FOR SALE ’84 Toyota LandCruiser FJ-60

Hey, Matt! Thanks for your interest in the LandCruiser. I’m glad to hear that you’re a TLC person yourself, and I’m happy to think of my FJ-60 going to a good Toyota-loving home! I think it’d look great parked next to your FJ-80!!

In answer to your questions . . . let’s see . . . I’m only selling it because I’m moving out of the country indefinitely and I don’t want to store it. Otherwise I’d keep it. The Cruiser has a three-inch lift on custom springs from Cool Cruisers of Texas. The steel bumpers and rock sliders were made custom by a guy in South Weber. It’s been repainted and the upholstery was redone just before I bought it in 2007, so it looks great cosmetically. (Sorry you couldn’t tell too well from the pics.) There is some rust (aka cancer) inside the doors, but that’s inevitable. I don’t think you’ll find any ‘84s without cancer in the doors. There were a few holes in the rear quarter panels, too, but they were fixed before I bought it. Overall, it’s in great shape for a Utah Cruiser.

And, yes, I did pay to have the motor swapped in the summer of 2009. I have all the paperwork, in case you want to see it. As a potential buyer, I’m sure you’re experiencing a little bit of trepidation, and you’re probably wondering why I swapped the motor in the first place!! I’ll be honest with you, because I know the anxiety that surrounds buying a used vehicle, especially a vehicle of this nature. Also, it sounds like you know your TLCs already, so there’s probably no use in trying to pull a fast one on you!!

Sure, it’s true that the 2F straight six motor Toyota put in the FJ-60s will run forever. But, there is one crucial detail that you have to remember: you HAVE to stay on top of the oil ALWAYS. One unique feature of this particular motor is that it was designed with a dry sump oil circulation system. This means that the oil tends to settle down into the reservoir when the car is sitting or when it’s running at low RPMs for too long. If you don’t keep the oil up at the recommended level, that whole TOYOTAS RUN FOREVER idea goes out the window, so to speak.

So, when you drive your 1984 FJ-60 TLC all summer long, including tri-weekly swimming trips with your friends to Hyrum Dam, frequent trips up Logan Canyon to take the dog swimming in the river, and a backpacking trip to the Wind River Range of Wyoming, AND you don’t check the oil regularly, you’re going to end up burning a lot more oil than you think. Later that season when you get upset with your girlfriend and take off up Millville Canyon with a couple of your buddies late at night, you’re going to burn even more oil than you would ever think. I’m telling you, Cruisers burn oil. When you get up to the point where the road splits and one branch heads toward Logan Peak, when you’re in 4-LOW and creeping over large rocks at steep angles, the motor is going to struggle to circulate the insufficient amount of oil it’s working with.

At the point where you have to crawl up and over a particularly large rock, and the tires are spinning and you’re grinding over the rock on your sliders, the motor is going to straight up cut out. All the lights will still be on and the fuel gauge will be up, so you’ll know it’s not an electric problem or a fuel problem. You’ll assume that, at least. If you try to start it again, it’s going to sound like the starter is picking up before it emits a solid CLICK. It’ll sound like this: grrr-ree-ree-ree-ree-GRRRCK. grrr-ree-ree-ree-ree-GRRRCK. ETC.

For the record, this is what you do when the DAMNED thing won’t start again: you joke with your friends a little bit about driving a beater car, then ask your friends to get out and spot you for the descent; you ease off the rock you’re perched on; you cuss a little bit, casually; you coast backward, downhill, to a point where the road opens up enough to allow the performance of what we’ll call THE REVERSE SPIN MOVE OF DEATH; you have to get up enough speed to allow you to whip the vehicle around in such a way that you’ll start rolling forward once you’ve executed SAID MOVE (imagine something like a buttonhook play in football); DON’T run over the friend who’s spotting you and DON’T coast off the road into the trees.

