Tenerife to Texas: a 1997 HDJ80 Tale (2 Viewers)

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I have waited a long time to start this thread.

About two years ago I was minding my own business, scrolling through Facebook, and all of a sudden a suggested ad popped up. It said “you like diesel Land Cruisers, you might like Canarian Land Cruiser Exports.”

I thought that was on point, and only a little creepy from a digital overlord sort of way, so I threw a message into the ether saying “If you find a late model HDJ80 with an FT, I’d love to talk.”

Shane messaged back almost immediately and we began a conversation.

We started looking at a bunch of trucks, early and late 80s series, HJ61’s, HZJ73’s, a couple of KZJ78’s. They were all awesome but not quite the right one.

Why Tenerife? The Canary Islands are an absolute jewel. Even though it’s one of a series of islands in the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Western Africa, Tenerife itself is quite dry. For some reason, in the late 80s and 90s, there was an upswing of Toyota activity and these trucks are very well preserved and pretty well cared for.

And one day he sent me a white 1997 HDJ80. One owner, who had owned another 1993 HDJ80. He had sold the previous truck to Shane so they had an established business history. This truck was white, triple locked, H151, air conditioning, left hand drive (of course), cloth seats. Rust free and almost completely original except for an aftermarket radio. 246,000km on the 1HDFT, and completely unmolested.

We did phone calls, video calls, hundreds of pictures and videos, had it inspected by an independent local shop, got a compression test… Shane was incredible and helped me gain the courage to buy a truck sight unseen from halfway around the world in the middle of a pandemic. I sold Marilu my other HDJ80 and wired the money into the middle of the Atlantic Ocean…

And then I waited.

When Shane showed it to me, the truck was only 23 years old. It now had to sit until it turned 25, with first date of registration September 24, 1997. Shane volunteer to store it in a secure location for a nominal fee.

That location was awesome. It was a dugout garage carved into in the side of a rocky hill up in the rural hills of Tenerife. Thus, I called this truck the Cave 80 because it sure looks like it was sitting in a cave. Shane kept tabs on it, firing it up regularly and keeping a close eye on it and its other vehicular friends.

Weeks turned into months turned into nearly 2 years, and we finally prepared it for shipping. I stated at my phone a hundred times a day, watching a series of shipping vessels slowly inching their way across Europe and the Atlantic ocean. No hurricanes sank the ship, and Friday morning, the truck cleared customs in Galveston….2 years and 1 day after I learned about it for the first time.

I canceled my workday at 10:30 AM, raced to my ranch just west of Austin, hooked up the trailer, and made a beeline for Galveston. Problem was, port closes at 3:45 PM and I was scheduled to get there at 3:32 PM. FAAACK.

My good friend Bill Stayner happened to be working in Houston. He cut his workday short, borrowed a trailer from Duggy’s Garage, and headed for port. The truck fired up without a hitch, he threw it on the trailer, and I squealed up to port literally as he was rolling back out through the gates.

It was pretty hard to contain my excitement. I fired it up, rolled it off the trailer and swapped it onto mine. Pretty sure I confirmed my love for the truck right then and there.

Bill and I had beers and dinner at a seafood place right off of the boat ramp, and said our goodbyes. I chugged back to Austin and arrived back home at 11:30 PM.

The Cave 80 had arrived.

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I have waited a long time to start this thread.

About two years ago I was minding my own business, scrolling through Facebook, and all of a sudden a suggested ad popped up. It said “you like diesel Land Cruisers, you might like Canarian Land Cruiser Exports.”

I thought that was on point, and only a little creepy from a digital overlord sort of way, so I threw a message into the ether saying “If you find a late model HDJ80 with an FT, I’d love to talk.”

Shane messaged back almost immediately and we began a conversation.

We started looking at a bunch of trucks, early and late 80s series, HJ61’s, HZJ73’s, a couple of KZJ78’s. They were all awesome but not quite the right one.

Why Tenerife? The Canary Islands are an absolute jewel. Even though it’s one of a series of islands in the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Western Africa, Tenerife itself is quite dry. For some reason, in the late 80s and 90s, there was an upswing of Toyota activity and these trucks are very well preserved and pretty well cared for.

And one day he sent me a white 1997 HDJ80. One owner, who had owned another 1993 HDJ80. He had sold the previous truck to Shane so they had an established business history. This truck was white, triple locked, H151, air conditioning, left hand drive (of course), cloth seats. Rust free and almost completely original except for an aftermarket radio. 246,000km on the 1HDFT, and completely unmolested.

