Big Betty - Build Thread

Joined
May 13, 2021
Messages
21
Location
Orange County, California
Been wanting an 80 for the longest time and I finally came across someone who was willing to trade a 94 factory locked cruiser for my non locked 02 4runner. Granted the cruiser needed some TLC cosmetically but I thought it would be a good base for me to build off of. The iffy part is that I don't know who the previous owner is because current owner was a car flipper who only had it a couple months, he pretty much didn't know anything about the car so I didn't get any previous maintenance records with it but it runs great, lockers work and no major issues. The plus side is that it only has 197K miles, its a CA car and it lived in Palmdale its whole life so absolutely no rust. I might have made a huge mistake but only time will tell.

Picture of my 4Runner I traded. Owned it for 5 years and it was a fun and reliable vehicle that took me all over the place.

Sedona, AZ

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My goal with the 80 is to ultimately make it a camping vehicle, much like my 4Runner was, I just knew the 80 would be more capable and outlast the 4Runner in the long run.

Pic of the 80 when I first got it

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First day I got it I drove it out to Parker AZ for Thanksgiving to hangout with family. Seems like a dumb idea now that I think of it but it made it there and back without any issues.

Pic of Cruiser to keep your attention

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After spending 5 days in AZ/Big River CA we finally get back home and I can finally get to work on the baseline and figure out what has been done to the truck
 
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Joined
May 13, 2021
Messages
21
Location
Orange County, California
So what I know about the truck so far:

Confirmed that it is K294
ARB Front Bumper W/Baja Designs LP6
Knock off rear bumper dual swingout
No Name sliders (at least I couldn't figure it out)
Baja designs S2 for back lights using Yodateq mounts
BFG KM3 35x12.5 R17
Fuel Anzas wheels
OME 850J/863J W/extended length OME
OME steering Stabilizer
ARB Diff Breathers
Pro comp switch panel
External fan


Shortly after getting home from my Thanksgiving trip I brought it to my local mechanic so he could check it out for me and replace a couple things.

Replaced the following:
Oil Pump
Water pump
thermostat
radiator hoses
all belts and pulleys
EGR valve
Fusible link
Rebuilt Steering Pump

After that I knew there a mess of wiring in the car that I wanted to take care of and figured it would be a good time to remove the seats and some carpet to clean up.

Btw it came with after market reclinable bucket seats which suck so I will probably be looking to get Corbeau sport seats

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Found out there was a DVD player under the driver seat and an aftermarket alarm system was installed under the dash. He also has amps in the side cubby space in the rear hooked up to JBL speakers. Was hoping to put a compressor and aux fuse box in that location but I'll leave the amps there for now. Also, since the DVD player was installed, the middle dome light was missing so for now I am using a metal plate with a magnetic LED light. Seems to work lol

pic of the rats nest I was dealing with inside and outside, main goal was to just figure out what was for what and clean it up

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So I finally get everything cleaned up, ordered a battery tie down from Land Cruiser Phil and removed the alarm system


I know I still have more baselining to do but figured I would treat myself with some cheap stuff

Decided to paint the grille, think it came out pretty good

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I also decided to paint the center console because it just looked like crap lol

I don't have a before pic but it was the two tone black/grey color scheme. I also put a dash cover on to cover up the cracked dash

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Joined
May 13, 2021
Messages
21
Location
Orange County, California
So it finally started raining here in SoCal and I took the cruiser to go get some food. Turns out the defroster doesn't work lol. Seems to be the actuator that chooses the direction of the vents is malfunctioning because regardless what button I push on the climate control it still blows out the main vents.

Read a couple threads to find out where it is and to see what was up

Took the actuator out and the arms for the vent direction move freely and don't seem to be tied up so now its time to dig into the actuator, or whatever its called.

pic of where you can find it. You can see the arm/mechanism that goes up and down to control the direction of air flow. I moved mine to the defrost position for now so I can at least drive when its raining and be able to defrost my windsheild

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pics of the device and the dissection

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So from what I can see the motor turns the cogs which turn an arm on the back side of the module (not shown in first pic) and that moves the arms up and down to control the direction of air flow. Or I am completely wrong and took the wrong thing out lol

Anyway, I wanted to see if the contacts on the motor (gray cylinder) were dirty so I cleaned everything up and only plugged in the motor to the harness. I plugged that into the harness coming from the car and still no movement so I am guessing the motor is fried. So now I am on a quest to find this part. Can't seem to find it on Denso's website unless the PN's have changed, might have to find one from a part out.

