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Old 07-18-2013, 08:28 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Flatty's Murphy's Law build

Well I figured it was time to start something on this seeing as I am getting close to the end. Hopefully it is all together and on the trail by December in time for a Rubicon winter run. So to be gin with, I will start talking about me and why I am building this. I have always been a wheeler since the ripe age of 17. My first off road beast was a 1976 FJ40 I built that 3 or 4 times, and finally sold it in pieces because my girlfriend at the time wanted to spend more time with me and less time with the truck. What can I say, I was getting laid, and didn't want that to stop hahahaha. So after that truck was sold, I broke up with the girl and needed something else to occupy my time. Entered the 86 Toy pickup convertible with IFS and 3" body lift. Waht do you do with something like that? RUBICON!!!!! I met Georg and Marc on this trip. I came home and sold that and bought a 83 toy pickup. Wheeled the piss out fo that for about a year and rolled it ened over end on Suzuki Rock in Rubicon. Drove it home and chopped the top off and went to Fordyce. Did Fordyce with Fretwell, Lance, Tombo and a few others at 450CFM What a white knuckle ride. Hydro'd the motor, sucked water into the axles, tranny and tcase. Bring it home and part it out. I then bought a body and Frame off Jimmy Jack (this is where the Flatty name comes from). The flatty got a set of 60's 38's small block,... and a TON of tube. Competed at Lake Almanor for CALrocs and then threw it up for sale to pay for Graduate School. That did not last long, and I bought a 77 Bronco to build up and wheel, but decided that I had a better deal on a FatCity CJ5. Finished the bronco and sold it to buy the CJ5. Here is where everything goes bad. Wheeled the piss out of the 5 after doing a body swap, 1/4 ellip and fixing the 4 link. Sold that truck to buy an engagemnt ring for my wonderful current wife. Mind you, I teach high school and was getting ready for a wedding. I bought an FJ40 to build up to help pay for the wedding, when low and behold my wife lost her job 3 months before the wedding (who does that!!!!) The cruiser got sold to help pay for a wedding. I took a small break and bought a house in Brentwood. Went out bought a bender and built a tube chassis.. Not my cup of tea. Sold that moved back to the bay area and picked up another FJ40 that was all clapped out. It was going to take a TON of work to get together, and I just did not have the time for it. Took it to Georg and he threw it away and I brought home my current build "Muphy's Law"

I could not get this build done without help from a few people. First and probably most imporatant is LilDave. To say he has been a huge help is an understatement. Whenever I have a question, or need a part machined, or something made tha I can't do in My garage, Dave was there to help me out. He built my TH400 (if anyone needs a tranny built, he is the guy to see), he also set up my front and rear 60's. Georg was a hige help as well. Without him, I would not ahve had this cruiser, and he does provide answers when others don't know wtf is going on. Valley Hybrids knows their stuff better than any other Landcruiser specialty shop I can think of. Make sure you see them for all your cruiser needs and wants.

OK, now on the build:
I got a 197? FJ40 that had some history. I don't know if you remember the NorCal Marauders from WAY back in the 80's and 90's but I have always idolized their cruisers back in the day. Well low and behold, I now have one!!! I loaded it on the trailer, and this is where the 40 starts fighting me. I got the straps, and sure enough, they are just not going to work. I got the straps for the tires from uhaul, and the 33's were just too big. I finally got it strapped on and start towing home. I had to pull over 3 frigging times on the way home to re-strap it. NO BUENO!!! So I get it home and park the trailer in front of teh house. I will take it off tmorrow and deal with tearing it apart.
Tomorrow came around and I unloaded it off the trailer and threw it in my driveway where I left it in gear (bad idea on a truck with no brakes). My driveway is on a 30 degree slope. As I am taking the cage out, it hits the shifter of the 420 and unlocks. The cruiser is now rolling towards the neighbors house. So I cranked the wheel and the cruiser goes straight into the retaining wall for my house. OK, not too bad. fire it up and put it back in the same spot it was (why? beacuse I am an idiot). Well guess what happens next... Yup, t-case pops out of gear. Right back into the same spot. Except this time, it takes OUT the retaining wall. Cage comes out, and cruiser goes into the garage.

