Builds First LC, HZJ77 Build

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Finally, able to start a Build Thread on here so I’ll start with a little back story!



I’ve never owned an LC, they were always out of my price range so my experience is mainly with 4runners but some mini-trucks as well. My longest owned vehicle was a 1st gen 4unner which faithfully took me through the Rubicon 3 times without missing a beat. However, I sold that because the 2 door thing was annoying when trying to get to gear or more importantly put my daughter in the back. I’ve always loved the 70 line up since those angled body lines reminded me of my 1st gen 4runner, but it always seemed like sort of a pipe dream to buy one.


Then in 2017 I was able to head to Japan on assignment with my work at Toyota and I knew this was the time to get one! We got to attend a couple Land Cruiser 40 Meeting East while over there and thankfully the 1st time I got to check out a bunch of 77 and 75s that showed up, and then 2nd time we were able to borrow my friend GRJ76 for the trip and really seal the deal on going with a 4 door! I do love troopy, but with 3 kids the 4 door is the right choice for us for now.


As a side note, I used to spend a lot of time on Pirate 4x4, but the last few years I’ve spent a lot of time on mud gleaning info and book-marking pages, even getting in contact with a few members on here for questions. I really appreciate the help and advice that has been shared to me by those on here, so thank you again for that!


Unfortunately, I didn’t get a 77 to drive while living there as

1. Prices at dealerships were already high and

2. Emissions laws would set me back about another 10K putting on a DPF device and testing.

So I went with Brave auto to get a vehicle at auction pricing. My budget was pretty low, but last November I was able to finally score one that fit the bill. 1993 HZJ77, AT (thankfully its electronic that year!), ZX, Blueish grey metallic, 304K on the clock.

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I was planning on going to see the vehicle before returning to the USA, but then COVID hit. We were requested to return to the USA, and since my wife had just had baby #3 2 week prior to that announcement, we got his passport and headed to our parents in SF expecting to return back in a month or two. 5 months later, my assignment was canceled, and 2 months later we were finally able to move back into our home in TX. The whole time I just wanted to send the truck early but the uncertainty of being able to receive it made that tricky haha.


At long last, the truck landed in Freeport TX on the 30th of Oct. I picked it up on the 2nd of Nov, and then the fun began! Thankfully the paperwork went fairly smoothly and its plated now and ready to roll. The best part was rolling it into the garage and my wife saying “I am so happy we got this truck, we are never getting rid of it”. Couldn’t have asked for a better reaction. My oldest daughter said “we need to paint a purple bow on it so it looks amazing”, I told her we could probably do a sticker as a compromise hahah.

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Some fun reminders of our time in Japan, my wife loved seeing these

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I started with some Interior items while I was leaving the truck in running condition to get the inspections done. After passing those I started checking out the basics to make sure I’m not causing any damage. The engine has some extra random rattle/knock that I didn’t enjoy hearing, but I have very little experience with this engine so I’m not sure what a good baseline sound is. The oil also was old and has been sitting for a year so that likely didn’t help.


Interior changes:

  • Removed the ridiculous Nardi wheel with an OEM Prado wheel. Same wheel as what should have been there, but I snagged this on Mercai while in Japan for 40$ because he put an after-market wheel on it right after buying it and this one was in a box in his garage since then!
  • Change the gear selector grip and indicator light. The grip was sort of gross looking, and the light was burned out
  • Change the center console lid, I don’t need a random cup holder mounted to the top.
  • Change the interior lamp lenses, new ones are crazy cheap and cleaner.
  • Replace rear trim vent grille, it was broken
  • Replace Stereo trim, it was broken
  • Replace Sun roof control trim, it was super yellow
  • Replace drives door arm rest and master switch bezel, both were well used
  • Replace passenger door master switch, also yellowing
  • Install rear tire carrier, bought in Japan and painted it with the paint code.

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Fun surprise under the seat!

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Removing both seats and center console to get to the gear selector light... It started out as a "quick job" HA
 
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Crusty...
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Fastened on with melted plastic tabs. Had to remelt them, and then remelt much lower down. Added a few other melt spots to try and help secure it.

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I also am a lover of all things LED. The dome lights and map light are LED, so this one had to follow suit. I am planning on making a dimmer for them all as well since this vehicle doesn't have one (I believe only Aus. Market for them)
 
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My helpers leaving evidence
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I also started removing the window tint. I do like tint and it will likely get some in the future, but I cannot stand wrinkly tint I can't see clearly through....

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Hubs look good and are both functioning, happy to see that!
 
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Also forgot to mention that I replaced door handles too. Some guy was selling a set of GRJ76 handles on mercari for 25$ because he put aftermarket handle on:facepalm:. Why you would do that is beyond me, but Ill take your old ones if you do so lol.
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I’ve been spending the last year gathering parts and analyzing pictures from the exporter so I would have a lot of these ready to roll when I got the truck, but also because a lot were not available from any place other than parts suppliers in Japan (like the master switch trim). So I was trying to source it all and bring it home while I had it available. A lot of it was better pricing as well.

Next up was opening up the engine, I had a few baseline things I wanted to do that I was sort of prepared for, but not everything. I also have been collecting parts to install an FTE turbo onto it, but I think I’ll wait a little longer to get that installed so I can spend a little time understanding the truck as it is now first.