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Joined
May 13, 2021
Messages
21
Location
Orange County, California
Forgot to put this in there but a few weeks ago I got a Front Runner rack. I have my CVT MT Hood, Goal Zero 100W solar panel and Overland Series 270 awning up there.

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I got the "tall" version so I could get the table slider add ons in the future.

I also started working on the rear cargo/storage system. I wanted one side for the fridge and the other side for the kitchen and storage. The mid area I want to do a dual battery system with space for a compressor or maybe put the compressor under the hood, not sure yet. Might also try to incorporate a water storage system but we will see. Waiting on the slides so I can start making drawers

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Joined
May 13, 2021
Messages
21
Location
Orange County, California
Finished building the drawers the other day

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I have all my kitchen stuff + stove on the bottom drawer and the top shelf can fit two front runner packs. I can also fit two front runner chairs on the side next to the fridge and the ladder to the tent on the other side. Next up will be sourcing a lithium battery for the dual battery set up and installing that in the mid cargo area so I can run lights to the hatch and other accessories

I also got the Blue Ridge Overland attic net for Christmas from the wife.
 
Joined
Sep 25, 2014
Messages
1,957
Location
Gilbert, AZ
Been wanting an 80 for the longest time and I finally came across someone who was willing to trade a 94 factory locked cruiser for my non locked 02 4runner. Granted the cruiser needed some TLC cosmetically but I thought it would be a good base for me to build off of. The iffy part is that I don't know who the previous owner is because current owner was a car flipper who only had it a couple months, he pretty much didn't know anything about the car so I didn't get any previous maintenance records with it but it runs great, lockers work and no major issues. The plus side is that it only has 197K miles, its a CA car and it lived in Palmdale its whole life so absolutely no rust. I might have made a huge mistake but only time will tell.

Picture of my 4Runner I traded. Owned it for 5 years and it was a fun and reliable vehicle that took me all over the place.

Sedona, AZ

View attachment 2874292



View attachment 2874291

My goal with the 80 is to ultimately make it a camping vehicle, much like my 4Runner was, I just knew the 80 would be more capable and outlast the 4Runner in the long run.

Pic of the 80 when I first got it

View attachment 2874294

First day I got it I drove it out to Parker AZ for Thanksgiving to hangout with family. Seems like a dumb idea now that I think of it but it made it there and back without any issues.

Pic of Cruiser to keep your attention

View attachment 2874296

After spending 5 days in AZ/Big River CA we finally get back home and I can finally get to work on the baseline and figure out what has been done to the truck

Why do you think it was stupid to drive it to AZ? Just the amount of gas money spent?
 
Joined
Sep 25, 2014
Messages
1,957
Location
Gilbert, AZ
Lol I guess my thought was "maybe I should baseline the cruiser before taking it on a trip".

That makes sense. Your ride has a lot done to it prior to you taking ownership and that leaves you a lot of money to budget for base lining and upgrading parts along the way.

If you plan on going to 37s in the future consider re-gearing the 3rds to at least 4.88, even if you stay with 35's 4.88 will be fine.
 
Joined
May 13, 2021
Messages
21
Location
Orange County, California
That makes sense. Your ride has a lot done to it prior to you taking ownership and that leaves you a lot of money to budget for base lining and upgrading parts along the way.

If you plan on going to 37s in the future consider re-gearing the 3rds to at least 4.88, even if you stay with 35's 4.88 will be fine.
Definitely plan on getting 37s in the future so a re-gear will be on the list. I've seen people go up to 5.29s but yeah I am sure 4.88s would probably be fine too
 
Joined
Sep 25, 2014
Messages
1,957
Location
Gilbert, AZ
Definitely plan on getting 37s in the future so a re-gear will be on the list. I've seen people go up to 5.29s but yeah I am sure 4.88s would probably be fine too

People will tell you that 5.29 could shear off if not careful due to the fact you have less material. But if a material does fail it is more then likely a bad batch of metal, if that makes sense.
 
