Builds BIG RED - Our 1984 FJ60 (1 Viewer)

cruisergear

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Feb 19, 2017
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Utah County, Utah
Ever since we did the motor swap we've struggled with engine and tranny temps. It wasn't ever really a big deal living in a town 5 miles wide because you could drive to any destination in town before the car heated up haha. But now that I'm driving a lot of freeway miles during stop-and-go hours, the cooling issues are very apparent.

I've taken Big Red into State Automotive to address the cooling issue and the lack of A/C. They're very experienced in Land Cruiser / v8 swaps and knew just what to do. They're building a custom aluminum 4-core radiator with integrated high-performance trans cooler, and they've got the A/C blowing ice cold air, which is going to be amazing. I can't wait to get it back!

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cruisergear

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Utah County, Utah
Yesterday we picked up Big Red from State Automotive (stateautomotiveutah.com). They are helping me with the major projects that I do not have the time/skills to do.

First on the priority list were two issues. The overheating issue, and the lack of AC. Both of these issues made for a pretty miserable ride in the summer. The motor and tranny ran so hot that the firewall and floor board would be so hot that my legs and feet would be super uncomfortable. And the AC not working made my upper body super uncomfortable haha. So on hot days it was just bad.

I had recently paid another shop a good amount of money to do some work on it and the overheating issue was on the list. They claimed that flushing out the radiator and giving it a nice cleaning would solve it no problem. It didn't. Not even close.

I got so tired of it running hot, and boiling the fuel in the lines and vapor locking in traffic that I decided it was time for a be-all-end-all radiator solution. No more bandaids that *might* fix it.

So we made a custom made, all aluminum, high performance radiator.

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AC running ICE COLD finally WOO! It's amazing the difference a little cold air can make!
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Joined
Feb 15, 2017
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Kentucky
This is a great story! Happy to see Big Red still getting generations of love! Hopefully you can pas it down to your kids!
 

cruisergear

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Utah County, Utah
Hey can anyone confirm if the AC HEATER Circuit Breaker (top right) can be reset if it is tripped?
Someone told me if it has a small hole in the cover plate you can poke a screwdriver in it to like push a button in side and reset the Breaker.

I keep frying mine. Have fried 2 in about 100 miles since getting my Chevy air conditioner running. But my fuses don't have a hole in the cover plate so i assume i can't reset mine. But i'd replace them with ones with a hole in them if they're really reset-able!

I have also been told if there isn't a hole in the cover plate you can pop the plate off and reset it. haven't tried it yet, but i'll try that tonight.

(photo stolen from the interwebz)

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cruisergear

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Utah County, Utah
I've loved Prinsu racks since they made their first one for the FJ Cruiser a few years ago. They look great, they're super versatile, and pretty light-weight! Plus they're a local Utah business, so support local, right? I already had a roof rack on my FJ Cruiser so I didn't buy a Prinsu, but I knew when I bought Big Red that I wanted a Prinsu on it for sure. They didn't make one for the 60 series yet so I was gonna buy one for the 80 series and modify it as needed to fit the 60.

Then come to find out that there was one 60 series roof rack prototype in existence. And it was on Old Blue, another Utah rig that some of one may be familiar with. I loved how it looked so I tried to contact the owner of Prinsu about getting one but never heard back from him. Probably because he was super swamped with orders and negotiating the sale of his business to CBI. Very cool for him!

So I sort of gave up on getting a Prinsu rack for a while until I saw Old Blue get posted for sale on a local Facebook group. I messaged the owner about parting out the rack to me. After about a month of trying to sell the rig with no success he decided a part-out would be his next best option so I bought the rack from him a few days ago! It's awesome! I drove about an hour home on the freeway with it and noticed ZERO additional wind noise. Can't wait to mount our new hard-shell roof top tent on it when it gets here in a few days!

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On a less exciting note. Big Red started knocking pretty badly on that same hour drive home. Feels like detonation. So I took it to a shop the next day so I haven't been able to mess with my rack mounting points or anything yet. Not until it gets out of the shop. Hope nothing serious is wrong with it!
 
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cruisergear

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So update on the knocking issue referenced in the end of the previous post:
It appears to be a combination of a few things causing it. The carb kept leaning out, the motor is still running too hot, and our high-compression pistons. All three of those make for a recipe of igniting the fuel/air early.

This is at least their best working theory at the moment.

So that has moved up our plans to do to an EFI conversion! We were planning to do it this year anyways, but since it will help us diagnose this knocking issue to get rid of my POS carburetor, we're doing it now!

Bring on the FiTech TBI!

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cruisergear

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We've been scratching our heads on this FiTech install. Just couldn't get the Air Conditioner idle adjustment to work. Even after setting it to the exact specs recommended by the FiTech customer service. We ended up finding out that our FiTech unit had a defect so FiTech offered to replace it with an upgraded unit at no charge. So That's the silver lining I suppose. Getting the color touch-screen and timing control of the upgraded unit.

We hope to have everything squared away with the new FiTech unit in the next couple days. Wish us luck!
 

NookShneer

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North of Seattle, WA
We've been scratching our heads on this FiTech install. Just couldn't get the Air Conditioner idle adjustment to work. Even after setting it to the exact specs recommended by the FiTech customer service. We ended up finding out that our FiTech unit had a defect so FiTech offered to replace it with an upgraded unit at no charge. So That's the silver lining I suppose. Getting the color touch-screen and timing control of the upgraded unit.

We hope to have everything squared away with the new FiTech unit in the next couple days. Wish us luck!

