Builds My first FJ60 (2 Viewers)

FJ Noob

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Aug 22, 2019
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847
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Fayetteville, NC
First post...gonna be long...a lot happened really quickly.

I've always loved the FJ60s, but just never had the time/$$/know-how to own one. Well, that recently changed. I just bought my first FJ60, a 1987 with 197K miles on the original 2F and 4-speed manual transmission. I wasn't really serious about buying, but was cruising the inter-webs and while dreaming about eventually owning my very own. I ran across one for sale at a small independent dealership in Charleston, SC. The pictures looked pretty good and nothing raised any flags except that it had been listed for about a month...almost too good to be true (I was actually pretty sure it was a scam because it was buried so deep in the Google pages). For reference, I did not grow up a "car guy". I understand theoretically how it all works but have never stepped foot in a machine shop, welded, or taken on anything more complicated than replacing a water pump gasket. Yeah I learned how to do the basic maintenance stuff, but my family has a woodworking background (cabinetmaking etc). Fortunately my wife grew up with a dad that built hotrods and is not a stranger to having project cars occupying the garage. After talking about it and reviewing some finances, she convinced me to not pass it up and regret a lost opportunity later even though I didn't "need" it. I called the dealership, asked a bunch of questions and decided it was worth the 3 1/2 hour trip to test drive it and inspect in person (I'm currently stationed at Ft Bragg in NC).

I took the day off from work (my boss is great and thought an old LC would be awesome; happily gave me the time to make the trip) and test drove it. I was hooked after the first mile, but tried to remain calm. Afterwards I spent about an hour going over it in the parking lot. This thing looked great...no rust, all electrical worked, no seat tears, no evidence of leaks, new paint only 1yo, blah, blah, blah. Only things I could find were broken washer reservoirs, inop tachometer, shredded spare, dinged bumpers and the suspension was beginning to look tired. The dealer also handed over copies of the service records from a local shop dating back to 2012 (it was a Cali truck before that). On the way home I stopped by and talked to the mechanic to ask if he had any concerns about the truck. Nice guy...long talk...to paraphrase, he said "getting into these trucks, most guys have a list of the things they know they'll be doing right away....rear main seal, tie rod ends, etc. The big plus on this truck is that I've done all this in the last year or two on the PO's dime." Got the PO backstory to explain why this thing was on the market...older gentleman that loved it as his DD, but a rapid eyesight degeneration condition forced him to sell it and use a more modern vehicle with all the lane change sensors etc. Here's what was recently done:

New battery, spark plugs, starter, water pump, clutch fan, clutch master cylinder, power steering gearbox and pump, radiator, all radiator hoses, front crankshaft seal, all drive belts, A/C idler pulley bearing, rear brake shoes and cylinders, brake pads, break master cylinder, front tie rod ends, rear sway bar, stabilizer bracket, transfer case, Oil pressure sensor, front and rear driveshaft u-joints, valve cover gasket, pushrod cover gasket, distribution o-ring, air intake hose, A/C expansion vale, A/C evaporator, A/C compressor, A/C condenser, fuel pump, fuel filter, and oil filter.

On the way home I decided to pull the trigger and not pass this one up and commit to the dealer. Fast forward a couple weeks after a delay from the stupid hurricane and she's mine!!! Here she is about an hour after picking her up...(wife drove me down to SC on the condition I take her out for a seafood lunch in the "new" LC)
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During the couple weeks I had waiting for pick-up, I started my build list in my head. Since so much of the mechanical stuff was done recently, it has mostly fallen into the "preventative" and "cosmetic" categories.

First up...strip interior, look for rust, clean up, coat in bedliner, add sound deadner, install new carpet (new carpet really just because). I was lucky enough that my father-in-law was in town to help so I took a week off from work to dedicate to the initial work.

Interior strip down
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Overall great shape, but found one small spot rusted out on the DS wheel well...
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From here it escalated quickly. As previously stated, not a car guy and basically zero automotive repair experience. Next thing I know my FIL has talked me into buying small 120v MIG welder, helps me practice for half an hour on an old steel target, finishes dinner and he heads back to his RV with a departing "your car, your job...good luck". It was late and I didn't feel like tackling it in the dark, so I packed in until the morning. 8am I was out there welding up the spot I'd cut out and had it finished by the time my FIL came over after breakfast. I know it was only a little 3-4inch patch, but a pretty big leap from where I was 24 hours prior. No picture because it was in the upper 90's all week and I wanted to move before the sun was completely blazing.

