Builds Work In Progress aka: Badass

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Dare me.
Mar 28, 2011
East Hampton, CT
Female enthusiast off and on mud since '10 but first cruiser in hand was in 5/'08 thanks to a young guy I was dating who had a wealth of mechanical know how... that truck became my DD in 6/'10 after my little kermit the frog green kia rio threw a piston in her second engine (first went just before 100K so was covered under warrenty) and I chose to let her go to the Cape Cod dump. She served me well for almost 8 years.

I then really became acquainted to my '84 Rootbeer brown FJ60 I bought for $1100. I had helped him bleed the brakes and who knows what else to get her road worthy. I watched him do the shocks of which one of the rears he had to make a new base mount as she was so rusty there was nothing left to attach too. And he rebuilt her carb and got her dialed back totally smogged as if it was nothing to him. (She did come with a full set of FSM which to this day I still kick myself for selling when I sold her.) He tried to fake me on a driveshaft vibration but the tuft of grass hanging down from her u joint was telltale that he was wheeling her while I was at work and f'd her up. Good guy that he was, he replaced it and she was good as new.

By the time she became my DD in 5/'10 he and I were not together anymore. I very quickly learned a thing or two on how to keep her running all by my own-self with very few tools at that time.

I replaced her starter and made her fire up in less than an hour. Talk about confidence builder! Clutch master went and I had some help with that one. Then only a few months later the slave went and I tackled that all on my own. Easy!

I am sure there were other things I did but now can't remember. I took her to a few Yankee Toys (YT) events but never ran her... The quarter sized holes she sported around her shackle mounts kept me cautious. I also brought her with me on an OEX weekend training 4/'12 in East Haddem CT where I came to know some really great folks in the YT group. Overall her rear frame was a wreck and the guys in the club had little good to say of it. When I was 7 months pregnant in 5/'13 I chose to sell her for parts up in NH. I drove her up all big and prego with my bf following... That was not any easy day. I had no idea what I was gonna miss until I walked away from her.

Thus I was bitten and the bug wasn't going anywhere.

And then I my son was born and I knew I HAD to have another so I could teach my son how to work on his own vehicle. His dad and I broke up in 8/'15 and share custody with our son who is now just over 3.5yo. I picked up a new truck last March '16 from a guy up in VT who had her only a few months and decided he needed to sell. Oddly before him, I spotted her on CL. I contacted the seller for more pixs and he emailed back "will add more pixs soon." A week later I emailed him again and he responded with "sold her, sorry." Then I spot her bought and being trailed home by a guy on fb. God damn! A few months later perhaps by serendipity I happened to spot him say he might need to sell and here's a pix of the truck to some loudmouth sporting a photo of a fat wad of cash. I instantly nailed him in an email and he promises me first rights to her.

In between me getting up there I spot another truck on CL for very cheap and buy that one sight unseen. Another friend and I go to pick that one up and I nearly blow a lung laughing she is such a rusty bomb. Never the less, I put my plate on her and my friend follows me home. The entire hour drive she is literally dropping chunks off her onto his restored '85 rabbit. I dubbed that one the Rusty Truck. Damn panels flapped! No joke. I ended up not even registering her and sold her for the engine.

To now... Tan 1987 FJ60 (AE8, automotive touch up paint site says its Copper Metallic)... I bought her for a lot more than my old stock truck that is for sure but this is the market of the old land cruisers. Right here, suckers and lovers we are! Granted she is lifted (not 100% sure 2-2.5") and is on 35" tires so there's some reason for the increase. He had some stuff done to her... okay, I get he wants his money back so I buy her for $4700. It was tax time and I had the money burning a hole in my pocket. Me and my friend head up with a trailer and cash on hand. (As of recently I had a carfax done and she originated in TX and has been all over the western map and only in the eastern US since '07. At some time in VT had an undercarriage oil seal to her frame so she really isn't all that bad for an eastern truck).

