FJ62 Advice (h55f? v. Custom Turbo Charger? v. Other Ideas?) (1 Viewer)

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Gonna be honest, I am new to this forum and I am very new when it comes to cars (and in this case FJ62s).

I have a 1989 FJ62 in near original condition. My mom has owned it since 1989 and is now selling it to me. I have held off so long in purchasing it because I live in Colorado and I have been terrified of driving it in its original stat anywhere in the mountains. When I say original state, I mean it. Has 168K miles and all original parts.

I have started researching ways to make this cruiser and every day cruiser. I went down the path of a potential engine swap (GM 5.7L Vortec) but have since re-thought this decision. I am now trying to figure out how to keep this car in as close to original form as possible while still making it fun/easy to drive on I-70.

My current thought process is one of the following 2 ideas:
- Purchase a h55f transmission and transform into a 5 speed manual. No extra HP here, but I have read it would make a significant difference (on top of this get some enhancement work done on the engine)
- (Have yet to find someone who can do this) Have a custom turbo charge built and installed

On top of this I am also planning on putting a 2-3 inch lift, updating the suspension and getting larger tires.

This is really all the truck needs at this point.

I am looking to keep the total cost (excluding the purchase of the vehicle) under $10k.

I was hoping some of y'all might have some advice/opinions on what you think the best approach here would be and if you might be able to point me in the direction of someone who could build a custom turbo charger?

Also, I am really curious as to if y'all think the h55f would make this truck driver friendly in Colorado?

Thanks for the help in advance! Really appreciate it and I am really looking forward to getting more involved with this community and learning as much as I can.
 

macdaddy59

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before you do anything. Drive it for 6 months and get a feel for what it can and cannot do before you start throwing money and different parts on it. If I had an original FJ62 with 168K on it i would drive it for the next 10 years doing regular maintenance until I reached 300K and then figure out what upgrade I wanted,
 
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before you do anything. Drive it for 6 months and get a feel for what it can and cannot do before you start throwing money and different parts on it. If I had an original FJ62 with 168K on it i would drive it for the next 10 years doing regular maintenance until I reached 300K and then figure out what upgrade I wanted,
I should have clarified. This is the truck I drove for 2 years in High School (I still drive it a few times a year when I visit my parents in Dallas). I know for sure that I would not want this truck in Colorado as is. The only way I will be buying it from them is if I can feel confident the updates I make to it are enough to not make me anxious every weekend I drive it up into the Rockies.
 

tmxmotorsports

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Larger tires and the pass up into summit county is going to over heat the transmission in no time i got passed by everything going around 35mph almost pulled over and put it in low lock my 62 was weighted down with tools amd all my snowboarding gear your not going to be able to keep up with any kind of traffic.
 
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Larger tires and the pass up into summit county is going to over heat the transmission in no time i got passed by everything going around 35mph almost pulled over and put it in low lock my 62 was weighted down with tools amd all my snowboarding gear your not going to be able to keep up with any kind of traffic.
Was this with the h55f?
 

Cruiserdrew

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before you do anything. Drive it for 6 months and get a feel for what it can and cannot do before you start throwing money and different parts on it. If I had an original FJ62 with 168K on it i would drive it for the next 10 years doing regular maintenance until I reached 300K and then figure out what upgrade I wanted,

This is absolutely the only right answer. Get to know the truck. The FJ62 is very sensitive to tire/gear combos. If you increase the size of the tires, the tranny will be out of it's sweet spot and you'll hate it. And the tranny will run hot which will kill it. If you run 33s, you'll want 4.88s in the diffs. Just the way it is. I'd stay stock for now. Your future self will thank you. I'd probably replace the shocks with new ones from Toyota (cheap, great quality) and nothing else. Do not change the tire size until you know what you're doing. Trust me on this.

H55f is really good. Changes the nature of the truck. It will still be slow uphill. You're looking at a heavy vehicle with 155HP when it was new. It also changes the gearing equation. An H55f with 33s and stock differential gearing will feel normal. THis is a great combo. It's still slow uphill and at altitude. I've had mine to 11,000 feet and it's OK, but it's slow. Learn to embrace this as OK. I have literally climbed the steep east side of Sonora pass in 2nd gear. This is normal.

This is not a modern car. It is 30 or more years old. It is way down on power. Do not try and flog it to be something it isn't. Do not turbo it, don't do stupid 1 off mods.

This is a unique ride, but if you can't deal with the power and frankly, lumber truck handling issues, you will never be happy. Embrace what it is. If you want an SUV with modern power, braking and handling, buy a new 4 Runner.

If you want power, an LS swap will give it to you, but a turn key swap will be huge money ($20K) and I'd only do that if the stock motor had a fatal problem.

If I were you, I'd baseline the fluids, change the shocks, and get better (but same size) tires than your mom has. You're buying an awesome machine, but don't try and make it fit your millennial expectations. You need to look at it as a dinosaur vehicle that still works. The basic chassis was designed in 1966 (or 1926!). Respect it for what it is.
 
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bottombracket

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Agree with everything @Cruiserdrew says. I have a very clean FJ62 with a desmogged 3FE and an h55....and it's exactly as described. It will easily drive 65-75 on the flats here in Austin, but as soon as I hit a decent hill I'm shifting to 4th or 3rd. And if I was at altitude...even slower.

