Builds Fixing up the “The big Ox”

on the rocks

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Well, I generally don’t name vehicles but I call it fat pig and the :princess: calls it big Ox, So I will go with that I suppose. I have had this 80 for 20 years and its been used gently but not abused depending on how you look at it. I have really neglected the upkeep and maintenance unfortunately and simply enjoyed using it as it should be. Still in overall good condition but really hitting a wall on getting it up and in great dependable running condition. While I can trust it I cant 100% depend on it. Time to get this fixed and take it to the next level.



History:

2nd owner of my 97 Collectors edition since 2001. 47K on the ODO. Current 160K

Oil changes, Couple starters, brake changes, and a few other things I have probably done wrong as in plugs, filter and so on.

Some damage on cylinder 3 or 4. Drivable and burns some oil, self-inflicted idiot move. To repair or replace? Cost to repair the brick doesn’t seem justified to me, had it looked over and not an option to supercharge or turbo without a rebuild. To do it right it seems smarter to go all in on a V8.



Goal:

Up for anything, will not retain stock as this is not important to me. Willing to change anything other than the overall body and looks the 80 offers.

LT1 mated to 8 speed tranny is the ultimate goal. Going to limp by where I can and take it easy with maintaining as little as possible with the thought to move on. No interest in junkyard find, looking for a reliable new engine, tranny that will last me another 20 years with little to no issues.

Overlander, bike hauler, camper towing vehicle on occasion, occasional off road trips.

Completely refresh the drive train

Give the interior a refresh and make it work for me.

Accessorize


Not sure I will be good at this but ultimately tracking what I do so I have a reference to go back to. I seem to forget what I did 6 months later lol. Zero interest in ever selling it. I have been lurking on this site dreaming of 100’s of things to do to this cool vehicle for 20 years now and rather than moving on to a cool new 200(or 300) I’m choosing to come thru on some of the ideas I have seen and add my own twist where if feels right. Budget is important but already out the door, it will be a do it as I can afford to deal with the hopes to not stall out until done, if ever….

Since these are useless without pics, here are a few over the years, to date, just lifted, many 35's gone through and really just used and enjoyed.
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on the rocks

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Projects completed:

4:88 regear. Feb 21

Front/ rear end rebuild seals/ bearings axle service. Feb 21

Asin front lockouts Fed 21

RCV CM 30 spline birfs. Feb 21

Completely new spindle, hub, M14 wheel stud Front/ M14 stud rear conversion. Feb 21

4 runner/ Willwood/ tundra front caliper/ rotor upgrade Jan 21 and ongoing

Front Delta bumper round II-

Rear Delta bumper yet to be accessorized

TOYO open country 37 x 13.5R20 MT

Raceline bead locks- see post #3. Feb 21

Adjustable panhard and control arms- done long ago and may do final adjustments

Marlin Crawler steering upgrade kit W/ TRE. May 21

LCP sway bar disconnects. May 21

Delta 4” radius arms W/ OEM bushings- mounted, need to finalize parts, drop to the ground and torgue mounting bolts. May 21

OEM tune up kit. May 21

Icon front bump stop kit with Delta spring perch/ F/R bump stop adjustments TBD- mounted, need to adjust to wheel rub/ shock compression

OEM steering column seal May 21

Pinion oil change @ 500 miles post 4:88 May 21 included Transfer case flush

Coil replace May 21

Diff/ transmission/ transfer breather hose June 21

Dobinson144/ 145 springs June 21

Dobinson adjustable steering damper June 21

Landtank lower control arm with OEM bushings June 21

Superpro F/R 30MM upgrade swaybar from Cruiser outfitters- front mounted May 21/ rear June 21

Rear OEM caliper replacement with possible Willwood rear matching set needing some research and fitment checks- no dice on Wilwood mounting so will research as time permits- For now OEM read painted red :hillbilly: June 21

Delta front bumper replace with full guard, LP9 pro lights, come up 12.5- need to finalize wiring and mount LP9's. 💸June 21

Delta Rear PH bracket june 21

Steering box 105 upgrade June 21

Front swaybar axle tab OEM upgrade June 24

Switch-pro 9100 July 11

BD LP9 mounted on front Delta bumper



In the works or waiting on parts:

