14 year old Exhaust Replacement on a BJ60

The exhaust in my 1985 BJ60 had been on the truck since before I bought it 4 years ago, and was getting progressively worse. According to the journal the previous owner had kept, he had the exhaust pipe/muffler replaced in January of 2005. The truck had 223,536 km. When I bought the truck, the exhaust was already not in great shape; it seemed to have a slight exhaust leak near the passenger door, but I kept it running while it still worked.

Then one fateful afternoon on the way home from school, I floored the accelerator as usual to get up a large hill, and suddenly realized the truck was a lot louder than it should have been. Once I could pull over, I checked for the source, and felt a blast of air on my hand just after the exhaust pipe bends down from the manifold. I then decided I’d try to make it the rest of the way home before examining what was wrong. After making it another kilometer, it kept getting worse, and fearing a flurry of noise complaints, I pulled over on the side of the road, admitting defeat. This was 255,100KM on the odometer.

Not wanting to give in completely and have to take the bus all week, I decided I’d head down to Calgary Muffler Carline and ask about getting the exhaust patched up. Upon arriving, they put my truck up on the lift and I was able to see just how bad the exhaust was. The exhaust pipe was completely severed in half, with black soot coating the underside of the passenger floorpan, framerails, and everything else nearby. There was also more soot on the exhaust hangar, about 6 inches further down.

After examining the condition of the rest of my exhaust pipe, I decided to ask how much it would cost to replace everything back from the good metal at the very front. I was told it would be about $570, before tax. I figured I may as well replace this while I could, instead of waiting for something else to fail in another month. Having work in about 4 hours from then, I asked how soon it could be done. “2 hours or so” was the response, and I gratefully accepted.

1 hour and 50 minutes later, I took a look at the truck, with a new shiny exhaust system of 2.5″ pipe, a new muffler, and a side exit exhaust. It was awesome. I paid the $594, and drove home. It was rather loud, but I could live with it for then. After all, I hadn’t really clarified what amount of sound reduction I wanted. A week later, I drove back, and timidly inquired as to how much it would cost to get a quieter muffler. Al, the helpful owner, was very kind in offering a quieter muffler, free of charge. After a half hour had passed, the truck had a new muffler, and sounded as good as new. Better, in fact. They even properly routed the exhaust around the shocks and spring hangars; the previous exhaust system from 2005 was constantly rattling against the spring hangar and shock whenever it was at cold idle. When I replaced the rear shocks, the old one was dented where the old exhaust system ran. So this was a major improvement.

I’ve now been driving the truck for a few weeks, and the exhaust is great. Al was wonderful in understanding how to route the exhaust exactly as I hoped, and they handled the whole experience really well. I’m quite thoroughly impressed. Though, I’m also rather impressed that the previous exhaust managed to hold up for 14 years and 32,564KM of Canadian winters.

Crafting, RMLCA Style – Macrame Night

Last night was the first annual RMLCA Craft Night, this year being “Macrame Night” in which the night was spent weaving soft shackles out of 3/8’s Amsteel rope.

Peter Straub, the RMLCA’s Social Co-ordinator, described it on the mailing list.

After a very dubious start, Macramé night ended on a successful tone.  We started all watching various videos on the youtube, and regardless of the video, there was some element of the magic to the button knot that we could not get sorted.  Finally, Marc ‘got it’, and he was then able to do one on one tutorials until we all had our fill of shackles!
One of the secrets is the length… 3/8’s rope, start with 8′ of rope.  9′ for the 1/2″ rope.
I suspect there will be some shackles at the club raffle next week.
Thanks to Lloyd, 2x Kevin’s, Craig & Marc for coming out.
Working with the Amsteel blue, our hands looked like we had murdered a village of smurfs by the end of the evening.

Custom BJ60 Rear Bumper Fabrication

I’ve always wanted something better than my stock “Rust à la Chrome” bumper, and when I had to cut off the edges of it this summer while doing bodywork, (upcoming Toyota Trails article about that) I had to cut off the ends of the bumper to weld some sheet metal. Not wanting to drive around with half a bumper, I finally had the motivation to fabricate a new one. First, I bought some 2×4 tube steel, and some 3×1 solid steel. The 2×4 would make up the main bumper, and the 3×1 would be the mounting plates / D-shackle mounts.

I started off by cutting and welding the edges of the bumper, to make it seem a little better than just a tube. I cut a triangle out of the ends, leaving the bottom intact, and then bent the bottom up to meet the top of the bumper. 

