Hood Rat Rehab - Head gasket at 235k and other stuff (1 Viewer)

Joined
Dec 28, 2019
Messages
33
Location
Phoenix, AZ
Last weekend was a somber one. On the way back from Lowes I stopped at a light just off the freeway and the idle felt rough. As I turned down the radio and rolled down the window I glanced in the mirror to see a cloud of white smoke that would make any hipster jealous of my vape cloud. In the morning I started with a compression test and found #2 cylinder at 245lbs. Pulled the tester out and turned it over to watch a geyser come out of the sparkplug hole. The good part about Toyota red coolant is leaks show up immediately.

Background - in December I bought the roughest looking 1992 FJ80 I could stomach, but I drove it home for less than $3k with no brakes, leaking axles, starting problem(discovered to be EFI relay). Tie rod ends were scary, and the knuckles were unbelievably hammered when I rebuilt them. No telling how long it sat, but the kid admitted that he pulled it out of someones backyard and got it to the point he could sell it. Started with rear brakes, all hardware, drums, shoes, axle seals, and a new LSPV. Then, 555 tie rod ends and replaced the Birfs, replaced all knuckle bearings, re-sealed the front and then found a used OME lift. Lift has approx 8k miles on OME 860/851 springs and shocks.

When I bought it I asked the kid if he knew if it had ever overheated, he said no as I looked at the missing hood insulation above the radiatior cap but whatever, stick tp your story kid. About 2 weeks ago I got in and ran it about 3/4 mile to the freeway and by the time I made the second exit(1mile) the temp was pegged. I limped off with momentum and then let it cool before driving the rest of the way to work. Almost pegged temp again. I have a short commute. I flushed coolant, relaced thermostat and cap, and cleared out all heater core, radiator etc, and then this happened. I feel like there was a pinhole already but who knows. No previous smoke, no previous oil/water mixing.

I knew this day would come, but now I feel like it might be time to just go crazy and swap to a 2uz. Looking for any advice from anyone with experience

Question #1 - If I pull the head and deck it, cut valves, NDT, and replace seals is there anything else I should do to the top end? Planning to drop the oil pan, check bearings, and replace side cover gasket check lifters etc. Again motor is at 235k miles

Question #2 - is the @Cruiser Corps gasket set OEM gaskets including head gasket? Is there any type of upgraded head gasket that I would be better off using? I am partial to OEM.

Question #3 - Am I wasting my time and money? I love the idea of a 4.7 2UZ swap but I am not certain I have the patience to work through the install.

Last - I have 2.5 OME springs in front but want to add 30mm spacers. Shoudl I just go to 4" slee springs, and either way will the slee caster plates do the trick or should I just bite the bullet and go with arms?

The belhousing is available to put the 2UZ to the A440F, but is there that much of a gain in HP that I wont regret the time and money spent or should I just try to rebuild as much of the 3FE as I can and hope for another 235k? Thanks to all who offer help. First pic is the day I got her, second is after the lift, and most work. Still need spacers in the front and some caster correction.
IMG_5375.JPG
IMG_7138.JPG
 
Joined
Jan 6, 2012
Messages
8,742
From what little I've read about the 2uz swap into a fj80 it doesn't seem too hard. It would have way more power than a 3fe. Also check your local emissions laws though first b4 doing a engine swap.
 
Joined
Jul 16, 2020
Messages
48
Location
San Diego
If you're not swapping the transmission with the engine I don't really see the point of jumping to a 2uz. Gaining that extra gear in the transmission is really key to have a much smoother / powerful vehicle. Just put the 1FZ-FE in if you're going that route.
 
Joined
Feb 20, 2006
Messages
5,653
Location
calgary
Id say go for an LS or a 2UZ. The latter may be more work but its a good and reliable engine, and will be worth it in the long run.

The 3FE I had was somewhat unreliable and a mess of emissions tubing and leaky fuel components, plus it was thirsty for fuel and gutless. An early throttle body injection 5.7 or vortec would be simple and cheap as well.
 
Joined
Dec 28, 2019
Messages
33
Location
Phoenix, AZ
At 235 miles I’d say rebuild the head for the tractor motor the 3fe is and put a h55 behind it if you want more power.

It’d be cheaper and way easier than anyswap!

