Builds Grumble Deluxe

Joined
Aug 11, 2012
Messages
119
Location
Los Angeles, CA
Team Mud-

In early 2011 I travelled to Greenland for a holiday, and while there had the opportunity to drive a diesel Cruiser and instantly fell in love.

Fast forward through a year and a half of travel and a relocation from Vancouver to Sacramento, and I finally stabilized almost enough to start to hunt one down for myself in mid 2012. I'm not sure what exactly I drove in Greenland, I guess probably a 70 but of what is available in North America I like the looks and temperament of the 60 the best and began my search. A little research and I learned that diesels were never imported into the US, but were available in the Canadian market. Damn.

Thanks to my ridiculous travel schedule and the logistics of buying an HJ60 here, I ended up getting an FJ60 off Craigslist at short notice:

DSC02642.jpg

This turned out to be (the start of a long and ongoing) a learning experience. My background is fairly technical, but I've got no significant experience wrenching on engines. I could tell that the frame and body were sound, but didn't realize what a mess it is to smog a 2F. Searching on mud led me to Georg at Valley Hybrids in Stockton who saved my ass and got this thing legal. Also being new to the US and California, I didn't realize that smog is supposed to be the seller's responsibility, but by that time I'd already misplaced his contact info and was off on another lengthy business trip..

Midway through all of this process, I learn from a friend in Vancouver that another friend's dad has a diesel 60 that he'd never sell. I thought I'd best ask anyway, and as it turned out, he was looking for a reason to sell so he can get a new car (also something diesel). And for a bonus, it not only had the 2H but also the H55F in it. Another few months went by in which awkward negotiations ensued by phone, and finally I arranged to pick the vehicle up over Christmas holidays.

Grumble Deluxe Front PO.jpg
Grumble Deluxe Rear PO.jpg

The PO has owned the car since '86, and has put 280k km (174k mi) on in the interim. I can't tell if he bought it new or from someone who had it a few months, but I'm effectively the second owner. The PO was fastidious about maintaining the vehicle in some respects, but a bit .. quirky in others. The above pics are from a few years ago, just after it had been repainted a slightly darker metallic blue from the stock colour. Everything feels solid and basically new in comparison to the '85 FJ60, which already beats my expectations for a 28 year old vehicle with 300k mi on the clock. As far as I can tell, it was garaged its whole life and used as a mall cruiser. I think there were grand plans of expeditions that never materialized, but are about to :D

My previous Vancouver car was a '92 BMW 525it wagon in a similar dark metallic blue. Thanks to a distinctive sound due to a hole in the exhaust somewhere, my girlfriend nicknamed it Grumble. Since this HJ60 is easily as noisy as Grumble and already has an orange G on the side, Grumble Deluxe is born =)

Time to start the ridiculousness!
 
Joined
Aug 11, 2012
Messages
119
Location
Los Angeles, CA
Christmas day 2012 Grumble Deluxe prepares for relocation to the US:

DSC02454.jpg

I'd read up on importing HJ60s to the US and California, and it seemed like everyone has a different story. Mine goes like this:

Me: Hi, I'm driving home to Sacramento on an H1B, and I've been told that if I want to bring a personal vehicle with me I need to import it somehow...
CBP: You can do all the paperwork now if you really want, or you can just drive it on in and register it later if you end up staying.
Me: ...

Since me and the CBP have a hard time seeing eye to eye at the best of times, I thought I'd best take advantage of this and just not ask any questions. So after a lovely drive down the coast I now find myself in CA with an HJ60 and so far no concerns about US import or CA import/registration. I guess it'll hit the fan at some point, but better to deal with it then, right?
 
Joined
Aug 11, 2012
Messages
119
Location
Los Angeles, CA
A rough plan

My goal so far is to build up an expedition vehicle. While I'd like to hit some of the local trails (the Rubicon is calling), I don't expect to get too crazy into the rock crawling, at least in this thing. I recently spent 16 months driving around the US in an S2000 and I'm itching to go again, but a little more offroad and self-supported this time (though I am impressed at how well the S2000 managed on the fire and hydro roads I flung it through, the trunk is the size of an overhead bin minus under the seat in front of you). Who knows if the opportunity will present again to get enough freedom to do so, but I'd like to be ready for it if it does.

