ROTW ROTW: The Toyota (1 Viewer)

Joined
Feb 8, 2006
Messages
2,518
Location
Vancouver (not BC), WA (not DC)
Okay, here’s my ROTW. I was really hoping to have a little bit more done on my rig by now, but I guess that is kind of how it goes. My Land Cruiser story goes back quite a ways. The convoluted story starts with my Dad’s buddy from high school. My Dad’s buddy’s dad (did you follow that?) bought a 72 fj40 (6/71 production date) sometime in early 1972. They named it Rickshaw 1. :rolleyes: They owned a local mechanic shop in central WA and did some work to the engine to get a little more power (i.e. get rid of the vsv, different dizzy etc.). They had it for about a year and then sold it to my grandfather. He lived up in the mountains, so my grandfather used it for a hunting rig and a winter driving rig. The funny thing is, my grandmother used to work at the local ski resort, so she ended up driving it back and forth to work in the winters. There are stories of her passing snow plows on the way to the ski area. They always just called it “The Toyota” since it was the only Toyota my family owned.

The following picture is sometime in late 1974. My grandfather is the one kneeling down in front. His brother, who is now 95, and could probably still drive the thing, is standing to his right. His nephew is directly behind him and a friend is holding on to the elk they shot. My grandpa’s older brother is the only one in that picture that is still alive. And like I said, he could probably still drive the Land Cruiser. He is in awesome shape for a 95 year old.
old pics0002.jpg
 
Last edited:
Joined
Feb 8, 2006
Messages
2,518
Location
Vancouver (not BC), WA (not DC)
Here’s a couple more old pics. The first one was taken in the fall of 73. That is my mom holding my older sister. The next picture was probably 76 or 77 at elk camp.
old pics0001.jpg
old pics0003.jpg
 
Last edited:
Joined
Feb 8, 2006
Messages
2,518
Location
Vancouver (not BC), WA (not DC)
“The Toyota” was used quite a bit in the winters, but not really during the summer time. My family owned a cherry and apple orchard, and we always had an old 52 Willy’s Jeep to use around the orchard. With the top off and windshield down, it fit nicely under the tree limbs. That Willy’s Jeep was the first driving experience I ever had. My grandpa put it in granny low and explained how to push the clutch and brake to stop it. I was around 8 years old. I did this once while my dad and grandpa picked up sprinkler pipe and loaded it onto a rack on the Jeep. Top speed in granny low was about 1 mph, so I guess they figured I wouldn’t get away from them. Besides, I wasn’t tall enough to load sprinkler pipe onto the rack. Not long after that, my grandpa felt it was time for me to really learn how to drive, so he took me out in the Land Cruiser. He taught me how to shift and all that kind of stuff. So, I can honestly say, this is the rig I learned to drive in! Well, sometime around my 8th grade year, the Willy’s transmission went out. It was time for a replacement orchard rig, mostly because they couldn’t find a replacement transmission for the Jeep. Besides, that Jeep had had a really rough life. It had been rolled multiple, multiple times (I won’t go into it here, but flame me if you like, I do respect how tough those old Willy’s Jeeps were). The Land Cruiser was up. By this time (circa 1985) that Land Cruiser was getting old (yeah, if I only new then what I know now!). So, a buddy of mine and me went to work taking off the top and getting the Land Cruiser ready for orchard duty.

Unfortunately, I looked at it as I did that old Willy’s. I figured the top would never get put back on and it would die in the orchard someday. So, you can imagine how much care a 14 year old kid put in to that old Land Cruiser. Screws were stripped, screw heads were rounded out, and basically no care was put into the disassembly. Now, I feel horrible about how I treated the Land Cruiser. But at the time, who knew? The top and doors were put in storage, but they were set down on sand. The moisture in the sand ended up rusting the door bottoms and bottom of the hard top, but not really all that bad. I’ve seen pictures of East coast cruisers and all I can say is wow, it sucks to be you guys!

I have looked for photos of this time period, but I can’t find any. I’ve looked through my grandma’s photo albums and my parents’, but I can’t find any. That is too bad, because we really did have a good time using “the Toyota” around the orchard. But like I said before, I didn’t take care of it. It was regularly beat up, jumped, abused, and driven around the orchard like my last name was Ernhardt. Again, if I only new what I know now!

