1969 FJ40 Land Cruiser Project - Looking for Advice

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EWheeler

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You have gotten some very sound advice from some of the most knowledgeable folks around when it comes to FJ40's. The economics of these vehicles makes little sense. Many of us have poured way more into our vehicles in terms of parts than we would ever like to admit especially to our spouses. They can be a labor of love though and put a smile on your face when everything works as it should. They can also be frustrating as all get out. My suggestion for what it is worth is to find a 40 that is in decent mechanical condition; drive it; get to know it and then if you decide to upgrade to a fully restored vehicle you will be much better informed. Hang out here and you will gain a wealth of knowledge too.
Best wishes.
Well said! I took the liberty to provide the cliff notes from your post:

The economics of these vehicles makes little sense but they put a huge smile on your face when everything works as it should.
 
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1969FJ

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I have the same year. Bought years ago and nowhere near the rust you have there. I did a lot of work on it to freshen it up, but I did keep it all original. The labor costs are close to 20,000 dollars that would be saved if you did the work yourself. To me it is a labor of love and when completed a great feeling. Having a shop do it they may call you and say "we did not see this until taken apart and here are additional costs." It is a choice you must make.
 
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1969FJ

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Is it possible to provide the frame number of this vehicle. It is stamped in the frame horn, passenger side frame rail ?
 
F

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Is it possible to provide the frame number of this vehicle. It is stamped in the frame horn, passenger side frame rail ?
I'm about an hour and a half away, won't be going back to the place and didn't take any pictures that would show it.
 
archie73

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I wanted to understand what would differentiate this FJ40, once restored, from others I see listed for $30K, $40K, $50K, $60K+. I understand to some extent, but I wanted to make sure I wasn't missing something. If it was going to be a top-of-the-line restoration that would immediately be worth more than what I had into it, and it would appreciate over time, I might be more inclined to consider it. I could view it as an investment. However, everything I've read here and elsewhere tells me that this wouldn't be the case. I'd spend $70K to have a vehicle worth something somewhat/significantly less than $70K. While I could stretch and swing it, that's not pocket change to me the way it is for some. I'd also want to drive it...going hiking, taking it hunting at bit (with hunting dogs in a dog box in the back), going to the lake, etc... I'd be better off with something much cheaper...something that looks decent and runs good, but that I wouldn't feel guilty about using.

.
I’m unsure how valid this logic would be in times to come. Understand many of us are in this game because 15-20 years ago you could easily be spending your stated initial price for an ‘A’ quality restore. Then the market turned its eyes on LC’s and it doubled. Now we are in a hyper inflated position where there doesn’t seem to be a ceiling to the price one might pay. Just look to BAT and read the comments- often times as the bidding is going crazy; some knowledgeable posters are pointing out major flaws. My point is, it’s completely possible the LC (& the whole classic car) market is going to collapse.

I’ve been wrong before and will be again, but expecting to pay $60k and get a return is short sighted. The majority of the builds on this site are passion projects And will never see much a financial return. I don’t want seem like a Debbie downer, just my opinion.
 
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I’m unsure how valid this logic would be in times to come. Understand many of us are in this game because 15-20 years ago you could easily be spending your stated initial price for an ‘A’ quality restore. Then the market turned its eyes on LC’s and it doubled. Now we are in a hyper inflated position where there doesn’t seem to be a ceiling to the price one might pay. Just look to BAT and read the comments- often times as the bidding is going crazy; some knowledgeable posters are pointing out major flaws. My point is, it’s completely possible the LC (& the whole classic car) market is going to collapse.

I’ve been wrong before and will be again, but expecting to pay $60k and get a return is short sighted. The majority of the builds on this site are passion projects And will never see much a financial return. I don’t want seem like a Debbie downer, just my opinion.
Yes. That's the conclusion I came to.
 
archie73

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Yes. That's the conclusion I came to.
I wasn’t trying to discourage you from buying one, just that the number you are playing with might not hold value. If it’s a passion, then find the "one" that speaks to you. If it’s an investment, buy Bitcoin ;).
For reference, I helped a local guy find a project last fall. Initially, he came to me with a trade someone had offered him for some work. It included 2 FJ40‘s that needed an awful lot of work. The seller had value the work in trade for $7000, I advised him that the two cruisers were worth $4000 (maybe five)- they need a lot of work. He began searching the Internet for projects he could pick up around the western US. And we were able to narrow it down to one that had a very straight, rust free body and a very clean V-8 drive train installed, but not finished. I believe he paid in the neighborhood of $15,000. This truck had a lot of work done and likely needs another $2-3,000. It took him some searching to find his "one", but he’s very happy with it. I was a little shocked in the end what he paid for, but it had value in his eye(and likely market).
 
