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I am looking for a "newer" trail rig. I already have a FJ40 that is setup for rocks and am looking for another truck to set up similarly (for SAR and when my FJ40 is down for repairs).

So - which would you prefer? My possibilities are listed below with my thoughts, but I am looking for other opinions too.

a)90-95 4Runner - good base truck, SAS candidate, good inside storage, don't know about trail characteristics

b)90-95 PU (possibly a Taco) - same as the 4runner, but limited inside storage. Less body panels to damage

c)94-97 FJZ80 - possibly too wide for narrow trails (without major rock rash), not sure about engine/tranny/t-case

Thanks for you input.

Bruce in Redding, CA
 

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With the 4 runner and Taco you have that crappy IFS front axle. Yuck! Lift kits for those are very expensive and they don't perform well on the rocks when installed.

FZJ-80 OME lifts are inexpensive and you can run 35 x 12.50's with the 2.5" lift alone (better w/1.5 spacers).

No need to fool with lockers (factory f/r), gearing (works great off road with 4.11's and the auto) and the front axle is SOLID!

Rear axle is a Full Floater.

93-94 have a bullet-proof tranny, 95-97 has a HD 4Runner tranny, but I towed with mine and wheeled the crap out of it and never had a problem with it.

Finally, in a pinch, a FZJ-80 can be a fairly good tow rig. I towed up to 10 hours 1 way with mine for 2 years and I would say with stock tires it does as well as most 1/2 ton trucks towing.

Go to my photopoint in my signature and see lots of FZJ-80 action shots from Moab and Clayton, OK.
 

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We have owned all 3 '76 FJ40 modified for trails, a '94 FZJ80 w/elec factory lockers and a super modified '85 and '88 4runner.

The 40 was great except for the overheating issues (chevy 350, turbo 350, headers, 36 swampers etc)we had an 88 4runner at the time, yes IFS but with lock rites front & rear and a warn 8k winch we got around just fine.

The 94 - FJ80 was just too nice to consider taking offroad in the areas we like to wheel as well as being way too wide for many of our local trails. We took it over the passes during the winter (snowboarding) and was my (female) daily driver year round.

We built a '85 4runner that really seems to fit our needs perfectly. Sheet metal is easy to find, as well as tons of aftermarket items or replacement availablity. The 4runner was bobbed 10.5 inches, stock 4 cyl was rebuilt, added a 2nd t-case and a 4:1 kit and it crawls. added 5.29's, 38 swampers, beadlocks, on board air, arb front, lockrite rear and a cage and the thing really gets places.

You will pay more for a new 4-runner, parts are more expensive (sheetmetal and markers?), the FJ80 is a wonderful daily driver but me being 'attached' to it, no way would i have put it hard core i am sure it would not survive Johnson Valley without some trail trophys and i would <IMG SRC="smilies/crybaby2.gif" border="0">

at least you have a lot of choices <IMG SRC="smilies/smile.gif" border="0">

We currently own a stock '85 toy xtra cab pickup, 85 4runner and a 65 FJ45 pu.

[ 09-07-2001: Message edited by: creapcrawl ]
 

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Good question, Bruce! I am going to answer in a more candid manner here than I use in other forums where people don't wheel as much or as hard, and are less understanding.

I have often praised the advantages of an FZJ80 as a wheeling rig, mostly for the characeristics listed by Nolen above. But there is one VERY IMPORTANT downside to an 80 series, one that you have to take into account if you plan on wheeling it really hard on rocks: DAMAGE.

The potential for expensive damage ocurring to an FZJ80 on a trail is serious; a hard roll onto it's side could tweak doors, roof, supporting pillars and break a lot of expensive glass; compound curves on the body make it tougher to replace/repair; a fancy interior could get really damaged with one long drive back home in the rain (after a rollover), and the abundance of electronics would make it expensive to recover from, say, dunking the truck in a river.

I pointed out in a controversial article on TT my observations after watching an FJ40 roll in a tough obstacle in Moab right after I'd gone up the same line. The side flop cost Deano a couple of dents on the side of the firewall, a mangled front fender and a smashed jerry can. Had I rolled on the same place, I would have lost all the glass on that side of the truck, tweaked the B and C pillars, and probably the roof as well. It would have been MUCH costlier in my FJ62, and more so in an FZJ80.

I'm not saying FZJ80's aren't great for wheeling, they shine in places like Moab and they're the most capable Land Cruiser out of the box ever offered in the US. But they're best left to medium-to-hard trails, extended camping trips, long-range driving to trailheads and expedition-type wheeling rather than extreme hard-core rocks. To modify an FZJ80 to take on the same trails you're hitting hard with your FJ40 *and* account for potential damage is not economically viable, not when the truck is worth at least $15,000 at initial purchase (not counting modifications).

