Are old 1984-1989 land cruisers safe?


Asked by Jun 24, 2013 at 09:59 PM about the 1984 Toyota Land Cruiser

Question type: Maintenance & Repair

We are looking into purchasing an older land cruiser between the years of 1984-1989.  We
can't find safety rating for cars this old and are wondering how safe they are.  We will
have our kids in their car seats in the back to consider as well as general safety in side
impact and front impact accidents.  Does anyone have info/resources to direct us in this
regard?  Any suggestions to make sure this truck is safe if we go to inspect one?  
Updates, repairs, restoration that could be essential or you would suggest?  Thanks!

27 Answers

kids?...get the safest you can get...forget these charming old'll have to replace the rubber everything, mounts, brake hoses, power steering hoses, transmission mounts...exhaust name it...will be a cause of failure if put suddenly into daily service as butyl rubber effluesces volatile components, loses flexibility and cracks and can no longer be trusted...talking about bushings and control linkages as's a can of financial woes as one who has tried to rescue more than one 'damsel in distress' is a sink-well for any cash you have and regrettably any cash you can borrow to have the engine fitted with new valve seals so that you can burn unleaded now...but the transmission is slipping and leaking see where I'm headed with this....If you've got children changing a diaper is more important than changing an as new of a safe vehicle (family-friendly {not a rhinoceros] and a welcome presence on our motorways~ You'll find one...budget of $15,000 offers plenty of beauties that could last another five around that's why we're here too~ subaru's have always impressed me tho could never afford one have worked on plenty of them with TWO timing belts in those days~ they also had a unique H4 close to the ground feel and sound....not unlike the ole' punch buggy of yesteryear (man those things NEVER passed the smog test at our shop)~

2 of 2 people found this helpful.

Whats your intended purpose for the vehicle? If its for a daily driver, I would advise against it, as I agree with Roy. Theres just too many years on that truck to be reliable and safe for everyday use. Now, if its for overland/expedition use, and youre prepared to spend significant time and money replacing nearly everything, I say go for it. Theyre fantastic off road vehicles. Either way, without a major investment, I wouldnt trust my childrens lives in it.

3 of 3 people found this helpful.

CHILDREN- that's the defining word in this question- so many parents want to have their cake and eat it too- kids AND the cool ride- with the great answers above, I would add this- a high center of gravity means increased risk of rollover- when you roll, do you want your kids in there with you?

3 of 3 people found this helpful.

good point, jamnblues...seems as though they want to be on top of the fridge height driving a rhinoceros these not so good about having to share the highways with these monsters slurpin' a slushie and smokin' and texting...and clobbering the people around them~ ...just cannot complain enough about this newest incarnation....clearly these automakers have lost their mind~

1 of 1 people found this helpful.

is that a beamer on your icon, sir?


stilo- italiano- Fiat 124 coupe- thanks,judge

1 of 1 people found this helpful.

Wow, I really had no clue how bad the car could be for what I really care most about! Thanks. Yes, I was wanting my cake, but I will definitely not compromise for my kids. I really didn't know much about these cars so this has been eye opening. Thanks again for the frank responses, just what I needed.

2 of 2 people found this helpful.

remember the old Pontiac nine passenger wagon with fold up back seats for the kids...where the hell did they go? they were perfect~

1 of 1 people found this helpful.

