny - good either way, personally the 95-97 shifts smoother

Transfercase - pretty much the same, but make sure it works and the VC is
not stuffed.

Axles - pretty much the same, make sure they were serviced, or take the cost of service into account.

Suspension - if you want to buy Slee Off-Road front control arms the 95 and later is easier since the ABS wires run allong the frame and not the DS front control arm - (Shameless plug :)) Rest is the same, except that the ABS lines also run allong the upper rear arms. Screws you little on adding adjusters.

Motor - If you thing you will ever do forced induction, get 95 and later. Huge difference in fuel management. Search treads on Superchargers etc etc.

Interior - headliner and piller covers do not remove on a 93/94. On 95-97 they just pop off. Makes wiring overhead stuff, guages etc etc a lot easier. The dash on the 95-97 is also way easier to take appart.

Christo
 
Joined
Mar 27, 2003
Messages
12,520
Location
Somewhere in the foothills...
Tres,
The diff lock option is well documented. You can look at the diffs, you can determine it from the axle code on the door jam VIN plate, and you can look for the rotary knob on the dash, immediately to the left of the steering wheel.

A prudent buyer would check all 3 places.
-B-
 
Joined
Mar 28, 2003
Messages
167
Location
Nashville, Tennessee
Be patient....I found one, after looking for over a year that had been driven by my dentist's wife, had all options (including lockers that had never been used) and bought it for 1k under wholesale. It is a '96 and I would recommend a 95 and above. I agree with Slee, that despite all discussions about transmissions, the 95+ shift smoother. Let's all face it, any year toyo trans is a good trans if you do not trash it. Definitely go with the fac lockers as it will not likely make a diff in price. Most people do not even know what they are, much less know their value. Any 93-97 vehicle which is well taken care of and is a good price, will be a good buy.
 
Joined
Oct 22, 2003
Messages
252
Location
NW suburbs of Chicago
Thanks for the comments (and the welcomes) so far guys. Christo's comments especially are appreciated: he's made me re-think my choice of years, to 95-97. Which sux, because now it'll be even HARDER to fit in my budget... :doh:

Replies: I think airbags add a very marginal benefit to good drivers and their passengers (near-zero benefit except for the other idiots on the road), and the chance of the bags inflating off-road is real, I've seen it on a GMC truck over Michigan sand-dunes. (Glad to hear none so far among TLCs though, Christo.) Rather than airbags, I think every vehicle should come equipped with a large, sharp [glow=red,2,300]spike[/glow] on the steering wheel pointed at the driver's face. My guess is, it would save MANY more lives than airbags, third brake lights, ABS, AWD etc which in many cases just makes the stupid drive faster (pant pant pant.. ok, I'm coming down off my rant-box now...) ::)

Christo, by a 'stuffed' VC you mean burnt/non-functioning? Any way to easily determine this? What specifically do you mean by axle service? If I look in the FSM will I see a maintenance schedule for axle seals and etc, is that it, or is there some special attention? In the ABS remark, when you say 'screws you little', do you mean 'screws you A little (noticable amount)', or 'screws you not-very-much (almost none)'?

Thanks guys,
Kenton

[quote author=sleeoffroad link=board=2;threadid=6875;start=msg56607#msg56607 date=1067461645]
We don't see tranny's fail at the shop. ... Airbags - Never heard of one going of on the trail. ... make sure [TC] works and the VC is
not stuffed. ... make sure [axles] were serviced, ... [in 93-94] the ABS lines also run allong the upper rear arms. Screws you little on adding adjusters. ...
Interior - headliner and piller covers do not remove on a 93/94. On 95-97 they just pop off. ...The dash on the 95-97 is also way easier to take apart.

Christo

[/quote]
 
Joined
Mar 27, 2003
Messages
12,520
Location
Somewhere in the foothills...
Kenton,

I don't want to start an air bag debate but will only add that you're naive if you truly belive that being a good driver reduces your risk of being in an automobile collision.

Two cases in point... personal, and recent (within the past 6 months.)

First example: Wife and kid are sitting at a light. 4 lane intersection. Drunk turns across traffic, gets broadsided, slams into my wife. She was completely stopped, waiting for her light to change. Cars behind her. Nothing in the world that anyone could have done except brace for the impact. No injuries to my wife or my son, thank God.

Second example: Fellow ih8mudder, FJ60 driver, professional pilot, excellent driver, belted up, kids not in the truck this night. Driving to a club meeting about 8PM on a Friday night on a 2 lane rural road. A drunk coming toward my friend passes another car doing 80 MPH and slams head-on into the FJ60. It happened on a curve, in an instant. He managed to get the FJ60 slowed down enough that nobody was killed but it was a horrific crash, resulting in severe injuries, and two completely totalled vehicles.

