Scouting my first 80

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I am planning to go look at what might be my first 80 series and thought I'd ask you all what I should look for and ve picky about. I've narrowed it down to 2 that are close and all vary a bit. 1) 97 3x lock 181k modest mods arb front bumper, snorkel Chicago original car *Possible Rust* $19000. 2) 97 386k miles heavy mods bumpers, suspension, Only rear lock Chicago car *Possible Rust* $13000

Any tips that might just steer me away are appreciated.
 
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mingles

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Your profile says TX. If that is where you are, why are you looking at Chicago vehicles?

ANY vehicle that spent its life in the rust belt already ranks lower than a S/SW truck.

Rust aside, look at the maintenance records. A low mileage truck is not necessarily a bargain (aside from bragging rights) if it has not been regularly maintained.
 
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Other consideration: do you find one built or do you want to build yourself? If you do it yourself, you get to live with your choices. If you buy a built one, you get to live with someone else’s choices, and mistakes.

And yeah. Move along from anything rusty if you can, it will come back to haunt you at every turn of the wrench.
 

DSRTRDR

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I wouldn't buy a rusty truck from Chicago. period.
 
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@mingles and @DSRTRDR make solid points. At this point they’re all old enough I’d look at frame, body, then maintenance. Maintenance is easy to fix. Body is harder but still better then frame. Frames worst. Northern stuff is likely to be hard on all of that, and the reverse order Of what you’d want.
 

GW Nugget

Do the best you can with what you have...
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Everything is for sale... I'll sell mine for 37K
 
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#1, obviously. "Mods" can mean a real horror show, depending on who made them and how. Lower mileage and closer to stock is better unless it's a renowned shop that did the mods.

Rust sucks. Look for a CA, OR, or WA vehicle if you want to avoid it.
 
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Agree on rust. Had mine listed last year for CAN$20K. Only one serious offer. It was for CAN$9K, and he wanted me to remove all mods. Said no. Reduced price this year to CAN$10.5K, and no serious offers. I think the rust killed it, although minor, plus a huge list of issues. Not one person actually came out to physically see it except the guy who made the serious offer last year.
My advice would be rust free and unmodded if at all possible aside from bumpers and a lift. Electrically related mods can be a nightmare when things stop working. I know as many of my own electrically related mods have stopped working, and I have no wiring diagrams to go by and a very faded memory of what I did. However, I’ll now keep mine and fix the rust and the “issues”.
 
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You need to find out what "possible rust" means. The first one sounds way better but is priced too high unless it's been maintained in a manner that would bring a smile to any MUD 80 series owner.
 

Kabanstva

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Sounds like Arizonans don't know what they're talking about.
Maybe he's talking about those coastal states having salt spray from the ocean? I do agree the cleanest, most rust free car's I've seen have been from states like AZ, NV, inland TX etc. If a vehicle is inland CA/OR/WA I don't see an issue but if it spent any time near the ocean, there's potential for that light rust "hazing" on alot of components. FL is a big state with that issue. Still it's nothing like the stuff we see in the real rust belt.
 
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Maybe he's talking about those coastal states having salt spray from the ocean?

Unless you're actually driving on the beach regularly, I can't see it being a problem. Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Seattle aren't known for rusty cars. Those are far and away the most populated ocean-adjacent cities on the West Coast.

I live in Oregon. I've bought vehicles in Oregon and Washington. Rust isn't an issue. Meanwhile, my 80's dash is badly cracked and the paint was terribly sun-bleached because it spent much of its life in New Mexico.
 

Road Apple

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Here are random buying notes I’ve kept from other posts.

bringatrailer.com

208 Wheeler Dealer - http://4buyingautosales.com


SearchTempest to search Craigslist nationwide


SearchWorldMarketplace (same thing, but for FB marketplace).


Toyota Land Cruiser marketplace FB group


KSL auto


Profit Resurrection


Corsetti Cruisers


Landcruisersdirect.com


JDM Cruiser dealerships


IH8MUD classifieds
Also - I highly recommend Lemon Squad if you’re purchasing sight unseen. They sent me a zip file of 250 photos, and did a test drive/thorough inspection. This $270.00 inspection got me a full alignment, front wheel caps, the seals replaced, and brake fluid flushed.


Post a WTB (want to buy) thread in the IH8MUD classifieds and had a member reach out with what I was looking for not publicly listed and purchased it.


80 Series Newbie Guide - Slee Off Road - https://sleeoffroad.com/tech-zone/80-series-newbie-guide/


Pre-purchase Inspection - OTRAMM - https://www.otramm.com/pre-purchase-inspection

Pre-buy inspection





For importing, do yourself a favor and call Steve Jackson at Land Cruisers Direct. He’s one of the best for a Japanese diesel importing.

Don’t settle for an abused truck. Take the time and wait for the right one. Anything under 200k is a winner, but, not necessary.


Worth paying a premium for no rust and/or an enthusiast maintained vehicle. Check New Mexico and AZ rigs. Rust free and you can find some gems down here for a decent price.


If I was to do it again I’d look in the Southwest and ship it or make the journey. No rust on these old Toyota’s is such a treat. Makes working on them fun instead of a nightmare with broken bolts and stripped nuts at every turn.

