Builds Rediscovering an '87 FJ60

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Jun 28, 2020
Bend, OR
OK, finally time to start a thread documenting my work on my FJ60. Through this thread, I'm hoping to give back what I can to the community. I'll do my best to document everything and include part numbers. Though, I realize now how hard it is to stop and take pictures when you're in the middle of something.

I caught the bug for a 60 last summer and started looking. I've got other transportation, so luckily it doesn’t need to be my DD. Mainly, I want a car to drive around town, take into the mountains, and work on. I was hoping to find a late model 60 without much rust and in overall good condition. After a few months of looking, I found one over in Portland which seemed to fit the bill and picked up an ’87 FJ60 with 185,000 miles last October.

The interior and body are in good shape, but from what I can tell it’s spent its entire life on the rainy side of the mountains and that’s created a uniform and complete coat of surface rust on the underside. Luckily though, it seems to only be on the surface… I’ve spent a lot of time down there by now and haven’t seen any actual rot or issues that can’t be solved with blasting and paint.

The body itself is cosmetically in pretty good shape and overall is almost rust-free. I can only find some blistering at the bottom corners of the rear windows and the bottom of the windshield. The floor, doors, and everywhere else seem to be clean. It does look like it’s been in some kind of a fender bender at some point as the front driver fender and tailgate have clearly been repainted.

Here’s a pic of the truck after a quick trip to the car wash:


Overall, I get the impression that like many Toyotas, it’s worked fine its whole life and been a perfectly dependable car. The unfortunate result of that fact is it probably hasn’t always gotten the attention it deserves. Beyond the chassis rust, the engine compartment looks as if it’s sat for years with the hood open. Basically, any non-painted metal part is rusty and very dirty. The truck hasn’t been washed in long enough so that every part of the truck exposed to the elements had a healthy colony of moss growing on it.

My goal for the truck is to restore it cosmetically and mechanically to it’s former glory. Eventually, I’d like to end up with a reliable truck running like new. My idea is to keep it “stock plus”; I’ll use OEM parts wherever possible unless there’s a better alternative that fits with the LC/TEQ philosophy. For now, my thought is taking the body off to get the frame, axles, etc powder coated, and then eventually a re-paint.
First step was a proper desmog. I knew from having a PPI done by a competent cruiser mechanic that there were vacuum leaks and exhaust leaks throughout the system. The truck was also idling and running pretty rough. I figured it would be a great way to fix some of these issues and learn the truck by completing a full desmog.

Here’s a starting pic for reference:


I ordered the desmog kit from Jim C and vacuum hose from McMaster and then got started taking it all apart. This is where I learned that every project on a cruiser is in reality a bottomless rabbit hole as I had quickly removed my intake/exhaust manifolds and a majority of my exhaust system with plans to clean them up and reinstall with new hardware and gaskets.


When I broke one of the bolts holding the two manifolds together, I started to regret my nack for taking things apart that don’t seem to be broken. Then, when I broke the screw extractor inside the bolt trying to remove it, I fully regretted this lack of self control.

I finally got it out though… I only have a picture of the hole after I got the extractor out. I was too irritated to stop and take pictures of the broken bolt and extractor


I suppose though that all my frustration paid off as when I glanced at the intake, I noticed what seemed to be a tiny crack:


When viewed from above:

The intake manifold was looking pretty rough and I knew I was likely going to need to get this thing welded so I got it bead blasted clean first. After that, you can clearly see the crack.


It’s interesting that it cracked because I tested the butterfly valve in the exhaust manifold and it was working fine. Anyways, I paid a welder to grind out the crack and weld it closed.

At this time I also replaced all the exhaust insulators holding up my exhaust pipe as only one was still functioning in any capacity. Replacing the middle insulator, on my back under the truck, is definitely the most difficult and frustrating thing I’ve done on this truck so far.

Here’s what all of mine looked like when I took them off:


I got all new Toyota hardware and put everything back together. I drilled out the broken bolt and installed a heli-coil. The rings and springs in my exhaust manifold horns were in good shape, so I only ordered two of each. Each side got one set of new and one set of old and then I covered them all with high temp RTV at the suggestion of another member.

I also took the opportunity to clean up my valve cover and get it looking good.


For the desmog, I installed Jim’s parts and ‘refurbished’ my valve rack to look all nice and new:


I’m at 4,000’ so keeping HAC as well as EVAP and AC Idle up (for when I fix the AC system). While it looks a million times better than it did, I do still need to keep a fair amount of tubes running around.