Excellent drivers are not immune to collisions and you should think long and hard about strapping your family into a vehicle without every safety feature you can get.

(Off soap box.)

-B-
 
Joined
Nov 7, 2002
Messages
511
Location
Pacific NorthWest
[quote author=Beowulf link=board=2;threadid=6875;start=msg56631#msg56631 date=1067464063]
Kenton,

I don't want to start an air bag debate but will only add that you're naive if you truly belive that being a good driver reduces your risk of being in an automobile collision.

Two cases in point... personal, and recent (within the past 6 months.)

First example: Wife and kid are sitting at a light. 4 lane intersection. Drunk turns across traffic, gets broadsided, slams into my wife. She was completely stopped, waiting for her light to change. Cars behind her. Nothing in the world that anyone could have done except brace for the impact. No injuries to my wife or my son, thank God.

Second example: Fellow ih8mudder, FJ60 driver, professional pilot, excellent driver, belted up, kids not in the truck this night. Driving to a club meeting about 8PM on a Friday night on a 2 lane rural road. A drunk coming toward my friend passes another car doing 80 MPH and slams head-on into the FJ60. It happened on a curve, in an instant. He managed to get the FJ60 slowed down enough that nobody was killed but it was a horrific crash, resulting in severe injuries, and two completely totalled vehicles.

Excellent drivers are not immune to collisions and you should think long and hard about strapping your family into a vehicle without every safety feature you can get.

(Off soap box.)

-B-
[/quote]

:beer: Well said...and good examples. A+ :beer:
 

sleeoffroad

Supporting Vendor
Joined
Mar 27, 2003
Messages
6,354
Website
www.sleeoffroad.com
[quote author=kenton link=board=2;threadid=6875;start=msg56622#msg56622 date=1067462961]
Christo, by a 'stuffed' VC you mean burnt/non-functioning? Any way to easily determine this? [/quote]

Drive it on the road and then check if the transfercase is getting really hot. Or if it feels like the drivetrain is binding under normal driving conditions.
[quote author=kenton link=board=2;threadid=6875;start=msg56622#msg56622 date=1067462961]
What specifically do you mean by axle service?
[/quote]

Pull knuckels appart and replace all seals and gaskets with bearings as needed. Both front and rear.

[quote author=kenton link=board=2;threadid=6875;start=msg56622#msg56622 date=1067462961]

If I look in the FSM will I see a maintenance schedule for axle seals and etc, is that it, or is there some special attention?
[/quote]

Not explicitly, but the details are there on how to do it.

[quote author=kenton
link=board=2;threadid=6875;start=msg56622#msg56622 date=1067462961]

In the ABS remark, when you say 'screws you little', do you mean 'screws you A little (noticable amount)', or 'screws you not-very-much (almost none)'?

Extra work since you have to relocate it.

Thanks guys,
Kenton
 
Joined
Oct 22, 2003
Messages
252
Location
NW suburbs of Chicago
I appreciate your viewpoint; we'll have to agree to disagree I suppose. I can't resist 'clarification' however :p :

It IS true that being a good driver reduces your risk of being in an automobile collision. Not prevent, but reduce. Insurance companies do plenty of statistical analysis on that very point.

I'm sorry to hear about those accidents-- I'll ask rhetorically though: did airbags make a difference, or just add another $600-$1000 to the cost of the repair? You can almost never be certain how helpful airbags are, of course, but the cost is something to think about. If instead of airbag repair, you used that $1k to inspect your house for radon, or add a home water purifier to remove carcinogens, then what made you safer, overall? Or when buying a vehicle, if the extra $2k isn't spent for the vehicle with airbags, maybe one could've bought their teenage daughter the better used car, with more collision protection: many people spend gobs of money on marginally-helpful, mass-marketed crap (and I lump airbags in that pile), and ignore much larger safety hazards.

I kind of look skeptically at those who say that any additional incremental safety feature, no matter how minor, and no matter how expensive, should be implemented. In my estimation that is naive, because they are the type of people who look at me in horror when I ask them what dollar value they place on life (don't say priceless, please, we all place a dollar value on life everytime we get in a car, on a plane, etc even if some people don't realize it/don't want to think about it).

Ya know, a HELMET would make people safer too, with or without air bags. And a better, five-point harness (although inconvenient). Don't see too many people thinking long and hard about whether to wear a Shoei while driving their Land Cruiser! ;)

[quote author=Beowulf link=board=2;threadid=6875;start=msg56631#msg56631 date=1067464063]
Kenton,

I don't want to start an air bag debate but will only add that you're naive if you truly belive that being a good driver reduces your risk of being in an automobile collision.

Two cases in point... personal, and recent (within the past 6 months.)

