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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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If you already have a 40 I would get the 80. Mike Fox has one and it is pimpin'. Loads of torque from the 4.5L and dual electric lockers stock! Of course there aren't as many aftermarket parts for 80s, but with a small lift and some mud-terrains it will go most places and still be comfortable. A good compliment to your FJ-40. You hit on the only downside, lots of sheetmetal (and weight).
 

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The choices are difficult I know, but here are 2 pix for each one you desrcibed. The Runna is a '93 and the Cruza a '91. And the owner of the cruza informed me that it is better to get a '93 or later FJ-80 because of aftermarket suspensions. The '91 is limited on how much you can lift without too much difficulties.
<IMG width=600 height=400 SRC="http://www.pirate4x4.com/ubb/uploads/runna.jpg">

<IMG width=600 height=400 SRC="http://www.pirate4x4.com/ubb/uploads/cruza1.jpg">
 

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I'm by no means an FJ80 expert, but I think they have fairly high-geared low-range transfer cases. Also remember they are "permanent 4x4"... no locking hubs and you're always in 4 wheel drive. AFAIK all FJ80s have a locking center differential (unlocked for pavement driving). The highest lift I've seen available is 3" OME. Expensice, I think I'd get All-Pro to make me a lift.

ARB makes bumpers and lockers, and of course there are those cool but rare electric lockers.

SO.... I would go with the FJ80. In Arizona I've seen them reasonably priced in the 10-12k range, expect high mileage but 99% of them are on-road only.

Yup... FJ80, 5" custom lift with 35" BFG MTs, custom rock guards, 15000 lb winch, electric lockers, strip off the running boards, ARB bumper, lots o' room, etc... That's what I would choose.
 

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If you have plenty of cash, definately go with an 80! I've seen them do some pretty incredible stuff. They aren't really that much wider than a 4Runner or pickup, maybe 6 inches or so.
 

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If you can swing around 18k get the fzj80!
We just bought a 95 2 months ago had 90K on the clock but it is loaded! Even has front/rear electric lockers. These things are set up very well from the factory. Coil sprung, full floating rear end, 16inch rims, box steal frame (unlike the taco), indistructable in line 6; 217/275 hp/ftlbs., Super charger is made for them, OME has a wide range of suspensions from 0-5inches, 4wheel disk breaks, seating for 7 with 3rd row seats,full time 4wheel drive, 3 lockers are possible front/rear/center!, What more can I say ? The down side is parts cost more, it is BIG, gas milage sux about 12-18mpg city/highway. But you will love it if you get it plus it would just be COOL to have 2 TLC's!
 

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A buddy in the club has an 80 and he goes everywhere. He has some kind of lift with 33" tires, and rock sliders to keep his rockers protected. He swears by the 1994 models. Seems they have a better tranny. Can't beat the 'lectrics and the motor is sound without mods. Superchargers are available if it's not enough <IMG SRC="smilies/biggrin.gif" border="0">

In reality, they are not much bigger than a 4Runner. If I had to do it over again, I'd get an 80.
 

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As I stated above, the cruza did everything that we did except for the BIG boulders. He knew what he could clear and what he could not. He has mucho road rock rash from trying everything. I understand his next step is to rid himself of the nerfs because they hang way too low. Other than that, he fits everywhere I did. And once again, he never even had to engage his front ARB. It's a nice cruza but I prefer the runna (because of all the work I have done <IMG SRC="smilies/biggrin.gif" border="0"> ) do to its body clearance on the sides.
 

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Yup, I gotta agree that I can't wait for my wife to stop getting groceries in my FJ80 so I can lift it.

33's and 35's can be installed with a mild lift, 36's and 37's with a little more. True alot of the aftermarket stuff comes from Australia,(FJ80's there are work horses, not luxury vehicles) but the prices are comparable to lifting any other vehicle. The front axle is close to the strength of a Dana 60 (not trying to start a debate here), and the coil suspension rides great on-road and flexes like crazy off-road.


But, as you said, it is an expensive vehicle to put dents in and there's ALOT of sheet metal.

You definitely want a 1994 - 1997, they ahve the 1FZ-FE motor in them and come with the electric locker option. Don't even consider an 80 if it doesn't have E-lockers.
You'll know by the switch on the dash. Also all of them do have a center differential that can be locked automatically in 4lo, or with a $50 factory switch can be locked whenever you want.

the low range is 2.952:1 for the earlier ones and 2.804 for the 95-97's. All are automatics in the USA. The drivelines are pretty much bulletproof.



 

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BTW, those aren't mine, mine looks like this:



and here's the electric locker switch:
 

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80's are real big In Australia, Can't go past them for a good allrounder, Ive got one with Rancho 9000 and a ARB 2 inchlift.

Rhino
 

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i'd go with the 80. if i was rich i would want to get one. they look sweet and e-lockers>

ahhhhyeeeaaahhhhh!

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

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I've heard '93 and '94 are "the" years to get, you get the ABS, optional lockers, the more powerful 24 valve 2FZ engine (came out in '93), and the stronger tranny. ('95 and up is the same as the 4-Runner.)

No expert, but this is what I've gathered through the grapevine.
 
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