Bone stock 3x locked FZJ80, what do I do for a daily driver? (Tires, lift, etc)

ozarkmud

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Picked up a FZJ80 for the family as our "daily" driver. Want to keep some semblance of gas mileage while balancing offroad ability, and road manners. Also need to be able to do some light towing (2-3k lbs at most). We live in an area with plenty of hills, so not sure how far we can stretch the stock gearing.

Currently, she seems to sag a bit not even loaded. Has a trailer hitch that snags easily. She's on 245/75R16s, so I think smaller than stock tires.

I'm wondering if we should do stock height or a 2" lift. Would like to get front and maybe rear bumpers, possibly ARB. This won't be an expedition rig, but I want it to be decently capable as well. Sort of a balanced approach, I guess. I don't think we're going to be doing Moab any time soon.

How big of tires can I go on the stock gearing, or without breaking birfields and such? I think the biggest I'd want to do is 33", *maybe* 35" and nothing crazy wide. We have lots of snow driving to do here, though will probably give her dedicated winter tires either way.

I guess I'm imagining a 2" lift (if needed, or maybe keep stock), 32" or 33" tires, bumpers (ideally rear bumper with integrated hitch that's higher up), maybe rock sliders, and hoping to keep stock gearing. But my gut tells me that with 33" tires, it's going to be undergeared on the hills. Even with the 245/75R16s, 4low in first gear felt a bit tall. Not sure what to do about that, nor how hard it is to regear.

The most urgent thing is tires, so wanting to figure that out first and maybe base other decisions off of that.

Thank you!
 

COYS

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Tires would be the least of my worries. That's cake.

It's everything else that's old and messy that you want to dial in for happy daily duties. Tons of threads here that you can figure out yourself. If you can't muster the time/energy to do the research here, I'd challenge you that you're not ready for a dialed in quarter cent old jalopy.

Here's a recent one regarding lift and doing things right. Gl dude!

 
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Not the Suspension expert, but IME the original springs will have sagged by now. There are a couple of choices for stock height, or close to stock height springs, which will likely raise your body at least 1-2" from where it is now.

I'm running 265-75-R16 Michelin Defender Passenger rated tires (31.6" diameter) on my 97 model FZJ80. They're quiet and relatively comfortable that's a bit taller than stock and look right, not too big, not too small, so you'd gain another inch higher just from tires (from what you have now) (~30.5" to 31.6" tire diameter).
 
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Devils Paw 80

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I've got the same sized tires as Kernal in BFG AT ^ with original LX coil springs. Replaced the OEM shocks but see no reason to replace the springs since they seem to be fine. If I were to replace the springs it would be with stock height, no lift. Also have an ARB front bumper. It doesn't sag the front end at all.
 
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Always do baseline maintenance first. Cooling system, tune-up components, hoses, all fluids, oil leaks, brakes, etc. You may not need to service every single thing if parts are still good, but that’s where capability & reliability starts. If it’s all original, there’s a lot to do, as I’m sure you know.

After that, if you go beyond stock, a moderate lift w/ 285s is a nice go-to for a DD that can do it all & look great, but it sounds like you need to squeeze out every bit of proper gearing you can. So maybe new stock height springs (which as mentioned will raise you from your current sag) & 265s?

Nothing wrong with winter tires, but you don’t need them. Im in southeast AK (the northwest of the northwest.. more snow, more rain, more weather) and a winter rated AT is great all year. However, if you want to max out winter grip & are on slick/icy hills regularly, and can spring for 2 sets & wheels, do it
 
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Devils Paw 80

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This won't be an expedition rig, but I want it to be decently capable as well. Sort of a balanced approach, I guess. I don't think we're going to be doing Moab any time soon.
The 80 series is super capable in stock trim, especially with the locking differentials you have. (Assuming they're working)

Original tire size is 275/70/16, so you are currently a bit smaller than that. It's an oddball size, costs more than some other options.
 

ppc

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I guess I'm imagining a 2" lift (if needed, or maybe keep stock), 32" or 33" tires, bumpers (ideally rear bumper with integrated hitch that's higher up), maybe rock sliders, and hoping to keep stock gearing. But my gut tells me that with 33" tires, it's going to be undergeared on the hills. Even with the 245/75R16s, 4low in first gear felt a bit tall. Not sure what to do about that, nor how hard it is to regear.
From this statement specifically and generally what you have stated in the first post, it seems like you haven't actually gotten much seat time off road with your Land Cruiser. Before you make any changes I suggest you get more time behind the wheel or expect to be spending a lot of money to swapping components multiple times.

