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Old 05-10-2013, 01:50 PM   #1 (permalink)
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FJ40 Family Wheeler Project

Hello! I’m an long time ‘Mudder but I’ve never ventured into the world of 40’s before, so I figure an introduction is needed. When I joined TLCA and ‘Mud, I had just bought a ’97 FZJ80 that was built and beat over the course of my ownership. Due to financial issues, the poor thing got neglected to the point where I needed to do a complete rebuild to keep it safe for my growing family. I had also discovered that it would never be good at what I wanted it to do: rock crawling. The farther I built it, the more limitations it showed and it became worse at what 80’s are so good at. It was time to let my baby go.

This is one of the last pics of “Jillian”. You can find her build thread here: The Rebirth of Jillian


Luckily, a good friend of mine was starting to build up an 80 and wanted a lot of the parts Jillian had. He also had a well-built ’84 Toy p/u that he was willing to trade. I have to say, this little truck is amazing and instantly won my heart. The only problem was the small cab. My daughter is getting older (will be 4 next month) and I want to start taking her along on my adventures. I knew the ownership of this truck would be short as I needed a family wheeler but it was so much fun!

Here is a shot of the mini, just for reference. If you are interested, here is the thread on her: Project Turn-Key


I decided that the perfect family wheeler for me would be an FJ40. I have always wanted one but never pulled the trigger. I thought it would be a great idea to buy a shell and build it up while I could wheel the mini in the meantime. I got a great deal on an abandoned project: a 1971 FJ40. I bought it sight-unseen with the grand illusions of what it could be. I could build it exactly how I wanted! My wife and I took a weekend to get it and I started making a plan… Then I made the mistake of trying to figure out the cost of my plan. And how much time it would take. I came to the realization that I wanted my daughter wheeling with me now and not when she was a teenager! My plan wasn’t going to work…

Pic of the ’71 getting strapped down for the ride home:


I was discussing the plans and getting ideas on my club forum when an inactive member got ahold of me. He had a 5/73 FJ40 that he built up and parked. The last time it was used was 3 years ago and hadn’t seen it for at least 5. However, the set-up was a lot like I had planned: 1F, SM465, 205 doubler, 3-spd case, 5.29’s, lockers, Saganaw PS, SOA, stretched WB, etc. What made it better is he would be willing to trade for my mini-truck… I was intrigued. We finally got a chance to get together and check out the trucks. There was a lot of good stuff on the 40 and a lot of things I would like to change. However, the price was right and it came with a long box full of parts!

Here are pics from the PO. This was the last time the 40 was on the trail:





And some of the trade:




Due to the 40 being stored for so long and a lot of half-done projects, it will take a while before it is on the trail. However, everything works. It just needs to be dialed in… I need to start by organizing the parts that came with it so I can get it into the garage and then start tweaking what is there.

Like I said before, I am very new to 40’s and I would appreciate any advice that you can give. This obviously isn’t going to be a restoration, but something as capable as I can get it on the rocks and trails while being safe for my family and staying street legal. I’m not going to put this in hardcore because that is not the goal. I will be sticking with old school tech and the KISS philosophy…
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Old 05-10-2013, 01:54 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Alright, I got my "To Do" list written out into 3 stages. The items under the stages are in no particular order:

Stage One:
Modify and tune carb
Adjust valves / compression test
Check timing (Done)
Re-route fuel line and add PSI regulator (Done. Regulator no workie...)
Rebuilt front end (Done)
Change fluid in trans
Change fluid in t/cases
Check wiring / switches and re-loom wiring (Done)
Change fluid in rear axle and check / adjust brakes (Done)
Bleed / adjust clutch
Lube & inspect driveshaft (Done)
Inspect e-brake (new cable)
Raise drivetrain breathers
Modify cage to a "family cage"
Replace fuel cell (current one is too tall)
Install soft top
Change out leaf springs (needs to be lower)
Add rear seat
Add tailgate / barn doors
Build storage & mounts (CO2, Hi-Lift, etc)
Install CB
Install 2m HAM radio
Install emergency lighting (Amber strobes)
Add aftermarket gauges
Replace / add rock lights
Mount GoPro
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Old 05-10-2013, 01:55 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Stage 2

Fix / seal what little rust there is
Install MetalTech tube fenders
Rebuild rear sill
Replace rear 1/4 panals with Budbuilt
Paint
Replace all lighting (H4, led, etc)
Replace broken windshield
Redo front seat brackets
Replace front seats
Set up for 4pt harnesses
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Old 05-10-2013, 01:55 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Stage 3