This created a better shape, and with this part finished, I could measure the truck. 

I wanted to mount the steel bars to the inside of the frame, and since the old bumper had a cross-member in the way, that received a couple minutes with a sawz-all.

Once the old cross-member was removed, I had to drill holes in the frame to which I could mount the steel bars. Half an hour later, I had finally drilled the 4 holes in the frame that had to be drilled. I mounted the steel plates on with some bolts, and then marked where the holes would be on the bumper.

Using a cutoff wheel and a sawz-all, two rectangular holes were cut on each side of the bumper-to-be, and then it was time to test fit.

To my surprise, it actually fit on, meaning it could be welded in place, and painted. And, because I was stupid and forgot to take photos, you’ll have to take my word that I welded it before the final paint coat. I just used some cheap rustoleum spray paint, this summer the truck will be undergoing a windshield frame replacement, and when that gets painted, the bumper will receive a proper coat of paint. Even now, after only a couple months with the paint on this bumper, it’s already rusting, so don’t expect anything to last unless you prime it first.



Other photos:

The old bumper

And finally, a spot of Canadian parking with the new bumper

FZJ80 Safari Snorkel Install

Yeah, I know there is tons of information online about how to do the install – being someone who is not very mechanically inclined, I thought I would share some of my insights on all the ways I messed up the install.

First off, I did not trust the instructions – I thought maybe they messed up when they shipped the instructions. The drill sizes it said to use were way larger than the bolts they provided. I did end up going a bit larger (about 4-5mm larger than the actual bolt) and managed to just fit it in with a little force. I also read that the “proper”, “non-lazy” way is to NOT use the size the instructions specified but to use a much smaller drill bit.

Same with the actual snorkel hole… I did not trust the size the instructions provided but made a hole that would fit the end perfectly. Okay, I admit, I screwed up and made a bit bigger – again, I learned that Safari ships with these instructions due to the angle the snorkel goes in – this allows all the mounting and bolt holes to be a bit off and still have the snorkel fit well on the first try.

Not making sure I had all the proper tools as well, no step drill, and nothing near big enough for the actual hole. By the time I realized that I didn’t have these tools, Canadian Tire was closed (it was a Sunday). My father-in-law helped by roughing the cut with some sort of angle cutter and I cleaned it up with some sort of air filing tool.

Masking tape – yup, didn’t use any of it. Scratched up the paint a bit because i slipped a couple of times when trying to clean up the snorkel hole.

Wait for the primer to dry before trying to fit the snorkel. I was a bit excited and when it didn’t go in the first time, I left a nice circle stamp on the fender where the primer had stuck to the mounting hole of the snorkel after taking it out and trying again.

As tough as it was, I managed to get all but one bolt on, way at the back and up towards the windsheild. I made the mistake of asking the guys on the mailing list to see who with “skinny arms” could help me out and get that last bolt in for me. After no replies and a bit more research, I gave it another try. I removed the antenna module, which just gave me barely enough room to get the last bolt on. It was still tough but I did manage.

And because we haven’t seen enough 80’s with a snorkel, here is mine:



60 series PS conversion into 1972 FJ-40


My 72 FJ-40 has transformed a lot since I bought it 9+ years ago… Lift, bigger tires, better winch, reskinning, new seats, dashbox, rear storage compartment, rollcage, etc etc. One thing that was waiting for attention was the steering. I’m not totally averse to armstrong steering but over the years, it was getting sloppier and sloppier. I tried rebuilding the center link, replaced ball joints, adjusted the steering box, etc etc… But you can’t escape the fact that the 40 series steering setup just has too many links, and coupled with 35 year old parts, and a really big steering wheel, invites slop.

A few years ago, I started collecting pieces for a power steering setup. I grabbed a pump out of a Supra at a wrecker, I even procured a minitruck power steering box, bracket, etc. Since I built an FJ-45 and did a minitruck PS conversion on that, I decided that, while it worked well, the basic steering setup was still a 40 series setup with many links which invite slop… One day, while Wayne was cleaning his garage, he offered up some 60 series power steering boxes for sale at an excellent price. So I bought one. Then I found myself with some extra money in my paypal account (due to t-shirt sales), so I bought some of Luke Porter’s 4×4 Labs steering arms. He asked how I wanted them reamed and since Peter Straub had a set of Chevy 1ton tie-rod end taps and reamer, I said “Chevy 1ton please” and they arrived.

