Need Advice.... PLEASE HELP!

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May 1, 2011
So, I just bought my first 97 fzj 80 off Ebay and drove it from Philly to Atlanta (I'm attending a conference, I currently live oversees but will leave the truck in Orlando until I return in 4 months whaen I will take it to SOCAL). Since the truck is new to me, I wanted to clean it up a little and and replace a few easy to reach parts while I'm attending the conference. Any way, the Toyota dealership was closed (although the damm sign said it was open). As I was backing up "BAM" I hit a cement block holding up a light pole. I did not see the light pole due to the stupid 3rd row seats being tied up. I would have tossed those damn seats out of the truck already if I had been home. Now I hate them even more. Anyway (I'll try to stop rambling), I hit the Reese trailer hitch on the left side. It shook the $hit out of the truck, popped open the glove box and scared the crap out of me. The hitch seems to have a small dent near on the left hand side where I hit it. Here is the thing..... the LC seems to have a little wiggle to it when I start to drive from a stop. It occurs between 15 to 30 miles an hour, but mostly closer to 25-30. You can feel the wiggle in the seat of your pants and it seems to be coming from the back of the cruiser. Is this possible? Could I have bent something major? I never even took my foot all the way off the break pedal, I could not have been going faster than 3-4 miles per hour if I was going fast. I inspected (a visual of what I could see) underneath the LC but I don't see any damage other than the very minor dent. Could the frame be bent? How could I find out? I am completely heartbroken over this. I have wanted a 97 since 97! Some one please help. I would load a picture but It won't let me. I attached a link to the hitch. I hit it on the left side just left ofthe left hand sticker in this photo. Thanks in advance.
Trailer Hitches, Hitch Accessories, Hitch Wiring
Hi -

Not sure I can help answer any of your quesitons - I'm a newbie myself. Just sorry to hear about your mishap - those things do happen. I hope it's nothing major - I can't imagine you damaged it beyond repair - no way.
Okay, first, relax a little (its a super tough truck and you have a heap of experts here to help you through whatever it is), second start looking at what the truck will tell you towards your questions (we can't tell you much without at least a picture if not an in person inspection). I doubt you did any damage but first look at the impact point, trace where the impact loads went and see if something is slightly out of shape or position. Focus on those things that would matter at speed in general and at specific speeds in specific (alignment, balance). If there is truly nothing other than the one dent you already made a mention of (how big is that dent by the way? and how is it oriented to the hitch?) you might want to take it to a tire shop and have them check the balance and the alignment (although the amount of "aligning" in these trucks is limited). Again I doubt you did any serious damage simply from what you wrote here but if you don't see something obvious and the align/balance doesn't fix things up I guess the only way to totally answer questions about the frame is to take it to a competent body shop/frame shop and have them run the measurements from the front to back. Hope that helps. :cheers:
most ikely worn out shocks to quote a member of this website on the lx450 (if the tail wags like a fish put landcruiser shocks on it). he was right ! i put new shocks on my 94 lc and the wag went away hope this helps
Thank you for the quick reply. I can not get a photo yet, but will upload as soon as possible. You will probably laugh at it. I put a straight edge on the hitch and a dime will not fit between the edge and the hitch but you can clearly see light. It is about an inch and a half wide. The hitch is gurred up a bit, otherwise you would not know it was damaged. I am mostly worried because I hit the hitch near the far left side, so the force was absorbed mostly by the left hand side frame rail (not an engineer but that's the way it looks from underneath). Here is the thing, from my stand point, the LC is tank, but.... I hit an imovable object that showed no damage. I will take your advice and get the alignment checked. I looked underneath but my experience here is very limited. It needs new shoes anyway, so I will do them both (alignment and wheels and tires) together. I will have to find a frame shop to get it checked just to be sure. Anybody know a good one in Hotlanta or Orlando? By the way, this forum is great. I have been reading it nearly every day for the past month in prep for buying my LC. Thanks in advance.
I slammed my hitch into rocks for 3 years before I got a new bumper:hillbilly:. The only thing that was damaged was the hitch:cool:. It's very unlikely that you damaged anything with a single strike:steer:. I'd bet what your feeling is the opposite of a placebo effect.:idea: At the very least, it's unrelated.
Since the truck is new to you, is it possible that the wiggle was there since you got it, but you have been paying more attention since the accident and you just now noticed it?

If this is a possibility I would rotate the tires from the back to the front and see if the wiggle moves to the front.

This might be just a bad tire. I don't mean unbalanced, I mean a tire with a defect or damage.
check your shocks on the rear, the top nut can come loose under an impact like that
Thank you all for the advice. I guess it is possible it was there before I smacked her. I'd like to think that I would have noticed it on the drive down, especially at rest stops and gas stations. I was pretty attentive on the drive mostly because she wasn't really "mine" yet. I wasn't the one taking care of her and I did not know her characteristics and personality yet. I originally thought I was going nuts and that I was making it upin my head since I knew it just happened, but a friend of mine went to dinner with me and sat in the second row. He said "did it wiggle when you first bought it, if not get it checked out because it is noticeable back here". I will call AAC Toyota in the morning and see if I can get overthere this Monday or Tuesday.
I will check the rear shocks in the daylight first thing. I am replacing the tires later this week (that was planned before the accident), so hopefully I will have a resolution one way or another. Thank you all for the advice.
So, just to let everyone know...... Brian from AAC Toyota of Atlanta Rocks! He took time out of his busy day earlier this week to look over my wobbly 80, even though I did not have an appointment. After a pretty thorough inspection and road test, he told me both my rear tires were jacked. They had visible distortions (once he jacked up the rear of the truck) He spent nearly 2 hours talking to me, giving advice.... and never charged me a dime. Thank you AAC Toyota !! I am not sure if it happened when I hit the block or if the crappy tires the PO put on were on the way out the whole time and I just didn't notice. Either way, I had to order some tires (no one had any 285/75/16's in stock. I debated which tires to get after 10 hours of searching this forum and combing the internet. I went with the Mickey T's Baja ATZ. I just put 400 miles on them down to Florida from Atlanta. So far so good. Pics to follow tomorrow. Oh, yes, the wobble is gone. :clap:

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