I impulse bought my first LC 80 ...and I'm already regretting it (1 Viewer)

Joined
Oct 24, 2015
Messages
16
Location
San Diego
Hello everyone! I’ve wanted an 80 series LC since they were new, and been in love with them since riding in one all through the southern Bolivia a few years ago while I was backpacking, but I live in San Diego, where prices are pretty high compared to the rest of the country, so I’ve never really been able to get one. Well, I was looking on FB marketplace for some parts for my 3rd Gen 4Runner and randomly came across a newly posted ad for a ’91 LC in pretty much all original condition. The price was really low for a 3x locked 80 in SoCal, so along with half the city, I jumped on and it. I didn’t realize there were two models or 80’s and that the early ones had different motors and no lockers, and had to have a lengthy discussion with the seller on how his center diff lock did NOT lock all 4 wheels… it took a little bit of effort, but I’m sure by this point he was getting it from many prospective buyers.

I found out that he needed to unload it quick but it won’t pass smog because it has a check engine light on. In California buying a car “as is” that doesn’t pass smog is crazy risky. So, after talking that through and his realization that he didn’t have “lockers”, we settled on a few thousand below his listed price and figure I came away ok. Problem is… I have a daily driver, two other project vehicles (’02 4Runner & ’75 Honda CB750), and I don’t have anywhere else to store this 4th vehicle except the street. Plus, the reality of all the work I need to do for this new vehicle has set in and now I’m kind of regretting it. Hopefully I can just get it Smoged ASAP and then put the rest of it on the back burner.

Anyway, without further ado, here is my new 1991 3FE with 187k miles in pretty much all original shape with faded paint, not even a speck of surface rust, and the following issues.... that I would LOVE some guidance on.

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1995919


Bummed he got rid of the original wheels!! = ( I should have took off more money for that, haha.


EDIT: I guess I should list the good stuff the PO did as well

New items done by PO
Rear brakes
Front brakes
Radiator
belts
Rear axle seals
Spark plugs
Cap & Rotor
Catalytic converters



Known issues…..

Body:
Pretty solid, but has a small dent on the drivers side rear quarter panel next to the rear light, but it's missing a gas door and the paint sucks... and is ugly. If I find a new door, is it screwed in or riveted in?

Check Engine Light Codes: 25, 26, 28
Did some searching and I’ve purchased new Denso plugs via Rock Auto (thanks for all the posts on this killer deal!!), so hopefully those clear the codes! Do I need a special tool to clear the light myself?

Front Axle seals are bad:
I can definitely do this myself, but do I wait for the Marlin crawler kit to come back in stock, or is the one from Cruiser Outfitters just as good?

1995923



Brakes
They are super squishy! They stop, but just barely. The PO said the master cylinder needs to be replaced, but how do you know if it's that or the brake booster? Also, rebuild or just replace it? ....need to search more about this topic.

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Water pump is leaking:
Or so I think it’s the water pump…. IDK what the PO did, but it was not leaking when I checked out the vehicle. I had to leave it, because I didn’t have anyone go with me to get it (because it was on a whim), but when I went to get it the next day, the PO txted me right after I left to keep an eye on the temps because there was a big wet spot under the truck that morning that “he’d never seen before” …..even though probably half the cooling system drained onto the street in a matter of hours while the truck was OFF, the fluid was 100% water, and he forgot to take out the 2.5 gallon water jug behind the driver’s seat that he was clearly using to continuously refill the radiator with. Now I’m worried he was just using tap water and all the internals are rusted. I need to trace it back a little better, but I’m 90% positive it was coming from the pump and not hoses….. we’ll see I guess. I ordered a new one from Rock Auto just to be sure, but where’s the best place to get new hoses? Autozone/Napa ok??

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Alarm System:
The truck has a ridiculous alarm system that has only one remote that is literally in 3 different pieces. If I disconnect the battery, I have to deal with disarming it all over again. I searched at it looks like the 1991’s didn’t have factory alarms….. so am I ok to remove it, provided I figure out how it disables the vehicle, and remove that as well??

WTF is this!
It's under the drivers seat. Is this part of the alarm? It’s wired to so many different things and then goes up behind the stereo to this plug, and then also up overhead to this thing….. if this isn’t factory, I’ll just remove all of it. I have a feeling it’s part of the alarm system, but because of the way it’s imbedded, it looks like it could be factory. I have no idea!

