Builds Joez's Built Thread/Recap. Hybrid Cage, 4Ds

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Since the requests for a build thread have officially spilled over onto a third forum, i figured there is no better way to inflate my own ego than to go ahead and finally start one. Or something like that.

This thread will take a fair amount of time to get fully caught up to the present, so i ask that you be patient. The good thing is that since its already to the point it is, this should only take at most a couple weeks to get everything documented. I will do my best to go in chronological order, but there are a number of things i am sure i will skip over, because do we really need an update on how i installed the rear chromoly axle shafts? I think i have found most pictures, i had to go back through 4 different phones and a camera to try and find everything, and i still know i am missing pictures and updates. I never had any intention to keep or build the 80 when i bought it, which is part of the reason why there the amount of documentation is spotty.

First, some back story. Deep down, i have always been a Toyota Mini truck and 4Runner guy. Just look at my signature, i have one 80 and three generations of 4Runner currently. I have been wheeling Toyota minis since i was 16, i had bought an '83 for my first truck in high school, and was hooked. Prior to my 80, i had built an 85 pickup on 38.5x11 boggers, which got transferred into an 85 4Runner after i cashed the body. My plan was to build the 85 4Runner into a street-able rig that i could drive if i wanted to, but i kept my trailer. Big mistake. Next thing i knew, it was on a grand total of 3" of lift, 42" Iroks, and it was anything but street-able. So, i tore it apart and started building a street-able 2nd gen 4Runner. Once again, i blinked and i had the roof cut off and converted into a crew cab pickup, a 4.3 vortec/TH350/Marlin Dual ultimate setup, FJ80 front axle, SF14bolt rear, with all the parts to 3-link the front with 16" SAW coilovers. I got burnt out before i even finished it, and got back into go fast cars. It just sat while i played with my Galant VR4. Ever been hit with radar at a felony rate of speed that you wont publicly admit at 4am on a Sunday morning on a county farm road data logging so you can tweak your tune? Neither have I, but that was when i decided it was time to get back to crawling over boulders before i did something dumb.

Enter the 80. I had missed out on a local trip organized by the Hoosier Cruisers, called Pack Your s*** since the 2nd gen i was building was in pieces in the garage in project car hell, and i sure as hell was not going to miss PYS II. A friend had just bought this 80 a few months earlier, and hated it. It was too under powered, top heavy, had rust starting and peeling clear coat, but was triple locked, and everything worked. It was just what i needed to go on this trip, and have a little fun with while i hunted for a clean 1st gen 4Runner to start building. So, i brought it home, skipped the baseline, threw some Pep-Boys 285/75-16 MT's on, installed a York compressor, tossed my ReadyWelder in the back and went wheeling.

Now, 8 years later, I am sitting here on iH8mud trying to retrace my steps to document how i built a rig i never intended on building. Looking back, I sure wish i had kept all of those link parts, coilovers, and airbumps, but again, i never intended on building this thing. It was bought as a means to an end, and i fell in love with it.

First pic, how it looked the day i drove it home. Next up, the FF to where it is now, then after that will be how it got there. And one of what this 80 replaced.

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To be fair, it took sitting down to put together my Ultimate Adventure 2018 application to finally decide to go ahead and do this. I field a lot of questions and PM's about certain things on it, and when i was forced to sit down and really collect everything i have done, i figured it was time to go ahead and start this thread. Especially since i no longer have any intention of getting rid of this anytime soon, and have a lot of future work planned over the next couple years.

To prevent this from getting too lost in the shuffle, here is what we are looking at right now, as it sits in my garage. For something that i only wanted to wheel on 33's until i built another 1st gen, its come a long way. It may not be perfect at any one thing, but it has seen 3 trips now well over 2000 miles with no trailer, and makes the drive surprisingly comfortably. Cruise control and air conditioning still work, and it has no problem doing 70mph down the highway. Plus, i proposed to my wife while out camping in the back of it, so it has some nostalgia to it now as well. It even had a place on our Christmas card, since at this point we consider it a part of the family.

What is it? 1993 Factory Triple Locked FZJ-80. 270K miles on the original HG.

Front axle - Factory FZJ-80 housing, Ruff Stuff diff armor, knuckle gussets, 5.29's, RCV shafts and joints, RCV Drive Flanges

Steering - Ruff Stuff Y-Link with GM 1-ton tie rod ends, Right Hand Drive steering arm, Trail Gear hydro assist ram and lines, garage ported steering box. Factory arms all reamed out to GM 1-ton taper.

