High performance 2F engine a good idea for S. American odyssey?

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Mar 2, 2006
I'm preparing my '87 fj60 for an epic trip through Central and South America, and maybe even back. I expect to drive 20-30K miles when all is said and done. In an effort to both enjoy the driving more and save on gas costs I've been considering doing some performance mods to my 2F engine ala man-a-fre (increased compression, headers, exhaust, etc.) but I'm wondering if that's really a good idea. Considering the mileage I intend to rack up as well as the price of fuel in Latin America, the improved gas mileage would probably justify a lot of the cost of the work. My main concern is that if I go with the high compression/high performance 2F it looks like I'd need to use higher grade fuel, which isn't even available in a lot of countries down south, and where it is available it's so expensive I'd have to sell the truck to pay for it. What's the real story on having to use high octane gas for a high compression engine? What happens if I have to put low grade crappola in there?

Any other sage advice on 2F modifications and on travel to S. America in an fj60 would be appreciated.

Low octane fuel in a high compression engine will cause some detonation which could lead to engine failure. Don't spend the money on "high performance" modifications on the 2F. The Land Cruiser's world-wide reputation was built on the toughness and simplicity of stock Land Cruisers. Keep it stock and forget about it... I would however, recommend maybe a desmog with removal of your catalytic converter. Just my opinion... and a lot of overlanders, too!
How exactly does a high performance 2F get better milage?

It'll get even worse if you do as you say by "enjoying the drive" more and put your foot into it.

Unless you're planning on driving the scenic 4+ lane divided highways central and south America are known for, you're going to want a completely stock rebuild. The high performance modifications bring the power band up a bit and that's not what you're going to be using.

The only thing I see *maybe* benefitting you would be shaving the head/putting in higher compression pistons. But even stateside you have to be wary what gas you put in, that could be a real headache out in the sticks.
when are you going what is your itinerary? Do you have a blog with this trip planned? It sounds like a similar idea I have had for a while but have not started to investigate it yet. Give a shout if you care to discuss, et3surge@bellsouth.net
good luck.
By the way there is another guy who now lives in Costa Rica who has done a similar trip but he never came back, SandCruiser is his name here in the forums.
BAd idea, the reason these motors last so long is due to the low performance.

a high perf motor is a lot more picky on what it eats...
Thanks for the responses, and thank you for the welcome PabloCruise. I am in Boulder. I have been to S. America before - Peru, Ecuador and Bolivia, but only for a few weeks. I quit my job and have plenty of money saved up to stay down there a good long while. I have no itinerary, that is part of the beauty of the trip. I will go wherever I hear is good.

I'm getting the impression that messing with the compression at all would not be a good idea and that keeping the engine as stock as possible would be the best preparation for this kind of trip since the fj60 and 2F engine were designed for the harsh type of environments I will encounter. However, I really need to do something about my gas mileage (currently 10mpg) and would really appreciate a little more power on those high mountain passes, especially considering how loaded the truck will be.
I've got a bunch of accessories for the truck -winch, ARB bull bar, extra leaf suspension, locking lug nuts, dual batteries, beefed up alternator and radiator, hood lock, 1/4" steel lock boxes and a large steel cabinet for storage, security system with ignition kill, Hella lights, an amazing sound system, and even a heated shower system. I'm planning on building a swing away tire carrier and roof rack (as soon as I repair the roof skin which is rotted out). But I haven't done any work on the engine and am looking forward to other suggestions. How big a difference would a rebuilt or new performance carb make? What about new headers? Any other suggestions?? Diesel is not an option at this point. It would have been perfect, but I couldn't find a diesel vehicle for a good price when I made my truck purchase and I already have this vehicle filled with useful (and expensive) accessories.
If you are only getting 120 mpg you need a tune up and perhaps a refresh on the carb...

Probably just a tuneup.
Advent said:
How exactly does a high performance 2F get better milage?

Increased compression is practically free power/effeciency if you have the octane to use it. A less restrictive exhaust boosts effeciency as well as power at no detriment. A cam change can make the engine more effecient as well as more powerful in the rpm ranges that you will se while on the highway.

I have seen a 2F go from 13 on the highway to 16 after a cam/compression/intake.carb/header treatment.

But that assumes that you drive it gently.

For the money it is worth getting a good carb rebuilt done.I would stick with the OEM carb though. A good tuneup should help you get the mileage up some.

Few Questions:

What is the shape of your engine?
Does it burn a lot of oil?
Have you done a compression test?
What size tires are you running?
Have you changed the diff gears?
I bought the MAF hi-po engine a couple months ago and so far I'm pretty happy with it much more power not quite a V8 but it def. get's going on the road. I recently got my carb back from Jim C. and it runs even better. Click on the link below and read about it. Good luck.

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Here in Central America diesel is less expensive that regular or premium gas but even so regular gas is not radically different in price from home and premium is widely available everywhere I've been. There should be someone most anywhere in Central America that can get parts and fix the "F/2F" engine. The Japanese engines are MUCH better supported in Central America than the US engines like a 350 for instance. You will want to ensure that your truck is in good shape for Mexico as it's probably the one country that might be hard to get 'Cruiser parts in.
I'd avoid any special aftermarket stuff if you don't want to wait if something fails.
If I were you, I would read up on Jim C or mark of Mark's Off Road on their carb rebuilding services.

Jim will also rebuild your distributor and match the carb and dizzy to your altitude/mods/etc...

The you can re-install, set timing, set valve lash, tune-up, and head for SA!
I concur with PabloCruise. A good, well tuned 2F - even with the smog equipment on it - can get well over 15 MPG. A head and carb rebuild, new plug wires, plugs, and attention to the overall system should get you easily over 15MPG. Jim C on this board will help you tune the 2F for more power/efficiency.

Dude .. you are in the right place ..

Feel fre to contact me if you need help here in Panamá.

we have actual ( today ) prices about gas 95 oct 2.50 per galon and diesel 2.18 per galon ..

So I thought your best bet are Diesel engine .. but gas is fine .. maybe a header is a nice upgrade without problems .. and DUI distributor, but keep your factory always.
You'll have a hard time cost-justifying any mod on a mpg basis. E.g. if you're going 10,000 miles, improving from 10 to 15 mpg will save you $833 @ $2.50/gal.

Having said that, the MAF 6-2-1 ceramic-coated header off my '83 is for sale. I work in Castle Rock & live outside Larkspur.
Another question is whether unleaded gas is available everywhere. You might want to pull the cat just in case.

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