...a winter/camping/dog park/skiing/hiking/hardware hauling rig. The hunt is over, as I jumped on a somewhat beat-on but solid-enough FJ80 Land Cruiser this weekend. It needs a few things right away, but I'm looking forward to cleaning it up and making it a bit more expedition-ready. If any of that process is actually interesting, I'll be sure to document it for you fine people.

It's a '92, 230K+ miles, with only the center diff lock switch (no front and rear lockers)—which is fine for my purposes, as I have no intention of doing any serious wheeling or rock crawling. Condition is decent—just fine for a 20+ year old truck, but far from pristine. It runs and shifts great, but it has a pretty bad coolant leak at the top of the radiator so I'll be getting that taken care of first. Oil and transmission fluid look good. It has a bit of a rhythmic vibration and noise when braking that I'm going to have to track down, but once again, the brakes seem to work just fine, even with a heavy load (took it to Home Depot on Saturday and came back with about 20 bags of soil and compost). It may have been smoked in, although it smells more like "old truck" than it does like smoke, but either way a thorough interior detail is a must. And it has a few small spots of surface rust in a couple spots where there are small dents or dings in the paint. Otherwise, there are just a bunch of little things here and there that need replacing or sprucing up—you can see in the picture, for example, that it's missing the left rear side marker. A few of the light bulbs are out, the belt moulding on one window is missing, the inside handle for the tailgate needs replacing, etc. It has wheels from a newer Tacoma and an aftermarket stereo, although nothing special.


The plans, time and money allowing, go something like this: radiator and associated hoses, all the little cosmetic quirks (already ordered most of the parts), an interior detail, brake noise, and then it's time to start on the fun mods for expedition readiness, like a roof rack, new front bumper, and so on.