1995927


It's connected to all of this mess.... that has spliced in wires, running to ghost exterior lighting all over the truck. Such a mess!

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This is all wired separately.... Alarm???
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What is this thing??
It’s not connected to anything….
Is it SMOG related? I’m confused.
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Tint
Is there a good way to remove the tint? Heat gun on low setting? Razor and windex? ....that's how i've done it before, just looking fo new ideas.

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Smell
The interior is in really good survivor condition and I don’t want to change a thing, except it SMELLS!! Not like rancid or anything, just dirt/grime, old AF smell. And the rear seats have a few stains. I’m thinking a good shampoo?? Anyone have any luck with any certain products to do this???

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My 3rd Gen T4R is my fully decked out off-road/overland rig that’s locked, with full King suspension, bumpers, sliders, rack and a badass sleeping platform that’s about to go on 35’s. So really, my plan for this truck is to just cruise around town/beach/hiking days, for as cheap as possible! I really hate the color, so if I get the 80 bug, I think I’d probably have to sell it and get a black or grey 3x locked later model with the stronger motor to upgrade, or maybe respray this one in a newer Desert Dune color.

All in all, I'm actually really stoked, and it's not that much work, but I'm also in my last year of Nursing school, and probably should have thought about it more before jumping on this one lol. Can't wait to get this thing operational. Thanks everyone!!
 
Last edited:
Joined
Oct 24, 2015
Messages
16
Location
San Diego
I'm almost certain that the thing under the seat is for a 90s car phone.

Oh man, that would make sense! There is a large cable that comes off of it that I followed but lost under the dash. I bet it's a coaxial cable. And I noticed that the antenna looked off, and kind of like an older cell phone antenna... and I just searched photos of LC80's and they don't appear to have come with front antennas. You can see mine in the photo. I bet if I pull it out, that large cable will be connected to it. Thanks so much!
 
Joined
Jul 26, 2012
Messages
4,918
Location
SacTown!
Wow it’s quite clean looking and really low miles!

For the stink take out the carpet and power wash it. Steam clean or carpet cleaner on the seats and you should be good.

The code might also be related to O2 sensor which should at least be cleaned with a wire brush if not replaced

Check your intake tube

Replace all vacuum tubes

Clean your I take thoroughly

Clean tank of gas and some good injector cleaner like chevron concentrated injector cleaner or liquid moly injector cleaner.

While you at it with spark plugs do cap and
Rotor while you are at it.

Just give her a little TLC and she will treat you well.

Edit: try disconnect the battery for 10 minutes and see if the CEL comes back.
 
Last edited:
Joined
Apr 19, 2017
Messages
136
Location
Encinitas, CA
I think you got a great rig. The 3Fe motors are relatively simple so with not a lot of hassle you can get that check engine light to turn off. I've gone to great lengths to keep mine going and it's always worth it. Mine was over heating when I bought it, turned out to be a clogged radiator. Been running great ever since. I would sell other projects before I would sell the best 4X4 ever made. Good luck out there.
 
Joined
Oct 24, 2015
Messages
16
Location
San Diego
@Qball Thanks! I added a list of things the PO did within the last year, and new plugs, wires, and cap & rotor are on the list, so I'm good there, and the new o2 sensors are on the way. I'll definitely look into all the other stuff you mentioned!

@BeachnCruiser a new radiator is on that list as well! ...although, the PO was definitely just using water to keep up with the leaking water pump that happened after, and I doubt it was distilled, so I'm gonna flush it again. And I can't sell the other projects. I will never sell my 1975 Honda CB750, and my 3rd Gen 4Runner is my desert/overland/camping rig. Really, I just need a bigger house/garage lol!
 
Joined
Jan 19, 2017
Messages
129
Location
Apache Junction, AZ
The 3fe is a tractor motor. It will run on hopes and dreams. Pull the codes on it and post what you find.
That tube in you engine bay is the EFI cooling system. You will hear it run after you shut the rig down. Toyota did this to keep the efi system from getting baked. From my understanding it isn't needed.
My brakes suuuuuucked not matter what I did UNTIL i adjusted the rod under the peddle. Now they just kinda suck but I don't have a problem with my wife driving it.
Vinegar and water mixed 50/50 does a great job of getting funk out of cloth.
I would yard that alarm and weird box out asap. It's not doing you any favors.
Make sure to post in the 3fe owners thread so you can meet the rest of the cool kids.
 