GM style tilt steering column
Replace wiring harness (EZ or Painless)
TBI or Vortec SBC
FJ62 axles
New driveshafts
Replace gauge cluster w/ aftermarket gauges
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Old 05-10-2013, 01:56 PM   #5 (permalink)
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4/2/13: Well I got a little bit of work done on her this weekend. The fuel line from the cell to the hard line was badly cracked and I was afraid that it was sucking air, so that got replaced. I checked the lines all the way to the carb and the rest looked great. I will need to drive it more but I'm impressed at how well the little F ran. It seems to only run lean when it's cold. I really wish I knew more about carbs!

After that I realized the resistor on the harness to make my 3 wire GM alt and 1 wire alt was hot when the key was off. After looking at a bunch of different wiring diagrams and talking with a Chevy buddy of mine, I wired it to 12v switched power. I also cut out the alt gauge in the process of trying to figure out what is going on. Now I have no draw on the battery when the 40 is off AND it's charging!

I had a few more minutes before I had to go in, so I threw on 1.5" spacers in the rear and inspected the brakes. I will need to throw new shoes on there soon but the drums looked good. Now the rear width is only about 1" narrower than the front.

I also got to give rincess: her first ride in it on Saturday. She seemed to like it but I think I will need to redo the passenger seat mount sooner than later. She kept hitting her leg on it getting out!

I also ordered all of the parts to go through the front end, so I thing that will be the next step.
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Old 05-10-2013, 01:57 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Thanks to Mr Jitz and a couple buddies, I got about 10 hours of work in on her this weekend! Being that I had some help, we started off with trying to tame the unruly mass of wires and non-working gauges. Before the day started, I had an aftermarket water temp gauge that moves that that's it. I at leasted wanted oil psi as well. After chasing wires for a bit, I realized that there was no sending unit... We robbed one off of my spare F motor and hooked it up. I now have two working gauges!

Other wiring fixes included looming, adding a larger ga charge wire and an additional ground strap. We also played around with switches trying to get them to work. So far I have lights with fiddling, 1 front heater speed, hazards and 1 windshield wiper speed... Good enough for now.





I then measured out everything for the new fuel cell. I think I know what all I to buy and that will be ordered soon. Right now it has a 22 gal coming through the floor. This will obviously not work with a rear seat! I'm planning on going to a 16 gal and most of the floor will be replaced. This is what I currently have:


After that, I decided to start going through the front axle. I was working slowly for sure but I was trying to inspect everything while I was going along. I am in the middle of putting the driver side back together right now. Hopefully I'll be able to sneek out into the shop to finish it up this week.
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Old 05-10-2013, 01:59 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Just so y'all are in the loop. I've ordered a Jaz Pro-Street 16 gal fuel cell (Model # 205-016-01): Jaz 205-016-01

I'm also planning on running VDO Vision gauges for everything... It's a throwback to my old VW days. LOL.


The dash will end up looking pretty custom. I think I will run something like this: Billet Dash Panels for Land Cruiser FJ40 FJ45 body tub - JTOutfitters to look something like this:
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Old 05-10-2013, 02:01 PM   #8 (permalink)
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4/20/13: Last Saturday my wife and I were able to help out with a SOLV Clean-up at our local OHV area. I decided to drag the 40 up there to see how she would do. Thanks to the good friends that were willing to come with me and test my rig. I really had no idea what to expect! There were a couple of things I was really surprised about. First of all, the suspension is really stable! I was expecting a lot of sloppiness with the Revolver shackles but it really wasn’t bad. That may be different when the conditions are a bit drier and I can really text the flex. The other big thing I noticed is that carb runs like crap… I’m hoping that I can tune the issues out of it but we will see. Enough yacking, onto the pics!










(*Thank you Ryan and Ken for the pics!)
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Old 05-10-2013, 02:02 PM   #9 (permalink)
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4/27: My landlord came over this weekend to help celebrate my daughter and my birthdays. He hadn't seen the 40 yet and decided to play around with it a bit. Once it was nice and warm, I got to do some adjustments on the carb. It seems to run a lot better but only time will tell. I also picked up a Baja SS seat off of Craigslist. Hopefully that will be installed in the back this month.




