FJ62 3FE Rebuild Conundrum

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You have one more option: Move to Wyoming where there are no emissions.
Haha! Ding Ding Ding! Hot dog! We have a weiner! I thought about possibly signing it over to a friend a couple counties over or my mom in Florida so it could be registered there. I'm not one for the government telling me what I can do (Amerka), but the emissions now are equal to 20 modern cars. That's just bad. The emissions tech was sort of joking, but he said, "your the reason old people and babies are dying." haha - oh boy
 

Godwin

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One more consideration if sticking with the 3FE and it is that Toyota has been dropping support for the engine. EFI main relay, fuel pressure regulator, and likely other parts are no longer available from Toyota. If one of these parts fails you'll have to go aftermarket or find a suitable Toyota substitute, if it exists. For example, I've had to wire in a regular 40 amp relay in place of a failed EFI main relay.
 

60Works

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I can't thank all of you enough for humoring my pissin' and moanin'. Tan? Really? It definitely grew on me, but I was upset when I finally landed on this one in 2004. I really wanted the 2-tone gray, but I kept finding ones with 200k and a prices between 10 and 13k. This one ended up being in my mom's neighbor's garage. It had 100k and he sold for 6k.



I always heard that what Colorado used was far better than either of the sodiums used elsewhere. Everyone marvels at how rust-free it is. In fact I just sold a 2009 4.7L V8 (god I wish I could afford to put that engine in the Cruiser). I bought that thing from Michigan because it only had 64k on it and looked like it was 6 months old ... until you looked underneath. I planned to get the full 400k out of the engine, but the rust paired with other circumstances made it easy to sell. That's what made me stop ignoring my emissions problem. Now look where I am!





I replaced a leaky head gasket within the last 5 years and replaced the push rod cover gasket about a year or so ago. This shop was hoping it was a valve problem. They looked good. I read on this forum that a fella was running 3 cylinders at 0 compression and found it to be rusted exhaust valves. I was saying I'm not sure if they looked at the exhaust valves. Seemed like they were referring to the intake valves based on where they looked. I need to confirm. They sent me a grainy video holding a rag over the cylinder in question. I'm assuming the valve cover was off. The rag was whipping around from the air escaping the cylinder.




Really? I valued the truck as is (not knowing I had a compression problem at all) somewhere between 12 and 15k with the great shape of the body and frame, original paint, and low miles. I figured with an expertly rebuilt engine it would be the same or even more because buyers would not have to deal with most issues that could pop up from a 32 year old engine. Is that not the case?



Oh man. I've thought about that so much. I reached out to Proffit's and Redline here in CO. The cost is enormous, but I understand the trade-off. What makes an LC special is that incredibly stupid but unstoppable dog of an engine. I felt I would have a big, dumb Frankenchevy that would last about 60k miles.



That's what I was thinking BEFORE all this. With an engine that likely needs a rebuild it has plummeted in value. I could maybe get 2k for it now?
I'll take these in reverse order:

A rust free, low mileage (less than 200k is low mileage on these) unmolested FJ-62 is probably worth more than the $6k you paid even with an unusable engine. 'Unmolested' is key to most buyers.

'Frankenchevy' is only if some bubba puts in a 1970's carbed 454 using garden hoses for coolant lines and welds in an old bedframe for engine mounts. Good shops are putting in e-rod vortecs with full 50 state emissions certs. They are VERY nice installs.


Value loss vs. value added is all in the quality of the build. Yes, those shops may cost $3k more but people trust those vendors and will pay for a warranty. The 3FE was never a 'legendary' engine. The 2F in a 40 or a 60 - could be called that. The 2F is certainly hard to kill and very torquey. The 3FE was a short lived transition engine to 'get by' until Toyota came out with the 1FZ. It's OK but parts are getting VERY hard to find. All those little vacuum switches, no longer available. We either use used parts or find a substitute off of a newer model to cabbage in. It's a pain and we read posts about it every day trying to keep up.

