LJ80 - Catastrophic engine failure; what to do now?

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  1. #1
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    LJ80 - Catastrophic engine failure; what to do now?

    My Land Rover project has been put on hold since my girlfriend's LJ80 decided to go kablooey on the weekend. It's a stock, well restored (excepting the mechanics) example. Initially I was looking at rebuilding the motor, since the Altrom Group supplies a gasket set, some seals and the needed bearings. But, I'm having trouble sourcing pistons, rings, liners... and from what I've heard, they aren't cheap when you do find them.

    So, if (and it seems likely) I can't get or afford the necessary parts, what should I do. She uses it for commuting and mild off-road trips (camping and the like), and would obviously appreciate more power. Also, it'd be nice if it would turn at less than 458432432 rpm during highway commuting. Fuel mileage is also a concern.

    I don't know much about Suzukis so I have some questions.

    Should I swap the engine and adapt it to the stock transmission? And if I do, can I swap out the front axle for a disc-braked SJ unit with a taller gear ratio to lower the engine rpms on the highway? And if so, can I swap an SJ's center center into the stock rear axle? Are the track widths the same? Will an SJ front center section fit into the LJ's front axle?

    Or should I drop in a complete drivetrain from something else; I was thinking 1.3L Samurai. I know it's not much power but the truck only weighs 1,620 lbs and I don't want a powerplant that's going to break axles.

    Or should I go a little farther afield and figure out how to swap in a motorcycle engine or something of that ilk?

    Thanks guys!

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  3. #2
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    Re: LJ80 - Catastrophic engine failure; what to do now?

    You should find a time machine, go back in time about 3 weeks, and sell it to me.

    www.lj10.com seems to be the best resource on the web for the lj80, but you do have to search through the forums pretty hard.

    I've heard the sj410 engine is a direct (more or less) bolt in. I've also hear people mating the samurai transmission and transfer case to the 3 cyl geo metro / suzuki swift (?) engine and plopping that in - better gearing for the freeway but need a CV driveshaft on the front.

    Nothing is truely a direct swap because of the centred pumpkins, but there are disc brake swap instructions on lj10.com.

    That's pretty much the sum of my research over the last few months - there are a couple lj80 owners here - where are you located?

    Me.
    Veni, Vedi, Velcro...
    I came, I saw, I stuck around.

  4. #3
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    Re: LJ80 - Catastrophic engine failure; what to do now?

    depending on where you are located I've got complete running gear out of a sj 410. I was told the motor ran just needed valve seals. if i Had a lj80 that was a driver and i blew the motor i would up grade to sj410 or 413 stuff as it seems that everyone that has one of those is upgrading to toyota stuff. so u could probably pick it up cheap. and there are more parts avalible
    86lwb ,spooled toy axles ,TG 6.5, 1.6 . 35LTBs

  5. #4
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    Re: LJ80 - Catastrophic engine failure; what to do now?

    Quote Originally Posted by lwb86 View Post
    depending on where you are located I've got complete running gear out of a sj 410. I was told the motor ran just needed valve seals. if i Had a lj80 that was a driver and i blew the motor i would up grade to sj410 or 413 stuff as it seems that everyone that has one of those is upgrading to toyota stuff. so u could probably pick it up cheap. and there are more parts avalible
    I guess what you do all depends on how much time you have to do it.The engine from a SJ will bolt in and the thirds from a SJ will be a direct swap.If you want discs and decide on swaping the fr& rear ends, then you also need to use the trans case, which is not a bolt in( different mounts)What you could do is use the SJ front from the birfs out, giving you discs and hubs and use the rear brakes giving you self adjusters and slightly larger drums , much improvement in braking!I'm not sure if parts availability is much better for SJ's than it is for LJ's maybe sammi parts (if you can find them) would be better.At the end of the day I guess it depends on how much time and money you want to trow at it.

    Good luck the Lj's are pretty cool

  6. #5
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    Re: LJ80 - Catastrophic engine failure; what to do now?

    Quote Originally Posted by retrordr View Post
    I guess what you do all depends on how much time you have to do it.The engine from a SJ will bolt in and the thirds from a SJ will be a direct swap.If you want discs and decide on swaping the fr& rear ends, then you also need to use the trans case, which is not a bolt in( different mounts)What you could do is use the SJ front from the birfs out, giving you discs and hubs and use the rear brakes giving you self adjusters and slightly larger drums , much improvement in braking!I'm not sure if parts availability is much better for SJ's than it is for LJ's maybe sammi parts (if you can find them) would be better.At the end of the day I guess it depends on how much time and money you want to trow at it.

