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I'm looking at buying a 1987 HJ 61. Car is in good shape, hardly any rust and felt really nice on a little test-drive. I'm thinking about spending some money on having a thorough check done. I'm unsure about the high mileage though (300,000 km): should I look out for one with significantly less (200k max) or not worry about it? Car seems to have had an easy life in the past decade as it was used for transporting small furniture and probably hasn't been off the tarmac.
Hello Camiel, we have recently bought a HJ61 from 87 as well. It has some 280.000 km's as milage and the engine runs perfectly.
I have been checking the car almost completely recently and I have replaced/carried out the following:
Radiator (replaced cooler element)
Both cooling water hoses connected to the radiator
Overhaul of the dynamo and starter engine
Replaced front brake discs
Replaced back brake drums (seems 300k km is the limit)
Replaced one back bearing
Renewed exhaust gas pipe
Overhauled front brake actuator/cylinder
Next in line are still to check the coupling and the differentials. Since I am quit technical I have tend to open up most things to give it a look and replace parts that are/seem to be run down. We are planning to drive some 20k km and I prefer to have most things checked.
I could give you more information like this but since we are living in the same town you might as well come by in my 'garage' and check out the car, you're welcome.
I bought a HJ60 last year June in London, and it had 280 000 miles on the clock! But the previous owner looked well after it. We did 7000 miles in Maroc October - Dec 2000 and it was perfect mechanically (only punctures...).
I'm now preparing the vehicle for an overland Africa trip with Renate (also a contributor to the Sahara Overland Forum) early October. We're spending considerable time in the desert, so I'm trying to do as much preparation as possible to minimise the risk in the sands.
1) Heavy-duty shock absorbers
2) Heavy-duty leaf springs, bushes, etc.
3) 2x new batteries
4) New alternator
5) Replaced front wheel bearings
Still need to think about extra fuel tank, and where to put it, maybe behind the front seats as suggested by Chris Scott in Sahara Overland. At the moment 90 litres is just not enough, and the 5 jerrie cans is becoming a hassle...; any ideas on this?
Can't wait to depart to the desert - I'm getting restless and the distant tranquility of those nights within the dunes are beckoning.
TNX for your good suggestions. I have some remarks, and consequently, some questions as well.
Since we have only bought the car quit recently I am focussing on getting the mechanics done first and to buy some other important equipments. After that there is probably no money left to fit more stuff (but | will keep the car for future travels so who knows....).
Anyway, my car has been lifted (some 5 cm) and I believe that consequently some new absorbers have been fitted. I have not been able to confirm this yet.
Batteries; the present ones are supposed to be new and I am considering to install one additional one, heavy duty cycle one (you know, the new dry gel-type). I will run all lighting, fridge, radio, etc from that particular one to take the load of the starter battaries. At first I was thinking to install even two more battaries with safety devices to seperate both set of battaries, however, the idea of having only a third one seems to be a very good idea actually. It seems you have not considered this??
Alternator, I have had mine overhauled, partly to be sure but also since I have been suffering from over-voltage. Are you familiar with this? I have not driven the car since the overhaul so I do not know whether the problem has been cured. I will test drive the car in one month from now.
Bearings; I have replaced one on the back wheels (+ basically all brakes and stuff). I found out today that also the back brake actuators need to be overhauled due to excessive leakage... (shit).
One thing I have not yet mentioned is the battary supports. Mine were (almost) non-existing when the batteries were removed. I had somebody make some copies of the old ones but to be honest, in the end it will be cheaper to simply buy them new.... (saves you lots of time as well).
Fuel tank; that's a major drawback on the HJ61; where to put it? One other solution worth mentioning it is to have one made that fits the back floor (apparantly the red-cross in Holland has used this design). It will lift you backfloor section with some 10 - 15 cm depending on the capacity. However, due to a lack of funds this equipment will be bought probably when the next expedition starts. I will have to stick to the Jerries for the time being.
One other question for you; how to use the high-jack? In the front I could make some holes in the fender and use the frame directly. However, this seems not to be possible in the back (where, if I remember correctly, you have to stick it in quit deep to get a firm hold). Any suggestions for this?
