Reno FJ80-Friendly Repair Shop Needed (1 Viewer)

Joined
Aug 27, 2020
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Reno, NV
Hello,

Reno resident here....I am the new owner of a 1997 LX450 Cruiser project. I am so jazzed about finally becoming an FJ80 owner!

My LX450 Cruiser has been parked north of Wind Country CALF for at least 5 years. It's immediate needs include having the gas tank drained, the brake lines inspected/serviced, the tires replaced, and a diagnosis of engine-oil leak(s). As the FJ80 needs to be towed, I am seeking an honest, independent mechanic or shop in Reno that is familiar with FJs.

Any other suggestions about my new FJ80 would be appreciated.
 

Tony_Farson

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Reno, NV
Hello, Reno resident here....I am the new owner of a 1997 LX450 Cruiser project. I am so jazzed about finally becoming an FJ80 owner! My LX450 Cruiser has been parked north of Wind Country CALF for at least 5 years. It's immediate needs include having the gas tank drained, the brake lines inspected/serviced, the tires replaced, and a diagnosis of engine-oil leak(s). As the FJ80 needs to be towed, I am seeking an honest, independent mechanic or shop in Reno that is familiar with FJs. Any other suggestions about my new FJ80 would be appreciated.

Congrats and welcome! I hope you'll join us for our club meeting on 9/10.

Tires: Les Schwab, or any of the other shops up here should work just fine.

As far as suggestions go, you are on the right track. I do all preventive maintenance up to the current mileage. Tune up/ignition/charging system, ALL fluids flush/replacement, filters, hoses, belts, bearings, brakes.

@reklund5 might be game for some work, but I'll leave that to him. Some of the other members have some recommendations I am sure, but I always point folks to Valley Hybrids in Stockton. Georg is a legend in the TLC community and will never steer you wrong or try to take you to the cleaners. He is a cool guy with an impressive Land Cruiser only business. I have a trailer and am planning a trip to his shop on the 15th to pick up my long range tanks. I'd be happy to haul it down there for you. All I ask is for a tank of gas and some lunch for my troubles!

I would add the major trouble spots on those rigs too. head gasket being one of them. Might as well bite the bullet now and get it replaced so it doesn't let you down at the worst possible time.

Lemme know if you decide you'd like to take it to Georg's. I am more than happy to help!
 

gregnash

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Yeah unfortunately from what I am aware of there are no mechanics in the area (Reno, Carson, G-ville) that are overly familiar with Land Cruisers and their needs. Plenty of guys that do little bits of specialty work here and there but that is really about it. The nearest is going to be Georg at Valley Hybrid in Stockton. As Tony said you can't do any better than him, and since you are trailering it somewhere in the first place, go pay a visit to hims Cruiser Mecca and have it done right.
 

DesertLake

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Sep 19, 2007
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Washoe Valley NV
Washoe Valley automotive is at least familiar with mine, but I did the initial baseline and later engine rebuild myself. If you do a rebuild talk to Douglas Auto Machine.

Test your coolant for exhaust gasses, you can get the kit from most auto parts stores. Mine had electrolysis pitting on #1 and #6 fire rings and a snapped head bolt between #3 and #4, yet the only symptom was slightly pressurized coolant - it would bubble out when I popped the cap cold, and one time it suddenly cut power climbing 395 by Mono Lake. No problems since the rebuild.

Enjoy!
 

gregnash

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Washoe Valley automotive is at least familiar with mine, but I did the initial baseline and later engine rebuild myself. If you do a rebuild talk to Douglas Auto Machine.

Test your coolant for exhaust gasses, you can get the kit from most auto parts stores. Mine had electrolysis pitting on #1 and #6 fire rings and a snapped head bolt between #3 and #4, yet the only symptom was slightly pressurized coolant - it would bubble out when I popped the cap cold, and one time it suddenly cut power climbing 395 by Mono Lake. No problems since the rebuild.

Enjoy!
If needed I have a test kit that I can bring to a club meeting if you want to borrow. This is how I found that the head gasket was going on my 60.
 
Joined
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Reno, NV
Hello All,
It has been a interesting 6-7 weeks with my Cruiser project, to say the least!