That said, if you want to keep things to medium-to-hard trails, FZJ80's, like Nolen correctly points out, are hard to beat. Great flex, stock F&R lockers, disk brakes, FF rear axle, decent gearing, excellent wheelbase and a solid drivetrain make them fantastic out of the box; throw a suspension lift under it (cheap compared to other Land Cruisers), add some sliders, a winch and some aggressive meats and you're wheeling serious trails. In comparison, the 60 series, while much more of a workhorse than the 80 series, would take considerable more modifications in order to keep up. Trust me, I KNOW...! <IMG SRC="smilies/smile.gif" border="0">
 

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Hey man, nice double post in the Mini section, but it looks like the concesus is this......buy an '80!!

One comment on Henry's post above is that a 4 runner is going to cost you if you roll it too!

You may be able to get into a mini fairly cheap though.

I really wheeled the crap out of my '80 as do a few people in my club and they rock.

When I can pick one up cheap one day, I may make it my full time rig!
 

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I think I have to agree with Henry's post.
Damage can often be much more than body- finding a diff (for instance) for a 90 4 runner IFS is going to be a LOT less $$$ than the same for an 80. If you do a SAS to the truck or runner, then parts prices can do down even further. Lfit kits are cheap (after the SAS), and body panels and glass are much cheaper.
80's are fantastic rigs, and I have seen then wheeled through spots I was amazed that they made it through.
Of course, you could buy a built 40 for yourself and three of your friends for the cost of a like-equipped 80.
Or two tacomas....or a four runner and a half....
If money is an object- I'd think twice about it. <IMG SRC="smilies/tongue.gif" border="0"> <IMG SRC="smilies/biggrin.gif" border="0">
 

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I am seeing 80's go for about 17K around Dallas that have 100K on them with lockers.

An OME suspension costs $700

Tires cost $1000

ARB Bull bar w/winch $1300

20K and you have a nice trail rig. Insure it for collision and wheel the hell out of it <IMG SRC="smilies/biggrin.gif" border="0">

Correct me if I am wrong, but you are looking for a secondary trail rig, right?
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Yes, Nolan - the truck would be a 2nd trail rig. My FJ40 is a "typical" rockcrawling truck, and I was looking for more of the medium to hard trail rig rather than hard to extreme.

So far the concensus seems to be a FJ80, so long as I can stomach/afford the damage.

Decisions, decisions........
 

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[/QUOTE]Highly unlikely.[/QB][/QUOTE]

really? I see fairly well set up trucks go on this board and others all the time for 5-6K.
Of course, you can put in as much as you want into them. I shudder to think what I have in mine and it is nowhere near what I want it to be. It is a helluva lot more than 5K.

My point was just that they are really pricey to be bashing up on the rocks.

If a used 80 is 20K or better- that is 4 five thousand dollar 40's by my count...


<IMG SRC="smilies/biggrin.gif" border="0">
 

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If a used 80 is 20K or better- that is 4 five thousand dollar 40's by my count...
$14-16k for a '93/'94 fzj80 in decent shape. Most 40's I see for under $5k need lots of work to be reliable and that doesn't include dual lockers, etc.
 

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Can't I put lock rights in both ends for $500?
That's about one payment of my 5 year note for my
used fzj-80 with 100K on it.

I bought my 40 with 32K original on it for 3k, and owned it outright in a year- while in college.

As for being reliable, I think I will take 32k over 100k anyday. The one time my 40 broke down was a $35 coil. I wonder how much the coil for the 80 is.....

I am not trying to get into an argument- I am just trying to make a point. the 80 is a nice rig- too nice to wheel.
<IMG SRC="smilies/biggrin.gif" border="0"> <IMG SRC="smilies/biggrin.gif" border="0">
 

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Originally posted by rabid:
<STRONG>I am not trying to get into an argument- I am just trying to make a point. the 80 is a nice rig- too nice to wheel.
<IMG SRC="smilies/biggrin.gif" border="0"> <IMG SRC="smilies/biggrin.gif" border="0"></STRONG>
Rabid, you are replying to a guy who has an 80 with no fender flares, no bumper end caps, tweaked rockers and brush scrapes in the paint. I'm sure I'm leaving some other trail damage out, but you get the point. You are going to have a hard time convincing him it's 'too nice to wheel'. There does have to be a reason why he's building that FJ25 though, eh?
 