Body lift/ OEM bushing refresh- currently 1” but may skip or mil to .5” pending final lift result. Original goal of 3” SUS/ 1” body out the door…

Various Wit’s ends things in the works

MC either T100 or full on hydraulic likely in the works







After getting the Delta bumpers on I realized she was looking a bit rough and decided to start pushing forward. As it sat with 3.5” ish lift and 35’s.
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on the rocks

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While I wait for parts, going to catch up on a few items added on. A lot of ripping out old OBA, cleaning up wiring for trailer connections and frame/ suspension cleanup so far.
Not much to see on the axle rebuilds and re-gear. Chose to go powerpig (AKA Robbie) on these items since he backs his work and is local to me. Great work to date with him. One man show so you know what your getting.

Tire/ wheel combo- certainly not for everyone, if anyone LOL :flipoff2:. Original lift and NOT working but drivable. Got them mounted up to check fitment and overall feel. 20's are a bit much and look kind of odd but they are here so going to work it.
tire choice- TOYO MTR 37x13.5R20
Wheel choice- Raceline RT260M-201060 6x 5.5- Avenger 20x10 true beadlock -38BS/ 4" offset
M14 lugnuts/ OEM 100 series wheel lugs
Combo comes in at a whopping 149lbs each! Way more than I want but overall happy. Prefect fit outside rubbing pre-lift, no spacers, worked with M14 studs, Only change was swapping bolts to a high tensile strength SS bolt. Hate the yellow zinc look and know paint doesn't adhere for shiat. Not the strength of the G8 bolts but not concerned.

Local discount was willing to balance(more weights than all my vehicles combined) after I mounted in what was the kitchen during a renovation. So far happy but a bit of unbalance somewhere but thinking I need to air down to below 30. Alot of guys running them in the 20's here. Super excited to get the combo off-road. 20's likely to take a beating but why I chose replaceable/ repairable beadlocks.

to do: work on something to get these suckers off the rim. On was easy, getting them off I'm thinking not so much.


Rubs- too early to tell, typical front rear inner fender and lots of rub out back. Bump stop and springs pending so not concerned.

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on the rocks

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Next we do front brakes.
Stumbled across this thread here one day and I think its a great idea so dove in. I know everyone has their opinion on the 80 brakes but sorry they suck OEM... They sucked in the 90's they sucked more with 35's and they REALLY suck with 149lb 37's and 20 years of use. The next suck to remove will be the LSPV and ultimately the ABS suck too, keep fighting this but will eventually give.



Great effort for Koala for the idea and Ilean for the fab work and feedback (perfect fit being near cruiser outfitters). Sorry if I stepped in and killed the thread but felt it took it to the next level and continued off what they came up with. Again, I take it to the not for everyone concept... I just added Tundra 14" rotors and 2 pistons to the calipers, they really aren't all that big and thinking close to size of the 4runner OEM.

Note: 18's will be the smallest confirmed wheel to work, 17's might. Of course if going 4runner OEM calipers 17's are fine and a super budget friendly option if you need to PM these items anyway.

LOTS OF PARTS! Not all necessary. MC yet to be used and will not be necessary. Thinking I may go hydraulic even. hub parts unnecessary but a while in there thing to me so :meh:
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Most info is in the link so wont ramble on here. Lining things up and fitting it all together. Came together with surprisingly easy effort. Cost was another thing but worth every penny IMO.
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Crappy pic but brakes final here and moving on to suspension. Note the surface contact area. Calipers are spec'd for 14's which the tundra are but note the inner ring on the face of the rotor not making contact. Pads were also small to me but overall I think its in the piston count.
Note the rotor placement outside the hub and the ability to 100% service the brakes with no hub removal! It's likely you need to service the hubs when you do the brakes anyway but oh well lol. No more pulling the hub, dealing with the grease, all the motions to pull the rotor, fish scale if that's your thing, loose bearing after the fact and so on. Pads are also one nut now. Calipers still two bolts.
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on the rocks