The years passed by and I grew up. I left town and went to college. Pretty soon, “the Toyota” got parked and was left inside a shop for good. My Dad’s hired hand said the radiator was shot and it was pretty much useless. :rolleyes: Then, my grandfather died in the fall of 04. I was at elk camp with my dad in 2005 and he mentioned that he was going to sell it for whatever he could get for it (maybe a couple hundred bucks {wow!}) just to clear up some space. I said “whoaaaa!”, if you are just going to get rid of it, I’ll take it. He said no problem. Come and get it. I had my grandma sign over the title and the deal was done. One free Land Cruiser coming up!

Oh wait, there’s no such thing as a free Land Cruiser!
 
Last edited:
Joined
Feb 8, 2006
Messages
2,518
Location
Vancouver (not BC), WA (not DC)
So, that brings me to December of 2005. I made my first trip up to see what I was up against. This is a good time to mention that I now live about 5 hours drive time from my parents’ house. I hadn’t seen the rig in awhile, and I hadn’t really LOOKED at the rig in quite some time. It was a mess. Years of dirt, cherry seeds, pine needles, leaves, etc., were stuck in every crack and crevice. The seats were rotted with carpet, foam and whatever else pushed in to provide some relief to the bare springs. The rest of the interior was in about the same shape. But, the body wasn’t that bad. There was some rust through in the rear quarter panels, but other than that, rust was pretty minimal. In all, I was itching to get to work on this thing! The most amazing thing is that the odometer only showed 19521 miles. And no, it hadn’t flipped. But, those 19521 miles equate to about 19000 total trips. Most of them were ¼ - ½ mile in length.

So, since I was so excited to get to work on this thing, I bought a set of tires and wheels off of craigslist. That’s when I learned about wheel backspacing. They didn’t work, but I could still use the tires. I also learned to curb my enthusiasm a little bit and do some research first. Anyway, at this point my son was really excited about helping and went with me to get the new tires.
New wheels.jpg
 
Last edited:
Joined
Feb 8, 2006
Messages
2,518
Location
Vancouver (not BC), WA (not DC)
About this time, I found Ih8mud. Wow, what a wonderful resource. I’ve looked at other forums around the internet, and I really don’t think you can beat Mud for the amount of help freely given. The atmosphere here is excellent.

Since I had found mud, I sent my carb off to 65swb45 (Mark A) for a rebuild and port for vacuum advance. I also bought a vacuum advance dizzy from Bandy Rooster. This was all done inside a dark, sand covered basement of an old fruit packing house. It was not a good place to work on a rig, but since the carb was off, I didn’t really have a choice. Once I got the carb back from Mark, I hooked it up and pushed the rig out. By this time, it was March, and only the 3rd time I had made it up to work on the rig. I also got the top and doors back on. Notice the rack on front for the sprinkler pipe. I also changed all fluids, cap, rotor, wires and whatnot since the rig had been sitting for about 4 years.
first trip10001.jpg
first trip10002.jpg
first trip10003.jpg
 
Last edited:
Joined
Feb 8, 2006
Messages
2,518
Location
Vancouver (not BC), WA (not DC)
It wasn’t pretty when I first started working on it. You can see from the pictures, it was a little beat up and dirty. But, thanks to Ih8mud, I get to see what some people have to start with, and I feel really lucky. The paint was pretty oxidized, but a little Meguiar’s paint restorer, and it cleaned it right up.

Next up was a new exhaust. The old exhaust was wired to the exhaust manifold. I took it into a muffler shop to get it fixed and found out that the bolts from the exhaust manifold were stripped out. So, I ordered up Spector’s 2 piece header. I went this route since they were the only one’s that would guarantee it would fit with the column shift. Another 5 hour trip and trip to the muffler shop and I had a decent sounding exhaust.

