LJ78 Build Thread

Ben Feb 6, 2017

  1. Ben

    Ben Well-Known Member Guru I am in australia

    I spotted this the other day.













    So I went and bought it for $2500, unregistered with no road worthy certificate, minus the plastic plumbing pipe snorkel and cheap Chinese winch. :dance:

    As it has the 2lt 2.4 turbo diesel slug of an engine fitted that is prone to cracking heads, the drive back was pretty uncomfortable as the temp gauge wasnt working and the fact it didnt have much coolant in it when I bought it, I drove the 100km home with the heater on full so as not to cook it. :icon-rolleyes:

    The outside temp was 34, inside 42! :crazy:






    Its a 1990 LJ78 with factory rear locker, electric everything, manual transmission and I cant find any rust on it yet. :dance:

    Sadly its been abused by previous owners (although that worked in my favor as it would have been 3-4 times more expensive if it hadnt)! :thumbdown:

    First the entire car was painted matt black using rattle cans! :shock:

    Then the guy I bought it off sprayed the whole thing in blue primer, window rubbers, bumper, lights, lock cylinders, everything! :puke-front:

    I guess he didnt realise you're meant to remove lots of parts and spend time masking off before painting. :icon-rolleyes:

    Its also been used and abused off road so its got a few dents, but nothing that cant easily be fixed. :icon-biggrin:

    So lets look at the issues that I need to fix.....................

    The rear bumper is damaged and painted blue.



    The rear lights are the wrong ones and dont fit the body properly, so both will need changing (not going to be cheap as I think they will have to be genuine ones from Japan)


    This sticker has to go!


    Tiny dent in this pillar, thankfully the only real dent I've found in the body itself. I'm hoping to get this pulled out.


    Back door is badly dented, (pic doesnt really do it justice) this will get replaced with a spare door I've got, I'm just hoping its the same door as the short wheel bases. :pray:


    This small piece of glass has been replaced with perspex, so I need to source a replacement piece of glass.


    It looks like someone has had a go at this lock with a screwdriver and has broken the chrome trim off it, this will need to be replaced.


    The front guard is badly dented and has holes in it from the home made drain pipe snorkel, so the whole guard will need to be replaced.



    The grill has been badly butchered, with the entire middle section missing so will need to be replaced.


    The aircon evaporator is missing completely.


    They also cut the metal panel below the grill so that too will need replacing.


    Both rear black plastic vents have been painted. The drivers side has been painted gold! F*****g gold! What were they thinking! :angry-screaming:

    So both will need to be replaced.



    The bonnet has had holes drilled in it to mount a 42" light bar across the center of it, and judging by the multiple holes he didnt think it would be good idea to accurately measure first. :icon-rolleyes:

    So a new bonnet will have to be fitted.


    Some one has made and fitted their own front spring spacers. :wtf:


    The power steering pump or box is pissing fluid out every where.


    The steering bar is bent, so a new one will have to be fitted.


    Under the bonnet.....................


    The windscreen washer bottle is missing completely.


    The engine oil cap has a split in it so is leaking oil every where (just one of a few engine oil leaks)



    One battery is missing completely, both battery top mounts are missing and a bit of tin has been bodged over the remaining battery.


    The headlight washer bottle has a hole in the top of it.


    There doesnt appear to be a fuel filter fitted as the housing is completely missing, so will need to be replaced.


    Engine oil is leaking all over my drive.



    The front sway bar/anti roll bar is missing completely so will need to be replaced.


    This return to center steering damper will have to go, I suspect that may have contributed to the power steering leak.


    Rear diff is leaking.



    Needs a really good clean underneath as its been used in the mud.


    Inside the cabin.........................

    The rear seat belts have been changed for bright red ones, so will need to be changed.


    The trim on the drivers door is damaged.



    It has got the super rare (in Australia as no 70's here came with them) center console, but its missing the 2 faux leather boots around the sticks, so new ones will have to be sourced.



    Tacky aftermarket gauge and turbo timer will have to go, but behind them is the indicator for the rear diff lock. :icon-cool:


    And the turn switch which I plan on replacing for one that does front and rear lockers, when I fit an Eaton E locker in the front diff, but more on that later.


    This reminded me I was being cooked alive on that slow hot drive home!


