Johnnay's 97 LC- minor restobuild thread

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May 2, 2016
Victoria BC, Canada
Hi all,

Starting this thread to document the restobuild of my new to me 97 LC. While I'm not new to restoring/modifying vehicles (BMW 2002, Datsun Roadster, Mercedes 500SL AMG 6.0, MA70 Supra and a long list of other vehicles owned), I am pretty new to the whole 4x4 thing, save for a stint with an FJ40 that I loved and abused when I was in University, so I'll definitely be looking for some help along the way. Anyways, on to the LC...

These vehicles are fairly rare up here in my neck of the woods (Victoria, BC Canada), so it took me a while to find one that I wanted to buy. I looked at a couple of older LCs going for $7500-$15000CDN but being a transplanted Easterner I wanted nothing to do with rust of any kind so I passed.

I then stumbled upon a listing for a 97 on Craigslist up in Parksville with no picture, and minimal descriptive text, asking $5500. I emailed and received some pics of what looked to be a rust-free vehicle with the standard worn leather interior and a decent-sized ding in the rear corner of the bumper. The owner said "no rust, front seats are worn, tires are 50%" and that he'd owned it for 10-12 years, putting $500-1500/year in maintenance into it. Sounded pretty good, so off I went on a 2hr drive to check it out.

On arrival the vehicle looked good - no rust, and who cares about a bumper ding - I'd want to replace the bumper with a nice off-road one anyways. However, on opening up the vehicle, it was clear the guy had never, and I mean NEVER, cleaned the inside of the vehicle, and to boot, his small, yappy dog that had been jumping up on my leg had obviously been running around scratching the hell out of the vehicle for years.... ugh. The interior issues were compounded by a soaked passenger floor - owner said "oh, it rained a bunch last week and it just started doing that".. hmm.. this was starting to look like a waste of time.

Decided to take the vehicle for a spin since I was there, and liked the overall feel, but a warped rotor and clunk/shudder on reverse sealed the deal - I'd have to keep looking. :(

Two months of fruitless searching later, and I decided to email the guy and see if he'd sold - he hadn't. I thought long and hard, priced out a new interior and drivetrain rebuild/refresh and I lowballed him via email. He went for it.

Made another 2hr trip up (with my Mercedes transmission crapping itself on the way!) and brought it back with zero preparation and zero issues..! Once home, my boys named him - meet Bruiser, the Cruiser..!

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That's a beaut! Exterior looks very nice. As for the interior- I've seen much worse. A new carpet kit isn't all that difficult to source if I remember, and it's almost an assumption that the seat covers will have to be replaced when you buy one. The main thing will be any smells from the doggy. What are you using to clean the headliner and other fabric trim pieces?

How many miles are on it?
Thanks - new carpet is half in, and seat covers from land cruiser heaven are on their way, as are wheels/tires.. I'll post more info on my plans and progress later this weekend.. Truck had 253,000 miles on it the day I picked it up.. the one thing the PO did was change the oil - new filter was on and oil is a nice golden colour.
Well, good luck. Looking forward to reading about it. Make sure to throw some POR-15 on the front passenger footwell. Good stuff, stays on, and will prevent future rust problems.

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