Lastly - have you truly determined that the engine can't be fixed short of overhaul?

Your description sounds a lot like head problems which can be fixed MUCH cheaper than pulling the engine. There are only 5 types of compression leaks:

Past the rings
Past the valves
Through a leaking head gasket
Through a cracked head
Through a cracked block

The 3FE head has known cracking problems in the middle cylinders. Not all shops magnaflux like they should. The intake and exhaust valves are right next to each other. If your problems are recent and the head work is also recent - they are likely related. A rebuilt, or even replaced, head will likely be less than $3k hired ($1k+ if you remove it yourself). You would then have decades of service left in your Cruiser to enjoy. Or sell it when its repaired for a nice profit after 15 years of happy driving.

I suggest you start a thread called "Help me diagnose low compression in 3FE". Post the repair receipt and describe everything you 'know'. Avoid posting too much about what you 'think'. Let Mud work for you. There are some VERY savvy and experienced techs here who will be happy to offer advice.
 
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Skniper

 
 
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Hahahaha! Now is that engine a pain? I hear conflicting reports and seems like there are a few pain points, but isn't what makes them cool is it is essentially a Japanese version of a 1950s Chevy tractor motor that sits in a bay with some space aka easy to work on?
If it were still a simple 1950’s I-6 then yes it would be easy to work on, but it ain’t. And there’s not a ton of room to work on it in there.

Replacing the water pump and all hoses and belts is a bit of a right of passage on the 3FE....or servicing any other accessory on the front of that motor.

I’m losing my buzz just thinking about it.
 
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How is the engine/trans set-up from a longevity standpoint? Is that something that starts having issues at 60k? Is it a typical American car situation at that point?
As good or better than anything else out there. It’s easy to look around at the hundreds of thousands of them on the road around you every day. Of course nothing is perfect, but they are popular for a reason.
 
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Great info. Thank you.
A rust free, low mileage (less than 200k is low mileage on these) unmolested FJ-62 is probably worth more than the $6k you paid even with an unusable engine. 'Unmolested' is key to most buyers.|
Thanks for the ballpark. That's good to know


Lastly - have you truly determined that the engine can't be fixed short of overhaul?

Your description sounds a lot like head problems which can be fixed MUCH cheaper than pulling the engine. There are only 5 types of compression leaks:
No, not for sure. They looked at the head and the valves, but only looked at the cylinders with a camera. There is some slight scoring. It seems like it's the pistons and rings. Since the engine has to be taken apart they said it would be better to do a full rebuild.

Here's a video they sent:
I suggest you start a thread called "Help me diagnose low compression in 3FE".
I think that's a good idea
 

PF

 
 
 
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I had my 3FE engine rebuilt by Martin Davidson machine shop out here on California 15 years ago. They do the "performance" rebuilds for Man-a-fre with the high compression pistons and a custom cam. Can't say it made the performance difference I was hoping for. Anyway, the rebuild cost me about $3500 because I pulled it myself and hauled it up there. Take out the performance stuff it would have been closer to $2500. Pulling it yourself will save you a ton of money because of the amount of work it takes. So the prices you threw out for having the shop do it are not outrageous.

As for your situation, you have a tough decision on your hands. First, if you are going to sell it, don't put another dime into it. As 60works said, it won't get you a better price. Half the people looking at these are going to drop a V8 in there anyway. The value to yours is how clean it is.

Second. I cannot think of a logical reason to keep a Landcruiser. It's all about love. Seems like you have to love to work on it as well as drive it. Although I made up some new curse words pulling and replacing the engine, I still love the work. Another reason I keep mine.

Third, If you love it enough to decide to keep it, but don't feel the same way about working on it yourself, take it to a specialty shop. You already mentioned Profits and Redline. Don't overlook Slee off road. They do all kinds of custom work and can probably give you advise on everything from the value of your truck currently to a complete V8 engine swap.