Engine maint:

  • Oil and filter change
  • Air filter
  • Fuel filter

Engine checks:

  • Valve timing, 1 of 12 was in spec, the rest are tight. Shims are on the way and will arrive this week
  • Injector rebuild. I bought new nozzles and have a pop tester here, but when I removed the injectors, they already have new nozzles on them. A good and bad thing, extra work not needed, but if I never looked at them they would have been absolute trash so haha.
  • Inspect the timing belt and WP. The sticker on the engine said the belt was done about 4K km ago, but wanted to verify. The belt is in fact new, and a Toyota part so that was nice. However, the water pump is crusty so I have a new one coming from Cruiser outfitters. Hopefully I’ll get that in this week.
  • Remove ACSD from injection pump and time pump. Got a bosch plate and o ring to remove the ACSD per other recommendations. Everything is ready to check pump timing after getting the valve shims in. This was also a good time for me to check out my layout for the pump since I have an AT in prep for the turbo. There is a throttle position sensor mounted there, and a kickdown cable on the side of the pump. The cable bracket I found a couple items to make a spacer since I removed one mounting spacer with the ACSD. The TP sensor bracket will partially work, but one mounting hole will need to be bent and moved 90 degrees to attach to the compensator that will be installed. Nice to see this stuff in person so I can know what I’m getting myself into beforehand!

I think that’s all for now, hoping to get my wheels and tires mounted this week as well. Went with 285/70/17. I really was leaning towards the 16 in wheels, but the style of wheel and tire options for me were better in a 17 right now.
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After doing a few, I realized I had the tool backwards which is why I coldnt get the shims out without extra assistance lol. Learning!
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I saw lots of posts connecting the two coolant lines together with a barb. I just connected the top hose to the bottom hose block port. Everything clamped down OK, but I guess time will tell if that was a poor choice.

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Here is my TP sensor. The bracket mount visible here will need to be mounted t a vertical side on the compensator. Thankfully I have a vise now and I think I can get it to the correct (enough) orientation.
 
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Nice cruiser! Glad to see some more pictures of it.

I recommend the Escape Gear seat covers since your seats appear to be in good condition now.
Thank you! How do they do with the contours of the seats for you? I love the seat shape, I just don't want a saggy potato sack on there that doesn't fit that great. But I definitely want to protect then, as you can see my drivers seat is compromised a bit and I don't want to make that worse.
 
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@Blomdala Cool story, very similar to the motivations for getting mine. These make great family rigs, I've had mine going on 4 years, I've made plenty of great memories in it with my kids which has made the countless hours of wrenching, including an engine swap all worth it. They are not as spacious as some modern SUVs, but with some creativity they can be made to meet all your needs. Here are some photos as to what to expect when you get it all setup and start doing trips in it. All the things I've done to mine has been centralized around making it safe/comfortable for family traveling, so let me know if I can help with anything you are thinking about.

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@Blomdala Cool story, very similar to the motivations for getting mine. These make great family rigs, I've had mine going on 4 years, I've made plenty of great memories in it with my kids which has made the countless hours of wrenching, including an engine swap all worth it. They are not as spacious as some modern SUVs, but with some creativity they can be made to meet all your needs. Here are some photos as to what to expect when you get it all setup and start doing trips in it. All the things I've done to mine has been centralized around making it safe/comfortable for family traveling, so let me know if I can help with anything you are thinking about.

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Thank you Loober, I have already used some of your post in my information gathering so thank you for that as well! I will definitely reach out to you as things progress, but much more enjoyable as a family and my kids love to camp so I think it will go hand in hand.
 
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Thank you! How do they do with the contours of the seats for you? I love the seat shape, I just don't want a saggy potato sack on there that doesn't fit that great. But I definitely want to protect then, as you can see my drivers seat is compromised a bit and I don't want to make that worse.

I see that you have the same ZX seats that I do. The problem with those seats is that the shape of them is not seen in any other 77/76 model. The top portion, front (left and right) seat covers will be pretty tight because of the additional padding of those ZX seats but they do eventually take shape over time as I am seeing with my own covers but not to a "saggy potato sack" look at all.

The rear seat cover fits like a glove and is awesome.

Originally I ordered mine direct from Escape Gear and they asked for interior photos and almost immediately canceled my order without any communication. I ended up having to go through Equip1 to establish communication with them again and they claimed they told me they did not make covers for the ZX seats but I never got an email from them stating this. Just a canceled order notice and a refund.

Anyways long story short, Equipt1 made the order happen and I am happy with the seat covers. They are far from "saggy potato sack" even after almost half of a year of use.
 
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I see that you have the same ZX seats that I do. The problem with those seats is that the shape of them is not seen in any other 77/76 model. The top portion, front (left and right) seat covers will be pretty tight because of the additional padding of those ZX seats but they do eventually take shape over time as I am seeing with my own covers but not to a "saggy potato sack" look at all.

The rear seat cover fits like a glove and is awesome.

Originally I ordered mine direct from Escape Gear and they asked for interior photos and almost immediately canceled my order without any communication. I ended up having to go through Equip1 to establish communication with them again and they claimed they told me they did not make covers for the ZX seats but I never got an email from them stating this. Just a canceled order notice and a refund.

Anyways long story short, Equipt1 made the order happen and I am happy with the seat covers. They are far from "saggy potato sack" even after almost half of a year of use.
That's great to hear! I really appreciate the feedback on the ZX seat fitment. Time to add them to the list! I have a couple friends here from SA so I might have to check with them if there are any easier routes to getting them as well. Do you use the dash cover as well?
 

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