Builds BIG RED - Our 1984 FJ60 (1 Viewer)

cruisergear

Supporting Vendor
Joined
Feb 19, 2017
Messages
319
Location
Utah County, Utah
Hello everyone! I'd like you to meet Big Red. Our Land Cruiser has a lot of history so I'll try to water it down to keep this brief and interesting.

My mom and dad have 6 kids [insert typical mormon family joke here] and in the early 80's they were very eager to find a vehicle that could fit all their kids and a car that would be safer on the wintery Utah roads than their wood-paneled station wagon or their plum-purple conversion van. They just couldn't find any SUV that looked good, and more importantly, fit their practical needs.

A few years later my mother saw a large "station wagon" parked outside the local City Market and immediately loved the look. She found the owner and learned that it was a Toyota and had 4wd. She was sold. After work that night, my dad was also sold. And weeks later they were proud new owners of a bright red 1984 FJ60 Land Cruiser. My older siblings immediately made the connection to Big Red chewing gum, and the nickname just stuck.

Big Red - 1994.jpg


Remember those 6 kids I told you about? Well I'm the youngest. I was born soon after my parents bought the LC. So There has literally not been 1 day in my life that my family has not owned at least one Land Cruiser. Around 1988 my oldest sister turned 16, then promptly blew up her VW Rabbit (literally crashed it and it burst into flames, she and my brother could have died). So my parents decided that the best way to keep their teenage kids safe while they learned to drive would be to let them all learn to drive in Big Red. It's a perfect 1st car if you think about it. It can't go over 65 mph, you can pack all your friends in it and head to lunch, and it does great in the snow.

Here's a couple photos from the early 90s. One of my dad out hunting (circa 1991). And one of my goofy brother with his goofy hair styles haha (circa 1993).

Picture ;'D 24 copy.jpg


Cody 1991 003.jpg


My parents and siblings aren't really big "car" guys so we don't have many photos of Big Red. But we do have many stories of it protecting us in crashes, taking us anywhere we could imagine, never breaking down, too many laughs, weekends, and road trips to count. Each of the 6 kids in our family had at least one wreck in the car which means there's 3-5 totaled cars rusting in junk lots because of Big Red. I even totaled a Jeep YJ when he rear-ended me and cracked my tail-light!

Besides a new paint-job and tires every decade or so there wasn't much work done to the LC throughout the years. And since our hometown was only 5 miles from one end to the other, Big Red didn't rack up the miles very quickly. It remained practically 100% original (besides a new alternator) until I was about to turn 16 and it was my turn to learn to drive in Big Red. Being a silly teenager, obsessed with horsepower and rock crawlers, I convinced my parents that it was time to give Big Red a 20yr makeover (even though it only had 160,000 miles and there was literally nothing wrong with it haha). They let me drop in a Chevy small block + 700r4. They also let me lift it to fit 33's and throw an ARB bumper on there. So when I was 16 big red was looking like this:

Big Red - 2004.jpg


Not bad right? What more could a 16 year old want?! You better believe I got the chicks with this bad-boy ;) haha!

After highschool my parents said I had to buy my own car. So Big Red sat in the garage for years, with my dad occasionally driving it to work just for fun. I bought a little subaru and putted around in that for a long time until I could eventually afford a FJ Cruiser. (I know the FJ Cruiser gets a lot of hate in the LC world, but if you take a step back and look at it for what it is, what it costs, and what it's capable of, it's a great car.) I've been driving my FJC for a few years and modding it to be a very reliable daily driver/mile overlander. We love to camp in it.

IMG_0191 (2).JPG


Over this last winter, my dad confided in me that he no longer felt he could own Big Red. Having had polio as a child, and back problems as an adult, he could no longer get up into the car easily. And the harsh suspension hurts his back a lot on every pothole. It was a sad conversation between the two of us. Sad that he is getting older and being forced to face choices like this more and more often. And sad that we would have to sell our beloved car. I told him I would take care of selling it online for him, and that we could list it for about $10k to see if we could find any buyers at that price, and he smiled and said "no, we want to sell it to you."

I was caught off guard. My parents knew that as a senior in college with a mortgage and baby, I was in no financial state to be purchasing a car. Especially one that I just told him could probably sell for $10k! He said "Write your mom a check for what you and your wife can afford to pay, then take us out to a nice dinner, and Big Red is yours. With all the work and time and love you've put into it over the years, it SHOULD be yours."

I have REALLY great parents.

So for the first time in 33 years of owning it, my parents pulled the title out of their filing cabinet and filled their names on the seller section and my name on the 2nd owner section. It might not sound like a big deal, but it was a really special moment for all of us.

