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‘97 80 series intro


Active Member
Sep 13, 2022
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Hi all,

After a 1.5 year search I finally found a myself Cruiser. I was looking for a 60 or 80 but over the last year leant towards the 80 as realised I preferred the extra power, improved ride and mod cons.

I looked at at least 10 80s in total up and down the country and everyone I looked at I was disappointed with the level of corrosion/rot to the usual areas on the body and underneath and I knew finding a good one was going to be a long (and probably more expensive) journey than I had planned. I’ve got a 2003 BMW M3 that keeps me occupied sorting out corrosion issues hence not wanting another project I would struggle to find the time to work on immediately. I think I only ever test drove one that I looked at given how rotten most were.

After reading the great resources on here and speaking a number of times to Andy, who kindly showed me what to look out for and helped me understand what I was looking at, I found the Cruiser I was after. It popped up on eBay and caught my eye being an Amazon and my favourite colour - green! With this Cruiser having only done 70k miles and sounding like had been well looked after, I wasn’t expecting to find too many issues.

The seller was a lovely gentleman who unfortunately had to sell up due to ill health. He had bought the Cruiser 2nd hand from a dealer at 2 years old and primarily used it to tow his show car trailer on weekends over the summer.
When I first saw the advert I wasn’t convinced it was the one for me as the asking price was much higher than my budget and the advert said no offers. After long chat, and finding out about a shared passion for old BMWs, it looked like it was what I was after and a deal could be done. I took a 2hr drive to see it and knew straight away it was what I was looking for and after sleeping on it, some man maths and making my best offer a deal was done. I based the price on what I knew I’d have to spend to get the £8-10k Cruiser’s I’d been looking at how I wanted given my experience with the M3 to date.

There’s a few things I want to sort and a couple of minor issues to resolve they are not urgent and I’ve been enjoying using it with the family on some longer journeys. Whilst the condition is outstanding I do plan to use it for towing a trailer and for some (light) green laning with my son. When I mentioned this to the seller he went white (it’s been polished and is very shiny)!

I’ve already found loads of great threads on here to sort some of the issues but I’ll no doubt have many more questions after further reading/fixing and hopefully through sharing some of what I do on here I can contribute to this great community. I’ll get some more photos up as I go addressing the issues.

Nice, it looks alright. You may want to get under some of that underbody black stuff soon.
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A-b-s-o-l-u-t-e Unicorn - love it! :hearteyes: (with a tinge of the ol' green-eyed... - fitting...) :relieved:
Hearty Congratulations on the great catch!!
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Nice, it looks alright. You may want to get under some of that underbody black stuff soon.
Thanks. That’s the plan. I’m going to get it steam cleaned underneath then address the worst bits and treat and protect. Will be doing it in stages
What a find MGC!...... Fantastic condition.
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Arrgh, i'm turning as white as the previous owner must have, that's a lovely truck in exceptional condition and needs to be cherished as it obviously has been, its too good for green laning, it'll be worth serious and appreciating money long into the future if you look after it, it will literally see you out.
Nice one!

With a 2" lift and some decent 285 75 16 tires on 16" oem alloy rims and a hidden winch in the front bumper it'll still look stilish and civilised, but less soccer mum.
Arrgh, i'm turning as white as the previous owner must have, that's a lovely truck in exceptional condition and needs to be cherished as it obviously has been, its too good for green laning, it'll be worth serious and appreciating money long into the future if you look after it, it will literally see you out.
The one niggle in my mind when buying it was that it was too nice to use for what I intended however I accepted I am an absolute novice when it comes to driving off road so this will only see some wide, easy, drier tracks in the summer. I’ve already had a play on a couple around where I live in rural Derbyshire and it was enough fun for me and my son. The plan is to make it better than it is today and protect the underside properly so it can be enjoyed.

I’ve already joked (to help float the idea) to the wife that I’ll need another one now if I get the bug for some more challenging green laning…
Small niggles that are on my list to fix over the next few weeks:
  • TVSS remote locking and alarm not working. Previous owner said it kept going off randomly a few years ago and disconnected it which is a sign of either the battery going or module playing up. I believe the battery is in the wing and module perhaps under the centre console so I’ll change the battery first and see if that resolves it.

  • Timing belt light on with a sticker stuck over clear plastic on instrument cluster. I believe the rest button is jammed as the belt was changed 14k miles ago so might need to pull it out to get to switch.

  • Air con not working. No belt on. Previous owner had tried to sort in 2017 but didn’t follow through. Check the bill from Toyota out and still not fixed! No comment of a leak but will recheck. Compressor works and clutch engages. Perhaps the condenser/dryer? What are the common faults to look for?
Went to see @AndycruiserguyLomas today as he kindly offered to put the Cruiser up on his ramp to have a good look around. Andy’s keen eye and knowledge on these vehicles spotted some bits I hadn’t noticed that I will sort whilst tidying up the underside. A missing bump stop and the condenser has seen better days which looks like it could be the culprit for the air con woes. Thank you Andy for the help and guidance today!


The sun came out when I got back to Derby and I noticed the VX badge has a golden inlay which I hadn’t noticed before. No idea if this is standard. Love finding these little quirks on the 80
Air Con......
Often the O rings where the pipes join the condenser...... change the condenser any way... they're not expensive , and fit a new receiver / dryer ......also the pipe that runs along the inside of the front L/H wing to the receiver dryer corrodes .....
Take it to a proper A/C expert who will put some nitrogen and leak detecting dye in it and find the leak quickly ....main dealers know nothing about A/C
they just hook it up to a machine that sucks the gas out , cleans it , vacuum tests the system and puts the right amount back in ...
Agricultural dealers are often pretty expert at A/C diagnostics....
the aircon system in the 80 is pretty simple.

the most obvious, a leak/leaks.
knackered compressor.
pressure switch needs replacing.

i notice on your toyota invoice it states 650g of R134A. to my knowledge it should be 900g.
when any major component is replaced; compressor,evaporator,condenser or dryer. 2fl oz of pag 46 should be added per component, this is a rule of thumb, the exact amount is stated in the FSM. dont let anyone tell you otherwise...

looking at the pic of your condenser it looks as though your outside temp sensor is missing/ not been re attached.
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Yes,difficult. There is no way of knowing how much oil is in the system. Garages will tell you that their machine will add what is needed. The machine draws out some oil during the vac' it only adds back that quantity it has taken out. So the machine does not add what might be needed if someone has changed a component and lost oil. So If the system is working it needs to be left alone. There is no maintenance possible.