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Project 80: Codename Grey Ghost

Chris Nov 3, 2013

  1. Chris

    Chris Super Moderator Supporter I am in europe

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    Well no point going over the history of this one in detail. But short recap might be appropriate.

    Bought SWB Colorado. Slight initial modifications. Madness took hold. Created Lil Blue. Sold it. Bought white 80. Prepped for overlanding. Looked pretty nice drove well, caught fire. End of that story. Bought replacement 80 in two tone silver. No drive. Been standing for 8 years. Swapped transmission from insurance buy back. Sorted. Light overland style prep. Got as far as Dover, current Missus decided that that was far enough, so madness took hold again and now it’s outside on 37” tyres with front and rear winches on a 5” lift.

    So that brings us up to present. After looking for a blue one for ages and seeing nothing but sheds, I decided to sacrifice one criterion. The colour. But other than that it had to be a 1996/97 dark coloured, Amazon badged VX.

    And here it is. Silver, GS, 1995. Well it IS a manual, so really I did stick to my original requirements.

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    Here’s the basic truck purchased from Laughton Land Cruisers. Technically it’s only had three previous owners and covered 215k miles. First owner covered 100k of those miles so I am told. Bodywork is very good indeed. Interior is extremely clean with very little work to do other than recover the steering wheel and rebuild the saggy driver’s seat. Underneath, well it’s not perfect. I have seen some crusty tubs and some minters – this is about halfway in between. Once blasted, it will get Dinitrol treatment in all the corners. So at the moment I am going through it replacing little bits here and there really to bring back to original. Over 18 years it’s hardly surprising that bits and pieces go missing.

    Pretty much everything works right down to the heated rear screen. All lockers now functioning. To drive it is very car like. Good brakes (no ABS) Handbrake perfect. I have touched (ahem) motorways speeds in it and it is as steady as a rock. The engine pulls like it has an intercooler (hmm, idea) and returned just shy of 29 mpg on a run to Scotland. All oils, fluids and filters have been changed along with the timing belt and two new matching Yuasa batteries. There were records of servicing up to around 190k so it’s been well looked after. Gear box is good, but not totally perfect. Changing down to second is the only very slight foible it has. But not every time. There are no noises at all associated with the driveline on or off the power. However, the top control arms could do with swapping as there is a bit of a push when you let off the power quickly. Hey – again, 215k miles!

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    So in summary, it’s dead straight. Not fiddled with and no odd bits and bobs that make you wonder what’s been going on. Even the exhaust which is nearly new is genuine Toyota.

    After the servicing, I took it to have the AC re-gassed. Yes, AC in a GS. Factory option ticked! They put it under vacuum for 20 mins at the main dealer. It passed. They gassed it and I got as far as the window tinting place 500 yards up the road before there was green dye pissing out all over the place. So one click later on the Autokool site and a new condenser was on its way. Fitted, just need another re-gas. I also fitted a new roller blind at the same time. A friend had been given this by someone clearing out there shed. They used to have an 80 and wondered it it could be found a home. Thank you!

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    I really wanted to base line it completely before doing anything at all to it. But there is a sequence that has unfortunately been knocked off kilter. The idea was to run as standard and then fit the 35” All Terrains to see how I felt about standard diff ratios. I have spare upgrade diffs on the shelf. But, the 35’s won’t fit without the suspension lift. So… off with the old genuine Toyota springs and dampers. I had to cut the front dampers off but the springs are good. The rear dampers are excellent, but the springs were rusted to bits. More for the scrap man when he shows up. I fitted the Iron Man B set up that I took off my other 80. But first I had the springs coated and blasted so that they didn’t look like crap in 2 minutes flat. So far they have been on a day and still look better than IM straight out of the box. They might look alittle dirty, but there's hardly any rust on them. I think that they have been replaced at some point - again with genuine parts.

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    Suspension fit went OK other than snapping two ARB bolts in the chassis and bending the engine crane in half. Took me an hour to make a new jib and get going again.

    So, springs and dampers fitted, it drove well. Felt very nice.