Fourth, H55 Trans swap. I did that. It makes huge difference in drivability. It made more difference in performance than the engine rebuild. It won't make your Landcruiser go 80 miles and hour up hill, though. 3FE is a tractor motor no matter what. For those of us who keep the 3FE, we gotta like it for what it is.

Fifth, pretty sure the stuff they spray on the roads in CO is not nearly as bad as salt. If you are going to keep it and put the money into it, use it. Rocks, mud, snow. That's what they are made for. Don't cage the beast in the winter.

Sixth, that brown cloud that you can see hanging over Denver on a clear windless day is the problem emissions is trying to solve. There is a purpose for all that crap under the hood. In any case, I live in California so I got it worse than anyone.

Good luck, buddy. Sorry for the long rambling post. I've been in your position with the decision on the truck.
 
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If I had a 3fe that needed rebuilding and I decided to go that route if source a 2f engine and rebuild the bottom end. Have the 3f head serviced and put together a 2fe. Get the efi and the extra torque.
 
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you could always go diesel and then get longevity

if I was richer I would make u an offer but I am tapped right now, but I would love to be able to put my diesel (4H from HJ60 ) into a truck like yours as my hj60 is extremely rusty = such is life up in canada
 
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If I had a 3fe that needed rebuilding and I decided to go that route if source a 2f engine and rebuild the bottom end. Have the 3f head serviced and put together a 2fe. Get the efi and the extra torque.
How does that work? I've seen a few mentions of the 2F and torque. Doesn't the 3FE beat the 2F in both torque and hp?
 
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Pulling it yourself will save you a ton of money because of the amount of work it takes.
Seems like most of the money is in pulling and putting the engine back in.

First, if you are going to sell it, don't put another dime into it. As 60works said, it won't get you a better price. Half the people looking at these are going to drop a V8 in there anyway. The value to yours is how clean it is.
I understand not putting more money into it if I want to sell, but there is certainly value on the stock side. In this condition with only 156k (if I didn't have the compression problem and the leaks) I could list this truck for 11-15k. If a purist is hunting for a stock 60 I would imagine there would be even more value in an original, rebuilt engine because you could have a vintage vehicle with next to zero of the hidden surprises a 30+ year-old engine can bring, right?

I cannot think of a logical reason to keep a Landcruiser. It's all about love.
So true.

You already mentioned Profits and Redline. Don't overlook Slee off road. They do all kinds of custom work and can probably give you advise on everything from the value of your truck currently to a complete V8 engine swap.
Well, Slee is just a few miles away, but won't work on anything before the 80 series. They are turning 60s away. The others are great and I've chatted extensively with both of them. They are far away, incredibly expensive (but seem to be worth every penny), have 9-month+ waiting lists and can keep the truck for months. I'm not a plastic surgeon with a new toy. It's a daily driver

Fourth, H55 Trans swap. I did that. It makes huge difference in drivability.
I think I have to drive one. I know it's impossible to get too much out of this engine, but I've driven it for 15 years in the right lane (does great at 80+mph on flat highways) - I know what it's about. It's just that driving on inclines - over 7%ish maybe?- is almost dangerous. I might have a top speed of 35mph or less in some areas. I don't want to pass people on steep inclines I just want a confident and steady 55mph. I'm so curious how much impact it will have. Will it be just enough?

Fifth, pretty sure the stuff they spray on the roads in CO is not nearly as bad as salt. If you are going to keep it and put the money into it, use it. Rocks, mud, snow. That's what they are made for. Don't cage the beast in the winter.
Think you're right. I've heard they use sand a lot too and the sodium variety here is far less caustic than the midwest or northeast. I spray down the chassis after every snow. I feel like I can't be stopped in that L4

Sixth, that brown cloud that you can see hanging over Denver on a clear windless day is the problem emissions is trying to solve. There is a purpose for all that crap under the hood. In any case, I live in California so I got it worse than anyone.
When I moved to Morrison by buddy said, "congratulations, you moved out of the brown cloud." Do you have a 3FE passing emissions in Cali? Colorado is about as strict now - the Denver metro area anyway. The emissions tech told me that these things barely met their emissions requirements off the assembly line so it is very difficult to take an older engine and get it to meet its 1988 standards, low as they were.