By May, I had made 5 trips and things were starting to come together. I also realized I had a nasty vacuum leak in my brake booster. A little research on mud and a quick trip to the salvage yard and I had a booster and M/C from a 92 mini truck. Swapped it out and no more vacuum leaks. I few more pics of this time frame. You can see the roll bar I bought from Metal Tech sitting on the seat. I hadn’t installed it yet.

cleaned up0001.jpg
cleaned up0003.jpg
 
Last edited:
Joined
Feb 8, 2006
Messages
2,518
Location
Vancouver (not BC), WA (not DC)
It still wasn’t pretty, but at least most of the crap was cleaned OUT of it.

more cleaning0001.jpg
more cleaning0003.jpg
more cleaning0006.jpg
 
Last edited:
Joined
Feb 8, 2006
Messages
2,518
Location
Vancouver (not BC), WA (not DC)
Well, I finally got my baby home in August. My brother in law works for a moving company and had a load headed my way. For a case of beer, he dropped off the Land Cruiser. It was awesome. Now I didn’t have to drive 5 hours each way just to work on my rig. First thing I did was have a guy I work with (who used to be a welder and still builds trailers on the side) weld in my roll bar. Now I had 3 pt seat belts! Here are a couple of pictures in my garage.

roll bar0001.jpg
roll bar0002.jpg
roll bar0004.jpg
 
Last edited:
Joined
Feb 8, 2006
Messages
2,518
Location
Vancouver (not BC), WA (not DC)
So, at this point, I was confident enough to take it up into the hills. It was just a quick trip up with my dog, but it was great. I loved every minute of it.
first trip to the mountains0001.jpg
first trip to the mountains0002.jpg
first trip to the mountains0004.jpg
 
Last edited:
Joined
Feb 8, 2006
Messages
2,518
Location
Vancouver (not BC), WA (not DC)
And, checking out the stock flex. Okay, so it didn’t really flex… But the 31x10.50 tires only slightly rubbed in the rear when tucking into the wheel well.

stock flex0001.jpg
stock flex0002.jpg
 
Last edited:
Joined
Feb 8, 2006
Messages
2,518
Location
Vancouver (not BC), WA (not DC)
At this point in time, late November 2006, my wife and I received a call from our adoption agency. China was ready for us to go and get our little girl! It had been a long 18 month process, but we finally left for China on December 3rd.
China0001.jpg
China0002.jpg
 
Last edited:
Joined
Feb 8, 2006
Messages
2,518
Location
Vancouver (not BC), WA (not DC)
We were in China for 3 weeks, so I didn’t get anything done to my rig for awhile. Plus, bringing home a 2 ½ year old slowed down the work a little. But, as soon as I got back, I took my son up into the hills around Mt. St. Helen’s since I hadn’t seen him for 3 weeks. And, as a side note, we do get snow in Vancouver, WA.
St Helens0001.jpg
St Helens0002.jpg
snow.jpg
 
Last edited:
Joined
Feb 8, 2006
Messages
2,518
Location
Vancouver (not BC), WA (not DC)
It was time for some mods. My wife was off work on maternity leave with our new daughter, so I took advantage of some shop time. I built a new bumper shamelessly stealing Jeff Zepp’s design from his website. I also added some bucket seats from a 93 Civic. Finally, I added a radio for those long cruises up to the mountains.


Bumper0003.jpg
Bumper0001.jpg
new seats0001.jpg
 
Last edited:
Joined
Feb 8, 2006
Messages
2,518
Location
Vancouver (not BC), WA (not DC)
Some of the first words in English that my daughter learned was “Pretty Land Cruiser”. Well, it didn’t exactly sound like that, but that is what she meant. So, a friend of my wife’s had some shirts made up for the kids saying the kid’s name “Loves Daddy’s pretty Land Cruiser”. It was pretty cool, so I had to take some pictures!
new shirts0001.jpg
new shirts0002.jpg
 
Last edited:
Joined
Feb 8, 2006
Messages
2,518
Location
Vancouver (not BC), WA (not DC)
Now it is time for a lift kit. After some research, I decided to go with a 4” lift from Hell Creek Suspensions. I also bought some 33x12.50 Mud Terrains from a buddy at work. The first picture shows my stance pre-lift with 31s.

pre lift10001.jpg
new tires10001.jpg
lift kit10001.jpg
 
Last edited:
Joined
Feb 8, 2006
Messages
2,518
Location
Vancouver (not BC), WA (not DC)
Last edited:

Users who are viewing this thread

Top Bottom