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    Next job was fitting the 35’s. No clearance problems this time. By this time, I was starting to feel pretty good about the prospects for this vehicle. This grey is not my favourite colour, but with the black accents, it's beginning to come together. Once the tinting is done, it'll look even better.

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    Whilst the sun was out, it would have been rude not to do a bit more. Soo….


    Got Mrs Chris to help me lug the bumper round to the front of the house. Initially there was no chance it would go on. The chassis rails were too far apart. I suspended the bumper on the engine crane and wiggled and jiggled for half an hour and even battered the ends with a hammer. Nope. Then I got the High Lift, set it in squash mode and clamped it across the chassis ends. One heave-ho later and the chassis was the correct dimension. The ARB slipped on a treat. Holes lined up and bolts went in by hand. Loverly. By this time the sun was going down. So in time honoured fashion, Zebedee called time. We'll see what next weekend brings.

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    Been for a spin and I really can’t tell that it has 35’s on. I have to question whether a re gear is necessary. It still goes like an express train from a standing start. With the decent tyres on, and the new suspenders, it goes round corners superbly.

    So what is next?

    Well there is a come up winch to fit, windows to tint, rear bumper to consider, long range tank as an option, rack and roof tent to go on, split charge to wire in, African Outback drawers to fit, Nitrac grooved front discs to go on as well as front axle check and service, alarm to sort out and course continue the programme of replacing nuts, bolts, fixings and things that are a bit crusted up – like diff breathers. Water tank to go somewhere along with the hot water system.

    I shall make some lightweight slider steps as the ones that are on are not quite up to the job. I am not making super slider tree bars, just some basic steps for getting in and out and probably somewhere to jack up from.

    But they my friends, as they say, is for another day.

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    Last edited: Nov 4, 2013
    Scaltura likes this.
  2. AndycruiserguyLomas

    AndycruiserguyLomas Well-Known Member I am in england

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    Nice work Chris, mind you, nothing I wouldn't have expected.:icon-biggrin:

    Keep us posted on your progress.

    Andy
     
  3. AndyCook

    AndyCook Well-Known Member I am in scotland

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    Good work and i will enjoy following the progress.
    Will be interested in the new sidesteps and where you install the hot water system. As i want to install our kampa geyser more permantly in my hilux build, probably on a slide like fridge slide so the burner isnt inside the vehicle when in use

    Sent from my GT-P1010 using Tapatalk 2
     
  4. clivehorridge

    clivehorridge Well-Known Member Supporter Guru I am in romania

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    Nice write up Chris, the Grey Ghost does look very smart and at least you won't be panel bending this one in a hurry!:icon-biggrin:
     
  5. Gary820

    Gary820 Well-Known Member I am in great_britain

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    Looking good Chris.
     
  6. Rob

    Rob Well-Known Member

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  7. yogi

    yogi Well-Known Member I am in ireland

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    looking well so far
     
  8. ajnabi

    ajnabi Member I am in great_britain

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    Brilliant start Chris.... looking forward to future updates!

    IQ
     
  9. sae70

    sae70 Well-Known Member I am in uk

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    That's looking good is that Chris :icon-cool: I think that the colour looks well :icon-smile: What are those 35" tyres, they look like road tyres? I'll be interested to see photos of the old girl with her tints as I've considered getting Swampy done also :icon-smile: If you don't mind me saying I think that you've been a bit tight with the photos! Please sir can we have some more :icon-biggrin:
     
  10. adrianr

    adrianr Well-Known Member

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    Tasty mate, very tasty indeed.
     
  11. Chris

    Chris Super Moderator Supporter I am in europe

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    Thanks chaps. That's all for a bit. Busy again so can't spend much time out there and the damn rain keeps knocking me back. The tyres are BFG all terrains. 315's on 17" steels. Ordered a full set of window rubbers as these are set rock hard like plastic. They will put the new rubbers in when they do the tinting. Then I shall see how the motors cope. You can't tell at the minute. I won't start on the internal modifications just yet and I would like nice weather too. I'm not doing cabling etc in the dark with rain running down my neck. There is no particular rush to get this one done. I want to assemble all the parts and plan cable runs and things like that. Perhaps even make up a harness, in a sense and run it all in flexi-tube underneath. Might try for third battery under the bonnet this time although putting it in the floor has been good. Still lots of decisions to be made such as long range tank and rear bumper set up etc.