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I wasn’t trying to discourage you from buying one, just that the number you are playing with might not hold value. If it’s a passion, then find the "one" that speaks to you. If it’s an investment, buy Bitcoin ;).
For reference, I helped a local guy find a project last fall. Initially, he came to me with a trade someone had offered him for some work. It included 2 FJ40‘s that needed an awful lot of work. The seller had value the work in trade for $7000, I advised him that the two cruisers were worth $4000 (maybe five)- they need a lot of work. He began searching the Internet for projects he could pick up around the western US. And we were able to narrow it down to one that had a very straight, rust free body and a very clean V-8 drive train installed, but not finished. I believe he paid in the neighborhood of $15,000. This truck had a lot of work done and likely needs another $2-3,000. It took him some searching to find his "one", but he’s very happy with it. I was a little shocked in the end what he paid for, but it had value in his eye(and likely market).
No, I understand. I was fairly certain I wouldn't be moving forward with this one, even when I posted, but I needed to dig into this process and chat with folks like you to start learning. I'll wait for the right pitch before I take a swing. Out of curiosity, besides a longer wheel base and being harder to find in the US, from what I've read, is there any big difference between the FJ40's and the FJ43's?
 
wngrog

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No, I understand. I was fairly certain I wouldn't be moving forward with this one, even when I posted, but I needed to dig into this process and chat with folks like you to start learning. I'll wait for the right pitch before I take a swing. Out of curiosity, besides a longer wheel base and being harder to find in the US, from what I've read, is there any big difference between the FJ40's and the FJ43's?

99% of the 43s will be from South/Central America. No matter how great they look in photos and to the untrained eye in person make sure you get a competent Land Cruiser person to look it over first. There are countless examples of them looking fantastic and behind basket cases
 
brooklyn

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To your first post, if you’re really not into working on these (time and money), I would suggest buying a new Bronco.

Second thought, find someone who has an FJ40 and drive it to experience the ride - not for everyone.

Not a cooler ride to be found, but I spend more time wrenching than riding.

Good luck in your decision making.
 
F

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To your first post, if you’re really not into working on these (time and money), I would suggest buying a new Bronco.

Second thought, find someone who has an FJ40 and drive it to experience the ride - not for everyone.

Not a cooler ride to be found, but I spend more time wrenching than riding.

Good luck in your decision making.
I get your point, but I have already have a truck. I expect an FJ to drive a just a bit smoother than the Allis Chalmers tractor I grew up driving, but I'll make sure I drive one before I buy one.
 
4Cruisers

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I'd also want to drive it...going hiking, taking it hunting at bit (with hunting dogs in a dog box in the back), going to the lake, etc... I'd be better off with something much cheaper...something that looks decent and runs good, but that I wouldn't feel guilty about using.
Like my '76 FJ40? I paid $500 for it, albeit 20 years ago, and have put virtually nothing into it (other than routine maintenance) except $300 for mini-truck/Tercel power steering and $400 for a used Warn 8274 winch.

 
subzali

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With that kind of coin commission @ClemsonCruiser to do one for you. Nut and bolt. I wouldn’t trust a Land Rover shop to do it. And personally I wouldn’t put that kind of money into a 3-spd F engine FJ40. I would want a 74-newer. But that’s just me.
 
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1969FJ

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I wasn’t trying to discourage you from buying one, just that the number you are playing with might not hold value. If it’s a passion, then find the "one" that speaks to you. If it’s an investment, buy Bitcoin ;).
For reference, I helped a local guy find a project last fall. Initially, he came to me with a trade someone had offered him for some work. It included 2 FJ40‘s that needed an awful lot of work. The seller had value the work in trade for $7000, I advised him that the two cruisers were worth $4000 (maybe five)- they need a lot of work. He began searching the Internet for projects he could pick up around the western US. And we were able to narrow it down to one that had a very straight, rust free body and a very clean V-8 drive train installed, but not finished. I believe he paid in the neighborhood of $15,000. This truck had a lot of work done and likely needs another $2-3,000. It took him some searching to find his "one", but he’s very happy with it. I was a little shocked in the end what he paid for, but it had value in his eye(and likely market).

