Newbie-just bought 97 advice (1 Viewer)

Joined
Jun 10, 2019
Messages
5
Location
colorado
Folks, I got a great deal (I think) on a 97 with 230K that's never been wheeled. Pristine condition with even the driver's side seat leather not torn. The third row seats look like they are brand new.

I'm from Colorado and my background is a stock 97 Jeep Wrangler Sport that I've had for 6 years or so. I've added sliders to the Jeep (after daughter tore running board off on Radical Hill), skid plate for gas tank and nothing else (well, replaced head unit with bluetooth). I've taken her all over Colorado; to Radical Hill, Red Cone, Schofield Pass, Black Bear Pass etc. and am a careful and deliberate driver. I love my Jeep but also wanted something I can car camp in and take my mountain bike deep into the wilds.

Always loved Toyotas and have a Highlander (no laughing) but wanted something bigger and four-wheel capable. My 97 LC is all stock . Non locking. Lots of things have been done (head gasket replaced, front main seal replaced) but I'm looking for ideas to make this rig do what my Jeep will do (understanding the constraints of a larger wheelbase) and go over Imogene Pass, Black Bear Pass etc. I have to drive a long way to wheel and look forward to the LC comfort compared to my Jeep. Not getting rid of the Jeep but wanted a complement.

Obviously, the brush guard has to go (haha) and maybe add sliders (or wait til I rip the boards off). But what else should I do to get her trail ready? New shocks? Ditch the flares? Would love an OBA system but have compressor. Any skid plates I should add? Unfortunately, the tires are undersized but brand new. Never lifted the Jeep because of comfort and probably won't with the LC (but would certainly consider). Not interested in rock crawling.....

Any tips for trail tool additions to my Jeep basic kit (metric and SAE wrenches and assorted sockets, etc.)?

Any reliability/ preventative maintenance things I should be aware of? I am a fair shade-tree mechanic but also have a mechanic friend at the local Toyo dealership.

Thanks so much for any help; the Wrangler Forum has been a tremendous help and I can see this group is just as rabid and helpful.

Cheers!
 
Joined
Nov 6, 2017
Messages
179
Location
Minneapolis
I know you mentioned that you got new tires with the truck, are they trail worthy? That's probably the #1 thing that i would be looking for as upgrade.

The clearance on this truck is pretty acceptable although some of the trails you've mentioned will not do kindly to a stock vehicle. Not only you will have to deal with the longer wheelbase but the departure angle is something to be aware of. If you have a trailer hitch, i'd leave it there, it serves as nice slider. With that said, a mild lift really helps this truck quite a bit and perfect for CO trails.

BTW, i also own a Jeep, a JKU, and split trail time with the 80, and hang out a bit in wranglerforum.
 

Comet

Knower of little, master of less.
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Southwest Virginia
Welcome to the dark side, I do not miss my YJ one second. Your Jeep may be short lived in your stable if my experience is any indication. If the Jeep stays, you will be a great resource to compare capabilities.

Base line the truck and continue wheeling familiar places you have been with your Jeep, the rig will surprise you on its capabilities. I have had my 1997 unlocked for years of fire roads, small hills, and the occasional visit to an off road park in North Carolina. I have never had issues with the truck being unlocked, I too choose lines wisely or depend on knowledgeable spotters.

Rocker panel damage can be very expensive to fix. White Knuckle Off Road has sliders that have proven themselves on others rigs. They are in my future if I can't build anything cheaper. The cost of parts is WAY MORE than my old jeep and finding knowledgeable mechanics is becoming harder (technicians are easy to come by). Doing the work yourself seems the way of this forum. Search through the Forum, the answer is already here.

A hearty welcome to MUD :flipoff2: (Newbie salute, with respect.)
 
Joined
Jun 10, 2019
Messages
5
Location
colorado
Thanks for the replies; sounds like she can rock the easier stuff right out of the box.
The tires are Hankook Dynapro ATm 265/7516's. Like I said, brand new. Departure angle is a good point, will take that into consideration. I WON'T be taking it up Radical Hill, I will say that. And appreciate the advice about sliders....
We'll see how the LC compares to the Jeep!
 

leonard_nemoy

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Congrats on your new purchase. You just bought a fj80 landcruiser. It is arguabley one of the best off-road trail ready vehicles ever sold in the US. A stock fj80 is probably just as capable if not more capable than your Cherokee. Don't worry about mods to get it ready. Just start using it and see how hard it is to get stuck. Then you should start thinking about modifications.
 