A couple years later I decided I’d start by building a power steering pump bracket for my canadian spec F. I built a backing plate and started hacking some 1/4 rectangular section into a sort of swivel that could contain the pump… I didn’t like how that was proceeding, so into the box of random power steering parts it went and sat for another year…

Fast forward to November 2008. I decided this christmas vacation would be a good time to do this conversion. Since I had just finished and stabilized the 1HZ->1HDT transplant in my 1993 FZJ-80 I found myself without an active project. So I started collecting the final bits that I needed.

I would need to build a new tie-rod and a new drag link. So I arranged to borrow Peter’s taps and reamer. Turns out the reamer was broken during one of Bruce’s work parties so I thought I’d try to find the correct reamer to replace it. Not so easy. The correct reamer for Chevy 1-ton tie rod ends, is a “1.5 inch per foot” spiral cut tapered reamer; available from Summit Racing for on the order of $260. Turns out Peter still had the broken reamer and it was only the tip that broke and it was still serviceable. The taps are 7/8-18NS left and right hand taps. The correct tubing is 1.25″ OD, .219″ wall DOM.

The next thing I needed to procure was the tie rod ends themselves. After much web scouring, I found the popular application was a 1985 Chevy Blazer. That produced little in the way of useful part numbers while standing at the counter of Napa. 45 minutes of looking in the book and at pictures on their parts system, we came to the conclusion that a 1985 GMC Suburban-K2500 3/4 Ton 4wd had the right parts. So I came away with ES2233L and ES2234R outer tie rod ends. I also came away with a 25-9520 belt.

I also decided to lookup the details on Mark Whatley’s 60 series PS conversion in the July/August 2003 Toyota Trails to see what pitfalls I was likely to encounter. Turns out Tim Schoeland (sp?) also did such a conversion so I got some information from him as well. Mark Whatley said to contact him privately because he’d changed the process since he wrote the article. I did that as well but Mark was pretty busy over the christmas break so I didn’t end up hearing from him.

Approaching my winter vacation, which I had booked from Dec 19th to Jan 4th inclusive, I had all the pieces I needed. My vacation started and I got started by brushing 8 inches of snow off my truck before pulling it into the garage. I also bought some kerosene for my garage heater.

First order of business was to dust off my old power steering bracket mockup. I really didn’t like where it was going but the backing plate and standoffs looked good, so I ground off the pump mount that I’d whittled away on for so long and started rooting through my scrap bin. There I found some other abortion of a pump bracket from a Corolla that I picked up at the wrecker a while back. It had a salvageable pump mount section that looked like it could be cut off and welded to my backing plate. So I did that and tacked it into place so the pulley would line up with the water pump double-pulley and the harmonic balancer double pulley. Looked good. A bit of bracing and the pump was mounted in the right place. I went with the tensioner pushing down on the belt because I wanted as much belt-contact as possible to avoid squealing due to having 35×12.5″ tires. The fan shroud was in the way of the belt so I carved off a strip of that for clearance. There was good clearance for the hoses too, so the pump bracket was sufficiently done that I could move on to the rest of the truck.




Next came gaining access to the old steering stuff. It was time to remove the tires, and drivers side fender. This really makes the whole job easier and only took about 15 minutes including dealing with some rusted in bolts that hadn’t moved in about 35 years.

Now with all of the old steering stuff in plain view, it came time to make it all disappear… I removed the shock so I could remove the shock tower, as that was going to be in the way of the steering box. I ground off the heads of the 4 rivets holding it to the frame, and started hammering on the rivets. After learning that a hammer will go where the eyes are looking and severely damaging my thumb, I managed to remove the tower. After popping off the tie-rod ends from the old steering arms, removing the center link, I was able to remove the tie rod, and cross link. The steering box was unbolted from the mount, and after dismantling the steering column, I was able to pull off the steering box and drag link. This is when I discovered my old-style steering wheel had a broken spoke. It’s possible that my bashing on the steering box was the last straw for it. But the steel support inside the plastic, that was welded to the hub, broke off. So the steering wheel was beyond servicable. More on this later.

After removing the steering box, I could also remove the steering box mount from the frame. More grinding and hammering and it came off… I now had cleared the way for progress. Next order of business was the knuckles and steering arms… One of the knuckles was weeping so I dismantled it, cleaned it, replaced the inner axle seal with a Marlin Crawler Magical Mystery Seal. Bearings looked ok so I left them. Reassembly included the placement of the steering arms on both knuckles. Then it was time to tackle the new tie rod.