This is where the whole cruiser starts telling me a tale of a HARD life. So I wil start from the front of the cruiser. The frame horns are bent like it has been in a small accident. The shock towers are HALF INCH PLATE!!!! The steering box is from a chevy pickup. Yup OUTSIDE The frame bolted to a 1/2" plate again that is welded to the frame. The nerf bars are old school shittybuilt bars that are built out of 3/8 tube. The passenger side frame has a hole in it (for god knows what), the exhaust is 1.5" tubing so restricitve as hell. The inside is covered in black mold, the body is welded to the rear frame with yup... you guessed it 1/2" plate. I had to cut off the back of the frame to get the body off. Oh and the best part... truck is painted with a roller using house paint.

The good stuff was minimal, but it was there. a 350 horse 350 motor!!!! quasi clean body (But I ahve not stripped it yet), and that;s about it. Everything ese has been replaced.

The list of major parts are as follows:
dana 60 front (story behind this too) Detroit, 4.56 gears
Dana 60 rear detroit, 4.56 gears
42" IROK's on 15" wheels
TH400 built by LilDave
Dana 20 (don't ask) will be replaced with a Dana 300 at some point
about 200-300ft of tubing

So why is this the Murphy's law build? Because anything that CAN go wrong with this truck has. IT has fought me every step of the way and even put me in the ER 2 times!!! It has taken a chunk out of my face, and squashed my finger to the point where my insides were outside. Nothing I buy for this truck just bolts on. even things I ourchase that are FJ40 parts have to be custom fit. I probably could ahve built 3 trucks in the amount of fab time I have in just this one. But I can say that every part is hand made right now.

I have to get some work done and upload some pics to my computer so that I can show the progression.

sorry for the LONG story, but I feel those of you that know me can skip to the last few paragraphs. Those of you that don't know me, would want to know my motivation.

Dima
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Old 07-18-2013, 09:37 AM   #2 (permalink)
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I thought I had pics of the cruiser when I first brought it home, but I guess not. What I do have is all sorts of other pics. The first is the best one. The retaining wall!!!!
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Now on to the cruiser and various parts:
The following pics are from when I was tearing it apart. Wiring was a rats nest:
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Duct tape?
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Old 07-18-2013, 09:38 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Now for the steering



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Old 07-18-2013, 09:43 AM   #4 (permalink)
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now for some random pics:






I have been building cruisers a LONG time, and I have NEVER seena motor sit this low in the engine bay


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Old 07-18-2013, 09:44 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Here is what the rear quarter panel protectors were made from:


And I guess the last owner went ot the clink. Found this note in the Glove compartment

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Old 07-18-2013, 01:09 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Now I will add what put me in the ER. The first one was pure stupidity on my part. I had the sandwich plates in the back of the cruiser for the rollcage and frame tie ins. So I was under the cruiser drilling them upside down. The drill caught the edge of the hole and flung the 3/16" plate around and straight into my face. The plate hit my glasses and flung straight into the bridge of my nose. I went ot eh ER because I got knocked out.



So a few weeks later I was unloading a front 60 from the back of the Ford. I squatted it to the floor and was "waddling" it over to the jack stands (if you have ever lfted something yourself, that you had no business doing, you will know the waddle I am talking about). Once again, my own stupidity prevailed... I put the long side on the stand and went to lift the short side up. After I got the short side up, I reached for the stand with one hand while holding the axle with one (and using my knee). Well the axle lost its balance, and crushed my finger between the stand and the pumpkin. I didn't cut the finger, but actually squashed it. Went to the ER 3 days later to find out I broke almost everything in the tip of my finger including the nerves hahahahaha the pic is from 4 days later. Oh yea... Why did I wait to go to the ER? Well I hate waiting in lines. The lines here in te bay area suck, so I knew I was going to Truckee in a few days (and there are no lines there). So I figured if I still couldn't feel squat by then, I would go in (and not wait in line)



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Old 07-18-2013, 01:25 PM   #7 (permalink)
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so now onto the actual build process:

I was not planning on removing the body from the frame, but after you get some 60's and some 38's Well how can you NOT go frame up.