Rear Axle - Factory FZJ-80, 5.29's, Poly Performance 4340 Rear Shafts

T-Case - Marlin 3.112 Low Range, 0.095 wall driveshafts front and rear made up by a local shop

Suspension - OME 850/860 combo for springs. 12" Fox 2.0 RR shocks up front, 11" Fox 2.0 RR rears. Converted to eye/eye and valved by Down South Motorsports. Ruff Stuff DIY Long Arm kit up front heavily modified for the Toyota Axle, Heim joints frame side, rubber bushings axle side. Rear suspension is mostly stock, with lengthened and reinforced lower arms. Stock Panhard rods front and rear. Lots and lots of cutting.

Wheel/Tire - Raceline RT233 17x9 Monster beadlocks wrapped in 40x13.5-17 Nitto Trail Grapplers. This is the fifth wheel/tire combo on this thing since i bought it, and the longest lived at 4+ years since installation.

Armor - Original Slee front bumper, modified to house an HS9500 Warn winch, significantly cut to clear tires, and with a stinger and headlight protection added. 4x4 Labs rear bumper kit. 2"x4"x.25" box tube replacing the rockers for sliders.

The obvious - Hybrid internal/exo cage, punched through the roof in 6 spots, front fenders in 2, attached to the sliders and completely mounted to the body.

Miscellaneous - Corbeau Baja JP front seats on Corbeau slider adapters, BHicks 3D printed cup holders, Pioneer DVD player, Infinity 611a amplifier, Infinity Refernce 1050W sub in an ammo can enclosure, Pioneer 6.5" door speakers, 10lb Power Tank mounted to the cage for portable air, York compressor with 2.5 gallon Viair tank under rear floor for permanent air, Ready Welder on board welder, Mac D-Vice, Depo headlights with HID high and low beams, Warn HS9500 winch with synthetic rope, contactor, Factor 55 splicer thimble, Cobra 29LTD worked into the center console with speaker, and remote mounted mic. 2 1/2" exhaust, fabricated Y-pipe and running over the frame, thrush muffler dumping right behind the rear axle. I think that is everything

Even with the cage, it still maintains a full interior. Carpeting, sound deadening, headliner, and everything works except for the tilt on the sunroof. Because of the cage, it can now only slide back. I have always wanted to maintain a driver, and to not require a tow rig, no matter how far the destination. Road manners have been very important, not only for these long distance trips, but also since my wife does like to drive it still every once in a while. Especially when heading either to the city or to the mall, people tend to give you a little space around the holiday season since it does look like the driver has no regard for the condition of the body. You can carry on with conversation at speed, or put in a movie and just enjoy the drive.

Continuing tomorrow, going back to that first PYS, and starting to move forward.

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GW Nugget

Do the best you can with what you have...
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Finally...:popcorn:
I'm eager to learn...
 
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2fpower

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My two cents is that a true hardcore builder's rig is never done, just waiting for the next upgrade.
 
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My two cents is that a true hardcore builder's rig is never done, just waiting for the next upgrade.

You are correct, you are never truly done. This year will be a quiet year in the garage, mostly due to other house projects taking some priority. But, ultimately I do plan on doing a 9.5" front axle at 67" wide, redoing the rear suspension, and transitioning to ORI struts. Although you never know what can happen.
 
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Back to the almost beginning.

Like i mentioned earlier, i had only bought this thing to make PYS II, and to have something to wheel mildly while i hunted for my next hardcore rig. But, something happened on that trip to Washita and Flat Nasty, and i realized just how awesome the 80 is. Bone stock 200K mile suspension and 285's, and i was piloting it up a number of black trails. Was already putting the on board air and welder to good use, too.

First trail damage occurred this trip as well, a busted driver side headlight, and a passenger side rocker panel.

Came home from the trip and decided that i needed more tire underneath it. So, before the headlight was even fixed, Metaltech was called, 30mm spring spacers were ordered, and a used set of 37x12.5-16.5's on recentered H1 double beadlocks were picked up.

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Summer 2010.

Sawzall came out, cut the fenders, but never did get around to installing the spacers. Got it all cleared to fit with zero lift, though these are a very small 37, and very very stiff. But, they were dirt cheap.

Two tires were in rough shape when i picked them up, so i went ahead and called up Trail Worthy Fab, and picked up three good 90% tires and one rim. This was i was able to carry a full size spare, and had two extra spare tires. Ended up needing it too, as these things sidewalls were terrible. Was only in the wheels and tires for about $700 at this point, even with the 3 tires and one wheel ordered.

Pulled the sway bars, ans since the shocks were trashed i searched here and found some part numbers for some cheap Pro-Comp ES9000 shocks. It was about this time i installed a 5 gallon tank in the back of the cargo area for the compressor as well, and ran some orange air line inside the frame rail. Ordered up a set of Depo Headlights, and some HID's to replace the busted headlight.

