Paul R's BJ73 Restomod Build

Paul R

Well-Known Member
Since we have all been shut in, I finally started working on my BJ73 that I got last year. I figured I would add a build thread here (I started in March) for some updates on the newest addition to our stable.

It is a 1987 BJ73 from the the windshield registration and license plates it looks like it was a European spec truck from the Canary Islands, but I bought it off eBay so I don't know a ton about it other than it needs some love. I actually bought it last summer, but it has sat around in the garage since. It certainly isn't a clean one owner, but it isn't too crusty and since I bought it to use it, it is going to work just fine for me. After driving it around a bit I realized that a lot needed to change on it. The shocks were no good, suspension was too stiff, there really was not enough power to really move the vehicle around, and it had little bits and pieces missing.

My goals are focused on power improvement, comfort, and reliability.

After purchasing a bunch of parts from @cruiseroutfit and @landcruisersdirect it is finally time to put them all in since I have been sitting on some of them for months. I was going to try to get a few things done before Cruise Moab, but since it isn't happening anymore, I have been using the extra time and social distancing to keep digging deeper. This self isolation deal has lended itself well to throwing it on the lift at the shop and going to town.


Work in progress includes:
  • Axle Upgrades
    • 4.88's and ARB lockers front and rear
    • Longfield shafts and Birfields up front
    • New Aisin Hubs and Trail Gear chromoly hub gears
    • Nitro chromoly shafts for the rear
    • Blast and powder coat or cadmium plate all existing hardware and parts
    • New wheel studs, knuckle studs, and hub studs
  • Brakes
    • Turn drums, new wheel cylinders, shoes and hardware,
    • New rotors, pads, and calipers
    • Replace some brake lines and add extended brake lines
    • New Master Cylinder, LSPV
  • Engine
    • Compression tested good
    • Refresh Cooling system - Flush coolant, replace water pump, heater hoses, radiator hoses, thermostat, radiator, fan, and fan clutch
    • Replace glow plugs
    • Rebuild Injectors
    • TD04 Turbo w/ Reveltronics gauges (Boost, EGT, Water Temp, Oil Temp, Oil Pressure)
    • Precups and head cracked - need to address
  • Transmission, Transfercase, Drive lines
    • New Clutch, new master and slave cylinders
    • Inspect Transmission and fix 5th gear issue
    • Add Toybox
    • Rebuild transfercase to fix leaks and minor issues
    • Extend front drive line, shorten rear drive line, balance, and replace all U-joints with Matsuba
  • Steering
    • Relocate Power Steering Pump
    • Rebuild Steering Gearbox tap for hydro assist
    • DOM tie rod and drag link with new all new 555 ends
    • Figure out hydro assist ram setup
  • Suspension
    • OME Suspension w/ new bushings and extended non-reversing shackles
    • Push front axle 30mm forward
    • 1/2" Body Lift
  • Blast, galvanize, and paint frame
  • Tearing out the interior to assess any rust situation. Overall, after chiseling out all of the sound deadening things weren't perfect, but better than I expected. I'll patch a couple small holes, weld up the crack by the seat mounts and then treat the floor before.
  • Replace seats
  • Update interior, replace misc seals get things in general working order
  • Run 35 or 37x12.5R17 tires and alloy bead lock wheels
Future wants/wishes:
  • Figure out Radio situation and 24V to 12V circuits add speakers all around
  • Install already purchased FTM-400XDR HAM Radio and aux speaker
  • Sliders and outer fender slider to bumper tube work
  • Interior Upholstery - Redo headliner, door cards, and maybe carpet kit?
  • Build up larger more functional center console
  • Cruiser Outfitters rear bumper
  • Change front bumper add 24V come up winch
  • Add aftermarket A/C
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Paul R

Well-Known Member
Everything torn out of the inside before chipping out the sound deadener.

Need to weld up and shore up the seat mounting.

Engine bay before tearing into it.

Turbo kit sitting on my desk at work.

Mostly installed.

How she sits right now.

How to totally cheat when it comes to cleaning axles up.

Paul R

Well-Known Member
The last little while has seen me with a lot less time available to work on this, but I have a few updates.

Got the radiator out and began cleaning up the front cover

Started cleaning up the front axle housing by blasting it with walnut shell first and then clean up with a wire wheel after

Polished up the knuckle balls with some emery cloth

Sand blasted everything else

The rear axle will be next. Then I'll need to decide if I go with powder coat or paint for everything before assembly. I'm also trying to wire wheel the frame so I can treat and paint it before installing the OME springs.
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Paul R

Well-Known Member
I think I am almost to the point where everything I touch doesn't go five levels further.

Since the front axle housing already had some dings in it that I straightened out. I got some plate armor to weld on to protect the ring gears and drain plugs on the axles.