Fastforward a few months and Big Red is now my daily and the FJC is getting prepped to be sold. I have a lot of little projects planned and some major projects as well. I'll update this thread as the projects move along. Thanks for reading!


EDIT: Adding project list here. There's a lot of other minor projects but I won't list them here.

New wheels and tires
FJ 62 style mirrors
Carb-to-EFI/TBI conversion
Upgrade radiator and trans cooler (engine and tranny run too hot)
New third members with lockers and 4.56 gears
Repair play in windsheild wiper assembly
De-rusting of underbelly and rust protection
Rear storage panels with storage
Sound and vibration dampening/heat insulation coatings
Prinsu (hopefully) roofrack
Prototype Cruiser Gear rooftop tent
Prototype Cruiser Gear foxwing awning
4x4 Labs rear bumper/tire carrier
Sliders
Update the sound system. (I don't want a some crazy soundsystem, it's just that i currently only have one working speaker in the driver-side door haha)
Dual battery setup
Various electric accessores (Winch, lights, CB, etc)
 
Last edited:

CaptClose

SILVER Star
Joined
Feb 8, 2016
Messages
1,777
Location
San Antonio, TX
Whoa man... that's awesome. What a story. How lucky you are to have an amazing family, great parents, and a Land Cruiser since birth. It would be cool to see more pics of it through the years. I look forward to following your thread. I've got a red 60 also. Maybe someday, my kids will inherit it... I may have to be buried in it though. I'll have no money left for funeral expenses after all the maintenance and mods!
 
Joined
Jun 17, 2015
Messages
1,760
Location
Oahu, HI
What a great story and old photos! Post up some more current photos and the maybe some of the interior if you can.
 

Haggis

SILVER Star
Joined
Nov 15, 2011
Messages
1,415
Location
Wyoming
Great story. My Dad gave me his 60 to make room in his garage. Alway nice to keep them in the family!
 

cruisergear

Supporting Vendor
Joined
Feb 19, 2017
Messages
319
Location
Utah County, Utah
Thanks for the kind words! I thought I'd post some more photos of Big Red in the state it was in when it officially became mine. Luckily for me my dad had recently invested some money in the vehicle. Mainly focusing on the interior. We put a new carpet kit in from Specter, and seat covers from Cruiser Corps so the interior is looking pretty good besides a cracked dash and door panels that really show their age. Oh also missing rear cargo panel so planning to get a panel or two fabbed. I don't have any interior photos at the moment but will get some when I start projects that involve the interior.

2017-04-10 18.08.46.jpg


2017-04-10 18.09.41.jpg


FB_IMG_1492923702762.jpg
 

cruisergear

Supporting Vendor
Joined
Feb 19, 2017
Messages
319
Location
Utah County, Utah
Top of the project list was tires. Since the tires on the rig were about 15 years old and had some dry rot going on. I didn't feel safe driving with them on the freeway. Plus my AC doesn't work so I drive with the windows down and these dang MTR's are SO LOUD.

I have some K02's on my FJ Cruiser and I love them. Good mileage, very quiet, good perfomance. So they are the natural choice for Big Red. But I'm not a fan of the rims I chose 15 years ago, so what rims to get? That's the real question.

I went back and forth on a few options:
Stock FJ60 wheels for convenience and price
SCS F5 because I dig them
TRD 6 spoke wheels like I have on my FJ Cruiser
TRD bronze wheels with simulated beadlock (because i thought bronze would look rad with red)

I went back and forth on wheel choice for about a month until I photoshopped all the options onto a red FJ60 and this became the clear winner.

The Bronze TRD wheels with simulated beadlock
download_20170410_150352.png


So then began the research period of how to make these work. I read lots of contradictory opinions online about what it would take. Some say they fit just fine. Others say they need 1.5" spacers. Others say they need 1.5" spacers and need to be bored out to fit over the hubs. I'll spare you the details and just tell you what I PERSONALLY DID to make these wheels work.

I did not want to take any chances on if they would fit over the hubs so I just took the ID of my 1.5" wheel spacers which was 108mm and took my wheels to a machine shop and had them throw them on the lathe to have the centerbore of the wheels bored out to 108mm.

2017-04-26 18.00.09.jpg


2017-04-26 17.59.37.jpg


Wheels bored out to 108mm
2017-05-04 17.39.35.jpg


2017-05-04 17.39.40.jpg


I plan to coat the machined surface with a black paint just to protect it a bit and make sure you can't see the raw aluminum color.
 
Last edited:

cruisergear

Supporting Vendor
Joined
Feb 19, 2017
Messages
319
Location
Utah County, Utah
I took the wheels to Discount Tire and had them mount some K02's on there. Then I put them under big red and fell in love! AND THEN I mounted the simulated beadlock rings on the rims and fell even deeper in love!

