HZJ75 Troopy - campin' roadtrippin' wheelin' build

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Jan 5, 2019
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134
Location
Central Valley, CA
I first learned I needed a troopy from Australian 4wd channels on YouTube. I like to camp all over the US west and Baja California and a Troopy seemed perfect.

I once drove the west coast from Alaska to Costa Rica in my old 60. I hope to do something epic like that again. South America beckons. We'll see. For now this build is about restoring mechanical condition, making camping in remote locations easy, and some upgrades for wheeling. With the weight and long wheelbase, I don't expect to drive the rubicon, but I do like to scratch the rock sliders from time to time.

Historical Post (late 2017)

1990_HZJ75-125428.jpg

Troop Carriers of ... Troopy Carriers of ... I always wanted to add something to finish the phrase but I never decided what to say.

I'd been following the classifieds for a while. The first time I saw this thing, I thanked the seller but decided to walk away. It needed a lot of work. There was more fuel coming out the back of the injection pump than going into the engine. The seller was motivated though and a week later we worked out a deal. I dropped them off at the airport so they could fly home to Australia and I took the troopy home to figure out how to get US plates on it.


1990_HZJ75-125520.jpg

It also came with some max tracks, some lengths of pipe, an empty gas can, and some sturdy furniture built into the back.

1990_HZJ75-144644.jpg

Dirty. Well used. I love it. But some of those electrical connections are pretty sketchy.


1990_HZJ75-144527.jpg

Only 390k kilometers on the clock.

Once home, I went through everything and made a list.

1990_HZJ75-152128.jpg


And then I rang up @orangefj45 at Valley Hybrids to make a plan.
 
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Joined
Jan 5, 2019
Messages
134
Location
Central Valley, CA
I have been slow to get this build thread started. Really slow. It's actually been over four years since I started. Progress was slow at first, usually picking up just before a big trip. Recently I've been taking big strides, thanks in no small part to joining the team over at Valley Hybrids.

My goal with this thread is to catch up on my progress here, sharing details to help others. But also to get ideas for how to build the interior.

In the meantime, here's a quick shot of how she sits today.

1990hzj75-164138.jpg

With a 60 for company. And yes, I lost my snorkel cap near Laguna Hanson. This one is made from a 3" elbow and duct tape from Home Depot.
 
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Joined
Jan 5, 2019
Messages
134
Location
Central Valley, CA
Historical Post (early 2018)

While waiting for my appointment at VH, I swapped over an X2Power AGM battery to replace one of the NAPA batteries that was completely shot, as well as the almost new tires from my previous rig. They had only a few thousand miles on them. I took the rims as well that the tires were mounted on.

The American Racing 16x7 rims have the same bolt pattern but as I went to drive it I quickly found I needed spacers up front to clear the brake calipers. I also added a small ARB Fridge. I had a Norcold fridge before that was cheaper, but the handles broke and it developed other issues after just a few years. Hopefully the ARB will be more rugged.

At VH we tackled a long list of deferred maintenance and upgraded the alternator.
  • Terrain Tamer 110a alternator
  • Rear brake shoes, cylinders, and drum resurfacing
  • Injectors and injection pump rebuild
  • Shifter rebuild
  • Transmission and transfer case rebuild
  • headlight harness repairs
And then I took her down to Baja for a shakedown run. The longer wheelbase is going to take some getting used to. There are definitely some trails I could squeeze my 60 through that the Troopy would really struggle with. But all that room inside - I could get used to that.

Baja-F1_14_Velvia50-10-Hipolito_Troopy.jpg

Near Hipólito on the Pacific Coast.

My friend's jeep catastrophically decided to eat it's own valves. It had a Hemi. Eventually it made it to Tijuana and we had it towed over the border to San Diego. It never came back to Baja.

Baja-OLY_6_Fuji400-11-Hwy1North.jpg

My friend's broken-down jeep on the back of the broken down transport we hired.

Baja-OLY_6_Fuji400-15-Catavina_Troopy.jpg

One of my favorite camping spots, amongst the cactii just outside Cataviña.

Baja-OLY_7_Ektar100-31-LagunaDiablo_Troopy.jpg

Taking the shortcut across Laguna Diablo to get from highway 5 to highway 3.

