Rebuild Gone Wrong: 1969 Toyota Land Cruiser


This 1969 Toyota Land Cruiser carries a painful story. The seller had the engine rebuilt at a cost of over $3,000, but on initial startup there was some type of issue and the engine seized after only three minutes of running. Another engine has been located that spins freely, but the seller has lost the appetite to continue with the project. The second engine is included in the listing here on eBay, where the opening bid is $7,500. It’s unusual to see one of these with as little rust as this one has and still having a stock appearance. It would be interesting to see how well you could bring the current paint back, especially if it’s the original paint. Are you interested in making a trip to St. Louis, Missouri to pick this one up?


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  1. cory

    Could me minor, could be catastrophic on the engine. Either way, seems like a pretty nice one and the price is climbing for these. It’s a little high for me, but a solid rust free example is nice to see. Rust repair isn’t cheap

  2. Dave Wright

    When I owned my foreign car shop……decades ago…..We did a lot of Chevy transplants into these. We did not like the V8 swap but used the 292 6 cylender engines. It was a great alternative to an expensive rebuild of the original engine, was lighter, had more power, better crusing speeds, better fuel economy. They did not have so much power to tear up the drivetrain. We did not work on oriental cars as a rule but had a good customer that needed something done with his cruiser. The original boat anchor engine broken for the second time. The cost of a major engine rebuild was more than the value of the truck. As soon as his land cruiser buddies drove his, they started showing up to have there trucks done. They were a cheep alternative to a jeep in those days, before the current cult following began.

    • RayT Member

      Since the Cruiser engine was a Stovebolt near-copy, I would imagine the swap would be pretty easy, except maybe for the English/metric interfaces.

      Back in the day I drove a stock Cruiser and one that had the “normal” SBC transplant. Frankly, I thought the stocker was a pretty nice piece, and I really liked the looks. To get the most benefit out of the SBC, you’d need to have swapped in a 4-speed trans. and/or changed axle ratios, I think. Both trucks were pretty noisy at freeway speeds.

      I could go for an FJ40. For old times’ sake, I’d have to give it a full resto before I started climbing trails with it.

  3. Mark E

    I hate to admit if I had this I’d swap in a GM6 as mentioned above and drive it as-is. Of course I’d keep it in a warm garage to prevent more rust but I think I’d get a lot of attention as an old guy driving one of these in original condition! (grin!)

    I remember when I first visited the Philippines back in the mid-90s you could buy clean FJs all day for $2-3k, where in America they were selling for 2-4x that. I thought of importing and flipping them but that’s all that came of that idea…just the thought.

    Finally, back in the day when these were all over my college friend had a Nissan Patrol. Way more capable. I’ll just say that I lost count of the number of Jeeps, Scouts, FJs and the like we rescued with the Patrol. Ah, good times…

  4. mike

    With the rust that shows on the bumper and in the fender wells, I would be worried about the rust on the frame and places that you can not see. I am from Missouri and believe me the Cities and Highway Dept. (MODOT) loved to put down the salt back in the day especially back then they spread a large amount of cinders from coal fired plants, and the coal in Missouri and Ill, has a lot of sulfur base to it, and it loved to eat metal also, that is why MODOT and some large cities had to stop using it, it was determined to be a health hazard. I have worked on older cars and trucks about this old, and man are the frames ate up with rust. But anything is repairable if you got the funds to do so.

  5. Tundra/BMW Guy

    I used to have one of these. Completely factory, low mileage. LOVED it! The only downside was the seats did not go back far enough for 6’4″ guy. Made for cramped shifting, rest assured. Got a lot of attention wherever I took it! If I didn’t have my eyes open for an 83 or earlier Vette, I would be doing a bit of thinking…………….
    Another point, more importantly, why in the heck is the guy not at the doorstep of the “Rebuilder” telling him to fix it?!?! I would so be creating a major headache for whomever did the rebuild, that they would fix it just to be rid of me!!!!!
    Just my useless 2cents worth…..

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