My favorite Cruiser ( NOT !Oy )
A note from Coolerman: Thanks for looking! Please be aware that this web site contains many links to high resolution pictures. Since the purpose if this site is to show you what I did, I left the pics hi-res. Most are 1024 x 768 in size. Some are larger! When you click on a thumb nail it will open a high resolution picture in a separate window.
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The beginning of this journey is a series of link at the bottom of each page, starting with this page. They detail what I did BEFORE I decided to do a frame off restovication. Basically the things necessary to get it to run. To navigate to the rest of the many pages, use the Page Index or the Drop Down List at the top and bottom of every page.
What do you call a vehicle that is 27 years old (as of 1998), hasn't run in 5 years, has more rust than solid metal, has three coats of paint the top one a military drab, the bottom one Sea Foam Green , the middle one Desert Sand, has a rear axle that is mostly in boxes, has an electrical system with a mind of it's own and doesn't have a title? Well my wife called it an eyesore, my neighbor called it an ugly J**p, and the tow truck driver who delivered it called it one heavy beast.
What is it? Well, it's my 2/1971 Toyota FJ40 Land Cruiser...
I acquired this truck in the above condition from my younger brother Shawn in August 1998 after he went through a divorce. The deal was I would keep it for him until he could get the money to get it running. Uh huh...
When the tow truck delivered it, I used cinder blocks to support the rear, threw the parts boxes, rims, and axles in the back on top of the rusted out tail gate, slide the axle housing under the truck, threw a canvas tarp over all of it and promptly forgot about it. The wife, of course, started constantly asked when I was getting rid of it. (She still does...)
During the fall of 2001 I was working on a 1972 Ford F100 truck inherited from my grandfather, I had it running well and was considering restoring it. In addition to that I had gotten a 2000 Nissan Xterra that I was doing a little off-roading in. Then I got a call from my brother saying that his car had blown an engine and could he 'borrow' the Ford for a while. Like any good brother I said no problem. Since I now had nothing to work on I took a peek at the old truck under the tarp. Lord! What a mess.
I did a quick inventory, decided I needed to research this thing a bit more, and placed the tarp back over it. I started by looking at the factory manuals I found in a box in the back. I was impressed by the amount of detailed knowledge they contained. Next I got on the web and found the TLCA and the mailing list. I joined the list and was a lurker for many weeks. I became fascinated by the history of the old Cruiser and read everything I could get my hands on. By now I guess I had been bitten by the Cruiser bug! I decided to start working on the truck. Knowing I could do nothing until the axle was back under the truck I pulled all the pieces into the garage, grabbed the manuals and proceeded to learn about brakes, c-clips and third members. I placed my first order with Man-A-Fre for brake shoes, gaskets, rear wheel cylinder rebuild kits and seals. While the parts were coming I cleaned up the housing and painted it black. The parts finally came and I learned to hate the dual wheel cylinders, shoes and springs, and God what were those guys thinking when they designed these brakes!!! Another order to Man-A-Fre procured greaseable spring pins for the rear, poly spring bushings, and a set of shackles. I finally got it all back together and slid the axle under the truck and bolted it back in . By now winter had set in and the Cruiser was looking a bit lonely under that tarp but she had all four wheels back on the ground!
A lot happened between 2001 and 2003 that prevented me from doing anything to the Cruiser. Money of course was the main factor. I had also gotten pretty involved with the Nissan crowd. I did a lot of work on the Xterra and had started wheeling it regularly. I added full skid plates, rock sliders, ARB front bumper, BFG tires and wired in a bunch of electrical toys. I even started a web business selling electrical kits for Nissans!
(If you were curious about how I got the screen name Coolerman, it involved a rutted hill, a Coleman cooler that was not secured in the back, and a hatch that was not latched. The result of all that was a cooler full of stuff scattered down the hill, and someone in the crowd yelling out: " Way to go there Coolerman!". It stuck. )
Also in August of 2002 my wife was involved in a bad accident that totaled my 1991 Nissan Pathfinder. She was sitting stopped in traffic when a lady in another Pathfinder (1998 unibody model), rear ended her doing about 25 mph. Short version: Wife was ok, my Pathfinder (with full frame) could actually be driven home, but the other Pathfinder was taken away on a trailer! The insurance company totaled mine then turned around and GAVE it to me!
Anyway I had to start looking for another vehicle and ended up with a 1995 Nissan Pathfinder! I now have a parts vehicle for the 95. I thought that I would turn it into a trail rig, but lack of money and as always time has kept me from doing that.
So the wife has finally nagged me enough this year to again get started on the Cruiser. I pulled the rotted tarp off, threw it away and took a few pictures of it before starting on it. Look at this Slide Show to see what I started with. Click on the pics on that page to enlarge them.
Well, if you looked at the slide show, you now have an idea of how far gone the old Cruiser was from rust cancer. From what I have gathered from various sources, this Cruiser is not a candidate for a frame off restoration, so this will be my learning Cruiser. Realizing that this Cruiser is 27 years old and still kicking, looks like a cobbled together war wagon, has the ability to make me cry, curse and despair, but knowing it would be like a fateful old dog always there to get me home, I knew I had a good name: !Oy. (If you are a Stephen King fan you will know from whence I got this name) So from now on the tired old Cruiser will be affectionately called !Oy.
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