should I invest in my 1991 land cruiser? (1 Viewer)

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Apr 4, 2020
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Alberta
I currently own a 1991 land cruiser fj80, and as I’m 17, I’m highly considering investing into it (as all 17 year olds do with their vehicles.) I’m just looking for some second opinions on if I should invest into it, or hold off and wait for a better vehicle to invest in as I know the engine in the fj80’s are notoriously slow. I’m curious as to how it will perform on the highway (as I live 4 hours away from the mountains) if I put a arb deluxe bumper on the front and an arb modular bumper on the back.
 
Joined
Apr 4, 2020
Messages
30
Location
Alberta
I currently own a 1991 land cruiser fj80, and as I’m 17, I’m highly considering investing into it (as all 17 year olds do with their vehicles.) I’m just looking for some second opinions on if I should invest into it, or hold off and wait for a better vehicle to invest in as I know the engine in the fj80’s are notoriously slow. I’m curious as to how it will perform on the highway (as I live 4 hours away from the mountains) if I put a arb deluxe bumper on the front and an arb modular bumper on the back.
Basically I’m asking if it’s worth it to invest in it with the highly slow engine.
 

Irish Reiver

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A lot depends on what you are "investing" in. If you are looking for a return on the price you paid for the truck then keep it stock and just invest in baselining it. If, on the other hand you are investing in your life experiences then spend every penny you have and drive it like you stole it. 🙂
 
Joined
Apr 4, 2020
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Alberta
A lot depends on what you are "investing" in. If you are looking for a return on the price you paid for the truck then keep it stock and just invest in baselining it. If, on the other hand you are investing in your life experiences then spend every penny you have and drive it like you stole it. 🙂
as a classic toyota vehicle, I absolutely love it. I was thinking of making it into a light overland/camping build, but, like I said, the only thing stopping me is how it will do travelling with the extra weight added on to it, as even stock, the engine seems quite slow
 
Joined
Jun 17, 2018
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Colorado
The FJ80 is big, heavy, and slow. My motto has become: "Torque, not speed." If this is to be your only rig in the near future, the question becomes whether or not the speed really matters to you. I'm at a point that speed can literally take a back seat to the journey. I live in the heart of the San Juan mountains, so long travel time to the trails is no issue. Maybe a little get-about car for you to daily drive while you build up your LC... My '87 Camry gets 30 MPG! Not a 'cool' car, but the FJ80 is! ;)
In the end it all comes down to what matters to you. How much wrenching are you willing and able to do? An old vehicle can take a lot of time and money to keep it running and reliable. If the 80 ends up being too big a project, maybe a (newer-ish) 4Runner would suit your needs and speeds better. Take some time and you'll figure out what you need to do to be happy. Life always has twists and turns that we can't see coming, so my two pennies say to take some time to figure out what is going to work best for you and dive in!
If you break it down, the lack of speed is just an excuse- get it safe to get up in the mountains and drive around up there. If that doesn't convince you, then maybe the FJ80 isn't the right rig for you.
Good luck and have fun!
 

wagonteeth

Hippoblanco
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North GA mtns
What kind of shape is it in? Does it need repairs as it sits? A lot of questions need answered to guide you to the answer.

The bumpers cost a lot of money for what you get out of them. I'm going to guess you'll want bigger tires if its stock, so you'll want a lift, and then you'll need gears since it's slow without 33s or 35s.

I'd do lift and tires before I'd spend a couple grand on ARBs. The bumpers wont help you offroad, but the lift and tires can.

If you're talking 99.9% on road and once or twice a year getting offroad, then you drive it and dont dump your hard earned money onto it for looks.
 
Joined
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east coast Canada
You own it, that’s the first great thing!

Does it have much rust is the next important thing if you plan on keeping it. Rust never sleeps and causes lots of hardships!

The Land Cruiser is a great machine to learn wrenching on. As a young man good for you if you want to learn how to maintain a vehicle. Vehicles can be a massive expense in life, next to owning a home. You can save thousands of dollars a year doing you own maintenance.

Keep it, buy tools as you move along on repairs. Learn lots from the folks on this forum on how to do virtually every repair and modification as time and money permits.

Sure it’s slow, hard on fuel. But it’s already built so no new carbon footprint in the manufacturing system. The good thing about being slow is less chance of tickets and accidents :hillbilly:

Make it run
Make it stop
Make it safe
Make it reliable
Make it the way you envision after that!
 
Joined
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You don't need a bunch of fancy (heavy) gear to do "overlanding." It used to be called car camping and my parents criss-crossed mexico and the US in a chrysler mini van, putting most people who now consider themselves "overlanders" to shame. It's pretty easy--buy a tent at your local outdoor store, a camping stove and a good cooler, then throw them in the back and drive.

