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Thread: 1972 Toyota Crown Sedan MS65 - build and cruise

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Location
    Fort McMurray, AB
    Posts
    249

    Icon6 1972 Toyota Crown Sedan MS65 - build and cruise

    Hello!

    After just over a year of ownership, it’s probably time I posted up a thread detailing my 1972 Toyota Crown MS65.



    This car is not my first crown. My first was a 1972 MS75 2 door hardtop I picked up from a farmers field in the summer of 2011. I caught wind of it through a local old Toyota forum (dorikaze) and discovered it was only three hours away.

    Unfortunately, the car sat untouched under a cover for three years. In that time I bought, rebuilt and sold an 80-series Land Cruiser, bought a house, finished restoration on my 85 Supra (http://www.celicasupra.com/forums/sh...n-85P-restore))), sold my Audi wagon, and bought a 100-series Lexus LX470. Finally, I came to the realization that the MS75 was going to be too big of a project, even to bring it to ‘comfortable occasional driver’ status. I put the car up for sale in the late summer of 2014 and was deluged by interest and offers. The car sold in a day and a half to a fellow in Kelowna, BC who immediately put it up for sale in Portland (?) for about double what he paid. Coincidentally enough a month or so earlier, one of my good friends had seen a restored red MS75 in person at an auction in central alberta sell for about $7k. That same car came up on Ebay in Kelowna where it ultimately sold for something north of US$15k a few weeks later. Was the person one and the same? Likely. Do I care? Not really. Since then the car was also featured on BaT: http://bringatrailer.com/2016/01/02/...crown-project/

    Onward…!

    In the fall of 2014, that same old Toyota forum delivered again! If you look you will find: TWO 1972 Toyota Crown Sedans near Nanaimo, BC. Same colour, same spec. The price was too good to pass up, and the story was exactly what you want it to be: the owner, a little old lady from Salt Spring, had bought the pair from an estate sale (original owners), and had driven it to the store and back for years. The second car was used as a parts source for the first, but very little was taken. The woman’s son was selling the cars on her behalf: she needed something newer that was easier to find parts for. I was told the primary car was a driver, and the second probably ran, but would have to be trailered. Surely two Crowns is better than one? And if one of them could be driven right away, even better!

    Plans were hatched, details were sketched out. A friend of mine just happened to be eyeing up a set of unimog axles in the British Columbia lower mainland. Picking up a couple old toyotas was an excellent excuse to pull the trigger and make the 1600km journey from Northern Alberta.

    …A short while later, we found ourselves in a compound in Parksville on Vancouver Island stuffed to the gills with old, wrecked and beat up Toyota 4x4s! Land Cruisers, Hiluxes, Pickups, 4Runners - the whole spectrum. We geeked out for a while, but soon put eyes on the goods:



    The “good” car, looks great! Idled super quiet and seemed to run well.




    The “parts” car was in almost-as-good shape, 99% complete and the only visual shortfalls were the front fenders which appear to have donated some metal to the “good” car at some point. It seemed a little weird until i found a photo album from 2008 in the front seat of the “good” car: a shop on Salt Spring Island had restored the car for the previous owners. Inside were step by step photos of the work performed, along with pictures from a classic car show when the car was finished. At this point I felt like I’d struck gold! We loaded up the parts car, settled into the good car for a leisurely, slow drive back to the ferry terminal and headed out.

    6+ hrs and one missed ferry, sitting on the ground of a gas station on the side of the highway, it became clear that I had not struck gold. Perhaps silver. The brake calipers on the good car were sticky. Very sticky. How long did he say it was parked for again? hmm…

    At the gas station, highlighting the dead-sexy tail lights of the MS65 Crown:


    After much yelling, prying and wedging, we stumbled onto the ferry for the last run of the night.

    Spirits were high as we unloaded onto Highway 1 in Horseshoe Bay. The good Crown was behaving well, although the defroster was struggling to keep up with the west coast rain. A trip directly through the heart of downtown Vancouver (followed by an Excursion towing a duplicate crown) was necessary to hit our second-last destination and pick up the unimog axles.

    On the south side of Vancouver, that ‘silver’ turned to a lump of poo. Power in the Crown was low the begin with, and the car began to struggle to keep speed. It was running rough and wanted to die. Just a little further! I nursed the car unhappily to the unimog spot and discovered the awful truth: the crankcase ventilation tube coming out of the top of the valve cover had become a locomotive stack, spewing smoke and oil everywhere. The air filter was completely oil soaked, starving the engine… which clearly had total compression loss on at least 2 cylinders. What to do?

    With about 70kms to get to our final destination, there were tough decisions to make. Dump the parts car in an unfamiliar spot and trailer the good car to our rest stop, burning up valuable time the next day to come pick it up? Do the same, but leave the good car there?

    No.

    We have the oil. We have the will. And at 1am, we have the lack of clear thought.

    And so we drove.

