When buying an FZJ80, how do you verify engine health?

Joined
May 1, 2012
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Hey all,

When you're looking at a potential buy, how to you verify the health of an engine? So far, I've been asking sellers to bring it into a dealership or a LC shop to have an inspection done.

I've noticed this community is pretty tight and some of you ask other experienced members to go and inspect LCs that are remote to the buyer. What is the bare minimum you're asking to verify regarding the engine health besides checking for oil leaks, smoke, etc? For example, is a compression check usually performed or are most of you satisfied with how the engine sounds, and overall feel of the car's performance when driving it?

Thanks!
 
Joined
Jun 22, 2005
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Over all feel.

Always look at a car when the engine is cold, as a warm running engine can hide problems. It also enables you to check the coolant

Check the coolant level, and look for small bubbles when the engine is running. Bubbles indicate a head gasket or cracked head.
Check the oil. Should be anywhere from a clear almost translucent colour, to a dark honey colour. A darker colour means it's due for a change
Check underneath the oil cap for a milky residue. Like the bubbles in the coolant this is a sign of water getting into the oil (that could be a head gasket or a problem with the oil cooler, or worse)

Start and run the engine. It should rev up smoothly and without hesitation. No engine will idle quiet. Expect some slight tapping noise from the head area. Rev the engine up. If you get louder tapping noises or worse there is a problem.

Drive the car. Good research is finding out what it's 0-60 time should be. Factor in a bit of wear from age and you can judge the condition based on how long it takes to go from 0 to 60mph. For a good used fzj80 12-14 seconds would be normal. An fj80 is much slower at about 19-21. If it takes longer it might just be a case of it needing a tune up. But wether you take that risk or not is up to you.

And of course talking to the person selling it helps too. Read up on telltale signs of lying, and then ask the person some questions about the history, use and servicing of the car.

Getting a dealer or mechanic to check the car is no guarintee. Down here there are more useless mechanics in dealerships then ordinary mechanical workshops.

Once you drive a few different cars of the same make and model, you soon get a feel of what is a good one and what isnt.
 
Joined
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1. Do a compression check. There is no better quantitative indicator of engine condition.
2. Pull the PCV valve and look at the engine blow by at idle. If there is a lot of smoke coming out, you might expect problems with oil consumption. To evaluate this, you would need to compare it to an engine that is in good shape so you know how much is too much.

A milky residue on the oil cap is not a good indicator because it can be normal, especially in cold weather.
 
Joined
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Pin_Head said:
1. Do a compression check. There is no better quantitative indicator of engine condition.
2. Pull the PCV valve and look at the engine blow by at idle. If there is a lot of smoke coming out, you might expect problems with oil consumption. To evaluate this, you would need to compare it to an engine that is in good shape so you know how much is too much.

A milky residue on the oil cap is not a good indicator because it can be normal, especially in cold weather.

X2 good advice, especially on the compression check.
 
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Dec 5, 2010
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Northeast PA
To clarify, a leak down compression test will be the best indicator.

Really, any mechanic should be able to perform this test.

-Desmond
 
Joined
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Simple compression test is good, leak down is better. It's worth the $ when shopping to pay a mechanic to do the test.
 
Joined
May 1, 2012
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Thanks guys. I'm having an inspection done and I've requested a compression check. Hopefully, it'll be a good buy.
 

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