Joined
May 13, 2021
Messages
21
Location
Orange County, California
Added a few things:

Weathertech rain visors
Finished cutting out a cover for the middle cargo area of the storage system
installed renogy 100ah lithium + Redarc bcdc 1225 +blue sea fuse panel
Blue sea inputs (DC and USB)
Installed a USB input in the center console
Hardkorr lighting LED strips amber/white

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Dual battery area looks a little messy but I figured it would be covered up with the lid and its still pretty easy to visually inspect if I have to do any trouble shooting on the electrical inputs.

Happy with how the dual battery set up came out and now I have hot plugs that run off the dual battery that I can use while camping. I also have a 100W solar panel but its only charging at 2-3 amps peak sun light. Trying to figure out if that's normal, might have to upgrade to a bigger solar panel in the future but the car charges up the lithium battery pretty fast so I am not too worried about the battery's State of Charge going down too low when the car is off and the fridge is running.

Next up is cutting out a platform for the mid cargo area so I have a flat surface to put the dog bed on and addressing a PS leak

Looks like the power steering leak is coming from the back of the pump. Might just save up and replace the whole pump + add the wits end steering pump cooler and replace all the hoses.

We are also looking to move out of California to Mesa AZ for my job so the funds are going to be tight this year but also excited to get out of CA and experience living in a new state.
 
Joined
Sep 25, 2014
Messages
1,957
Location
Gilbert, AZ
Added a few things:

Weathertech rain visors
Finished cutting out a cover for the middle cargo area of the storage system
installed renogy 100ah lithium + Redarc bcdc 1225 +blue sea fuse panel
Blue sea inputs (DC and USB)
Installed a USB input in the center console
Hardkorr lighting LED strips amber/white

View attachment 2895019

View attachment 2895020

View attachment 2895021
View attachment 2895027View attachment 2895028

View attachment 2895033View attachment 2895034

Dual battery area looks a little messy but I figured it would be covered up with the lid and its still pretty easy to visually inspect if I have to do any trouble shooting on the electrical inputs.

Happy with how the dual battery set up came out and now I have hot plugs that run off the dual battery that I can use while camping. I also have a 100W solar panel but its only charging at 2-3 amps peak sun light. Trying to figure out if that's normal, might have to upgrade to a bigger solar panel in the future but the car charges up the lithium battery pretty fast so I am not too worried about the battery's State of Charge going down too low when the car is off and the fridge is running.

Next up is cutting out a platform for the mid cargo area so I have a flat surface to put the dog bed on and addressing a PS leak

Looks like the power steering leak is coming from the back of the pump. Might just save up and replace the whole pump + add the wits end steering pump cooler and replace all the hoses.

We are also looking to move out of California to Mesa AZ for my job so the funds are going to be tight this year but also excited to get out of CA and experience living in a new state.

Where is Mesa? I lived there for awhile (Gilbert Rd/Broadway). It was nice at first and went down hill quick. A year ago in December we bought and moved to our current home in Gilbert.
 
Joined
May 13, 2021
Messages
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Location
Orange County, California
Where is Mesa? I lived there for awhile (Gilbert Rd/Broadway). It was nice at first and went down hill quick. A year ago in December we bought and moved to our current home in Gilbert.
We don't have a specific area of Mesa in mind yet, that's just where my job is. neighboring cities are definitely an option for moving since I've never actually been to that part of AZ. We will probably start house shopping April/May so we'll see what we can find. What went downhill with Mesa?
 
Joined
May 13, 2021
Messages
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Location
Orange County, California
Your moving along good! Nice work on the setup in the rear. I have my head set on sleeping inside and no RTT and if I would just let that go life would be so much easier….
Thanks! Yeah I sleep in the RTT with my wife and dog otherwise if it was just me then I would probably sleep in the car. Looking back at the cargo area build I should have made one side shorter so I do have the possibility of sleeping inside on solo trips but oh well haha
 
Joined
Sep 25, 2014
Messages
1,957
Location
Gilbert, AZ
We don't have a specific area of Mesa in mind yet, that's just where my job is. neighboring cities are definitely an option for moving since I've never actually been to that part of AZ. We will probably start house shopping April/May so we'll see what we can find. What went downhill with Mesa?

Crime, at least in that particular area. There are good areas of Mesa though. Gilbert is popular, Queen Creek, San Tan are a little drive from Mesa but is an up and coming neighborhood and tons of new construction as well.
 

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