Definitely post back on the experience with FI Tech. I'm waiting to see what this would do to a stock 2F.
 

cruisergear

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Utah County, Utah
We got our LC back from the shop 3 days ago. They finished it after hours on Friday so they left the keys in a hidden place for us so we could come pick it up saturday morning when they were closed and have it over the weekend rather than waiting until they were open again on Monday.

So that was great, but as I drove it out of the parking lot I stopped at the intersection. On the green light i accelerated and when the tranny was about to shift into 2nd it started slipping instead. RPM's shot up and it revved and i didn't accelerate. I thought I had bumped the stick up into Neutral somehow so i looked down and it was in drive, then it shifted up into second. Long story short, it was slipping in every gear on the way home. Did some research on 700r4 transmissions slipping and it's not good. very bad in fact. they should never slip and if they do the damage is probably already done and clutches are fried.

I took some photos of the FiTech setup (since this was the only thing that changed before the transmission issue) and posted them on a FiTech owners facebook group. Many people immediately pointed out that the shop should have used a Holey kickdown bracket on the linkage where the transmission TV cable attaches to the TBI. And I guess if there isn't proper link geometry between the throttle cable and the transmission cable then the transmission will not shift properly or provide enough fluid pressure throughout the tranny. Hence the possibility of fried clutches.

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So I made the shop send a tow truck to my house and bring Big Red back up to the shop yesterday. We'll see how much accountability they take upon themselves, and how much damage they admit to causing.

... Oh boy... Good times!
 

cruisergear

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Utah County, Utah
So the shop initially was suspicious when I told them that the throttle body link geometry fried my transmission. They couldn't see how what was even related or possible. They said they ran some pressure tests on the automatic trans to kinda get a health check on it and the pressures all came back low which does indicate a problem, but they attributed the low pressures to a "tired" transmission.

I told them that's funny, the tranny has less than 20k miles on it out of the crate, and it never had any shift issues before you used the wrong linkage. Of course the 700r4 is going to show low pressures witout the proper throttle linkage, that linkage CONTROLS the pressure. At that point the situation kinda clicked in their heads and they understood how the wrong linkage could be related to a fried transmission. The called back about an hour later (after i'm assuming they called and talked to an expert at a transmission shop to confirm this) and admitted 100% to causing the damage and told me that would get the transmission professionally rebuilt for me.

So I'm glad they're going to make it right, i just hope it doesn't take 3 weeks like the TBI install did because we gotta take big red up to see the solar eclipse in like 10 days!!

Side note: I decided that while they have the whole drivetrain disassembled and the car on the lift already I'm having them install the 3rd members with gearing and lockers that Cruiser Outfitters built for me earlier this summer but I hadn't gotten around to installing yet. So when we get the Cruiser back it will have basically a brand new tranny, new u-joints, and new 3rd members with 4.56 gears and and lockers! Woo! New car! haha
 
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Feb 2, 2016
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Eugene, OR
So the shop initially was suspicious when I told them that the throttle body link geometry fried my transmission. They couldn't see how what was even related or possible. They said they ran some pressure tests on the automatic trans to kinda get a health check on it and the pressures all came back low which does indicate a problem, but they attributed the low pressures to a "tired" transmission.

I told them that's funny, the tranny has less than 20k miles on it out of the crate, and it never had any shift issues before you used the wrong linkage. Of course the 700r4 is going to show low pressures witout the proper throttle linkage, that linkage CONTROLS the pressure. At that point the situation kinda clicked in their heads and they understood how the wrong linkage could be related to a fried transmission. The called back about an hour later (after i'm assuming they called and talked to an expert at a transmission shop to confirm this) and admitted 100% to causing the damage and told me that would get the transmission professionally rebuilt for me.

So I'm glad they're going to make it right, i just hope it doesn't take 3 weeks like the TBI install did because we gotta take big red up to see the solar eclipse in like 10 days!!

Side note: I decided that while they have the whole drivetrain disassembled and the car on the lift already I'm having them install the 3rd members with gearing and lockers that Cruiser Outfitters built for me earlier this summer but I hadn't gotten around to installing yet. So when we get the Cruiser back it will have basically a brand new tranny, new u-joints, and new 3rd members with 4.56 gears and and lockers! Woo! New car! haha


Update?
 

cruisergear

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Utah County, Utah
Man it has been a while. Build threads are a lot of work haha. Long story short the shop had my tranny totally rebuild by a reputable transmisison shop in Salt Lake City. Feels great now. There were a lot of little bugs to work out with the FiTech install, but I've been daily driving it for 6 months after the TBI conversion and it's amazing. I love it. Fires right up on even the coldest mornings. Gained a lot more pep out of it too. And i love that i now have a functioning temperature gauge and tachometer. (not to mention dozens of other information bits i can monitor such as battery voltage, air/fuel ratio, injector use percentage, and many other things that i am not really even sure what they are, but i can watch em on my little display!)

The 4.56 gearing made a huge difference. highway driving is awesome now. and it made it a lot more torquey too. the low gearing combined with lockers and a fuel system that doesn't fail on the slightest incline has made off-road driving much more fun as well.

I do have a slight problem with my number 3 cylinder. It reads a lower compression than the rest of the cylinders, likely the rings. I think it was like 140 psi rather than 170 psi like the rest. But I was told it isn't super urgent so I'm gonna put that off until early summer.
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cruisergear

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Just placed an order for a new rear bumper! stoked! I have no idea what 4x4Labs turnaround time is like right now, but hopefully it's not more than like 6 weeks haha. I'll just try to forget that I ordered this so that whenever it does show up it will be like a nice surprise! haha


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