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

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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.
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AussieHJCruza

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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
 
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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!
 
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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.
 
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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.
 
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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.
 
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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
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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.
 
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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.
 
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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.
 
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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

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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

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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.
 
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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.
 
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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!
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