Once you’re turned around and heading downhill, you can try to jump-start the Cruiser, but you’ll just grind along in the gravel. You’ll say something to the extent of WHAT THE HELL?! You’ll attribute the sliding to a lack of traction. Keep coasting, bombing through the flats even if it sounds like you’re going to rattle to pieces, until you get to the paved road into Millville. You’ll think about how much a new starter costs, cuz that’s what you’ll blame this whole mishap on. When you hit the pavement and try to jump the Cruiser again, and the wheels keep locking up, this is when the MOTHER . . . F***ERS are going to start issuing forth from the pit of your stomach: this is when it will dawn on you that the motor has seized because the oil was too low. Too hot, not enough oil, too much strain on the motor. No more DAMNEDs, HELLs, or even BASTARD-SON-OF-A-BITCHs. It’s time to pull all the stops, if you will. This is when your dad’s voice will drift into your mind: THIS IS WHY WE CAN’T HAVE NICE THINGS. This is when you’ll start cursing yourself for being so careless. There will be a slight tinge of apprehension of what’s to come and how much it’s going to cost, but you’ll mostly just be angry at this point. Angry at yourself, primarily.

When you’re almost to the Maverick station on the highway, the road is going to flatten out. At this point, you will wait till the car is down around 15 MPH, so you and your two friends will have to slide out and push it to the parking lot. Then you can call someone to come tow you back to your apartment. You will joke about your prowess in coasting down an entire mountain in neutral as you run in to buy a Gatorade or whatever sounds good.

Note: when you get reception and realize that your girlfriend has called and texted several times, already concerned about you and thinking that you’re avoiding her cuz you were upset earlier, don’t tell her PAM DIED. She will not remember that your license plate reads 096 PAM, nor that you dubbed the Cruiser PAM. A text reading PAM DIED will only confuse and bother her. And, when you try to clarify by texting THERE WAS A HORRIBLE ACCIDENT UP MILLVILLE AND PAM IS DEAD. BE HOME SOON, the communication breakdown will only get worse.

Note: actually, don’t sweat too much over what you’re going to say to your girlfriend because there’s a good chance that she’ll end up dumping you for someone who drives a cool European car. Some sweet-bro like that or some shit. Yeah, some kid who drives a Volkswagen GTi and says stuff like YEAH, BRO, FOR SURE, BRO. You’ll probably never know the exact truth about that whole thing, and you probably won’t care because she made you feel like such a chump and you’ll be totally over her anyway.

Don’t worry, though!! The fact that the motor seized at such a low speed means that nothing was wrecked outside of the engine. No damage to the transmission or anything. At least that’s what I’ve been telling myself.

Note: plan to spend about $2500 on a used 2F motor and labor. And, when a friend of a friend tells you that he’ll do the work for free, don’t listen to him because he’s LYING. He’ll later be dumped by his business partners because he’s SHADY and DISHONEST. You will end up paying them to do the work anyway. Just go straight to them. They’ll be really nice and you’ll all joke about how the aforementioned business partner was SKETCHY.

A $2500 mistake. Worse things have happened. Worse things will happen. Right?! Right.

Oh, I forgot to mention that the tires are only about ten months old. I go with the Big O All Terrains because they’re good tires with an EXCEPTIONAL warranty. A lot of people go with the BFG ATs, but those are significantly more expensive and they don’t have a warranty.

I’m also throwing in a tailgate and hatch, both in perfect condition, and a roof rack. You could probably get some good money out of the tailgate/hatch, but I’ve been too lazy to post them.

Let me know if you have any more questions! Thanks, Matt, and talk to you soon!!

Lee Olsen, Fellow TLC Enthusiast

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8 Responses to FOR SALE ’84 Toyota LandCruiser FJ-60

  1. brownc67 says:

    Great post, Lee! Was this inspired in a kind of round-a-bout way by our discussion of mock amazon reviews or was it something you had written before? I like the use of caps and exclamation marks – sometimes those can be overdone but I think you made them work.

