Down the rabbit hole... 1995 FJ80 Progress Thread

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Jun 21, 2020
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Evening!

I'm Mr. Beethoven-

Today I pulled the trigger and purchased a 1995 FJ80 with 245K Miles on the odometer in the Colorado Rockies so I'm jumping down the rabbit hole...

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The previous owner I bought from had this for 16 years and left it sitting for the most part of last two years- When I asked for service records- he dropped a manila folder of EVERY thing he did and all was done in shops with everything recorded over the years. Their 16 year old daughter did not want the Land Cruiser so I found it on Craigslist... (Lucky me?)

The engine looks great in itself - everything has been taken care of including flushes, oil changes, suspension and even differential repairs over the years. So this was a Land Cruiser that was well taken care of over the years.

I'm stoked right now. Nervous as hell as this is a brand new journey.

My initial plan is to send it to a Toyota Specialist that I have seen great work on my previous Toyota to kick this journey off for me and for him to go over the FJ- I may have him to do preventative maintenance right off the bat concerting the belts, seals, valve cover gaskets, fresh fluids- basically a deep tune up and for him to pick it apart and to give me a better understanding of what is going on with this FJ in its entirety.

As of now, it has no leaks, starts up strong, drives VERY strong, very stable running over rough road, no drifting, all electrical components works, the interior in great shape (missing 3rd row seats), Not that much of rust everywhere, AC/Heater blows STRONG, no CEL on, the battery was just replaced after sitting flat for a while and it looks like an Air Bag Light reset is needed to get the light off the dashboard.

But as I already expected- There will be issues for me to repair. Current issues I'm seeing with it is rough idle/low idling that leads to stalling out when I make turns- Looks like may be a faulty IAC Valve even perhaps Voltage Regulator? Another issue is with the Exhaust System that will need attention.

The purchase price? $3750 dollars...

This thread will be basically a place for me to continually post updates/costs on this as I progress on this journey- I welcome all feedback, input, opinions, stories, etc!

My initial plan right now is to bring up the mechanical aspect of this FJ up to speed first and slap on some new tires- My goal is to keep this as stock as much possible- Not considering to lift it just yet. May add a better Roof rack in time. Would like to update or add more lights to make sure I have great visibility.

This will not be my daily driver nor a commuting vehicle. I work remotely so this will be primarily an overlander vehicle for Road Trips, Camping, Hikes, Skiing and Fly Fishing...

Introducing you to the FJ!

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Congrats. Nice cruiser. Was this the moonglow pearl cruiser listed on craigslist? If so, score with the cloth seats.
 
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Here's an update-

I forgot to add that when I was talking with the owner - we noticed the Speedometer/Odometer went on the fritz. That surprised the owner as a new problem and he showed me recent service records that showed the FJ's mileage to be a bit under where the odometer currently was. Not too worried about the odometer discrepancies but there will be a temporary gap. Today I got a text from the owner telling me he remembered seeing a torn wire at where the VSS was on the transmission and he just taped over it and he told me to look at it.

With the idle issues, I got the FJ towed down the foothills and it is now HOME on my driveway! Welcome home!

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There is a old dealer sticker on the back of it - CAMEL TOYOTA - PHOENIX AZ - so it seems to me it may have originally came from Arizona. Dry environment, even better! (Perhaps its the FJ's new name- Camel??? How fitting as it would be one of few vehicles on Earth that would be able to cross the Sahara?)

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I sat in the truck last night reading the original owner's manual that was still in the glove compartment. Just messing around with the electrical stuff all over the dash- to my surprise EVERYTHING works. Even the power antenna still retracts! Cruise lights came on. Strong Heat/AC. Wipers and the wiper fluids works. The headlights seems to be OK - I may just put 4 9011s just to get the lights brighter for the moment. Sunroof works beautifully with no visible leaks. The lights in the back seems to not be working. The cigarette lighter seems to be dead. Will have to look further at the fuses.

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Lo and Behold- the red wire leading to VSS is torn so that looks like it needs just to be rewired properly and I believe that should give me the Speedometer, Odometer, and OD back. I was bugging out about taking the cluster apart but seems that may be not the case. Crossing fingers here.

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The interior is very pristine given its has 245K on it and very dry inside. Photos below-


Today, I took some photos of the engine, the underneath of the truck, some wet spots there and there. Do you have any thoughts on how it looks overall? I

noticed a dirty spot underneath the Alternator that may need some attention- Front seal perhaps? Noticed some dirt/grease/build up inside the front 2 tires that may tell me there may be some work required down there immediately.


Going to get it registered/titled in my name up next. Called the Toyota shop- Going to be taking it to the Toyota shop in 2 weeks for diagnostics to get an itemized list of what is going on and what needs to be done then I can start figuring out my game plan going forward.

Slowly and Surely, Camel...
 
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Joined
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Start driving it, change fluids, make your lists.

I always do every vehicle in order:
Make it run
Make it stop
Make it go
Make it safe
Make it reliable
Make it pretty

Use that to prioritize your list.
That's a good way to go about it!

Only thing that is preventing me from driving it is right now when I slow down or brake, I can see the RPM just drops until it stalls. Starts right up right after and if I keep giving it gas- it will keep it from stalling. That's my major one to solve at the same time to get the gaskets/seals replaced with fresh OEM fluids so I would be able to drive it once again.
 
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That's a good way to go about it!

Only thing that is preventing me from driving it is right now when I slow down or brake, I can see the RPM just drops until it stalls. Starts right up right after and if I keep giving it gas- it will keep it from stalling. That's my major one to solve at the same time to get the gaskets/seals replaced with fresh OEM fluids so I would be able to drive it once again.
Look first at intake hose from filter to throttle body and vacuum hoses. Cracks or leaks in those will cause lots of unmetered air and will cause it to die at idle.
 
