Builds My First 4x4 Build - 94 Triple Locked

Joined
Jan 3, 2018
Messages
113
Location
Bay Area, CA
Hello fellow Mudders! My name is Edwin and I'd like to welcome you to the build and activity thread. For as long as I have been into cars, they have always been built with the interest of going fast. Now don't get me wrong, I have not lost my desire to go fast, but it's not something you can enjoy often, with the family, or without constantly checking for for police.

So the story of how I came to own my 80 series starts in August of 2017. I purchased a 2000 Cherokee (XJ) so that I could join in on the fun that my friends were having wheeling their trucks. I learned a lot from it and also enjoyed a few good trips with it. While capable (4.5" lift, 33's, 4.88 gears, ARB lockers, D44 rear, armor), the truck was a tin can on wheels and the cabin noise could certainly old. It fit me, my wife, Armin (our dog), and camping gear fine, we had plans to get a second dog and it surely would not fit with Armin in the back seat. So, the search for the next vehicle started.

I knew that I wanted something bigger, equally capable off road, and with a good community to participate in. I have always loved the Land Cruisers, but was never able to convince my parents to buy one. So I went and test drove a couple locally but nothing really stuck. There was a turbo one in Florida that I almost pulled the trigger on but someone else beat me to it. Somewhat randomly, I found myself on eBay (I usually just look on Craigslist) and stumbled upon something that caught my eye.

It was a 94, clean title, triple locked, single owner truck in Southern California. I am from Northern California and travel down quite frequently so I decided to reach out. So a couple days later I went to check out the car after completing my business. The truck was most of what I was looking for but a bit rougher cosmetically than I had wanted. Coupled with that was the fact that the owner had not smogged it yet and was not wanting to budget on the price. So I got back in my car to drive away but could not get myself to drive off, so I bought it!



6 hours later and I safely made it back home for the night with the subject of this thread, my newly acquired 80 series. Oh did I mention, it only had 80k miles on it :D Here's the proof from Jan 17, 2018 right after I signed the papers.



Here's a few more pics of the ugly duckling:







As it's been a few months since I purchased the vehicle, I have some catching up to do with this thread. So stay tuned!
 
Joined
Nov 9, 2012
Messages
7,477
Location
Olathe, KS, USA
Triple locked w/ 80K. It's never been off road and it was in SOCAL.

Other than the paint scorch, it's a "new" truck.

Sitting around is hard on a vehicle. You will likely experience a lot of rubber rot or hard and cracking. Next will be the exhaust. As it rarely got up to temp and sat around a LOT, then driven for a few miles and shut off, never getting fully warm, the exhaust may start rotting quickly. The stock exhaust on these is 409SS, but it will still oxidize and flake if conditions are right.

Do your baselining and all your fluid changes, as moisture from the air has been in all of the areas and they have not been up to temp to burn out the moisture (other than your trip home with it for 6 hours I guess!)

Good Luck and Great buy!
 
Joined
Jan 3, 2018
Messages
113
Location
Bay Area, CA
Yup, it was hard to believe that it existed and much like @BILT4ME said, there would be plenty of baselining ahead. The reason for the low miles is that the owner lived in Glendale, his business was in Glendale, and his family was in Glendale. So short of a couple trips up to Big Bear and Las Vegas, the truck stayed in town. They certainly never took it off road as they did not even know what the lockers were for. The mileage would have been quite a bit lower but the owner's son has been using it the last couple years to commute to school.

So driving it home I immediately noticed a few things:
  1. The rear defroster did not work.
  2. The passenger front window run was missing a chunk.
  3. The passenger side view mirror vibrates like crazy.
  4. The interior needed a good sanitizing. This was the other red flag I did not mention earlier, the previous owner was a smoker.
2/3/18: The truck sat for a few weeks as I was out of town, but the first thing I needed to do was replace the front window run so that I could drive without all that noise and without the windows fogging up due to moisture getting in. As you can see, there was a substantial chunk missing, so out it came and in went the new one.





While I was in there I also fixed the tab on the rear view mirror. I should have taken a picture of the solution, but thanks to this forum I learned that I could JB Weld a small piece of wire coat hanger into the plastic and make a new tab. Problem solved!