I read this and was interested. First of all, I do not know where bitcoin is going or the classic car market. Kind of subjective to prophesy what the future is. The classic cars , if original, do not need microchips to operate. All of the vehicles modern do. And the chips and controls are made in other countries. Just ask Ford, being stuck.
Perhaps this is one reason values have gone crazy. This country has legislated itself into chip controls, emission computers, airbags etc.. The FJ40 was a simple machine to be able to operate in outback situations, and that is now becoming valuable. So what at one time was average has become valuable. I also agree with you on passion projects, as mine was. I just feel the market will not crash.
 
archie73

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I read this and was interested. First of all, I do not know where bitcoin is going or the classic car market. Kind of subjective to prophesy what the future is. The classic cars , if original, do not need microchips to operate. All of the vehicles modern do. And the chips and controls are made in other countries. Just ask Ford, being stuck.
Perhaps this is one reason values have gone crazy. This country has legislated itself into chip controls, emission computers, airbags etc.. The FJ40 was a simple machine to be able to operate in outback situations, and that is now becoming valuable. So what at one time was average has become valuable. I also agree with you on passion projects, as mine was. I just feel the market will not crash.
I’m not predicting a crash, well not exactly. I have know idea where it will go, but it’s turning into a 10%er game lately. Like I said I helped a guy pay 15k for a non stock/running project- and I think he did alright for this moment in time. I guess my point is how long before these high dollar buyers turn they’re attention to the next thing. Or even more likely, we’re way over due for a market correction…
I kinda hear you about the microchips, but I remember when the ls motors came out. Everyone declared the 350 was the only engine that was swappable**obvisously I’m exaggerating**. Now anyone with a set of wire strippers can do it- I did. Time marches on is all I’m saying. Just like the hei replaced points and tbi replaced carbs…

Here comes the rant: On the flip side, I’m currently on the look out a father/son project and it’s a bit demoralizing. I lost a shot at a 58 f100 4wd and it was a disaster. Saw an ad for an 88 4runner with a blown engine over the weekend, buyer venmoed the asking price sight unseen same day it was posted. I’m not even looking at cruisers in the ads anymore, like the blazers and Broncos, they’re to desired to be affordable. Scouts are next in line. I might pickup a CJ5(I know) to work on with my boy, but it’ll likely be a basket case. Honestly I would love to find a simple truck/car to get him hooked on wrenching, but these prices make me wonder how realistic I’m being.
 
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1969FJ

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I’m not predicting a crash, well not exactly. I have know idea where it will go, but it’s turning into a 10%er game lately. Like I said I helped a guy pay 15k for a non stock/running project- and I think he did alright for this moment in time. I guess my point is how long before these high dollar buyers turn they’re attention to the next thing. Or even more likely, we’re way over due for a market correction…
I kinda hear you about the microchips, but I remember when the ls motors came out. Everyone declared the 350 was the only engine that was swappable**obvisously I’m exaggerating**. Now anyone with a set of wire strippers can do it- I did. Time marches on is all I’m saying. Just like the hei replaced points and tbi replaced carbs…

Here comes the rant: On the flip side, I’m currently on the look out a father/son project and it’s a bit demoralizing. I lost a shot at a 58 f100 4wd and it was a disaster. Saw an ad for an 88 4runner with a blown engine over the weekend, buyer venmoed the asking price sight unseen same day it was posted. I’m not even looking at cruisers in the ads anymore, like the blazers and Broncos, they’re to desired to be affordable. Scouts are next in line. I might pickup a CJ5(I know) to work on with my boy, but it’ll likely be a basket case. Honestly I would love to find a simple truck/car to get him hooked on wrenching, but these prices make me wonder how realistic I’m being.

Lets be real on a crash and where we are in time. Cars were not electronic until the crude late 1970s and early 1980s. After semiconductors kept getting small for applications, it was a good idea. Why not have a computer control an analog engine. ? Then let America give all technology to Asia for cheap labor and reap the benefits. ? Then when they figure out you are reliant , lets play the control game. That is where we are at and to me it is funny. Give trust to others and see what happens, well, it is happening. Anyway, to the point, these vehicles are no longer made and even a carcass has more value than anybody remembers.
Sorry to hear a father / son project is not the same as it used to be. I lived in Idaho and bought my FJ40 for 1000.00. It was clean. I suppose we all have timing and my 3500.00 hemi cuda I wanted never went down in value. I would have to shell out close to a million instead of it becoming an old car. Now, the Broncos, FJ40, Blazer, and even the 4runner and Stouts are so collectable, never to be a cheap used item anymore.
Take a look at reliance.