Wheeled it like this for the remainder of the summer, fall, and early winter. Tires were aweful, but they worked. Roasted two sidewalls, using up my two spare spare tires, and decided it was time to make an investment. The nail in the coffin was during a snow storm in February '11, and i was struggling bad enough in the deep snow that i went home, picked up my 500hp 12v Cummins ram, and that was easier to drive in the snow on bald 255/85 Trxus MT's than my dual locked 80 series. So, i called Trail Worthy Fab up again, and ordered a set of Pitbull Rocker Radials. They arrived and were mounted up by March 2011. At this point i cut the stock rear bumper, installed the spring spacers, and made a set of bumpstop spacers. Sawzall made another visit to the fenders, this time the front and rear.

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March 11, 2011.

Quickly realized just how much bigger the Pitbulls were over the old Goodyears, but decided to just live with the rubbing. Still wasnt sure what direction i wanted to take with this thing at this point in time, but was still having fun with it. Now it was time for Armor. Rear bumper plastics were gone, and i wanted some protection back there. Started researching here and found that i LOVED the 4x4Labs rear bumper, and was even happier when i found that it was available in a kit. Ordered the bumper kit, with a spindle to build my own swing out. This obviously never happened. I actually just sold the spindle kit and all of my parts from RuffStuff to build a swing out last year as it hadn't moved in six years.

May 1, 2011

Spent a solid 6 hours in the garage welding this bumper up with my little Lincoln 135. Everything on this truck has been built with this 110v Lincoln. In order to mount the bumper up, i had to drill and tap all of the mounting bolts in the frame, and on one i actually had to weld a new nut on the back side because the factory ones were toast. Rear armor was complete at this time, but now i needed a front bumper. I had two winches sitting on the shelf in the garage, was time to put one to use.

May 23, 2011.

Spring shakedown run before PYS III was rapidly approaching. Ended up having a friend on this board who had an old Slee bumper he was removing to install an ARB, so i picked up his old Slee. Helped him pull the bumper off his truck, and installed it on mine in his driveway. Ran into a problem though, couldnt turn either direction more than about 40% as the tires were getting into the bumper BAD. Took the long way home to avoid any sharp right turns, grabbed the sawzall, and cut over an inch off each side. Now it was winch time. I had two winches on the shelf, an old M8000, and my HS9500. Tried to fit the HS9500, didnt fit. Due to the size of the motor, i would have to offset the winch and fairlead to get it installed. So, on the M8000 went.

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GW Nugget

Do the best you can with what you have...
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Wow talk about low COG... No lift & 37s then 30mm lift & 40s.
It does not sound like much up travel, but impressive to say the least.
I need to lower my rig now.
 

LINUS

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I like your 'built' thread - you have done some custom work & blazed your own path that is quality in execution. So whatever it does for ego, it's neat to see yours.

I's say it's a build thread if someone isn't satisfied, and a built thread if the 80 is just maintained as is.

Guessing this is a thread in progress, since the hybrid exo-cage has yet to appear? Did you ever get it where you were happy with the final product?

Always like your work, was really cool to see your cage/etc as it 'checks all the boxes' if I was gung-ho on one - and maybe you & a few others will make lowering your 80 'cool'.
 
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I like your 'built' thread - you have done some custom work & blazed your own path that is quality in execution. So whatever it does for ego, it's neat to see yours.

I's say it's a build thread if someone isn't satisfied, and a built thread if the 80 is just maintained as is.

Guessing this is a thread in progress, since the hybrid exo-cage has yet to appear? Did you ever get it where you were happy with the final product?

Always like your work, was really cool to see your cage/etc as it 'checks all the boxes' if I was gung-ho on one - and maybe you & a few others will make lowering your 80 'cool'.

The ego thing was just my sarcastic humor coming through. Many have asked me if I have a build thread, so I started digging to see what I had documented. I figured if I threw up it's complete evolution it would help people understand how I ended up where it is now, and hopefully give people ideas.

I have been very happy with it through its whole evolution, and honestly love it as it sits. I will always see things I wish I had done differently, especially with the cage, but it doesn't mean I'm not happy with how it has turned out.

And yes, hoping to get it up to where I tore out the front suspension in a week, then once I get to front suspension, hydro assist, and the cage, I will be far more detailed in pics and details. Once I get to where it stands presently, then it's just a matter of updating and it will be a true build thread.
 
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Wow talk about low COG... No lift & 37s then 30mm lift & 40s.
It does not sound like much up travel, but impressive to say the least.
I need to lower my rig now.

