How to budget for FJ62 Expo Conversion?

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Hey all,

I want to build up my 1990 FJ62 LC into an expedition rig over the next three to four years, as time and money allow, so that when I'm done with my seminary training I can pack up my family and head down to South America. My wife is from Brazil, so that will be our final destination.

What I need to know is:

What are the necessary accessories for such an expo LC, and what can I expect to pay for stuff? I will be on a tight budget, so I won't buy anything new unless absolutely necessary. If you have items to sell, let me know.

What are recommended sleeping setups? ( for me, wife, and two kids).

Do I need a snorkel?

Is a lift necessary, or just for looks?

I currently have a CB, but should I install a HAM radio and get certified?

What are the recommended tires for such a trip?

Do I need an extra/bigger fuel tank?

Do you recommend padlocking the hood and rear hatch?

Many more questions, but these are what I could think of initially. If anybody lives in the Southern California area, and is willing to share info in a face-to-face, let's meet up.

Has anybody on here made this trip?

Feel free to post pics of your rig as an example.

Thanks in advance!

Tavis
 
depending on what type of offroading you plan on doing on the way down (light gravel roads or the darien gap? :) )

An OME lift will be good to pack the extra weight and give you new springs. snorkle I don't think is required. I would not want one anyways as it draws attention to your rig. 4 people camping is tough. Maybe an OZtent or a Eziawn 1800 roof top tent (maybe a 2200if it will fit)

I doubt a CB or HAM will help you much as the langueage barrier will be there unless you speak spanish

A 31" tire would be a good match I think pretty common too.

Def. a bigger tank or cans on a back bumper rack.
 
Thanks, Chet. I do speak Spanish, and my wife speaks Spanish and Portuguese, so we'll be okay with conversing with the locals.

What is a good OME lift you might recommend on a budget?
 
Many will disagree, but for an expedition rig the FJ62 is a terrible platform. The 3FE-A440F combo gives you the worst fuel economy of any Cruiser out there. Once your truck is equipped and loaded you'll be looking at sub-10mpg. So even with an extended tank you have a range of only 400 miles max. The EFI system is impossible to repair, unless you have all the parts and know what you are doing (anyone can rebuild a carb), and the auto tranny will die around 180k miles.
Having said that, get a very sturdy suspensions (OME heavy with extra leafs in the back), 31s, and keep the truck well maintained, and you are ready to go. Ground tent camping will suck in the jungle and rain season, but a roof tent will be cramped for 4. Maybe sleep 2 in the truck and 2 on top, but then you will need to empty the truck partially over night.
A snorkel is useful if done correctly. Less for deep water, but for less dust and cooler air in the desert and on gravel roads.
Otherwise just keep up on basic maintenance and you are good to go.
j
 
What is a good OME lift you might recommend on a budget?

OME (Old Man Emu) is not a cheap lift. To do it correctly I would expect about $1500 or more. But it is quality and you really don't want to skimp when you will be relying on it.
 
Jan-78FJ40,

Would you suggest spending the money to do a diesel conversion, or go to an entirely different platform?

Your other advice was priceless, thanks very much.

Tavis
 
Jan-78FJ40,

Would you suggest spending the money to do a diesel conversion, or go to an entirely different platform?

Your other advice was priceless, thanks very much.

Tavis

A diesel conversion is very expensive, so probably not the best approach.
If you need to buy the truck in the US and it has to be a land Cruiser, a FZJ80 or a 100 series would be better suited. more room, better engine, newer truck.
If you have the chance of getting to Brazil without driving there, I think you'd be much better of picking up a diesel then.
cheers,
J
 
J,

I would have bought a newer truck, but got my FJ62 for a steal. As time and finances, and the Lord allows, I hope to upgrade to a newer truck to replace my wife's SUV.

As far as buying a diesel in Brazil, the problem is price. Buying a vehicle of any type in that country is ridiculously expensive. My wife's entire family is there, and they drive mostly old cars because of the tremendous cost to purchase a newer vehicle.

Thanks again for the great advice.

Tavis
 
Tavis-

I must say, the 62 is a sweet truck for an expo build. I know there is a few lifts out there....but I've been TRULY impressed with the Old Man Emu setup for suspension works.

I run a 2.5" on my FJ40, and it is actually more like a 4" from stock- as my stock setup was so sagged out with age. I've taken my FJ40 (mostly stock) on some of the toughest trails in Moab, and haven't even scraped a body panel.