Great answers guys, your all totally full of crap, but nice try! The older Cruisers were hand made gems from Japan. Huge frames, treated steel body panels, legendary engines and transmissions. In 1986 my father- in-law purchased a FJ-60 new off the showroom floor in Los Angeles, Ca. It was his daily driver and family car, raising four kids in that old beast. Trips to Big Bear, Yosemite, Tahoe, finally it made the trip to Texas, where they all stayed. Five years ago, when my family grew to four kids, he gave that same FJ-60 to me. It's MY daily driver, family car, instructional vehicle for a 17 yr old girl learning to drive a manual gear box, offroader, camping cruiser! It's 2F has 250,000 miles, burns no oil. The H41 tranny is tight, no leaks. Transfer is utilitarian, but solid. A/C is freezing cold, the heater burns your ass. So far I've dropped around $2k into it, money wise. Needed a new radiator, and PS pump, routine maintenance. I track every penny i spend in gas, parts, oil, etc. My kids love that truck! I sit above traffic in my iron monster, weighing in at twice what new cars weigh in GVW. My bumpers will smash cars who contact me and just sustain scratches. Safe? I wouldn't put my kids in some econo-box or Euro-trash with a flashy badge. Some say, "dude, it gets 17 mpg and your carb dumps raw fuel into the exhaust, how are you being environmentally friendly?" Well, my truck paid its dues long ago, how much energy did it take to make your 2013 super-fuel-efficient paper and plastic car? Get an old vehicle, maintain it... That's how we'll solve this energy crisis. Don't give into hype. About six years ago i restored a 1967 Toyota Land Cruiser HJ-45LV wagon for my wife. It was a one owner truck, purchased for the purpose of restoration. I spent $14,500 for the frame-off. At the time, the original owner drove the truck every day for 41 years. It's even better now than when it was new. How many new cars can you buy for $6000 (purchase price)+$14,500 (resto-mod)=$20,500 for a truck that WILL LAST 41 + years? Btw it gets 28 mpg and weighs 8900 lbs!

39 of 39 people found this helpful.

good work, Michael...I wish that people thought about stuff rather then go with "that one's shiny", I'll take it~....have shiny stuff stolen all the time around here...the plain get left alone, am referring to the sport "sun" large tachometer which someone came along and RIPPED it from my steering of the delights of drivin' a '93 Toyota...will not die, think the British Top Gear did a special on the Toyota truck that they tried everything possible to destroy it but still started right up....drat, I'll never get rid of it~!

3 of 3 people found this helpful.

Those NIssan Rhinos...what the hell?

you know in Clearlake they cannot afford we've got craters and sand...ocassionally someone will see fit to pick axe ones that are an oil pan buster but I cannot drive the MINI around here and am stuck driving my pennance the '93 Toyota with the black duct tape steering column~ ps we are not all full of crap~ might have to hit that little button for insensitive and inappropriate language...we are all nice people on this site~


There are only two kinds of people: ones who've never owned a Toyota land cruiser, and those of us who love them. One of the issues I've always had with this forum is anyone can answer questions based on what they think, not based on what they know. I don't answer questions about Fiat, BMW, Mercedes, nissans, Chevy products..... CAUSE I'VE NEVER OWNED ONE! No one who have answered this guys question has a TLC in their garage! Right now i have a 1987 model year FJ60, a 1967 (formerly fj) HJ45LV, and am currently restoring a 1977 Fj55 for my 14 year old. Out in the barn, I have a running but as of yet untitled 1980 HJ45 Troopie just imported from Saudi Arabia. I get really angry reading someone dissuade a person from buying the last vehicle they will ever want to own. Report me? Okay. But keep your opinions to yourself and stick with facts.

13 of 13 people found this helpful.

really glad for your success with your reminded of "gods must be crazy where the barnyard mechanic has put new rings on that engine and says "It's gonna be a bugger to start" point is the low- tech attraction to them....yes am quite finished with "modules" that a guy cannot get a soldering iron from radiosnack and proceed to repair that module...doesn't work like that anymore...have layed waste to popular mechanics and popular science...they are not popular anymore~

2 of 2 people found this helpful.

A vehicle with a high center of gravity will roll over when it gets sideways- think rain or ice- have you ever driven down from the mountains in your hallowed Toyota thru a snowstorm? Have you ever seen 4x4's on their roof? I have- plenty of 'em because I live in the mountains- lots of 'em- 'cause they give the operators a false sense of security so they might go a little too fast for weather conditions- I think the author of this question already made his mind up- he might be willing to risk his life going too fast thru the snow, but NOT HIS KIDS LIVES- and if you haven't rolled yours, Michael, you are just damn lucky with an attitude like that- any of these vehicles, no matter what they are, are capable of killing us at any given moment- our fault or someone else's fault what does it matter when you are dead? Forget that fact at your peril, pendejo

4 of 4 people found this helpful.

