What should I do with my fzj 80?

Discussion in '80-Series Tech' started by Jadski, Jan 12, 2018.

  1. Jadski

    Jadski

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    43BF2E64-FE6A-47CA-9059-4A839CDC5299.jpeg I have always loved the fj80. I finally decided to purchase one last May. I did a lot of research and finally decided on one I found in Texas. I purchased a no rust 1997 in night shadow pearl with factory lockers, an OME lift, ARB bumper, custom roof rack, winch and Led lights with 187k original miles. I knew that I would have some details to clean up on it. I think I paid a little high at 13k for it, but I figured worth it to me for a quality cruiser.


    I spent some money on it when I first got it. New steering wheel and shifter done by craftcustoms, replaced several missing trim pieces, ordered new weather tech mats, custom drink and iPhone holder, new kenwood touch screen navigation/stereo system and speakers, new leather seat covers, led interior lights, etc. Additionally I had the harmonic balancer replaced, had all the belts and hoses replaced, the cruise control repaired and an alignment performed.

    After all of this, I am up to about 18k on it. Not a huge deal for me if I can have a great cruiser as a daily driver and have fun on the weekends off-roading.

    At this point, I have put only about 1500 miles on it. Never had a chance to go off road. I have not even had a chance to install a few small trim items and the stereo because of other work being performed.

    About 3 weeks ago, I noticed it starting to run hot. Unfortunately 2 different repair shops verified that it has a blown head gasket. Both shops recommended at minimum a top end rebuild...pricey!!! One of the shops also said that commonly they get in and find even more going on and have to do a full rebuild...even more pricey!

    So, I got three options...

    1. Sell it and get what I can out of it. How much should I ask for it?

    2. Have repair shop move ahead with rebuild

    3. Try to upgrade drivetrain to v8 swap...toyota or LS? I called TLC and they want 50k! I called Slee and they want 30k!

    I know that both of those shops do amazing work, but neither of those numbers are in my price range or even reasonable to me. I called several local shops and none of them are interested or have any experience.

    Currently I am leaning towards just getting rid of it. But if I can find a good reputable shop to do a good v8 conversion where all my stock equipment and gauges, etc work for a reasonable cost, I would consider going that route. I don’t have the time, equipment or space to DIY anything.

    I live in Chattanooga, TN. If any of y’all have ideas or suggestions, I would appreciate it greatly. Thanks
     
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  2. gnarlytoes

    gnarlytoes SILVER Star

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    From the pics it appears you have a nice garage. Why not just replace the head gasket yourself? Or sell it to me for $1000 and I will replace it.
     
  3. Jadski

    Jadski

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    Those were pics from dealership where I bought it.
     
  4. -Spike-

    -Spike-

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    You might get $3k for it if someone's feeling generous. Fix the head gasket. There is rarely anything else wrong.
     
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  5. ewillis

    ewillis SILVER Star

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    X2...fix the HG. That's a nice rig there.
     
  6. chap79

    chap79 Wheel. Break. Fix. Repeat. SILVER Star

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    Fix the HG. It’s really not that difficult to do. Ask the local club to you for help, beer and pizza goes a long ways.
     
  7. bajaphile

    bajaphile Boojum Hugger SILVER Star

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    If I had the cash, I'd still buy that for $10k easy, even with a HG issue. That is a unique color. But maybe I'm an idiot. :D

    Regardless, the HG job is not that bad. It is a lot nicer to have a beater daily driver to have while you're working on it though.
     
  8. RFB

    RFB 97 FZJ80 LIFTED SC DUAL BATTERIES,37s GOLD Star

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    dude fix that HG stop acting like all is lost and toss a supercharger in there while your at it, and you will have one of the best LCs there is. JMO
     
  9. Too Tall Ted

    Too Tall Ted

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    Do the head gasket & be happy cruising around in your nice cruiser. If you run the numbers, you will probably recoup the cost of the HG in resale $ compared to dumping it now. Besides, you're too far into it to give up now! Find a good quality shop......
     
  10. gummycarbs

    gummycarbs

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    Those pictures don't look real. They look like a model. Weird.

    Tow it to a reputable shop, and get the top end rebuilt. Unless that thing's been thrashed, there's no way the bottom end needs attention at only ~200k. Sure, you'll probably want to do main seals, oil pump seal, etc., but not the pistons, rings, or main bearings.

