Back in 2002, I stumbled across a classified advertisement. It was for a Landcruiser FJ62. I was on the hunt for a family truck capable of carrying the usual assortment of small children and their vital toys, friends and jumble to the inevitable kids events. Plus it had to double as a workhorse for my job, be something my wife would drive and above all be reliable. A 100 Series Landcruiser would have been wonderful, but the budget dictated that they were well out of reach. I’m looking at the pictures. It’s rare in the UK. a petrol engined Landcruiser 60 series. It’s inevitable thirst meant that it wasn’t selling. A voice over my shoulder says, “I like them.”
“Would you drive it?”
“Sure, I quite like the look of that.”
Our FJ62 became a vital part of the family.
Over the following years, it became a great workhorse, carrying or towing a wide variety of loads from sacks of cement, double glazing units, racing cars and a complete bathroom to the usual kids mountain bikes and trips to the dump, plus a large variety of camera and video gear as needed.
It took us off roading in Yorkshire, camping in the Lake District and carried the family safely and utterly reliably around the UK.
Our FJ62 was originally an import to the UK from South Africa and had passed through several owners before we bought her. But eventually, her lack of corosion proofing and a failed MOT test meant that she was parked up. I’m no mechanic or bodywork expert, so I spent a winter watching her get worse, wondering whether to just sell for spares or actually do something with her. The decision was made for me when I mentioned that I might be ‘getting rid’ to the rest of the family. “You can’t……we’ve had her too long……she’s part of the family”
I had to admit, I had a soft spot for it old girl, especially when I remembered some of the ridiculous things she’d managed, such as pulling a fully laden 10 tonne truck off a muddy traffic island for the police or embarassing a fully tricked up Jeep Cherokee around a North Yorkshire off road course. Plenty of people spend vast sums of money resurecting old Land Rovers, so why not an old ‘Cruiser?
But since 2011 she’s been parked up. Stored partly indoors and sometimes outside, the British weather has taken it’s toll and now she needs help badly.
I have friends with workshop space and metalworking skills, plus a limited budget for parts, so I’m starting this restoration project in the hope that I haven’t left her for too long…..
So the question is, “Can someone who has a rough idea what to do, but no real practical experience of panel beating or major overhaul work, not just restore an old FJ62 Landcruiser, but make it better, using tools available from Machine Mart and some borrowed garage space?”
The Landcruiser Restoration Plan
My good friend John who has a ‘sleepy hollow’ business tucked away restoring old Jags and Healeys has taken me under his wing and offered a corner of his workshop. She’s now living there and we’ve had a good squint at the major issues and talked through a plan and made a list of the principle issues, dividing the jobs into two lists – essentials and desirables.
Essentials is a list of things that either need to be done to restore the bodywork and mechanicals that are needed before she can be submitted for an MOT test or need major attention right now. Desirables falls into two sub categories – a list of little tweaks, additions or not too major things that can be done to update it and another list, more of a wish list really, of stuff that would really make it sing and be a superb tool for many years to come….
So to the lists. There are two of them, an ‘Essentials” and a “Desirables”. Essentials are the things that simply must be done before it can pass a UK MOT test and get road legal again, plus other stuff that’s probably going to fail if left.
Desirables are the other things that aren’t vital, but would enhance or update the truck and make it easier to live with in 2010.
As I mentioned, she’s an import to the UK from South Africa many years ago, so no rust proofing at all. This means that the bodywork is now desparately in need of repair. The big issue is panels. Genuine Toyota metal, where available, is expensive as no repair panels are available, so you’re buying a large panel to replace just one rusted section. The main areas are:
Tailgate lower section
Rear wheel arches and the section from the rear wheel to the bumper
The sill sections on both sides
The lower part of the front wings (fenders)
The chassis itself needs a small amount of welding but is surprisingly good.
Bonnet front edge – probably need to find a replacement
Front wings – may repair, but as with the bonnet, considerable work will be needed to sort them
Finally, those 15 inch wheels and 30.5” tyres are certainly past their best, so I’ll need to find her a new wheel and tyre combination.
All of the mechanical issues are fixable. It’s the bodywork that worries me. Looking around the internet there are several places that seem to sell Landcruiser FJ60 Series repair panels. But none seem to be particularly clear about the quality or the fit.
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