My LJ 78 Prado (1 Viewer)

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Sep 25, 2012
Chilliwack BC Canada
Hey guys, Been on the forum for some time now but I figured it was time to start my own thread. I wouldn't really call it a build thread more of a maintenance and mods thread. I am writing this up in the efforts that one day it might help someone else with their LJ78, and I am always looking for peoples input! I have to give a shout out to GTSSportCoupe as he has been a huge wealth of knowledge and has helped me quite a bit.

I bought my 1990 Prado about 6 months ago, and I've loved this thing so much so far. I was lucky enough to find this thing cheap, It came with a 2.5 OME lift, 33" tires, factory rear locker, winch and suspension seats...

The guy I bought it from really knew nothing about it and really didn't take very good care of it. Lucky for me he did not have it for long so not much damage was done. The owner before him on the other hand was a real LC nut. He had swapped the head with a 3L head (apparently out of prevention not necessity but I am not sure if that is 100% true) and the EGR was blocked off.

Right off the hop I knew it needed brakes... This thing was scary driving home...
Turns out it was only the rears so with the help of this forum I was able to find all the parts I needed (70 series are not in parts catalogs in Canada).

Next was more of a visual mod, I deleted the rear bumper covers and side panels. These things seem to be good at holding dirt and moisture which has started some small amounts of rust on my truck...

I have plugged the holes that hold the side panels on and in the summer once everything dries out (and my bike is on the road) I plan to cut out any of the rust and repair.
2 weeks ago I decided it was time to finally install my EGT gauge. This is the point that really inspired this thread as sometimes things just are not as easy as you think they are going to be.

It all started out with marking the side of the manifold (pre turbo). I drilled slowly making sure to stop from time to time so I removed all the shaving. I planned to use grease on the drill bit for the final part of the hole. So... If I hadn't rushed into it and actually looked up what was in those manifolds I would have seen that there is a divider... That I had now drilled into the center of. Well off everything came, as it is now time to fix my screw up!

After pulling the Turbo it was quite apparent that the front seal was on its way out.

My intake pipe was full of oil (my PCV is not connected to my intake). I think this might be what was cause my harsh smoking in the morning... but we will see.

Anyways it is currently off getting rebuilt, Possibly going to swap the Carbon seal for a dynamic seal. This is suppose to cut friction which will allow the turbo to spool quicker and operate at a lower temp.
So now while I am waiting on my turbo and replacement gaskets I am taking the time to modify and mend some other issues.

First being a proper EGR delete. I pulled the large pipe that wraps around the back of the block. Removed all vac lines and sensors that were related to the EGR and fabbed 2 block off plates (one on exhaust manifold and one on intake)

After that I pulled the 2 plates from the throttle body

Removal of these plates are suppose to make a huge improvement to the performance and economy of these engines. I look forward to this and will report back as soon as I have it running again.
I have also noticed a bit of oil coming from my crank case vent. I had already pulled the Valve cover so I could inspect everything (more just a piece of mind thing) There is a small filter that can be cleaned, it is under a metal baffle that is glued and screwed into the valve cover.

These pix are from after cleaning.
It is recommended that if you delete the egr you should take off the intake and clean out the sludge that builds up. I was lucky being that my EGR was blocked already, I think this was done early in my trucks life... or someone has already cleaned it out

So this was not the case for me.
Lastly for tonight... one more visual thing. I have never liked the running boards that came on this truck. I do plan that one day I will build or buy some proper rock sliders. So I had some time and off they came!

After pulling the boards I realised that the exhaust needs some cleaning up... its pretty ugly but that's a project for another day.
Nice to see a build thread for a Prado 78! Looking forward to hearing how the latest mods/repairs work out. That is a cool truck; I'm jealous of your winch.
Thanks man! I'm jealous of your paint scheme lol. I just got a text telling me the turbo is done and ready to go. Plus my gaskets showed up today so I should have it back together tommorow night! I'll be sure to update!
Thanks for posting up. I've just jumped into the game by purchasing an LJ 78 that needs a bit of work. Lots of little neglected items but the head seems ok. I've been lurking on all of GTS's posts and putting a plan together!
Mine has no paint scheme, unless plain vanilla counts.
Awesome whistler74! Let's see some pix. Vanilla would look good. I was thinking of one day painting mine white... But we will see. By the sound of your name are you in BC?
Thanks for posting up. I've just jumped into the game by purchasing an LJ 78 that needs a bit of work. Lots of little neglected items but the head seems ok. I've been lurking on all of GTS's posts and putting a plan together!
Mine has no paint scheme, unless plain vanilla counts.

White is my favorite color on the 70 wagons! Nice. You got pics somewhere?

Guys, don't take everything I do as gospel, haha. I'm just figuring it out as I go. What I have figured out is that its possible to get a lot more power, reliability and economy from these trucks, and largely avoid problems with the head. Most people who've owned these trucks have loved them (other than the stock engine setup). I know I really like mine; one of my favorite vehicles I've owned. :beer:

Nice for me to see a few other enthusiasts in BC picking these rigs up now. They have so much potential in the right hands, and can be had for a steal. I'd rather fix an underpowered 70 wagon than a perforated rusty 60. ;)
How about a shot of the fleet?
the Fleet.jpg
No updates yet... I had zero luck yesterday... I watched the DHL driver pull up to my work with my gaskets... Then turn around and drive away. Called them and they said he marked it down as undeliverable... He didn't even get out of this van! They are bringing them back out today then I can get to work... I am contemplating re working my exhaust at the same time... might delete my muffler all together.
Ok so I worked through the night and by 11:45pm I was finally able to fire this thing up!

Sitrep - The engine smoked and missed a lot when I first started it, this has been a pretty typical characteristic for my truck if it sits for an extended period of time without running. When I fired it up this morning it was about 6° out. I allowed the glow plugs to heat for about 10-15 seconds and it fired right up. Missed and smoked for about 2 sec (huge improvement). I was in a bit of a rush to get to work so I didn't have a long time to let it warm up but it seemed to perform much better than before. In the past if I did not allow it to warm up I had zero and I mean zero power and it would smoke like a mother.

I think I still need to look into an injector service in the future or possible injection pump rebuild. My other thought is possibly the fuel system is getting a bit of air in it over night?

On my drive to work I noticed I no longer get the little puff of smoke from taking off at a light and I no longer have the miss/smoke after applying throttle after coasting like I was having in the past. The truck builds boost WAY faster now. I am still running 7 psi but plan to bump that up to 10. Once I get my intercooler installed I will go a little higher but will also have to source a bleed off(?) for the boost sensor.

EGT's - These readings are pre turbo, in town I am any ware from 6-800°F. If I hit a hill it does hit 1000°F but I did rag on it a bit and I cannot seem to get it much past that... Maybe 1050°F. I am not certain of not it these are good readings? It does cool down very fast if I let off the throttle.

I cannot say that I have noticed a rough shut down (common characteristic if you remove the throttle plates) so I was happy with that.

After these few mods (complete EGR delete & throttle plate removal) the truck seems to be a lot happier. I also think that the throttle plate removal is easier on the turbo, reason for this is I have noticed that if I am at full boost and quickly let off the throttle I no longer get the shutter sound from the turbo (I did not have a BOV).

I will update with a few pix soon. Next on my list is my super cheap OBA.
The CT20 all freshened up with Dynamic seal and new bushings

Exhaust EGR block off

Intake EGR block off

Cleaned up throttle body

Random advice, when changing your valve cover gasket... DO NOT forget to swap these anti crush sleeves from your old gasket

And a random shot from the shop... I will one day complete that 72... been working on it for 3 years but it has kind of been on the back burner

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