The essentials:
2012-09-21 14.40.10-2.jpg

A rough plan in no particular order:

Turbo (done, Turbo Glide w/ 3" exhaust)
Long range tank (done, MAF)
Untangle aftermarket wiring
Fix cancer spots (rear wheel wells & arches)
OME/ARB lift
33" BFG A/T on some sort of wheels
3.73 -> 4.11 gears to match the tires
Lockers while the gears are being done
Onboard air
Winch & tire carrier bumpers, sliders and skid plates
A/C (yep, A/C is mostly optional in Canada, mostly required in central Cali)
Bunch of interior upgrades: new seats, redo cargo area, probably be tempted way too much by wagon gear =P

The turbo and tank are in, but haven't had time to put a full tank through yet to know what sort of range I'll be getting. Suspension parts and bumpers should be at the shop already. Georg is doing much of the heavy lifting while I'm out of town on **** extended business travel. I'd like to do more of the work myself but (a) I don't have much in the way of shop space here and (b) I get so few weekends in town I'd rather spend them behind the wheel than covered in bloody knuckles.
 
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hj 60

JT1W0HJ6000960839
Joined
Aug 1, 2012
Messages
2,535
Location
Netherlands Hengevelde
That is a cool motor, so now you have the gasoline for sale?
I dont know about smog and diesel but overhere the diesel "smog" test is a particle test at full throttle 3 seconds (about the longest 3 seconds of the year)
So if you go for the proper maintenance it should pass and I have been told HJ60 never fails the test (or they are seriously beaten up/broken)
You underestimate bloody knuckles :hillbilly: it is a must you do birfields/knuckles yourself...
 
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Joined
Aug 11, 2012
Messages
119
Location
Los Angeles, CA
Unwired

I've spent most of the last week pulling out about a million miles of dodgy wiring put in by the PO. There are butt connectors adding up 6" sections of wire into something longer, a lot of stripped wire with another wire wrapped around it and then electrical taped, and wires wrapped around screws to ground things. Ugh. If you're going to do something sketchy, at least use a T-tap. It's taken me a while to figure out the mix of 12v and 24v running around this vehicle, but I think I'll get it sorted eventually.

The cigarette lighter in this vehicle is 24v. I tried plugging a USB adaptor in and it didn't work, I thought because the adaptor was only intended for 12v. On closer inspection, it turns out the lighter was just rewired internally to ... I'm not sure where. Something to do with a relay and the radio I think.

There was a snake oil electronic rust prevention gadget that I pulled out (this vehicle has some rust, so clearly it didn't work), and the one useful addition that just needs to be wired back in cleanly is a 12v equalizer so you can center tap up to 20A off the battery stack without monkeying them up (also works for charging, so I can charge both batteries off a 12v solar system).

2013-03-02 14.56.46.jpg
2013-03-02 17.11.20.jpg
 
Joined
Aug 11, 2012
Messages
119
Location
Los Angeles, CA
That is a cool motor, so now you have the gasoline for sale?
Yep, and also the '68 Eldorado.. Too many projects on the go =) PM if you want to buy either :D

DSC02662.jpg
DSC02661.jpg

I dont know about smog and diesel but overhere the diesel "smog" test is a particle test at full throttle 3 seconds (about the longest 3 seconds of the year)
So if you go for the proper maintenance it should pass and I have been told HJ60 never fails the test (or they are seriously beaten up/broken)
I believe the test is similar here. I need to get a boost gauge and pyro on, I don't think I'm going to be passing anything with the current tune on the turbo at full throttle..

You underestimate bloody knuckles :hillbilly: it is a must you do birfields/knuckles yourself...
I've heard this.. I was going to get Georg to put some Longfields in while he's at it, but I suppose I should just carry them in the back and go break one on purpose to get that rite of passage done with =P
 
Joined
Aug 11, 2012
Messages
119
Location
Los Angeles, CA
Been a while since I've updated here. I've completed a few more things on the original plan, and re-prioritized some.