TNX, and I look forward to continue this discussion!
Overvoltage: this was a problem on my vehicle, mainly due to the fact that the alternator was playing up. A brand new voltage 24V regulator solved this problem, thus essential.
3rd Battery: I have a 3rd battery now installed. A simple battery isolator switch isolates this extra battery with the existing two batteries. When the car is running, the 1 battery is in parallel with one of the 2 in series, thus charging the extra battery. Be cautious of deep-cycle "campervan" batteries though - you need to run them flat before they can be charged again to ensure maximum life. Use a normal car battery (70Ah) instead.
Battery supports: mine is still in place. I also changed the battery contacts to brand new ones - this is essential, especially negotiating the bumpy pistes! My contacts jumped off the batteries more that once in Maroc due to bad connections!!, causing the car to die.
Fuel tank: need to do something soon. The Dutch Red Cross idea sounds good, but at what cost. Maybe a old truck tank, as suggested by C. Scott, otherwise the jerries will have to suffice.
High-lift: tried using on the sides of the car as well - DON'T! Bottle jack is better. Use the high-lift jack on the front or rear bumpers - they are attached to the chassis, so is strong enough. Use a wooden block underneath the high-lift for stability. Check out Sahara Overland book for more detailed information.
What do you think about a spare wheel attached to the rear of the Cruiser? with swing-arm?
Regarding auxhillary batteries, I agree with Dennis - use a normal bar battery not a specialist camping battery that cannot act as a back up if one of your starter batteries gets sick - it is not uncommom. Camping batteries do not have the cranking power and anyway, are expensive. A good car battery (exactly the same type/power as in your engine) will not mind being used to power fridges, etc,. It may not last as long but as least is easy to replace in Africa,,etc.
------------------ Author of Sahara Overland and the Adventure Motorcycling Handbook, among other things
Thanks for the tip. I will test the 3rd battery option during my upcoming 2-weeks in France (and I hope to have a refridgerator to test it with).
Regarding the high-lift. I have made some T-shaped holes in the front bumper through which I can fit the protruding part of the high-lift directly into the chassis-beams of the car, drop the foot et voila, start pumping. It works great and seems to be rather stable since the protruding part can not move side ways.
Back side; I have removed the L-shaped profiles to which the caravan-hook-beam is attached and will replace those with two U-beams, each 32 cm long (roughly 1 ft). All in all these profiles will stick almost as far backwards as the back bumper. I hope to test this option this weekend but believe this to be ok. This option was necessary since I have some kind of cosmetic bumper arrangement in the back (which can support me at 90 kg climbing up but will hardly support 1000 kg for the car).
I have not yet determined how to lift the front or rear side of the car in one go....
One other suggestion for all you travellers: yesterday I visited a company specialising in farming equipment, tools, 2nd-hand machines etc. There were plenty of 2nd hand fuel tanks lying around, in the range of 100 liters at a cost of EUR 45. Quality needs to be checked though, the inside can be quit deteriorated over the years. Anyway, if you can install this it will be a much, much cheaper option compared to buying your fuel tanks in Munich.....
I look forward to more and other suggestions. All in all the amount of HJ60/61's seems to be quit limited in Holland (and the numbers are only going down since a lot of them are being exported to Africa), lucky there are some dealers with (good/bad) experience left still.
T-shaped holes in the front bumper - good idea - send me a close up black and white jpg and I'll use it in the next edition of the book.
>I have not yet determined how to lift the front or rear side of the car in one go....
On the back I dont think it is possible to lift both wheels unless you have a 10 metre handle on the jack or weigh 400kg - especially when the car is loaded up.
On the front the leverage makes it easier - I used to put a chunk of thick wood between the jack foot and the middle of the bumper and it was quite easy to lift both wheels (but rarely necessary). On my car the bumper (standard I think) is certainly thick enough to take the weight.
------------------ Author of Sahara Overland and the Adventure Motorcycling Handbook, among other things
Hmm... A T-shaped hole won't work when it comes to tipping the vehicle though...
