Builds Where it all began... an FJ62 story

jesus888

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In my 44 years (mainly since 2012), I have had under my care 8 x Land Cruisers under my care... of which I still have 4 of them (an FJ80, FJ62, and 2 x FJ40s)... and after playing around with, fixing up, and most importantly DRIVING all of them, I knew I had to get back to where it all began.

My dad, who passed a little more than a year ago, started all of this... all of this time investment in tinkering, searching, reading, learning... back in 1989, when he ordered his first Toyota Land Cruiser. She was gray, had power windows and locks (which he wasn't a fan of - more to break - he's laughing at me now), and took 6 months to come in after ordering. That rig was with us from 1989 until 1999, and she was great. She was our family trip rig, had 101K mostly highway miles on her (NEVER offroad), took me to prom, and anywhere he'd let me take her, and was a fixture in our house. That is, until 1999, when he wanted the "upgrade" and purchased a 1999 Lexus LX470 and asked me to put the FJ62 up for sale. I listed it on Ebay for him and within 2 days, someone from Atlanta drove over to our small town in Alabama and snatched her up in record time. They paid $17,000 for her and we were both amazed at how happy they were about it. Little did we (and now I) know what we were letting go of............................

Fast forward to 23 years later, while I was selling my second LX470 and searching for an FJ62 of my own, I was messaged by someone on Facebook looking to sell his rig and the first pictures he sent me are the ones attached...

The story behind this vehicle was that he bought it from a small auto auction in Knoxville, TN and that it was a one-owner rig before that, always in the South, so there was NO rust... he drove up to Knoxville 8 years prior and brought her back on a trailer to Mobile, AL and while he loved the FJ62, he knew that he didn't prioritize the vehicle the way that he thought someone else may... so he reluctantly let her go, and didn't want her to be in his hometown.

Known issues...
:lurking: The truck overheated as he was pulling into his driveway... he had suspected the head gasket was going, already... he called his now-former mechanic to take a look, and the mechanic drove it 15-20 miles to his shop, and not only did it overheat, the head cracked. That was the last time he worked with that mechanic, by the way. He ended up getting a used head, and then getting the parts together to get a known-local-engine builder do a full rebuild on the motor, including the machine work... so that's great @ 280K miles... no more overheating issue
:lurking: Since the rebuild, he's had an issue with the truck "stalling" at different times... whether he was driving 35 mph down the street or 60 mph down the highway... and 9/10 times, he pull to the shoulder, put the car in neutral or park, and it'd start right back up. I don't like this issue because it's intermittent and that type of trouble-shooting isn't my expertise...
:lurking: He said the AC doesn't work... he knew there was a leak and he'd fill it with 134 every other year, but the last time he did it, it didn't blow cold...
:lurking: The wipers didn't work correctly... he took the wiper motor apart and lubed everything up after cleaning but they just didn't work correctly...
:lurking: The windows... ugh... they are sporadic to say the least...

FJ62 s***-to-do:
  • Remove/Replace Window tint (Completed 7/16/22)
  • Dash cap
  • Grill Refurbish or Replace
  • Headlights (Re-aim and look into upgraded harness options)
  • Window felts (Ordered)
  • Replace side markers (Ordered and Delivered)
  • Stereo Replace
  • Speakers (Front and Rear - Maybe include a 5-channel amp and small sub)
  • Carpet (ordered from @dnp)
  • BMW seats (check Bimmerworld in NW GA for some manual 3-series seats - already have Torfab brackets)
  • Backup camera (maybe front-facing camera if supported by Head Unit)
  • Full Detail / Possible CLR and boiled linseed oil approach
  • Rear vent refurbish (remove, repaint, put back)
  • Wheels/tires mount (Get Geolanders mounted and balanced and installed)
  • Mudflap refurbish (Remove, refurbish, repaint)
  • Clean underbody (Use Pressure washing attachment to remove red clay)
  • Chrome Gutter trim above rear hatch missing
  • Wiper upgrade (2 x left hand wipers mod and need to get motor working smoothly)
  • Bleed brakes (and possibly upgrade to Tundra brakes up front at a later date)
  • Interior lights (replace with LED and get new interior light covers)
  • Seat belt plastic - Female side of front seatbelt plastic trim is baaaaaaad
  • Weather stripping - as needed
  • Scanguage - maybe? Since gauges aren’t the most reliable
  • Rear hatch struts - so I don’t hit my head constantly (Completed 7/18/22)
  • Full Tune-up (Spark Plugs, Spark Plug Wires, Cap and Rotor) (Completed 7/18/22)


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jesus888

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So in my time working on TLCs and getting them worked on, I was turned on to a fella in Gainesville, GA that "mainly works on older Japanese cars and loves Land Cruisers"... so I gave him a ring and asked him to work on some of mechanical issues that I knew would keep me from driving the FJ62 until who knows when, and I needed a car to drive since my LX470 sold to a super-nice and friendly enthusiast in Birmingham.

