Thanks for the guide @GTSSportCoupe! I'll consult this when I'm planning out the upgrades.
I'll definitely do the gauges and EGR delete. Will EGR delete be a problem bringing it from BC to AB though, when I have to do a new province inspection?
Do you think it really needs a trans cooler? I thought the automatic trans on these things was solid.
As these vehicles were never from North America, I'm not sure they could even recognize what they came (EGR) with from OEM? You could check with some the AB members to see though. You can block of the EGR while leaving it intact too. Just cut a gasket size chunk of metal from some tin sheet and install in place of one of the gaskets (at intake manifold for example).
The idea behind the trans cooler is to have some of the heat dumped before the ATF flows through the radiator. This reduces load on the rad. Which reduces coolant overheating problems. When out of lock-up, the torque converter can create a huge amount of extra heat.
So, as of right now, I am looking at two LJ78s. My friend still has the original LJ78 and he is considering selling it in a couple of months(which would buy me time to repair my trooper and try to get some of my money back for it). Probably $6-7k. As I mentioned, the interior is f***ed up, but the frame/body is super clean and the engine runs well. He is also working on an intercooler mod and an exhaust mod, so it will come with a pre-installed inercooler (he's doing top-mounted though). The main benefit is that I know I can trust him (unlike the f***head I bought the trooper from) since he's a friend and an experienced mechanic. He lent it to me for a day actually, and I cruised around a bit and that test drive is what convinced me I actually want an LJ78. Extremely comfortable ride.
If you're serious about your friends truck, I'd ask him not to even bother if it's a top mount intercooler. They don't work nearly as well as a front mount, and are almost a waste of time IMHO (I've had one before on another vehicle and it sucked). It would be better for you to get it unmolested so to speak (again, just my 2 cents).
The other one is the broken engine LJ78 in PG for $4k (but I would offer less). I looked at it more closely. Possibly a little rust on the underside, but nothing terrible, and the interior is better than my friend's truck. My friend said he'd give me the 2LTE out of his parts Hilux (minus the turbo, which has gone to his LJ), so I figure I could get it stock for $4-5k. That frees up $2-3k for upgrades, but means a lot of extra work + it's an unknown quantity. The other thing I'm thinking is, if I'm going to buy an LJ78 with a broken engine for ~$3k, would it not be more worthwhile to just swap a more powerful engine in right off the bat? I think I could get a 1UZ for $1k or so. That said, I really like the sound of the 2LTE actually, but you guys talk it down so much on here that I'm worried about it.
I like my 2LTE a lot actually. I just want to cover my ass and not 'recommend' it so to speak. The original cylinder heads were a problem, there is definitely no two ways about that. Once they've got the later head, been intercooled and tuned up, they're pretty decent little motors for their displacement. My truck accelerates and pulls hills about the same as or better than my friend's HDJ81.
1UZ is a lot of work. Especially if you're new to working on vehicles and electronics/electrical. MPG will be worse. Talking to an owner of a 1UZ LJ78, he's had overheating problems also; so you won't necessarily even leave those problems behind. 2LTE can make the same torque as a 1UZ; just less hp.
I think that price is quite reasonable actually; looks clean. If that is a recent import, nearly guaranteed it's going to need a cylinder head and a bunch of maintenance though.