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Moving on to the Delta hydraulic bump stop holder and integrated spring perch- with ability to add spacers to kill the stink bug.
Chose the standard setup with no additional lift for now.
Coming from an old setup SLEE intragrate a spacer kit with the top of the OEM mount so I liked the idea.
The two setups compared below.
Cleaner look, don’t think I will be jumping to 80 soon but will be adding much more weight than I want so it makes sense. Measures about 1/2” long from what I had but keep in mind not the OEM perch and a one off SLEE spacer kit to make sure 35’s work when 2.5” OEM spring were it.
I have to hit up @Delta VS on adjustment and do a little compression research to see how I can make adjustments to work with the Dorb shocks and not have to add the axle bump stop back on. I was not expecting to see the bolts on the top securing the BS’s to the perch mount. Figured you could adjust this. Assume an easy fix with spacers?
More to come but with full shock compression it just starts to touch the lower spring mount. I think I read it has a couple inches of compression so not where I need it,
Only install issue is ther is a right and left with no markings, took a guess and saw no difference outside the direction the open face sits based on a few pictures.


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Continuing the prep for the springs, we next have the Delta 4” arms and Dobinson 6” MRR front shocks.

Arms, straight forward and no surprises here. Opted for new bolts just because. Initial comparison, they are not too much off from my old SLEE. I was hoping for a little additional length on these for the 37 clearance but not seeing it. With that said I expect some continued fender rubbing. May hold out and hope for some extended 4” arms from Delta. We will see, for now I wait and make that call after springs in.



I didn’t get good clear OME compression/ extension specs so will check the right side and edit comparison. These old were on a 3.5” lift I had. MAN, these Dobinson’s are some stiff SOB’s!! OME I can easily move in/ out, I must need my Wheaties or something!! I couldn’t budge these things. Figured this up front and thankfully lined and prepped for this.

Measurements:

Dobinson shock/ spring perch:

Static (3.5” lift est.)-26”(pre settle)/19”

Compressed-21”/ 12 ¾”

Extended-30 ½”/ 23”

Compressed spring, I see bump stop just touching, IF 2.5” travel I assume I need to add spacers to the BS and adjust out 2.5”?


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Couple takeaways on this:

  • I realize these shocks are for multi vehicles but man the instructions suck. I would say it seems like a lot of confusion of washer and busing order when released and they cleared this up but, nothing on the reservoir mounting at all…
  • After checking several pictures I realized the reservoir mounting must have changed many times, started on the left side and because of the steering shaft cover it’s not a flat surface. Lots of parts for mounting but none just worked and a couple odd holes to each mount but not L/R clearly marked. Opted to pull back as flush as possible to the fender for tire clearance. Took the long bolt, lined up with OEM and cut to factor in the spacer provided and cut it for the outside bolt for the cover to the steering link(inside hit fender and clearly not intended to go here). Assuming this long bolt is for the OEM spring perch and why so long as it would work ok on it?
  • Same shock(I hope) L/R different reservoir mounts as mentioned but they did not flip the reservoir sticker…. Small things, but it’s upside down. Another pause to check which I installed, both the same. All pictures installed were the left , not the right. Maybe to avoid being called out for mounting upside down? LOL.
  • Cut the spring retainer with bolt cutters and it worked pretty damn good, Had bushing and washers lined up and she popped right in the bottom hole. Shew, dust cover got stuck in the bushing but I wanted to cut them off anyway, so did…
  • No torque specs or any info on the mounting nuts. Tightened until it stopped and the bushing looked right
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on the rocks

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Finally got in my rivnut crimper attachment for the larger nutsert to finish the hood. Was able to ditch the 2x4. Had these struts for a while off a post here purchased from McMaster Carr. Come to find out there is a direct fit now but had them so, on they go.
Suckers really push the hatch and hood up there. May need to bolt on a limiter strap or strap to pull down once the lift is complete...
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on the rocks

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Front 30mm super pro sway bar on, accessories include LCP front disconnects and delta drop brackets. Both work well but you can tell when installing, neither designed for this 30mm sway bar and mounts. SB will remain disconnected and mounted up until land tank mounts welded in.
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Rinse and repeat... passenger side buttoned up on the spring perch, bump stop, Wilwood caliper spacers, and Dobinson shocks.
Went back to the driver side after noticing some anti spin bushings and washers left out on the top side, also removed the spacer I modified and set below the steering shaft guard. Neither in instructions or drawings but made sense after letting it soak in, I’m slow.. Pretty easy after realizing I could drop the front end way down to unseat the shocks. Still some beefy SOB’s. Set both R/H/L shock settings to clicks recommended by the manufacture to medium heavy.
Some reason really excited to hit some washed out rutted forest roads with these lol.