I'm not real sweet on her Smittybilt tube bumpers but they are what they are for now. She is rough looking, funky paint patch on her driver side door, hood is super weathered, inside she's better than others I've seen. Dash is cracked but in a way I dig. My friend who helped me get her to my house in CT, dubbed her "Badass." She came with a huge roof rack that I took off and is sold.

Figured it might be time to begin my own build thread as much as it can be on my very modest income and abilities... Thus begins my work in progress. My son loves his Mama's Monsta Truck With Big Monsta Wheels! His little gator is dubbed a "toyota" too.



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Dogs and kid approve.
Then first fix blew a coolant hose fairly close to home. Had to run the heater full blast and went straight to the Napa near me. Guy was a sweetheart and did it for me in the parking lot. Oh the chivalry was huge when I first got the truck! And looking back now, boy was her engine a mess. So different now.
Then I get a hard start after dropping my son off to his dad maybe a week or so later and I am back at Napa to find my battery is basically dead. Napa guy installs it graciously for me and says "the connections are less than good, I'd replace as soon as you can...." Yeah well, I ended up with melted terminals and a seized air pump in my driveway the next day. Long story so won't bore you... got in touch with JimC and had a idler pulley on route the same day. I cut and replaced the terminals as well myself within the week. I pulled the air pump and gutted it and my son enjoyed helping get greasy with me. I still have it and its internals if anyone is seeking it or its parts, lmk.
As I struggled with getting a new belt on I learned my alt was wrong, I came to realize it was from a Cressida with its regulator clocked at 10 instead of the 2 that it should be. So after that struggle and discovery I gave up on the belt and ordered a reman'd alt from Rockauto. That alt went in okay, new belts ect... it was less of a fight.
Unfortunately that alt was a piece of junk and died after one month. I had it bench tested and sent it back for a refund. I put the Cressida back in with a longer belt and its regulator is in tight with my intake hose of my thermostat housing. So far its okay. I have a cs130 with a pigtail and a resistor inline thanks to a guy I met thru the TLCA fb group.


IMG_5928 (1).JPG



Power Steering Gear Box Rebuild: I decided at some point in April '16 to get a shop to align her as the PO said in such funny words "she is like a one eye'd goat." (steering wheel was way off). Tech took her for a drive and came back with big news. Can't do alignment... Power Steering Gear Box is leaking like a sieve. They show me and I agree to humor them for a quote. They write one up and I head out the door with it in hand having not looked at it yet. I get in the truck and open it up and literally die laughing. Reman'd box $617... not including any labor ect.
That is when I knew I was gonna get good and dirty.
Bought a reseal kit and did my first rebuild of ANYTHING ever. Mind you I am not a big girl... at 5'5" and 125lbs... I am strong but my upper body strength isn't what a man's is... (I tell you I was trying with all my leg power and a leather belt to get the fing v belt over the alt pulley before I realized it was actually the wrong alt. "Are you fing kidding me!"... eyeing anything I could wedge my feet against).

Removal of Pittman from Output Shaft:
I remember calling an old friend who had worked on Toyota's in FL as a master mechanic for years and telling him what I was going to do. His first question "how are you going to get the pittman off the output shaft?" I tentatively said "puller and alternate with sledge." He replied, "yes, that is the best way." I bought the cheap pepboys puller tho it came together too tight so had my neighbor skim off a few mm from each edge. It wasn't the easiest job in that I did not take the tire off either... I'm stubborn that way and in some ways I feel the puller got in the way because it held the pittman to the shaft longer than I realized. When I loosened the puller and hit it a few more times it simply vibrated right off.
So then right at my kitchen table I did the box and shifted it to another table in the laundry room when I had to stop to wait for an order to arrive of two oem control rings.
Being single has its perks.
First off be sure to score the edges of the input shaft cover so you know how snug to tighten her up when your all ready to close her up once the job is done.
Oh and how the hell did Mr. T know all those little balls would fit around the inner circumference of a tuna can?