    Good luck the Lj's are pretty cool
    Good info there. For a little more detail, the SJ 410 1.0 motor does bolt in, you just use the 800 clutch and flywheel, oil pan and pickup, distributor housing, alternator bracket, motor mounts, intake and exhaust manifolds. The 800 carb works fine on the 1000.

    For the diffs/brakes. Use the LJ inner axle shaft mated to the SJ 410 birfield joint, then bolt on the SJ 410 knuckle out to get the disk brakes and locking hubs. This of course means that you need an SJ 410 that had disks, the earlier ones were drum brakes. Another option is the SJ 410 birfield joint, then knuckle out from a 1985 SJ 413, has to be that year, don't mix it with the Samurai. For rear brakes just drill out the center of the SJ 410 backing plate to fit over the LJ 80 axle bearing (2" I believe) then bolt it on the LJ 80 housing. Again, the '85 SJ 413 rear brakes is the same procedure. For a little taller gearing the SJ 410 4.11 third members bolt into the LJ 80 diffs (4.56).

    Come check out LJ10.com, all the info you could ever need.
    1981 Suzuki LJ 81, 1996 Toyota T100

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    Re: LJ80 - Catastrophic engine failure; what to do now?

    Quote Originally Posted by ruby75 View Post
    Good info there. For a little more detail, the SJ 410 1.0 motor does bolt in, you just use the 800 clutch and flywheel, oil pan and pickup, distributor housing, alternator bracket, motor mounts, intake and exhaust manifolds. The 800 carb works fine on the 1000.

    For the diffs/brakes. Use the LJ inner axle shaft mated to the SJ 410 birfield joint, then bolt on the SJ 410 knuckle out to get the disk brakes and locking hubs. This of course means that you need an SJ 410 that had disks, the earlier ones were drum brakes. Another option is the SJ 410 birfield joint, then knuckle out from a 1985 SJ 413, has to be that year, don't mix it with the Samurai. For rear brakes just drill out the center of the SJ 410 backing plate to fit over the LJ 80 axle bearing (2" I believe) then bolt it on the LJ 80 housing. Again, the '85 SJ 413 rear brakes is the same procedure. For a little taller gearing the SJ 410 4.11 third members bolt into the LJ 80 diffs (4.56).

    Come check out LJ10.com, all the info you could ever need.
    Wow.
    Been camping at Hale Creek since the early 80's.

  8. #7
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    Re: LJ80 - Catastrophic engine failure; what to do now?

    Well folks, thanks for the info!

    I've actually found a pretty decent parts supply (mixture of Altrom, some guy in Seattle, and an Australian 4x4 shop), so unless the block is beyond saving, it's just going to get bored out and rebuilt with plans for a Sami motor in the summer when I don't have half a Land Rover sitting in my driveway.

    That said, I might look at getting rid of those spooky disc brakes as soon as I can; it doesn't sound like too terrible of a job... and I like the price of Sami discs a lot more than the retardedly high price they seem to charge for LJ drums! So thanks for all that info.

    Oh, and I'm in Tsawwassen.

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    Re: LJ80 - Catastrophic engine failure; what to do now?

    Quote Originally Posted by Land Roving View Post
    Well folks, thanks for the info!

    I've actually found a pretty decent parts supply (mixture of Altrom, some guy in Seattle, and an Australian 4x4 shop), so unless the block is beyond saving, it's just going to get bored out and rebuilt with plans for a Sami motor in the summer when I don't have half a Land Rover sitting in my driveway.

    That said, I might look at getting rid of those spooky disc brakes as soon as I can; it doesn't sound like too terrible of a job... and I like the price of Sami discs a lot more than the retardedly high price they seem to charge for LJ drums! So thanks for all that info.

    Oh, and I'm in Tsawwassen.
    Hey, there's a guy on the "for sale" board who's advertising 81 sammi parts but we all know they're LJ parts, maybe he's got a runner you can drop in till summer.

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    Re: LJ80 - Catastrophic engine failure; what to do now?

    Hello, if you happen to be looking for any of the SJ410 parts still i would be happy to trade for your LJ80 gears or complete thirds. i just got into suzukis and i now have a lifted SJ410 runner and a SJ runner with no regi that im using as parts. i could use lower gears and have a complete SJ for parts. all parts can be seen runnin on the rig still at this moment.
    im in princeton But just moved from maple ridge so i am at the coast often, i could meet you if need be.
    shoot me an e mail if interested,
    Thanks
    Cale
    bugrupt@telus.net

  11. #10
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    Re: LJ80 - Catastrophic engine failure; what to do now?