    The interior is actually in surprisingly good condition and almost everything electrical works, its bloody filthy and needs a good steam clean and polish, but I'm impressed with the overall condition! :clap:


    With the seats missing from the boot, it is huge! :icon-biggrin:


    I never knew the 5 doors had this tool box built into the floor until I looked underneath and asked the seller what the box was sticking out under the car.

    The plywood lid will have to be replaced with something more suitable, ideally a genuine lid from Japan.



    No rust inside just one small hole some one has drilled in the corner.


    A plastic cover panel was missing that covers the jack.


    Would you believe I got one of these panels from a scrap yard in the UK 6-7 years ago and have carried it round with me ever since, moved half way round the world with it, moved house 5 times and kept it in my LJ spares box, waiting for this exact moment for this exact car (it doesnt fit the short wheel base)! :shifty:




    The wheels are ok and the cheap nasty 33" mud tyres will do for now. 33" is the size I intend to stick with on this build anyway.


    It has got decent Dobinsons suspension on it like my other 70's, but the front springs need changing for some stiffer ones so I can do away with those hideous spring spacers.


    The bullbar is decent and is a high mount one so will take my Warn 8274 nicely.





    Now your up to date on the car we can start to look at the build.........................

    I had arranged to go picking on Saturday before I even knew this car existed and stripped an entire front end off an early 70 series Prado, so I already have all the body work for the front end ready to go on! :icon-cool:




    The LJ and KZJ 78's and 79's are identical bodies, from the windscreen back as the new V8 70 series wagons! :think:

    So I really want to fit the later, much more modern looking, front end, giving me what will look like a $70k 76 series wagon, but with coil suspension all round and the same wheel track front and rear. :icon-twisted:

    Like this nice portal axled beast!



    But at $3.5k for all the bits I may wait a while and just fit the panels I already have for now. :shifty:



    So what is the plan?............................

    This 70 is going to be setup up for remote, long distance touring and camping.

    It will have:

    1KZ-T engine conversion
    33" BFG KM2's
    Warn 8274 winch on the front
    Front Eaton E locker
    Full length roof rack, ideally ARB with sideand rear awnings
    Heavy duty side steps
    Heavy duty rear bumper, without any swing outs.

    I'm excited about the huge boot space!


    I'm going to have the fridge mounted on a normal fridge slide on a false floor bolted to the floor of the car as I've found in my other 70 having the fridge up on top of the drawer system just isnt practical and the MSA drop slide I've got it a pain and bloody heavy!

    The fridge will be on one side and a couple of drawers next to, probably one above the other, up to the height of the fridge and then a shelf over the whole lot.

    Above that will be a mesh cargo barrier and I might add shelves/dividers for storing pillows/sleeping bags/clothes bags etc.
    I'm going to fit a water tank in at the back with a simple gravity fed tap on a pull out hose and maybe even a 3rd battery if I feel 2 under the bonnet isnt enough. :think:

    I need to clean up the body work, replace all the damaged panels and get it ready for a professional re-spray. Then I will get all the windows tinted. :icon-cool:

    Hoping to get the engine conversion done over the next few weeks if everything goes to plan. :icon-biggrin:

    Then I will get it registered on the road and get it resprayed then window tinted. :thumbup:
    Last edited: Feb 6, 2017
  2. stumog

    stumog Well-Known Member I am in england

    Nice one.

    This to.me is in the same condition that people here are charging 10k for a landrover at the moment.....

    I do love the blue primmer Ben I think you should leave it that shade of blue.
  3. StarCruiser

    StarCruiser Well-Known Member Supporter Guru I am in uk

    I've got to hand it to you Ben, you don't let the grass grow under your feet do you! I think you've achieved more in the last 9 months than I've achieved in the last 9 years. Making me feel a bit of a sloth if I'm honest. It amazes me that you've bought a truck and most of the parts to fix it in one weekend whilst in the middle of another build. I keep myself busy but I don't think even when I was 30 I was that productive.

    That's going to be a cracking truck by the time you've finished with it Ben. :thumbup:
    Last edited: Feb 6, 2017
  4. Paddler Ed

    Paddler Ed Well-Known Member I am in australia

    I've got lost Ben:
    LJ is getting the 1UZ?
    RJ is getting the 2L
    LJ78 os getting the 1KZ

    Is that correct?