    We couldn’t do more than 50 or 60kmh, and had to stop every 15 minutes to add litres to the engine. We yanked the crankcase hose off my buddy’s power stroke and attached it to the crankcase ventilation port on the Crown, recycling the venting oil back to the environment.

    Later (I don’t recall when) we arrived at our rest stop. Sleep.

    The morning presented us with the reality of the situation: two immobile Crowns, and only one spot on the trailer. A swap was in order: the “good” crown would come home, and the parts car would stay in the lower mainland.



    The remainder of the trip was uneventful. The Crown took in it’s first taste of Alberta winter and found itself tucked in the garage a couple days later.





    I had exchanged one dead crown for another. Decisions, decisions….…
    Dean L.
    2007 Lexus LX470
    2000 Lexus LS400
    1985 Toyota Celica Supra 1JZ - 1JZ, restored
    1987 Toyota Land Cruiser BJ73

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Location
    Kaladar ON.
    Posts
    1,008
    Post more posts. We're curious.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Location
    Fort McMurray, AB
    Posts
    249
    With the goal of getting the car as road-capable as quick as possible, I quickly settled on rebuilding the 4M. This flew in the face of common sense: the 4M is a boat anchor. It’s not powerful, not especially reliable, and as no characteristics one would consider keeping around for period “style.”

    I strongly considered a 5M-GE setup. Much stronger engine, reliable, great sound and classic twin cam look. An EFI conversion would fly directly in the face of getting the car road-capable in a reasonable amount of time. If I do decide to upgrade the drivetrain in the future, it’ll be at least a 2jz-ge… and even those are getting long in the tooth. Perhaps a 3RZ or some other weird solution.

    In any case, the decision was made to throw (a little) good money after bad and revive the 4M.

    The engine came out quickly and made it’s way onto the stand.




    And the pile of filthy accessories and extra parts quickly grew…


    The cylinders didn’t show any major damage to my poorly trained eye:



    But every single piston ring came out in multiple pieces. Seriously. Not a single one came out of the cylinder intact.



    A cracked ring land on one cylinder meant that now I was hunting for a set of pistons as well:



    EBay and Rockauto provided almost all of the parts needed for the rebuild, including this gasket set:



    And these pistons. A note on the pistons: I was unable to find pistons with the same shape on the top as the original toyota pistons. I had a choice (in stock bore size) between the set I bought with a pronounced bump in the middle and a flat-topped set that looked way nicer. I chose the set with the bump, logically concluding that they’d be higher compression. Not that it really matters with a 4M.



    Random work bench full of parts:


    I am continually amazed by the sheer number of things that go into engines to make them work. So many parts.

    Playing with the hone. Considering the engine now runs and doesn’t seem to burn much, if any, oil, I think the cross hatching was sufficient.



    Boiling the pistons to press in the new wrist pins. The wrist pins spent a few hours in the freezer to help facilitate the process.







    Getting the block cleaned up and reassembled:



    Dean L.
    2007 Lexus LX470
    2000 Lexus LS400
    1985 Toyota Celica Supra 1JZ - 1JZ, restored
    1987 Toyota Land Cruiser BJ73

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Location
    Fort McMurray, AB
    Posts
    249




    My first experience dealing with a timing chain. It was surprisingly pleasant. Aligning all the marks was a breeze.



    The cleanest it will ever be:



    Time to reload!



    Get that backend as high as it'll go!




    Dean L.
    2007 Lexus LX470
    2000 Lexus LS400
    1985 Toyota Celica Supra 1JZ - 1JZ, restored
    1987 Toyota Land Cruiser BJ73

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Location
    Fort McMurray, AB
    Posts
    249
    After playing around enough with the carb to get it started, I quickly realized that the carb needed a rebuild. Performance was, to put it mildly, terrible. Bogging, stalling and just generally struggling with life. I was still pumped and did many loops around our street.



    Carb before:


    Carb after!


    The car now starts and runs very reliably, although it is definitely tuned rich. Next spring I’ll start playing with the carb again, at which point I’m sure i’ll screw it up.

    I decided at this point that it would be wise to try and get rid of some of that “old car smell” and stripped down the interior for a good clean:







    I only put about 1000kms on the engine before Fall arrived. I changed out the water for coolant and put the Crown away for the winter. Some creative measuring revealed that if you really want it, you can fit three cars in a two car garage:

    Dean L.
    2007 Lexus LX470
    2000 Lexus LS400
    1985 Toyota Celica Supra 1JZ - 1JZ, restored
    1987 Toyota Land Cruiser BJ73

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Location
    Victoria BC
    Posts
    3,024
    Love it, rad ride.
    1987 Corolla GTS Hatch | 1985 Corolla GTS Coupe | 1987 Corolla GTS Coupe | 1992 Tercel CE | 1992 Paseo | 2003 Corolla CE | 1974 Corolla 4 Door | 1978 Corolla Coupe | 1979 Corolla Hatch SR5 | <3||||||1990 Miata |||||| <3
    I like Toyota's wanna fight about it?

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