    Engine swaps are expensive because they're a *ton* of work. Especially the Toyota V8 builds, which are rare. You might find a shade-tree mechanic willing to do a Chevy 5.3 swap cheaper, but who knows what you'll end up with.

    If you're still unsure, send an oil sample off to Blackstone and see what they say. Maybe do a compression test to see how your rings are sealing.
     
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  11. jpoole

    jpoole

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    @Jadski I'm also in Chattanooga with a '97 80, though it's a cheap beater. In any case I replaced the HG last year along with a lot of little preventative maintenance stuff while in there and it wasn't that big of a job. I have no idea if you are interested in doing it yourself so won't go on about that. In short, if you do want to do it yourself get in touch and I can potentially help you as you plan and dive in or find local vendors to do machine work/etc.

    Further, it's very likely that the shops are right on the HG failure since they both agree but they are wrong that it's likely for them to find more issues in there. And depending on what is meant by a top-end rebuild they may be wrong there too since it's almost certain that you don't need to replace rings etc. All of that makes me less than 100% confident in the bad HG diagnosis and it may not hurt to confirm it before you dive in. If the HG is indeed bad you should only need to replace the HG and have the head inspected, cleaned and valve seals replaced. Many go a little further with the head with a valve grind etc. but that depends on the situation etc. 180k is not that many miles on one of these. Most of the work in the job though is in all of the "while in there" items and you may have a shorter list than some as your truck looks well sorted.

    Finally, there are a few of us on mud that are from Chattanooga and I wheeled with some locals in 80s, one of which is a LC wrench. If you want to hire this work out I point you in that direction and away from the shops that you have consulted with as it doesn't seem like they are that familiar with 80s. Reach out and I'll be glad to help as I can.

    Jonathan
     
  12. Jadski

    Jadski

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    Shop said 3-5k for top end rebuild. That was to replace all seals, adjust, grind valves and anything else it needs. They have good reputation for quality work. Is that high or about right?
     
  13. gnarlytoes

    gnarlytoes SILVER Star

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    That sounds pretty high for a HG to me. Like about 2-3x what it should be. Sounds like they don't want to do it.
     
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  14. cowboyjack

    cowboyjack SILVER Star

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    Understand your dilemma, faced the same thing when I was sorting my 80 out.

    Had already sunk what felt like a LOT of money into PM baselining when my HG blew. But I had the Cruiser I wanted, so went ahead. HG with valve job and R&R was close to $2,000. (Don’t have a garage and didn’t want to do it in my dirt driveway at this point in my life.)

    Top end of engine looked great when we pulled the head at 177k.

    Unfortunately engine then spun a bearing due to loose nut on rod cap a few weeks later and I went for a full rebuild with new OEM short block.

    However I’m now confident in my 1FZ FE and fully expect it to last until I croak.

    Question for me was what other 4x4 could I possibly want more than my FZJ 80???

    That answered the question for me. Have a non stop smile on my face every time I drive this 22 year old truck.
     
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  15. nukegoat

    nukegoat

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    New hg and keep owning it
     
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  16. Kaninja

    Kaninja SILVER Star

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    If it was me I would get a new headgasket and have the head cleaned up and rebuilt. Put it back together then slap a turbo on it. To have a shop do it expect $2-$4k
     
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  17. Jadski

    Jadski

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    Thanks everyone! Y’all definitely have me leaning back towards the HG repair. If I wanted them to add a turbo to get a little more power, is there one y’all would recommend?
     
  18. ewillis

    ewillis SILVER Star

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    Gonna be a minute...
    Bolt on turbo kit
     
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  19. Proven

    Proven Scotchy Scotch Scotch

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    The 80 Series Toyota Land Cruiser is the automotive equivalent of GRANITE. It's got quirks, but overall a very dependable and easily wrenched machine.

    For what I would do, I would replace the head gasket and do all the "While I am in there" things I could afford because it will very likely give me another 100k if I take the time and do it right.
     
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  20. Technician1985

    Technician1985

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    Man this is out of control. You can buy an entire, running, replacement motor for WAY less than what your supposed head job will cost, and it will run for 100k miles. The key is not getting raped by some random shop and spending $1000000 on something you could probably do yourself if you even tried.
     
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