I’d want to know if it uses oil & how much.

I’d ask if the headgasket is original or a replacement? If replaced, was the head surfaced & were the stem seals changed?

I’d also want to know the last front axle service done? Look for caked on crap on the front knuckles since they are rarely serviced.

Look for something with documented maintenance If possible, but not a deal breaker. I want to see receipts galore & do a very good inspection from running every last control to doing full lock circles to see if the birfields are ‘clicking’ AKA need replacing or swapping side-for-side.


Lockers are a bonus, but if not locked, you can always add them later. Better to find a good condition, well maintained truck.

Some say the ‘93/‘94 are the best year, OBD1, best engine, best tranny... etc....


93 and up has a good following for aftermarket stuff or OEM.


‘94 was available with lockers.

Also keep in mind that the 93 and 94 model years had the slightly shorter birfields which makes them easier to find Aisin hubs for if you choose to convert to part time 4x4. And they also have the better looking front grill without the space cowboy emblem.


‘95- ‘97 have airbags, full float rear diff, OBD-II, and you can still get engine wire harnesses and o2 sensors.


‘91-‘92 have smaller front disc brakes, no ABS, semi-float rear axle with drum brakes, and 15” wheels. ‘93-‘97 have larger front disc brakes, full float rear axle with discs, ABS, and 16” wheels.


95+ has a mass air flow sensor, not a MAF meter, so you don’t have to worry about the MAF meter failing.

3FE parts are starting to become scarce. Most of the heater hoses on the 3FE are discontinued 😞 The 3FEhad such a limited run, there is really no aftermarket support for anything.

The 3FE is slow, dead reliable, super simple, easy to work on, and relatively impervious to neglect. It is pushrod in-block cam, direct drive (no timing belt or chains). Bullet proof. Non-electronic A440F transmission, no ABS system, no airbags, no PHH and fewer head gasket issues as it has an iron block and iron head.

The 3FE also has a lower torque apex than the 1FZ. Put 33’s on and you’ll hit third gear before you hit 20 mph, lots of low end control off road!

They are slow on the highway, slower on steep highway grades, and happiest cruising in the mid 60 MPHs, which was the speed limit for which they were designed back then.

It's reasonable to expect deferred and ongoing preventative maintenance. Somewhere on this forum is an excellent 3FE tune-up checklist--this is must-do for the 3FE. Sunroofs leak. Cracked dashboards and front seat bottom cushion sidings are common. Also expect to replace rubber things, especially suspension bushings and belts, but also door seals, window runs, etc.

Plan on spending $2500+ to get it baselined (hoses, gaskets, o rings, seals, tools, cooling system updates, knuckle rebuild, fluids, etc). If you get a cheaper rig, budget for more in catch up maintenance.

Living in PA I crawl all around underneath looking for rust and checking for leaks from the drivetrain, suspension and axles. Also have a look at the condition of various bushings. Then I move on to inspect all doors/door jambs for rust or signs of past body work. Then under the hood to check all fluid levels, look for leaks and inspect hoses and vacuum lines. Then start engine and listen for abnormal noises. Take a look at the roof for fading, rust and inspect roof rack and mounting areas. Then on to the inside. Check overall condition and test all buttons/functions. Finally a test drive. Make sure to test lockers (if applicable) and 4 Lo.

That's about it for me. It's a pretty broad overview, but it's a good starting point. Took me a couple hours to inspect and test drive each vehicle I looked at before settling on a '97 LX450 that I pick up tomorrow. Rust was my biggest concern. After inspecting the underside of the LX450 and finding ZERO rust, I was almost certainly buying it. The fact it was in tip top mechanical condition, as well, was the icing on the cake.
 
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‘93-‘97 have larger front disc brakes, full float rear axle with discs, ABS, and 16” wheels.

'93 & '94 were available without the ABS option, in which case the rear axle will be semi-floating. This is why you should exercise caution when you see Craigslist posts that say, "has the center diff lock option!" If it came from the factory that way, it means it's *missing* the ABS option.
 
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Maybe he's talking about those coastal states having salt spray from the ocean? I do agree the cleanest, most rust free car's I've seen have been from states like AZ, NV, inland TX etc. If a vehicle is inland CA/OR/WA I don't see an issue but if it spent any time near the ocean, there's potential for that light rust "hazing" on alot of components. FL is a big state with that issue. Still it's nothing like the stuff we see in the real rust belt.

That's why it's the western rust belt. It's not bad it's just nothing like the desert for dry cars. The pacific coast cars, like southern cars, are probably going to look OK at 20 years. But at age 40 the superiority of a desert car is clear. I've exported several hundred 30 to 50 year old cars to very picky German collectors. They much prefer desert cars. What the desert does to a car can be reversed fairly easily, especially if you're already doing a full restoration. Bone dry is usually an easy restoration. I'm not saying pacific coast cars are bad - they're pretty good - they're just not in a league with the desert when it comes to rust issues.
 

Ozark Bushwalker

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Ideally, I’d wanna do an oil analysis and compression test before buying, but that might be a tall order for a PPI.

Miles are less important than maintenance.
 

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