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Does anyone know what purpose these holes on the stock bumper serves? Are they for air?

I was thinking of removing the inserts and seeing if there were any fog lights assembly that I could put in these 2 holes down the road?

I will be doing a lot of winter driving here in the Rockies...
 
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Nice 80 series! Nice score! That Toyota dealer in Phoenix would be Camelback Toyota. Looks like the Back is gone on your sticker. Looks really clean inside and out! The engine bay looks great. Just drive it a little and it'll tell you whats needed. Make sure the brakes and fluid are good. Do a coolant flush if you don't have records of it. Then do a baseline of maintenance as required per your maintenance history records. Also, get that VSS fixed. Might be causing the stalling you are experiencing. And follow @biltforme advice on the air intake hose and vacuum hoses etc.
 
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Nice 80 series! Nice score! That Toyota dealer in Phoenix would be Camelback Toyota. Looks like the Back is gone on your sticker. Looks really clean inside and out! The engine bay looks great. Just drive it a little and it'll tell you whats needed. Make sure the brakes and fluid are good. Do a coolant flush if you don't have records of it. Then do a baseline of maintenance as required per your maintenance history records. Also, get that VSS fixed. Might be causing the stalling you are experiencing. And follow @biltforme advice on the air intake hose and vacuum hoses etc.
Ha! Interesting tidbit about the sticker. Great advice. There was a service record that showed the coolant has been flushed but it was done at a local Firestone so I am considering flushing everything out out of this FJ in order to get all Toyota OEM fluids in this just to get what belongs in here along with fresh gaskets/seals in various areas.

Would rewiring the VSS where the red wire is currently torn do the trick or would I need to replace the entire VSS sensor and the wire?
 
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If there is enough wire on the sensor side you could try a wiring connector or solder. I don't see the wire that's broken on the sensor side so the VSS may have to be replaced. Not sure if that will fix your stalling idle issue but I've seen that cause stalling idle issues in other vehicles. My brother just went through the same issue on his Mustang. Actually looking at your pic again you might have to replace the pigtail. If you can get to where the wire broke off on the connector you could try to fix it by joining the broken wire.
 
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The dirt grease on the 2 front tires would be the knuckles. You can post a couple of pics of them. Its normal for them to have a little grease on the balls, but if there is grease or oil dripping on the ground or the inside of the tires then you will need to replace the inner axle seals and repack the Birfs. A right of passage for solid axle Toyota owners!
 
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The dirt grease on the 2 front tires would be the knuckles. You can post a couple of pics of them. Its normal for them to have a little grease on the balls, but if there is grease or oil dripping on the ground or the inside of the tires then you will need to replace the inner axle seals and repack the Birfs. A right of passage for solid axle Toyota owners!
yeah it seems short on the photo as the rubber covering was pulled off the sensor so I can try fitting the rubber cover back in place and it should give me some extra slack to see if I can try connecting them together.

No grease or oil is dripping on the ground at all- just a gunk of grease/dirt mixed on the bottom part of the inside of the tire.

Should I clean that off to see if it keeps coming out as it looks like it built up over time. The previous owner had a nice long driveway of dirt road leading up to their house so that may explain where the dirt build came up over the years.

I'll search this forum for more information on how to do the seals and repack the Birds and see if that is something that I am able to do myself.
 
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yeah it seems short on the photo as the rubber covering was pulled off the sensor so I can try fitting the rubber cover back in place and it should give me some extra slack to see if I can try connecting them together.
You can try cleaning the knuckles. Don't do anything with the balls. There's a fill plug on the top of the knuckle to add grease. You'll have to remove the wheels to gain access. Get a grease gun with some moly grease.

No grease or oil is dripping on the ground at all- just a gunk of grease/dirt mixed on the bottom part of the inside of the tire.

Should I clean that off to see if it keeps coming out as it looks like it built up over time. The previous owner had a nice long driveway of dirt road leading up to their house so that may explain where the dirt build came up over the years.

I'll search this forum for more information on how to do the seals and repack the Birds and see if that is something that I am able to do myself.
 
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You can try to clean up the knuckles. It's normal for grease and dirt to build up on them. There's a fill plug at the top of the knuckles to add grease. Get some moly grease and fill them about half way. You'll have to remove the wheels to gain access to the plug.
 
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You can try to clean up the knuckles. It's normal for grease and dirt to build up on them. There's a fill plug at the top of the knuckles to add grease. Get some moly grease and fill them about half way. You'll have to remove the wheels to gain access to the plug.
I just read up on that! The only way is to find out if the seals has failed is if it clicks on turning?
 
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No. If it clicks on turning then the birfield joint needs replaced. If you're leaking diff fluid through the knuckles then the axle seals need replaced.
Sounds like I would prefer the latter than the former. I am deaf myself so I would have to find out more via the Toyota specialist.

I plan to post a video of the engine idling soon to see if I can borrow some ears listening to the idle for any tips.
 
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You can try to clean up the knuckles. It's normal for grease and dirt to build up on them. There's a fill plug at the top of the knuckles to add grease. Get some moly grease and fill them about half way. You'll have to remove the wheels to gain access to the plug.
Don't have to remove the wheels to access the plug. It does help if you turn them to the left or right for better access, but still not necessary.

I just read up on that! The only way is to find out if the seals has failed is if it clicks on turning?
No. The clicking indicates a worn birfield joint.
Worn internal seal are evidence by having oil dripping from the bottom of the knuckle housing onto the inside of the tires or the ground.

Normal is a shiny greasy surface on the ball with a ridge of dirty grease piled on the face of the knuckle housing facing the inside of the truck.

If the balls are dry and rusty you need grease in the knuckles and need to check oil level in the differential.
 
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