Builds OL'BETSY ZX: Rust-o-mod (1991 HZJ77) (2 Viewers)

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After years of wanting a 70 Series, I finally found one locally. It had been imported to Canada 14 years or so ago. The seller I got it from bought it from the original importers, friends of his, 5 years ago. He was in the process of restoring it when I convinced him to sell it to me. Had he completed it, it would’ve been out of my price range.

It is a 1991 JDM-only Landcruiser HZJ77 with of course the 1HZ in-line six cylinder 4.2L diesel and H55F 5 speed manual trans. It came from the factory with power windows, rear disks, power locks, PTO winch/bumper, and sunroof, but no lockers.

Condition-wise, it's a mixed bag. Mechanically it is quite solid, and came with some brand new Terrain Tamer bits to replace some worn steering parts. It does need a new exhaust system, since there are pinholes visible in the front right wheelwell. The PO had just finished media blasting and coating the entire underside and chassis with POR15 when I bought it, so it looks like brand new from a creeper.

Its when you get above chassis level that it isn't so pretty. This truck came with factory flares, and after almost 30 years, a lot of rust has occurred behind them as a result. I knew this going in, so no surprise, but just so you know where I'm starting from: Front fenders need replacing, rear quarters have large sections rusted out, and there are a few small spots elsewhere. Bottoms of the doors and the floor and rockers, are solid. The factory flares did the damage for the most part. Beyond that, clear coat peel everywhere, windshield is done for.

The plusses: two brand new batteries, brand new windshield and gasket in a box, new steering parts as noted above.

Obviously a respray is an eventuality, but I'll begin with rust repair and maintenance...

Pics to start...
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Joined
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A few more details.
I got it with 239,000kms... I'd consider that relatively low for the platform.

An older kenwood double DIN is (currently) in the dash, and (an even older) factory cassette deck is in the back in a box. A 24->12v converter sits on the floor, condition and unknown.

But here's the great part: it has a complete Old Man Emu suspension, including lift springs, and Nitrocharger shocks. I had planned to do this eventually, so I'm glad it came with.

It is currently riding on 33x12.50s on factory 15 inch wheels. Yes, I agree... Too wide for the rims. The PTO winch and bumper is sitting in the back.

Perhaps the most redeeming quality of this old rig’s condition is what you can’t see at first glance: the chassis, indeed the whole underside, has been media blasted, and coated with POR15 as I mentioned off the top. Here's another pic after blasting but pre-coating.
IMG_20201005_171103.jpg


Here it is the night I picked it up... (I have all the parts of the flares in the back, along with the bumper, winch windshield, etc)
IMG_20201017_195901.jpg
 
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1,606
Hello,

Welcome to the madness.

Diameter aside, pizza cutters suit 70 Series best.

If budget is a concern, work one small (and affordable) part at a time.







Juan
 
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lol @JuanJ ! You're my kind of tire chef! I've been running pizza cutters on my Pajeros since 2002. 33x950, 33x1050 in ATs, MTs... Love them! That is the plan with this one too, but maybe you picked that up based on my comment above eh?

This build is going to take a while. I'm going to start on the outside and do what I can manage on my own, while simultaneously making the interior into a nicer place to be for when I can finally take this thing on epic adventures.
 
Joined
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Hello,

Yes, I picked that up based on your comment. Recently I changed from the PO's 33x12.5 to 33x10.5 in my 73 Series: what a difference.

Nothing like skinny tires.






Juan
 
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This rig, as I mentioned, has some rust from 30 years of wearing the factory flares. Here's what was under there (flares were pulled before I bought it, so I knew what I was in for)
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Front fenders could be repaired I suppose, but they are bolt on, so I've bought new ones. One is now onhand, the other one will be delivered soon (shop I bought them from thought they had a pair, but turned out they had a lot of lefts, no rights). So I'll soon be able to replace these.

The rear quarters are also done for. The LHS is the worst one... rust on the outside and inside panels.

IMG_20201104_180929.jpg


I pulled the bumper endcaps so I could see exactly what I was in for. I'm still shopping around for options here. Landcruisers direct has FULL quarters, but I only need the lowers. Everything else is solid. And shipping to Canada would be pretty pricey on such a large piece. Still investigating possibilities here. Right now I'm thinking patch panels (if I can find them) and a rear bumper from Coastal to wrap around them.

Here's the right side. Much better, in comparison...
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This is the only serious rust on the truck, so once I get this sorted, I'll be good to move on.

I put the front porch on it, but OMG I just couldn't stand it! It was there a week, and I had to pull it again. I'll figure out another way to bolt up the PTO...
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No offense to those who have and enjoy the factory bumper. Just not for me.
 