Box Rocket

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For preventative maintenance I'd check the condition of the Pesky Heater Hose (PHH) and replace it. Even if it looks like it's ok, I'd replace it so you know it's good. That's not one you want to have fail on you in the middle of nowhere.

I think it's also a good idea to do a front axle service with new seals and bearings.

A full fluid change would be good too.

After that I'd just start enjoying it. There are a few simple mods that will improve the capabilities and keep it protected on the trail.
Sliders: Too many people have procrastinated this mod and end up crunching the rocker panels on the trail. Sliders will prevent that from happening. Make it one of your first mods.

A good supension will improve it's capabilities and your enjoyment level driving it. I know you just got it and probably don't want to just throw more money at it. But I have found that a good suspension really makes all the difference in how I enjoy the truck. I've been wheeling/driving an 80 for over 20 years and have had several less expensive lifts over the years. A few years ago I got a Slinky suspension. It's on the expensive end of the spectrum so a lot of people don't want to even consider it and feel like something cheaper will get the job done fine. Cheaper options will do the job but it's like the difference of having Maaco paint your car versus a high end pro shop paint it. What kind of job do you want done? When I put on the Slinky suspension, my enjoyment level for driving the truck completely changed.

Tires. I think 35's should be the go-to size. Can be driven with stock gears just fine. Give better clearance under the axles etc to keep you off a lot of trail obstacles.

My personal opinion is a good 3" lift, 35's and sliders are a perfect basic setup that can do just about anything you throw at it. Bumpers, winch, and other mods can wait until you find what you want and if you really need them.
 
Joined
Jun 10, 2019
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colorado
Ahhh..... that's what I was hoping to find. Replace the PHH. Front seals look like they were done recently as was the fluid change. Will certainly do that (check/change PHH) and will seriously look at the others with the sliders first. As mentioned, the tires are brand new and being frugal, I'd hate to discard them but will see about an exchange.
Thank you all again for taking the time to reply!
 
Joined
Feb 7, 2015
Messages
691
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Eastern Washington
For mile wheeling consider just adding 33's. Can usually get by with no lift at all. Get the sliders as soon as you can. If you do a rear bumper get one with a spare tire carrier or put the tire in the back with a proper holder. I drug the tire more than anything else until I moved it.
 

Box Rocket

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Ahhh..... that's what I was hoping to find. Replace the PHH. Front seals look like they were done recently as was the fluid change. Will certainly do that (check/change PHH) and will seriously look at the others with the sliders first. As mentioned, the tires are brand new and being frugal, I'd hate to discard them but will see about an exchange.
Thank you all again for taking the time to reply!
I've had really good luck selling used tires on some of our local offroad groups FB pages as well as FB marketplace. I'm confident you could sell them and get more money than on an exchange at a tire shop.
 
Joined
May 20, 2009
Messages
2,040
Location
Canby Oregon
Folks, I got a great deal (I think) on a 97 with 230K that's never been wheeled. Pristine condition with even the driver's side seat leather not torn. The third row seats look like they are brand new.

I'm from Colorado and my background is a stock 97 Jeep Wrangler Sport that I've had for 6 years or so. I've added sliders to the Jeep (after daughter tore running board off on Radical Hill), skid plate for gas tank and nothing else (well, replaced head unit with bluetooth). I've taken her all over Colorado; to Radical Hill, Red Cone, Schofield Pass, Black Bear Pass etc. and am a careful and deliberate driver. I love my Jeep but also wanted something I can car camp in and take my mountain bike deep into the wilds.

Always loved Toyotas and have a Highlander (no laughing) but wanted something bigger and four-wheel capable. My 97 LC is all stock . Non locking. Lots of things have been done (head gasket replaced, front main seal replaced) but I'm looking for ideas to make this rig do what my Jeep will do (understanding the constraints of a larger wheelbase) and go over Imogene Pass, Black Bear Pass etc. I have to drive a long way to wheel and look forward to the LC comfort compared to my Jeep. Not getting rid of the Jeep but wanted a complement.