Sorry for the long rambling post. I've been in your position with the decision on the truck.
Loved this! Thanks very much
 
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I had my 3FE engine rebuilt by Martin Davidson machine shop out here on California 15 years ago.
How did you like it rebuilt? My guess is there isn't an incredible amount of difference, but enough to make you crack a smile. How is it 15 yers later?
 
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How does that work? I've seen a few mentions of the 2F and torque. Doesn't the 3FE beat the 2F in both torque and hp?
yes. But the 3fe makes it’s HP and torque at a higher rpm. The 3fe was designed to be a higher revving engine. It has a shorter stroke which aids in Hp but lowers torque.

the 3fe top end on a 2f gives you a higher compression on the longer stroke block. You also keep your efi and much more efficient intake and exhaust manifolds. You’ll shift your hp and torque curves towards the lower rpm and increase power overall.
 
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60Works

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To answer the mag chloride question:


Mag is worse than sodium in wet conditions. If you read the report you'll notice that most of the test samples were for modern corrosion inhibited alloys and materials. They state that plain cold rolled steel fared poorly (i.e. 1980's Japanese steel used in cars). This bland statement was from a test showing that modern stainless steel was 5-13 times more affected by mag than salt.

Most of the conditions for the highest affection are normal driving conditions in bad weather.

If the CO state legislature has any concerns about how mag affects old cars, it's almost certain that they would prefer that the cars rust out sooner to get non-green cars off the road.
 
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LCnAZ

 
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It is surprising that you are experiencing the problems you are at 156K miles, but...I also don't remember ever driving/pushing our 62 to do 80mph except downhill. Ours was a daily driver for decades, but I knew its limitations. IIRC, it began to really dislike uphill grades at about your mileage. By the 190K region, I was only driving it 65mph on freeways. The frequency of problems and the expense to solve them also began to ramp up about that time.

You are in a tight spot since you want it as a daily driver and have issues of emissions and related that are really expensive to fix. None of that will improve as you continue to use it as a daily driver pushing it pretty hard. I considered a 5-speed conversion and sought out a mud member who had done it and drove his. It is a dramatic difference. But...as someone else mentioned, if the engine is no longer reliable, the change won't help...and you'd spend $7K on the 5-speed conversion if you spent a dime.

I'm not sure that a rebuilt 3FE will handle the hills considerably better than a well-aged one...especially at your elevation. A 5-speed with a reliable 3FE, rebuilt or not, is the only way you are going to do better on the hills, IMHO.

I made it to retirement with our 62 3FE and tranny (rebuilt at 205K), in good shape, but still challenged on significant grades. Taking a look at a V8 conversion along with all the other things on it you've invested, one can easily get into an investment that will begin to approach the cost of a new (or at least used) 4Runner. Sanity steps in on me about that time, and I'm left sticking with the 3FE and A440. But I don't need mine as a daily driver. I can retire mine to restored cream puff collector status.

I hate to be a negative Ned, but you don't have a lot of options. Your vehicle's strongest assets are it's generally good cosmetic condition and relatively low miles. But it's mechanical issues are significant. You sound kind of like me in that I'm not a major wrench turner like so many here on the site. Lots of guys here are serious DIYers and save a ton of money and have fun doing it. I can only do so much.

One option would be to cut your losses by selling and use the funds for a more reliable vehicle. I know that's tough love, but...it's a tough spot. We faced a similar decision before deciding to restore, but the fact that it was not going to be a daily driver any more was the very different variable.

Good luck with your difficult decisions. :confused:
 
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If the CO state legislature has any concerns about how mag affects old cars, it's almost certain that they would prefer that the cars rust out sooner to get non-green cars off the road.
The sort of wink-wink in dealing with the FJs emissions is that they are basically trying to get them - and cars like them - off the road
 
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