I'll add here I don't have a ton of extra cash for tools... I did some research on an adjustable spanner wrench, I know I know, they are prob pretty cheap. I contacted a friend whose son is huge into bicycling thinking maybe he'd have an idea but nothing. I then finally found one on an Ace Hardware website. I headed down to my local one and found it for cheap less than $6 I believe. It worked perfectly.
And I did not have snap ring pliers so I took two nails and pushed them into the holes in the snap ring and then used pliers to squeeze the nails together and was able to fit the snap ring back into place.





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More of my Power Steering Gear Box rebuild just because that was my shiny glory into this cruiser. No innocence left, I'm plum fit to be tied. Loving this new path in life... Now if I only had a few more of me, more money and more garage space, boy I'd be all sorts of set.
Initially that diagram that came with the reseal kit seriously stumped me. I looked at that bag of rings ect and jokingly referred to it as pasta. But by the end I understood each and every one. I did find a GREAT video on youtube by a *sheepish grin inserted here* 4wheeling competitor whose lighting and explanations beat any others I came across. And I did find that two of the rings in the kit were far too big and contacted my local dealership. A parts guy there I have come to really appreciate helped me find the ones I needed over the phone and sent me the diagram with the part numbers to verify they were correct. A few days more and I was back at it with my son watching in between kid tv shows. I had her reinstalled one week after being pulled and had the opportunity to talk to a great guy @landcrusher909, Rob on the phone who helped stroke my ego even further on a job well done for a complete newbie minutes before firing her up.






** Lots more pixs avail if someone needs, just PM or comment here.

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@CenTXFJ60 Power Steering Gear Box diagram from Toyota.

Stopping for now... Looking back almost one year isn't easy on the tush... Will fill in more tomorrow. Thanks for reading. Like I said, modest income here, I work part time when my son is not with me. Don't even ask what that is... I have basic tools, some date back to my great grand father, no real compressor (don't fall prey to that harbor freight pancake compressor! its crap), a neighbor (who just barely has grown respect in me since I have lived next to him almost 8 years) who lets me borrow a few things here and there and who's last words were something along the lines of "most women don't do the sort of work your doing." And of course I have the insatiable desire to do for myself and make everyone around me think twice about my abilities.
As I have written under my avatar "Dare me." Yes, please. The last thing I want to hear is "you can't do xyz... scrap it" so when I do, it just fires me up to make it work.
As I am a work in progress, so is everything I touch.

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Found a few pixs of my old truck.... Zombie decals I found via mud many years ago. And at one point I had put a mechanical oil pressure gauge in when my sender was giving me false readings. Never doubted my oil pressure again.

Zombie decals on my truck.jpg

Yota covered in snow.jpg

Yoda in my old truck.jpg

Internal oil pressure guage.jpg
Good job F!!! We have faith in you but may tell you can't just to spite you and light a fire!!
Sssphhh Ryan by the looks of your truck today, your tops man. So pristine!
Greg... the truck is enough to spite me. I was in Napa today and said in front of a bunch of men and definetly not thinking it thru first... that truck likes to see me on my knees. Lots and lots and lots of chuckling ensued.
Greg... the truck is enough to spite me. I was in Napa today and said in front of a bunch of men and definetly not thinking it thru first... that truck likes to see me on my knees. Lots and lots and lots of chuckling ensued.

LOL.. well that is a good story though!
Lotta respect for ya !!! Keeping these old rigs going takes wrenching or paying someone else to do it. I'm like you in that I'm a poor kracker that wants to do my own wrenching when I can. It really helps learn your cruiser . I've seen so many yuppies at events break and not have a clue what to do , Relying on others to trail fix it for them. Good write up thanks
There's a few things I know about the cruiser and there are a few things I don't want to get involved with.
But you did. Wow.

Talk about sink or swim....She can now swim across one of the great lakes

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