Total newbie, might buy the cheapest fj80 ever. (1 Viewer)

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May 8, 2019
Hey guys. New here. Trying to learn a little more about the 80 series, or I suppose technically the fj80 as thales one I'm looking at is a 94. It runs and drives, and is 1800 dollars. Clean title, 160,000 miles. Body is pretty straight, but the interior is pretty haggard.

Is there anything I should be seriously wary of? I'm planning on driving to Los Angels to pick it up, and its about an 8 hour drive...and the grapevine is there to contend with as well. Just kinda hoping it makes it home.

So, is the engine prone to head gasket failures? Tranny problems that could leave me stranded? Any tips on making it home?

I've never owned any 4wd vehicle ever Haha. Always been into sports cars, and recently street bikes, but honestly, city life is wearing on me, and I just want to go outdoors and take my guns. Sleep under the stars. Feel the wind. Breathe that fabulous mountain air.

Plan is to make it a fairly standard card overland rig I guess.

I have *no* clue what I'm doing.

Pray for me.
Well I have you beat. I got a single owner 93 for $1,200 ;)

Head gaskets are an issue if the engine has been overheated. Transmissions are literally from a bus and will likely outlast the earth itself.

Read up here: Slee - 80 Series Land Cruiser Newbie Guide
Oh snap. That's cheap Haha. I know head gaskets are kind of...."if anything overheats it could be a bhg" but is the.... 1fz? Is that the engine in the 94? that one particularly susceptible to BHG?

I plan on addressing the cooling system right off the bat once I get it home. Upgrade the radiator, new hoses, electric fans, etc. I just really dont wanna get stuck on the grapevine Haha. Any tips?
You don't need electric fans, your mechanical fan will pull 3x more air than the best electric fan out there. Make sure you have new fan belts, get a blue fan clutch (save your black one though) change the oil in the fan clutch to 20,000k cst oil (look for the how to's on here). Only buy toyota parts (aisin, denso and NGK are OEM manufacturers).

You have the 1FZ-FE OBD1 variant, it's a good engine if looked after. Download the FSM in the link in my signature. Get the 1994 FSM and the A442F transmission FSM, these are your bibles save them everywhere and get use to leafing through them.
I would just drive it around LA for a few miles. Starting and stopping and getting it hot. If it doesn't seem to be overheating you will probably be ok.

I bout a 91 and I didn't get it around the block before it over heated. I still bought it for $1100. I limped it home for about 50 miles having to pull over about 6 times to cool down. Turned out to be a clogged radiator. Fixed that and it's been smooth sailing ever since.

The price is good, just drive it. Besides, the tough part of the Grapevine is going North to South. Good luck, and have fun
Yeah, you're right. Coming back into the valley isnt so bad. Last time I went south, a buddy and I went to San Diego and back in a day... I'm about in Stockton, if you know where that is. So SD and back in a day to pick up an older Mercedes S Class was an adventure. His car overheated a few times coming back into the valley, through the grapevine. And it was about 70* at night Haha. It's just such a long drive, that's what has me a little nervous. And I dont really wanna shawl out a fistful of cash or time to replace yet another head gasket from Toyota. Between all the Mr2s, supras, etc... I'm pretty well versed with BHG Haha. Just kinda tired of it. So if it can be avoided, that's great.

But you're right. I should just do it. It's cheap as hell.
Stop worrying about the HG. Seriously its not worth the fret until you need to deal with it IF you ever end up needing to deal with it. I've had a 94 wih 460,000 mi on the original engine, head gasket, trans etc. Stop worrying before you give yourself a complex that will require weekly visits to the psychiatrist. That s*** gets expensive.

Also don't make rapid changes to your cooling system unless it is already having problems. Yes you can upgrade your fan clutch, replace your fluids and hoses but you don't want to make a bunch of 'upgrades' to keep it from overheating only to screw it up and forcing an overheat which lights the fuse to the HG bomb.

Replace all the fluids in everything, radiator to rear diff and all the fluid things between. Consider adding a KOSO temp gauge to keep an eye on things but other than that just enjoy it.
Is it really that simple?
I got this 1993 one for $ title and a bent rear axle. 160k miles.
View attachment 1973112

sawzall fun !! And now it gets 20mpg !!

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Uh oh! What don't I know?!
Nice, I rescued mine from becoming a parts truck for 1800$. Bookmark at least another $2000 to baseline it. Oh and get the Factory service manual.
There are great DIY baselining threads on Mud. Get your FSM and begin once you get it home. Get AAA platinum. Good insurance for the unknown. Once you do your own baselining you will build confidence in the rig that reduces the psychiatric bill. Just make sure you do a shakedown test before the long trip home. Mainly safety items. Brakes must work for example 🤣.

Welcome to the madness.
Check the nuts on the bottom of the steering arms!
My advice would be to buy a real temperature gauge or a Toyocom OBD1 scanner and install it before driving it home. Watch the temps and if it goes much above 200k, pull over. Might be a good idea to do the NAPA block tester before purchase if the seller doesn't mind.

This is in addition to checking all the fluids before you go and as @BILT4ME mentions, the 4 nuts on the bottom of the steering arms torqued to 71ft-lbs

:EDIT: not saying HG is a common issue or anythingn to be paranoid about, just might as well check before you buy (heck, at that price, maybe lowball him and buy it anyway) and always a good idea to keep an eye on temps. The stock temp gauge is worthless--it doesn't move until you've already overheated.
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I bought a 92 with 245k on the clock for about the same price. The biggest issues I have to deal with is cleaning up after the PO. Fixing minor problems all the time. The main issue I have is not being able to run to pick n pull for bulls*** parts. Once you learn where Toyota used parts in multiple cars it helps. Be sure to pick up the factory service manual. You can download it from if your'e not able to find a hard copy or a link to a free download.
Uh oh! What don't I know?!

You have started down a long path of finding accessories you didn't know you ever needed and answers to problems you never knew you had.

I will warn you that it can cost about as much as a child (or two if you are @jcardona1 ) you want to crack the door open on your own 'build thread', many of us here have done that -usually to "document" our progress. There will be times where you will be frustrated, times you will waste money on the rock auto part because "it's such a basic part how could it be worse than the OEM one" only to find out 6 months later that said part disintegrated. You will have times of mechanical issues that will drive you nuts until you crack it, then you will feel like a master mechanic.

These vehicles last a long time, so buckle up for the journey, it is full of fun, excitement, new friends, challenges, learning, and new frontiers. Welcome to the family.
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PS Buy it. 1800 is a deal even if it needs work. You can part it out in a weekend and make that back if it's a total goner.
Drive it at the speed limit and keep and eye on the temperature gauge. The gauge has a dead spot and won’t move once it’s warmed unless it gets too hot. When you get it home, replace all fluids, the phh, head gasket, tuneup parts, radiator (stay with the OEM plastic tank model), fan clutch and service/rebuild the axles and then you should have a reliable Cruiser you can drive anywhere.
Buy it for the smiles per gallon I get about 60 out of my 94😀😀😀😀😀😀

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