2017-05-08 20.15.40.jpg


2017-05-09 17.15.45.jpg


2017-05-09 17.15.57.jpg


2017-05-09 17.16.11.jpg


Next I need to figure out how to get the TRD center caps on the rear wheels. Since we bored them out, they no longer fit.
 
Last edited:

cruisergear

Supporting Vendor
Joined
Feb 19, 2017
Messages
319
Location
Utah County, Utah
I figured a good place to start would be to find some 108mm center caps and figure out if i could modify them to have the TRD plate on them.

So I found these cheap caps from Summit Racing:

2017-05-11 17.21.49.jpg


When I got them I decided since they were the right OD (108mm or 4.25") and looked decent maybe I could just run these. But then I discovered that they were a 2 piece cap and the face plate was removable!

2017-05-11 17.22.27.jpg


2017-05-11 17.22.34.jpg


2017-05-11 17.23.50.jpg


And in too-good-to-be-true fashion, my TRD face plates fit just right! It took a lot of force to get the TRD plates in, they may have been 1-2mm too big or so. But they snapped in nicely and look great!

2017-05-11 17.24.35.jpg
 

cruisergear

Supporting Vendor
Joined
Feb 19, 2017
Messages
319
Location
Utah County, Utah
When I drove Big Red as a teenager our town was literally 5 miles wide. So I very rarely took it on the freeway and rarely had to change lanes. So I didn't really notice that the rear view mirrors are TINY haha. But now I drive Big Red in the big city and take the freeway to and from work so the small mirrors have been driving me nuts. Not to mention it seems you can never get the passenger mirror in the right place and once you do someone bumps it in the parking lot and messes it up haha.

I bought the mirrors from Cruiser Corps and they're a big improvement.
fj62 fj60 mirrors

The visibility improvement is great. But they're pretty light-weight and feel flimsy. Especially when going over bumps or if your car vibrates much the reflective part of the mirror bounces around a lot. But better to see vibrating/blurry cars in your blindspot than not see any car in your blindspot hahaha. I think the reflective surface is actually plastic. So I may disassemble them and see if I can get a glass shop to cut me some glass mirrors to replace them with.

2017-05-10 19.53.43.jpg


2017-05-10 19.53.54.jpg


View attachment 2017-05-10 19.55.00.jpg
 

sheepdawg

Champagne appetite. Beer income.
Joined
Jan 16, 2012
Messages
322
Location
Eastern Sierras, CA
Great story. Glad it is staying in the family. Your post reminds me to take more pictures of my kids with my fj40 and fj60. They will bring back great memories.
 
Joined
Aug 20, 2013
Messages
495
I highly recommend OEM mirrors from a 70. They have all the benefits of the aftermarket mirrors you're currently running, but far more stable.
 
Joined
May 6, 2011
Messages
979
Location
Davis County, UT
The parallels are almost scaring me...
#6 in a mormon family.
Mom got dad into cruisers.
Utah.
Red 84 fj60, been in the family longer than I have.
Always had at least 1 lc in the driveway.
I was first to ever conceive the idea of modifications...too funny! I'm definitely relating to this thread ;)

I love what you're doing to it, excited to follow this one!
 

cruisergear

Supporting Vendor
Joined
Feb 19, 2017
Messages
319
Location
Utah County, Utah
I highly recommend OEM mirrors from a 70. They have all the benefits of the aftermarket mirrors you're currently running, but far more stable.

Thanks for the tip! I'll check them out! Do they bolt up/contour to the 60 doors?

The parallels are almost scaring me...
#6 in a mormon family.
Mom got dad into cruisers.
Utah.
Red 84 fj60, been in the family longer than I have.
Always had at least 1 lc in the driveway.
I was first to ever conceive the idea of modifications...too funny! I'm definitely relating to this thread ;)

I love what you're doing to it, excited to follow this one!

Holy cow what crazy coincidences! That's so funny! We'll have to get out on the trails sometime!
 

cruisergear

Supporting Vendor
Joined
Feb 19, 2017
Messages
319
Location
Utah County, Utah
We're tearing out a super old fence around our home and building a new wood one. Consequentially we need a lot of cement for the posts. It took 2 runs to the hardware store, but we were able to use Big Red to bring home 3000 lbs of cement!

Here is it loaded with 1,500 lbs, then unloaded to compare the ride height. It looks like we must have chosen the heavy duty lift from OME 15 years ago because it sure rode nice and smooth and soft with 1500 lbs in the back lol. Felt like a 1970s Cadillac! WAY smoother than unloaded, maybe I should remove a leaf in the rear?

20170515_193832.jpg

20170515_195424.jpg
 

Users who are viewing this thread

Top Bottom