Also, FYI for anyone keeping HAC: I spend a LONG time looking for the vacuum line T needed to connect the valve only to find out that it was built into the spaghetti monster. I found an OEM replacement so you get to spend the extra $$ and hassle over picking up a Dorman ‘T’ from your local Napa.

If you're conserned about rust, you can have your frame, axles, etc galvanized and then powdercoated. That's what I did. My frame is practically bulletproof now.
I got it all put back together and hooked up all the lines:


I got it cranked up and began adjusting the timing and carb (these had not been altered) only to realize the fuel pump was squirting fuel all over the place as it ran.. Great, new fuel pump and insulator ordered:


Now, finally got it running and overall, it’s running way better than before. But, I find there’s still a vacuum leak somewhere as I’m only getting ~15-16 in/hg and I understand that even at altitude, I should be somewhere at least above 18.

I emptied an entire can of brake clean (don’t make my initial mistake and be sure to buy the flammable kind the first time) on the intake, carb, and everywhere else I could think of. I also tried isolating all the vacuum components I kept (EVAP, Dizzy vent, HAC, AC idle up, Fuel decel cut), and couldn’t find the leak.

I really don’t want it to be the obvious culprit of resulting from uneven exhaust/intake manifold since I did not have them machined flat… this is partly because I couldn’t find anyone who would do it and also because I am itching to ditch that hunk of pig iron for headers and a new exhaust system.

So I took off the carb and took out the Dizzy to have them rebuilt and recurved. I figured in that time I’d work on identifying the leak and a few other projects.

Parts used so far:

PartQuantityPart #Notes
Desmog Cap & Plug Kit1N/ABuy from TLC Performance
EGR Block off plate1N/ABuy from TLC Performance
Idler pulley to replace air pump1N/ABuy from TLC Performance
Silicone Tubing - 3mm ID (vacuum tube)255041K521from McMaster Carr
Silicone Tubing - 3mm ID (vacuum tube)105041K521from McMaster Carr
Silicone Tubing - 6mm ID (vacuum tube)255041K541This is way too much, you can probably get away with 10'
EGR Gasket for exhaust manifold plug12562861060
EGR/PCV gasket for intake manifold12562861050
Exhaust downpipe gasket ring19091706056
BVSV 119092505035
Valve cover nut seals49021013001
Carb mount studs49011608042
Carb mount nuts69413000802
EGR/PCV Intake nuts29017908204
EGR/PCV Inlet studs29212260818
EGR/PCV Inlet bolts (for carb fan sensor mount)291611B0812
Carb Insulator bolts29165140814
Exhaust manifold ring21715161010I reused two old ones that were in good shape
Exhaust manifold spring21715261010I reused two old ones that were in good shape
Intake/Exhaust Manifold studs29011612011
Intake/Exhaust Manifold nuts29017012211
Intake/Exhaust Manifold washers29020112051
Intake/Exhaust Manifold bolts Inner49011912003
Intake/Exhaust Manifold bolts Outer29011910315
Manifold bolts (Secure Intake & Exhaust)29010110486I've seen threads saying these are wrong, but cannot find the right ones. These seem to work fine
Valve cover gasket11121361011
Exh/Intake manifold Gaskets1FEL MS22813Felpro
Exhaust Isolator Mounts31756761030
Nuts for exhaust isolator mounts169017906007
Bolts for valve rack89165140814
vacuum T for 3 mm hose19041304005
2 hose clip for vacuum hoses49046400082
3 hose clip for vacuum hoses89046400074
Fuel Pump12310061070
Fuel Pump insulator/gasket19092306010
If you're conserned about rust, you can have your frame, axles, etc galvanized and then powdercoated. That's what I did. My frame is practically bulletproof now.

Yeah, I'd like to find a way to take off the body next fall and then have the frame, axles, etc blasted and powder coated. Then the bottom side will be solid and I won't have to worry about driving in the rain or anything. At that time I'll also put in an OME lift and ideally an H55F because, you know, it won't ever be easier.
With the dizzy off to @FJ40Jim I figured I had some time to tackle a few projects:

- Basic maintenance (fluids, belts, etc)
- Replace my headlights
- Re-seal the side plate
- Spruce up my charcoal canister
- Replace non-working factory radio
- Rebuild Carb

I started with flushing the brake fluid and clutch fluid with DOT 3. The brake fluid was pretty bad, so this was a long time coming. The clutch fluid had basically turned into some weird form of ferrofluid there was so much rust suspended... It was almost gelatinous. I also swapped out all the belts which were easy as I'd taken off the alternator, A/C compressor, and associated brackets to get to the side plate.

