FJ60 Heater Core Replacement.


Having to install a heater core in the FJ60 Land Cruiser can be one of the worse jobs we have to do. It doesn’t sound bad, but as you start looking into all the steps it becomes apparent this isn’t just a simple operation, or is it. The FSM calls for the dash to be removed, then to remove the A/C evaporator module (if equipped) then the heater core module.


The heater core is held in its case by a bracket across the top and little clamps over the tubes. The tubes are held in the heater core with little clips. With the tubes attached there will not be enough clearance to remove the heater core with the case in the vehicle.


While you will still need to remove the entire dash and heater ducts. If you remove the tubes first, pull the cases away from the firewall you will be able to remove the heater core without disconnection the A/C. I used a pair of screw drivers to pry the somewhat stuck heater core out of the case. Once out I made sure to clean out any old coolant that was sitting in the bottom of the case. The new heater core did not come with any of the foam that is used to seal the core in the case. All that my local parts store had was camper tape and appears to work just fine. The new core also didn’t come with new o-rings. Having an assortment on hand is always handy and I was able to find two of the proper size.

With the new heater core installed and tubes mounted in place the dash was reassembled, hoses connected at the fire wall and the coolant refilled. It may be advisable to attach the hoses and refill the cooling system before finishing the dash work to spot any leaks.


Toyota FJ60 Land Cruiser Seat Upgrade

I have been less impressed with the seats in my ’87 FJ60 since I bought it. They are thinly padded with a weak frame (for someone of my size). I installed seats from a Volvo 240 wagon a few years ago and this was a huge improvement. Better padding, solid frame, just not that adjustable. I regularly pursue the local wrecking yards in search of a better seat that will fit. I have looked at other Toyota seats, BMW, mini-van and others as well. I have never found seats that I thought would both fit, and meet my needs. During a visit to my neighbor hood wrecking yard last summer I came across a Mercedes M350 that had been badly wrecked. They looked like they would fit and both the drivers seat and the passenger had 8 way adjustable power as well as seat heaters.

I never did a write up of the Volvo seats but I will include a few pictures before continuing onto the Mercedes seats.


The factory slider was removed and a bracket was made to fit the Toyota slider to the seats.


I am 6’6″ and the first bracket made the seat sit too high. This left my head in the headliner with the seat back at a comfortable position. I figured I could lower the seat another 1.5″ and modified the drivers bracket to fit this.



This bracket was pretty tight to the slide and it was difficult to adjust when slid all the way back.

Now for the Mercedes seats. This was a much easier bracket to make. Instead of welding angle, all I had to do was bend up some 2″x.25″ bar stock purchased from Lowe’s. To bend the bar I used a little bender from Harbor Freight. This was the max size the bender could handle but it was adequate.

I drew up a sketch in Google Sketchup with measurements from the truck floor. Now, the floor pan on the ’86 and ’87 trucks is different than the earlier trucks. The earlier trucks have a higher raised spot that the sliders attach to. This may be enough that these seats would not fit for tall people.

Once I had my brackets I drill the floor mounting holes and loosely bolted them to the floor. I then set the drivers seat in the truck to get an idea of location. Once selected, I marked the brackets for drilling the seat mounting holes. Brackets bolted to the seats it was time for test fit. I got lucky on this one and the seats fit. They still sit a little high in the back and I have to have the rear adjusted all the way down with the front all the way up. I have room to lower the back of the bracket about 2″. I will add photos to this article once I have reworked the brackets.

Now for the wiring. There are two types of seats in the ML350, power with memory and just power. I ended up with the power with memory. The power only may have been a little easier to wire but this is what I had. On the power with memory seats, each seat has a power seat module (PSM). This is a little relay/computer box that is attached to the bottom of the seats. All of the motors and motor sensor connect to this box as well as input from the vehicles extended activity module (EAM). My seats came with the PSMs (be sure to get the harness from the car to the PSM). The EAM performers many functions in the car none of which are needed here except power to the PSM.