I think this may end up being my decision and then I can better prep for a 4.7 swap later. My main concern is the bottom end going after I rebuild the top but I plan to check it out while I am there and gonna do the water pump too. I know it shouldn't be a problem but Murphy's law is my enemy. Not a fan of the manual for the amount of driving I do and want to stay as close to stock as possible.
 

baldilocks

Battle Ground, WA
GOLD Star
Joined
Jan 29, 2014
Messages
7,028
Location
Battle Ground
Without bumpers, armor and a good deal of extra weight the slee 4" heavy springs will net you much more than 4" of lift. I have no experience with Slee mediums but I do know that their springs are high quality because I ran the heavies before. I also ran Slee castor correction plates and was never really happy with how much they corrected the castor angle once I went taller than what OME 850J springs lifted my 80 with a light weight tube bumper and winch. I now run Delta Vehicle Systems radius arms for a 6" lift with actual lift at about 4.75" and really like how the rig drives with castor in the 5* range according to my angle finder sitting across the upper trunnion bolts. Your 2.5" springs are probably lifting your stock 80 more like 3" and adding 30MM spacers will put it over 4". Knowing what I know now, If I were you, I would go with new arms. Slee has nice ones but I much prefer Deltas design.
 
Joined
Dec 28, 2019
Messages
33
Location
Phoenix, AZ
I'm not normally this guy, but, for bang for buck engine swap, a 2UZ isn't great value. I'm sorry to say this but an LS swap honestly makes more sense. Having said that, a 12HT and H55 wouldn't be far from a bolt-in affair from a 3F
I definitely don't have 12HT money this year. With the 2UZ I was looking more for Toyota reliability. How many miles are you seeing out of LS swaps on your island? I feel like I want to stay Toyota, but LS motors grow on trees and setting up stand alone is easier. Ah s***e, now I am back to being confused.
 
Joined
Jan 6, 2012
Messages
8,742
You could also build a 2fe with your 3fe head, which would give you a bit more power and not take too much work. Just need a good 2f short block.
 
Joined
Dec 28, 2019
Messages
33
Location
Phoenix, AZ
Without bumpers, armor and a good deal of extra weight the slee 4" heavy springs will net you much more than 4" of lift. I have no experience with Slee mediums but I do know that their springs are high quality because I ran the heavies before. I also ran Slee castor correction plates and was never really happy with how much they corrected the castor angle once I went taller than what OME 850J springs lifted my 80 with a light weight tube bumper and winch. I now run Delta Vehicle Systems radius arms for a 6" lift with actual lift at about 4.75" and really like how the rig drives with castor in the 5* range according to my angle finder sitting across the upper trunnion bolts. Your 2.5" springs are probably lifting your stock 80 more like 3" and adding 30MM spacers will put it over 4". Knowing what I know now, If I were you, I would go with new arms. Slee has nice ones but I much prefer Deltas design.
Thank you, this is useful. I just wish I could find the @Delta VS arms on sale;). I prefer the idea of not rigging something in between links and axle, or even caster bushings for that matter.
 

AussieHJCruza

SILVER Star
Joined
Jul 8, 2013
Messages
1,947
Location
New South Wales, Australia
I definitely don't have 12HT money this year. With the 2UZ I was looking more for Toyota reliability. How many miles are you seeing out of LS swaps on your island? I feel like I want to stay Toyota, but LS motors grow on trees and setting up stand alone is easier. Ah s***e, now I am back to being confused.
I can't tell you exactly how many miles people are getting but the LS isn't a badly built engine. I put quite a few miles on a GU patrol with an L98 (LS2) crate engine and as far as I know she's still going strong. The aftermarket support for the Chevy engines makes this so much easier
 

Delta VS

Supporting Vendor
Joined
Mar 12, 2018
Messages
1,552
Location
Boise, ID
Thank you, this is useful. I just wish I could find the @Delta VS arms on sale;). I prefer the idea of not rigging something in between links and axle, or even caster bushings for that matter.
there is ONE set of old style 6" arms available: Delta Vehicle Systems - FJ/FZJ80/LX450 High Clearance Caster Correcting Front Radius Arms -SALE but the inventory system is no longer working with live updates so I will have to send an invoice to anybody who wants them. They also already have bushings installed (everything is new, just the slightly older v1 arms). send email if you want them.
 
Joined
Dec 28, 2019
Messages
33
Location
Phoenix, AZ
there is ONE set of old style 6" arms available: Delta Vehicle Systems - FJ/FZJ80/LX450 High Clearance Caster Correcting Front Radius Arms -SALE but the inventory system is no longer working with live updates so I will have to send an invoice to anybody who wants them. They also already have bushings installed (everything is new, just the slightly older v1 arms). send email if you want them.

Really appreciate this and will email direct when I am ready. One of those weeks. Daughters birthday, head gasket, family trip..... Oh life.
 
