Once in a lifetime (1 Viewer)

Joined
May 6, 2011
Messages
979
Location
Davis County, UT
Hello gents,

Short intro: My name is Drew. Cruisers have been one of my biggest passions since day 1, particularly a certain FJ60. I'm 27 and in my last year of school for Mechanical Engineering, though I fancy the electrical stuff and sometimes wonder if I should've gone that route. Right about the time Covid came around I was doing my second internship, and the stars were aligning between this company and I, and plans seemed pretty sure. First week of summer I was informed that they were cutting all their interns, and as I quickly found out, such was the case for all the other places I had been talking to. There was no work to be had for a beginning engineer, especially since I was now right in the running with all the kids who procrastinated getting a summer job. wanting some income while I searched for another job, I reached out to my local toyota 4x4 group to see if I could do some side work. Among a bunch of other jobs here and there, I got a once in a lifetime opportunity.

One of the guys that responded said that he needed somebody to fix up his 80. Story is he bought his cruiser here in Utah for a couple grand, but couldn't bring it with him on his move to TX a few years later as it was only running on 3 cylinders (mind you he had still been driving it that way, just not all the way to Texas). But with a kid on the way it was time to have something that could fit the whole family and it might as well be his old cruiser. It had been sitting in storage for a while so the first job was to get it in a drivable condition so it could be driven to my "shop". From there we assessed the work that needed to be done and make a plan of action (Spoiler alert: He dove DEEP into the rabbit hole!) Thus the namesake for my thread title: Once in a lifetime to have such crummy luck with employment (hopefully); once in a lifetime to actually have the time to work on a cruiser all day; once in a lifetime to get PAID to do your hobby, have boxes and boxes of OEM parts shipped to your door, and to be able to go all out without a guilty conscience and/or serious talk with your wife about priorities (she still doesn't like seeing all the packages, but only because they're not for her:)).

Bear with me as I've never done a build thread, I get too much ADD typing on the computer when there's other things to do but I think this'll be entertaining/helpful.
Pics to come
 
Joined
Jul 9, 2012
Messages
2,475
Location
South KC
This current state of the economy is not good. I’m a mechanical engineer as well. Worked the corporate circuit for about 12 years and almost 3 years ago left to start a consulting solo gig. Was going well till it hit. I’ve always worked on cruisers on the side even when I was towing the corporate line. I went from 30% cruiser work to 90% in the last year. Always good to be diversified. I’ve found work is always out there. In certain times it’s a little harder to find, but always there. I entered the workforce in 2007 in the recession, out of college. Just have to be a bull and find it.

Picture for attention, of my yesterday activities. My personal rig got some attention.

F1652A0E-AE9F-408D-957F-7D151990CA12.jpeg
 
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Road Apple

SILVER Star
Joined
Nov 28, 2011
Messages
806
Location
Santa Cruz, CA
You guys are lucky to have a side job to save your bacon. After 911, I’ve seen guys in my profession have no where to go when the companies sent out furlough notices.

Look forward to the build. What lift are you planning? Parts can be hard to come for Slinky and Dobinson right now.
 
Joined
Jan 26, 2010
Messages
768
Location
Clovis, CA
Hello gents,

Short intro: My name is Drew. Cruisers have been one of my biggest passions since day 1, particularly a certain FJ60. I'm 27 and in my last year of school for Mechanical Engineering, though I fancy the electrical stuff and sometimes wonder if I should've gone that route. Right about the time Covid came around I was doing my second internship, and the stars were aligning between this company and I, and plans seemed pretty sure. First week of summer I was informed that they were cutting all their interns, and as I quickly found out, such was the case for all the other places I had been talking to. There was no work to be had for a beginning engineer, especially since I was now right in the running with all the kids who procrastinated getting a summer job. wanting some income while I searched for another job, I reached out to my local toyota 4x4 group to see if I could do some side work. Among a bunch of other jobs here and there, I got a once in a lifetime opportunity.