It was a little confusing at first but I figured out the wiring. There is two power inputs to the PSM, 12v+ 30amp to the seat functions and 12v+ 20amp for the seat heaters. There is also a ground wire, and two wires to the heated seat switch. There are two positions for the seat heaters, regular and rapid heat (hi). This again had me confused for a while as I kept trying to apply 12V+ to the wires with no action from the relays. After looking at the wiring for a 4th or 5th time, going to the computer to do some additional research, it dawned on me that the heater relays may be controlled with 12v-. After a few tests I had completely functioning power heated seats.

Is it worth it? I think both the Volvo seats and the Mercedes seats are a great improvement. Not only do they look good (leather), but the are more comfortable and have a much more rigid frame. I think with the ease that the Mercedes brackets were made and how nicely they fit in the 60, the would be my preference every time. They may be much harder to find though.


H55F into an Early FJ60 Land Cruiser

I recently installed an H55F Transmission into a 10/84 built ’85 FJ60. It is commonly known that the H55F is a direct installation, and upgrade, into a 5/85 and later FJ60. There are several writeups detailing the later installation. I had always heard that the earlier trucks were much more difficult but thought I would give it a try.

The H55F offers a few benefits over the stock H42 4 speed transmission found in the US market. It has a overdrive 5th gear. In our over 55 freeway speeds this can be a blessing, it reduces the RPMs and noise. It also offers a lower 1st gear. If you do much offroad, this can be a big help in 4 low.


At first glance, the H55F looks the same as the early H42. The most noticeable difference is the extension housing making it 3 1/2 inches longer. This is were the the fifth gear is located. It also has the transfercase shifter mounting moved back a little and out.

If you haven’t rebuilt the transfercase this is an excellent time. You will need to replace the case gaskets regardless and most of the labor to rebuild it will be done. The only other parts to the rebuild is to replace the bearings.


The major difference between the early and late swaps are the few extra parts and modifications you will need. The drive shaft lengths will need to change (the front lengthened and the rear shortened by about 3.5″). Also you will need to modify the transfercase shifter or get the shifter from the later H42. I did not feel comfortable cutting and welding the cast lever and so I turned to SOR for the lever parts. You will also need the longer transfercase to transmission bolts from the later transfercase. While it is possible to use the 4speed shifter lever, the 5speed lever is a better fit and does not require modification to miss the dash.

First step is to remove the drive shafts, cross member, and disconnect the speedometer cable, ground wire and wiring harness. Using a suitable transmission jack, remove the transmission and transfercase as one piece. Carefully disassemble the transfercase per the factory service manual. Make sure to note the order of the various parts such as the speedometer gear and spacers.


Before you start to assemble the transfercase to the new H55f take note of a few things. First, on the later transfercase, you will need to plug the center bolt hole on the forward case half, using a 1/4 pipe thread tap and plug. The early case does not have this hole. The 5th gear oiler cup will also need to be installed. Unlike the other gears in the transmission and transfercase, the 5th gear is not splash oiled. Without this cup, you may quickly burn up your 5th gear.

Install a new input shaft seal in the front case half, then install a new gasket between the transmission and transfercase. This is were you need the longer bolts from the later transfercase. It is important to use a liquid sealer on the bolts that secure the front case half to the transmission. Before putting the input gear onto the input shaft, install the idler gears on the idler shaft. Continue assembly as normal.


Once the transfercase is mounted on the transmission, the complete unit can be reinstalled into the truck. The rear mount and cross member will bolt up just as it did with the H42. Now install the longer set of transfercase shifters. Make sure you get the the shifter guide when you order your shifter parts. Now is when you want to take the measurements for the front and rear drivelines. It should be a 3 1/2 inch change from the current lengths, but be sure and measure. Make sure to check with the shop doing the work to see what they want you to measure. Most of the time it will be flange to flange. It is best to measure with the vehicle on the ground. A 1 inch collapse should be plenty (this is how much shaft can travel to full compression). Also make sure the shaft is in phase before installing in the truck.