If it is a well preserved, low mile TX truck in good shape, appreciate it for what it is and don't expect to be able to turn it into something it isn't...unless you throw $20-30k at it or $15k if you drop an LS or Toyota turbodiesel in it yourself. If that is in the cards for you...awesome. I'm waiting in line for a 1HDFT in my 60 and building a 70 series pickup with the same motor, so I'm neck deep in projects that make old trucks faster than what they were from the factory.

Keep us posted and show us some pics.
 

CenTXFJ60

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You have received some solid advice. If you choose to keep it as is (which it does not sound like it), then the H55 is the way to go. As folks above stated, you'll still have to down shift on the serious grades and passes. And as Drew stated...33's are the sweet spot with the stock gearing and an H55. I've done one of these conversions and can vouch for the improvement. Plus you're keeping it Toyota and IMO increasing the value quite a bit over the stock auto set up. and it sounds like this is a very nice original example. If you decide to go down the route of a 5-speed, I'd recommend my son as a potential mechanic to do this for you. His mud name is @mcguirejohnson and he works at a local shop in the Old Town section of Fort Collins. I'm sure he'd be excited about supporting a local MUD member and earning a side job as well. If this is something you want to tackle yourself, there's plenty of resources and information here on MUD that can guide you through the process. Good luck and look forward to seeing what you end up doing with this family truck.
Jimmy
 
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Super helpful input above. I understand what y’all are saying. With putting in a H55F, understanding that climbs will still be slower on I-70, is this truck, with good hands on maintenance, going to hold up for years to come going up into the mountains every other weekend? I can deal with going slow on passes, but will it be durable enough to take that beating over and over?
 
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Super helpful input above. I understand what y’all are saying. With putting in a H55F, understanding that climbs will still be slower on I-70, is this truck, with good hands on maintenance, going to hold up for years to come going up into the mountains every other weekend? I can deal with going slow on passes, but will it be durable enough to take that beating over and over?
Also, what does the gas mileage look like with the H55F, 33s and stock gearing set up in Colorado?
 

CenTXFJ60

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Super helpful input above. I understand what y’all are saying. With putting in a H55F, understanding that climbs will still be slower on I-70, is this truck, with good hands on maintenance, going to hold up for years to come going up into the mountains every other weekend? I can deal with going slow on passes, but will it be durable enough to take that beating over and over?
Yes this set up will take the beating. Also, the 3FE is great as you don't have to worry about potential carb issues when changing elevation. Can't help with the fuel mileage. I'm sure it's a little better than what the automatic offers but it's still going to fairly low #'s.
 

Cruiserdrew

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Highway driving is fairly decent for a Land Cruiser. You'll likely get 12-15mpg. When I do the long drive down 395 I've seen as high as 17mpg. In town, with the automatic, you'll be lucky to get 10mpg. It will be a little better if you swap to the H55f. Gas mileage is not a strong point of any Land Cruiser and we tend not to discuss it.

The A440 transmission is very durable, it's just power sucking black hole around town. On the road, because of the overdrive lock up, it's just like the 5th gear of the H55. You can help it live longer by adding an external transmission cooler.

The motor will be plenty durable. Very common to see 3FEs get to 300k or more, they just get there at their own pace. You have to adapt to it, not the other way around.

But again, get this from your mom and drive it as is for 1 year. Do the baselining-full tune including new spark wires, distributor cap/rotor, new brakes, drain and replace ALL the fluids. Rebuild the knuckles and get new tie-rod ends. Fix all the leaks. Once it's back to baseline, and you know the truck, then it's time to consider what mods you want. My guess is, that while maybe mom garaged it, she likely didn't really do much serious maintenance beyond oil changes. They run so well for so long, most non-enthusiast types just ignore them until something breaks.
 

bottombracket

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^ This. All of this.

My previous 62 got 10.5 mpg in mixed town/highway driving no matter what. With the current h55/desmogged 62, I’m averaging 12 mpg, and the previous owner said he was averaging a consistent 14 mpg. I’m probably just having too much fun keeping up with modern traffic. Or trying to.

Also, I am on true 33”s with stock gearing.
 
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Having driven my FJ62 for 5 years, if you're going up into the mountains of Colo. every other weekend, you need a 3rd gen 4Runner with a 5 speed, or a 4th gen with a v8. Drive the '62 around town and to work and don't try to make it an 'everything' vehicle.

An H55 conversion will cost $4-5K, and won't increase horsepower. I cannot tow anything with my FJ62, and don't have heavy bumpers and tools in it. I live at 7000' and it's just a dog - that's the way it is. If you don't mind hanging out with the air cooled VWs in the right lane, then go for it.
 

mcguirejohnson

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5 spd with a 3f does feel a lot better than the boat anchor auto. You won’t be getting that front row parking spot at the ski lots with the Audi’s and Subaru’s if you leave at the same time. But that’s why you gotta leave an hour early, turn on some good tunes and roll up in style.
 

FJBen

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Welcome, pictures man! Post some pictures!

I had an FJ62 in Colorado. It was slow. Slow down and enjoy life. :cool:
No turbo, no irreversible mods.
 

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