Sweet 1997 HZJ75 Pickup from France

gilmorneau

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Several months ago a guy I know who's also addicted to overseas "for sale" ads emailed me to ask if I'd seen this truck for sale in France. I hadn't, but when I saw it, I was smitten. Kinda had to buy it--two long-term owners from new, original paint, original mechanics, no rust to speak of, reasonable miles, and a well-earned patina perfectly suited to a working truck.

Here's a photo from the original ad:

pic from ad.jpg


And here's what we saw when we went to look at it:

when we saw it.jpg


There's a few things that, shall we say, aren't to my taste, but I'm thinking this truck should clean up very nicely. Closer inspection revealed nothing alarming, and it ran and drove just fine. The guy I bought it from lives in rural southern France and keeps bees (hence the "sweet pickup" pun in the thread title). The previous owner was a carpenter in Lourdes, so maybe there's miracles in this truck.

I found this Google maps street view from 2013 with this pickup parked in the yard of the seller, so clearly he'd had it for a while:

Google street view 2013.JPG
 

gilmorneau

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So money was sent, arrangements were made, and eventually, the truck showed up at Port Hueneme in California:

port pic.JPG


I always like to have a look around at the other cars people are importing when I go to the port. In this batch, there was a nice Land Rover 130 double cab, a Delica, and a G-wagen, among others:

IMG_9581.jpg
IMG_9578.jpg
 

gilmorneau

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Sometimes when importing a car, I take a big roll of the dice and decide to just pick it up myself and drive it home (rather than having it transported). I had enough confidence in this truck to give it a try, so my wife and I got one-way tickets to Fresno (cheap flight and my brother lives there). Caught a ride with bro' to the port, picked up the pick up (ha, ha) and the HDJ80 that arrived at the same time. Both had dead batteries. Anyone else have this problem when shipping cars? I swear, more cars arrive with dead batteries than arrive with charged ones. No idea what they're doing to them on the ship. It's not even a surprise anymore when it happens. The guys at the port are used to it, and have jumper packs available, so we were on our way in no time.

Decided to drive up the California coast before heading back to Colorado.

drive1.JPG
drive2.JPG


Here we are near Donner Pass in the Sierra:

drive3.JPG


And crossing US 50 (the loneliest road in America) in Nevada:

drive4.JPG


Next photo was this glamour shot in Fruita, CO:

glamour shot.JPG
 

gilmorneau

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So now it's home in Colorado, and I'll start working on it as time allows. First thing to go was this horrid "custom" speaker install:

IMG_9641.JPG


I'm guessing the carpenter did that. Laughably bad. At least it was easy to remove.

IMG_9642.JPG


Next up was the faded, peeling, purple window tint and stickers on the rear window. Before:

IMG_9643.JPG


After:

IMG_9644.JPG


It's kind of a shame about the purple window tint--the sticker just behind the driver's head at the top of the window was from the original selling dealer, I believe. But the sh*tty window tint had ruined it to where I couldn't save it. Oh well.
 

gilmorneau

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Next up will be the crash bar bolted to the front bumper. I think where I'll be driving the chances are small of me hitting a kangaroo. Probably lose the lights as well, but I'm undecided on that.

IMG_9645.JPG


After that will be the tow hitch. I won't be towing anything.

IMG_9646.JPG


And I don't know why the PO removed the "TOYOTA" text from the tailgate, but I'll be replacing that.

Another thing that has to go are those horrid wheels. Perfectly functional, but just look so wrong on the truck. I'll either put the original split rims back on (they were included in the sale), or get some 42601-60262-03 (I'm leaning towards doing that).

IMG_9647.JPG


After all that, the truck is going to get a deep cleaning, have some worn bits replaced, and a good polish of the paint. As far as I can tell, every panel is still in original paint (045 white) and the graphics are original, too. I haven't found any rust of consequence anywhere on this truck. While there are a number of nicks, scrapes, and abrasions consistent with use, I don't think I'll do any repainting or anything. I kind of like the "well worn" look on the outside, though I'll probably clean up the inside quite a bit.

No idea where this will all lead or what I'll end up doing with this thing. I just liked it. So I bought it. I don't think it will replace my HDJ80 as my first love, though. That one's too nice.
 