The body came off after a lot of fighting and sawzall action. NOt a SINGLE body bolt wanted to play ball. I should have just stopped right there and called it a day. But NOP, sawzall and Plasma came out. This body sat in front of my house in my driveway for a LONG time until Belmont PD threatened to remove it for being garbage hahahahah



The top had to come paart to store it on the side of the house. It was right about this time that I started amassing parts for this build.

I found a front 60 for $400!!!! Yup, I said $400 So I called and shot down there to pick it up. I waws soooo ecited about getting a $400 front 60 that I did not even think about running the BOM... YUP. It was a 61. But not a big deal. I can mount everythng up and I will make it work. I had to build my front outboarded hangers (the front you have all seen before). For the rear, I tried something a bit different


Remember, I had the lop off the back of the frame, so I bent up 2 tubes and built some hangers off those:





All of a sudden my work came to a grinding halt. My wife went into labor with our first little girl. Welcome ZOE!!!!


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Old 07-19-2013, 08:55 AM   #8 (permalink)
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After taking a short break and spending time with my 2 favorite ladies, I got back to work. The motor was removed and opened up. Mind you it was running like crap when I got it. I guess that is what happens when 3 of the spark plugs are broken hahahaha. So I opened the motor up just to be safe. Well a buddy's dad came by who is a motor GURU. He took one look at the motor, and told me its a 350 horse motor!!!! I guess I have pistons that were unique to a 2 year only block. They are a dead giveaway of what I have. YEA ME!!!! 4 bolt main block



With the motor on a stand, I tore into the frame and built most of the stuff I had to get done on the cruiser. Most of my body mounts were jacked, so I cut them off and decided I would hard mount the body instead. So I cut the rockers WAY down and built some boatsides as my body mounts for the rockers, and some roll cage tie ins for the rear.

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Old 07-19-2013, 09:05 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Right about now I figured it was time to get all the parts for my front "60" I ran the BOM's and DAMN, its a 61. What do I do. So with all the research I did, I found that I can run a spacer on the ring gear and turn out the carrier bearings as well as run a spacer on the bearings. Basically a WRECK to run 4.56 gears. It would have cost me upwards of $200 just to make a 61 work. So in my research, I found a guy up in the Lincoln area that had a Dodge 60 housing he did not need. $150 and it was mine. Great. I manages to chop up my 61 and sold off the parts and came out even with it.




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Old 07-19-2013, 09:13 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Now it was time to mount the engine. I have been dreading this ever since I started. I knew I wanted it low, but not too low. I wanted it set back as far as possible, but I did not want to have to cut the firewall. Basically I had some research to do. I went by Dave's place and figured out a good placement based on rivets. The height was something I would just play with.

Now her eis where things went bad. I am not a patient person I didn;t have anyone around that was available to help me set my motor. So I Was goign to do it myself. I built some motor mounts and welded some plate to the frame to fill in the "speed" holes in the frame rails. The motor mounts had a bushing on the motor side, and were to be hard mounted to the frame. Easy enough right? So I set my motor, and go aobut welding everything in. DONE!!!! I am STOKED. I just did all this myself and I only drank a 6 pack of Lagunitas (therein lies my problem).



