Lucy Liu, a long overdue 5.3 build thread

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Jun 10, 2015
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654
Location
Franklin, Massachusetts
 
SO after five years of asking questions and occasionally heckling people here its high time I put together a build thread for the truck to showcase the culmination of knowledge that helped get my 1987 Freeborn Red sixty series to where it is today

So for those of you who know me already :flipoff2::flipoff2::flipoff2::flipoff2::flipoff2::flipoff2: for those that don't my name is James and through a series of poor decisions five years ago I decided to purchase a Land Cruiser sight unseen from California and bring it all the way to the land of no return, New England.

So as it happens after a year of trolling New England Craigslist and Auto Trader ads I decided to check mud and saw this truck on the opposite side of the world. It was a 60 series, it was red, and it also happened to have a 5.3 shoehorned into it. with the swap nearly complete (or so I thought) it checked off all the boxes.....anddd it had a fresh H55 to boot.

Now came the joys of buying a vehicle from across the country, which I won't go into at large but Inevitably it arrived looking like the surface of the moon with fresh hail damage, broken parts, and stolen parts (Moral of the story here is even if you go through the right channels to get a licensed and insured carrier, you're still rolling the dice: Just fly out and drive the truck home)

Truck Replacements/Modifications as it sits now to serve as a list of things I need to remember to discuss
  • 5.3 Vortec
    • New Intake
    • New Waterpump
    • HO Alternator
    • Plugs, Coils, Sensors (ALL)
    • HD Power Steering Pump
  • FJ62 Snorkel Style Air Filter Retrofit
  • Be Cool LS Radiator and Mechanical Fan clutch
  • H55
  • Marks V8 Adaptor
  • Powder Coated Frame
  • Powder Coated Axles
  • AIR CONDITIONING
  • 40 Gallon Alu Fuel Tank
  • Starter Relay Trick
  • Blue Sea Dual Battery & wiring rack
  • Custom Driveshaft
  • Rebuilt T-Case
  • Rebuilt Linkage
  • Rebuilt Power Steering Gearbox
  • Tie Rods/Birfs/Bearings
  • Front and Rear ARB Lockers
  • Steel Bumpers
  • H4 Headlight and LED Interior and exterior upgrade
  • 4Runner Wiper Mod
  • 70 Series Mirrors
  • Speedhut Gauge Cluster
  • Tuff Dog Foam Cell Suspension
  • SOR 3" Springs
  • 34" BFG Ko2's
  • Bowfin Cruisers Roof Rack
  • Warn Winch
  • Trail Gear Storage & CB Mount
  • Boss Airbag Suspension Assist
  • 2020 Full Repaint - Mild Restoration


Here are a few pictures to show the truck in the early days, post-purchase - it was almost orange with oxidation, but the bones were there

Fj601.jpg


FJ602.jpg


Oxidation.jpeg
 
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Joined
Jun 10, 2015
Messages
654
Location
Franklin, Massachusetts
 
I drove the truck as-is for about a year back for forth to Boston to get a feel for its quirks, and a few things became readily apparent

1. The Radiator Leaked
2. Air Conditioning is an underappreciated gift from god
3. Push Button Starts are absolutely worthless and whoever invented them should be tarred and feathered
4. Wiring wiring wiring wiring
5. Wiring wiring wiring wiring
6. I never had so much fun driving anything else in my life


so in early 2017 I caught wind of a "truck meet" in Colorado @POTATO LAUNCHER was putting together, the now Infamous solid-axle summit, and id be damned if I was going to miss it. Being in Massachusetts you come to realize pretty quick Land Cruisers are few and far between, and i'm not one to associate with Jeeps anyways so this trip had to happen

Enter the local (Vermont) Land Cruiser club, Yankee Toys :hillbilly:

I had baselined the truck to the best of my mechanical ability at the time (which thankfully has improved with owning the truck) but I wanted to make sure it would make the trek 2300 miles into Colorado.

What I thought would be a short stint turned into an extended stay and the truck went into the care of the boys at Poor Wallys Land Cruiser Emporium for two months. The end result was a rewiring of the trucks engine harness, see below for the horrors that were removed :worms: rumor is they wouldn't let the wires get close to any other parts just in case the juju rubbed off on other rigs

Working with Howell Engine Development we finally had a wiring harness that wouldn't turn me into a human barbeque and did the truck some justice

Wiring1.jpg


wiring2.jpg


wiring3.jpg
 
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Joined
Jun 10, 2015
Messages
654
Location
Franklin, Massachusetts
 
To remedy the cooling problem I dropped in a "Be Cool" LS conversion unit, however, this didn't stop the cooling issues altogether. As many people have noted on this forum cooling can be an endless issue with these trucks and its usually a battle, that was no different here.


During the first 16 months, I swapped 5 new Griffen Radiators. All of which split at the seam holding the tube cores to the tanks themselves. The first thought was the harness was loose and causing it to flex, but it was later found to be incredibly poor quality control from Griffen (think bad epoxy holding the cores together). Summit racing came through and eventually sent me the "Be Cool" unit when they realize they were burning money giving me new units to "test" :hillbilly:


The only remaining issue was the temps were still high at altitude, so again it comes to Griffen. To conserve costs I kept the dual electric fans as they were over 700 new, but they just didn't push enough air between cycles to keep temps under control (even a hot switch to keep them on constantly proved futile). Long story short a mechanical fan clutch and shroud was dropped in and I haven't had any issue since - the truck runs ice cold idling at 100 degrees on the deck in Boston.