    Now my next question is one that may slow things down with body swaps and chassis swaps...

    How are you going to manage all of this as LJ has the personal import plate, the RJ has an Australian Compliance plate and the LJ78 has a low volume "manufacturer" plate on it? Or is it the don't ask questions, therefore don't need to worry about answers?

    My thought is the LJ78, as its not "made" by Toyota, may need a engineering for the 1KZ, as they may not have been approved with that engine from that manufacturer, unlike a Toyota LJ78 where you could claim its the same as a VDJ78 and get away with it easily.

    Sorry to lib spanners in the works, but these will all make getting RWC easier, even in QLD
  5. Ben

    Ben Well-Known Member Guru I am in australia

    Thanks guys. :thumbup:

    Thats correct.

    A vehicles identity is its chassis!

    You can change the body, you can change the engine, it will still be the same vehicle as its registered with that chassis number!

    Engineering/RWC is all easy stuff to get if the work has been done right and to a high standard, so I've got no worries there. :icon-biggrin:
  6. StarCruiser

    StarCruiser Well-Known Member Supporter Guru I am in uk

    I got lost as well so that's got me clear too :)
    Last edited: Feb 7, 2017
  7. Paddler Ed

    Paddler Ed Well-Known Member I am in australia

    So given that Toyota stamp the body with the chassis number, how are you going to juggle that and moving VIN and Compliance plates around, or are all the bodies staying with their original chassis... in which case everything I've written can be ignored, as all it becomes is motor swaps which are quite easy!

    I think that the body swaps may be harder to do as they may have changed to prevent ringing of cars (ie, I steal a Troopy, and have a rolled Troopy that isn't on the WOVR... using the rolled Troopy chassis I can then make a good registerable one using bits from the stolen one)
    Last edited: Feb 6, 2017
  8. StarCruiser

    StarCruiser Well-Known Member Supporter Guru I am in uk

    I have been thinking along the same lines as you regarding the fridge and drawers Ben. I may have something along these lines sometime soon. Drawings are finished and it's out for quoting.
    Ben likes this.
  9. Ash Awbery

    Ash Awbery New Member I am in great_britain

    Wow great find in getting a 78 with 2 of the three rare points! A factory diff lock and a manual and now soon to get the 3rd (the kz)
    I recently got an auto lj78 for the same reasons as you, the lj70 simply isn't big enough the wife, baby and dogs to go camping in. Lots of your plans are similar to mine but I get the feeling yours will come to life a lot sooner than mine.

    I'm very interested in the up grade to VDJ front end, not that it makes much diffence over here (my dream is to import a vdj76 possibly from SA) but I love the look, and as I'm undecided what to do with the 2lt I have been toying with getting a run down 80 series and building my self a HD cruiser with coils and a 4.2 and a vdj front would give enough room for the extra engine length.

    I will be watching with anticipation to see how it turns out.
    Ben likes this.
  10. clivehorridge

    clivehorridge Well-Known Member Supporter Guru I am in romania

    Amazing Ben, rather you than me.

    You get 10/10 for enthusiasm, and 12/10 for results, looking forward to seeing the progress on this.

    Is this known as multi-tasking? :lol:
    Rusty Bottoms and Ben like this.
  11. Gary820

    Gary820 Well-Known Member I am in great_britain

    Looking forward to another build to put us all to shame lol.
    Good luck with it, it'll make a great camping/touring vehicle.
    Ben likes this.
  12. doyle61

    doyle61 Member I am in ireland

    The colour is. ........interesting alright lol, but you know what, I like the truck. For all the untidyness it somehow looks honest if you get me. Personally I'd love to do one of these with the round lights and front that RJ has. I just prefer the older look. Looking forward to the thread Ben
    Ben likes this.
  13. Beau

    Beau Well-Known Member I am in guyana

    Nice one! It's gonna be tough keeping up with all the build threads now :tearsofjoy:
    Ben likes this.
  14. Ben

    Ben Well-Known Member Guru I am in australia

    Thanks guys! :thumbup:

    I'm so excited about this build, its going to be awesome! :dance:

    With LJ I started off wanting to make it the most capable car I could for extreme off road driving, then changed direction and tried to build it into more of a touring/overlanding vehicle but the size of it just made things difficult!