Removing the A/C Compressor, I noticed my idler pulley bearing was shot. I've seen a few people come up with some fairly obscure places to source a new bearing. The bearing I pulled from the pulley is an NSK 6302V made in Japan. I found the exact same thing from Nashbar bike for $1.72.

I also changed the gear oil in the tranny, transfer case, and both diffs. Overall, it was dark but fine. I swapped the hex plugs for magnetic allen plugs on everything except the fill ports on the tranny and transfer case where the PO had installed an overflow hose between the two.

Finally, I put in fresh Denso W14EXR-U plugs and a new fuel filter. The plugs looked OK and the old filter didn't have any visible contaminants, so that's good.

I'll change the oil and filter after I finish with the side plate as it looks to be in OK condition for now.

Parts used so far:

PartQuantityPart #Notes
fuel filter12330038010
Magnetic drain plug (diff, xfer, tranny)49034118021
Fill plug (diff, xfer, tranny)29034118016You need 4 if you don't have a bypass hose installed
Spark plugs63013 W14EXR-U
AC Idler Bearing1NSK 6302VSuper cheap from Bike Nashbar
V Belt - AC1993321125078
V Belt - Water Pump & Smog1993431112077
V Belt - PS Pump1993431157077
Like every other 60, the headlights that came on my truck were not good... They'd also been replaced with mismatched bulbs at some point. For a visual example, here's what I was working with:


Yes, that's a drywall screw holding the headlight in...

I pulled everything out and ordered new parts for everything except the headlight buckets which were for some reason $$$. I opted to just repaint them. For the headlights, I opted for the tried and true Koito upgrade.. ~$45 from my local dealer (they're $12 from Partsouq but shipping is prohibitive).


There are plenty of threads on the Koito upgrade, and yes, it's as easy as everyone says. However, I didn't see a lot of clear info on how people chose to run their wiring harness. Not that it's difficult to figure out, but I figured I'd add mine. Especially because I made some modifications.

I routed the harness between the lights down in the valence, folding the excess back on itself, and zip tying to some sturdy areas down there:


For the relay and fuse side of the harness, I altered things a bit. First, I wanted to find a place for the relays that would keep them dry. You can easily screw them directly to the fender or body somewhere, but since the hood isn't sealed on the side, any water running down the side will run over the relays themselves. That's probably fine for the short term as it's only 12v and they're fairly sealed, but not gonna last another 30 years. I opted to cut up some 16ga steel into a bracket that holds them off the fender about an inch. I also didn't like that the fuses for the harness don't have any mounting tabs and therefore if one blows whoever fixes it is going to have to trace wires around until they realize there are fuses in the harness itself.

As part of a separate project (more later), I happen to be adding a terminal fuse block to my battery and beefing up a few wires and grounds. So I opted to cut the fuses off the relay and wire the hot wires for each headlight directly to my terminal fuse block. I'm running the headlight ground to the body ground just left of the battery, where the tray support bolts in and the chassis/battery ground is connected.

Here's a rough layout of how I have the wires and relays. I'll add a finished pic later:


And finally, the finished product:


Parts used so far:

PartQuantityPart #Notes
Relay plate mounting bolts (M6 bolts)29165140612
Headlight trim ring28111189117
Headlight trim ring screws68113612571
Headlight adjusting screw48113110031
Headlight adjusting screw grommets490189-05013
Headlight tension spring28112162010
Headlight assembly mounting screws69331116012
Left headlight mounting ring28111390A02
Right headlight mounting ring18115390A02
Koito headlight upgrade kit18111060P70
Ancor 10-12 AWG heat shrink terminals for 5/16" stud (ground wire)3312503from Ancor Marine. This is specifically for setting up how I've done it
Ancor 16-14 AWG heat shrink terminals #8 screw stud (positive wires)3311203from Ancor Marine. This is specifically for setting up how I've done it
Blue Sea terminal fuse block for ST Blade Fuses15023from Blue Sea Systems
Ok next on the list was cleaning up my charcoal canister... This was mainly for cosmetic reasons, but I also don't think it was functioning properly and one of the goals of my truck which was quickly elevated was addressing the "smells" noticed by my wife.

When I got the truck it looked like an animal had built a nest of mud and oil on top of the canister and as a result, it was rusty, dirty, and non-functioning.