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I'm digging through the posts looking for info on a York OBA set up for 80's. Anyone done it. Not meant to hijack but since the topic is on 80's........

BTW my 80 is great but it's not a hard core wheeler by no means. Can't do a lot of hardcore wheeling in MS ain't that right Nolen? (Mullins' friend in Hattiesburg here, what's up?) Mine's just a light trail, camping, hunting rig. It's tough as nails though.
 

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OK, downsides for the 2nd gen 4runner...................3VZE. I have had two 2nd gen 4runners and two 85 4runners. The 22re in a 2nd gen 4runner is as anemic as an FJ80 with the 155 something HP I6. That leaves the 3VZE, which isn't much better. After years of having 4runners, Im looking for an FZJ80. Too nice to wheel? Maybe if your going to beat the hell out of it like a teenager.
 

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Get an 80 Series w/ factory lockers and wheel it like you stole it!

Too nice to wheel? Get over it, get a dent or two, get some deep pin stripes. Wheel with the windows open on some dusty trails, and get stuck in some stinky mud, stand on the seats, soak the carpets, whatever it takes so you don't feel like it's too nice to use. Believe me, the cruiser will take this abuse.

Oooo, but it's too expensive! Nonsense, I've got as much money in my FJ60 - SOA, ARBs, etc - and no more than most trail rigs I see. Don't kid yourself it's a bargin, (although I always kid myself when it comes to cost of mods). And don't compare lock rights to factory electric lockers, at least comapre to ARBs.

Yeah, but it's still too fat for the trail. A year ago I might have agreed but after following more than one 80 Series through the Rubicon last year - niether getting any serious damage and niether having any significant trouble - now I say no problem. Sure they bypassed the Little Sluice but so do most people. Heck, Spaulding went UP Old Sluice at night. Which reminds me, in the last TT who joined Mudrak's 45 in the "challenging" optional side trail? Yep, it was the 80 Series. I still say driving my 80 "feels" smaller than my 60 series. I think the stance, turning radius, and auto tranny provide added control that makes it feel more nimble.

Bottomline, I've come to realize it's a mindset more than anything else. You'll be seeing more and more 80 Series on ALL trails. For example, did the Moab pre-run pictures Adam posted a few days ago showing a slightly modified 80 Series in the Escolator at Hells Revenge have an effect on anyone else besides me? I eyeballed that trail last year but no one in our group even considered doing it. Heck, several people with capable rigs in our group skipped Hells Gate. Bottomline, I've seen plenty of 80 Series going places many other capable rigs won't attempt, really. You won't be bored or limited driving one of these cruisers.

Finally, the best part to me is the fact that it's 100 percent Toyota and 100 percent Land Cruiser. Big, beefy capable, reliable AND simple. No adapters, non-toyota parts, major aftermarket add-ons, etc. This is one of the main reasons so many people like cruisers in the first place. I read the threads on modifying other vehicles, things like: EFI - got it, 4wheel disk brakes - got it, full floater - got it, bigger birfs- got em, coils and links - got it, beefy steering - got it, 80 amp alternator - got it, etc. etc.

I'll admit it's not going to be a light weight rock crawler but that doesn't mean it can't be a cost effective choice for some serious wheeling. And you don't need a tow rig and trailer. So what if you tear off the the fender flares or get a big dent in the door, you're a wheeler right? Flop it, roll it or bust some glass? I'll bet it still runs and gets you off the trail, when you get home chop it and get some lexan.

Come Awn :flipoff2:
 

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buy an 80 man they will take the abuse laugh at you and ask for more. And for the damage of water and such buy the snorkel kit and run it through the river. My fj62 has all those pita electronics and I have had it in 6 feet of water for an exetended period of time more than once and the worst thing that has happened is my electric door locks stopped working (ie. door lock module) what ever gets wet will dry and if you get to much wet take the fuse out and let it dry. My vote get the 80 and beat the hell out of it and see if you can hurt it so bad you cant get it home.

Like what was said earlier drive it like you have some sense not like a teenager with his girlfriend watching and the 80 will take you there and back with no problems and with a comfortable ride
 

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I am building a 1985 4runner for the family wheeler. I drove an 80 on the trail and it was too big and heavy for my liking.

I have been taking my time and buying the 4runner build up parts cheap, there is a lot out there from guys going 1 ton and selling there goods.

First generation 4runners, IMHO, are the ultimate multi-function trail rig. Reliability, gearings, good suspension, removable top, a/c, and reasonable streetable after they are built.

And the best is, they have about 100 horsepower....:D
 
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