Builds "Haru the HJ61" - Adventure and Build Thread (1 Viewer)

Joined
Jan 23, 2019
Messages
40
Location
Utah
My name is Dave and I just picked up a 1989 JDM HJ61 with 12HT Engine a couple of weeks ago.

I am probably going to have quite a few questions, and want some feedback/suggestions on various things, so I will use this thread for that, and welcome any suggestions or comments.

The lowdown:
98K miles
12HT Turbo Diesel Engine
5 speed
High Roof
VX model with rad 80's carpet interior and "turbo" sewn seats
Does not have factory cable lockers (You were gonna ask!)
2.5" Pro Comp Lift
PTO winch and front bumper that doubles as both a picnic table and a battering ram for the zombie apocalypse
Rear step bumper with Weird hitch - maybe used to pull whales out of the ocean?

It's named "Haru", which means sunshine/springtime in Japanese. Also, if you've ever seen Beverly Hills Ninja with Chris Farley... if not, do it! Some (legally purchased) cannabis would probably make the experience even more awesome. Try it, and thank me later.

The first modifications Haru is going to get:
Stripe Kit - I have the decals already, going to get them applied this week. I LOVE 60 series with decals!
New tires - Right now it has 31x10.5 Duelers that are about 8 years old. Probably going with 33x10.5 BFG KO2's but can't decide for sure yet. Also can't decide if I want to keep the rims on it, or change them out.
Roof Rack and Rooftop Tent - still deciding what brand and style. Gonna make this rig lots of fun for camping with the kids.

It is in great shape, very well maintained and no rust problems. Needs a few new door seals, replacement weather stripping on the fenders, and small things like that. I was going to immediately take off the clamp-on plastic window tint attachments from the front windows, but have left them on for now... They are kinda ugly but kinda JDM cool at the same time, and they actually do a really good job of limiting the direct sunlight that comes in. So for now, they stay.

First impressions: The 12HT is an incredible engine. I love the way it sounds and drives. RHD is no big deal at all. Getting used to it really quick. Granted, if I could snap my fingers and change it to LHD, I would. Really glad it is a manual. Love the way it is geared. It's a beast going up steep hills.

I will use this as my daily driver a lot of the time, with lots of trips out to the Utah west desert, Moab area, western Colorado, and beyond.

Here are some photos of Haru when it was at the port in Japan, awaiting shipment.

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Joined
Jan 23, 2019
Messages
40
Location
Utah
First little taste of adventure was last weekend. I went with a friend from work that has a 100 series. We drove out to the Pony Express trail that goes through Simpson Springs in the Utah west desert, then onto the Dugway geode beds. Got something around 20 mpg which is awesome. Had a picnic lunch, explored around, and found some geodes! The kids loved it.


A mountain biking trip to Fruita, CO may happen this weekend if I don't have too much other stuff going on.

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Joined
Dec 16, 2015
Messages
485
Location
Arizona
Nice ride.. looks like we have a damn near identical HJ61 mine just does not have that sweet 2tone paint. If it was me I would leave the stickers off of it and go as is.

Get all your preventive maintenance squared away first if you have not already. Change all your fluids make sure your axles have been rebuilt/serviced. My slave cylinder went out on my clutch but that's the only thing I actually had to fix so far. diesel 24v section will be your friend when it comes to the 12HT.
 
Joined
Jan 23, 2019
Messages
40
Location
Utah
What's that bar under the rear bumper?

Good question, it's fugly for sure. I'll be removing it here shortly. Here is a better pic... (see below)

Nice ride.. looks like we have a damn near identical HJ61 mine just does not have that sweet 2tone paint. If it was me I would leave the stickers off of it and go as is.

Get all your preventive maintenance squared away first if you have not already. Change all your fluids make sure your axles have been rebuilt/serviced. My slave cylinder went out on my clutch but that's the only thing I actually had to fix so far. diesel 24v section will be your friend when it comes to the 12HT.