Completed:

  • Turbo (Turbo Glide w/ 3" exhaust)
  • Long range tank (MAF 38ga)
  • Untangle aftermarket wiring
  • Cibie lenses
  • OME/ARB lift, 4plus u-bolt flip
  • 4plus winch & tire carrier bumpers
  • 33" BFG A/T on some OG steel powdered white
  • 3.73 -> 4.11 gears to match the tires
  • ARB front & rear air lockers
  • 24V ExtremeAire Magnum eBay find
  • Tuffy console
  • DIN panel gauge plate
  • Blown third member bearing
  • Blown water pump
  • Warn XD9000
  • stainlesstrays & Die Hard AGM

Still to go:

  • Sliders
  • Cargo & sleep system
  • Wagongear front seat box
  • Overhead console retrofit
  • Boost, EGT & oil temp gauge install
  • Clean up large gauge wiring in the bay
  • Replace ash tray with OAT display
  • Replace dash cubby with aux switch panel
  • Olivewood shift knobs
  • Auxiliary lighting
  • CB/HAM radio
  • Frame and body swap
  • A/C (yep, A/C is mostly optional in Canada, mostly required in central Cali)
  • Bunch of interior upgrades: new seats, redo cargo area, probably be tempted way too much by wagon gear =P

Massive thanks to Georg at Valley Hybrids for all the help on stuff I don't have the tools or space (or time) to do on my own. This guy is the real.

Now that the wagon's been in CA for a year I needed to change the registration over. I took it to the airport to fill out the federal paperwork. The guy just said "fill in as much of this as you can" and stamped and signed it without looking at the vehicle. The physical inspection lady at the DMV wrote down "gasoline" as the motive fuel, and the guys at the counter were friendly and helpful. I've currently got a temporary paper in the rear window, my paperwork is off to technical compliance (mostly because the registration paperwork from BC is combined with the insurance which confounds everyone who is expecting a separate pink slip) and I appear to nominally be registered here.

Been enjoying the hell out of exploring California in this thing. I need to get the turbo dialled in once gauges are working, but from here on it's mostly cosmetics. Oh, and eventually probably replace the frame and some chunks of the body that are rusted all to hell.
 

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Joined
Aug 11, 2012
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Location
Los Angeles, CA
Start of the gauge install with a GaugePlates single DIN panel that was widened a bit to fit the ??? Toyota single DIN space. I opted to go for the Stack Pro Control gauges. I'm hoping that the programmable warning set points works out well. Within normal range they should match the green illumination of the rest of the dash. When they're over range they'll change to red and I'll see if I can wire the outputs through to a buzzer so I get an alert even if I don't have my eyes on them all the time.

Also picked up a set of JIS drivers by Vessel so I can take this thing apart without stripping any of the screw heads more than they already are.
 

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Joined
Oct 24, 2012
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1,044
Great rig, great upgrades, but I want more specs and pics of the El Dorado.
 

The Machinist

making random stuff with cool machines
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Nov 10, 2011
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San Jose
Joined
Aug 11, 2012
Messages
119
Location
Los Angeles, CA
Great rig, great upgrades, but I want more specs and pics of the El Dorado.
Hope this isn't too off topic..

Eldorado sold last spring, but it was a '68 body on a ~'72 Suburban frame & running gear (TH350/NP203) with a ~'70 SS396 LS3 in it from a Chevelle. Dual 3" exhaust and no mufflers set off car alarms in a 2 block radius =)

Always meant to take her up to Prairie City to see if I could break the body free from the frame, I don't think it would have taken much coercion.

More pictures here:

http://ritchie.tumblr.com/tagged/superbite
 

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Joined
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119
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Los Angeles, CA
Nice setup mate, I'd like to know more about what's happening with that jeep,who pulling who:) now that's blasphemous
Look at the sky, I'm pointing down hill!