So, from looks to useful stuff, the lift is certainly the way to go...as your stock setup won't take you many places that you're really wanting to go.

Best of luck with the build! Do post up some pictures of your rig!!
 
J,

I would have bought a newer truck, but got my FJ62 for a steal. As time and finances, and the Lord allows, I hope to upgrade to a newer truck to replace my wife's SUV.

As far as buying a diesel in Brazil, the problem is price. Buying a vehicle of any type in that country is ridiculously expensive. My wife's entire family is there, and they drive mostly old cars because of the tremendous cost to purchase a newer vehicle.

Thanks again for the great advice.

Tavis

I understand. You'll get by with the 62 just fine then. Just think ahead of the distances and calculate accordingly.
cheers,
Jan
 
Tavis-

I must say, the 62 is a sweet truck for an expo build. I know there is a few lifts out there....but I've been TRULY impressed with the Old Man Emu setup for suspension works.

I run a 2.5" on my FJ40, and it is actually more like a 4" from stock- as my stock setup was so sagged out with age. I've taken my FJ40 (mostly stock) on some of the toughest trails in Moab, and haven't even scraped a body panel.

So, from looks to useful stuff, the lift is certainly the way to go...as your stock setup won't take you many places that you're really wanting to go.

Best of luck with the build! Do post up some pictures of your rig!!

I have to strongly disagree with the 'your stock setup won't take you many places that you're really wanting to go'. You have to distinguish between expedition travel and off-roading.
Expedition travel will take you over gravel and washboard, mud and through some water for hours and hours. The stock setup is extremely well suitable for that. Stronger springs are a good thing because chances are he'll be heavily loaded, not because he needs a lift. Some of the best and most well built expedition trucks run 29s or 31s. anything bigger than 33s is actually a disadvantage, as the tires will be hard to replace.
The perfect expedition truck has a well maintained stock engine and strong springs on A/T tires in a size that can be found anywhere, with a well sealed electrical system.
cheers,
Jan
 
For a cheap OME lift, look at craigslist for people parting out 60's and if they have OME stuff, sure it's used, but its gonna be cheaper.
 
Jan, thanks again for the great advice. Keeping a stock setup will help keep the budget to a minimum.

You've given me renewed confidence in my truck.
 
I don't think that A440's die very often anywhere near 180,000 miles. Put an aftermarket tranny cooler on and keep it. And the EFI on the 3FE does not die very often and honestly is more trouble free than a carb, not needing any adjustment for the most part. In fact, the only part that is true from above is about the ghastly fuel mileage. Those reasons are why I went with an FJ80 over an FZJ80. No offense Jan-78FJ40, just saying.
 
I don't think that A440's die very often anywhere near 180,000 miles. Put an aftermarket tranny cooler on and keep it. And the EFI on the 3FE does not die very often and honestly is more trouble free than a carb, not needing any adjustment for the most part. In fact, the only part that is true from above is about the ghastly fuel mileage. Those reasons are why I went with an FJ80 over an FZJ80. No offense Jan-78FJ40, just saying.

x2!! I bought my stock 62 for a steal also (after searching for a 60 or 80) last October with 208K on the clock. I've put 30K on it since then, and would leave for Mexico/Central America today if I had the fuel money! It runs like a freakin' dream. I got 16mpg driving to NC at Easter on my 33s. Not typical, but reasonable (>10mpg) mileage can be had if the truck is tuned and not driven like a 2 1/2ton stock-car. While I somewhat agree the A440 is less desirable, the 3FE is a great motor. The electrics are pretty basic, and it is far less of a hassle than anything with a carb. The A440 (from input on the 60-series forum) usually calls it quits anywhere from 200-300K depending on how it was treated. Definitely add an auxilary cooler to it- it's an easy upgrade and will extend your tranny's life. Mine runs like a champ; I have no issues with it. That being said, I plan to swap it with a manual tranny in the near future. Depending on whether or not you wife (or backup driver on your trip to Brazil) can drive a stick, I'd say to keep the 3FE and put money into a manual transmission before swapping to a diesel. I'd like a diesel in mine, but you've got to burn a LOT of fuel before a diesel swap pays for itself. Other reasons for a diesel swap might be fuel availability in Central/South America, but for economy on its own I'd say to keep the gasser. You did get it cheap :). Otherwise, collect and weigh the advice you get in the Expo forum on what mods you need for your trip. Then bounce on over to the 60 forum for all the truck-specific stuff you need to get your 62 ready.
Drive the truck as much as you're able or can afford. It keeps everything happy, and after a little while you start to get "in-tune" with it... Like when you ask your wife how she's doing. She says, "fine," but you know she's mad. :doh: You'll know all the good and bad sounds the truck makes and be able to diagnose issues faster. Good luck! And post a pic of your truck :cheers:

Oh and ditto on the 29 or 31" ATs. 31s will get you almost everywhere you wanna go (except rock-crawling) and the BFG ATs I have are long-lasting and pretty quiet.
 
Regarding tires....you have a solid option with TreadWright out of South Dakota.

Check 'em out on TreadWright.com - their craftsmanship is incredible....and even at 5psi on their 33" MT/Mud Dog tires....they never even took a chunk out in Moab - and I beat the hell out of them!!

Best of luck....lets see some pics of the expo rig!!

CCJ
 
I don't think that A440's die very often anywhere near 180,000 miles. Put an aftermarket tranny cooler on and keep it. And the EFI on the 3FE does not die very often and honestly is more trouble free than a carb, not needing any adjustment for the most part. In fact, the only part that is true from above is about the ghastly fuel mileage. Those reasons are why I went with an FJ80 over an FZJ80. No offense Jan-78FJ40, just saying.

No offense taken, of course. I do still think a plus 200k A440F is the exception, not the norm. And I did not say the EFI dies often, just that you are truly stranded if it actually dies.
cheers,
J
 
Also, you don't have the tranny cooler for your 60 series, which came stock in the 80 series. That makes a world of difference and probably has alot to do with ours (80 series) going forever without a problem. :). Hope like I didn't come off as a pompous ass.
 
Going back to the OP
What I need to know is:

What are the necessary accessories for such an expo LC, and what can I expect to pay for stuff? I will be on a tight budget, so I won't buy anything new unless absolutely necessary. If you have items to sell, let me know.

What are recommended sleeping setups? ( for me, wife, and two kids).

Do I need a snorkel?

Is a lift necessary, or just for looks?

I currently have a CB, but should I install a HAM radio and get certified?

What are the recommended tires for such a trip?

Do I need an extra/bigger fuel tank?

Do you recommend padlocking the hood and rear hatch?

Has anybody on here made this trip?
Tavis,
I have been on the road for almost a year now, taking my sweet ass time driving from California to Argentina and then to Brasil. I drive an 87 FJ60 with a diesel conversion. My recommendations will be from personal experience.

Do not do an engine swap unless you want to spend a lot of money, I love our 12HT and would do it again, but it took a big chunk out of our travel budget. I am a newbie when it comes to mechanics, so my advice here is not worth much.

There are giant roof top tents (RTT), big enough for 2 adults and 2 kids. What I would do is consider a small RTT and sleeping arrangements inside the truck. There are very cheap hostels all along the way, we try to stay off the beaten path... but, there are always accommodations of some sort. Finding a desolate beach and setting up the RTT is priceless.

The snorkel is NOT necessary. Unless you are really gonzo, you won't need it. The Landcruiser is your home while you are travelling and you will (sadly) have to stay away from gnarly stuff. We have done some fairly deep river crossing without a snorkel (but it is on the wish list:) )

CB and HAM are illegal for civilians in some countries, which is why we did not bring either. No need to attract corrupt cops any more than we already do.

I agree with keeping tires stock and commonly available brand and size. We have BFG A/T 33x10.5 on stock 16's, probably should have stuck with 31's because 33's are not as common down here. I would definitely go BFG, they are everywhere.

We went for a 40 gallon fuel tank and I would highly recommend it, emphasize on HIGHLY or at least carry a couple of jerry cans. The problem with replacing the fuel tank with a 40 gallon tank is it displaces your spare tire, so consider the Aussie tank that goes in between the frame and drive shaft.

Added security would be nice and comforting. We have none, and it is nerve wracking. We mostly sleep on the truck, but whenever we are away from it we are very nervous. I never thought I would want an alarm, but I would like one now. Just to alert us of intrusion...

Sorry for the long reply, but it is nice to see other people are planning for the trip. We have had a great time and would do only a few things differently. Let me know if I can help with anything.

Cheers,
 

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