    So lots of scribblings in pads when on the train I think. Don't want to try and make the ultimate machine. Been listening to the guys who do this continent crossing stuff in terms of what you really do need, what could come in handy and what's a waste of time.
     
    Last edited: Oct 2, 2016
  12. clivehorridge

    clivehorridge Well-Known Member Supporter Guru I am in romania

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    35s on 17" rims? For 305s, what rim width do you have Chris? I'm using 10" because on 8" they looked decidedly "stretched" or the opposite, if you know what I mean!

    I like the idea of batteries under the floor. If she's lifted then there won't be clearance problems and it seems to me that a lot of interior space is wasted on batteries inside the truck. Under the floor they can be protected in enclosed battery boxes (vented of course) but protected from the elements.

    Like what you're doing and the way you're going about it! :icon-biggrin:
     
  13. Chris

    Chris Super Moderator Supporter I am in europe

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    Ooh, that might be 315 Clive. Sorry.

    They're feckin huge. They are not on an 8" rim.


    Not sure where the pics of the battery box have gone. I had the box made from stainless. Cut the floor with a slitting disc, dropped the box into some goo to seal it and made a square 'hoop' to match the top lip of the box to go underneath so that the floor was sandwiched effectively. The box was built around the battery so it can't move. If I put it under the sliding top side of the outback drawers, I can get to it really easily. There are probably other places it could go. Like in a foot well for example. Not decided yet.
     

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    Last edited: Nov 4, 2013
  14. grantw

    grantw Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Great to see you finally found a project car Chris.

    I'm loving the idea of that battery tray in the floor.
     
  15. Chris

    Chris Super Moderator Supporter I am in europe

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    Found the pics. Although this is about the new build not the old one of course.

    photo 2-3.JPG photo 1-3.JPG
     
  16. SpinDrift

    SpinDrift Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Nice truck Chris. Watching with interest.
     
  17. Scott

    Scott Well-Known Member

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    Looking good Chris :thumbup: Very pleased that the Grey Ghost has turned out to be a great truck, that pulls and drives really well.

    I had similar issues with my ARB bumper, I used a bottle jack to spread the bumper open slightly, this allowed the bumper to slip on nicely and line up. Once all the bolts were in, I released the jack and the bumper compressed onto the chassis. If you removed all 12 of the bolts that bumper still wouldn't come off!

    Looks better now that the alloys are off IMO. Looking forward to the next install.
     
  18. clivehorridge

    clivehorridge Well-Known Member Supporter Guru I am in romania

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    What are they on then Chris?

    315s will be huge, my 305s look big enough :lol:

    Battery box is ace! You could get a whole bank of them in like that!

    Nice work. Really looking forward to the build as it develops...:clap:

    Edit: My front ARB was a pig as well. That needed the chassis stretching. What I noticed from measuring, the two chassis rails taper slightly together towards the front of the truck. That means when you tighten up all the mounting bolts, the chassis rails are actually under some tension (trying to straighten the taper). It's only about 10mm in total but enough to measure. They were "even" as well from a central point, I'm sure they're not bent :whistle:
     
    Last edited: Nov 4, 2013
  19. Chris

    Chris Super Moderator Supporter I am in europe

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    Clive mate, I haven't a clue. They're black and that's all I can tell you. They measure 35" or a bit more and are mostly round with a flat bit at the bottom. They used to be Jon's, then possibly Toby's then Ian' and now mine. They have been to Morocco I think.
     
  20. Gary820

    Gary820 Well-Known Member I am in great_britain

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    Do like that battery box. Could do with a second one but in the engine bay.

    Looking forward to seeing it progress.
     
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