He said he was all about it so I had it shipped directly to him, no sense in it spending any time at my house, and while it was on a transport vehicle, may as well get it sent directly. It arrived at his shop a couple of days later and he sent me this one...

She looked the same as in the pictures, and I knew among other things the wheels had to go... but in due time. He started trouble shooting the issues...

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jesus888

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After having some time to work on her over the next week or so, in quick time he
🦝 Got the AC working (the AC Amplifier under the dash was unplugged causing the compressor to not get power ) after making a couple connections and getting it charged.
🦝 Discovered there was LOTS of play in the steering - Quick order into Cool Cruisers for some fresh TREs
🦝 Confirmed the wiper motor was working but that the wipers weren't phased correctly and fixed that
🦝 But he wasn't able to get the motor to die consistently... he went ahead and put a fuel pressure gauge under the hood to read the fuel pressure when it happened and noticed there was definitely a drop in pressure when the truck would die
 

jesus888

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So we started with the fuel system, with the quick fixes...
  • Replaced the Fuel Filter - which was super dirty
  • Replaced the Fuel Pressure regulator, which I read could get stuck open...
  • After those didn't help, he started investigating the signal/electrical portions of the fuel system and discovered that the Main EFI relay that controlled A LOT seemed to be malfunctioning... the engine would stutter with a simple tap with a screwdriver, so that needed to be fixed but that part, as you know is NLA

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jesus888

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His suggestion was to convert it to a modern newer style 4-pin relay and get back to trouble-shooting.

In the meantime, my schedule had a little "summer vacation" planned, so I told him to keep the rig and I was gonna order a few items that needed attention...
  • Front-end rebuild kit from Cruiser TEQ... it was needed badly
  • 3FE Desmog kit from TLC Performance
  • New battery tray to replace the rusted/battery acid'd OEM tray from Stainlesstrays.com
Also I had spoken with @cruisermatt and decided that this rig was gonna get the full treatment at the end of July...
  • a new Toyota H55 Transmission
  • Transfer Case Rebuild
  • 2.5" OME lift with Bilstein shocks
  • Some Yokohama Geolander M/T G003 255/85/16 on factory 70-series wheels
I haven't ever PAID people to do everything... but I really want this done right and time is of the essence since this is supposed to be the vehicle I'm driving, so c'est la vie... plus they'd probably do a MUCH better job than me, and weeks/months/maybe years faster than me... I love this community.
 

jesus888

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The issue with stalling was still happening though... so the next step was to replace the Fuel Pump Circuit Opening Relay under the dash and that, along with the other items was a quick/easy item that needed replacing. It helped... but didn't eliminate the problem. He moved on to the Desmog and the Frontend in the meantime.

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jesus888

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Next was looking at the AFM...
Pictures are inside AFM. Arrow is set of points that ground the relay for fuel pump. When he opened AFM, 2nd pic, the points close and ground the relay. There was a lot of resistance and the points weren't making good contact. He cleaned them up and voila 0 resistance when closed. This looked like our smoking gun.
We still need a new AFM connector because the one under the hood is being held in with a "makeshift" designed connector at the moment. But THIS (and probably somewhat all of the other items being refreshed) was the piece that finally made the stalling be a thing of the past.

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jesus888

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The last item to tackle in this portion of the mechanical restore was the fuel pressure... even though it was strong nearly all of the time, it would fall off at times and we didn't have a good explanation.

He suggested that it could be the check-valve on the fuel pump being stuck as it was probably pretty old... so we ordered up a new fuel pump, since the check valve was a part of the pump and a sender while we were at it. Also it would give us a chance to make sure rust wasn't an issue in the tank causing havoc with the lines, etc.

Tank was clean as a whistle, and frankly so was the pump and sending unit. Oh well, those are now in the spare parts BIN. He did say the fuel pressure is strong and consistent now, though, so that's good to know :)

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jesus888

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I did forget to mention that when he pulled the wheels off to do the TREs, he showed me where the boots of the TREs were basically gone due to the wheels rubbing them when the tires turned. There was a thin spacer but it appeared those Mickey Thompson wheels had ZERO backspacing, which was the issue.

So I took him a set of FJ40 OEM wheels with some mud-terrains that I procured for my Old Blue Eyes FJ40 build a couple months back to use temporarily. They solved the issue but when I picked the rig up yesterday morning (basically driving it for the first time) WOW THOSE TIRES MADE ME ANGRY... EVERYTHING shook... the center console was banging around, my fillings in my teeth did the same... my first stop was at a "surplus" tire store for some FJ40 appropriately-sized A/Ts... I went with some 31" Toyo AT3s and it was a night and day difference... some before and afters...