You don't need a lift--a stock 80 is plenty capable to get where you want to go. You don't even need big tires--I have wheeled many of the tougher trails around CO and UT on 265's (32's). You definitely don't need bumpers and such., and in a 3fe 80, that's probably a good area to avoid.

And stop using the word "invest." These trucks are money pits, get used to it. Not knocking the 80, putting money into any vehicle is a losing proposition. Investments create money, liabilities consume money. If the truck is in good shape interior/exterior wise, it is less of a losing proposition than if it's a clapped out junker, but it's still a losing proposition :flipoff2:

And be prepared to learn how to fix it yourself. For whatever reason, mechanics like to rob 80 owners more so than other vehicles.
 

Tachycardic

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Nevada
You must ask yourself the most basic of questions first. Is the Land Cruiser the right vehicle for you? Just because you own it, doesn't mean you are forced to keep it. You keep mentioning that it is slow, and this is true. Honestly, all 80-series are slow--a 1st gen RAV4 will outpace even supercharged or turbo'd LCs.

Tell us what you're really looking for. A sedan? 2 door? smaller SUV? If you don't plan on driving around a bunch of friends or if you're only going to the mountains occasionally, look at a Miata and invest your money on making it rugged like this guy: This Guy Is Building An AWD Off-Road Mazda Miata And It's Awesome @ Top Speed

Want to stick with Toyota? Find a nice Celica. But if you truly love your Land Cruiser, and it's in decent shape, then yes it is worth investing in it. Some will tell you to get it with the 1FZ-FE engine, others will tell you the 3FE is easier to work on and is more bomb-proof. Everyone has opinions and you will quickly become more confused as what to do. So I ask again, do you think the LC is the right vehicle for you?
 
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New Jersey
Just to throw in my $0.02.
No Land Cruiser is a "practical" vehicle, let alone one that is now 29 years old.
It is a strictly emotional and subjective choice. Regardless of the opinions you receive here, ultimately it is YOUR decision. Either you love the vehicle or you do not.
If you do not, then move into something that you will enjoy. If you do, then it really makes no difference how fast or slow it goes.
I've driven my old 91 from Jersey to Utah twice. Yes, getting up to the Eisenhower tunnel sucked, but it only sucked just a LITTLE bit less in my 97 LX450.
Any version of the 80 is slow. Either you get used to the right lane and relax, or you'll never be happy.
 
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I agree with @Heckraiser, spend your money on gas and go have adventures. Only upgrade when your truck or your adventures tell you it’s time. Before marriage and kids, an extended cab Tacoma was a perfect fit for me. Cheaper on gas and maintenance, peppy with the 3.4 or 4.0 V6, can sleep in the bed, super capable, rear locker on some. You might try it and see which you like better.
 
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True. A 3.4 (96-02) 4runner is a great truck too. Cheaper to maintain and can actually hold the speed limit. You might even call it "peppy" if you get a 5-speed. Still quite good off road and you can find some with a rear locker, just like the tacoma. I guess if you're overly concerned about the 4 hour drive to the mountains taking 4:37 instead of 3:42, that would be a good way to go.
 

YMT

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Mar 20, 2017
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El Portal, CA
My $0.02 is, since you're 17 and assuming you're going to college in the future, is "invest" in a solid baseline and get it/keep it running reliably. Don't get too hung up on the extras. Put your money into keeping it running and reliable. And then drive and enjoy it, since it's paid off. It's a large rig, good for moving to and from school, and hauling friends around. It will get expensive as a poor college student for gas.
They're not quick. As others have said, a Tacoma or a 4runner might be better suited for overall driveability and reliability for a cheaper cost to drive. Or a number of cars would get you the highway performance you may desire.
 

Josey1972

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You don't need a bunch of fancy (heavy) gear to do "overlanding." It used to be called car camping and my parents criss-crossed mexico and the US in a chrysler mini van, putting most people who now consider themselves "overlanders" to shame. It's pretty easy--buy a tent at your local outdoor store, a camping stove and a good cooler, then throw them in the back and drive.

You don't need a lift--a stock 80 is plenty capable to get where you want to go. You don't even need big tires--I have wheeled many of the tougher trails around CO and UT on 265's (32's). You definitely don't need bumpers and such., and in a 3fe 80, that's probably a good area to avoid.