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North Carolina
Sometimes when importing a car, I take a big roll of the dice and decide to just pick it up myself and drive it home (rather than having it transported). I had enough confidence in this truck to give it a try, so my wife and I got one-way tickets to Fresno (cheap flight and my brother lives there). Caught a ride with bro' to the port, picked up the pick up (ha, ha) and the HDJ80 that arrived at the same time. Both had dead batteries. Anyone else have this problem when shipping cars? I swear, more cars arrive with dead batteries than arrive with charged ones. No idea what they're doing to them on the ship. It's not even a surprise anymore when it happens. The guys at the port are used to it, and have jumper packs available, so we were on our way in no time.

Decided to drive up the California coast before heading back to Colorado.

View attachment 3093705View attachment 3093706

Here we are near Donner Pass in the Sierra:

View attachment 3093708

And crossing US 50 (the loneliest road in America) in Nevada:

View attachment 3093710

Next photo was this glamour shot in Fruita, CO:

View attachment 3093711

Another 80 too? Your flush with cool cruisers once again.
 

WarDamnEagle

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Nice 75. Both batteries were completely dead on my Troopy and 75 pickup when I picked them up in Jacksonville. My TWIC escort said it was very common and he had a jumper pack with him. Batteries have been fine ever since.
 

joekatana

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Texas
Sometimes when importing a car, I take a big roll of the dice and decide to just pick it up myself and drive it home (rather than having it transported). I had enough confidence in this truck to give it a try, so my wife and I got one-way tickets to Fresno (cheap flight and my brother lives there). Caught a ride with bro' to the port, picked up the pick up (ha, ha) and the HDJ80 that arrived at the same time. Both had dead batteries. Anyone else have this problem when shipping cars? I swear, more cars arrive with dead batteries than arrive with charged ones. No idea what they're doing to them on the ship. It's not even a surprise anymore when it happens. The guys at the port are used to it, and have jumper packs available, so we were on our way in no time.

Decided to drive up the California coast before heading back to Colorado.

View attachment 3093705View attachment 3093706

Here we are near Donner Pass in the Sierra:

View attachment 3093708

And crossing US 50 (the loneliest road in America) in Nevada:

View attachment 3093710

Next photo was this glamour shot in Fruita, CO:

View attachment 3093711
Every cruiser I pick up regardless if it rolls out of a container or roro has dead batteries . The guys loading them never push the little button to release the key all the way so the ignition stays on accesory most of the time . All the add ons of the po's from the last 25 years that are wired directly to the batteries don't help with this either . I always take 2 fresh batteries and 2 sets of good hd jumper cables with me to the port
 
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I think i read somewhere that the salt air on a transport kills batteries, and can sometimes spark a fire.

That would be impressive, and an extreme amount of salt build up on a 30 to 60 day passage on a RORO, with the vehicle inside the hull of a ship. That is the same way new cars arrive, so I don't think it can be blamed on the salt air. More likely poor wiring practices or not turning the key all the way off. I lived on a sail boat for 8 years that was very open to the elements, completed multiple multi day ocean passages, and never was worried about the salt air starting a battery fire. Where I live, I imagine I see more salt in the air on a weekly basis than any vehicle would on a passage from Europe or Australia. Of course, that's just my .02

Anyway, I do find it really interesting that most cars arrive with dead batteries. Small price to pay for getting really cool trucks.
 

gilmorneau

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I've always assumed that maybe they turn the car's lights on inside the ship or they leave the accessories on or something like that. It was a surprise the first time it happened, but now I sort of plan for it. Once you get the car going and drive it a little, the batteries are usually fine.

One other pending modification that I didn't mention above is that I'll be adding a complete A/C kit courtesy of @joekatana when I tear into the dash. I'll post about how it goes when I get to it.

And just because I have them, here's more photos of this truck's travels up to now:

IMG_9584.jpg
IMG_9594.jpg
IMG_9601.jpg
 

gilmorneau

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Had an opportunity to spend a couple hours on the new pickup today. Removed the brush bar from the front bumper. Didn't like the look of it and don't really need it for anything. Once I got the bar off, it was obvious that the lights needed to come off, too. When I saw how they were wired, I knew I'd done the right thing. The Frenchman wasn't an electrician, let's just say that. Here's the front of the truck as it is now:

no bar.jpg


I also pulled the tow hitch. Don't need it and it's just a bunch of dead weight back there. The new look:

no hitch.jpg


I was pleasantly surprised that none of the nuts/bolts were rusted or seized. Didn't strip or break any of them. I'm not used to that on old cars. Pretty much every bolt I encountered came loose normally with a wrench then spun off easily. Sweet.