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jesus888

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SO that's where I am now... ready to get a few items ordered and address some things... the list is long but since I'm about to spend most of my $$$ getting that manual transmission swap, I'm gonna concentrate on things that I can do in low-cost ways while I enjoy her for the next few weeks before she goes to @cruisermatt for the main surgery. She's finally home and I can spend some time in the morning before hell opens its gates and melts everything on a daily basis.

Most of the pics and descriptions were from Mike... and I can't thank him enough... he's a GREAT mechanic if anyone is local and needs some help.

Going forward, besides the progress at Matt's, I'll have lots of pictures with lots of updates as I get stuff done... frankly it's motivating for me!

Note: I do have the 70-series wheels and Geolanders but I haven't gotten them mounted yet, and since there isn't currently any lift, I figured I'd wait on getting them on there til she gets back from Matt's shop in August. The Toyo's on the OEM FJ40 wheels will be perfect when the time comes to get em under Old Blue Eyes (in my signature)
 
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CruiserTrash

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Great story man. I prefer 60s for the manual transmission, but once you got to H55 all my worries went away haha. Keep up the great work and the updates!
 

cruisermatt

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Looking forwards to getting it in the shop!

H55f time!


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jesus888

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Welp… made a trip to Bama to see my mom (90 miles each way) and decided to take the old girl out to stretch her legs… probably one of the first trips that long in the last 5-7 years this rig has made. Just wanted to feel how comfortable she was on the highway @ 65/70 mph and was curious about gas mileage.

After resetting the odometer and putting ~140 miles on her, with some math, we arrived at 12.85 mpg, which isn’t corrected for the small amount of tire size changes with the speedometer/odometer, so we probably actually got close to 13 mpg which is pretty great.

But not without incident… I stopped and filled the gas tank because some funny stuff started happening on the way back.

The trip there was flawless, but not the way home, we encountered an issue. We were 20 miles into our trip, and got stuck in some accident/construction traffic and spend the next 30 minutes or so basically idling (moving about 2 total miles)… once things opened up again, after getting her up to speed and driving another 20 miles, she started to lose power… felt VERY MUCH like a fuel issue but sometimes I don’t know my ass from a hole in the ground so who knows. Basically, with the pedal in the same spot, the truck would stutter and cut out and seemed to be getting worse after a couple of minutes of this, so I pulled to the shoulder, and rode a couple miles there until the next exit @ 45 mph and thought
  1. Maybe there’s a vacuum issue? I could check by getting to a gas station and opening the cap and maybe there’d be a giant WOOOSHHH… but I followed those steps and nothing… it was totally normal.
  2. Maybe there’s an issue with the alternator/battery? Battery is pretty new (installed by PO) but I did notice that my battery gauge on my cluster would sit at the 12 line or even a little lower at idle, and would venture above the line when driving…
  3. Maybe something under the hood is getting hot during all of that idling that caused the issue??
Since I feel like Mike has gone through most everything else related to the fuel system and electrical parts of the fuel system, maybe it’s more of a general issue? Maybe something with the alternator? I think I’m gonna find some time this week to go get the alternator and battery checked at a box store and see if there’s something obviously wrong with either.

Any other suggestions are welcomed!

PS We stayed off the interstate the rest of the way, and added an extra ~hour to our trip but got home without having to invoke one my 3 AAA free tows… so that’s good. It did the stumble a few more times, but the last 30 minutes was trouble-free (except for the lights pointing the wrong directions and the wipers being in desperate need of an upgrade/fix)…

PPS Adding a list of s***-to-do to the first post with priority going to stumble issue, lights, and wipers…

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jesus888

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So I put a multi-meter to the Alternator and Battery…
  • Battery was @ 12.8 and was new at the end of 2018 (I’ll look into getting a fresh Costco batter sometime in the not-too-distant future
  • When the LC was started and idling, the Alternator read @ 13.8 and the battery, as well.
  • I did go ahead and remove the metal brace that was holding a hose because it was too close for comfort with the exposed portion of the battery cable (I will work on the cables and connections and possibly the fusible links over the next few months - for now, they are in serviceable shape)
  • Also we cleaned the connections very well, where they attach to the battery. In the end, when the truck is running, the Battery level on my gauge in the cab is consistently above the middle, close to 13.5, so at least there’s that.
  • Still experiencing the stumbling at any RPM at any time… but not all of the time. Going to start getting into the ignition system…
Pictures are of the bracket that was removed (pre-removal) because it was too close for comfort…

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