2/8/18: Next on the list was o take care of is getting the truck smogged and registered. Like I mentioned earlier, I typically do not purchase cars that have not passed SMOG and as luck would have it, it failed. It passed the sniffer, passed the EVAP, but failed on timing. The timing was stuck around 10* advanced and putting the jumper in the diagnostic port did not solve it.

2/16/18: For a couple days I tried to diagnose the issue, but eventually I just put a timing gun to it and set the timing to 3*. It felt like a slug getting to the SMOG station, but it passed! Shout out to the local neighborhood Toyota mechanic that let me borrow his timing gun. From there the truck was registered and it was officially mine (that only took a month haha)! No pics of the me registering the truck, but here's a photo of the original window sticker. $599 for the burl wood dash kit...I wish they hadn't. More on that later.




2/17/18: One of the most annoying things is struts that won't keep the cargo area or hood open, so that had to be addressed. Ordered some struts off Amazon and what do you know, they have the brackets on backwards, so that was a bust. Check the reviews before purchasing...



2/17/18: The truck still had its original original audio equipment and that needed to change. No bluetooth and no way to connect my phone is not a situation I wanted to deal with for long. Oh and remember that burl wood I mentioned earlier, it's in terrible shape...





Anyhow, out came the factory radio and in went a Pioneer radio I had laying around from my old commuter.



Quick gripe...I wish companies still made plug and play harnesses. I miss the days when I could go to Circuit City and say "I have a Toyota and I am installing a Pioneer radio" and poof, they just handed you a jumper harness. No pulling out the soldering iron.

Other than that, the radio installation was pretty straight forward, other than Toyota making it so that that you practically have to remove the whole console (some of those plugs did not want to come off easily). Some time was spent cleaning out the behind the center console, you can see where the ashes from the cigarettes were...gross...I've left the ash tray out for the time being...



Ahh...much better.

 

Nay

 
 
Joined
Aug 17, 2004
Messages
4,819
Location
Colorado
There is a plug and play Metra harness that bypasses the stock amp. Crutchfield will send that stuff for free if you buy from them. Just a future note.

Make sure you remove the amp as it will eventually fail and blow fuses and you won’t know why.

Sweet 80. Doing 37’s yet? Oh wait, it’s 40’s now.
 
Joined
Nov 9, 2012
Messages
7,477
Location
Olathe, KS, USA
Yup, it was hard to believe that it existed and much like @BILT4ME said, there would be plenty of baselining ahead. The reason for the low miles is that the owner lived in Glendale, his business was in Glendale, and his family was in Glendale. So short of a couple trips up to Big Bear and Las Vegas, the truck stayed in town. They certainly never took it off road as they did not even know what the lockers were for. The mileage would have been quite a bit lower but the owner's son has been using it the last couple years to commute to school.

So driving it home I immediately noticed a few things:
  1. The rear defroster did not work.
  2. The passenger front window run was missing a chunk.
  3. The passenger side view mirror vibrates like crazy.
  4. The interior needed a good sanitizing. This was the other red flag I did not mention earlier, the previous owner was a smoker.
2/3/18: The truck sat for a few weeks as I was out of town, but the first thing I needed to do was replace the front window run so that I could drive without all that noise and without the windows fogging up due to moisture getting in. As you can see, there was a substantial chunk missing, so out it came and in went the new one.





While I was in there I also fixed the tab on the rear view mirror. I should have taken a picture of the solution, but thanks to this forum I learned that I could JB Weld a small piece of wire coat hanger into the plastic and make a new tab. Problem solved!



2/8/18: Next on the list was o take care of is getting the truck smogged and registered. Like I mentioned earlier, I typically do not purchase cars that have not passed SMOG and as luck would have it, it failed. It passed the sniffer, passed the EVAP, but failed on timing. The timing was stuck around 10* advanced and putting the jumper in the diagnostic port did not solve it.

2/16/18: For a couple days I tried to diagnose the issue, but eventually I just put a timing gun to it and set the timing to 3*. It felt like a slug getting to the SMOG station, but it passed! Shout out to the local neighborhood Toyota mechanic that let me borrow his timing gun. From there the truck was registered and it was officially mine (that only took a month haha)! No pics of the me registering the truck, but here's a photo of the original window sticker. $599 for the burl wood dash kit...I wish they hadn't. More on that later.