    • leemo1984 says:

      The mock reviews got me thinking about exchanges that happens when you’re selling / buying something on a site like Craigslist. It seems like the tactic is to be overly nice — I’d say chummy — as if that’s going to help facilitate a good deal, and the tone often borders on banter. I was trying to capture that tone of “I’m going to be your friend and we’re going to make a deal,” which I think people usually try to convey through caps and exclamation marks and HAHAs and whatnot (I got a little bit heavy on the caps as I went along because I was trying to convey some of the frustration that came from making such a careless mistake as not checking the oil in my car enough). Also, I was thinking that this sort of exchange is a unique example of nonfiction — you’re trying to be honest about whatever it is that you’re selling, but you can’t be too honest because you want to maintain the highest possible resale value. When I (reluctantly) sold my LandCruiser, my conversations with potential buyers were very buddy-buddy, and I was always as honest as possible without saying too much. I made it clear that I swapped the motor out, but I never really came out and told the truth about what had happened because that might tell the buyer that I’d been driving the vehicle too hard. I’d just say “the motor burned up, so I swapped in another rebuilt motor.” So, with this piece I tried to capture some of the larger truth surrounding an online transaction, while also toying with some of the larger context around that truth of the motor swap.

      For the record, I did sell PAM to Matt, and I think he’s still happy with his purchase.

  2. michellemcmullin says:

    I love this story, especially as a unique format for telling a great growing up story. I feel like the caps are distracting, particularly in a blog post because the CAPS read as yelling in online parlance. So I liked them for the expletives when you kill the engine…they’re funny, but in other places I was looking for pattern and importance when they aren’t necessarily there.

    • leemo1984 says:

      Thanks, Michelle. As I was writing this, I knew the caps were obnoxious, but I wanted to riff on the way people throw away grammar rules when they write online, and how they tend to make up their own rules and methods of stressing or conveying emotion, humor, anger, etc., etc. There are no patterns to be found.

  3. I always love the use of unusual forms to tell a story, thanks Lee! I wonder, in this case, if there were a way to get to the personal details a little earlier, so the reader isn’t left to wonder TOO long if we’re really just witnessing a transaction.

  4. zoeedithcohen says:

    I have to say that I loved the caps- to me they were so evocative of craigslist and the false cheerfulness of the genre. I think you’re “!!”‘s do this work as well. That being said, I do agree with Brenda that I was wondering when the story would come in for the first four paragraphs.

    One section that really got me:

    “When you hit the pavement and try to jump the Cruiser again, and the wheels keep locking up, this is when the MOTHER . . . F***ERS are going to start issuing forth from the pit of your stomach: this is when it will dawn on you that the motor has seized because the oil was too low. Too hot, not enough oil, too much strain on the motor. No more DAMNEDs, HELLs, or even BASTARD-SON-OF-A-BITCHs. It’s time to pull all the stops, if you will. This is when your dad’s voice will drift into your mind: THIS IS WHY WE CAN’T HAVE NICE THINGS.”

    I think this is a moment when the form you have chosen is really working for you. The caps not only give dramatic emphasis, but continue to work within the genre of the craigslist ad (in a poetic way.) There is tension- I think the moment really hits (!!)

  5. zoeedithcohen says:

    I have to say that I loved the caps- to me they were so evocative of craigslist and the false cheerfulness of the genre. I think your “!!”‘s do this work as well. That being said, I do agree with Brenda that I was wondering when the story would come in for the first four paragraphs.

    One section that really got me:

    “When you hit the pavement and try to jump the Cruiser again, and the wheels keep locking up, this is when the MOTHER . . . F***ERS are going to start issuing forth from the pit of your stomach: this is when it will dawn on you that the motor has seized because the oil was too low. Too hot, not enough oil, too much strain on the motor. No more DAMNEDs, HELLs, or even BASTARD-SON-OF-A-BITCHs. It’s time to pull all the stops, if you will. This is when your dad’s voice will drift into your mind: THIS IS WHY WE CAN’T HAVE NICE THINGS.”

    I think this is a moment when the form you have chosen is really working for you. The caps not only give dramatic emphasis, but continue to work within the genre of the craigslist ad (in a poetic way.) There is tension- I think the moment really hits (!!)

  6. zoeedithcohen says:

    so, that posted twice because I tried to edit a “you’re” to a “your,” which frankly is just embarrassing… sorry!

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