Racefiend's CA Legal 1992 LS Swap Build Thread

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Mar 11, 2022
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139
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California
Hi all, this is going to be my progress thread on doing an LS swap on this 1992 Land Cruiser. It's my GF's car. I'll be honest, I hate this car. I don't hate FJ80s, just this particular one. The previous owner really sold her a POS. In between the poor maintenance, half assed mods, and incorrect installations, this has been a real can of worms, and quite honestly, pretty scary to drive. I've been redoing quite a bit of stuff on this car, but every time I dig deeper, I find more stuff that needs attention. This particular project started as coolant getting into the oil pan. I could not find the source during testing, so I decided to pull the engine and see what was going on.

-6519872140824123913.jpg


Turns out the cylinder head was cracked. It was time to make a decision. I kicked around the idea of rebuilding the 3FE, but it was such a dog, it was apparent this needed a powerplant upgrade. I mulled over a 1FZ, a UZ V8, but ended up on the LS engine. I asked my GF what she wanted to do and she immediately approved the LS swap. I got in touch with the local smog referee supervisor and made sure this was doable, which it is. So went out and found a donor car. A 2002 Suburban 2wd with a 5.3 flex fuel LS. This is what was left of it:

PXL_20211208_174027685.jpg


I picked it up at an auction. Ran and drove great. Transmission worked great and fluid was clean. The engine ran good. Had about 200k miles. Decided to pull the engine apart and inspect it, then re-ring, re-bearing, and reseal it. Unfortunately, upon inspection, it had wear on several rocker arms/push rods, and it had too much piston to wall clearance. Even if I had replaced the pistons, the clearance would have been right at the limit of the acceptable specs. So I ended up having the block bored out. I replaced the pistons, rocker arms, push rods, and lifters. I also had a valve job done on the cylinder heads. Basically a full rebuild. I also polished the crank and cam. I kept everything factory, with the exception of a few reliability mods. I put in a higher flow oil pump, upgraded the rockers trunnions, and replaced the plastic barbell with an aluminum one. I won't bother posting engine build pics, as there are a million of those on the net. I'll just add the relevant ones. Here's the marks4wd oil pump pickup installed:

IMG_20211231_171037_01.jpg


Here is the marks4wd modified oil pan installed, as well as the marks4wd engine mount brackets:

PXL_20220104_022340544.jpg

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I bought a complete swap kit from marks4wd. Their products are top notch. The only thing I wish would have been different is if they would have used a pan with the oil level sensor boss. No big deal, but it would have been nice to have.

Next up was to put the transmission and transfer case together.
 
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Joined
Mar 11, 2022
Messages
139
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California
First step was to remove the tailshaft housing:

PXL_20220120_225353967.MP.jpg


Next was installing the first marks4wd adapter:

PXL_20220120_230345979.jpg


I then removed the output shaft sleeve. I have a very thin crescent wrench, which fit perfectly in the recessed ridge on the sleeve. I adjusted it down tight, and hit it with a hammer to pull off the sleeve:

PXL_20220120_230855968.jpg


Next I had to cut the output shaft down to size. I did not have a dial caliper large enough to get the measurement I needed. But I used a straight edge as a spacer, which made it so I could use my caliper for the remaining distance. I spun the output shaft while holding the caliper jaw against it to scribe I line around the tape:

PXL_20220208_224724946.jpg


I used a cutoff wheel on a 4.5" angle grinder to cut the shaft. I was expecting it to take a while, but the shaft is not too hard, and it cut through like butter. I then used a flapper wheel to bevel the edges of the newly cut shaft:

PXL_20220208_231414838.jpg
 
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Messages
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Next was installing the second marks4wd adapter plate:

PXL_20220209_000354031.jpg


Followed by the output shaft extension:

PXL_20220209_022633676.jpg


Next I needed to prepare the 3rd and final adapter. I had to install the dowels into the adapter. I heated the dowel holes to about 400 degrees to make it easier to get the dowels in. I also installed the oil seal into the adapter:

PXL_20220209_022808039.jpg


I then drove the brass plug into the hole for the speed sensor. You don't need to use this hole, as the reluctor wheel on the 4l60 is further forward, and you use the speed sensor hole on the 2nd adapter instead:

PXL_20220209_022847924.MP.jpg


I then installed the final adapter to the transmission:

PXL_20220209_024235837.jpg
 
Joined
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Messages
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The marks4wd kit comes with all of the bolts to put the adapters on. You have to use your original bolts that bolt the transfer case to the Toyota transmission to bolt the transfer case to the final adapter. Unfortunately, one of blind holes was not deep enough for the original bolt:

PXL_20220209_181836543.MP.jpg


I cut the bolt down to 35mm and it fit perfect:

PXL_20220209_181950351.MP.jpg


The transmission and transfer case assembled:

PXL_20220209_184311873.jpg


Next was installing the speed sensor. The bracket that holds the speed sensor in does not fit with the marks4wd adapter:

PXL_20220209_205012935.jpg


But a quick trim of the bracket solved that problem:

PXL_20220209_205733165.jpg
 
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While I had the steering box out, I sent it out to Redhead to have them rebuild it. I also cleaned up the driver side frame in the engine bay and painted it. The brake lines going down the driver side were bent to go around the original engine mount bracket. Unfortunately they would not work with the new mounts. I cut the rear brake line, added a coupler, and made a new line from the coupler to the brake line bracket:

PXL_20220308_230347008.jpg


Then I made a new front line from the bracket to the splitter:

PXL_20220309_002417385.jpg


I then went to clean up and paint the passenger side. That's when my hearts sank. The whole frame and underside of the truck was caked with old clay mud that clung on like cement. While cleaning the frame rail, as I got under the firewall, I found a big ass kink in the frame:

-6471367038943316261.jpg


That kink explained a lot of what I experienced with this frame. I put the project on pause. I sent the Cruiser off to a body shop to have the frame straightened. Unfortunately, I got a call back saying the frame was diamonded, and could not be fixed without ridiculous money. Not what I wanted to hear.
 
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Messages
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I found a great condition FJZ frame with no rust and picked it up. I cleaned it, primed it, and painted it while I had it out:

PXL_20220321_005412093.jpg


I then had to pull the body off the old frame. Wasn't much work as most of what was needed to be removed had already been done:

PXL_20220319_004535843.jpg


I then began swapping everything over from the old frame to the new frame. A Tale of Two Frames:

PXL_20220319_010348515.jpg


Goodbye old frame:

PXL_20220324_002145269.jpg
 
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Messages
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I was aware the marks4wd kit was meant for an FJZ frame, so I figured I was good to go without cutting and welding. Unfortunately, when I went to drop in the drivetrain, the engine sat about 3/4" too far forward. When I mocked up the assembly on the 92, I used the factory transfer case mount/crossmember. This sat the engine further forward than marks4wd had designed. (I had to contact marks for assistance to find this out) I test fit the driveshafts and was happy with the fitments, but marks4wd sets the assembly further back. You need to slot the mounting holes on the crossmember towards the back to set the assembly in the correct position to line up with the FJZ engine mount brackets:

PXL_20220403_183918986.jpg


You also need to open the access holes on the bottom:

PXL_20220403_183900576.jpg


The other thing you need to do is cut and reweld the passenger side engine mount bracket. It is a dual purpose mount, so it's extra wide and has two mounting holes. The rear one is for the 1FZ and the front one is for the diesel motor. It will interfere with the A/C compressor on the LS motor. Here it is marked up. I needed to cut out the middle section, cut off the front section, and weld it up to the rear section. I did not go with the marks4wd cutting dimensions, as the mount would be a little wider than the one on the left side. I like symmetry, so I cut it so they would both be the same width:

PXL_20220402_173338435.jpg


Here is the front and middle section cut off. The cross brace you see on the face of the frame is part of the mount. That needs to be separated as well, which makes removing it from the frame difficult. I cut out the center section first, which gave me access to cut that cross brace and related welds to remove the front section:

PXL_20220402_190840626.MP.jpg


I then cut back that cross brace, and cut back that cross brace on the front section after removing it so everything matched up.

PXL_20220402_215626972.jpg
 

FMC80

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This is badass! Too bad there are crooked assholes out there selling vehicles with known issues. Your GF is lucky to have someone so adept at wrenching.

Have you looked into reinforcing the frame at the steering box? I’ve read several threads about it and since you’re this far, now’s the time to do it (so to speak).

Check out these threads if you haven’t already:


 
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Redondo Beach, CA
Bravo sir. I pray CARB isn't going to be a pain in your hindquarters to get this car smogged in CA.
 
Joined
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Messages
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This is badass! Too bad there are crooked assholes out there selling vehicles with known issues. Your GF is lucky to have someone so adept at wrenching.

Have you looked into reinforcing the frame at the steering box? I’ve readseveral threads about it and since you’re this far, how’s the time to do it (so to speak).

Check out these threads if you haven’t already:


Yeah I'd like to take this truck to show the previous owner once it's done, then run him over with it.

Thanks for the links to the reinforcement. Someone else mentioned it too. I didn't think much of it as this isn't going to see any serious rock crawling, but it may not be a bad idea to do it now just for good measure.
 
Joined
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Bravo sir. I pray CARB isn't going to be a pain in your hindquarters to get this car smogged in CA.
Luckily it's not my first rodeo with referees. They're not out to get you. They just have to enforce state rules, even if they think they're stupid too. As long as you build your project within those parameters, you're good to go.
 
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I found a great condition FJZ frame with no rust and picked it up. I cleaned it, primed it, and painted it while I had it out:

View attachment 2971206

I then had to pull the body off the old frame. Wasn't much work as most of what was needed to be removed had already been done:

View attachment 2971210

I then began swapping everything over from the old frame to the new frame. A Tale of Two Frames:

View attachment 2971211

Goodbye old frame:

View attachment 2971212
You can probably sell that cut up frame. Lots of good suspension brackets for a coil swap on another cruiser
 

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