Joined
Aug 5, 2013
Messages
183
To remove the tint get some 409 cleaner and a black garbage bag. Spray the tint with the 409 and cut the plastic garbage bag to roughly the size of the window and stick it on top of the 409. Leave it in the sun 15 mins then peel the tint off in one piece and hardly have any residue to scrape.
 

SmokingRocks

I bought a Cruiser to keep miles off my Cruiser
Joined
Oct 6, 2014
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3,432
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Colorado
Stink is probably coming from clogged up sunroof drains backing water up till it spills out on the carpets and molds. Search the forums you’ll find a bunch of threads on how to clear them.
 
Joined
Aug 22, 2017
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Los Angeles
Its almost a 30 yr old rig, so all those things are just PM really. Its a great platform to start and most 3FE owners would be jealous of its condition....
 

pif

Joined
Jan 17, 2019
Messages
14
Location
Moscow, Russia
Front Axle seals are bad:
I can definitely do this myself, but do I wait for the Marlin crawler kit to come back in stock, or is the one from Cruiser Outfitters just as good?
You could also use Trail Gear seals (Trail Safe FJ80 Knuckle Ball Wiper Seals)
The PO said the master cylinder needs to be replaced, but how do you know if it's that or the brake booster?
Their symptoms are quite distinct: brake booster failure means hard pedal and the master cylinder problems are more like loose pedal, caused by master cylinder bypass.
 
Joined
May 21, 2019
Messages
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Location
Corona, CA
I found out that he needed to unload it quick but it won’t pass smog because it has a check engine light on.

According to the DMV site, it's the seller's responsibility to provide you the smog.

When a car is sold, who is responsible for the inspection?
The seller is required to provide the buyer with a valid smog inspection certification at the time of the sale or transfer. Smog certifications are good for 90 days from the date of issuance.

Maybe go back to them with the smog costs.
 
Joined
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4,959
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Colorado
Park the 4Runner outside. 3rd gen 4runners are a dime a dozen and probably not going to hold value as well, if you care about such things. I would rather have an '02 runner than '91 80 any day of the week :flipoff2:
 
Joined
Oct 24, 2015
Messages
16
Location
San Diego
...That tube in you engine bay is the EFI cooling system. You will hear it run after you shut the rig down. Toyota did this to keep the efi system from getting baked. From my understanding it isn't needed.
My brakes suuuuuucked not matter what I did UNTIL i adjusted the rod under the peddle. Now they just kinda suck but I don't have a problem with my wife driving it....

Thanks!! Yes, I heard this the other day and was wondering what it was! And, I will definitely look into the rod.


Congrats on the land cruiser!
This is all part of the excitement owning an old land cruiser... baseline it, research, buy new parts, learn how to
Wrench on it yourself.

Thanks! .....and, oh, don't worry, no one touches my vehicles except me (aside from gears. I don't mess with gears haha).

To remove the tint get some 409 cleaner and a black garbage bag. Spray the tint with the 409 and cut the plastic garbage bag to roughly the size of the window and stick it on top of the 409. Leave it in the sun 15 mins then peel the tint off in one piece and hardly have any residue to scrape.

WOW, this is exactly what I needed! Thanks so much for this info!

Seems more like click bait.

If you knew how stressful nursing school is, I promise you'd realize that this is 100% not click bait. I'm so overwhelmed with school, hospital rotations and the stuff I need to finish on my other projects that adding this new problem to the whole equation was the last thing I needed.... which is why I'm so grateful for everyone's responses!
 
Joined
Oct 24, 2015
Messages
16
Location
San Diego
According to the DMV site, it's the seller's responsibility to provide you the smog.

When a car is sold, who is responsible for the inspection?
The seller is required to provide the buyer with a valid smog inspection certification at the time of the sale or transfer. Smog certifications are good for 90 days from the date of issuance.

Maybe go back to them with the smog costs.

You are 100% correct, which is why I was able to knock thousands off the price (I wrote about it in the first post, but I get most people just skip over all that). It says "As Is, NO SMOG" on the bill of sale for this reason. Legally could I still make him? Maybe, but that was what we agreed on, so I'm cool with it. I just sucks because I just started a new class and the workload is crazy high, so if I could just let it sit for a month or two until I had more time, I'd feel less stressed, but CA will start penalizing me for it not passing smog. I don't know exactly how that happens, but hopefully these new o2's will fix the CEL. I just go home to find them on my porch, so I'll put them in tonight.
 

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