Tomorrows update will get to springs, and probably to when it ended up on 40's. The Pitbulls were only no lift for a little while, it was almost no up travel. But, I've always built rigs as low as possible. My K5 was on 2" of lift and 36's, my pickup 3" and 38.5's, and my 4runner 3" and 42's
 
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May 24th 2011

37" Pitbull Rocker Radials are on, 30mm spacers are on, winch is mounted, and PYS III is approaching fast. Shakedown run time. Headed out to the Badlands ORP in Attica Indiana to see how close i was able to get these tires to fit with just the spacers. Unfortunately, while playing in the quarry i ruptured the radiator. Was able to JB weld it back together to finish out the trip, and i realized two things. I was going to need at least a little bit if lift, and gearing was going to have to be in my future. With the bumpers, winch and full size spare, the 30mm spacers really weren't doing much. So, i drove it the two hours home that evening, and placed two orders. One for a new radiator from Radiator Barn, the other to Man-A-Free for a whole slew of parts. OME 850/860 Springs, OME steering stabilizer, OME caster correction bushings, SS brake Lines, and a t-case cross member/skid plate. Unfortunately the Skid plate was on back order, so i cancelled it to make sure the rest of the order made it in time. I still had not been through the birfs, knuckles, but had the rebuild kit still on the shelf. I had to get everything delivered and installed before i left on 6/11 for a nearly 500 mile each way wheeling trip. Funded all of the parts by selling off my 16" RaceRunners, thought the OME springs would be a better route in the long run.


June 11 2011.

Got it all together, and ran it down to Flat Nasty Off Road park. HUGE difference from the previous year on 285/75-16's, and now on 37's. It remained surprisingly driveable with the factory 4.10's. Off road was a struggle, but it wasn't so bad. I did however have a few issues with the re-centered H1's. With no rock ring, i was bending the outer lips very easily in the rocks. File away another future upgrade. 10 day trip was a success though, with minimal body damage, outside of more rocker damage. Too late for sliders.

Fall 2011.

Time to see how multi purpose the 80 can be. Since converting my Ram from an automatic to a manual, i decided to use my 80 to tow my boat back the 60 miles from the marina. Between the new springs, load range E tires, i figured how bad could it be? Turns out it actually towed pretty well, again even with only 4.10's. 3rd gear and i was able to maintain 60-65mph without too much issue. Following weekend I took it up to Silver Lake Sand Dunes again for our annual trip. The Pitbulls did amazing, however it was time for gears.

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Winter, Spring and Summer 2012

To remedy my ever bending rims, and to go ahead and make my wheel and tire combo even heavier, i called Trail Worthy Fab again. If you cant tell, I am a fan of these guys as a vendor. I ordered a set of weld on rock rings from them with the intention to break down my rims, straighten the lips up, and weld some rock rings on. About 4 weeks go by, and no rings. Call them up, and get told by the guy who answered the phone that they were delayed from their laser cutter, with no ETA. A little bummed, i hang up and go back to the garage. About 2 hours later, Andy, the owner of the company calls me. Says that he wont have the rings for another 4 weeks, but that he has a set of 5 black hammered powder coated outer wheel halves with rings already welded on. Due to the inconvenience, he offered to ship me the ready to install, powder coated outer halves for the same charge as the rock rings! Highly recommend these guys, have always had great luck with them, and amazing customer service.

So, broke the wheels down, and took the time to clean up and re-paint the inner half of the wheels while i had them apart, and replace the o-rings. It was about this time that our group of wheelers decided that we were going to make the trek to Black Hills Cruiser Classic 2012 in July. Had a lot i wanted to do before we left in just a few months.

Then Marlin Crawler dropped a bomb. 3.112:1 gear sets for the FJ80. I made the mistake of just missing the pre-order, and paying the full $1009 for the gear set. Wont lie, couldn't believe when it arrived, that it came shipped in a plain brown box, with no stickers, no shift knob, and no signature or number from Marlin. When i ordered my 23 spline 4.7:1 set for my mini truck, it was numbered, signed, came with a pile of stickers, and the knob for WAY less than the 80 series gear that came with nothing.

Iron Pig Off Road was the next order, full set of Sierra Gear and Axle 5.29's for the front and rear. Followed shortly by another IPOR order for Heavy Duty Tie Rod and Drag Link. Why i didnt order both at the same time, who knows. Once again thrashed to get the truck together, and get on the road to South Dakota. 1000 miles each way this time. The 5.29's and transfer case gears were a night and day difference. I couldn't believe how much better it drove in every scenario, on and off the road. The combination of both in the rocks completely transformed this thing.

BHCC was an awesome trip, but once again, rockers kept taking a beating. Took some serious work to get the doors back on before i started my drive home.

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nukegoat

Should have bought a Jeep
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I had the same disappointment when I got my gears for 800 bucks. Then trail gear produces the same product for 300. We want to believe ours are better because not trail gear but... it still stings.

Supply and demand.

So I used to be all about the minimal uptravel low cg thing but I have changed my perspective a bit. For one, you need uptravel for any sort of go fast... for two, having no uptravel means you are always going to have to articulate the body when you go over obstacles.

Tbh i think the appeal for most of us with droop is the sweet poser shots and the ease of engineering. Nothings in the way when you droop out...
 

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