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Discussion Starter #1
This build-up is a little bold given the fact that I have no history of modifying offroad vehicles past bolting aftermarket parts onto a couple of daily drivers:





... but one has to start somewhere.

A daily-driver 4x4 is not enough offroad vehicle to take advantage of the huge resource of rocky trails here in Arizona. I needed something more.

My original plan was to dig up some almost dead Toyota mini truck, upsize the tires and upgrade the springs, shocks and birfields. Then get a tube bender and figure out how to make a cage.

I have no experience bending tube, but I can do some welding.

While looking for the right mini truck, I bumbled across a mostly-dead FJ40 and it appealed to me... so I snatched it up for $2700. It's a '69, and it appears to have been in AZ for the vast majority of it's life. The frame was almost perfectly rust free and there weren't any major body flaws other than some rust in the floor on the driver's side foot well. However, it wasn't well cared for and otherwise looked like a beater.

The engine was running, and when I bought it, I drove it home:



The initial plan was to go spring-over and upsize the tires. I planned to tear down the F engine and rebuild it. I was going to cage it and then be done.

Then I started reading about engine swapping.

Then I started learning about 1-ton axles.

Then I started finding out about the limitations of the stock transfer case...

The project mushroomed rapidly.

I'm grateful for the resource of Pirate4x4, because theres a wealth of raw information here as well as some GREAT jump-off points for further investigation. I've learned a few things that are directly being used in my own project, but more importantly, I've seen how so many peoples' projects evolve through multiple re-designs and re-builds. I realized that there's only so much homework I can do before I have to just build something and tweak it till it works.

I began to tear it down in November.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
The NV4500 is LONG.

The LS1 is comparatively LIGHT.

I located the engine as far forward as I could go with clearance for a radiator and fan kit with hoses.





I stitched the riveted frame with some welds (a PITA... the primer and paint in the grooves didn't clear with wire wheeling and some of the welds were crackling and popping... plus my toxic exposure was way more than necessary!). Then I inset some 3/16" plate on the inner walls of the frame to take the engine mounts.





I built some mounts:



... and bolted the engine down:





The rest of the measurements started to get pulled off of that.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Once you're done, will you flip the bezel right side up?:flipoff2:

Cool build-up, keep us posted.
The bezel's upside down?? That's funny! That *HAS* to be some sort of Land Cruiser faux pas. It's disassembled now and you have my assurance that it will be reassmbled according to spec.

The guy who used to have it before me was some kind of meth tweaker and did some interesting "improvements" like cutting the hard top in half and scootching the rear part forward before fiberglassing it back together. I think he wanted it to look like a 45 with an open pick-up bed. It just looked like ass. The hard top was ruined. I was just lucky that the monthly large item trash pick up came only a few days after I got the thing home.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Drivetrain components came next.

Centerforce clutch, with Advance Adapters flywheel, pilot bushing, and NV4500-to-SBC bellhousing:















After I got everything lined up and stabbed the input shaft in to the pilot bearing, I looked at the line-up of the transmission bolt holes with the bellhousing...

$#|+ !!!!!!!

... wrong bellhousing. The bottom bolt holes didn't line up.

 

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Discussion Starter #14
Once the transmission was located (and the bellhousing was replaced), I picked a spot for some crossmembers. My goal is to have a flat belly. I'm perfectly willing to heavily modify the tub in order to accomodate a misshapen tranny hump and clear the driveshafts.

The crossmembers are to locate the NV4500 support bracket bushings and a half inch thick skid plate under the transfer case.

Additionally, I'm doing a 4 link rear suspension and I'm lengthening the wheelbase to 108". For this reason, I need clearance under the rear frame that isn't accomodated by the stock frame curves. Rather than trying to do something subtle back there, I just decided to hack that part off and replace it with 2x3 .188 wall in a shape that I can work with:





"CUT HERE":













Then the crossmembers:



 

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Discussion Starter #15
I had to re-do the aft crossmember because it was 3/16" off angled, but the second one is dead on... plus the welds are nicer.

Here's with the test fit of the skid plate and transfer case:





The engine mounting tabs got a re-do while the frame was bare, too. They were too wimpy. I also gussetted the mounts:

 

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You are doing some really clean work there. The only thing I would do different is the tranny. For about 10 years I was a die hard stick guy, but with my new rig, I tried an Auto and my god... It really made me a better driver. With that said there are a lot of guys that make um work.

You have not said which axles yet, unless I missed it? Assuming Ford Highpinion 60 with the Tcase drop there.
 

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Awsome build up. I am guessing you're not gonna have a tub by the looks of you're new rear frame? And also because you're engine and tranny are so high above the frame?
 

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ditto; great work, sweet parts but i'm concerned about how high in the frame your powertrain is mounted.

keep it up! :beer:
 

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Is your skid/crossmember welded in? If so how do you plan to get the xfer/trans out? Through the top? I think we are all confused :D
 
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