Newbie questions in New York

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Mar 7, 2006

I like the forum - seems like a good group. been reading some threads and I'm trying to pull the trigger so here goes.

I'm in New York City. Not a lot of hills, but I've always wanted one of these trucks so I'm trying to put it together. I have some questions after having looked at trucks on ebay, tlc4x4, autotrader, etc. for years. I guess my ideal truck is an 87 FJ60 in silver or grey, but I'm looking at other years, colors, and at the 62s depending on condition.

1. What is the entry fee? Some "decent" trucks go for maybe 4-5k, while nicer ones seem to be around 15-20k? My other hobby is porsches, and the saying there is that all porsches are 20k porsches - either spend it upfront or spend it fixing the thing. Is that true with cruisers?

2. What are the pitfalls on these trucks? I would assume it's rust - that seems like the only thing not easily repaired or replaced. Am I correct? if rust, where should I be looking? If not, what should I be looking for?

3. Are there any resourced around New York metro area? I know there are a number of places like tlc in california, and there's cruiserparts in new hampshire, but I'd love a place I could drop in and talk to about parts, fixes, etc. I can do a lot on my own but appreciate having some professionals around for the stuff I can't tackle.

4. Anything else I should know? questions I should be asking?

Thanks very much. I'm looking forward to jumping in and finally grabbing one of these things.
Welcome to the forum!
I'll take a shot at your questions one at a time.

1) Entry fee; Like any vehicle mileage and condition are key. I bought a bone stock '82 refurbished FJ 60 with 195 K miles about a year ago for $5,500. That might seem a little high to some, but I purchased it from a mechanic I trust that works on Cruisers only, including my FJ 40, so I had some sense of it's history, and more importantly some recourse in the event something was drastically wrong with it. He had gone over it and changed minor stuff like fluids, belts and hoses. He also rebuilt the carb, painted the vehicle and redid the interior. The downside? The paint job was kind of so-so as was some of the interior work. After driving it a while it became painfully apparent that I needed new springs (and still do). I knew going into it that I needed new tires which set me back another $500.

2) Pitfalls (and downsides); Somewhat slow (but higher geared than a 40). Mediocre gas mileage (low to mid teens). Stiff ride (solid axles w/ leaf springs) Stuff that can need replacing: heat riser valve, brake booster, smog pump, front axle (rebuild), springs, myriad other stuff (check the old posts in this forum). If you're looking at trucks for sale in the Northeast, I'd look carefully for rust, especially on the chassis. If you're looking at a restored or refurbished trucks I'd ask a lot of questions about the reputation of who did it, and I wouldn't buy anything without receipts and/or other documentation. Avoid any truck with lots of aftermarket junky parts.

3) Don't know about NYC, but check the club section of this site to see if there is a club in your area. I'd say the absolutely best things you could do is hang around this forum for a while, and join a club and learn as much as you can before purchasing one of these trucks. One thing you might consider is buying a good body and chassis and putting in a rebuilt drive train. That way you know for sure what you have. I'd think carefully about how you want to use a truck. Daily driver? Rock crawler? Expedition vehicle? Number of passengers? How much gear, etc.

4) They're great trucks with lots of personality, rugged as hell, straightforward with no electronic junk, and they'll take you just about anywhere. When they break (which is likely for a 20 plus year old vehicle) they are relatively easy to work on.
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In the Northeast, rust is a major concern. That said, unless it is really too far gone, it can be repaired.

The local club is Gotham City Land Cruisers

A good source of info.

Just keep looking, there are plenty of 62 mall cruisers that have never been abused.
Definitely read the FAQs on this site before you go looking at cars, it'll give you an overview of some of the general issues that these rigs have:

Rust is a major problem, as you surmised.

It probably goes without saying, but I'd also recommend test driving as many as possible. Test drive rusty ones, mint ones, pricey ones and cheap ones. They all ride a little different, and after being in the drivers seat of enough of them, you'll get a sense of what feels right and what feels like it may need some work. Only then you can decide on what kind of Cruiser you should pursue.

As you surmised with Porches, you can get a little more for your money if you find a previous owner who has done some upgrades on his own. Things like ARB bumpers, OME suspension, knuckle rebuilds and new radiators are all great... and especially great if the guy before you did all the work and money. Typically these don't add a ton to the resale value of a car, either.

Good luck!
Thanks for all the feedback! Yep, work done by the PO is almost always better than paying for it yourself, except in the cases when the PO did things like jury-rigging the electrical system with a bunch of different guage wires, or using wood screws to attach otherwise rusty suspension parts to the chassis (both things that have happened to guys I know).

What is a reasonable price to pay for a non-rusty 60? I think I'm headed in that direction, both style-wise and for the manual trans. $3k? $5k? I'm willing to pay a premium to not have to drag it around to body shops, or buy a welding system and learn slowly and painfully.

I've checked out Gotham, but it doesn't look like there's a discussion forum save for the one on here?
Welcome! I too live in New York City with a 100 and 60.

I would keep poking around the forums here and read up. Very informative.


I looked far and wide in the Northeast for my 60 and they were all rust buckets unless they had been brought in.

Ended up picking mine up in Tucson for $2500 with 204K with a new crate motor and driving it back. It did have some rust, but not underneath. The window seals had leaked over the years and I had to have that damage repaired.

15-20K is crazy money to pay for a 60. You should be able to pick up a "decent" one in the 4-6K range, IMHO.

Better yet, join GCLC and come to our club meeting at the end of this month!
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I agree - 15-20k is pretty high, but there's a 60k miles 83 on ebay right now that looks completely pristine, at $7100 and climbing. The 15k ones are mostly stage ones from TLC4x4, and a couple of literal show-winnable examples off ebay (a 30k miles 62 closed for 20k recently).

I actually just missed (weeks ago, by a day) a PERFECT 60 - silver, no rust, immaculate interior, one owner, ~80k miles, that this second-hand car dealer in pennsylvania had on his lot. He sold it for $6500, which I would have paid in a heartbeat for a truck in that condition.

I'll keep looking - thanks for the heads up on metro - It's a good sense of comfort to have someone that can tackle larger (rust) issues. Also means that I don't have to be quite as wary of a little rust - just don't want something that's falling apart.

Incidentally, what do you guys think of this one?

It's been relisted 3 or 4 times - never gone more than $50 above 3 grand, but a "no rust" silver 60 just sold in connecticut for 4k, so I think he might be asking too much.

When and where is the meeting? I'll go sign up for gotham now.
Doesn't look bad, but on the passenger's side, the silver looks to be a different color on the rear door and rear.

Also the dealer/seller doesn't really know what he's talking about and there are no underside pix either.

Take a ride up and check it out!

The meeting place hasn't been decided yet, but it might be at Hooters. :D
Yup - we discussed the color disparity - it's the passenger door, which is a different color than the rest of the truck. he's going to call me today and describe the underside, and I might just bid on it and bring a cashier's check on saturday, with the understanding that too much rust will cause me to walk.

I tried looking up metro land cruisers - web address didn't seem to work, and I'm having trouble finding them in the yellow pages. any other contact info?

This meeting is sounding better and better. Although I might be in the porsche if I don't get a cruiser by then. You guys would have to promise not to check axle articulation on my hood.
I think his site is down. He had mentioned updating it last time I spoke with him and he just moved shops.

Try: Jose Rivera: 973-943-1705

Not sure if I'll make the meeting, but it looks like it might include a trail ride at Paragon:

You could break in the Porsche there. :D
I'll put the snow tires on.

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