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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I'm gonna quit being a lurker, at least for a few weeks. :) I'm new to Land Cruisers, but not Toyotas. I was on the LCML before it split, eventually I moderated the Toy4x4 list (which is now all but dead). I wrote for Off-road.com back when it was happening, but left there to start the Toy section at 4x4Wire. I made a career change and haven't had much time for writing since. Right now I'm home from work injured for a few weeks... lots of time on my hands, but I'm not able to turn a wrench right now.

About 5 years ago I sold my 1988 4Runner to buy my first house. staff.4x4wire.com/swilson/ I left the site up since there is good info there. I bought a 1966 FJ40 a year or so later, but it was not a runner, and 4 years later it still isn't running. Right now I think I can have it done by early 2007. The goal is to have a very capable, full bodied FJ40, that can hold a family of 4 and maybe turn some heads along the way. The body will look mostly stock from the outside except for some trimming here and there. Still haven't decided if the paint will be a factory color. It will still be leaf sprung. Most everything else I'll modify the way I see fit. The drivetrain will be a LS1 series 4.8L, SM420, and dual Marlin mini truck cases.

Well... here's what a bought 4 years ago.

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Discussion Starter #2
Trust me, this was the last time my wife got motivated enough to work on the cruiser :) That was about 4 years ago.
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Just back from the sandblaster
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Coated in POR15
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Discussion Starter #3
I knew I wanted it spung over and shackle reversed. I'd seen a bunch of different methods of doing a shackle reverse, some of them total hack methods. I decided to copy what Toyota designed when they designed the mini truck. I used a solid axle swap kit designed a mini truck as my front spring hanger. Plus the spring hanger ties in the front of the frame and adds a lot of strength.

I kept the spring perch width the same as a mini truck, so my springs are slightly off set. That works since I'm also using a mini truck axle housing... more on that later. The shackle mounts were easy to offset as well. The broomstick made for an easy alignment tool.

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Discussion Starter #4
Well, here's the front axle. At the time I was looking, Marlin Crawler had just introduced his hybrid D60 axle. It had everything I was looking for. Huge ground clearance, available high pinion 3rd member, good width, high steer. In addition to the high pinion FJ80 diff, I went with an ARB and 5.29 gears.

I ended up with axle #2... which I think ended up being the last one. Marlin decided not to continue with the hybrid axles soon after I took delivery of mine. I've talked with the owner of axle #1, and he's out thrashing it and is still very happy with it, so I don't expect to have problems.

The knuckles are D60 Dynatrac and brakes are 1/2 ton Chevy. For now I welded on a Marlin diff guard. I still haven't welded the truss on top or shaved off the drain plug.

Some of you may think I'm nuts for going with a smaller ring gear than stock, but I think it meets my needs well. This isn't going to be a tube buggy that will get trashed... its going to be a nice looking, very capable, full bodied FJ40 (with a hard top even!).

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Discussion Starter #5 (Edited)
And the rear axle. I originally bought the parts for this axle when I thought I was going to build another mini truck. I'm still a bit nervous that I haven't gone big enough with the rear axle... that said... it'll be easy to upgrade that later.

So what I'll be running for now is a 86-later mini truck rear axle. A V6 third member with ARB. Front Range Off Road full floater kit. Upgraded axle shafts. Aisin hubs. Calipers are Celica (w/parking brakes), rotors are mini truck front rotors. Still haven't shaved the drain plug on this one either. Haven't fabbed the traction bar either.

I ordered springs from Alcan Spring. I used them with my 4Runner and they really impressed me. Looks like they came out a bit high, as you'll see in the photos later... so I need to pull out a couple leaves... and I'm sure they'll come down a bit when I finally get some real weight on them.
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Discussion Starter #6 (Edited)
Rockers.

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Well, I planned to just do this chop and then fab some good rocker protection.
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Then I noticed the factory seam was slightly swollen on the underside. I decided to cut into the rocker and see what was going on. I couldn't believe how bad the rust was inside, considering the body still looked perfect from the outside.
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I ended up cutting it all out
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And then started with the repair. Turns out the rocker is 1.5" wide... and I made my cut 2" above where I wanted the bottom of the rocker to be. Then I found some 2x1.5" 1/8" wall tubing, capped the ends, and welded it in place. From beside the truck you can't even tell its not original. From below you can see the solid tube welded in place. I cleaned up any remaining rust and then POR15'd the inside of both rockers before welding the tubing in place. I still plan to add rocker protection, but I haven't fab'd it yet.
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Discussion Starter #7
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For the rear wheel wells I kept the factory curves but opened them up for the 38" swampers. I cut them all the way to the top of the wheel well and then welded the seam closed.
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Then I cut some material and welded a lip back onto the edge of the wheel well. It was a lot of effort for something so minor, but it gave it a very factory feel, and added strength back into the body. I blended the edge into the top of the wheel well. I think it came out pretty good, and they definitely look better then just cutting them and leaving the thin sheet metal edge.
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Thats it for tonight. I'll add more tomorrow.
 

