4 Wheel & Off Road - - CONTENTS - Harry Wag­ner BY ED­I­[email protected] PHO­TOG­RA­PHY HARRY WAG­NER

1985 Toy­ota Land Cruiser FJ60.

TOYOTAS HAVE LONG HAD A REP­u­ta­tion for be­ing “un­der­pow­ered and over­built.” That in­cludes the 60 Se­ries, long the black sheep of the Land Cruiser fam­ily. They use es­sen­tially the same run­ning gear as the smaller 40 Se­ries but weigh a thou­sand pounds more and have con­sid­er­ably more sheet­metal to mar on the trail. And they lack the coil sus­pen­sion and re­fine­ment of the later 80 Se­ries wag­ons. Lately though, the 60 Se­ries has en­joyed a resur­gence. This par­tic­u­lar spec­i­men is one of the best ex­am­ples to show­case the strengths of these ve­hi­cles.

In or­der to get the most out of any 60 Se­ries, a heart trans­plant is nec­es­sary. This par­tic­u­lar Cruiser has housed three en­gines dur­ing its life. We will spare you an­other Goldilocks ref­er­ence, but the new en­gine is clearly the best match to the weight and in­tended use of the ve­hi­cle. Note that the fac­tory 2F en­gine was never a pow­er­house, with re­li­a­bil­ity be­ing its only re­deem­ing fea­ture. The F se­ries in­line-six en­gines are heavy and un­der­pow­ered, and Dirk Nel­son pre­vi­ously had a five-cylin­der Mercedes diesel en­gine and a five-speed Toy­ota trans­mis­sion retro­fit into his 1985 FJ60. The idea of be­ing able to pour waste oil from the lo­cal Chi­nese restau­rant into the fuel tank and drive off was ap­peal­ing, but the re­al­ity is that the Mercedes en­gine suf­fered from the same is­sues as the orig­i­nal 2F; namely, it just didn’t gen­er­ate enough power to mo­ti­vate the heavy wagon.

En­ter Stof­fre­gen Mo­tor­sports. The team there re­tained the H55F five-speed trans­mis­sion but yanked out the Mercedes diesel and re­placed it with a 5.3L V-8 from Tilden Mo­tor­sports. Now if you are say­ing, “An­other LS swap!” take a step back be­fore you spend some­one else’s vir­tual money on their pride and joy. The GM Gen3 en­gines are pop­u­lar for a rea­son. They check all of the boxes for this, and many other, off-road ve­hi­cles. The en­gines are rel­a­tively in­ex­pen­sive and easy to source, they make great power in a com­pact pack­age (par­tic­u­larly com­pared to over­head­cam en­gines), and the af­ter­mar­ket has em­braced this plat­form with ev­ery swap part and power adder you can think of. Nel­son could have spent twice as much to put a 4.7L Toy­ota V-8 un­der the hood, but why? Af­ter tak­ing a chance on the Mercedes en­gine and be­ing un­der­whelmed, go­ing the tried-and-true way of rem­e­dy­ing the “un­der­pow­ered” as­pect of an “over­built” Toy­ota was the best so­lu­tion.

1 Rolling stock con­sists of 34-inch-tall 285/75R17 Toyo Open Coun­try A/Ts mounted on Teflon-coated Amer­i­can Rac­ing Mo­jave wheels. The tires are well matched to the ca­pa­bil­i­ties of the ve­hi­cle; they are ag­gres­sive enough to go ev­ery­where Nel­son wants to go without the noise typ­i­cally as­so­ci­ated with mud-ter­rain tires.

2 The new pow­er­plant is a 5.3L Chevy V-8 from Tilden Mo­tor­sports. This is a lowmileage take­out en­gine that shows up on a pal­let with all of the ac­ces­sories and wiring nec­es­sary for it to run. Stof­fre­gen Mo­tor­sports did the in­stal­la­tion and han­dled de­tails such as the mo­tor mount place­ment, in­take plumb­ing, and coolant lines. Stof­fre­gen also cleaned up the com­pos­ite in­take man­i­fold so it wouldn’t look like a rat maze any­more.

3 The Au­to­home Mag­gi­olina rooftop tent is fit­ted onto a Front Run­ner roof rack. It makes a com­fort­able place to rest af­ter a long day on the trail, fea­tur­ing 4 inches of in­su­la­tion. And with 36 inches of head­room there is plenty of space to sit up or even change clothes.

4 The in­te­rior of this 30-year-old Cruiser is in re­mark­able con­di­tion. Stof­fre­gen Mo­tor­sports used Toy­ota oil pres­sure and wa­ter tem­per­a­ture send­ing units to al­low the use of the fac­tory gauges. The seats have been re­cov­ered in leather by Car­ney Uphol­stery and flank a su­per­cool cus­tom wood cen­ter con­sole.

5 A rear bumper and tire car­rier from 4x4Labs holds a full­size spare tire and a Yeti cooler. A match­ing front bumper sits up front, with pro­vi­sions for a winch should Dirk Nel­son choose to add one in the fu­ture.

6 The coil-on-plug ig­ni­tion and pushrod de­sign of the Gen3 en­gine leaves plenty of space in the en­gine bay for ac­ces­sories, such as the ARB air com­pres­sor, the fac­tory vacuum brake booster, and an ac­ces­sories fuse block that is tied into the dual Op­tima RedTop bat­ter­ies.

7 Old Man Emu leaf springs are fit­ted un­der the front and rear axles to min­i­mize axle wrap and pro­vide a smooth, pre­dictable ride. The front sus­pen­sion has a shackle re­ver­sal that im­proves ride qual­ity. At both ends the U-bolts are pointed up­wards to max­i­mize ground clear­ance and OME Nitrocharger shocks smooth out the bumps. The fac­tory Land Cruiser front axle has been re­built and up­graded with an ARB Air Locker and 4.88 gears. The gears were well matched to the fac­tory en­gine but a lit­tle deep for the V-8 power­band. They will likely be swapped out for 4.10s soon.

8 The fac­tory rear axle is off­set to match the Toy­ota “split case” trans­fer case and uses a third mem­ber filled with 4.88 gears and an ARB Air Locker. Also vis­i­ble is the 38-gal­lon Man-afre fuel tank that pro­vides ex­cel­lent range for back­coun­try ex­plor­ing.








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