And stop using the word "invest." These trucks are money pits, get used to it. Not knocking the 80, putting money into any vehicle is a losing proposition. Investments create money, liabilities consume money. If the truck is in good shape interior/exterior wise, it is less of a losing proposition than if it's a clapped out junker, but it's still a losing proposition :flipoff2:

And be prepared to learn how to fix it yourself. For whatever reason, mechanics like to rob 80 owners more so than other vehicles.
When I was your age and in my college years I traveled in a Volvo 240 Wagon. I even drove from Indiana to Dillon to Utah Salida and into New Mexico and Arizona in it in the middle of the winter. 4x4 is nice and it does give you more options on where to go. Dont give into the hype and feel like you have you have to have a Mad Max looking vehicle to see things. I own a heavily built 1992. I lost faith on interstates. The weight and 5.29’s wasn’t getting me where I wanted to be. I at least wanted to be close to FZJ friends I have. I really was considering moving to an FZJ. My build story is a long one an Ive had a lot of time to hone my thoughts. If you are worried about slow, youre 17, its like driving a model A, I get it. If you want more out of it consider the the transfer case gears. Despite having geared axles I did the Tcase gears and I am where I can live with it. Most of the time I travel solo and I’m almost 50 so at this point in my life and my career I’m perfectly OK with a comfortable 65-70 but prefer the 50 or so and smelling the roses. Think very hard about this truck. You seem to be worried about speed so think very hard before you go building it up.

If I could do it over I would have planned the entire build, on a spreadsheet, and my first item, after base lining, and new stereo, would be the Tcase gears. I ended up doing them nearly last.

The high side of this engine is that its the last of many years years of innovation and proven reliability all over the world. Thats matters to a mostly solo guy like me. I love my truck. #3feMafia
 
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Josey1972

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I agree with @Heckraiser, spend your money on gas and go have adventures. Only upgrade when your truck or your adventures tell you it’s time. Before marriage and kids, an extended cab Tacoma was a perfect fit for me. Cheaper on gas and maintenance, peppy with the 3.4 or 4.0 V6, can sleep in the bed, super capable, rear locker on some. You might try it and see which you like better.
This is so true. When you are done with college, get married, have a family, whatever, it will get harder and harder to do the adventures. Spend your money getting out there! I did it in college years and my only regret is that I didnt do more!!!!
 
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Joliet, IL
I'm 25 years old and in January got my first Land Cruiser FZJ80. It had been a long time coming from the time I was 17, considering I didn't know what a Land Cruiser was and loved my jeeps. It took me owning 3 Jeeps and tens of thousands of dollars before getting to this point at 25 to find the vehicle I can see myself having for a long time. I changed a lot since I was 25, going from wanting to go "mudding" every weekend to now taking it easy and going on mellow relaxing fire trails. I've done plenty of both and I found out I enjoyed the scenery more than anything. My tastes in vehicles changed. I've always been a 4x4 guy but to go from Jeep to Land Cruiser is a big jump. Don't invest too much into any vehicle when you're 17 because you don't know what your tastes are going to be 3 years let alone 8 years afterwards. As others have said make it reliable and enjoy your trips instead of adding weight and complication to an already reliable truck. Yes it is 29 years old but many people in the Middle East and Africa don't seem to care and rely on these trucks for their life. Take care of yours and it'll take care of you.
 

leonard_nemoy

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How many miles are on the 91, and what is the rust situation? What are your future plans? Work, college, etc.

I was in the same place you are with my 91 when I picked it up back in 2016. I love 80 series and for my lifestyle they are the perfect vehicle. My 91 was straight and rust free so it was an obvious decision for me when I got the rig. I had a good job and planned on keeping it forever so I decided to take my time building it and driving it until the engine forced me to do a v8 swap. Well life happens and I decided to go back to school, the 80 has been reliable enough but parts and maintenance are expensive on these rigs, especially if you cant do the work yourself. I came close to selling my 91 to help pay for my last year of tuition but I have dug deep and worked hard to avoid it. I still plan on doing the V8 swap and keeping the rig forever but it would have been much easier if I would have started college at your age, picked a degree that was in high demand, and saw it through obtaining a diploma. If I had done that I would have a V8 80 series and a house by now.

Coming from experience you should do what it takes now at 17 to ensure that you could afford to spend $30,000 on your rig in 5 years. For example get a good education, join the military, or something else. If you got those bases covered than I would suggest keeping it, maintaining it, and driving it for a year as is before investing in aftermarket goodies. If after a year you love it more than now, it has less than 220,000 miles, it doesn't have bad rust, and you have a good career or education in the works, and a situation where you can afford it, than start investing. Spend a few years getting it built the way you want it, then do a swap for an upgraded engine.

I’m curious as to how it will perform on the highway (as I live 4 hours away from the mountains) if I put a arb deluxe bumper on the front and an arb modular bumper on the back.
It will do fine if your happy cruising 65 - 70 mph. It will be perfect for those awesome trips that take you down backroads, biways, and old highways with slower speed limits. That's where an 80 series really shines.
 

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