I'll eventually replace both front and rear bumpers on my 60-series with (home-made) custom ones and I'll make a few strengthened holes, to fit the Land Rover Defender Hi-Lift jack adapter into, wich stabilizes any (normal-) lift as well as allowing tipping.
With "tipping" I of course meen lifting the vehicle front (or rear) and tipping it to the side (when stuck in mud / ruts or onto ladders when stuck in sand)... =)
[This message has been edited by fue_ll (edited 27 July 2001).]
Seems I'm now in the luxury position of being able to choose between HJ61's. Whilst I'm still in the process of trying to agree a price for the HJ61 at the top of this list, I was offered an '89 model in good condition with similar mileage, and: automatic transmission. I am aware of the major drawback: you can't towstart.
I'm curious about Toyota's reputation for reliability with regard to automatic transmission. My father - who's lived in Indonesia for 14 years now - told me they never could sell cars with automatic transmission there because no one supposedly knew how the repair them. Now half the country seems to be driving around with automatic transmission. The reason: automatic transmission simply doesn't break down.
I asked a Toyota garage desert mate in Italy about auto TLCs and he says he's never known of problems - although frowned on my purists its a much gentler form of transmission and, in a way ideal for the desert where clutches work hard.
Autos have got a lot better over the years but on a 12 year old car I suppose I would be worried as it all depends what was done with the car and how it was maintained.
When/if I have to get another desert car it will be an auto TLC - it will be so much more relaxing than all that gearchanging, and a 61 has the power to spare for an auto.
Chris, do you prefer the 60-series over the 70, and if so, why? I must admit that my "new" 1985 60 of coarse is way comfortable than my L/R Series III, but I miss the space (rear) and for long travels I would definetly want a bigger cargospace...
I must also confess my love for 2-door vehicles as they in my opinion often is "cleaner" in the rear, and therefor easier to build (interiors) in, like the Kingsmill's 70-series overland conversion.
About automatic transmission; One in our "team" run a 1990 G-wagen... With auto transmission and front- and rear manual differential locks this vehicle is almost unstoppable, even seen it crawl through the deepest sand in (dune-) beaches where the rest of us with Series III's, Defenders & Discovery's got stuck in a second, hehe...
[This message has been edited by fue_ll (edited 31 July 2001).]
>Chris, do you prefer the 60-series over the 70, and if so, why?
I spell it all out IMHO in the book but basically the 70 (or 75/78 'Troopcarrier' to be precise) has it all except an engine as economically as the 61 - it is no less reliable (been around for 15 years) but the lack of turbo can use a lot of fuel
This is what R. Mazur says in the updates.htm to page 67 in the book
Confirmed consumption for the estimates given for the 6 cylinder 4.2 are:
highway 7.7 kpl
piste 4.5 kpl
deep sand 3 kpl
Source: Reinhart Mazur (Techincal Editor: Sahara Abenteuerhandbuch)
I can also confirm that although 75s can carry over a tonne off piste without complaint, the non-turbo engines certainly use more than their turbo counterparts.
I've never had less than 5.5 kpl on my 61 (admittedly never been long in the ergs) and get as high as 10kpl at 90kph
On the plus side a 75 is one tough car and has more space than a 60s plus is taller so a good inside sleeper - I drove a troopie with in Gilf 360 litres on the roof and another 500 of water in the back plus a few people.
Put a turbo on a 75 (the Australians know most about this) and you have the ultimate desert overlander if you dont mind the basic utility interior and dinosaur suspension on the 75s
>About automatic transmission; One in out "team" run a 1990 G-wagen... With auto transmission and front- and rear manual differential locks this vehicle is almost unstoppable,
I want to thank you all for your advice and input on this topic: as of today I am the proud and happy owner of a 1989 HJ 61 with automatic gearbox. As it happened, I ran into the guy who installed the auto 3 years ago. He is a TLC specialist, Jan (see above) knows him and told me he is a reliable and knowledgeable guy so I asked him to check out the vehicle. According to him, this ca
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