Continuing my luck streak was the engine intake incident, where a misfire literally blew the back of the intake to pieces one Sunday morning. Had to attach pictures because to this day I still don't know why or how that happened and I'm sure it hasn't happened to anyone else :doh:

High note was I installed a new intake, plugs, sensors, and injectors while I had it all apart.

Other upgrades at this point consisted of a Trail Gear Antenna mount, rear cargo/tailgate boxes, and a BOSS airbag suspension for the back end to help keep the 40 gallons of fuel from sagging the springs. More pictures to follow on those when I get the truck back


Intake1.JPG


Intake2.JPG


air Intake.jpeg


BossBags.JPG
 
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Joined
Jun 10, 2015
Messages
654
Location
Franklin, Massachusetts
 
The last of the bad wiring was found on Christmas eve 2017 and came in the form of a smoking battery. When we rewired the engine harness only one detail was overlooked, the battery charging system, so attached are some cringe-worthy photos of a dead battery that was a result of a failed isolator

Top image is older and needs to be updated as it looks much better now, but we went through and wired everything to a bluesea block and breaker. The entire setup has a dedicated plate and relays have been organized and paired down

A0646CE3-AD16-4149-B946-EE777E175A4E.jpeg


ED8655D4-9B04-4C5B-860D-32B67BA2AC42.jpeg


2AF3DD03-5DF4-4124-9EA3-92132F306A57.jpeg
 
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HemiAlex

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Are you using the advance adapter kit that keeps the transmission in the factory location? Also, what would you say the answer is to your cooling system issues? What radiator and fan clutch would you run?
 
Joined
Jun 10, 2015
Messages
654
Location
Franklin, Massachusetts
 
Are you using the advance adapter kit that keeps the transmission in the factory location? Also, what would you say the answer is to your cooling system issues? What radiator and fan clutch would you run?
Totally forgot to elaborate on that!
Went with the marks Adapter which gets you close to the firewall and leaves you room to mount the fan if desired - Marks Adaptor

The be-all end-all solution to the cooling system issue was the addition of a GM2500 fan, clutch and custom shroud.

When using the dual electric fans the temps were insanity at altitude, and the hood would get so hot you could fry an egg.

I considered adding a hose junction like a few others have but after installing the mechanical fan I can’t get the truck above 190 degrees on a scorcher
 
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HemiAlex

TLCA #24987
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That’s the adapter I’ve been considering. Not having to move stuff is a huge win.

So the main goal would be, the biggest and properly mounted radiator you could fit, the HD fan clutch and a shroud to make it all work.

That is good info. I would like to build a hotrod 2F or put my stock 5.3 in eventually.
 
Joined
Jun 10, 2015
Messages
654
Location
Franklin, Massachusetts
 
That’s the adapter I’ve been considering. Not having to move stuff is a huge win.

So the main goal would be, the biggest and properly mounted radiator you could fit, the HD fan clutch and a shroud to make it all work.

That is good info. I would like to build a hotrod 2F or put my stock 5.3 in eventually.
After struggling with poor quality radiators and cooling issues for three years that’s your best bet IMHO. No need to reinvent the wheel when a mechanical fan is reliable and simple

I drive 50-60 miles a day with the truck and the V8 makes for a realistic and reliable DD

The only two things I wish I did were setup the AC sooner and install a Texas Speed 5.3 camshaft for the smile factor
 

HemiAlex

TLCA #24987
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I would experiment with an 80 series AC pusher fan to help out, I can't idle my truck in Texas when its 100F out and 100% humidity without putting the hand throttle at 1200 to keep the ac blowing cold.

The stage 1 TSP low lift cam would be perfect for one of these trucks. It would be a second gear start with a 5 speed and 3.70/4.11 for sure.
 

cruisermatt

Un-manufacturable
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Orlando Florida
 
Totally forgot to elaborate on that!
Went with the marks Adapter which gets you close to the firewall and leaves you room to mount the fan if desired - Marks Adaptor

The be-all end-all solution to the cooling system issue was the addition of a GM2500 fan, clutch and custom shroud.

When using the dual electric fans the temps were insanity at altitude, and the hood would get so hot you could fry an egg.

Sooo? What were your temps before? I’ve daily driven mine 50-60 miles a day in 100 degree temps with a stock radiator and electric fans without issue.
Reading through all your posts it sounds like you really have/had other problems, maybe a cracked head or something.

You need to be more quantitative when you say things like “end all be all solution”
 
Joined
Jun 10, 2015
Messages
654
Location
Franklin, Massachusetts
 
Sooo? What were your temps before? I’ve daily driven mine 50-60 miles a day in 100 degree temps with a stock radiator and electric fans without issue.
Reading through all your posts it sounds like you really have/had other problems, maybe a cracked head or something.
Previous temps were right around 190 in the city traffic (Sea level New England)

When I took it to Colorado and started taking It up the surrounding trails it would climb pretty quickly to 210-220-230. Pretty sure It had to do with a combination of thin air, and there wasn’t a lot of ways for the hot air to escape the engine compartment.

another issue was the fans clicked on Incrementally based on temp, fan 1 turned on at 180 and fan 2 clicked on at 195 or 200

First thought was heads too at but checked them out and they were good. Wish I had the stock three core brass radiator as that would have been my pick from the start
 

HemiAlex

TLCA #24987
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Interesting thought. I feel that hood vents would help a lot of the cooling issues with these trucks. That air needs to escape and bring the ambient engine bay temps down.
 
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