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Feb 18, 2015
Hey Guys,

Nick from Carlsbad CA here. Just purchased my first LC. 97 FZJ80 with 163k. Pretty excited to begin this journey so heres the situation. The good: The Crusier runs seemingly perfect, there is zero rust anywhere, AC ice cold, birfs completely redone and perfect. Picked her up for 3K.

The Bad: No lockers, Had blown HG at 95K replaced with unknown . Current Non visible coolant draining from overflow... Manageable seep in power steering and very minor seep in rear main seal. Area around PHH looks like there was a leak there at some time (but not now) and has some corrosion in the localized area. PHH and close by hoses definitely needs replacement. Heater not hot.

Being inexperienced with Mechanic work I had a Toyota dealer take a look before purchase but I felt that they lacked the personal touch and wouldn't provide quite the level of detail in the diagnostics that I wanted and would have paid for. I figured I would roll the dice at the price I paid. At least they did a compression test for me.

Compression was at 180 on all cylinders #4 was at 175. I Tested the radiator for combustion gases and tested negative which was promising. The cruiser is now at a local mechanics where we are putting a prioritized battle plan into place. Here is my plan and I'm telling myself it's all going to work out perfectly.

-Diagnose whats up with the coolant and heater. Hope it's not a HG or cracked head.
-More detailed engine inspection including leak down test and checking other areas of engine for potential damage from prior blown HG.
-If all is good Im considering having my mechanic doing the HG again so I know its solid. Ill be in Baja a lot and don't want to be screaming profanities broken down on the side of some wash.
-Phh and any bad hoses swapped with silicone and constant torque clamps. Get coolant system perfect.
-Flush and refill tranny, Diffs, etc.
-New brake pads
-Aftermarket temp gauge
-OME 2.5 and 33"s
-roof rack
- Be ready for fishing/4x4 trip to baja in 30 days.
-Catch tons of fish and have Cruiser work perfectly.

Waiting to hear back from the mechanic soon. Keeping my fingers crossed. Ive learned a ton off this site already and look forward to joining the community. Salud!


Welcome. :flipoff2:

My folks live in Carlsbad. I was just there on the 7th and 8th when I bought my 97 out of San Diego and drove it back to Colorado Springs.

Good battle plan so far. Hopefully it's good news from the mechanic. :beer:

Btw SD Trux comes highly recommended by cruiser guys out of San Diego. They did some extensive work on my 97 and it's clearly great work.
Welcome!!! Sound like you are well informed and off to a good start.
Welcome! Sounds like you got a good deal on a "low mileage" cruiser! Welcome! :flipoff2:
Thanks guys I thought it was a pretty good deal. Now comes the fun part.
Heater issue seems common on these trucks. You might just need to back flush it. Check heater valve that's right on the firewall in the middle too. Plastic does crack on them and they also need adjustment. (Unclip the cable and make sure it is going through its full range when you move the temp control slider). (There is quite a bit of discussion on here, I like using google searching whatever). But yeah I hear you with wanting to feel confident down south. Your compression numbers seem great though. Once the HG is fixed, I don't really see many guys having issues again. Most mechanics will have the common decency to bring the head to a machine shop to get checked for cracks and will most always get it decked to the flatness spec.

You'll enjoy the AWD down in Baja past El Rosario :D I've only had 4x4 Toyota Trucks and 4Runners my entire life driving down there. It was an amazing feeling in the 80 the first time.
x2 on 2MinuteTurkish's recommendation of John at SDTRUX. I just bought a 96 and he did a great job inspecting it, fixing the A/C and recommending what needs to be done next.

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