On to the bed liner and sound deadner for the next 2 days...
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Con't.....
 
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FJ Noob

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Joined
Aug 22, 2019
Messages
847
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Fayetteville, NC
When it got too hot, I went inside and worked repairing any of the little bits I could and reinforcing plastic pieces...
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While replacing the tach light bulb, I found a loose connection...tach fixed for free!!!
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Had a buddy stop by and help me wire in some 2000's tech....volt meter placed in the cig lighter, (on a separate circuit) dual usb for the front of the console for mom & dad, dual usb and 12v socket in rear of console for the kids.
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Tires and wheels showed up!!! 265/75R16 Falken Wildpeak A/T3W. Too bad they beat the OME suspension lift kit (parts on back order - "should" be here by 27 SEP though. They'll look even better under the 2" lift and actually mounted!

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Blacked out the grill, headlight bezels, and fender/pillar vents....I just really don't like chrome.
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FJ Noob

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Aug 22, 2019
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847
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Fayetteville, NC
Got the new carpet installed. Only broke one bolt and stripped one threaded hole. On the plus side, I learned how to successfully remove a broken bolt and re-tap a hole for a new bolt...oh yeah, and I added to my tool collection.
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Before I started the interior work, I drove around for about 2 days just having fun with the kids. They learned cool things like "what an ashtray is, how manual door locks and window cranks work, rear passengers only get lap belts because you're not real people yet, and when in Daddy's 80's vehicle we can only listen to all 80's all the time". Taking them to school requires turning onto a main road that drives right into the sun...that's when I realized how bad the windshield pitting was...an actual safety concern. I called around and found a local guy with mobile service that could replace it the first day I was back at work during my lunch break. Bonus...only had black gasket; more chrome vanishing. Well...the windshield had a flaw in it and shattered during the install. No more Crusier fun for a couple days...
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That was a Tuesday. He made it back out as his first call on Thursday morning. Not only did the install go flawlessly, but the windshield he brought had that sweet 80's style tint across the top...no extra charge. Back in business!
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The interior is pretty close to done. Rear panels are re-colored. Cleaned up and re-painted all the plastic parts around the gauges, heater controls, ashtray, etc. Ran out of sound deadner before I could finish the doors. When I do that, I'll re-color the door panels and be done with the inside.

After the lift/suspension kit comes in I'll focus on the undercarriage:

-general clean and degrease
-wire brush and "rust convert" all surface rust spots
-apply a coating of POR 15
-rubberized coating in wheel wells
-install OME suspension

-check knuckles for rebuild (update: rebuilt at 200K miles)
-mount wheels and tires

Only engine concern at this point is that it still has the original soft metal push plug in the galley hole above #5. I'll knock that out soon so I stop worrying about it.

Gotta install the 3-point seatbelts in the rear...obsessively read up about it on here, just gotta do it.

Rock sliders from White Knuckle should be here in a couple weeks. Can't wait to get those on.


Budget for window tinting went to the windshield, so I'll attempt that install myself.

Future to-do list is:
-replace mirrors with black FJ62 set
-upgrade rear seat back to FJ62 with headrests

-figure out something with the bumpers. (Found a better original set and blacked them out)
-design/build rear storage drawers (yeah, woodworking...I got this part)
-rebuild deteriorating rear cargo panels
 
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Joined
May 15, 2005
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Ladysmith
Trial by fire! Took it all apart and got it back together. Please phone your windshield guy and
ask for the part number for that tinted windshield. Mines getting replaced in a few days and having
a tinted window will make my day! Really nice truck, glad it went from one good owner to another.
 

FJ Noob

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Joined
Aug 22, 2019
Messages
847
Location
Fayetteville, NC
Trial by fire! Took it all apart and got it back together. Please phone your windshield guy and
ask for the part number for that tinted windshield. Mines getting replaced in a few days and having
a tinted window will make my day! Really nice truck, glad it went from one good owner to another.