With the smaller than stock tires currently your complaint of low range being too tall again points to lack of experience. As many others have stated previously the stock setup is very capable. What other vehicles have you owned? A Land Cruiser is minimum of 5,000 lbs and it won't have the acceleration of a 3 Series BMW.

From my perspective a 33" tire is the sweet spot on stock suspension and stock gearing. When you start adding more weight with bumpers, sliders, bigger tires, regearing, taller springs performance will suffer, MPG will drop and will suck as a daily driver.
 

ozarkmud

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I appreciate the replies! Good feedback. I'm starting to lean towards stock height, 32" tires, and getting the hitch receiver out of the way (already dinged it a couple times). Will keep thinking on it. Sounds like anything 31-33" can work fine with stock suspension height, though gearing I am still leary of. Transfer case options sound enticing for lower low range and 10% lower high range.

I looked over the tires that were on it and they maybe don't need to come off right away. They're old, moderately worn, but they are at least LT tires so it gives me a bit more faith in them. I can probably run them till the summer, put on some winter tires from a 4Runner, then figure out in the summer what to do. Of course by then tire prices may have gone up even more, but eh.

Always do baseline maintenance first. Cooling system, tune-up components, hoses, all fluids, oil leaks, brakes, etc. You may not need to service every single thing if parts are still good, but that’s where capability & reliability starts. If it’s all original, there’s a lot to do, as I’m sure you know.

After that, if you go beyond stock, a moderate lift w/ 285s is a nice go-to for a DD that can do it all & look great, but it sounds like you need to squeeze out every bit of proper gearing you can. So maybe new stock height springs (which as mentioned will raise you from your current sag) & 265s?

Nothing wrong with winter tires, but you don’t need them. Im in southeast AK (the northwest of the northwest.. more snow, more rain, more weather) and a winter rated AT is great all year. However, if you want to max out winter grip & are on slick/icy hills regularly, and can spring for 2 sets & wheels, do it

Yeah, I have lots to look over. Steering knuckles haven't been done in some time. I will at least check and see the grease before tearing into them (I probably didn't need to do them on my 60, but the experience was good). There's some oil weeps around one of the differentials (can't remember off the top of my head).

I've done all terrains around here and with the road we're on, they got pretty dicey in the snow and ice. Switching to a winter tire was night and day. That said, a newer mountain snowflake rated all terrain seemed like a big improvement over the last all terrain in the snow.

From this statement specifically and generally what you have stated in the first post, it seems like you haven't actually gotten much seat time off road with your Land Cruiser. Before you make any changes I suggest you get more time behind the wheel or expect to be spending a lot of money to swapping components multiple times.

With the smaller than stock tires currently your complaint of low range being too tall again points to lack of experience. As many others have stated previously the stock setup is very capable. What other vehicles have you owned? A Land Cruiser is minimum of 5,000 lbs and it won't have the acceleration of a 3 Series BMW.

From my perspective a 33" tire is the sweet spot on stock suspension and stock gearing. When you start adding more weight with bumpers, sliders, bigger tires, regearing, taller springs performance will suffer, MPG will drop and will suck as a daily driver.

I definitely need to get more time behind the wheel on this rig, for sure. I've had a FJ60, a few 4Runners, and a few pickups (one 4x4). I did take the FZJ80 out on a pretty rocky but short trail, and easily hit the hitch receiver. I'm used to wheeling with a manual and I like to be able to crawl/descend slowly. I haven't measured to be sure, but 4low + first gear on the FZJ80 feels twice as fast as a 22RE or 3VZE manual 4Runner, or auto 5VZFE. I may be wrong, though. Idle speed was somewhere in the 600-800 RPM range.