    Where as with this one I'm building it as a touring/overlanding vehicle from the start so I can do everything right from the beginning and end up with my dream car and still have LJ, with the soft top body and V8 as a fun car! :banana-angel:

    FFS its really not that complicated Ed!

    The identity of the car is the chassis and chassis number. Sure the chassis number is stamped into the little alluminium plate that is riveted to the firewall with 2 rivets, but when you do a body swap you just attach that plate to the firewall of the new body.

    In actual fact you dont even need that little plate riveted to the firewall, all it does is tell you the spec of the vehicle ie. colour, trim level, transmission type, diff ratio. Its more for the mechanic/guy in the parts department ordering bits etc. than for any legal requirement.

    I'm swapping one 3 door body with another, the chassis wont be altered in any way, everything will line up and bolt straight on. :icon-rolleyes:

    Do you realise you're the only one to comment on this thread without an ounce of positiveness! :thumbdown:

    You havent come on her like the other guys and said "good on ya Ben", "cool project", "nice one" etc.

    If you havent got anything nice to say, please refrain from posting in future. :eusa-naughty:
    Last edited: Feb 7, 2017
  15. yota_lj

    yota_lj Active Member I am in italy

    Hi Ben!!
    This is a new one? :D :D :D
    Nice paint :o :o!!
    But I think that your new project is really good!
    Is in substitution of '93 LJ70, or you will have both?
  16. Paddler Ed

    Paddler Ed Well-Known Member I am in australia

    Hi Ben,

    Sorry I've come across as negative, I don't want to see all your hard work go to waste when some pompous official says No.

    I did have a comment that I thought I had written, but obviously it got lost, about the usual standard of detail that you put into anything you out your mind to...

    On the flip side, I've spoken to a mate who is a NSW based mechanic and he says the VIN on the chassis is key (as you said), but you may need to choose your inspector carefully....

    The main posts I come on here to see are yours as they're always interesting.
  17. Graham

    Graham Well-Known Member I am in uk

    Good spannering Ben.

    Three Land Cruisers on the go.

    I would start with buying flowers, then swiftly moving on to washing dishes, and don't forget, she need not put the garbage out any more, tell her you will take care of that from now.

    Got to really stay in the good books now

    Pat, clivehorridge and doyle61 like this.
  18. Ben

    Ben Well-Known Member Guru I am in australia

    I was thinking about the build driving into work today and was thinking that do I really want to risk putting an expensive paint job over the top of that blue primer that has been painted on top of rattle can black.

    After all anyone stupid enough to paint a car with rattle cans is probably stupid enough to have done no prep first, so they probably never sanded the car down to key the surface.

    Then I thought what if I dont need to respray the whole car at all, what if I can cut and polish through those layers of paint back down to the dark bluish grey, metallic paint underneath. :think:

    What do you think?

    Got to be worth a go I think. :icon-biggrin:

    Yep a new one! :dance:

    This one will replace my LJ70 as my camping/overland vehicle.

    My LJ70 is getting the soft top body off my RJ70 and 1UZ Lexus V8 engine! :icon-twisted:

    No worries mate, all good. :thumbup:

    Yeah crazy aye! :crazy:

    Shes actually keeps encouraging me! :wtf:

    I went to look at another soft top 70 a few weeks ago after I had convinced myself it wasnt a good idea, she came home and was like just buy it if you want it! :icon-eek:

    Told her yesterday I might need to put a few parts in one of the spare rooms. :shifty:

    Shes pretty cool with this so far. :whistle:

  19. Pat

    Pat Well-Known Member I am in new_zealand

    Good on you,Ben,they are a great wagon.I was brought up thinking that Yankee cars were the best then I deviated into English cars a near new
    1954 Ford Anglia but not much room when out with girls then a Vauxhall Velox
    which was a dog later on marriage and back to yank tanks,room for kids dog and odd times goats,the r&m wore me down so more variety and then I
    went for drive in a Jap import KZJ78 and have never looked back,they're the best.
  20. StarCruiser

    StarCruiser Well-Known Member Supporter Guru I am in uk

    Ok, I think I'm clear now. Just as I know nothing about 70's, please tell me what is so special about the chassis of LJ compared to the chassis of RJ as, in essence, it's that and the running gear you are swapping? Unless I've still got it wrong. :crazy:
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