2/17/18: One of the most annoying things is struts that won't keep the cargo area or hood open, so that had to be addressed. Ordered some struts off Amazon and what do you know, they have the brackets on backwards, so that was a bust. Check the reviews before purchasing...



2/17/18: The truck still had its original original audio equipment and that needed to change. No bluetooth and no way to connect my phone is not a situation I wanted to deal with for long. Oh and remember that burl wood I mentioned earlier, it's in terrible shape...





Anyhow, out came the factory radio and in went a Pioneer radio I had laying around from my old commuter.



Quick gripe...I wish companies still made plug and play harnesses. I miss the days when I could go to Circuit City and say "I have a Toyota and I am installing a Pioneer radio" and poof, they just handed you a jumper harness. No pulling out the soldering iron.

Other than that, the radio installation was pretty straight forward, other than Toyota making it so that that you practically have to remove the whole console (some of those plugs did not want to come off easily). Some time was spent cleaning out the behind the center console, you can see where the ashes from the cigarettes were...gross...I've left the ash tray out for the time being...



Ahh...much better.

I don't know how tall you are, but I chose the McMaster Carr lift gate cylinder change on mine to get it up higher and with more pressure. Do a search for it.

Hood struts are Amazon these days.
 
Joined
Jan 3, 2018
Messages
113
Location
Bay Area, CA
I don't know how tall you are, but I chose the McMaster Carr lift gate cylinder change on mine to get it up higher and with more pressure. Do a search for it.

Hood struts are Amazon these days.
I'm only 5'8" and so I'm barely tall enough to reach comfortably now with the added height (that's a clue for future posts). My wife is 5'2" and I don't see her carrying around a step stool haha.
 
Joined
Jan 3, 2018
Messages
113
Location
Bay Area, CA
There is a plug and play Metra harness that bypasses the stock amp. Crutchfield will send that stuff for free if you buy from them. Just a future note.

Make sure you remove the amp as it will eventually fail and blow fuses and you won’t know why.

Sweet 80. Doing 37’s yet? Oh wait, it’s 40’s now.
Thanks! Hmm...I wasn't able to find a plug and play but I did have one that plugged into the car but required soldering to the aftermarket radio harness. Fortunately, this came out of my old commuter which was also a Toyota so I didn't have to do it twice! Good tip on the factory amp.

Wheels and tires are on, but I've got some catching up to do with the build before we get to that point. Stay tuned!
 
Joined
Nov 9, 2012
Messages
7,477
Location
Olathe, KS, USA
I'm only 5'8" and so I'm barely tall enough to reach comfortably now with the added height (that's a clue for future posts). My wife is 5'2" and I don't see her carrying around a step stool haha.
I'm 6'1" and it's a full reach for me when it's up, but that doesn't bother me a bit. I kept hitting my head on it when it was at factory height. I consider this one of the better mods I've done.

I have a 95 Jeep Grand Cherokee that I had to replace the struts almost every year because as soon as it dropped below 30 degrees, the gate would sag down and I would hit my head. So I did the same thing to that one, but I had to go through and do a bunch of measurements and weights. That one pushes it to full limit of the hinges, but it doesn't sag a bit and they've been in place for 4 years. However, that one I actually have to do a little tiptoe to grab the door, it's that high. I can't open the rear gate inside the garage anymore without a blanket to protect the door.
 
Joined
Nov 9, 2012
Messages
7,477
Location
Olathe, KS, USA
You obviously don't have enough tire/lift. :doh:
I have the lift in the truck.........Does in the cargo area count?

I'm not going bigger than 33" on tires. Installing my 2.5" lift will be enough to try to get my old, fat ass into the truck anyway. I may have to get a step stool.........
 
Joined
Jan 3, 2018
Messages
113
Location
Bay Area, CA
2/24/18: So now that I had the radio in, it was clear that I also needed to replace he front speakers. The cone on the passenger side had separated from the surround and even if not, these 24 year old speakers had to go. I tried some Alpine speakers I had laying around but the mounting depth was too large. After a little research on here, I went and purchased a set of Polk DB651's. The install was pretty straight forward. I mounted the provided spaced plate onto the sheet metal with a few self tapping screws, put the door panel on, and mounted the speaker to the spacer. While they are still driven off the Pioneer deck, the sound quality is vastly improved!













