Saturday, June 28, 2014

...and sold John Mayer

Apparently, my old truck has sold again, this time to John Mayer. Weird.

More photos from the seller, Land Cruiser Nation, here.

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Sold again

My old truck has apparently sold again, and this time the sale has taken it out of state. The new owner seems genuinely happy with it and I hope he'll fill me in on how it's doing from time to time.

It still looks really good, doesn't it?

Sunday, September 23, 2012


The dreaded day has come. This is the last few moments before I drove my truck to its new owner, a very nice man in Rogers who purchased a motorcycle that I restored and came back later to make an offer on my truck.

I thought about it for a long time and, with some help from my girlfriend, decided that it's time for a new project. I'll put in a link to the blog I start to chronicle its renovation soon. For now, I'm truckless and sort of bummed out.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Pressed into service again

This winter has proven to be really snowy and I've been living out of my Land Cruiser lately. I can't even see my car under all the snow that has fallen, so I expect that trend to continue.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Clutch master

After heavy snow over the weekend, I had to drive my truck for work. The roads were impassible with the foot of snow that fell and without my truck, I would have been walking. The only problem was, the clutch master has seemed spongy over the last week or so. Now that I needed my truck, I worried a bit that the master cylinder might fail as I drove it.

I drove in town for nearly 100 miles as I worked and it worked flawlessly.

After the snow cleared, I decided to wash my truck after a day in the snow. As I got in it to drive to the car wash, the clutch pedal was completely soft. Thankfully, my truck put in a long day with me and returned home to the garage before it died. Amazing, really.

The clutch slave and master have never been replaced, and have worked for 37 years. I expected to replace the whole system soon, and years ago collected the parts I would need before they became discontinued.

The clutch slave cylinder was truly the most difficult OEM part to find. I always prefer OEM parts, but the after market slave cylinder does not include the push rod making finding a Toyota part all the more attractive. I was able to track down an OEM replacement along with the flexible and hard lines, bolts and spring clip.

After bench-bleeding the master, I installed the rest of the parts, bled the system and it all works as it should.

With the clutch master out, I took the opportunity to use carburetor cleaner to remove the black rattle-can spray paint from the brake booster. It looks great all shined up. I cleaned the check valve and installed a new clamp for the vacuum line. I have a reproduction decal for the top of the booster coming to me in the mail.

I'm not sure why the booster was painted, but the paint kept it from rusting over the years. For the first time I am thankful for one of the the many odd things that the previous owner did.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Toyota and part numbers

Though Toyota continues to manufacture parts for the FJ40s, there are still so many parts that are no longer available. Available parts for the 1958-1974 thin-door cruisers like this one are becoming fewer and fewer. Mostly what is still available is limited to just what it takes to keep them running. In the short time since I had my truck painted, Toyota has stopped making the lower doors, the bump stop for the spare tire gate, the headlight buckets and the rear reflectors. I'm sure there are plenty more that have been discontinued that I haven't stumbled onto yet.

I can't blame Toyota, though. The 1975-84 cruisers are more plentiful and more desirable for the average owner, so parts for the old ones can't be much of a priority. Even the most popular disc-brake years, 1976-84, are not what one would call common on the road anymore, so parts for them couldn't amount to much sales. It's simply out of a sense of loyalty to the FJ40 that Toyota still makes this stuff.

There are more than a few parts that I would love to be able to find new, and one of those has always been the hose clamps that Toyota made for these trucks. They are wire, as seen above on the upper radiator hose, instead of the banded or spring kind that one sees today and they are very distinctive. Seeing the more modern band clamp installed just doesn't look quite right.

Specter has long had them listed as discontinued, but after stumbling onto a Toyota dealership that has the entire Toyota parts catalog online, I found that they had only changed part numbers a multitude of times and were largely still available. With the help of Ed Dale at our local Toyota lot, we tracked down all of the other clamps and figured out all the right part numbers.

This is the lower radiator hose at the inlet for the heater loop. It was probably time to replace the hoses anyway, and having the old-style clamps makes everything look right. I even used some silver enamel paint to clean up the heads after scratching them while tightening them.

Probably most conspicuous are the eight clamps that are visible in the cabin that service the front and rear heaters.

I was glad to have a set of photographs taken from a 1973 that was offered for sale with only 17,000 miles. I asked the owner to send photos of everything around the truck before it sold and they have proven very helpful. It was nice to be able to know which way the clamps were installed originally.

Foolishly, I bought the two supply lines that go to and from the front heater, above, from Toyota hoping they were formed or marked in some interesting way, but I ended up paying nearly $30 for less than two feet of 5/16-inch heater hose.

Oh well.

Probably the most fun item that the Land Cruisers that were shipped to North America featured is the rear heater. I rebuilt the blower motor that sits in the middle of this and had a local radiator shop sweat the core back together. All the parts of the outer assembly were sand blasted and painted while the core was re-galvanized.

After it was reassembled, I installed it in its spot right behind the seats, but without the right hose clamps, I was reluctant to connect it to the coolant system. Now, I charged it and it works really well. Our little late-winter cold snap made having both heaters finally working fun.

For those who might need or want this, here are the current part numbers and how many you'll need:

96112-10220 1/2-inch heater hose clamp (8)
96112-10250 5/8-inch heater hose clamp (10)
96111-10500 upper radiator hose clamp (3)
96111-10580 lower radiator hose clamp (3)

Tuesday, February 23, 2010


Shane Walters, a Land Cruiser enthusiast in Oregon, makes reproduction decals for Land Cruisers. Nearly all of the ones on my truck that I did not have made myself came from him.

At left is a reproduction of a decal that was found on the back rest of the jump seats that Walters had made. I bought a set a few days ago. They are about an inch long and the color of masking tape. I recall a piece of one of these decals on my jump seats, but it was removed long ago when I had them sand blasted and repainted.

Walters' eBay Store is full of reproduction decals that have long been discontinued or were never offered for sale and his work is second to none. Little details like these make a big difference and really finish out a project well.

I'm trying to help him with a part decal for the rear heater, the last decal that is missing from my truck. At least the last one that I know about.