One of the guys that responded said that he needed somebody to fix up his 80. Story is he bought his cruiser here in Utah for a couple grand, but couldn't bring it with him on his move to TX a few years later as it was only running on 3 cylinders (mind you he had still been driving it that way, just not all the way to Texas). But with a kid on the way it was time to have something that could fit the whole family and it might as well be his old cruiser. It had been sitting in storage for a while so the first job was to get it in a drivable condition so it could be driven to my "shop". From there we assessed the work that needed to be done and make a plan of action (Spoiler alert: He dove DEEP into the rabbit hole!) Thus the namesake for my thread title: Once in a lifetime to have such crummy luck with employment (hopefully); once in a lifetime to actually have the time to work on a cruiser all day; once in a lifetime to get PAID to do your hobby, have boxes and boxes of OEM parts shipped to your door, and to be able to go all out without a guilty conscience and/or serious talk with your wife about priorities (she still doesn't like seeing all the packages, but only because they're not for her:)).

Bear with me as I've never done a build thread, I get too much ADD typing on the computer when there's other things to do but I think this'll be entertaining/helpful.
Pics to come

When COVID hit, did you find yourself moving into a shotgun shack?
 

ranma21

Supporting Vendor
Joined
Apr 18, 2005
Messages
3,323
Location
Houston, TX
Hello gents,

Short intro: My name is Drew. Cruisers have been one of my biggest passions since day 1, particularly a certain FJ60. I'm 27 and in my last year of school for Mechanical Engineering, though I fancy the electrical stuff and sometimes wonder if I should've gone that route. Right about the time Covid came around I was doing my second internship, and the stars were aligning between this company and I, and plans seemed pretty sure. First week of summer I was informed that they were cutting all their interns, and as I quickly found out, such was the case for all the other places I had been talking to. There was no work to be had for a beginning engineer, especially since I was now right in the running with all the kids who procrastinated getting a summer job. wanting some income while I searched for another job, I reached out to my local toyota 4x4 group to see if I could do some side work. Among a bunch of other jobs here and there, I got a once in a lifetime opportunity.

One of the guys that responded said that he needed somebody to fix up his 80. Story is he bought his cruiser here in Utah for a couple grand, but couldn't bring it with him on his move to TX a few years later as it was only running on 3 cylinders (mind you he had still been driving it that way, just not all the way to Texas). But with a kid on the way it was time to have something that could fit the whole family and it might as well be his old cruiser. It had been sitting in storage for a while so the first job was to get it in a drivable condition so it could be driven to my "shop". From there we assessed the work that needed to be done and make a plan of action (Spoiler alert: He dove DEEP into the rabbit hole!) Thus the namesake for my thread title: Once in a lifetime to have such crummy luck with employment (hopefully); once in a lifetime to actually have the time to work on a cruiser all day; once in a lifetime to get PAID to do your hobby, have boxes and boxes of OEM parts shipped to your door, and to be able to go all out without a guilty conscience and/or serious talk with your wife about priorities (she still doesn't like seeing all the packages, but only because they're not for her:)).

Bear with me as I've never done a build thread, I get too much ADD typing on the computer when there's other things to do but I think this'll be entertaining/helpful.
Pics to come

Lol 😂 I think I know the owner of that truck! Stopped by my shop couple of weeks ago for oem part.
 
Joined
May 6, 2011
Messages
979
Location
Davis County, UT
Always good to be diversified. I’ve found work is always out there. In certain times it’s a little harder to find, but always there. I entered the workforce in 2007 in the recession, out of college. Just have to be a bull and find it.

I completely agree. Half of my work has been car, the other house electrical and I'm so grateful for the summer I decided to work as an electrician just cause I was curious. Among other things, I rewired my brother's entire house that was built in the 1800's. I never could've guessed how much diversification would save me this year. So far I haven't had a day without something to do, which I feel super blessed about.
That's a beautiful cruiser. If you were in my area I'd love to pick your brain and see your setup.

You guys are lucky to have a side job to save your bacon. After 911, I’ve seen guys in my profession have no where to go when the companies sent out furlough notices.