We did phone calls, video calls, hundreds of pictures and videos, had it inspected by an independent local shop, got a compression test… Shane was incredible and helped me gain the courage to buy a truck sight unseen from halfway around the world in the middle of a pandemic. I sold Marilu my other HDJ80 and wired the money into the middle of the Atlantic Ocean…

And then I waited.

When Shane showed it to me, the truck was only 23 years old. It now had to sit until it turned 25, with first date of registration September 24, 1997. Shane volunteer to store it in a secure location for a nominal fee.

That location was awesome. It was a dugout garage carved into in the side of a rocky hill up in the rural hills of Tenerife. Thus, I called this truck the Cave 80 because it sure looks like it was sitting in a cave. Shane kept tabs on it, firing it up regularly and keeping a close eye on it and its other vehicular friends.

Weeks turned into months turned into nearly 2 years, and we finally prepared it for shipping. I stated at my phone a hundred times a day, watching a series of shipping vessels slowly inching their way across Europe and the Atlantic ocean. No hurricanes sank the ship, and Friday morning, the truck cleared customs in Galveston….2 years and 1 day after I learned about it for the first time.

I canceled my workday at 10:30 AM, raced to my ranch just west of Austin, hooked up the trailer, and made a beeline for Galveston. Problem was, port closes at 3:45 PM and I was scheduled to get there at 3:32 PM. FAAACK.

My good friend Bill Stayner happened to be working in Houston. He cut his workday short, borrowed a trailer from Duggy’s Garage, and headed for port. The truck fired up without a hitch, he threw it on the trailer, and I squealed up to port literally as he was rolling back out through the gates.

It was pretty hard to contain my excitement. I fired it up, rolled it off the trailer and swapped it onto mine. Pretty sure I confirmed my love for the truck right then and there.

Bill and I had beers and dinner at a seafood place right off of the boat ramp, and said our goodbyes. I chugged back to Austin and arrived back home at 11:30 PM.

The Cave 80 had arrived.

View attachment 3148185View attachment 3148186View attachment 3148188View attachment 3148187

Fellow owner of a 1HD-FT, although mine is right hand drive - you'll love the smoothness of it.

Congratulations, looks gorgeous!
 
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Great story. What are your plans for it?
 

bottombracket

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Keeping it pretty close to stock, maybe a 2” lift and 33s…or maybe even stock height and 31”s.

Lots of little things- window regulators, door runs, usual age related things. Possibly EGR delete and front mount intercooler. I’ll put in an EGT probe first and see.
 
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Great story and dream 80 right there. Glad you found it and were able to get it!
 

TurboDennis

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Great story and an awesome looking truck, Galen. Congrats!

Keeping it pretty close to stock, maybe a 2” lift and 33s…or maybe even stock height and 31”s.

Lots of little things- window regulators, door runs, usual age related things. Possibly EGR delete and front mount intercooler. I’ll put in an EGT probe first and see.

That's an excellent plan, IMO. After owning about a dozen of these trucks in all imaginable configurations, i can honestly say that keeping the stock OEM suspension on my current one was one of the best decisions i have made. OEM suspension (when completely overhauled, of course) makes the truck "ride like a Cadillac" (almost).
Many people will claim that aftermarket/lifted suspension improved their ride quality compared to stock, but that's only because they're usually replacing completely shot, 25+ year old stock suspension. Unless you actually NEED a lift for serious off-roading, new OEM is absolutely the way to go.
 

COYS

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Great story and an awesome looking truck, Galen. Congrats!



That's an excellent plan, IMO. After owning about a dozen of these trucks in all imaginable configurations, i can honestly say that keeping the stock OEM suspension on my current one was one of the best decisions i have made. OEM suspension (when completely overhauled, of course) makes the truck "ride like a Cadillac" (almost).
Many people will claim that aftermarket/lifted suspension improved their ride quality compared to stock, but that's only because they're usually replacing completely shot, 25+ year old stock suspension. Unless you actually NEED a lift for serious off-roading, new OEM is absolutely the way to go.
+1

What an epic acquisition arc... 2 years long! I guess a LHD diesel 80 here in the states is well worth the wait. Congrats, thx for sharing and pls share with us how it drives after you get things tidied up.
 

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I lined up the three generations of cruisers for their glamour shot.

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Annie made me a keychain at summer camp; it became obvious that the Cave 80 needed it.