Baja-OLY_7_Ektar100-34-LagunaDiablo_Troopy.jpg
 
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Joined
Jan 5, 2019
Messages
134
Location
Central Valley, CA
Historical Post (early 2018)

After Baja, I had a much better idea of what I wanted to do with this rig. Major projects in mind:
  • Onboard air and lockers
  • Upgraded rear bumper with swing-outs (my 285/75/16 KM2 spare is heavy for the factory mount)
  • Front winch (which will probably require a new front bumper as I don't see a good way to adapt this one)
  • Improved lighting. I have a faded pair of H4 housings with 55w bulbs on stock wiring (weak output) + the gigantic halogen spotlights (great for baja, very tempting to use routinely but definitely not street legal)
  • Fix/upgrade all under-hood electrical connections
  • New furniture/cabinets/floor for interior
  • Seating - I like the front bench but it is too cramped to realistically sit 3 people up front. My ideal set up would front buckets and some kind of forward facing seat in the back with a seat belt. Potentially something I only install when I know I will have a 3rd passenger. I'm not sure how to do this yet.
  • Sound dampening. This thing is LOUD inside.
  • Two-way radio for convoy communications. GMRS? CB? Amateur VHF/UHF?
  • Stretch goal - Trakka or similar poptop camper conversion.
1990_HZJ75-144316-Interior.jpg

The current interior is basic but functional.
 
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Joined
Jan 5, 2019
Messages
134
Location
Central Valley, CA
Historical Post (early 2019)

The next steps kicked off when @cruiseroutfit had ARB Air Lockers on sale for black friday.

I took the lockers to Valley Hybrids for installation and had the knuckles rebuilt. I also had them install an ExtremeAire Magnum compressor and a 2g tank from Extreme Outback in Vacaville.

I didn't know what I wanted to do for switches so I had them left dangling off my overhead shelf. To keep from accidentally turning them on on the highway, I just remove the power connector from the back of the compressor switch. Classy, but it works for now. For tire inflation, I have a quick-disconnect fitting on a manifold under the hood, along with an air-hose and a chuck to connect when needed.

We got this wrapped up just in time for the annual Baja trip. I greatly appreciated being able to inflate my tires more quickly than with my older viair portable compressor. The easier to reinflate, the more likely I am to air down when conditions warrant. Worthy upgrade. Performs best at high-idle. I can't say exactly how high because my tach doesn't work yet.

Baja-OP6_140619-Calamajue_Troopy.jpg

Driving down the Calamajue wash from El Crucero.

Baja-OP6_173630-BridgeOut_Troopy.jpg

A bridge washed out by recent storms along highway 5.

Baja-OP6_184756-OjoDeLiebre-Troopy.jpg

Sunset over Laguna Ojo de Liebre. These are the moments that make it all worth it.

Baja-OP6_212005-Troopy.jpg

Lots of bones found in the desert between Bahia Asuncion and Guerrero Negro.
 
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Joined
Jul 27, 2018
Messages
395
Location
North Carolina
I have been slow to get this build thread started. Really slow. It's actually been over four years since I started. Progress was slow at first, usually picking up just before a big trip. Recently I've been taking big strides, thanks in no small part to joining the team over at Valley Hybrids.

My goal with this thread is to catch up on my progress here, sharing details to help others. But also to get ideas for how to build the interior.

In the meantime, here's a quick shot of how she sits today.

View attachment 3053316
With a 60 for company. And yes, I lost my snorkel cap near Laguna Hanson. This one is made from a 3" elbow and duct tape from Home Depot.

Is that a Mulgo top? It looks sweet!
 
Joined
Jan 5, 2019
Messages
134
Location
Central Valley, CA
On the radio, it depends on your club/friends and what they use.

US-specific advise:

The nearest club to me uses 2m ham (vhf, license and not-too-hard test required). Some of my baja friends use gmrs (uhf, license required). Some of my baja friends have no radios. I hand them an frs radio (uhf, no licemse required). Logging trucks on national forest roads use cb (hf, no license).

I have a 2m ham radio in my troopy for club runs and gmrs/frs handhelds for that crowd. I plan to add an hf radio that can receive cb.

With shenanigans you can use multiple services on one rig but the FCC regulations don't allow it (ex: using a ham radio to talk to a gmrs user). Only exception is gmrs radios can talk to frs radios.
 

mt72

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On the radio, it depends on your club/friends and what they use.

US-specific advise:

The nearest club to me uses 2m ham (vhf, license and not-too-hard test required). Some of my baja friends use gmrs (uhf, license required). Some of my baja friends have no radios. I hand them an frs radio (uhf, no licemse required). Logging trucks on national forest roads use cb (hf, no license).

I have a 2m ham radio in my troopy for club runs and gmrs/frs handhelds for that crowd. I plan to add an hf radio that can receive cb.