Hopefully 105 box upgrade, Dob’s front steering stabilizer and springs next.
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Right side had loose radius arm top side and shock was shot and a stripped lower thread. Thinking blown out SLEE arm was wreaking havoc on parts longer than I realized, Still got my moneys worth I suppose.
 
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on the rocks

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No 105 steering box and stabilizer yet but I get to be a test dummy for the Dobinson 3/3.5" VT revision spring release. Surprise! LOL I got the turquois and not the black but the :princess: approves.
Painted not too old rusty exhaust high temp black.
Painted wheel wells POR rattle can rubberized coating, Got sick of the 50 colors under there.
Installed the 144VT fronts and it's back on the ground on its own weight. :bounce: At this time it's looking like 5+" lift. Hope to see 4"-4.5 after front is back on and I assume it settles a bit. Sitting at about 25 3/4" fender to center hub first check.
Front tires clear the inner fender as of now. :bounce2: Right has more clearance then the left but need to get things finished up and torqued yet so not concerned. This is good.

To do on the front:
- steering box
- Dobinson stabilizer
- Tie rod check
- alignment
- torque it all down
- adjust front pan hard
- rubber fillers frame to body
- weld LT front SB mounts to axle

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Continuing to wait for parts to wrap up the front and get it drivable so fixed some leaks and did a OEM top end tune-up to limp by the next year or so on this motor. Cant start her up without the steering pump attached so hoping I assembled the distributer correct.... No surprises found. Engine bay pretty dirty so no shiny post pictures to add.


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Another delay in the steering box so drained and refilled the transfer case first time ever @165k. No metal shavings or carnage i could tell.
Also tackled the 500 mile front/ rear differential re-gear drain/ refill. New tc plugs and all 6 washers from wits end. Everything there also looked great. No soup or metal carnage.
decided on amsoil 80w-90 on all 3. Used some old Pyrex dishes to double check after it settled and just had them to use up. Love the easy packs out now. So much cleaner.
while I’m there, started measuring up the f/r drive shafts. Think I will go tom woods front dc and standard rear. Hear great things and a reasonable price.
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That frame looks incredibly clean, did you had to respray it or is it original?
 

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That frame looks incredibly clean, did you had to respray it or is it original?
SEM trim black rattle can. Wish it was original. Local mom and pop paint shop recommended it and have always used it on touching up parts or for painting brackets.
All hand scraped and cleaned from underneath with a brush and green scotch bright pads and simple green cleaner. A SW desert vehicle so outside minor surface rust it wasn't bad, it just needed some help. I think it had a dealer undercoating when I bought it a long time ago with really low miles so it preserved it a bit but why I started digging in. I think it made it look worse so finally decided to get it off.
 

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A few more smalls out of the way in between life and waiting on parts.

Sounds like my neglect to service and change the PS fluid resulted in bad steering box bearings. Apparently a rare thing. Had to order from UAE. With that said, decided to strap gallon freezer bags on the hoses where the SB attaches and start her up to flush the pump. Didn’t want the old fluid going thru the new rebuild 105 box. Good news is it started right up an idled better than I have heard in a long time. Success on the top end tune and gasket refresh.
Old
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If you haven’t flushed yours, you should, ATF is cheap and with or without the steering box a super easy task.