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I got it insured and inspected (yeah, $7 Texas safety inspection) and have been driving it all week.

Tuesday we piled the whole family in. First conversation:

Grant (age 12): “This is my truck now.”

Luke (10): “Pretty clean, pretty clean.”

Annelise (9): “I just LOVE the smell of an old Cruiser!”

Chris (wife): “Did you put them up to saying all that????”

First driving impressions: doesn’t have a lot of snot in 1st and 2nd. Third and fourth and meaty and have a wide power band. It will pull easily at 75mph on the highway.

First is not an afterthought in this truck- in all my other trucks it is a ‘get moving and shift immediately to second’- here you gotta rev it to 2500-3000 before shifting or it’s dead in the water.

It was definitely worth the wait.
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bottombracket

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First tech in the thread: replacing the leather shift knobs with rubber 80 knobs. I just like these better.

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bottombracket

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Next up: turbo grille. I found a used grill from a MUDder whose name I forget. I’ve been hoarding it for 2+ years.

I pried the old unobtainium logo off after heating up the adhesive with a heat gun, I mean my wife’s hairdryer. Annie helped.

Success.

Onto a new grille it goes once some VHB tape arrives.

Yes, I know I’ll have a gap at the bottom valance. I’m ok with that.

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After driving for a few days I’m formulating a work list:

1. Brakes. Pulls to the right. Will probably do a comprehensive upgrade.
2. Suspension. Saggy and most likely original. Don’t know if I will keep it stock height with OEM or do a conservative 2”ish lift and 33s.
3. Door runs and weatherstripping, all need to be replaced.
4. Power window regulators at least up front. Driver and passenger need help.
5. Possibly new master switch.
6. A/C buttons all stick. Replace buttons? Or look for an entire new manual HVAC control?
7. Recharge a/c. Drier ordered.
8. Replace turn signal/wiper switch. Intermittent wipers don’t work and make a horrible noise.
9. Drivers seatbelt is a mess.

Time to dig into my stash o’ 80 parts.

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Anyone know how to get this adjuster off without destroying the plastic?

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If I remember correctly, to get the part off, use a plastic trim tool to pry the bottom part of the plastic adjuster that overlaps the seat belt anchor. Then pinch the adjuster to be able to lift the part up. I believe it is are hinged at the top. Basically like opening a hinged lid the but the adjust components sometimes get in the way which is why you pinch them in. Once open this exposes the bolt that holds the belt to the body. Be patient with it and you'll be fine.
 
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AussieHJCruza

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First is not an afterthought in this truck- in all my other trucks it is a ‘get moving and shift immediately to second’- here you gotta rev it to 2500-3000 before shifting or it’s dead in the water.

View attachment 3153408
Lose the EGR, clean the intake and get a good 3" turbo back exhaust.

Once you've done that, adjust the boost compensator so she gets a bit more fuel sooner (star wheel down to loosen the preload on the spring) - the FT is a lot less snappy than the 1HDT as it's fuel on spool seems to be restricted for emissions reasons. There's no reason she can't be very snappy and responsive with a little tweak
 

mudgudgeon

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Grant (age 12): “This is my truck now.”

Luke (10): “Pretty clean, pretty clean.”

Annelise (9): “I just LOVE the smell of an old Cruiser!”

Chris (wife): “Did you put them up to saying all that????”

"So kids, let's go get that ice cream!!"
 

mudgudgeon

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First driving impressions: doesn’t have a lot of snot in 1st and 2nd. Third and fourth and meaty and have a wide power band. It will pull easily at 75mph on the highway.

First is not an afterthought in this truck- in all my other trucks it is a ‘get moving and shift immediately to second’- here you gotta rev it to 2500-3000 before shifting or it’s dead in the water.

Should not lack punch in 1st and 2nd.

These came from Toyota with pretty conservative tune, and most can be given some more pep with a basic tune.

As above, some basic maintenance, 3" exhaust, and a tune up should see a big improvement.

Things to check, and refresh
Fuel and air filter.
Timing belt
IP timing
EGR

I'd also check the turbo, make sure there's no shaft play.

My hdj81 with 3" exhaust, stock turbo, and a tune up, rolling in 35" MTs would take off in 2nd gear with no trouble.
1st week get you moving of the line, and typically, you'd be grabbing 2nd after rolling 30ft
 

mudgudgeon

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Even with stock exhaust, she shouldn't be a slouch.
3" exhaust is the single best improvement you can make to them though
 

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