The whole motor went in CROOKED!!!! ughhh Has it really been this long since I have done this? OK, not a problem, I will just break the tacks and reweld it. yup, you guessed it. I was overzealous and actually welded the whole thing in place!!!! So I went about cutting off the mounts and making new ones. Then I reset the motor and welded it in. Now it was exactly where I wanted it to be.
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Old 07-19-2013, 09:41 AM   #11 (permalink)
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With the motor set, it was time to mount the tranny and t-case. With no help around, how do you do this with garage tools? Not a problem. I squatted a front 60, I am sure I can bench a TH400 (Not a good idea when you have 2 herniated disks in your neck). So I got under the truck, and used my legs and arms and even my head at one point. But yup, got it in. Bolted it up and bolted the dana 20 to the TH400. Now it was time to build a crossmember. I saw the way Don did his setup and liked it a LOT, but did not have to room or skills to build what he does. So instead I bolted a flat plate to the bottom of the adapter, and built off that. The adapter was WEIRD. It is not a standard TH400 adapter because no matte what tranny mount I got, the bolts did not fit!!!! I sat at Napa for a few hours going through the entire stash and not a single one was right. So if you can't find one that fits, make your own.
I got some 1/4" plate I had laying around and drilled the holes for the bolts. I then got some drop pieces of tubing and welded some 1.75 .120 wall tubing to the ends for the bushings. I built some tabs for the frame side and welded them in. The whole setup BARELY hangs down from the frame rails. I put it in place and welded some tabs from the tubing to the plate on the adapter. But the adapter was crooked!!!! This can't be. So back to the computer I go. I guess I had a weird Wagoneer adapter that is crooked!!! Seriously? Why would ANYONE make an adapter that has a crooked base?

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Old 07-19-2013, 09:58 AM   #12 (permalink)
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Now for the steering. Ohhhh Steering, how I HATE you. I got the PS plates from Georg at Valley Hybrids (Great product and amazing customer service. If you need ANYTHING at all cruiser related. Call Georg). Dave came over and we decided to do things a bit different. I will find some bette rpics when I get home. We notched the frame rail on top and set the box. Welded it all in and we were done. Easy peasy... Lemon squeezy


I got a pate from Luke at 4x4labs. I wanted it to look pretty. So I cut a hole in the front crossmember and plated it.


I kept the pitman arm that was on there, and sourced the rest of the steering parts.

I got a steering arm from WFO (not going high steer for the moment).

Wilson had the rest of the parts I needed in the form of a steering column, BTB firewall mount I officially HATE these guys. I knew I didn't like them before, but now they can pound sand. A slip shaft and ujoints for the steering.

The BTB firewall mount is supposed to be a "Bolt in" application hahahahaha Nope. I had to make a plate to fill the hole from the old column. No probem. Then I had to drill all kinds of holes in the body to get everything to fit right. OK, a little fab is always fun. I get the mount and bolt it up!!! DONE, NOPE. There is a funky sleeve on the column, and I ahve no idea where it goes. I called BTB and figure they might be willing ot help. After all, they say this is custom built for them. Whoever answered the phone said it came all pre-assembled. OK, well at some point it came apart. Can you tell me how it all goes back together so that I can do the work. Nope, he can't and hangs up hahahahaha Dont worry I figured it out douchebag. The only problem is this is built out of a VERY soft AL. Yea, you guessed it. Crossthreaded bolts. But it gets owrse. I have to take it all apart again because I set it too low. This is not goig to be fun.



the steering shaft has not been used yet, so it basically fused itself together over the years. Dropped it off at Dave's place, and he yanked it apart for me. Brought it home, Sanded it down a little bit and greased it. MUCH better now. But of course, NOTHING can be easy with this truck. I set the steering column too low, so the steering shaft won't work without binding and hitting the frame.
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Old 07-19-2013, 10:05 AM   #13 (permalink)
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I finally got the body back on and figured out height and all that stuff:
Cowl height

She sits level

frame height

bottom of the rocker (top of the boatside) This came out at 30 degrees!!!!

Here she sits at ride height basically. The drivetrain dropped it 1"

my wife standing next to it. She is short

ride height shows you very little uptravel



I swung by Dave's house and he was working on my buddies FJ40. Zoe was staring at it, so I threw her inside.