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i had the minitruck axle in mine and other than dragging the bottom out of it on rocks it worked fine..


nice job on the fenders.. heck, nice job on the cruiser!! (good plan)

chris:cool2:
 

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I like your build approach with this, and the fact that you are puting thought into it, and taking pride in your work. It's soooo refreshing to see a CLEAN and ORIGINAL build concept on a Cruiser. I look forward to seeing the end product on this one:smokin:
 

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Nice work. Looks like yur making steady progress. Should be a sweet rig.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
This was by far the worst rust on my cruiser.
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It hadn't spred into the corners much, and my corners were really straight, so I carefully cut the rear channel out, but left the skins on the corners. The plasma cutter I borrowed from a friend made this so much easier than it would have been.
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The rust had gone an inch or two into my floor so I had to add material to the floor. I'm still debating whether I should replace the entire floor. It still has some pitting on the floor surface. I plan to line-x, so that doesn't bother me too much. But the floor also had some pretty good dents. Its gonna take some work to pound them out. I'm still on the fence whether I'm gonna buy a new floor to weld in, or just pound out the original floor. Considering I already did the rear channel repair, I'll probably just pound out the existing floor.
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The rear channel I used was from CCOT. It was a really nice piece. It was especially nice not having to fabricate the bends in the corners.
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The channel got cut back a little due to the cut out fenders. I blended the fender lip into the new rear channel. Looks pretty slick.
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Discussion Starter #15
My rear doors were rotted, and I really wanted a tailgate. I ended up with Aqualu's aluminum tailgate with storage. Instead of using the aluminum spacer plates with the hinges, I welded spacer blocks into the body... afterall I still haven't painted yet. I also just tapped treads into the the spacer blocks instead of having to use nuts. I like this tailgate.

This year I've seen replica FJ40 tailgates on Ebay... if I had seen those back when I was looking for a tailgate I probably would have bought one since they look pretty cool. Since the Aqualu is already installed I'll stick with it, and will enjoy the lockable storage compartment in it.
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The corner protection is from CCOT also. I'm not a fan of diamond plate, but I didn't find anyone selling smooth corners. I'll have them painted the same color as the body so they won't be too ugly.
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I countersunk all of the bolts into the corners so they won't catch on anything and look really nice.
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Awesome work! I really like the way you did the rockers, I will be doing mine that way soon.
 

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I am glad to see you figured out how to fight off boredom during your recuperation:D

Phil
 

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Discussion Starter #18 (Edited)
I installed a GM tilt column from a 70ies Firebird. I ended up using the GM mount to attach it to the bottom of the dash. The holes actually line up to the factory dash holes. When I get around to redoing the instrument cluster the gap above the column will be go away.
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At the firewall I just cut a steel plate, stuck the column through it and welded it up.
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I went with a Saginaw box for steering. Bought the mounting plate from Custom Cruisers FJ40 in Gilroy... same for the steering shaft.
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I filled the unused holes in the drivers side frame rail and the crossmember.
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Discussion Starter #19
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Since the Saginaw box was fighting for space with the crossmember I had added, the cross member got modified.
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The Custom Cruiser FJ40 ps plate come with a plate for the passenger frame rail as well.
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Discussion Starter #20
I ended up with Marlin Crawler SM420 to mini truck Xfer case adapter #5 and put dual mini truck cases behind it.
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For my motor I knew I wanted a Gen III Vortec V8. I considered a junk yard motor, but once I added up the cost of a low milage motor, having the computer reprogrammed, possibly a custom harness... I decided to go with a crate motor. AA had a sale last year on their 4.8L Vortecs so I picked one up. I got a custom harness, new computer, flywheel, centerforce clutch, and a bunch of little pieces I needed to bolt up the SM420 to it. I plan to keep this cruiser forever, so I don't mind spending a bit more right now to put new parts in it.

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A few weeks ago I got the driveline hoisted into place, but then I realized the stock exhaust manifolds were going to dump the right onto the frame rails.
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I've seen some V8 conversions at Custom Cruisers FJ40 in Gilroy where the used the stock manifolds... they mounted the motor higher than I plan to, and have a sharp bend in the exhaust right at the manifold to clear the frame... but they also used automatic trannies. With my SM420 I also have to have room for the slave cylinder and clutch fork.
 
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