With shenanigans you can use multiple services on one rig but the FCC regulations don't allow it (ex: using a ham radio to talk to a gmrs user). Only exception is gmrs radios can talk to frs radios.

Thanks, mate, I am still undecided on my side for now need to make more research... I am not part of any club but will definitely ride with others once departing, then I also want the ability to be able to communicate if deep forest or deserted region
 
Joined
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Messages
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Get a $35 fcc gmrs license and a decent radio to put in your cruiser. Get a good antenna and mount it well (nmo mount if willing to drill a hole in your roof, a fender clip mount if not). Then get a couple cheap frs bubblepack handhelds for unlicensed friends.

You can always go ham later if you want.
 
Joined
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Messages
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Thanks, mate, I am still undecided on my side for now need to make more research... I am not part of any club but will definitely ride with others once departing, then I also want the ability to be able to communicate if deep forest or deserted region
Now that I'm on my PC I can see that you're in Canada. Different rules up there. I see from Wikipedia that you can have GMRS handhelds up to 2 watts license-free but you can't mount a fixed higher-power GMRS radio like we can in the US (up to 50 watts).

I think having a fixed radio and a solid antenna is important. Handhelds are ok but just having the antenna outside is a huge improvement. Good luck with the search.
 
Joined
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One of the problems with retroactively catching up with my build-thread while the build is still on-going is having to jump back and forth in time. Sorry about that but ... flash forward to the present day.

I need to make a decision on tires ASAP.

I mentioned before that I took the rims and tires from my 60 and put them on the troopy when I first bought it. 285/75/R16 KM2s on American Racing rims (specs unknown, but they fit my 60). On the Troopy though they require spacers on the front to clear the brake calipers. In a perfect world I'd have rims that don't need spacers.

Since I need tires, maybe it's an opportunity to grab new rims. I can sell my old tires and rims to some folks for ranch use and take a bite out of the cost of new steelies.

It's also a chance to rethink tire size. Stock would have been 7.5R16s (31.8" tall and 8.7" wide). My current tires are 32.8" x 11.2". Some people really like to run skinnier tires. 255/85/R16s are 33.1" x 10

Questions:
  1. Does anyone know the width / backspacing of OEM rims on an hzj75 australian troopy? PartsOUQ shows it would have had split rims (426106011103).
  2. What size tires do y'all like to run on your Troopies? Mine is a heavily laden 1hz that sees a wide variety of conditions. Stock gears with the exception of a sumo 3:1 crawl gear for low range.
If I don't find something good in the next couple of days, I will order a new set of BFG KM2s or KM3s in 285/75/R16 on my current rims and just stay with what I know.
 

Gun Runner 5

First and Final Warning!!
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Joined
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On my rims, this is what I think I'm looking for:

  • 16x6 rims
  • 3.5" backspacing
  • ~0 offset
  • 6x139.7 bolt pattern
Sound right? Any recommendations on a source or vendor? I'm looking for tough, steel, cheap, roughly in that order.
 
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North Carolina
42601-60262-03 16X6 OEM Toyota Steel Wheels for 70 series (same specs you listed above), go well with 255/85 R 16, and available from your local toyota dealer. Lots of folks using this combo and tire size.

Here's a couple of photos stolen from @Roastchestnuts kzj78 build thread showing the rims. I think he's running a smaller tire though 235/85R16

70 series OEM Rims 02.jpeg


70 series OEM Rims 01.jpeg


And on a Troopy

JK 93_02.JPG
 

mt72

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QC Canada
Now that I'm on my PC I can see that you're in Canada. Different rules up there. I see from Wikipedia that you can have GMRS handhelds up to 2 watts license-free but you can't mount a fixed higher-power GMRS radio like we can in the US (up to 50 watts).

I think having a fixed radio and a solid antenna is important. Handhelds are ok but just having the antenna outside is a huge improvement. Good luck with the search.

Yes in Canada for now! Here on the forest road depending on the latitude, it's a regular CB or FM radio but then my plan is to circumvent the whole world and still work a little while Overlanding for this reason I am reluctant about the choice of the coms. I might just go with a Satellite setup and a CB or two radios for group travel....to be continued for now I need to get my truck back on the frame lol
 

prwillard2

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Yes in Canada for now! Here on the forest road depending on the latitude, it's a regular CB or FM radio but then my plan is to circumvent the whole world and still work a little while Overlanding for this reason I am reluctant about the choice of the coms. I might just go with a Satellite setup and a CB or two radios for group travel....to be continued for now I need to get my truck back on the frame lol
Check out starlink for RVs
 

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