Here you go...ran out and grabbed this to give you a start
IMG_0188.jpeg
 

FJ Noob

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Aug 22, 2019
Messages
847
Location
Fayetteville, NC
Random question for the community....

Where should I look to get spare keys cut? I currently have 1 key and 2 blanks. None of the big box stores have this pattern in their computerized key cutters. Do most people search out a locksmith that can copy a key the old-school way?
 
Joined
Feb 15, 2017
Messages
844
Location
Kentucky
Good stuff! Glad you pulled the trigger and welcome!

I just had a local locksmith cut new ones for me based off the code stamped passenger side lock tumbler.
 

John Staton

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Oct 23, 2017
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Location
The Woodlands, TX
good job on the interior. I was lucky and didn't have the normal front seat tear in mine but they were totally saggy....SOR seat cushions make a world of difference. I have since gutted mine and did the carpet as well. One other low cost upgrade was changing out the sway bar links. Mine was all over the road when I got it and I refreshed the suspension with an Old Man emu that included a steering stabilizer. Really helped, but I still had some roll. New sway bar links were like $25 shipped from an AU company off ebay. You can see how worn out mine were and I bet I had about 2" of play. This really made a difference and took no time to replace.


fj60sway.JPG

Rack2.JPG
 

g-man

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Sep 5, 2006
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Location
Charlottesville VA
Random question for the community....

Where should I look to get spare keys cut? I currently have 1 key and 2 blanks. None of the big box stores have this pattern in their computerized key cutters. Do most people search out a locksmith that can copy a key the old-school way?

For me, my local dealership cut them for free. You can find the key code on the passenger side door lock cylinder. You will need to pull the door card to get at it. Then pull the keeper and remove linkage and it comes right out. You may need to lightly sand the side of the cylinder to see the door code. Once you have it, it's a good idea to write it down in your owners manual. But yeah...I showed up with some blanks and a key code and they cut them free of charge. No more worn key falling out of the ignition.
 
Joined
Jan 17, 2005
Messages
5,558
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Southern Colorado
Great truck, photos, and story. Some dealers still have old key machines lying around, and mine sold me blanks for cheap and cut for next-to-nothing, but only for older Toyotas. Otherwise, Ace hardware, as mentioned.
 

FJ Noob

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Aug 22, 2019
Messages
847
Location
Fayetteville, NC
JS...thanks for the feedback on the SOR cushions. I've seen them, but wondered if it was worth it. My seats are doing ok for now, but I could see re-cushioning them before long.

My main seat related issue is that the driver's seat won't recline. I thought it was just gunked up and the mechanism seized. After a good cleaning, I realized that some PO had actually welded the toothed gear in place. Makes me assume it might have completely broken an that was their cheap fix. It's a little cashy, but I could order a replacement mechanism from SOR. I'll also keep my eye out for a parting out vehicle with trashed seats but good mechanism. It's fine for now...adjusted about where I'd have it anyway, but I could see it becoming a literal and figurative pain on a long trip.
 

FJ Noob

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Joined
Aug 22, 2019
Messages
847
Location
Fayetteville, NC
For me, my local dealership cut them for free. You can find the key code on the passenger side door lock cylinder. You will need to pull the door card to get at it. Then pull the keeper and remove linkage and it comes right out. You may need to lightly sand the side of the cylinder to see the door code. Once you have it, it's a good idea to write it down in your owners manual. But yeah...I showed up with some blanks and a key code and they cut them free of charge. No more worn key falling out of the ignition.

I knew there was a key code somewhere, but not exactly where to look. Thanks..you probably just saved me a couple hours of frustration!!
 

FJ Noob

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Joined
Aug 22, 2019
Messages
847
Location
Fayetteville, NC
Here's a few updated shots of the interior...

Drvr/Pass USB ports
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Hard to tell, but updated paint on all the plastic bits below the dash pad. I decided the leave the metal alone because it has a very subtle patina I like. Reminds me of all the grey Cold War metal furniture I grew up around visiting my dad at work (I know, weird). Also added the volt meter to the cig lighter hole. I actually dig the original green backlighting on the dash, so I'm sticking to green with any electronic updates up front.
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Cleaned up the gauges and painted the gauge panel...
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Rear USB and 12v socket installed in the rear of the console for passengers...
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