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Old 07-19-2013, 10:17 AM   #14 (permalink)
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As some of you know, we have a cabin in Truckee. We have had it for 35 years (my dad built it himself, so it means a LOT to me). The deck has been goig in time, and I ahve been hearing how someone wanted to replace it for the past 10 years. Low and behold, I was up there with my FIL and he fell through the deck. I was tired of waiting on somoene else to do something he said he was going to do for 10 years, and I tore it down righ then and there. This was MY project and I was going to get it done!!! The whole deck came down in one day. Most o fthe wood was rotted out, and talk about being overbuilt!!!



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Old 07-19-2013, 10:22 AM   #15 (permalink)
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Now that the deck was down, I went to town got the conex tube and some concrete. My dad is a tool and Die maker for Simpson (recently retired and the young age of 72). He said he did not want me doing all this work myself, and he would come up with me and lend a hand. Thank God because he is a wealth of knowledge. We had all the lumber delivered and I moved it all myself to the backyard.


then I started framing it out. 4x12 on the ends and in the middle with 6x6 beams spannig the length of the deck to hold it up.


None of that Trex fake BS here. All real Redwood. Got a SMOKING deal from Tahoe Truckee Lumber. Super cool guys and great to work with. I remember working with them when I was building custom homes in Tahoe Donner.
Her eis my old man


And pop would not let me get away without a pic of me
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Old 07-19-2013, 10:28 AM   #16 (permalink)
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Now what you see above was one day. I framed it all and started on the sheeting all in about 16 hours.

he next day I had to finishing laying the planks. This will only take a few hours... Right? NO. Took FOREVER!!! The deck is 16ft by 30 ft.





So now that was all done, we had to make a rail and some stairs. Easy enough. We did al the hard work. once again, pop said NO to me doing it alone (I was trying to give him a break)
Her eis the pad for the stairs:



You can see the railing in the pic Sorry I did not get any of those in progress. Here you can see my dad, my little princess Zoe and my nephew Little T (who lives in town up there)


back to the deck

And finally Zoe approves
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Old 07-19-2013, 10:31 AM   #17 (permalink)
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Nice project dude and beautiful daughter congrats
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Old 07-19-2013, 10:31 AM   #18 (permalink)
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So as of right now, i have steering to finish, brakes to plumb. Gotta re-wire the whole thing, cage, insterior, other random crap. I will take more pics as I go. I have been dealing with a trainwreck of a house shopping experience which I will expand on later. So the garage if completely packed with boxes and it makes it tough to work around. I basically get one day a week to spend on the truck, and I try to maximize my time there

Dima
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Old 07-19-2013, 11:10 AM   #19 (permalink)
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I was wondering if you were going to start a build thread. Looking good!
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Old 07-19-2013, 01:01 PM   #20 (permalink)
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Quote:
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I was wondering if you were going to start a build thread. Looking good!
I figured I would have to be on the downslope before I started something on here, otherwise I would just have to deal with the never ending ribbing hahahaha

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Old 07-19-2013, 07:06 PM   #21 (permalink)
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awesome build!
i like the way you describe your screwups seems more real. and i can relate.
also i like the deck portion added , i can relate to that as well . my shop is at my folks place and often get sidetracked with their projects. i wouldnt have it any other way.

keep grinding away. rubithon next year?
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Old 07-20-2013, 05:59 PM   #22 (permalink)
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Duma,
I thought I remember you bought a running rig? This seems like it was a bit of a disaster when you got it?

Lots of work. Either way I guess you were replacing it all, anyway.

With a little planning, I can prob get over the hill to lend a hand

Cheers-
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Old 07-20-2013, 06:48 PM   #23 (permalink)
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Everythings looking good Dima!
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Old 07-20-2013, 09:16 PM   #24 (permalink)
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thanks for all the kind words, an very happy to help were i can. should have your 60 done this week. its really starting to come together quick, soon itl be cage time then load it up for a test run.
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Old 07-20-2013, 10:46 PM   #25 (permalink)
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Sounds like we have similar luck. Sorry to hear about the issues with the column. I did not get further than bolting it to the dash.
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