The DOM tubing I got, while marked correctly in the store, had an ID that was too small. It had about .75″ ID. That’s too small for the 7/8-18NS taps. So on the tie rod, I measured the length and cut it to a distance about halfway into the threads of the tie rod ends as attached to the steering arm. I tapered the ends of the new tie rod and stuck a tap in. I didn’t have a tap handle big enough so I started with a 17mm socket which fit snugly. Then I used my click-type torque wrench to start cutting threads. After a couple of turns, the work became too tough and the 17mm socket started to skip. So I went to the old crescent wrench approach. I was able to get about 1/4 of a turn, then have to go backwards, and forward again, etc. Each end took me about 3 hours and generated a blister about the size of a dime on my palm. The hard part was because the tap decided to dive inside the hole so it was cutting away slightly more meat on one side of the pipe than the other.. It wasn’t so drastic that the threads weren’t cutting on the other side, but still… Definitely sub-optimal. The resulting tie-rod on the two rod ends over the diff, doesn’t turn evenly so with the knuckles hard to one side, the tie-rod contacts the diff unless I turn it 180 degrees and then it clears by a few mm. Definitely not awesome.

After discussing this issue with fellow club member, Jim Kelsall, he suggested the way to do this was to deploy the fabulous machine shop at his place of employ. So for the drag link, we drove to his office on a saturday and carved away the inside of each end to the correct ID for the taps on the lathe. Then used the tap to cut the threads on the lathe (not under power, but using a tap handle, with the end of the tap secured by a pointy item. I have no knowledge of things machining, but once the inside of the pipe was prepared, the cutting of the threads took about 15 minutes per hole, which is more like it.




Once the tie-rod and drag link are painted, it was time to move on to the power steering box itself. The placement of this is a bit of a tradeoff. The distance from the center of the knuckle to where the drag link connects on the passenger side is about 9 inches. Optimally the pitman arm would connect to the drag link 9 inches from the center of the knuckle. This puts the steering box somewhat to the rear of the radiator shroud and, sadly, makes the steering linkage interfere with the fender support.


If I’d moved the box further forward so the u-joint could clear the frame mount, I’d have the drag link at about 14 inches from the center of the knuckle which was more angle than I was comfortable with. Maybe that wouldn’t have been so bad. So the fender still remains an item of concern. But I need to deal with the steering column first.

For the steering column, the 72 has an old style steering column, which means the steering shaft lives in a housing. I need to find a GM pilot bushing (per Mark Whatley) and slightly machine it to fit. Then probably get a pillow block of some sort and attach it to the new steering box…


Fellow RMLCA member Bruce Loewen offered a 60 series steering column he had lying around. This provided a good source of shaft/u-joint to allow me to finish the job. I cut the old steering column to length and used the upper shaft of the 60-series column at the top section of the tilt. This was just long enough to reach my old steering shaft. Welded the two together and now I had a steering column.


Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to find the appropriate chevy pilot bushing per Mark Whatley. Even the old guy at the most renowned auto shop in town wasn’t able to come up with anything that measured even close. So Jim Kelsall to the rescue again and he machined a bushing that was 1.365″ x .752″ x 2″(approx) out of copper. This fit absolutely perfect inside the column. I drilled a hole in it and the column to mount a zerk fitting. The purpose of the zerk fitting is more to keep the bushing in place but having grease in there isn’t a bad thing either.


After that, I mounted my old-style steering wheel procured from Mark Woytovich which was in terrific shape. This produced a steering feel with almost no detectable play. The wheel does move left/right about an inch or so but it turns out that’s just the rubber flexing on the garage floor… So the steering is very tight.


Now it was time to start buttoning up. The next order of business was the fender. It needed trimming due to the location of the steering box, shock tower and u-joints. I knew the u-joint at the steering box was going to be an issue because it was right where the fender mount was. I tried to line up the u-joint to coincide with the center of the mount but some trimming was still necessary. I suppose it my steering column were longer then I could have got by without a u-joint there (if I found some way to mount a custom shaft to the splines of the steering box) but I wasn’t sure if the angle was going to be too steep. So I hacked up the fender. Eventually these fenders are being replaced with OEM fenders anyway so I didn’t try to do too good of a job.


Finally, the shock tower. I had to move the shock rearward about an inch so I cut off the lower shock mount on the axle and moved it back further and welded it back on. Then I grabbed a spare piece of 1x1x1/4″ steel and built a new shock tower. This welded on the frame between the steering box plate and the fender mount.