I had a Tacoma once down a pretty nasty rock ledge, getting one wheel in the air. I found that any touching of the brakes would lock things up and skid, whereas 4low would get me down safely.

On the 22RE, without gearing for 31x10.5" tires from the factory, 31x10.5" tires really make it feel like a dog around here. It's my impression that until you hit mountains, you can get away without gearing changes a lot more easily.

33" could well be a sweet spot for these rigs. And no doubt that most of the modifications only make them heavier. I did find the stock motor / gearing and with the 245/75R16s felt surprisingly peppy. I was thinking it'd be slower based on what I've read.
 
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I just picked up a new-to-me 80 with the OME stock height replacement springs (861/862) and they handle really nice. In fact, I've never driven an 80 that feels this competent on the road. Ride is a little firm for my tastes in an unloaded truck, but still pretty good. I would do either OME or Dobinsons "stock height" spring option, new shocks and 255/85r16 tires. Good chance you'll want to replace every suspension bushing in the truck if you really want it to feel tight.

The 1fz can handle 33" tires fine without regear. You'll probably feel a difference just because your tires are so undersized, but most people coming from stock size tires can't even feel the difference when they step up to 33's.
 
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I would leave the receiver on until you decide what to do with the truck. Mine prevented a lot of damage to my factory bumper for years until I bought a stout bumper with built in receiver. It can take a lot of abuse, just sounds bad when it drags off a rock. Most folks end up on at least 285/75/16 AT tires. They fit fine with no lift, don’t look small with a 1-2” lift if you go that route and don’t really hurt performance.
 
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you need to figure out what you want from your 80s, If do i all, DD/weekend trail rig, then 35s and a mild 2" - 3" lift is ideal, will need to regear, but can wait, plus possibility to upgrade to 37s in the future.
 
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Yeah, just run it. You'd hate to put all your budget into mods/lift/bumpers, etc., and then have the trans go out, or the engine overheat and blow the HG. (I'm not trying to jinx you.) I'm just saying, I'd put a few thousand miles on it, while you refresh the cooling system (most important item), and exchange all fluids (ATF, PS, coolant, diff/TC fluids, etc) and get the baselining done. I realize that doesn't sound very exciting, but it's the most practical and economical approach. Getting more seat time will help you figure out the rest, and you'll run into some other 80 Series owners who will chat you up about their lift, etc. They might even let you drive their rigs a bit so you can see how their combos feel.
Good luck, good work starting out with a locked rig. Enjoy!
 
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Yeah, just run it. You'd hate to put all your budget into mods/lift/bumpers, etc., and then have the trans go out, or the engine overheat and blow the HG. (I'm not trying to jinx you.) I'm just saying, I'd put a few thousand miles on it, while you refresh the cooling system (most important item), and exchange all fluids (ATF, PS, coolant, diff/TC fluids, etc) and get the baselining done. I realize that doesn't sound very exciting, but it's the most practical and economical approach. Getting more seat time will help you figure out the rest, and you'll run into some other 80 Series owners who will chat you up about their lift, etc. They might even let you drive their rigs a bit so you can see how their combos feel.
Good luck, good work starting out with a locked rig. Enjoy!
+1 ^^^^^
Cooling is #1 and we have all been there getting stranded with an overheated rig on the side of the road. What seems like a totally normal functional rig with zero overheating issues for a daily/highway driver might surprise you when it is out on the trail. Your system will be tested and stressed out, and if your cooling is not in tip top shape, it will show. Just because it is fine around town or highway doesn't mean it won't overheat on dirt.
Just my .02
 

ozarkmud

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+1 ^^^^^
Cooling is #1 and we have all been there getting stranded with an overheated rig on the side of the road. What seems like a totally normal functional rig with zero overheating issues for a daily/highway driver might surprise you when it is out on the trail. Your system will be tested and stressed out, and if your cooling is not in tip top shape, it will show. Just because it is fine around town or highway doesn't mean it won't overheat on dirt.
Just my .02

PHH has been done, but I did see that it has green coolant in it. What specifically should I be doing, cooling wise? As long as the fan is good and coolant levels are fine.

Are 1VZFEs more likely to overheat than 3FE? I've heard they have more head gasket issues.
 