First...I found out more from the seller. The car has been mostly parked out in the back country of California for close to a decade. The prior owner reports massive oil leak.

The car was flat bedded to Reno. It had to be pulled onto the flat bed using a large pickup. It was pulled off the flatbed with another strong vehicle, and parked blocking a good portion of my driveway in Reno. The prior owner recommended the vehicle not be started until it it worked on...for fear of massive engine damage.

I have more to post...including how getting the dry-rotting tires and wheels off this Cruiser was an unexpected adventure!
 
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Tony_Farson

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Hello All, It has been a interesting 6-7 weeks with my Cruiser project, to say the least! First... I have more to post...including how getting the dry-rotting tires and wheels off this Cruiser was an unexpected adventure!

Cool! You should start a build thread in one of the main forums for the 80 Series and take lots of pics! I am curious for sure.
 
Joined
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Reno, NV
More Cruiser Adventures:

The tires were severely dry-rotted. The prior owner said the tires were at least a decade old.

I purchased a great set of Nokian tires online. I purchased them from onlinetires.com.

But, a new challenge: With the vehicle still blocking part of my driveway, I tried to get the wheels off. Ha! IH8 Old Mud in wheels! The wheels were encrusted with mud, corrosion, and vines. Removing the lug nuts took a lot of elbow grease and a LONG time. Then, I needed to use a sledge hammer to bang the wheels lose. THEN, we discovered that the brakes had so many vines growing in them, that critical front brake clips had be pushed off by the vines.

A front brake refurbishment and replacement is in order. The pads are worn, and the rotors are, too. I hit the internets and ordered uprated rotors that are designed for towing. I don't plan to tow, but for a small price increase I get better stopping power, especially coming down hills. I also ordered uprated pads, and new caliper hardware to replace parts that appeared to have pulled off by the vines! The rears had not vines...and just need new pads :).

Another unexpected job: Scrubbing the INSIDE of the wheels. Wheel weights would not stick to the wheels, due to corrsion, dirt and who knows what! Once that was done... Tires Plus near the Peppermill in Reno gave great service. Talk to the manager, Mercedes (the woman, not the car!) there. She was very helpful in mounting tires that she didn't carry, and in dealing with the wheel weight issue. They also offer lifetime alignments. Great for those of us planning to keep our Cruisers running a long time!

Regarding tire sizes for FJ80 Land Cruisers and Lexus LX450. I went to slightly different tire sizes than factory. I went to a more common tire size that is slightly narrower than factory - 265/75R16. BUT, this size still fits the factory wheels. This way, if I get a side wall flat, I can more easily locate a replacement. For the same reason, there are more tire options at this slightly narrower size. The Nokian One HTs are a well-rated M+S tire, and designed for soft-roading, while remaining a good street tire. Of course, don't forget to change your spare tire too, since you are changing tire sizes! In my case, the spare was also ancient, so it needed replacement anyway.

Nokian tires are designed in Finland and have kelvar woven into the tires - this extends life, and are suposed to limits cuts due sharp (Nevada) rocks. I have a different set of high performance all-season Nokian tires on a 100% street sports car, and I have been very pleased with those tires. I will report back here, with how the Nokian One HTs do on an FJ80 Cruiser.

Next: Getting the Cruiser moving under it's own power!
 
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Joined
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Reno, NV
If needed I have a test kit that I can bring to a club meeting if you want to borrow. This is how I found that the head gasket was going on my 60.
Thanks, Greg. I talked to the prior owner, and he said the head gasket is good. He said he replaced the radiator as a preventative item. that occured before the FJ80 was parked.
 
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Joined
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Reno, NV
I'm game if your timeline is flexible. I’d wager I know those better than most...
Ryan
I am having challenges finding out how to direct message you on this board, Ryan. Can you please send me an email: dataclone /at\ gee male /dot\ com ?
 

Tony_Farson

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Reno, NV
That is a good idea....how does one move this to a build thread?

I would just start a new one since you don't have much in this thread yet. Doing one in the 80 Series Forum will likely get you a bigger audience and more folks pitching in with knowledge and resources to help you along. Our Battle Born forum is low traffic compared to others.

Here's how to PM someone on mud...

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