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Old 05-15-2013, 02:18 PM   #10 (permalink)
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This last weekend was pretty hard on me and I needed to do something that didn’t take much thought to get my mind off of things. I decided to change my Weber from an internal vent to an external vent. This will improve its ability to run at angles. The first thing you need to do is pull the top of the carb off, turn it over and remove the floats. This is what it will look like:



You can see a plugged port casted into the body. I just tapped it out to fit a threaded barbed fitting I had lying around:




The next step is to drill holes to open that port:



And seal off the internal vent. I have heard of people using JB Weld but I used something called FastSteel that I had lying around.




After that, I put everything back together. The vent will go to a catch can that I can empty back into the tank after a wheeling trip. It’s not an ideal setup but this is free!

I also think I advanced my timing too much. It’s running great but the driver side of the hood is noticeably hotter than the passenger side…
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Old 05-15-2013, 05:31 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Looks like you are having fun with your 40. Good Tech on the Weber with the pics!
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Old 05-15-2013, 05:55 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Thanks! Hopefully it will work out the way I think it should. LOL
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Old 05-15-2013, 05:58 PM   #13 (permalink)
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Also forgot to say I really like that instrument cluster.
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Old 05-16-2013, 09:58 AM   #14 (permalink)
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That dash pic is of your rig, isn't it? Personally, I think it is the best one I have seen.

On a side note, we have wheeled together before in Millikan Canyon. I think it was '06. You didn't have sliders yet and the tub wasn't bobbed. I was in my 80 but spent most of the day riding with Jack (Medusa). He broke a coil over on his Farm truck and we came back in his green 40. I may have pics somewhere... I will see if I can find them.
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Old 05-16-2013, 12:34 PM   #15 (permalink)
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Yep I remember. That was my 40s maiden voyage. I think you bent a tierod?
That dash is not mine. I didn't look close enough at your post. That's bellydoc
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Old 05-16-2013, 01:13 PM   #16 (permalink)
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Good God I miss Oregon
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Old 05-16-2013, 02:46 PM   #17 (permalink)
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Quote:
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Yep I remember. That was my 40s maiden voyage. I think you bent a tierod?
That dash is not mine. I didn't look close enough at your post. That's bellydoc
Yes I did. LOL. The hi-lift handle that I sleeved it with stayed on that rig for almost 3 years!

That's right, it is bellydoc's. I just looked at the code...
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Old 05-16-2013, 02:47 PM   #18 (permalink)
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Good God I miss Oregon
Hey John! You have (had) the brown FJ60, right? I'm not very good at keeping names straight...
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Old 05-17-2013, 04:27 AM   #19 (permalink)
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Yep....still got it and it is going thru a repower this Summer
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Old 05-18-2013, 10:46 AM   #20 (permalink)
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So the truth comes out on the real reason for continued delay on the 80 cross member/skid!!!
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Old 05-18-2013, 11:37 AM   #21 (permalink)
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Yep....still got it and it is going thru a repower this Summer
cool!


Nice pics of your 40 BTW, how do you like the wheelbase?
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Old 05-21-2013, 02:34 PM   #22 (permalink)
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Quote:
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Yep....still got it and it is going thru a repower this Summer
Sweet! I'm glad to hear it.

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So the truth comes out on the real reason for continued delay on the 80 cross member/skid!!!
Hahaha! I don't build them anymore, my buddy does. It was a great deal in the beginning but now he has a family and a day job as well. They just aren't worth the time it takes to build them to be honest.

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Nice pics of your 40 BTW, how do you like the wheelbase?
Thanks! So far I like it but I haven't got to play with it too much. Based on other wheelers I have had, it should be perfect for me.
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Old 05-21-2013, 04:55 PM   #23 (permalink)
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Good to see you in here! I will have to make the next meeting. We lost another family member so I wasnt able to come your way to meet the group. Your 40 is looking sweet!

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Old 05-22-2013, 03:42 PM   #24 (permalink)
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I'm sorry to hear about your family member but no worries, we will be doing another one for sure.
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Old 05-28-2013, 09:41 AM   #25 (permalink)
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Brittney and I drove over to Bend this weekend to see my Dad's new place, then we headed down to Gilchrist for some relaxation. To be honest, I didn't think about the 40 at all but I did get to do some fire road running in the 100. It sure is nice and smooth over washboard! Anyway, I came back to an email saying my fuel cell has finally been shipped. As soon as I get that I can start working on the rear seating and cage.

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