As I write this, I’m finally about to start a rare project for me. My old Landcruiser 60 Series Landcruiser restoration. Anyone who knows me will tell you I’m NOT a mechanical guy and while I can drive a bit and I’m pretty good at diagnosing car issues and setup, I’m no bodyshop expert or mechanic.
However, I’m looking at the sad state of my Landcruiser and I figure of Project FJ62 Landcruiser 60 Series Restoration doesn’t start pretty soon, it will be a lost cause.
Here’s the Back Story on why I still own this old Toyota Landcruiser and why I’m planning a rebuild.
Back in 2002, I stumbled across a classified advertisement. It was for a Landcruiser FJ62. I was on the hunt for a family truck capable of carrying the usual assortment of small children and their vital toys, friends and jumble to the inevitable kids events. Plus it had to double as a workhorse for my job, and above all be reliable.
With a young family to carry around, plus of course the cost of feeding and clothing a young family, I needed something that was utterly reliable and also affordable to buy. This FJ62 Landcruiser was a 4.0 litre petrol, originally from South Africa. The huge petrol engine and the fact that it ran on a carburetor meant that it was going to be a juicy thing to run. It also made it very cheap to buy, as nobody was interested.
Something about it appealed.
The FJ62 became a vital part of the family.
It became a great workhorse, carrying and towing a variety of loads including double glazing units, timber, sacks of cement and of course a growing family and all their mates on days out. As a photo location vehicle it was pretty damn good too. It could pretty much swallow anything you put into it and if you could get the doors closed, it would carry it.
It took us off roading in Yorkshire, camping in the Lake District and carried the family safely and utterly reliably around the UK.
The Landcruiser was originally an import to the UK from South Africa and had passed through several owners before I bought her. But eventually, her lack of corrosion proofing and a failed MOT test meant that she was parked up.
I’m no mechanic or bodywork expert, so I spent a winter watching her get worse, wondering whether to sell for spares or actually do something with her. The decision was made for me when I mentioned that I might be ‘getting rid of’ the Landcruiser. ‘You can’t……. We’ve had her for too long…..part of the family”
I had to admit, I had a soft spot for the old girl, especially when I remembered some of the ridiculous things she’d managed, such as pulling a fully laden 10 tonne truck off a muddy traffic island for the police or embarrassing a fully tricked up Jeep Cherokee around a North Yorkshire offroad course.
Plenty of people spend vast sums of money resurrecting oily old Land Rovers, so why not an old ‘Cruiser?
But since 2011 she’s been parked up. Stored partly indoors and sometimes outside, the British weather has taken it’s toll and now she needs help badly.
I have friends with workshop space and metalworking skills, plus a limited budget for parts, so I’m starting this restoration project in the hope that I haven’t left her for too long…..
So the question is, “Can someone who has a rough idea what to do, but no real practical experience of panel beating or major overhaul work, not just restore an old FJ62 Landcruiser, but make it better, using tools available from Machine Mart and some borrowed garage space?”
My good friend John who has a ‘sleepy hollow’ business tucked away restoring old Jags and Healeys has taken me under his wing and offered a corner of his workshop. She’s now living there and we’ve had a good squint at the major issues and talked through a plan and made a list of the principle issues, dividing the jobs into two lists – essentials and desirables.
Essentials is a list of things that either need to be done to restore the bodywork and mechanicals that are needed before she can be submitted for an MOT test or need major attention right now. Desirables falls into two sub categories – a list of little tweaks, additions or not too major things that can be done to update it and another list, more of a wish list really, of stuff that would really make it sing and be a superb tool for many years to come….
So to the lists. There are two of them, an ‘Essentials” and a “Desirables”. Essentials are the things that simply must be done before it can pass a UK MOT test and get road legal again, plus other stuff that’s probably going to fail if left.
Desirables are the other things that aren’t vital, but would enhance or update the truck and make it easier to live with in 2010.<br/>
As I mentioned, she’s an import to the UK from South Africa many years ago, so no rust proofing at all. This means that the bodywork is now desperately in need of repair. The big issue is panels. Genuine Toyota metal, where available, is expensive as no repair panels are available, so you’re buying a large panel to replace just one rusted section. ~The main areas are:
- Rear wheel arches and the section from the rear wheel to the bumper
- The sill sections on both sides
- The lower part of the front wings (fenders)
- The chassis itself needs a small amount of welding but is surprisingly good.
- Bonnet front edge – probably need to find a replacement
- Front wings – may repair, but as with the bonnet, considerable work will be needed to sort them
- Tailgate lower section
- The oil seal between gearbox and transfer box has failed. A common thing, means that it happily pumps out whatever gear oil you may add.
- The gearbox needs a rebuild. There’s a slight crunch on the downshifts and a few whines in various gears that have developed over the last few years, but it still drives and refuses to die.
- The steering is sloppy and needs the steering box overhauling.
- The front swivel castings and bearings need sorting the upper bearing on one has failed. Probably due to the casting being filled with gear oil instead of chrome molly grease when the seals were replaced. That looks like a messy job.
- New shocks are needed and the leaf springs are now pretty much flat with no curve. Time for some new ones.
- It’s got Standing-Itis – been stood now for over 5 years now, so most things like brakes etc are going to need an overhaul.
- Finally, those 15 inch wheels and 30.5” tyres are certainly past their best, so I’ll need to find her a new wheel and tyre combination.
That’s the essentials and we’re discovering more as we dig deeper. The ‘Desirables’ list will have to wait.