Haha it's GOTTA have the decals! They look awesome. I am half done with them already, finishing the job tomorrow and I'll post pics. Just wait... Thanks for the suggestions as well.

the rear hitch is called a pintle hook, we do see more of them in Japan. congrats on the hj61! the 12h-t makes the most gratifying tractor motor sound ever.

You are right it really does sound like a tractor. I am really liking this motor.

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Joined
Jan 23, 2019
Messages
40
Location
Utah
Decals applied, and 33x10.5 BFG KO2's put on. Really happy with how this is coming along so far.

Really needs the running boards removed, and all the junk below the rear bumper.
Roof rack and rooftop tent coming up pretty soon!

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Joined
Jan 23, 2019
Messages
40
Location
Utah
That's a good looking rig!

Thanks Casey! I still need to get down to your place to check out your rig. And I still have a lot of questions for you.

Great looking 60 series.

Where did you get the decals?

Thanks.

I originally ordered decals from Yota Imports, DO NOT DO THIS. They sent me an incomplete set, 1 of the decals was cut through with a razor blade, and another was bent in half from careless packing. After over 2 months of back and forth, broken promises, and a fake tracking number, I still didn't have a complete decal set and had to dispute my paypal payment and return for a refund.

I ordered the set I actually used from cruiserworld.eu - Maarten was highly responsive to emails, shipped very quickly, and the quality of the decals is awesome. I could not be happier. 2 thumbs up to Cruiserworld.eu . I did make a few changes, by not using the decals for the front fenders, and finding an OEM looking "turbo" decal on ebay for the sides.
 
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Joined
Jan 23, 2019
Messages
40
Location
Utah
Got an eez-awn roof rack from Equipt Outfitters in Salt Lake, another thumbs up for that transaction. Paul at Equipt was very responsive to emails and calls and got me set up really quickly. I picked up a used Tepui tent from the local classifieds, and Haru is now a perfect family camping rig. I took the kids out last weekend, to the San Rafael Swell area of central Utah. Here are some pics. No question, a rooftop tent is a kids dream come true, the perfect play fort. Just today I took off the running boards, I'll have to post pics of it without running boards later. Give me a day or two. For now here are some camping pics:

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Joined
Jun 24, 2014
Messages
481
Location
Western Australia
How do the 33’s go compared to the 31’s? Any noticeable drop in power or braking?
I am keen to do the same, but am concerned about changing how well it toes my boat...
 
Joined
Jan 23, 2019
Messages
40
Location
Utah
How do the 33’s go compared to the 31’s? Any noticeable drop in power or braking?
I am keen to do the same, but am concerned about changing how well it toes my boat...

I don't really notice any difference. I have a MT though, I imagine any difference would be a lot more noticeable with AT.
 
Joined
Jan 17, 2005
Messages
5,465
Location
Southern Colorado
I love everything about that model except that diving platform on the front end. Do people who use their trucks hard in ditches and crevices remove that 'thing'? I expect that it would kill your approach angle and hang up on everything!

Neat photos and story - and a righteous ride!
 
Joined
Jan 23, 2019
Messages
40
Location
Utah
Yeah, I am probably going to remove the front porch bumper. Will replace with a ARB bumper or similar (probably not ARB, I think that one's overkill and heavy). A lower profile one like the 4+. I will have to research a bit more and see what all is out there before I decide. I am probably not going to replace the rear step bumper, as this is more of a camping and mountain biking rig I want to have easy access to the back. Just yesterday I replaced the pintle hook hitch with a bolt on 2" receiver hitch, so now my bike rack good to go! I also removed the running boards. Looks way better with them gone.

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Joined
May 15, 2005
Messages
8,835
Location
Ladysmith
Nice rig! The 12HT is a great motor. I don’t understand why you had to remove the running boards.
Probably never come close to hitting them. If I was closer I’d come down and take them off your hands
 

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