Local (Utah) 80 Series Diesel Specialists?

Kaibur

SILVER Star
Joined
Jan 4, 2022
Messages
7
Location
Utah
This may be the total wrong place to post this, I wasn't exactly sure. I'm at a point in life where I've decided to finally get into my dream rig. I'm really set on 80 Series Diesel cruisers. I know these are getting "more" common here in the states with recent imports, but I'm admittedly still a bit worried about having someone local who can work on it if necessary regardless of how "bombproof" the 1HD-T is. I'm always willing to do basic maintenance on my own vehicles when I can, but I wouldn't buy a vehicle I didn't have a local pro for.

The Cruiser scene here in Utah is pretty great, but obviously mostly gassers. I'm in the Salt Lake area wondering if anyone has someone local who really knows these diesels well that they'd reccomend? I would love to go through Land Cruisers Direct as a local business if I could, but things seem to be radio silent over there at the moment.

I'm not looking to do major rock crawling, I really just want a super capable daily/off roader that I can cut my teeth on while learning how to maintain my own vehicle.

Stuff like this HDJ81 I've linked really speak to me.

Apologies for the noob discussion, just trying to get started best I can. Any help/input is greatly appreciated.



 

jellis

SILVER Star
Joined
Apr 29, 2011
Messages
218
Location
Boulder, Utah
I live 4+ hours south of you down in Boulder. I'd love to know if you find one, mainly for tuning. Everything besides that is, technically speaking, fairly normal mechanic work just like any other old truck. These forums really have about all the info you need.

I made the HDJ jump about 4 years ago. Since then I've invested as much in it as I spent on it, and that's just parts without any of my labor included. I've averaged $550/month for 51 months on my truck. But I bought a truck with a 6" lift sight-unseen which was a huge mistake, although honestly I didn't even know enough at the time to properly scope out a potential purchase. It's really just one of those car relationships that I should end, I knew it was going to be terrible when a chunk of wood lodged into both the AC condenser and radiator on my drive home from picking it up. It has never really improved much. It would probably be GREAT with anyone else--I had a 60 series which was minimal work for many years, and my buddy who bought it had nothing but problems with it until the piston finally broke and ruined the damn thing.

Things to look for on a lifted diesel include (you can also search my post history):
  • Was the lift done correctly (i.e., by a shop using a kit?). Mine had an improper front driveshaft that was fully compressed before the tires hit the ground on a lift. This caused pinion and seal leaks/bearing issues. Are the driveshafts the right type for the pinion/transfer angles involved?
  • Is the frame cracked at the steering box, and/or at the opposing frame rail?
  • Has the driver ever experienced Death Wobble? It's a nightmare to solve and absolutely terrifying.
  • Is there a pre-turbo EGT gauge? Mine came without one. When I dug into the tune (aneroid pin) I discovered a heavily modified pin which was totally inappropriate on stock turbo and no inter-cooler....certainly that wasn't good for the engine being massively over-heated. When I finally threw a gauge set on I could easily hit 1600 EGT which is WAY scary high. These should have never came without a gauge set, it should be your first upgrade.
  • Get a video of a cold start. I did that but the damn truck came from Tucscon which doesn't really mean much for "cold"--my glowplugs were shot so cold starts were nearly impossible (-20F visiting family in Wyoming right after we got it, killing batteries a few times was fun).
  • Get a video of blowby (set the oil filler cap on and observe how bad it rattles), ask about oil consumption.

The biggest persistent headache is that I massively underestimated how insanely difficult/time-intensive parts would be to come by. Some are available in here, some aren't, so most repairs require at least 1 part coming from UAE or AUS. No parts finder dropdowns on any website in the US will ever recognize your rig, and it's never a safe assumption to plan on it being similar to an FJ/FZJ. I now cross-reference between 2-3 parts sites using diagrams to be sure what I need, and after some time with that you can sometimes grab stuff at Autozone. That said, I typically plan my repairs out a month or more in advance and start that with ordering every conceivable part I could need (a big part of that is also that I live in the middle-of-nowhere). Larry Miller Toyota has a great online parts ordering system now and they've been my go-to the last year or so with SUPER cheap shipping so that's honestly been a game changer, before that I might need parts from 3-4 different suppliers. Because of this parts situation, most mechanics will need you to figure out and order all the necessary parts especially for engine-related repairs.