Somehow installing or pulling the old jacobs electronics ignition after it cooked some wires I broke one of the coil retainer tabs. For the cheap cost I chose to replace it for piece of mind.
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Moved on to breather hoses. Was looking at the ABR but isn’t like how you need to order the hose kits with the breathers and wanted 4 separate lines. One 4 port manifold later and some 1/2” breathers for the ends I went with mounting under where I have a Delta switch pro termination mount going. Went on the cheap and went the 1/4” fuel line.
One down and 3 to go. Decided to route up through the fender and into the engine compartment from the side to try to clean things up.

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Need to figure some good clamps for the lines coming from the axle but seriously considering a ABS delete and re-routing the brake lines, Tried an amazon clamp to see how it does.
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If you haven’t checked your transfer case breather and do river crossings, you should. One of the few hoses I know of that was pretty far gone. Next the tranny line, once I figure how to get to in, Transfer and ultimately the rear diff I hope by next weekend along wit the entire back underside of the 80.
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All 4 breather hoses removed, re-routed to the 4 port manifold in the engine bay. both sides of the transfer case smaller T break off hose rotted and hanging off. Outside that all were in ok condition minus not breathing well. Diff's were easy but the tranny and T case sucked. close second to the PHH.... Probably should have combined to 2 before bring up to the bay but all good. Fricken pollen is dumping off the trees lol. All this cleanup and everything is dusted green...
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happy with the route but need to maybe get it in some split loom.
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reused some of the old brackets for the rear tubing. If I ever get to a pull and pay I would remove a bunch of these mounts. Super useful, especially the older 80's with odd mounting.
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Her rear end needs some scrubbing and touch up paint next and that mount really made me want to yank that LSPV. Pretty sure I can pull the trigger with the 6 pistons up front and be ok without a PV on the rear feed adjustment but will be patient.
 

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Pretty happy with results up front so far. Gone through just about everything up front but the motor(minus leaks and long overdue PM). Trying to avoid it and get by for a rebuild or most likely a gen 5 LT and 8 speed. This will be the goal.
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- installed front SLEE DC shaft.
- Had the front DS wheel off and for some reason decided to do the wit's end PHH kit, sucked but done. Cut the middle mount off and pulled the bolt after. It's staying off.... broke the heater valve while removing the upper hose. ordered a new one. Was pretty crispy and brittle.
- Installed a wit's end triple spray nozzle kit. Wiper motors really need to be next. spray pattern much better but I think it empties half a gallon before one pass of the sloooooow blades now LOL.
- flushed the coolant. Overall ok but will flush a few more times once I get oil back in the motor.
- drained the engine oil. Still waiting for the Rotella to show...
- scraped and scrubbed more crud on the underside working my way back.
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Full guard Delta bumper in route with some goodies added in. Bought the original just after they finalized the full guard. traded the original to a buddy for some kitchen work.
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Removed the old/ new and cleaned things up a bit since the freight company decided to park the shipment another week.
- installed a new grill I had for some time. Will likely paint the chrome later but can't install a fancy new bumper on an old turn grill and trim.... more scrubbing and touch up.
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Absolutely hate the side markers the US got thanks to California likely....
Saw a guy on here over seas order an OEM clear marker set I thought was long gone. so ordered up a set. In route and going on with the bumper. really getting addicted to ordering hard to find Toyota parts and brackets the 95-97 did not get. Already have many uses planned for some and probably 100 more I don't know about.
Ultimately once the dust settles, the goal is to completely remove the marker lights and install a breathable grille and retrofit some newer Hellcat challenger light OEM units. Ordered a cheap dodge bezel and it fits perfect in the headlight area. Likely will never happen but while in there up front I got a good look and ALL THE SPACE in the fenders. So much room in there....
Going to look for a fender windshield washer reservoir to try to relocate in one of them. I can feel there is a Toyota OEM that will fit perfect LOL.
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Found my old screw driver in the driver side LOL!
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I remember dropping it in there and couldn't reach it. Didn't think to remove the marker... that's what that damn mystery rattle was...
So much potential for additional engine bay air flow in here... All blocked with an ugly ass orange marker.
 

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Bye Bye bumper, I can say they are built well! Apparently missed a huge boulder coming up Schofield pass and relocated it thanks to the bumper and a few scratches. Discounted the bumper a bit due to the sharpie paint touch- up....
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