Right now I'm really into the 12HT turbo diesel Toyota put into a few HJ's in the late 1990's (made by Hino). I got a deal on four of them and have two rebuilt. They are somewhat complicated, but 100% mechanical, which is cool. So far, the LV wagon is getting around 28 combined MPG without any electronics. As far as the comment above me.... As i stated before, I don't comment on things i know nothing about. We don't get a lot of ice and snowy mountain roads in Texas. Pendejo, huh? Your a real cutie.

1 of 1 people found this helpful.

I reread my rollover comment, I see the confusion. Driving a 4x4 of any kind like anything but a 4x4 is stupid..... Not your comment. I see crashed out Dodge Trucks daily, even saw an entire little Mexican family of five strewn dead across I35W in a blue 4x4 Dodge truck, who had flew past me weaving through traffic a few minutes before. Drive it like a truck, not a Honda.

2 of 2 people found this helpful.

would you be willing to sell one of those 12HT's?


No, but shoot me a Private message with your email address. I'll send you the phone number of the guy who is importing them. He lives in Houston, TX.

2 of 2 people found this helpful.

Michael do you still have a contact to a toyota importer? I'm looking for am 80's fj60

1 of 1 people found this helpful.

All very interesting! I'm the owner of a 1989 FJ62 I bought in 1989 from Longo Toyota for $23,000 . . . envious? I've put more than $60,000 into the car, including EVERYTHING, and that includes a recent engine rebuild at 375,000 miles, two transmission rebuilds at 180,000 mile each, and a LOT of hose replacements, interior parts, and all the various steering, suspension, rearend, and various minor dings. You know what? I wouldn't take any of it back! This car has been all over the western states, the Mojave Road a half dozen times, throughout the Sierra jeep roads around Mammoth . . . you name it. Would I trust it with small children? Hell, yes! This car was made with REAL steel, and will emerge intact in ANY collision with one of the modern vehicles. Divide my expenditures on this car by 27 years, and the per-year cost isn't that bad . . . I plan to be buried in it! LOL


Yes Craig, you're REAL steel FJ62 will survive a crash intact. But what about the human beings inside? Not so much. Some physics tells us the modern car crumple zones are what save passengers from horrific injuries, not indestructible steel. So while I can see your point about preserve your precious 62, the OP was more concerned with passenger safety. There is no way a 35 year old steel box is safer than a modern car. None.

1 of 1 people found this helpful.

Well, buddy, there IS a way a "35 year old steel box" is safer than a modern car: Try 5,500 lbs. in my FJ-62 against your 3,500 Volvo family sedan. I don't care how many air bags your car has. By the way, years ago, I saw the front end of a Volvo punched in by a Landcruiser in a slow-speed crash . . . the bumper of the LC was hardly impacted. I'll keep my LC, thanks.

1 of 1 people found this helpful.

I've got an '87 FJ60, it's a beast, reliable and fantastic. I'm also a firefighter and I see plenty of wrecks to know how cars and occupants hold up in a collision. People do fare better in newer cars, that's a fact. Am I going to stop transporting my family in my 60? Nope. Simply because any car is only as safe as the person behind the wheel. When you are actively driving, not texting, eating, shaving, putting on makeup, messing with the radio but actively driving defensively, you and your family will do better than some poor kids strapped into their safety seat with dumb chuckle-headed distracted parent driving some modern and heavily air-bagged and crumple-zoned. Also, consider the amount of crap one keeps in their car unsecured. That crock pot of stew headed to grandma's house? That's a 17 Lb missile in a wreck. Safety is far more than some 4 or 5 star rating, don't kid yourselves.

2 of 2 people found this helpful.

Hit by a Chevy Tahoe.

From behind on the freeway. Luckily I was able to find a donor vehicle with good driver side body parts.

I'll add a twist to the original thread. How about a 88 FJ62 as a first car for a 16 year old? Mine has been mechanically refurbished, so no reliability issues, but the lack of crumple zones, airbags, and abs give me pause. On the plus side is its slowww and the visibility is great and he really, really wants to drive it.

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