Since I already had the door panels off, I decided to start the sanitizing and deodorizing process. For this step I took Super Clean degreaser to the panels and scrubbed with an interior detailing brush.



I ended up getting completely distracted and started testing the degreaser on other parts of the truck to see how it would work. What I'll say is that it definitely removed a fair amount of the stains from the doors and the fabric. The fabric has stains from the smoke and this did great in cutting it out (the nearest corner of the sunroof cover is where I cleaned). I'm still due to do a massive cleaning of the whole interior, but for now I am satisfied with how it works.



Look at the crud coming off...so gross...



2/25/18: The following day I set out to remove the back seats, easy peasy. While I was back there I decided to explore the factory subwoofer location. No surprise, that speaker had fallen apart to. So out it went and onto the internet I went looking for a solution. I stumbled upon a thread about mounting a powered subwoofer in the factory location, using a simple sheet metal bracket. So I reached out to @I Lean (Carl) and he was kind enough to whip one up for me. If any of you want to go this route, I highly recommend his bracket, its great quality and definitely better than anything I could make. Have I picked a sub to install? Nope, but the bracket is there when I do. Here's the thread for those interested: Subwoofer, factory location/hidden



 
Joined
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Messages
113
Location
Bay Area, CA
3/3/18: It's about 6 weeks later now and parts have started to arrive for the truck. Oddly enough, the first purchase that I made was for some Dobinson's drawers, that's the big box you see sitting on the floor. Also in hand is my a Trail Great tube bumper and a set of Method NV wheels. Problem is that the wheels that 4 Wheel Parts sent to me were the wrong color, these were machined and the ones I ordered were Bronze. So no point wasting time with pictures of those.



One thing I knew I had to address was going to be the front seats. They were destroyed and seeing what seat swaps have been done, I was set on doing one myself. After some searching around, I was able to source the front seats out of two different Audi B8 S5's. The passenger is in perfect condition and the drivers side has some minor bolster wear but also some dimpling from having some parts stored on top of them. I left with only the drivers side but a few days later the company reached out and gave me a deal I could not resist. Here's a picture of the passenger side the day I got it. I will post more pictures of both seats, including the reconditioning of the drivers side, when I install them. There's a little bit of work to be done to get some rails made up, but for $375, this cannot be beat!



3/6/18: I received a notice that my suspension had arrived at the local freight terminal. I couldn't wait and so I showed up there at 10PM to pick up the suspension goodies for myself and my neighbor. (side note: I told my neighbor I was going to replace my XJ with an 80, he researched 80's, and bought one before I could!) Thanks to @crikeymike for the quick and painless transaction!



3/10/18: Also got some new all weather mats. I know, not that exciting but it's way better than resting my dirty feet on the carpet.

 
Joined
Jan 3, 2018
Messages
113
Location
Bay Area, CA
The one thing I need to commend this forum on is it's dedication to proper maintenance. Reading through everything reinforced how important it was to baseline the truck. So I told myself that I would not install any of the fun stuff until all the baselining was complete. So off we go!

3/10/18:

First was the transmission fluid. I highly doubt the previous owner ever changed the fluid. So out with the old an in with Redline ATF. I did not do a full flush and plan to drain and top off in several thousand miles.





Next I took care of the oil. Thanks again to the folks on this forum for quickly noticing that I had used a filter that had a couple recorded failures. That filter would quickly make its way off and a Toyota would make its way on.

Then we got to some fun stuff, the spark plugs. What should have been a 15-20 minute job ended up dragging on for a few days. So why did it take so long? Because the previous owner used aftermarket spark plugs wires. First, the boot separated...



Then, the plastic shaft connecting the top and base of the boot shattered as I tried to pull it out.





So I had to fashion up a way to get the shards out.



Then I had to go to the store to pick up a pick set so I could snag the rubber boot off the plug.



After all that I was finally able to replace the plugs. Iridiums out, copper in. (not sure why I didn't lay all 6 out)



 
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