    Back to the front disk brake swap, apparently samurai parts do work. Samurai knuckles out, just need the SJ 410 birf on inner LJ axles, rest is samurai.
    1981 Suzuki LJ 81, 1996 Toyota T100

  12. #11
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    Re: LJ80 - Catastrophic engine failure; what to do now?

    Alright. Here's the (nearly) finished result.









    Yes indeed, that is a rebuilt F8A. All the sizes were within acceptable ranges, so I ran a cylinder hone down the bores, got the crank and camshaft polished, replaced all the bearings/seals, got new rockers, threw two bent valves into the lathe, hung new pistons (one was cracked), welded up a crack in the exhaust manifold, and generally sandblasted/cleaned/painted everything that needed it... along with polishing the valve cover because my girlfriend wanted it nice and shiny. I'm still working on a few things (obviously), and need to pull the trans to tweak the shifter and bolt up the new clutch, but I hope to have it back in the truck and going through aircare this weekend.

  13. #12
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    Re: LJ80 - Catastrophic engine failure; what to do now?

    whats the total cost on your rebuild?

  14. #13
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    Re: LJ80 - Catastrophic engine failure; what to do now?

    The truck's owner here...

    The engine rebuild wasn't too much, actually... although finding all the parts was a pain. I'd heard they were pricey to build, but I found most of the parts in line with what you'd expect to pay for pretty much any other engine, except all the parts are a lot smaller. There's a fellow in Seattle with a large collection of parts, otherwise it's just a matter of finding out what works. The valve seals are the same part number as found on Suzuki GS motorbikes, the air cleaner is a K&N for a Chevy Cavalier, and a couple of the seals in the steering arm are identical to those used in a Honda Fourtrax ATV swingarm. Spend a lot of time on Google, and you can definitely save some money on these things!

    We've put it in the truck already, and tomorrow will be its first start-up... photos will definitely follow!
    Last edited by courtb; April 11th, 2010 at 08:09 am.

  15. #14
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    Re: LJ80 - Catastrophic engine failure; what to do now?

    I have a friend with an LJ and a couple more in parts and you'd probably be doing me, and others, a huge favour to make note of the compatible parts and posting it as I'm sure I'm going to have to help rebuilt one of these engines in the not to distant future

  16. #15
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    Re: LJ80 - Catastrophic engine failure; what to do now?

    Will do... there aren't too many (actually, I'm sure there's a ton, but here's what I found).

    First, if you want to rebuild one, there's a seal kit available from the Altrom group. If you give Lordco or Napa the car make/model, they won't find it in their system, but they can get the Altrom (http://www2.altrom.com/) kit by part number and have it in the next day. The kit is good, but the timing cover/case gasket doesn't work and needs to be made. It's easy.

    The valve seals supplied in the kit won't work, but the originals are Suzuki PN#09289-07002, available from most Suzuki motorcycle dealers. I got mine from a place on Commercial Drive, but to be honest the guy there that handles parts was a dick; he took it as a personal insult when I just asked if they had the part number in stock instead of giving the vehicle info instead (I didn't feel like explaining)... that said, the manager was a nice guy.

    The clutch is an Exedy unit, available most places if you have the part number, which is SZC507 if memory serves.

    The air filter is K&N E-0850. It's intended for a 1994 Cavalier 3.1L V6, non-Z24. Sadly, it doesn't seem like other manufacturers make it to the same dimensions, so it's the only one that works. $30 bucks at Lordco and you still need to trim the locating tab inside the air filter housing.

    Lastly, if he needs to rebuild his steering lever arm, Honda 91268-HN0-A01 seals from an ATV swingarm work great. The steel pivot is no longer made, but it's easy to machine one up.

    NOW

    In the absence of my girlfriend's update, I'll give 'er a go. We finally got it on the road today after getting new tires mounted, and I'm ultra-pleased. I'm pleased with the power, and thus far it's proven capable of sustaining 110 easily, with more to give. I suspect it probably tops out somewhere on the high side of 130, but given it's a new motor, I'm not going to test that! The clucth is still a light switch with zero room for error, but whatever... it idles great, and is one of the smoothest four cylinders I've seen. Sounds great, too.

    Brakes are a weak spot. Drums are unevenly adjusted, and one is sticking. Needs a disc swap ASAP... but the Land Rover comes first, so I'll be fixing those stock brakes first. The steering is awesome with the rebuilt lever arm, and it's frikken amazing. Light, with no free play, it's quick and accurate, a far cry from the bag of hammers it used to be. Overall, it cruises down the highway with the same stability and comfort I'd expect from a much newer vehicle (if that newer vehicle had a tiny wheelbase and leaf springs!)

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