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PHH has been done, but I did see that it has green coolant in it. What specifically should I be doing, cooling wise? As long as the fan is good and coolant levels are fine.

Are 1VZFEs more likely to overheat than 3FE? I've heard they have more head gasket issues.
Green/red not really an issue with cooling. If you know the history or have done PM on your cooling system, aka, thermostat, wp, all new belts, new fan clutch, radiator in good shape with form seals around the core support and shroud. You should be fine. Go wheeling with a few rigs and see if your cooling is adequate. Add an aftermarket temp gauge to monitor your cooling. If you need more cooling, and your temp seems high, you can modify your fan clutch with thicker oil, and there are plenty of write-up for that on MUD.
Not sure about head gasket issues, there are plenty of documents on that, but not really an issues for the 3FE.

ML
 
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PHH has been done, but I did see that it has green coolant in it. What specifically should I be doing, cooling wise? As long as the fan is good and coolant levels are fine.

Are 1VZFEs more likely to overheat than 3FE? I've heard they have more head gasket issues.
Check all coolant hoses, there are many! Not just phh, but all the various heater hoses including rear hater. If they look suspect or of an unknown age, go ahead and replace them. Look at the heater control valve (black plastic thingy at the firewall behind the engine) is it starting to look brown or yellow? Look at radiator end tanks for plastic degradation. Once you've done all those visuals, then get a real temp sensor on the truck (aftermarket, don't trust the toyota water temp gauge) and see how things run. If your operating temps in demanding conditions (i.e. long uphill pulls in summer heat, offroading, traffic jam) go above 200*, then flush the hell out of the coolant and test again. If temps still high, then modify or replace your fan clutch with a modified one. If that still doesn't do it, then time for a new radiator. Aluminum radiators cool better than brass. WP or thermostat may affect your cooling, but I would do the above first if your thermostat appears to be working normally.

Red/green doesn't particularly matter IMO. I run green because it's widely available at any gas station across the country and quite a lot cheaper than red. Also helps if you get a leak somewhere (especially rear heater) to diagnose trans fluid vs. coolant since the trans fluid is also red. Just my $.02.
 
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The 80 series is super capable in stock trim, especially with the locking differentials you have. (Assuming they're working)

Original tire size is 275/70/16, so you are currently a bit smaller than that. It's an oddball size, costs more than some other options.
Yes, that's for sure, tire time was never fun on our 95 which was all stock, but I always bought the Michelins.. my 94 has "good ole boy" stump jumpers on it, they are noisy, but the fronts are new.. going with OEM springs in the front, stock shocks all the way around, and new tie rod ends and panhard rod bushings, that's as many new bushings as I can afford right now.... a lot of work ahead of me, I may farm some of it out to a local shop.. we'll see how time and money work out. In my experience for a mid Western user, the stock 95 LC was amazing,, and I am looking forward to getting the 94 as close to that as I can.

I haven't been able to find any OEM rear springs yet??,, and may end up going with OME 861 and 862's??
 
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Check all coolant hoses, there are many! Not just phh, but all the various heater hoses including rear hater. If they look suspect or of an unknown age, go ahead and replace them. Look at the heater control valve (black plastic thingy at the firewall behind the engine) is it starting to look brown or yellow? Look at radiator end tanks for plastic degradation. Once you've done all those visuals, then get a real temp sensor on the truck (aftermarket, don't trust the toyota water temp gauge) and see how things run. If your operating temps in demanding conditions (i.e. long uphill pulls in summer heat, offroading, traffic jam) go above 200*, then flush the hell out of the coolant and test again. If temps still high, then modify or replace your fan clutch with a modified one. If that still doesn't do it, then time for a new radiator. Aluminum radiators cool better than brass. WP or thermostat may affect your cooling, but I would do the above first if your thermostat appears to be working normally.

Red/green doesn't particularly matter IMO. I run green because it's widely available at any gas station across the country and quite a lot cheaper than red. Also helps if you get a leak somewhere (especially rear heater) to diagnose trans fluid vs. coolant since the trans fluid is also red. Just my $.02.
Yep, my rear heater core was leaking,, I've a used replacement coming,, I may take the other one and get it repaired for a spare..
 

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