Builds ROTW: Doc (1 Viewer)

Joined
Apr 26, 2004
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Doc’s ROTW story:

My ROTW story begins in the spring of 2004. Unfortunately it really begins on a sad note though. But let me back up a little.

Like many of you here I grew up admiring the Land Cruisers. For me, it was specifically the 60 series. To me, the 60 embodied everything that was tough, dependable and rugged about an expedition vehicle. They always seemed out of reach though, as the mere words ‘Land Cruiser’ conjured up images of piles of cash and oil sheiks of the middle east. I was neither an oil sheik, or had a pile of cash, so my Land Cruiser always seemed out of reach.

Then, one day in the spring of 2004, my grandmother passed away. I had just bought my first house and was making payments on a car, and all of a sudden I had 10K (inheritance) dropped in my lap. I mulled over what I could do with that money for a while. Obviously the smartest move financially would be to dump that money into the house and pay down the mortgage. But I remember back to my birthdays in years past when my grandmother would give me money instead of gifts. She would always tell me to buy something fun and NOT use the money to pay bills. She wanted me to enjoy the gift. (getting a little misty as I type this, again). So I decided I’d do just that. Buy something I’d enjoy, and something that would also help me out financially. I began searching for a new car. And, since we only had one car up to this point, it would ease transportation issues for the wifey and I as well.

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I started just searching e-bay for certain vehicles (all of which were cars), and checking market prices on different things. After one long day on e-bay I decided to start looking into Land Crusiers, just for ‘kicks’. MUCH to my surprise they were found to be a lot cheaper than I imagined! I asked my wife if she would like to drive a Land Cruiser… “Aren’t those too much money for us to afford?” she replied, I just smiled… and kept on searching. Not much later, (maybe 2 weeks?) I came across a white 1993 cruiser in a suburb of Chicago that was in my budget. I put the dogs in the kennel, and the wifey and I headed out in the Honda to Chicago (6 hr drive) to check it out.

It turns out the Cruiser was owned by a soccer mom type person. The vehicle was in pretty good shape overall, and even had lockers! ( I had already spent a couple of weeks searching MUD and knew I wanted lockers in advance). There were a few flaws, of course, but it was in pretty good shape. The short list of problems included
1. Rust, (Midwest truck all it’s life- mainly on the undercarriage)
2. Tires were bald (stockers)
3. Milage was a bit on the high side (130k) for the year
4. Knuckes obviously needed a re-pack.

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So, we wondered around the lot checking out other trucks and ‘kicking the tires’ so to speak about the cruiser. While wondering, I saw a familiar roofline buried in the back row. Oh man, could it be? I basically jogged over to check it out. 1987 60 series. Beat to hell. It was PERFECT! ( for me!). Rust holes in the quarter panels, bedliner over more rust, cracked and bald tires, seats looked like somebody died in them, the interior was awful and stained. Running boards. I smiled inside.

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A little later on we started dealing with the dealer on the 80. I think the kicker for cutting the deal was this line “and how much for this cruiser, and the one in the back as well?” The dealer looked at me strangely, told me the clutch was slipping, but asked if I wanted to drive it. I drove it up and down the block, but seriously- I didn’t care, as long as it moved under it’s own power I was taking it home.

The deal was struck, anyone want to guess how much for both trucks? :) 10k.

So, there I was, in Chicago- with three vehicles. The Honda we drove there in, and two new-to-me cruisers. How to get everything home? Oh wait, the 80 has the tow package? I hopped on the internet and secured a flat bed tow trailer from the nearest U-haul. Also went out and bought a tow bar and ball. Drove the 80 over to the U-haul depot, picked up the trailer, and went back to pick up the 60. Put the 60 on the trailer and started the trip home.

So, there I am- pulling the 60 on a trailer with a vehicle I’ve never driven before, with bald tires. Giddiness made me stupid. Then it started to rain, oh good! I just took it slow and steady, and hoped I didn’t have to stop quickly, as I had already slid though one intersection because of the bald tires, wet pavement, heavy load combo.

But, I got it home safely. I kept popping headlight fuses on the way home though. That was the first thing I had to figure out. Turned out the PO had spliced into the headlight harness for some reason (later I found the grounded out wire going through the fire wall that caused him to do this) to make the marker lights work.

The 60 was a PIT. It needed a lot of work. Mostly cleaning. We literally stripped the inside of the 60 and put as much of it as we could into the dishwasher. It was BAD. Once we got it cleaned up and a radio installed I got to focus on the wifey’s rig (the 80).

First up, front axle service. I got to be acquainted with CruiserDan for the first time! This was also my first real big mechanical job I’d ever attempted on my own vehicle. With a lot of help from this board, and the very handy exploded diagram of the front axle from the FSM I got the job done. Very rewarding. Very messy.

Next up: Tires. Now, the 80 was my WIFE’s daily driver, not mine. But I knew she’d go for whatever tires I picked out. The 80 was stock, so big 35’s were out. I was looking for 33’s. After much searching tirerack.com persuaded me to purchase Firestone Destination M/T’s in 285/75-16. A decision I do not regret to this day. I still firmly believe this is the best tire for a weekend warrior type who doesn’t log a lot of miles.

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After this I did the typical new cruiser owner mods, Slee light/aux harness, HIR bulbs, and got current on all PM’s, including full fluid exchanges. The cruiser basically sat in this configuration for a year and a half, or maybe almost two years. Until I became a dad. Then, the wife decided she didn’t like lifting the baby so high. I saw my opportunity to pick up a better wheeler than the 60 was (but man, I loved that 60). Eventually I saw the wisdom in keeping the 80 and selling the 60 to pick up a ‘family car’.