Though it was a lot of work, there isn't a whole lot to write about. I attempted to fix the stuck check valves like everyone else by squirting PB Blaster down the host nipples and cycling some low(ish) pressure compressed air. After a while, it seemed to free itself and work OK

I cleaned up the canister and brackets, masked off any necessary areas, and painted them all with POR-15 and VHT Epoxy. Added new bolts from Mr. T and some stainless ones from the hardware store and had it all looking good:


I also took the opportunity to replace all of the associated hoses and clamps. The clamps are Toyota, the hoses are Gates from the local auto parts store.

Unfortunately, after I got it all spiffed up and installed again, I'm still noticing a bit of a whoosh when I open the gas cap. I guess I need to go back at it with some compressed air and PB Blaster.

Parts used:

PartQuantityPart #Notes
Charcoal system hose clamps89613251100For smaller hoses. Always order extra
Charcoal system hose clamps49613241500For larger hoses. Always order extra
charcoal canister elbow hose1N/AAftermarket from City Racer
Charcoal canister to frame bolts39165140820
Charcoal canister strap bolts49165140814
Great work so far! As part of the desmog did you swap the lines on the canister? That’s normal to do in a desmog application. Think that may help your problem too. I forget what the wording is but I know one is marked “to tank”

Check out the thread below.

Next up was re-sealing my side plate... I quickly got tired of getting my entire arm oily and filthy any time I stuck it down toward the passenger side of the engine, so I wanted to fix the leaks coming from the side plate. My oil pan and rear main seal are leaking pretty heavily as well, but I figured I'd start here. I first spent a solid two hours hosing down, degreasing, and scrubbing the engine compartment. This was probably the most rewarding thing I've done yet. The difference of removing 30 years of dirt, oil, and grime was shocking.

I then removed the alternator, A/C compressor, their associated brackets, and fuel filter (dizzy was already sent off) as well as pulling the coolant hardlines away from the engine with a bungee cord. I unscrewed all the bolts and gave it a tug only to find it stuck on there pretty well. I eventually had to break out a chisel and literally pry it off. When I finally did get it removed I realized the old cork gasket had essentially become petrified. It was hard and brittle and the pieces of it were seemingly permanently adhered to whichever surface they ended up on. I had to use a chisel to get them off the engine block and side cover and then a bit of scotch brite to get the rest off. Hopefully, none of those chunks fell down into the oil pan but I did my best to get it all cleaned up.

I think for anyone else planning on this, just do your best to keep the debris minimal, and once you get the cover off, first be sure to plug any holes in the crankcase so that nothing falls down there. I'm also planning on changing my oil and filter ASAP to hopefully catch any remaining contaminants.

Here you can kind of see what it looked like when I finally got the two parts separated:


I was hoping just to put it right back on with a new gasket but noticed some peeling paint and surface rust. While I have been telling myself that eventually one day i'll get the engine rebuilt and at that time I can take care of all of its cosmetic issues, I, of course, couldn't let this slide. So I got it blasted and painted... Here it is after blasting with a few other parts for paint:


Also, like others have pointed out, be sure to hammer down the bolt holes where they've mushroomed out. I noticed on all of mine, the hole had ballooned out a bit under the bolt torque. If you don't flatten that before reinstalling, that defect will hold the plate away from the gasket and block and prevent a good seal. I tried to get fancy using a clamp as a press but ended up just hammering them and that worked fine.

I then painted the plate and alternator and A/C brackets with POR15 engine enamel. I couldn't find a decisive answer on which engine paint was best so I went with POR... On these, I also used regular POR15 as a base coat as the instructions say, though I think that was a bit overkill. The POR15 engine enamel went on great with a brush for the cast iron brackets, but not so well on the smooth side plate. It was too thick and hard to work with to get it to level out. If you let it dry at all (like 2 min) and touch an area again, there will be brush marks. I'd recommend spraying anything that's smooth.

For reinstallation, I used a factory cork gasket. I'd seen a lot of opinion on whether to add FIPG as well, and ended up deciding that a bit couldn't hurt. I'm glad I ordered some because I really don't know how I could have installed it without it. For starters, the gasket is a bit too small and needs to be stretched to fit. I don't know how you could stretch the gasket while it's in between the engine and side plate AND install all those bolts with their holes lining up. The FIPG is SUPER tacky and that was great as it glued the gasket to the block while I maneuvered it into place and got the bolts started. I did however only use FIPG on both sides of the bottom half of the gasket and that was enough to hold it.

here it is back together and good to go... I've only driven it ~50 miles since, but happy to say no leaks yet


Parts Used:

PartQuantityPart #
Side plate gasket11125360010
FIPG (formed in place gasket) 103 - Black10029500103

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