Looking at a ‘97 fzj80 tomorrow (1 Viewer)

Joined
Jun 10, 2020
Messages
214
Location
Montana
Greetings 80 series folks. I am driving an hour and a half to check out a ‘97 fzj80 tomorrow. I don’t know the ins and outs of 80 series like you all so thought I’d check in for any “make sure you checks”. I have viewed the 80 faq page and watched the vehicle inspection video. Obviously, I’ll know a lot more after crawling around it and driving it tomorrow, but here’s what I know now:
-Center Diff Lock
-Excellent interior (especially for a leather interior)
-200k miles
-good paint (no clear coat peeling)
-no leaks (according to seller)
-he bought one year ago from original owner. Bought for his daughter but she found something she likes better, so it basically just sits, so time to get rid of it.
-I see zero modifications and he knows of none, never been wheeled according to owner.
-he says original suspension is in fine shape
-says will need an exhaust system before too long
-says will need running boards replaced
-says drives like a dream and I don’t think it’s BS
-there is no visible rust on exterior, but I don’t know about underneath.
I am not looking to turn this into a trail rig right away, my 40 serves that purpose. It would be a dd for my wife for a few years, til she tires of it and is ready for something else, then we have an 80 in the fleet.
Any “look fors” for a ‘97 80 or other advice?
Thanks folks!! I will let you know the end result :)
 
Joined
Jan 13, 2011
Messages
1,012
Location
Corrales, NM / Boulder City, NV
I'd make sure the D light works properly 😆. Seriously though that sounds like a nice cruiser. I'd ask if he has any maintenance history from the original owner. Cooling system maintenance is important on these due to head gasket failure. Other than that just checking everything out, making sure all of the accessories work. If there is no maintenance history then plan on spending some time and money doing a thorough baseline.
 
Joined
Jun 10, 2020
Messages
214
Location
Montana
I'd make sure the D light works properly 😆. Seriously though that sounds like a nice cruiser. I'd ask if he has any maintenance history from the original owner. Cooling system maintenance is important on these due to head gasket failure. Other than that just checking everything out, making sure all of the accessories work. If there is no maintenance history then plan on spending some time and money doing a thorough baseline.
On it.
thanks Vegas.
 
Joined
Oct 22, 2003
Messages
4,156
Location
Latitude 58N or 19N
Take a look at the knuckles, maybe check grease level in them via fill plug. Power steering pump is a common failure point. Keeping it stock sounds good to me. That's my plan too, other than deleting running boards.
 
Joined
Dec 8, 2020
Messages
29
Location
Richmond, VA
Having gone through this process myself (14 hour drive, 6 hour drive, 5 hour drive) - I'll share:

1) Rust - frame rust is killer and not worth buying if you want your rig to be a lifer. Saying running boards and exhaust need replacing could be an indicator of rust.

Everything else below isn't a deal breaker IMO - just know you'll need to spend money/time to fix so factor that into purchase price.

2) Engine - should be pretty straight forward, but look for smoke out of the tailpipe (after warming up for a few min), bubbles in coolant overflow tank, and a frothy fluid on the underside of the oil cap - indicative of head gasket going.

3) Leaks - with 200k miles IMO it's not a question of if it leaks, but more so from how many places. Check valve cover, front main, transfer case, power steering pump - mine had all four.

4) Fluids - oil level and color, coolant level and color, etc.

5) Little things that seem obvious but get looked over when you're there in person - do all window motors work, do door lock actuators work, does cruise control work, do other dash switches work, does a/c and fans work - does rear heater blow hot air

If you have VIN - IMO its worth running a CarFax and then also seeing if you can get Toyota to provide full service history so you can get some sense of what has/hasn't been fixed on it. Carfax will sometimes pick up on service events done outside of Toyota/Lexus. The dealership will likely require the current owner sign off on providing you with this info.


Good luck!
 
Joined
Jun 10, 2020
Messages
214
Location
Montana
Sounds like a great rig!

OTRAMM posted this video which you may want to review.


I hope she's all that and a bag of adventure!
Video is great! Thanks
Having gone through this process myself (14 hour drive, 6 hour drive, 5 hour drive) - I'll share:

1) Rust - frame rust is killer and not worth buying if you want your rig to be a lifer. Saying running boards and exhaust need replacing could be an indicator of rust.

Everything else below isn't a deal breaker IMO - just know you'll need to spend money/time to fix so factor that into purchase price.

2) Engine - should be pretty straight forward, but look for smoke out of the tailpipe (after warming up for a few min), bubbles in coolant overflow tank, and a frothy fluid on the underside of the oil cap - indicative of head gasket going.

3) Leaks - with 200k miles IMO it's not a question of if it leaks, but more so from how many places. Check valve cover, front main, transfer case, power steering pump - mine had all four.

4) Fluids - oil level and color, coolant level and color, etc.

5) Little things that seem obvious but get looked over when you're there in person - do all window motors work, do door lock actuators work, does cruise control work, do other dash switches work, does a/c and fans work - does rear heater blow hot air

If you have VIN - IMO its worth running a CarFax and then also seeing if you can get Toyota to provide full service history so you can get some sense of what has/hasn't been fixed on it. Carfax will sometimes pick up on service events done outside of Toyota/Lexus. The dealership will likely require the current owner sign off on providing you with this info.


Good luck!
thanks for this. I am afraid your #1 may be spot on. Is currently my biggest concern. I will respectfully pass and enjoy a 3hr road trip and getting to crawl around an 80 if that’s the case.
Great input. Thanks again.
 
Joined
Jun 10, 2020
Messages
214
Location
Montana
Update:
Thank you all for your input.
I’m passing on it.
Rust wasn’t quite as bad as I feared, but there is more than I’d like to see for the cost. The rig needs more attention that I have time for, if I didn’t have the 40, it’d be a worthwhile buy for me.
I will post the ad link in the classifieds section for folks to check out. If anyone is half interested in it, I did crawl all over it and drive it today, I’d be happy to pass on my observations if it would help. Of course he has a ton of interest, but I was first contact. Thanks again for the help!
 
Joined
Oct 6, 2016
Messages
669
Location
Kansas
Wow, that truck sure looks nice. Is there body rust or is it only frame and differential surface rust?
 
Joined
Jun 10, 2020
Messages
214
Location
Montana
Wow, that truck sure looks nice. Is there body rust or is it only frame and differential surface rust?
It does look nice. Great color, and leather is good. There is more rust than I’m used to here in MT, it came from western Washington area. But it is mostly all on frame and bumpers. There was also some small bubbling inside the drivers door jam. The exhaust system will need work, the running boards are toast, but just remove them. The engine bay looked better in person, than in the Craigslist ad actually. Very little leaks. Knuckles not too bad, drove very well.
 

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