The biggest downside to making the jump to HDJ is the absolutely impossibility of going back to an FZJ. Honestly they feel like toys in comparison. I can tow a 4k+ lb military trailer no problem on 37s (after upgrading turbo, fan clutch, and WAT valve body in transmission). I can take my camper literally anywhere my truck can go, and this thing can go about anywhere, so that's amazing. It's an incredibly difficult vehicle to replace, especially if you have kids and throw in FZJ third-row seats (not standard on HDJs) like I did. I also live in a place where I can take advantage of it literally out my front door, so that helps justify it. Sometimes I regret the cost and time spent doing repairs, but driving it offroad is like being in a freakin' lazy-boy and unbelievably fun. Basically I have an HDJ instead of a boat, and I'm OK with that. I have friends with boats, and my friends have a friend that can ford a 3' deep flash flood no problem, or pull them out of an endless sand pit, or bog through a foot or two of mud on Notom Road in the spring while towing a trailer without flinching. =)

~Josh
P.S. That rig in FL looks like a great deal IMO.
 

jellis

SILVER Star
Joined
Apr 29, 2011
Messages
218
Location
Boulder, Utah
Have you tried? I just got the tool and will be trying within the next month as part of my timing belt (and hopefully OBA addition).
 
Joined
Apr 30, 2021
Messages
64
Location
Utah
I haven't. I looked into it a little and it doesn't look too hard on my B series engine, but I'd hate to get it wrong.
 
Joined
May 5, 2014
Messages
5,744
Location
Italy
Most HDJ80 work can be done by the layman with a copy of RM172, a basic socket set (electric wrenches and impacts if you can swing it), some common sense, Google, and applicable torque wrenches.
 
Joined
Jan 9, 2019
Messages
46
Location
White Salmon, WA
Land Cruisers Direct seem to be hit and miss but he knows his stuff. I think it's just a one man shop with no coverage when he takes time off. Cruiser Outfitters can find any part and have a ton of knowledge. State Automotive in Midvale know their way around diesel Cruisers as well. I'd say with Cruiser Outfitters sourcing parts and State Automotive doing the work you are more than covered. I've had my 1993 HDJ81 for a few years and haven't had any issues getting parts. I've only had to do basic maintenance so far (knock on wood) but it's a pretty simple vehicle to work on. I say do it.

(Edit: We moved to WA from SLC about a year ago so no longer local but lived there my whole life)
 

Kaibur

SILVER Star
Joined
Jan 4, 2022
Messages
7
Location
Utah
Land Cruisers Direct seem to be hit and miss but he knows his stuff. I think it's just a one man shop with no coverage when he takes time off. Cruiser Outfitters can find any part and have a ton of knowledge. State Automotive in Midvale know their way around diesel Cruisers as well. I'd say with Cruiser Outfitters sourcing parts and State Automotive doing the work you are more than covered. I've had my 1993 HDJ81 for a few years and haven't had any issues getting parts. I've only had to do basic maintenance so far (knock on wood) but it's a pretty simple vehicle to work on. I say do it.

(Edit: We moved to WA from SLC about a year ago so no longer local but lived there my whole life)
I haven't checked on this thread in a bit, but I appreciate your response. I've kind of come to the same conclusion as you, I wish LCD all the best, hopefully they get easier to get a hold of soon.

Totally random question, but did you have to do emissions on your cruiser in Salt Lake County? Some things online say there's an exemption for diesels older than 1996, but I he health departments website doesn't state that exception. I've been trying to decide if I'd have to pass it or not, but can't seem to get solid answers.
 

jellis

SILVER Star
Joined
Apr 29, 2011
Messages
218
Location
Boulder, Utah
I second State Automotive all the way, although they've recently gone more to basic maintenance (they rebuilt my transfer but are no longer doing that kind of work).
 
Joined
Jan 9, 2019
Messages
46
Location
White Salmon, WA
I haven't checked on this thread in a bit, but I appreciate your response. I've kind of come to the same conclusion as you, I wish LCD all the best, hopefully they get easier to get a hold of soon.

Totally random question, but did you have to do emissions on your cruiser in Salt Lake County? Some things online say there's an exemption for diesels older than 1996, but I he health departments website doesn't state that exception. I've been trying to decide if I'd have to pass it or not, but can't seem to get solid answers.

No emissions test to license mine in SL County. I think since they test by hooking a scanner up to the OBD port that everything pre-1997 is exempt. Don't quote me on that but I think that is how it works.
 
Joined
Feb 1, 2018
Messages
568
Location
Utah
Point S in woods cross or arusted development in kamas. State has told quite a few cruiser guys I know that they wouldnt do any big jobs on cruisers and refer them to arusted development.

also I texted with the owner of that 81 he went radio silent when I asked for more pics
 

Users who are viewing this thread

Top Bottom