For the last four months, this has been the scene in my Land Cruiser’s cabin: a worn out, gross ass steering wheel marring an otherwise fine interior.

It’s been chipping away at my sanity, but man, finding an FZJ80 steering wheel is hard work. Except that it isn’t.

See, it’s hard finding an FZJ80 wheel because they didn’t build a ton of them. But thankfully, in a fit of parts-bin glory Toyota decided the Cruiser could use the same wheel as its flagship vehicle, the LS400.

Actual donor vehicle.

A little Googling on the internet machine told me a 95-97 LS400 steering wheel is the same as my Cruiser’s. And wouldn’t you know it, a not so distant scrap yard had two of them.

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I wish I had had time to take more pictures during the disassembly, but my wife and 15 month were waiting out in the car. The main problem I had was that the last person to drive the car was apparently the shortest person in the world, so I couldn’t just sit in the car and work on it.

The wheel was also locked at 90 degrees, so to get the right one I had to lay across the seats with my head under the wheel. Good times!

Now there are two kinds of steering wheel removals: when you’re reinstalling the wheel in that car, and when you aren’t. My natural inclination is to leave things as good and with as much usable for the next guy as I can, but my wife texted me as I got the airbag off to tell me the baby was crying. Unfortunately that meant out came the wire cutters.

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About 20 minutes later I had my prize:

I gotta say, that’s a preeeetty nice wheel. I didn’t note the mileage on the car, but I can’t imagine it was much less than mine at 177k.

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It was a much easier job going back on in my truck. The only weird thing was that there was a ground wire I had to cut on both wheels (it was riveted on) and solder back together. Thankfully that’s a thing I’m actually really good at.

Here’s the end result:

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Seriously, $16.99 at this yard. I mean the place was a mess, I’m spoiled by Pick N Pull, but the car was where they said it would be and had lots of good useable parts on it. This is really a high quality improvement, something I’m going to notice literally every day.

I apologize to the junk yard gods if I angered them by cutting those wires, but I did have somebody at Pick n Pull once tell me if I couldn’t get the trunk open that I could just pry it, so maybe that’s not a breach of etiquette? Oh well, I’ve got a nice steering wheel now, so that’s all that matters.