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Transmission Overhaul Gasket Kit for Toyota Land Cruiser 5 spd 10/82-1/90
Transmission Overhaul Gasket Kit for Toyota Land Cruiser 5 spd 10/82-1/90
The FJ40: Goods And Bads
    There are advantages to all years of FJ40s!
    There are three major change dates in the run of the FJ-40.  I break them down like this.
  • '74 and earlier
  • '75 through '78
  • '79 and later
  • Within these ranges there are differences.  
    Every year featured something different.

    Early FJ- 40's
    These early Cruisers are very simple.  Under the hood is a dream to work on.  They do not have the more complex emission equipment.  This is great if the smog police are strict in your area.  These FJ's are plentiful and there are PLENTY of used parts available for them.  There is a neat toolbox under most of the seats, which is handy.  They also have more seating capacity, with larger rear jump seats, 6 average sized people can ride. Another thing that shouldn't be overlooked was the optional PTO winch.  Also, these Cruisers tend to be less expensive. 
    Drum brakes are my biggest gripe with these years.  They are hard to adjust due to twin pistons wheel cylinders,  They are somewhat slower, highway speeds are at high RPM.  The bench seat is not as comfortable.  Although a matter or personal preference, the three door tailgate, flip up gate is not as handy as ambulance doors.

    Mid-Model FJ- 40's
    These are considered by most to be the best FJ-40 as far as off-road capabilities are concerned.  They feature the larger 2F engine, 4 speed transmission, and front disc brakes(76 up), gas tank is inside (more ground clearance).  They have bucket seats, thicker doors, and the rear ambulance doors. 
    Smog issues are a concern on these.  They have weird offset which makes finding aftermarket wheel, harder to find.  The gas tank is under the passenger seat.  Gas mileage is in the low teens.

    Late Model FJ-40's
    They are good on the road due to 3.70 ratio differentials with better gas mileage.  The options, although rare like air conditioning and power steering are nice.  The gas tank is larger, 22 gals, and in between the frame rails which is safer in side impacts.  The front bezel changed, personal preference.    Reclining seats improve legroom. 
    Smog issues become even more complex.  Catalytic converters decrease gas mileage and increase interior heat. These years especially '81 up are hard to find, so are parts both used and aftermarket.  Adding BIG tires can overwhelm. 
         FJ-55's tend to follow the same patterns as the FJ-40's above.   FJ-55 ran from '68 on up to '79 (Have heard rumors of a few 1980 models around).    As with any vehicle, there are a few weak links.  Toyota Land Cruisers are among the toughest vehicles available.  No matter how many pretty ones are out there, these things were built to be a dependable, durable workhorse.  The latest FJ-40 out there is well over 15 years old, which is a factor.  Things need to be brought up to date in the areas of maintenance, steering components, bushings, shocks, tires, etc.  Also, rust is a factor on any of them; combat it.  Once things are corrected, Land Cruisers are no more if not less expense to keep and maintain than other vehicles of their vintage.


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