It’s finally done!!!!
Anyway, about a 1-˝ years ago I did the cosmetic restoration. I cut out a little bit of rust and welded in new sheet metal in the L/R quarter panel area above the tail light, under one bolt of each rear jump seat and rear sill plate. Completely stripped the vehicle down, pulled all the glass out and had the entire exterior and cargo area repainted the stock color code #854 blue.
At that time I also had all the seats re-upholstered, 5 new 15X8 rock crawler rims and 31X10.5X15 Pro Comp tires, rebuilt the carb, replaced the fuel pump, weather stripping on all 4 doors, hood latches, windshield bumpers, tail light lenses, u-joints, clutch master and slave kit, all new motor mounts, replaced the entire brake system, machined the rotors and drums all new wheel bearings, rebuilt the front knuckles, all new tie rod ends, all 4 seat belts, replaced the door hinge and spare tire carrier bushings and replaced all the exterior and interior bolts, a Sony am/fm/cd player and 4 speakers, etc, etc.
I drove it his way for a while doing little more than normal maintenance with the exception on adding a mini truck power steering box and a used power steering pump and bracket from a FJ60. This was a cheap conversion ($300) and was well worth the effort. ( NOTE: when doing this conversion, do yourself a favor and remove the L/F fender for better access).
About 1 month ago I finally got the money together to finish the restoration. I pulled the front fenders and bib off the vehicle and pulled the engine, trans and transfer case as a unit. I cleaned the firewall, inner fender panels and the backside of the bib using simple green and a brush (What a mess! NOTE: I laid a large piece of plastic down and a large cardboard box on top of it to catch and soak up all the nasty run off. When done I just rolled up the plastic and cardboard and threw it and 23 years of grunge away)
While I had the motor out, I cleaned and repainted the motor and re-tightened the intake bolts. A compression test (prior to removal) revealed 145 lbs. To 148 lbs. across the board. I also pulled the oil pan to replace the gasket and measured the bearing clearances all looked good so I left it alone. I acquired a rebuilt transmission and transfercase and mated it to the motor with a new clutch kit and rear main seal.
With motor back in, I installed a new 4 row radiator, ALL heater and radiator hoses and clamps (30+ clamps) fuel lines, oil sending unit, new Toyota muffler assy, had the drive shaft checked at JE Reel (all was good including the slip joint), fan clutch, Aussie floor mats (very nice), door panels, front door latches, catalytic converter and my most favorite thing of all, a CCOT a/c system!!!
My thermometer has registered 28-degree air coming out of the vents and the fan blows HARD!! CCOT did a great job on getting this system right. I did add insulation under the front and rear cargo mats to aid in keeping the unwanted heat out (NOTE: even if you don’t have a/c, get some of that aluminum backed insulation and put it aluminum side down under your mats, it makes a BIG difference!).
The only thing I want to do is to add a FJ60 carb, so that I can have the “idle up” feature when the a/the Consumer compressor engages. I plan on keeping this cruiser for a long time and I now get to drive and enjoy it no matter what the weather holds. We take it off roading frequently as we camp a lot in the So.Calif deserts and mountains.
I would like to send a very big Thank You to ALL the staff at CCOT. Without their supply of affordable quality parts, this would not have happened as easily as it did,
Sincerely, Randy Castleman