Stockpile of Unfinished Ford Super Duty Pickups Missing Chips Is Now Visible from Space - https://www.thedrive.com/news/40458/thousands-of-unfinished-ford-super-duty-trucks-are-parked-at-kentucky-speedway-due-to-chip-shortage
 
EWheeler

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@FJ40Buyer

Many items will cost the same regardless of what your base platform is. Drivetrain. Axles. Brakes. The little finishing bits. You'll be into all the little hardware, fasteners, gaskets for a $5k+ on a full resto no matter the base truck if your doing it right. So where the real variable comes in is the condition of your base platform. Labor is expensive. Spending $10k or even more upfront on the right truck to start with, will save you labor costs in the end.

Compare your $17k base from your body shop to this one:


Now you'll see lots of cruisers with rusty sills. They all rust there. I have two 50 year old California 40's and both have rusted sills, but not a bit of cancer on the floors or any of the floor supports or wheel wells or tub. Don't be afraid of a rusty sill, its easy to fix. What you need to be weary of is the truck that needs floor boards, a transmission hump, rear floor, rear quarters, wheel wells, front fenders, lower bib repair, and hard top repair. Basically any truck that has lived outside of CA/AZ is a terrible base for a restoration. This may sound conceited, but I believe people just lie to themselves about what it takes to bring a rust belt truck back to life. It may be that a part of having a big rust repair project is that it stretches out your timeline so that maybe it's easier to afford if you're doing the work yourself. Or maybe there is sentimental value in the truck. But you'll be money ahead buying the right base to start with, even if it costs you more and is inconveniently located geographically.

My 0.02 is to find a clean survivor, get it mechanically sound, and enjoy it.
 
h82crash

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Please accept my apologies. Most of the post was honest and helpful. I asked for for forgiveness early on, as I wasn't sure, numbers were way off. I said goodbye to my 14 year-old Labrador yesterday and was feeling a bit off, still am. Have a nice life.
 
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Call me a skeptic, but almost smells of a troll post. If this is an honest inquiry, forgive me. If you actually own said Land Rover shop I will tell everyone I know not to go there. I skimmed through the responses and everything I read was sound advise. If you received that as a bona fide estimate I would have to ask for a breakdown of parts prices and if Vaseline is included. Because, I did not see $29,400 worth of parts on that list and it seems a lot of labor was built into the parts list. As with most other things, labor is the bulk of the cost. Building a house? 60-70% of the cost is labor. Not much different in vehicle repair/restoration. Also, the shop is not going to shop around for the best deals, they will just buy it from wherever they can find it and bill you for it. And I agree. $17k for that example is about $12k too much. Glad you've reconsidered the purchase.

You really can't go by BaT for prices. It is a playground for folks with a lot of disposable funds who like cars and only want the inconvenience of having to write a check. They get into bidding frenzies for that one they just got to have. If it's the flavor of the month, you'll do great selling there. But it's not just BaT, people all over the classifieds everywhere think their polished turds are actually real gold. 30 years ago most of the top 10% would have nothing to do with an "old" car. Now ....?

Don't bother posting /replying again. I'm a financial analyst for a manufacturer and, as I said, spend more time hunting, hiking and working outside on the 46 acres my family lives on. Nothing about this post is trolling and I have no idea what would make you suspect I owned the Land Rover shop...? I specifically removed the name of the place and didn't even mention where it was located. Again, don't waste my time replying to this.
 
Living in the Past

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It would take $7500 in parts to put a 5 speed in that thing?



What am I missing? Can find a brand new H55F shipped in the $2,500 range. Because you have to assemble the transfer case on to the back of the transmission see no huge advantage buy a new transfer case verses a used one. New one will have the wrong driveshaft pattern. Used could find one from 10/82-4/85 that will allow matching coarse spine flanges that are also available for the three Speed coarse spline axle diffs. Hand brake could be done with aftermarket disc kit but prefer on the rear axle. Driveshaft mods and crossmember rounds out most all the parts. Over $7,500 for those seems a lot.

All used but at $3,500 in parts for my 79. That includes rear full floating with hand brakes (8/80+), 84 front disc brake axle and section of an 83 hump to match the 10/82+ inspection cover. This was $2500 delivered to AZ from Australia. Would never think of spending $7,500 to add a five speed on a cruiser I paid $2,200 for.
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