Sold the 60 here, for $1k more than I paid for it (but I had put in a new clutch, rad, wheels and tires, new seats, new stereo, etc… ), and hit up e-bay again looking for a car for the wifey. She’s always like VW jetta’s so that’s where I started. Looked at TDI wagons, but they were rare and pricey. I found a V6 wagon Passat in the Bronx and ended up buying that. Flew out there and picked it up, met up with a few mudders on the way back to Iowa. This return road trip is where I met Beno for the first time, which proved to be of significance later on.

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Backing up a year- the only real wheeling mods I did to the 60 was new wheels/tires and sliders. I was 2BadFJ’s first slider customer. He made the off-hand comment on the board one day that he could make sliders for $200. I PM’d him within a minute of that post and offered to paypal him the funds that day. $200, are you kidding me? I’d be stupid not to take him up on that offer. Turns out Jim got in way over his head on that one, and I’m sure the $200 didn’t even end up covering the cost of the steel in the sliders he made me, but he stuck to his word and delivered his first set of production 60 series sliders. Later that year, on a trip to CO in the 80 I asked him if he was interested in making sliders for the 80 series, at that time he was too swamped with other things for the 60’s to even think about it.

So, with the 80 now mine to do with as I saw fit… it was time to make a plan. I wheeled it stock for a while, and it did very well on 33’s and stock springs. The only casualty was the OEM running boards. I was weighing my options for sliders when I got a PM from Beno, he was taking a trip out to CO to wheel and would be bringing back a slee rear bumper and 2Bad’s new 80 series sliders for his truck. A quick call to Jim confirmed he was now making sliders for 80’s, and he said he’d try to get a set made up for my 80 in time to make the “Beno Bus” back through Iowa.

Beno already had plans to stop through on his way back to Ohio, as we were swapping springs. I had bought some used J springs here and was putting together a lift. Ended up that J springs were taller than I wanted to go (castor, and vibration issues) and OME heavies were what I wanted. Beno had OME heavies, and wanted to step up to J’s. Perfect! I ordered the rest of the lift kit from Slee and when Beno arrived we swapped springs and installed the lift in my truck.

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Beno also dropped off my new solidrockoffroad.com sliders, which were welded on by a buddy about two weeks later.

During this time I did some mild wheeling but the local stuff that was more difficult, I stayed away from. Not really because I didn’t think the 80 could cut it, but this was my DD, and it had to stay relatively nice. I wanted to do some of the more difficult stuff, but with that low hanging rear bumper and no form of recovery… I was afraid to damage things and get stuck.

So… now we roll up on this year. A new TLCA chapter in Des Moines is opening up new wheeling areas for me, and I was pretty excited about that. I had already ordered 4x4 labs rear bumper and another fat tax refund meant it got to be accompanied by the new Slee front bumper and a 12.5K lb winch.

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I really like the way the truck looks with the new armor, and I can carry a spare again! (the factory tire carrier was so rusted it was useless).

Sorry for the long winded post!

This is where the truck sits today. I have a few small things I’d eventually like to do to it like put in a new stereo and wire up my in-cab winch controls. For the most part, I don’t see the truck changing much until it’s time to buy new meats. Once the destinations wear down it will be time to move up to 35’s. Of course, that brings a whole new set of problems along with it.

I’ll eventually add a snorkel too, mostly because I think they just look so cool!

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Joined
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Nice write-up, nice rig!
 
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Excellent write-up. Cool story. 5th pic down looks like you need a beer.:beer:
Nice tat.
 
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Excellent write-up. Cool story. 5th pic down looks like you need a beer.:beer:
Nice tat.

That is my cruiser's surrogate father, Beno. I think that pic was taken at about 2:30 am after the marathon spring swap between his truck (black cruiser) and mine.
 

bluto

So. Do you want dilaudid IVP or oxycodone tab?
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Awesome Doc.
Ive been going over ROTW since its inception but the stories behind the truck is what differentiates each one for me.

That Summit winch is on my wish list among others.
 
Joined
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nice writeup. now after seeing your rig, its a great inspiration for what mine will become when it grows up.

cheers:beer:

john
 
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Wow. Great story! Great rig!
 
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great write up and a good looking ride. really enjoyed the history lesson :flipoff2:, its cool to see where these trucks come from and where they are going.
 
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Yeah, Doc, great write up. I love that Slee front bumper!
 

OGBeno

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That is my cruiser's surrogate father, Beno. I think that pic was taken at about 2:30 am after the marathon spring swap between his truck (black cruiser) and mine.

What a great night that was Doc, indeed.

I am proud to be a surrogate father. I will treat you rig with care always!

;)

Remember chinese buffet Akron?

:grinpimp:
 

fjfar80

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Nice rig - well written history /commentary. Good Things - that is why I love this forum.

Cheers.
 
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TOY350

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Nice job Doc!
 
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Doc, my story started very similar to yours, growing up having a 60, buying a 80 for the wife, and then making it the ultimate wheeling rig...And it's also a white 93 cruiser to top it off like mine....:cheers: Before you posted what your future plans were (to move up to 35's), I had already told myself that you were going to do that...It always starts off that way..That cruiser is going to look bad ass with bigger meats, not to mention the improved clearance.. Good Job! Thanks for sharing, nice story...
 
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Yeah, 35's are the new 33's! It'll be a while before the Destinations wear down enough to justify new meats though. So... who knows what will come up in that time.
 
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Nice write up doc, that shortbus bumper is sooooo sweet!
 
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Love your story man! Great rig!
 
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Nice write up Doc. I've been saving for a Short Bus Bumper, your ROTW with the pic for the bumper almost put me over the edge. Great job.:beer:
 

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