Look forward to the build. What lift are you planning? Parts can be hard to come for Slinky and Dobinson right now.
There's actually an OME lift already on it. We may need to make adjustments with the extra weight going on it, but that'll be after it gets all put back together. I guess you could say it'd been built once before, but not to this guy's standard, besides it being in disrepair.

When COVID hit, did you find yourself moving into a shotgun shack?
Actually, My wife and I had just upgraded from the one bedroom basement to the two bedroom main floor haha. Still, it's a good deal and I'd be hard pressed to find a better deal for a couple.

Edit: that went right over my head, haha! Nice one

Lol 😂 I think I know the owner of that truck! Stopped by my shop couple of weeks ago for oem part.
haha You probably do! He's got...I won't say but it's a very sizable order that toyota parts deal couldn't handle, and now we're trying through another dealership and it's taking foreeeever. I'm hoping we can just get the gasket kit sent to us separately so I can get this block assembled again.
 
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ranma21

Supporting Vendor
Joined
Apr 18, 2005
Messages
3,323
Location
Houston, TX
haha You probably do! He's got...I won't say but it's a very sizable order that toyota parts deal couldn't handle, and now we're trying through another dealership and it's taking foreeeever. I'm hoping we can just get the gasket kit sent to us separately so I can get this block assembled again.
[/QUOTE]


I have the head gasket kit in stock and can ship right away if you still need it.
 
Joined
Aug 9, 2020
Messages
119
Location
San Antonio, Texas
This current state of the economy is not good. I’m a mechanical engineer as well. Worked the corporate circuit for about 12 years and almost 3 years ago left to start a consulting solo gig. Was going well till it hit. I’ve always worked on cruisers on the side even when I was towing the corporate line. I went from 30% cruiser work to 90% in the last year. Always good to be diversified. I’ve found work is always out there. In certain times it’s a little harder to find, but always there. I entered the workforce in 2007 in the recession, out of college. Just have to be a bull and find it.

Picture for attention, of my yesterday activities. My personal rig got some attention.

View attachment 2452943

What is that front bumper? Custom? It’s bad ass
 
Joined
May 6, 2011
Messages
979
Location
Davis County, UT
From what I understand, this is basically how it was when it was parked. So like I said, it's not like we're starting from scratch but still plenty to do. And yes, in all these pictures he was running on basically half an engine. I wouldn't have believed it myself, but I tested the compression multiple times with multiple kits:
#1: 30
#2: 110
#3: 45
#4: 38
#5: 105
#6: 10? Didn't really register on the gage
IMG_3525.jpg
IMG_3528.jpg
IMG_3532.jpg
IMG_3529.jpg
 
Joined
May 6, 2011
Messages
979
Location
Davis County, UT
This was it's state as I found it in the storage unit.
Hopefully you can tell in the video, but not only did that ujoint not have any needles, it was totally rusted on the bearing surface and the cap was missing a chunk!
He also said his front brakes needed replacing...uh, yes. They do.
Did the brakes and ujoint on site, gave er a couple gallons of gas, filled the tire, checked the fluids, and she was rolling!
At this point, the owner had already mailed me a key but he happened to be in town and we met for the first time as I drove his cruiser 2.5 hours to my place for the build. Good thing I'm trustworthy ;)
20201010_162541.jpg

 
Joined
May 6, 2011
Messages
979
Location
Davis County, UT
I broke the trip up into 2 parts. I drove 1 hour to my parents house and left it there for a week, with the intention of coming back the next week to see how it handled the hour long drive and continue to my house. Everything checked out, and I did the 2nd leg of the trip without a problem. I opted to take a longer route in order to avoid a steep mountain pass...I'm glad I did. I wasn't pushing it hard, but that was the idea. It was slow but worked amazing given the kind of compression it had...someone less familiar with these cars may not have ever even known there was a problem.
Once at my place, I did a leak down that was more or less inconclusive, probably cause I was using a little pancake compressor. The plan became to pull the head cause that would need to be done for sure, then inspect the block to see if it got to stay. I don't have pictures of this part of the process but my bore dial gage indicated that most cylinders were right on the border of being in spec, with some outside of tolerance. With his goals for the rig in mind, the decision was made to yank the block.