Probably dropped a couple hundred pounds of ballast off the truck today between the bar and the hitch.

Still need to do something about those wheels. They bug me every time I look at them. Plans are afoot.
 
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On RoRo ships they must turn on lights when loading, and yes, they are on a rush and don't always turn them off correctly. That little Toyota button isn't helping either, as well as any wiring directly to the battery.
Salty air / water is not an issue, unless stowed in a container or under deck. (I however saw a disturbing youtube video of a Russian freigther that had stowed a few dozens of vehicles ON deck. Those caught fire...).
With long hauls (if there is no other cause), I rather think it's self discharge of the batteries over time. When shipping, the vehicles spent weeks in port and on board. They sit in heat and cold. And in port they also get started and moved only a few meters a lot.
 

gilmorneau

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Been a while since I updated this, mostly because I've been super busy with work and some home projects, but I have been enjoying this little truck. Been hauling some stuff around including some tree trimmings to the yard waste disposal place (I forgot how useful a pickup can be--haven't had one since my 2014 Tacoma):

yard waste.jpg


And a tackled a big job lots of these trucks seem to need--I replaced the little plastic clip that holds the hood stay rod in place. This truck came with this generic rubber clip:

old clip.jpg


The original Toyota part is readily available and cheap, so I bought one:

clip part number.jpg


And installed it:

new clip installed.jpg


Much better!
 

gilmorneau

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This weekend I finally had some time to work on cleaning the interior of the truck a little bit. The PO in France had a binder full of maintenance receipts, but one thing I don't think he ever did was clean or wash the poor old truck. This is what I found when I first bought the truck:

driver footwell before with mat.jpg


Pretty typical 25 year old never washed or vacuumed car interior, I guess. I was a little concerned what I might find under the mat(s), especially where the Frenchman's heel had worn through the mat completely to the metal underneath. Here's the factory mat with the aftermarket mat removed:

driver footwell before.jpg


Not pretty, but I've definitely seen worse. I tried to stay optimistic. Here's what it looked like with the factory mat removed:

under mat before.jpg


Filthy, but not terrible otherwise.
 

gilmorneau

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A little time with the Shop-Vac and a damp cloth yielded this:

driv under mat after.jpg


Cleaned up pretty good! No rust of any consequence at all and the original paint looks great (except for the bare spot).

The passenger side is even better:

pass under mat after.jpg


There's probably more clean to be had in there, but it's down to "toothbrush and Q-tip" kind of cleaning now, and I wasn't going to spend my weekend doing that (or at least not this weekend).
Here's the area behind the seat. Curiously, the original floor mat doesn't extend to this area, leaving the painted floor and tar insulation exposed to damage.

behind the seat after.jpg
 

gilmorneau

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As part of today's project, I installed a new floor mat. I was surprised to see that they were still available and not terribly expensive (relatively speaking). Makes a huge difference in the appearance of the interior:

front mat installed.jpg


The section of mat under the seats was just dirty, but otherwise OK. It cleaned up easily with soap and water, so I re-used it. I also sprang for some new pedal pads for clutch and brake (again, readily available and cheap):

new pedal pads.jpg


(Need to clean up the accelerator pedal now.)

Cleaned and re-installed the seats to complete the project for today:

passenger seat installed after.jpg
driver seat installed a fter.jpg
 

gilmorneau

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You may have noticed the "creative" Frankenrepair to the driver's seat. It gives the car a little more character, and the seat is otherwise original, but I may have the upholstery guy fix it anyway. Haven't decided on that.

Here's the Frenchman's handiwork:

french seat repair.jpg
 

joekatana

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A little time with the Shop-Vac and a damp cloth yielded this:

View attachment 3155145

Cleaned up pretty good! No rust of any consequence at all and the original paint looks great (except for the bare spot).

The passenger side is even better:

View attachment 3155148

There's probably more clean to be had in there, but it's down to "toothbrush and Q-tip" kind of cleaning now, and I wasn't going to spend my weekend doing that (or at least not this weekend).
Here's the area behind the seat. Curiously, the original floor mat doesn't extend to this area, leaving the painted floor and tar insulation exposed to damage.

View attachment 3155152
I think I have some nos mats that cover just this section , I need to take one out of the bag and fit it in my 75 pu I have here
 

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