I was concerned with the clearance of the front driveline and the transmission crossmember, but with the double cardon joint on the earlier trucks it has no problem. Here are a few pictures to compare the difference between and H55F in an early FJ60 and a late FJ60.

The transfercase boot may need a little trimming to fit around the new shifter. It may be difficult to get the 5speed into gear at first.  Here is a summary of some of the possibilites ( is another source for the 5speed and shifter parts).

Outdoors Overland travel Tech

ARB Simpson Series II Roof Top Tent


UPDATE: ARB has released a new version of the tent, keep reading here for my experience with the Simpson II then go HERE to read about the Simpson Series III

We recently had a chance to get one last weekend of camping in. We were heading east to the Naches River Valley to participate in a Backroad Drivers Northwest tour. This tour was of the Clemen Mountain (ridge) area just east of the Naches River and the town of Nile. The weather called for rain and I didn’t want to sleep on the ground and chance getting flooded out of our tent. Since I have been wanting to try one out I decided to pickup the Simpson Series II Roof Top Tent.


Then tent comes mostly assembled. All that is required is to decide whether you want to orient it to open to the side or to the rear. If you have it open to the rear you can create a nice sheltered area at the tailgate. This way is best suited for full sized SUVs and Trucks. I chose to have it open to the side (passengers for me) as I will be adding the Annex when it comes in off of back order. Once you have decided the orientation, you can bolt on the “mounting extrusions”. All of the parts are tucked way inside the folded up tent so you will need to get them out to continue. These are the parts that will connect the tent to your roof rack. You can use any type of roof rack as long as it meets the load capacity you will be placing on it (tent and occupants). I already had the ARB Touring Rack installed. The tent can also be mounted on factory bars or Yakima and Thule bars. After the mounting extrusion is attached, the ladder is attached using the supplied stainless steel brackets. The ladder has a dual purpose. It is of course the way you get into the tent. The ladder is also the lever you use to open up the tent.


The annex is a nice little addition that creates an indoor changing/storage area under the tent. That is one of the features that drew me to the ARB tent instead of others. The tent has a “vestibule” section that provides a sheltered for the ladder and entrance to the tent. The annex slides into a rail attached to the floor of the tent then zips to the bottom of the tent.

Once assembly is finished, the tent is ready to be mounted onto the rack. This is best done with two or three people. Although it is not particularly heavy the size makes it awkward to handle. The tent comes with stainless steel brackets and bolts and an aluminum runner that slides in the mounting extrusion. This provides limitless spacing between bars.


With the tent mounted you are now ready to open it up for the first time. Start by releasing all of the straps that hold the tent closed. Extend the ladder and the locking pins will engage the holes. Pulling on the end of the ladder you should have enough leverage to start to open the tent. Once the tent is just over half way open the weight will shift to pushing down on the ladder. Slowly lower the ladder to the ground making sure the tent opens all the way. Now slide out the overhang supporting bar (U shaped aluminum bar) and insert into the retaining sockets. Make sure the corners of the bar are all the way into the corners of the tent. Get the spring steel rods from inside the tent. These are used to support the outside window awnings and the flysheet. Insert the U shaped end into the eyelet in the awning/flysheet. The other end is inserted into the aluminum base of the tent through the eyelets. Be sure to make note of the angle of the hole and position the rod at this angle to make insertion easier. Remove the 4 bungees. If the bungees were not installed when shipped they will be in one of the parts bags.

Now the annex can be installed. Start by sliding the rope sections into the extrusion at the hinge area of the tent base. Using the zipper attach the remaining three sides. Spread out the floor and stake in to the ground. Install the Annex Floor, making sure to place the rubber mat under the ladder to protect the floor. If you need the ladder extension, be sure to check on the “Well Extension” in order to extend the depth of the floor equal to the ladder extension.

I set it up once in the shop before leaving. My second setup was in the dark during a downpour. Except for forgetting to attach the flysheet, assembly went smoothly and tool only about 15 minutes. Since we were going on a drive the next day I had to take it down again. I think the takedown time, after all the bags were removed, was about 10 minutes. It says you can leave your bedding (except for maybe pillows depending on bedding size) inside the tent when it is folded up. I think I will do that next time. Once I have the annex I will make a short video of the setup.