Filled it with fluid and took it for a drive. This is an improvement of several orders of magnitude… Very nice and handles beautifully… Testament to both the 4x4labs steering arms, new ball joints, fewer ball joints, Jim’s machining, and 60-series PS box… I can recommend this swap to anyone. It has little trouble turning my 35×12.5’s on dry pavement.

Note1: I was asked for more photos of the PS pump bracket so here they are:




Fitting a Warn 8274 into an a Deluxe ARB Winch Bumper

So to start from the beginning, I bought myself a Champion 9500lb winch about 2 Christmas’ ago – I wrapped it up and shoved it under the tree and surprised myself Christmas morning. Back then, I had a stock 97 4Runner Ltd. which I had every intention on building up. So now I had this “cool” winch but no where to mount it – an ARB for my 4Runner would have costed me about $1400… as I had already blown my budget on lift and tires, that was going to be out of the question. I returned the winch knowing that I would never have another realistic opportunity to own my own winch again. Some pics of my old 4Runner for reference 🙂




So now 2+ years have passed, the 4Runner is gone and the (newer) 95 FZJ80 I bought came with an ARB winch bumper – sweet! Now I could maybe think about getting a winch again. Of course, wanting to get a winch and actually getting one were 2 completely different things. So I looked, asked around for a bit with no “actual” intention of buying one.

I debated for the longest time whether a brand new Champion 10,000lb winch would suit my needs, or if I would be better off getting a slightly under powered, USED, Warn M8000 – they were both in the same price range at the time and I just could not decide… Some suggested the 8274, but I didn’t bother to give it much though. I went on my first run with the RMLCA (Christmas tree run 2008) and this kinda changed everything. I saw Herb’s setup and after the breif 2 minute explaination on how easy it was to make this winch fit on the ARB, I was sold.

The next day, I sent out an email looking for a used Warn 8274, just poking around for some price suggestions – and wouldn’t you know it, Herb hit me off list and mentioned that he might have one for sale. Nice! I can’t remember at what point my wife hinted that I may get a winch this year for Christmas (2008) and asked what a “good” winch was… to make an already long story short, I got Herb’s old 8274 (which used to be Jim’s, which used to be Warren’s I believe).

(milk cartons not included)

So after 2 months after getting the winch, I finally installed it – here is my write up on how I got the 8274 to fit on my ARB with Herb’s great advice and my father-in-law’s help:

My father-in-law wasn’t convinced it would fit without having to hack off the entire middle portion of the bumper… It took a LOT of convincing before he would agree to just cut the one bar that runs across the middle (he was ready to cut the entire middle section out and weld in new plates). We were able to put the winch on a jack and lift it into place, after some last minute trimming on the triangle plate, it slipped in perfectly. I did have to remove my Toyota emblem in the front of the grill for it to fit though, that’s how close it was. I am still missing the roller fairlead and finishing off the end of the cable, but happy that the bulk of it is done.

The cuts were made to each side of the light mounts on the front bar, I don’t think where you cut the bar matters, it just seemed like a good place to me. I also chose to cut the plate that’s mounted underneath the front bar where the top fairlead mounts, only because this was less cutting. We found some 1/4″ plates that seemed to fit perfectly, so we cut a 1/4″ on the 2 sides still on the bumper, then welded the old bar back on tilting it about 45 degrees so that the bottom fairlead cut lines up. I have no intentions on mounting any lights (yet) so I thought the slight angle made the bumper “aerodynamic” 🙂 After everything was welded back together, I took hold of the grinder and started going at it.

The only thing I would do different is welding the bar back on BEFORE bolting the winch into place. This made welding and grinding a bit tough around back. I would also wait till my FIL was a bit less hung over as well as he admits the welds he did were not that great and ended up going back into the house to sleep the rest of it off while I spent the next couple of hours grinding (hence not wanting to lower the winch back down by myself). FIL probably should have removed some of the powder coating on the ARB as well before welding as I was standing there with an air hose getting ready to put out the flames. These are all amateur mistakes I’m sure. Overall, I am extremely happy with the outcome, the 8274 looks good on the ARB. I could lower the winch back down and finish grinding the back to clean it up more but it’s not that noticeable and doesn’t really bother me much for now. I tried to take pictures as I went but like most people who usually intend to take photos to do a write up, don’t end up taking enough pictures.





After all the grinding, I sprayed the exposed metal with primer and then paint.



Many thanks to Herb for his proto-type/advice/help/spare parts, it saved me a lot of guess work, mistakes, and probably a ton of headaches.