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Along with the outside, I’ve also been working on the inside. In here it's a matter of tidying and refreshing, otherwise it's pretty nice. But it can always be improved, right? I pulled the dash apart to fix the absent speedo needle that had apparently been broken for years. Bingo! It was lost in the bottom of the cluster.
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(you can see it sitting there if you look carefully at the above pic)

Some superglue, and some patience reunited it with its other half (okay, third?).
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While I had the dash apart I noticed that the HVAC foam was deteriorated to mostly bits and pieces, so I renewed that courtesy of foam tape from the hardware store...
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Now it is time to give this rig one of its only modern touches. Here's the stereo some PO had installed.
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Meh. Its okay. But I really like Android Auto, so this has to go. I got the factory cassette deck too, but I'm not putting that back in either.:rofl:
 
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Rust is going to be deeply rooted in that Cruiser. Look at Tony’s Troopy build to see what I mean.

Cheers

With all due respect to your knowledge and experience, you are making a sweeping generalization, having never seen the truck.

I get your caution, but this one is not like Tony's troopy from what I've seen, acknowledging the fact that I have never seen it in person... I've given mine a very close inspection, inside and out. There are a few other places I need to attend to, as I said above, but pretty minor overall. The rust is almost exclusively what was under the factory flares.
 

SNLC

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Have you checked inside the body mounts that are located in the floor pans, where the firewall bolts to the frame?

Inside quarter panels where seams meet wheel wells?

That looks like salt corrosion to me.

Cheers
 
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I did have a look inside that captive part under the body plug near the LHS corner. No problems in there either. Bottoms of doors are good, rockers are good (save one small blister). The seam sealer behind the tail lights was starting to perish, and a little surface rust behind on one side. Seam sealer at the drip rails is intact. I also inspected the rear walls from the inside out, after I pulled the inner cards in the back. No rust beyond the perished quarters, thankfully. Floor is good under the carpet, front and rear.

If this truck had no factory flares on it, I'm pretty sure it'd still be fully intact. Although it also would've been more expensive, so... ?

Back to the build!

I pulled the aftermarket deck that had been installed, and found that somewhere along the lines, the factory harness had been cut, and this headunit had simply been grafted in.
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No good. I removed the mess, and then soldered/heat shrank a reverse Toyota factory harness double plug. Then I repeated the process with the female end on my new Android Auto's harness, so if an update is ever needed, a toyota harness will work like it should.

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Have you checked inside the body mounts that are located in the floor pans, where the firewall bolts to the frame?

Inside quarter panels where seams meet wheel wells?

That looks like salt corrosion to me.

Cheers

Oops, looks like we posted at the same time. I'll definitely check out the firewall/frame connection while I'm replacing the fenders. The inside rear quarters have gotten a good look from the inside with a light, and so far no surprise dramas... I'll have a clearer idea when I start stripping back to good metal, but so far it appears to be localized to the areas I mentioned.
 
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Android Auto gets the sole nod to modern tech in this truck... This is a Sony XAV-AX3000. I have another model from this line in my DD and it's been really good for a year or two.
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That looks like salt corrosion to me.

To your point, one thing I forgot to mention, was that I found some traces of fine sand behind the tail lights, and inside the walls in the back. So its entirely possible that this rig saw a little time at the beach at some point, and this sand made its way down into the lower quarters, clogged the drains, and sat there collecting moisture for years until it finally ate through and escaped?

I did see the frame after media blasting, and it was really good, as was the rest of the underside. It is now entirely encapsulated in POR15 underneath, and looks factory fresh. I'm originally from Newfoundland, and so I'm sadly intimately acquainted with the ravages of road salt. This rig doesn't have that kind of "patina" in my humble opinion.

Anyways, Ian, I value your opinion (even if I'm not always saying "Sir, Yes Sir!" 😁 ) and welcome it anytime. Your depth of experience speaks for itself.
 
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One headlight was cracked, and the other side was the one that didn't work. So swapped bulbs and globes to a set of IPF's. Much better.
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Map light was burned out, so I replaced it with an LED.
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Pulled up front carpet as per SNLC's advice to check captive body mounts. Looked really good inside the cavities, so that's a relief. No surprise rust lurking. (Best pic I could manage without a boroscope cam).
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My second front fender should be here anytime now (coming via courier). The factory toyota fenders appear to have a light primer on them, if that, so I'll need to coat the insides before I install them. Meanwhile, I swapped my platform rack over from my 90, since it is my daily, and this 70 will be the adventure rig once it's ready...

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Yes, it is super close, but this rack won't be seeing any real weight, so flex and vibes aren't a worry. I may shim it up a little anyways, just in case? I'm planning on using it for solar panels, an awning mounted off the side, and some max trax.

At this level, it just clears my 7 foot garage door.

This is one of the few drives she's seen so far, and the clutch pedal felt a little low to the floor. There was also what felt like too much freeplay before actual engagement, so I had a buddy help bleed the slave cylinder, and then I adjusted the pedal stroke and height when I got home, to get it closer to factory specs. Haven't tried it since, but garage shifting feels much better.

And it was a good chance to do some maintenance. Clutch fluid was nasty nasty... that is not soya sauce in the bottle! We sucked most of it out with a pump before pedal pumping the rest through until it was virtually clear. Much better.
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Pedal height is better too.
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