Blue Highways Tech

Installing a Safari Snorkel on an ’87 FJ60

I recently installed a Safari Snorkel on my 1987 FJ60 Land Cruiser. The snorkel can be found and East Olympia Cruisers. If you are a TLCA member, be sure to mention it to get 10% off.

It was a straight forward installation easily following the supplied instructions. This kit is designed in Australia and fits all 60 series Land Cruisers including the 2H and 12HT diesels as well as the 3FE powered FJ62. Slight modification of the instructions is required for the 2F powered FJ 60. I was fortunate to have installed an air clean assembly combined from an FJ62 and BJ60 for my EFI conversion.

The only tools required are a few standard sockets, a step drill (or a variety of drill bit sizes) and a 95mm hole saw or body saw (a jigsaw would work as well). What follows are the instructions included with the snorkel kit with metric to fractional conversions provided by me.

  1. safari_snorkel_fj60_16 Remove the windscreen washer bottle and the battery from the vehicle. The air cleaner entry duct will need to be removed from the inner guard area. ( I was able to complete the installation without removing the battery but it would have been easier).
  2. safari_snorkel_fj60_02Tape the template in position on the upper rear corner of the guard (fender). Using a felt pen, mark the whole positions then remove the template.
  3. safari_snorkel_fj60_06Drill a 4mm (5/32) pilot hole for each of the holes. Open the 4 mounting holes to 16mm (5/8) using a step-drill. The front hole should be cut to 95mm (3-3/4) using a hole saw. The drill should be held horizontal while cutting the hole. When drilling/cutting is completed, deburr the holes to leave a smooth edge. (This is where I used an air powered body-saw instead).
  4. safari_snorkel_fj60_04Rivet the elbow casting to the snorkel snout. The snout of the casting should face towards the front of the snorkel. Keep the casting as close to the outer end of the snorkel snout as possible. This will make fitment easier. Seal this joint thoroughly with silicone. (I put silicone on the “snout” prior to installing the casting. This insured a good seal as well as making it easier to slide the casting all the way on).
  5. safari_snorkel_fj60_09Screw the stainless steel studs into the inserts in the back of the snorkel. Bolt the upper mounting bracket to the snorkel using 2, 6mm bolts and washers. Sit the snorkel in position on the vehicle and mark the upper mounting holes on the “A” pillar. Remove the snorkel. Drill the upper holes to 8mm (5/16).
  6. safari_snorkel_fj60_10Paint the holes to prevent rust. Insert the plastic body clips in the upper holes. Remove the upper bracket from the snorkel body and fasten it to the “A” pillar.
  7. Slide the flexible ducting onto the alloy elbow. Fasten with 60/80 (70/90 provided with kit) clamp (the clamp adjuster should be orientated towards the outside of the elbow casting to allow for easier fitment).
  8. safari_snorkel_fj60_18Place a ring of rubber edging around the inner guard hole nearest the air cleaner snout.
  9. Slide the cuffed hose through the outer hole and along the inner guard cavity (fender well). Thread the casting through the hole and secure the snorkel in position on the vehicle using appropriate hardware (nuts and fender washers).
  10. Thread the ducting through the inner guard hole and onto the air cleaner snout. Secure using a 60/80 (again, 70/90 provided with kit) hose clamp.
  11. Refit the windscreen washer bottle and battery. Place the air ram on top of the snorkel and secure with the clamp provided (the black one).

That’s it, not much too it if you don’t mind drilling and cutting on a perfectly good fender. It takes about 1 1/2 hours to complete if you don’t have to run around looking for a hole saw.
I don’t expect to be crossing deep enough water to need it, but I do travel really dusty roads and end up with a bunch of silt in the air cleaner box from sucking air out of the fender well, so much actually that I will not use a K&N filter. I had a K&N on for a while but ended up with some fine dust getting through. I am hoping this will keep the filter housing a little more dust and grit free.