Joined
Dec 28, 2019
Messages
33
Location
Phoenix, AZ
Finally made up my damn mind and dove into the 3FE. Not too bad for 235k
No major wear on the pushrod ends, or valve tips. Looking at the gaskets, someone has been in here before, but I dont know if this head gasket is Toyota OEM or not? feel free to le me know, pics below

Cylinders dont look bad. Going to rebuild the head, new seals, check the guides and replace if needed and cut the valves. Also planning to drop the oil pan and re-seal as well as the side.cover that seams to be leaking. Might as well do it all while im here. Hoping the head doesnt need too much surface cut if any at all. Gaskets will be OEM as much as possible, especially the head gasket. Let me know if you have any tips or things I should remember to look at! Thanks!
EAE0A5DD-4FD5-4BCA-AF45-498196899319.JPG
IMG_8206.JPG
IMG_8210.JPG
 
Joined
Dec 28, 2019
Messages
33
Location
Phoenix, AZ
Although its been a longer project than I wanted, it's been successful for the most part with few problems.

If you can help - I cannot get my injectors to press into the cups, and I am wondering if they should be this tight. Light oil and tried spinning and pushing like the shop said, but not popping in. I even put the cups into a socket and pushed down on the steel top of my toolbox, but not going in. Is this normal? Any Advice?

My first quotes for the head gasket from a few highly respected local guys confirmed what I already knew. If i paid someone else to do it, I was not going to afford to get all the little WYIT items that I knew would come up. I also didnt like the 6 week time frame I was looking at, but at least it gave me a frame of reference to do it myself.

When I started this I told myself I would do the head gasket and try to do everything that really needed to be done, but not go too crazy. About that...The things that really needed to be done at 235k on a truck that saw little maintenance was everything. I am very thankful for the discount at Berge's and @murf for the advice he gave. The price on parts there has made it a lot easier to get this done in a reasonable amount of time.

So far:
Head- Valves cut, new seals, freeze plugs, and surfaced to a beautiful finish by B&B machine, and for an great price.
Injectors - Cleaned, rebuilt, and balanced by Fuel injector service co, including cold start. 5 of 6 were leaking
Re-sealed oil pan, and doing tranny pan next on a drain and fil x2
Painted valve cover and side cover, new gaskets

New from Toyota - on or going on
All gaskets - Head, Intake/header, intake body, valve cover, side and oil pan
Intake boots - Both
Thermostat
Water pump
Slotted rotors and pads on front (not Toyota)

On order:
Fuel injector plugs
Front spring spacers
Radiator hoses top and bottom and new connection on lower hoses

As of today head and rocker arms are torqued, intake/exhaust is torqued to head. Radiator is out and going to the shop tomorrow. Hoping to have all parts enough funds to get it done and running while I am off the week of christmas. Once running, new exhaust from the manifold back.

IMG_8719 2.JPG


IMG_8720.JPG


IMG_8472.JPG
 
Joined
Dec 28, 2019
Messages
33
Location
Phoenix, AZ
I think I am finally at the point where I can consider this thing somewhat rehabilitated! Or at least recovering:) The exhaust was a huge step last week

I was able to take the week of Christmas off and get some real work done, and got it running again over New Years weekend. Took longer than I wanted but I took care of a lot of issues.

All in all, glad I did it myself as I learned a lot about my rig and would not have been able to do all I did so fast paying shop prices. Have to say one of the best parts was meeting some new people while getting work done. Its become obvious that few understand the care that cruiser owners put into reviving a vehicle, and the ones that do are great people.

Final results of this 3 month endeavor

Head Gasket with rebuilt head
Water pump, Thermostat, rad cap
Rebuilt Radiator at Hayes , New hoses
Re-sealed oil pan, side cover and repainted side and valve cover
Cleaned balanced and rebuilt injectors
New intake boots and some vacuum lines
Starter - Toyota reman
Exhaust from the manifold back at Mesa Muffler
Going to do another valve adjustment at 500 miles, but other than that the motor is running good.

Also over the last 13 months since purchase

Rear axle sealed, all rear brake components replaced, incl LSPV valve
Front knuckles rebuilt, wheel bearings, axle seals
OME 2.5" lift(used)
New tie rod ends - 555
Replaced front bumper and various interior repairs
Got some wheels and tires from a member but this isnt letting me tag him

Next up- Tranny drain and fill, and then tackle the transfer case issues
Diff switch doesn't light up, pretty sure not locking
No Cruise control
Power steering pump and lines, leaking, but not as bad as I thought.
Motor mounts, tranny mount
Battery cable cleanup
possible smog delete but need to know how the emissions thing works here in PHX.

Time to get it out!
 

Users who are viewing this thread

Top Bottom