...

Excellent drivers are not immune to collisions and you should think long and hard about strapping your family into a vehicle without every safety feature you can get.

(Off soap box.)

-B-
[/quote]
 
Joined
Mar 27, 2003
Messages
12,520
Location
Somewhere in the foothills...
Kenton,

>> I'll ask rhetorically though: did airbags make a difference, or just add another $600-$1000 <<
>> to the cost of the repair? <<

In the first case, my wife's airbags did not deploy. My son was strapped in the center of the 2nd row and that vehicle did not have any other airbags. However, had they deployed, I wouldn't care if it cost $100,000 to repair. The security of my family is more important to me; besides, our vehicle was the only one with insurance of the 4 that were involved in that accident.

>> You can almost never be certain how helpful airbags are, of course, <<
>> but the cost is something to think about. <<

Do you have a wife, kids, and/or grand children? Just curious...

FYI, her new car has air bags everywhere, 9 of them I think. Car might be totalled if all the bags deployed at once but that's OK with me 'cause it's fully insured.

In the second example, none of the vehicles were equipped with air bags. Both drivers were injured and went to the hospital. The drunk was severely injured and since he didn't have insurance and spent several weeks in the trauma center at the county hospital, our tax dollars paid for that too... probably $200k maybe more. We're still paying for that guy because he's now in jail and we have to feed the maggot.

My main point wasn't that air bags are good or bad. I personally believe they are worth having on a DD, particularly if the family is along. The point that I was making is that driver skill does not make you immune to automobile colllisions and even professional drivers and experts with many years of defensive driving experience can be involved in terrible (sometimes fatal) accidents through no fault of their own.

-B-
 
Joined
Oct 22, 2003
Messages
252
Location
NW suburbs of Chicago
I am 33, have a wife of ... um ... 8 years on Nov 4th (girlfriend before that, and best friend of ... um ... 15 yrs), a 5-yr-old son and a 1-yr-old daughter. I can also be a little extreme sometimes... :)
As a fun exercise, sit down and think of a situation where you could've made your family slightly safer, and you know the increase in safety, and the cost of the increase in safety: let's take my five-point-harness example. How much safer? Oh, let's say the harness reduces their chance of injury 0.01% over the lifetime of the vehicle. Let's further say the installation would've been $5k. Assuming nearly everyone doesn't have a 5-pt harness installed, then they are implicitly saying that they value their family member's life at something less than $5k/0.01%, or $50M.
My math may be wrong, haven't checked it thoroughly, and it is DEFINITELY simplistic, but it should convey the gist of the point. If one thinks their family member's life is worth more than that, then logically they would be rushing off to install these gizmos. Most people don't, and yet they insist on paying mucho bucks for some factory-installed option.
Another example is airlines: one can look up how often a plane falls out of the sky, and can calculate how much extra time/money to drive or bus or train somewhere, and the risks of dying in those transportation methods, and then also calculate the value of their life in terms of money, time, etc... Very few people do it, but they should, if they are going to decide the value of airbags etc, considering all the various safety enhancers available in one's life.

As a summary (?), I agree completely with your main point (other than possibly the "worth" part), and didn't mean to say otherwise in what I wrote. If we meet, we can share a :beer: to that, and move on the next point: where the H#LL am I going to find a good FZJ80? :D

Kenton

[quote author=Beowulf link=board=2;threadid=6875;start=msg56665#msg56665 date=1067468429]

Do you have a wife, kids, and/or grand children? Just curious...

My main point wasn't that air bags are good or bad. I personally believe they are worth having on a DD, particularly if the family is along. The point that I was making is that driver skill does not make you immune to automobile colllisions and even professional drivers and experts with many years of defensive driving experience can be involved in terrible (sometimes fatal) accidents through no fault of their own.

-B-
[/quote]
 
Joined
Mar 30, 2003
Messages
1,651
Location
LA, CA
kenton and others who think airbags are "sissy items" or pricey and unnecessary-- I don't see why you wouldn't want airbags considering someone of the caliber of Christo has said he hasn't seen them deploy offroad. I doubt most people on this group will wheel harder than what Christo has seen. You ARE safer with airbags, hands down. Dual airbags add about $1200 to the price of a car (will find a link for this soon). If money is the concern, wouldn't you rather spend the money to reduce you/your family's risk of death in a frontal crash by 26-32% instead of getting whatever option package would add up to that price? Please read this link from the insurance institute for highway safety:

http://www.hwysafety.org/safety_facts/airbags/stats.htm

kenton- airbags are transparent items, while helmets are inconvenient for most people to wear when driving. You wear your helmet, I'll just get in my airbag-equipped vehicle.
 

Users who are viewing this thread

Top Bottom