The red pill

It’s an affliction, a disorder, a mental ailment perhaps, getting attached to inanimate objects. Anthropomorphizing them along the way. And so it goes with an old FJ62 a buddy of mine and I bought about 3 years ago for $1900. Too much money then, but we were smitten. It was a running driving 60 series, I mean “How bad can it be?”. Bad, as it turns out.

Once the truck was back at my shop and I was no longer looking at it through rose colored glasses I saw the warts, and there are many. Rusty warts. Big and numerous. I had just finished a restoration on a 77 Fiat 124 Spider and dealing with rust wasn’t at the top of my list of “Fun things to do in your off time”. It sucks. A lot. So I just let it sit where he parked it, under that big Oak tree, slowly sinking into the soft ground.

People would stop by, “Hey, whatcha gonna do with that old Land Cruiser?”, “We are gonna get a round tuit soon.”, I’d say. But there it sat. The guilt of watching it slowly decay was weighing on me. I needed to do something. So after a rational discussion on IH8Mud.com where some sane people said something to the effect of “Run, run away!”, I listed in on Craigslist.

Greg showed up, a nice guy. Greg has four 60 series wagons, real beauties too. He was interested in this one just for the frame because one he bought, at night, he didn’t see the state of the frame until the deal was done. I told Greg “based on the state of the tub, I’m thinking this is gonna look rough.”, I’d never even looked underneath, I didn’t have the heart. So we looked, and what we found surprised me. It is actually in pretty decent shape. We walked around the truck still inspecting it for problem and that’s when I noticed something. It was almost a whisper, a faint breeze you have to hold your breath to detect at first. Its warm caress against your face, the siren song pulling me even closer. “Greg, help me. Please.” Greg was no help. The nice guy that Greg was didn’t understand the signs of the illness. He said it was a pretty decent truck and would totally understand if I wanted to restore it. The singing was almost deafening now. It was then that I ran aground and day became night. The FJ62 was staying, and I was going to save her. I mean “How bad can it be?”.

I spent all of last Saturday getting it running again. Finally it was running but really rough, but running nevertheless. I figured bad gas even with 3 gallons of new non-ethanol in it and a can of Seafoam. Then it just stopped. A little troubleshooting and I determined the fuel pump died. I was surprised it worked at all with it having sat for 3 years. I did some reading that night and found I needed to cut an access panel to get the pump out. Sunday I cut the panel and pulled out the pump. Yep, it’s bad and quite rusty. Damned ethanol gas.

I didn’t have another pump on hand for the Cruiser, but I did have an old pump out of my K1200LT bike that I recalled was similar. I dug it out and yep, made it work. Rigged it up, crammed it back into the hole and sure enough she fired up.

I needed 4wd to get out of the muck (it works!) and it was moving under it’s own steam again. Also running much smoother with better fuel pressure, I suspect. I moved it into my shop and began the tear down. It’s rough, real rough in some places. But the frame looks solid and the drive train, electrics, etc all work. So this is a 95% sheet metal job, I think (hope). I am looking at a year, or so, of cutting and welding before I even get to a point where I can deal with paint. But hey, it’s just metal, “How hard can it be?”

Author: Navin

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