I guess I should say what we have to start with in the first place...94 FZJ80 with 230k on the clock, factory locked with OME and newer 33(?)" A/T's, Roof rack and tube bumper.
Plans:
Full engine rebuild
-Every moving surface machined/replaced (including chain & sprockets)
-Injector service
-OEM full gasket set
-OEM mounts
-OEM exhaust heat shields
-OEM starter
-OEM fuel filter
-OEM fuel pump sock
-OEM ps pump
-ps high pressure line
-Witt's end power steering cooler upgrade
-replace all rubber OEM (via Witt's end, where applicable) (including air intake)
-Witt's end blue fan clutch
-witt's end hose clamp kit
-OEM tune-up items (plugs, plug wires, cap & rotor, thermostat, belts, etc)
-Replace sensors as needed (OEM)
-OEM radiator, hoses, heater valve, etc.
-Witt's end block coolant drain
-paint/powder coat headers, valve cover, and more
-Freshen up A/C system
Clean up engine bay
-new OEM firewall and hood insulators
-new OEM reservoirs
-"make engine bay look new"...detail everything/replace old looking parts
Body
-ARB bumper
-Badlands 12,000lb winch
-new paint (in TX)
-Rear swingout bumper (in TX)
-New headliner (in TX)
-hood and tailgate lift supports
-swap out passenger seat
-new OEM wheel trim pieces where necessary
Electrical - Lighting
-remove PO wiring (except trailer brakes/lights)
-move existing baja lights from front to back and convert to LED
-Hella Rallye 4000 pencil beams (outer top), only on with brights
-Hella Rallye 700 (inner top)
-Hella 4000 euro beams (on ARB). Integrated DRL lights set to come on w/ stock headlights
-OEM switches: 2 brand new straight style OEM fog light switches for rear and bumper; 2 OEM curved defrost switches for top lights. Each pair individually controlled.
-Add indicator lights into instrument cluster for fog light switches (switches have dash illumination lights only)--This one is fun.
- sidemarker lamps and ARB orange lights to double as turn signals (not the wire swap; build a module)
Electrical - Security
(Note: probably won't be able to go into too much detail as that would defeat the purpose...just know it's gonna be really cool and clean)
-self resetting kill switch (don't have to de-activate anything when leaving the car, just push secret button when starting. Not easy to bypass)
-Siren alarm to protect ARB, winch, and lights. These all have a wire running through them which, if cut/disconnected, triggers alarm.
-Keyless entry (no RS3000)
Electrical - Misc
-In cab winch control, with a master switch and repurposed antenna switch for in/out
-CDL switch & pin7
-replace dash illumination bulbs
-new OEM diff lock switch...just cause it'll look new
-make custom relay/fuse control box & associated brackets for lighting and security circuits. Not a small task.
-Auto-up diode
Axle & Suspension
-Procomp rims
-front & rear axle service, OEM components - front was already done and doesn't leak, but birfields are clicking.
-OEM brake drums & rotors, calipers. upgrade soft lines. Service E-brake as necesary.
-evaluate suspension with winch & bumper; make adjustments as necessary
-OEM ujoints on both drivelines

....and probably a few things I'm forgetting.
Stay tuned. I'm playing catchup right now, So there will be a lot to update on. I wish I took more pictures at the beginning but I wasn't planning on making a build thread.
 
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Joined
May 6, 2011
Messages
979
Location
Davis County, UT
With all the different items on the build plan, I wanted a very organized way to manage the tasks and to update the customer. I came up with this live spreadsheet, so that anytime he can look at it and see things like job progress, hour and balance updates, reimbursements, and approve tasks/purchases. The colored cells are formatted so that you can see at a glance if anything needs particular attention. For example, in the job status up top, if a job is created or modified, I change the status to recommended and the box turns yellow. He can either approve it or deny it, and the box will turn green or red. Similar with part approval. So far it's been an excellent method of task management for both of us, saving a lot of time on the phone.
Capture.PNG
 

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