The jeep was a Rubicon edition, factory locked on 31" BFG A/Ts. For some reason the driver didn't want to air down, even though I offered to air him up again when he got to the top. The sand was pretty loose so I came down to anchor for a pull. There were about 5 fairly stock jeeps waiting around to go down so we had a good crowd on, and they were all super impressed when I backed up out of there (did have to drop from 20psi the rest of the way down to 15 to get it to go). After this guy got unstuck I ran it up no problem no lockers needed.

Don't worry, I was representing for the team =)
 
Joined
Oct 24, 2012
Messages
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Great bloggy twitter thing, the Caddy was amazing. Did you take it to the Portland Swap meet? I saw a hashtag. If you're up this way with the cruiser holler, holding a $500 or less road rally this summer, Caddy would have been allowed despite it's obvious value disparity.
 
Joined
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Messages
119
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Los Angeles, CA
Great bloggy twitter thing, the Caddy was amazing. Did you take it to the Portland Swap meet? I saw a hashtag. If you're up this way with the cruiser holler, holding a $500 or less road rally this summer, Caddy would have been allowed despite it's obvious value disparity.
Sadly no, Caddy is sold and also wasn't really cut out for long road trips.

I'll be up for the swap meet in April, you going?
 
Joined
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Messages
119
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Los Angeles, CA
Been a while with no updates on this project, in the interim I changed jobs and relocated from Sacramento to LA. Will have a fixed address again in July and can start working on the wagon again.

After 5 months, the CA DMV finally came through with new papers, a month after the temporary registration expired :p Cost me a bonus $30 late fee for that one. They were supposed to mail plates too, but apparently forgot or lost them or something. Rather than try to hunt them down, I just paid the replacement fee of $20 to get it over with, and for $150 in finishing costs this thing is finally legit in CA as an HJ60. All in all, I think it was either $250 or $450 in fees to import. Not bad at all compared to some of the horror stories over in that importing-diesels-to-CA-horror-story thread..

And of course Murphy's law kicks in the perfect timing on getting things registered and legit, Georg has found a donor frame and body to swap into something less rusty so I don't have to keep building on top of cancer.. So once that's done I guess it's registration dance all over again, and it'll be back to a swapped FJ VIN.
 
Joined
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Messages
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Los Angeles, CA
Haven't swapped the cancer spots yet, but did take advantage of some overcast and rain to get out into the Mojave during what should be a brutally hot time of year, was a perfect low 80s the whole weekend. I love the scale of the rocks out there.

DSC06329.jpg
 
Joined
Aug 11, 2012
Messages
119
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Los Angeles, CA
Small update, I'm finally underway on the frame and body swap.

I spent a couple of weekends in December swapping all of the 24V electrical from the HJ to the FJ. Given availability of donor vehicles if I was to do this again I might try to stay with the same revision - enough seems to have changed from 84 to 86 to be annoying. There are some different mounting spots under the dash, hole in the tunnel changed, the front seat mounting points have changed a bunch, sub harnesses are different (though that might just be a 12-24V thing, I dunno). For future reference, the rear glass defrost is indeed 24V from the HJ (two 12V defrost in series) so I'll have to move that over. The electrical hookup is slightly different on the top lid itself, again not sure if that was an 84-86 thing or a 12-24v. In any case I'll probably end up with both rear doors from the HJ when everything is done. It's been an interesting job pulling everything out of both vehicles, comparing the two parts, and determining which is the cleaner (or more 24V) of the two to put back in. Needless to say I've ended up with way more bolts left over than I started with :p

Below the waterline Georg has been busy: we did an Advance Adapters 4:1 low range kit since the t-case was leaking and needed to be pulled apart anyway. Injectors got a rebuild while the engine is out, adding some 4plus sliders to go with the 4plus bumpers that I already had, 2H motor mounts swapped over, clutch is off for replacement plates, and the frame is ready to go out for galvanizing because if I've already got it this far apart, I might as well not lose another one to rust. Only major thing left to source is an A/C compressor bracket for the 2H since mine didn't come with one.

Looking forward to getting this all buttoned up and back into the desert!


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