Obviously, the brush guard has to go (haha) and maybe add sliders (or wait til I rip the boards off). But what else should I do to get her trail ready? New shocks? Ditch the flares? Would love an OBA system but have compressor. Any skid plates I should add? Unfortunately, the tires are undersized but brand new. Never lifted the Jeep because of comfort and probably won't with the LC (but would certainly consider). Not interested in rock crawling.....

Any tips for trail tool additions to my Jeep basic kit (metric and SAE wrenches and assorted sockets, etc.)?

Any reliability/ preventative maintenance things I should be aware of? I am a fair shade-tree mechanic but also have a mechanic friend at the local Toyo dealership.

Thanks so much for any help; the Wrangler Forum has been a tremendous help and I can see this group is just as rabid and helpful.

Cheers!

Welcome grasshopper, first watch , that foul mouthed J**P word and I salute you :flipoff2:
 
Joined
Jan 10, 2017
Messages
1,684
Location
New England, USA
Thanks for the replies; sounds like she can rock the easier stuff right out of the box.
The tires are Hankook Dynapro ATm 265/7516's. Like I said, brand new. Departure angle is a good point, will take that into consideration. I WON'T be taking it up Radical Hill, I will say that. And appreciate the advice about sliders....
We'll see how the LC compares to the Jeep!


Welcome to the boards! I used to live in Colorado and recognize the trails that you mentioned. If I were in your shoes, I would get sliders, 33s and, maybe a 2" lift. My bet is that just putting 33s on your rig would let you run Red Cone, Schofield, Black Bear and similar trails easily.
 
Joined
Jul 3, 2011
Messages
158
Location
Seattle, WA, USA
Ahhh..... that's what I was hoping to find. Replace the PHH. Front seals look like they were done recently as was the fluid change. Will certainly do that (check/change PHH) and will seriously look at the others with the sliders first. As mentioned, the tires are brand new and being frugal, I'd hate to discard them but will see about an exchange.
Thank you all again for taking the time to reply!
Definitely the PHH. My first FZJ80 had the PHH take a crap while I was at work one day, the parking lot looked like a nuclear plant leaked (yes, it was not the proper Toyota Red). The first question I had before buying my second was "did you replace the PHH?". Honestly, it's the most crappy part of these rigs. A 3" hose that will keep you from using your rig. Other than that, definitely check the birfields for leaks or if they have enough grease in them. If you hear clicking when turning, just stop and do a nice rebuild of your birfs or get new ones to put in with new gaskets and seals. Check your rear brake drums for oil leaking out the rear axle. It's not the end of the world but a sign you have a seal leak and eventually you'll want to fix that (not hard to do, but cleaning everything well is a PITA). Sounds like your rig was cared for, better than mine at least on the interior! Mud is a great resource, having the official repair manual is definitely ideal. Many PDF's online of stuff from the manual too. I like having the real manual in my garage to reference, but still go to YouTube a LOT. Aussies typically have a lot of 80/70 series YouTube fix-it stuff. There's a few other good ones out there. I like @OTRAMM and his videos on YouTube. Clear, concise and well put together.
 

ceylonfj40nut

Waiting for Barn Time
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Jan 11, 2015
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TX
Post a pic or it didn't happen.

X2^

Mud salute :flipoff2:

Welcome

First I heard of keeping the rear hitch as a rear slider. I was about to rip mine off thinking it will be a clearance issue on trails. I am planning a 2.5” lift (OME 850/860) and have slee sliders. Planning to see how it does on trails in CO this summer at the Solid Axle Summit #3. I can report back on how it does with basic mods.
 
Joined
Sep 10, 2017
Messages
46
Location
azle tx, aguilar co.
I have seen stock suburbans go over black bear. I lost my running boards to Blanca peak a couple weeks ago. These are great trail rigs, everyone pretty much covered all the points. If you see a black lx450 wheeling with Texas tags, it’s probably me.
 

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