Milled in some centering holes in the spring perches to push the front axle housing forward a touch. Was my first time messing around with the mill but probably not the last. I would normally just get as close as I could with a hand drill, but buddies at work helped me to throw it in the mill at lunch. It was cool to zero it in perfectly and know that it is as straight as the original holes. Everything is finally ready to drop off the axle housings and pieces for powder coating.

Playing around with a taller shackle prototype. Need to dial it in a bit more but looking pretty good so far. I'm going to fit those 35"s yet.

This weekend I'll spend a bit more time wire wheeling on the frame and be about ready start the painting process. Goal is to have the frame all painted and engine finished by the time everything gets back from coating.

Paul R

Well-Known Member
It has been a lot slower progress lately, but today was a big jump. After I spent a bit of time wire wheel prepping the frame, I realized that I was not going to be happy with the results and decided to split the frame off and get it professionally blasted and coated.

Took it off the lift and onto a trailer




Used the Lift to split the frame off the Truck

Took the dash out to prep the interior to get everything cleaned up.

Next up...
Send out the frame and dash for coating
Seriously thinking about sending it out for paint and body work. Debating between a cement gray (with white FRP) or white (as of right now, I'm leaning towards the white).
Get the axles assembled and get stuff ready to put back together
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Scope Creep
Wow Paul, talking about no half measures! Its impressive how far you're taking it down to make sure it lasts another 30 years. Its neat to see this so well documented, thanks for sharing on here.


Formerly Beardy McGee
Supporting Member
Awesome progress and build Paul.

The question remains however, when will the tires be painted white?

Paul R

Well-Known Member
Wow Paul, talking about no half measures! Its impressive how far you're taking it down to make sure it lasts another 30 years. Its neat to see this so well documented, thanks for sharing on here.

Thanks Greg. Doing it right and making it last is definitely the goal. I have jonesed for a 70 series for a long time. I have had too many things I half assed in the past and regretted it.

Awesome progress and build Paul.

The question remains however, when will the tires be painted white?

Wow that was a long time ago! I never painted tires white... I painted them back to black to get rid of overspray! :p
Read comment above about not half assing on this one. :cody:
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Paul R

Well-Known Member
Getting ready to mount it to the engine stand

Cleaned up the transmission and tcase

Knocked out gallons of dirt out of the frame rails. Then spent over an hour steam cleaning every nook and cranny of it.

Frame all cleaned up now needs to get blasted


Then I started putting the rear brakes back together. It feels good to actually be putting something together rather than taking it apart. I bead blasted a bunch of misc hardware and parts and got them cadmium plated. I think they turned out great. Mixed with the @cruiseroutfit brake hardware kit and shoes and new wheel cylinders.

Thought I might be able to get the axles all the way together this weekend, but since this is my first ARB install I am a bit tripped up on how to get the third member in without messing up the airline.

Paul R

Well-Known Member
I'm amazed at the resources on display here. That steam cleaning bay is just plain cheating.

The steam bay definitely did magic on that frame! It is almost as good as the giant parts washer that cleans about anything in 15 minutes!

Luckily, I have been able to work on it after hours at work. We fix large electric motors and generators so there are a lot of resources that have been nice to use. The only major pain is having to constantly move stuff around a lot to keep it out of the way and then pull it all back out when I go to work on it.

Paul R

Well-Known Member
I ended up pulling the head off and definitely already have cracked precups and head that I will need to address which is a bummer. I also pulled the injectors to get tested and rebuilt.

On a positive note, frame is blasted and ready for a few mods before getting galvanized. I am also about done assembling the axels.

Frame blasted. Need to make some provisions to mount the toybox so I'll weld on some angle iron to add a bit of flexibility with transmission and tcase frame mounts.

It's gonna take a bit to make work (need to check through the transmission and rebuild my tcase). But, I'm excited to get a third shift knob :cool: I loved it in my old mini truck.

Nice to have freshly powder coated parts and really happy with the knuckle rebuild kit from @cruiseroutfit and huge thanks to @bryson for helping me figure out how to get the ARB airlines in the third into the housing.


Knuckles and all packed and sealed up with longfield birfs. Should be able to finish up the front and rear hubs tomorrow. They will be already to go under the frame when it gets galvanized and painted.
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Paul R

Well-Known Member
Need some advice on the head. I thought I was good to go until I cleaned the carbon build up and saw the cracks between the valves. It is over at Crankshaft Grinders right now. I am going to have it magna-fluxed to see if the cracks are into the valve seat journals yet. Has anyone had luck with repairing a head in similar condition? Seems like it is pretty hard to find a new head for the Toyota 3B.






Rot Box

Rot Box Toy
Smithfield Utah
Bummer. When it comes to cracks like that I just don’t know. I’ve heard it both ways some say it’s fine/normal others will say the head is toast. The precups can be changed I’d probably do that at a minimum.

I love this build and seeing the updates. Hope you get a solid answer on the head