1974 FJ40 Basket Case Chevota Rebuild (1 Viewer)

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Sep 30, 2014
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Kentucky
About 20 years ago I bought a FJ40 basket case, but never got around to building it. It has sat in my dad's shop awaiting its turn to be a current project.

Fast forward to this past summer, my 14 year old daughter went to a car show with me and saw a Fj40 she liked. She has now laid claim to the FJ40.

The previous owner was going to build it as a mild trail rig. The rear alxe has been swapped out to a 9" ford with a lock-right locker installed. The front axle was re-drilled to 5x5.5 by Moser to match the rear. It has 4 inch lift springs too. Drivetrain is a 350 chevy (rebuilt but never ran) / SM 465/NP205. I don't remember if the frame has mounts for the chevy stuff or not... I bought it in pieces. The body is very solid and deserves to be built.

To make things even more interesting, I also have a 1985 FJ60 parts truck (2F with broken rod) and a Advanced Adapter bell housing part number 712532 (their site says it is for 74-80 landcruiser 4 speed). I don't remember where I got the bellhousing. It came with a project, I just don't remember which one.

Question: Is the FJ60 transmission close enough to a FJ40 transmission for me to use the AA bellhousing?

If I go to a toyota trans, I think I want to swap the FJ60 axles to the FJ40. Should I stay spring under with the very stiff lift springs? or go spring over with FJ60 springs? (yes, I can weld).

Should I go with a GM saginaw steering box that came with the FJ40 (uninstalled) or go FJ60 steering box?

What else should I rob from the 60?
 

WB8LBZ

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I would try to get the 350 running. The combination of the V8/SM 465/NP205 has been used before. How is the frame? I don't know what is involved in using the FJ60 axles under the FJ40. If you can make the 350 work the 2F won't be needed. You have too many variables that you have thrown in to the mix. For my taste I like Small Block Chevy, much easier for parts replacement.

Larry
 
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Yes, it will get a chevy V8. The question is which transmission and transfer case will be behind it. The toyota gear ratios should be better for everyday driving. The issue is will the pieces that I have, play well together?
 
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Aug 24, 2014
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Woodinville Washington
WB is right, too many variables... check out the builds going on on here... what I'm doing is similar to what you've got (ford 9", '60 front)... not going to redrill to 5 lug, my other vehicles come in two flavors, GM 1/2 ton and GM 3/4 ton... so 6 or 8 lug is best for me...

with that said, spring over or under - the only difference in ride is you can wrap up the rear axle a heck of a lot easier if the axle is under the spring; that becomes the factor in how stiff it rides...

what tire size?

if this is going to be your daughter's rig... how capable is she at driving a lifted, short-wheelbase vehicle? honestly, keep 31s under it until you've sorted the steering - consider a shackle reversal to help make it more predictable. if you need more lift, 4" springs are a lot easier to install than cutting the spring mounts, rewelding them back, cutting the axle tubes, turning the axles so that your pinion angle isn't obscene (and you've got decent camber in the steering end....)
 
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I've had a spring-overed suzuki samurai on 35" boggers, wrangler leafs, and toyota mini-truck axles for the past 20 years or so. I think she will be fine in a lifted FJ40. She just has to learn to respect it.

As for tires, probably 35's. ...maybe a little bigger ....maybe a little smaller ...still open for discussion.

As for the too many variables, this truck was already bastardized by the previous owner(s). I wouldn't feel guilty "street rodding" it. To me, it is pretty much a blank canvas. Speaking of street rodding, I kinda want to use the Bronco 9" under a Model A coupe project that I also have.

So it pretty much comes down to centered rear diff or offset rear diff. Will the 1985 FJ60 transmission interchange with the FJ40 well enough to work in a street rodded FJ40? If it will, I'm leaning towards FJ60 axles. ...just because.
 
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I found this on the Advance Adapters site:

J. FJ60 (1985-87) (H42 Long) 4 Speed Transmission: This transmission is identical to the 1980-84 FJ60 4 speed transmission listed previously. This transmission has a 19 spline output shaft to the transfer case. This 4 speed used a 3-1/2” factory spacer adapter housing between the transmission and transfer case. This was to simplify the production, keeping the 4 speed the same length as the 5 speed transmission found in the FJ60s overseas. The transmission gear ratios are the same as the shorter version H42 transmission. This split transfer case had the cluster pin diameter upgraded to 38mm. This transmission/transfer case combination did not use bellhousing mounts, but used a crossmember support that bolted to the transmission case. The engine found in this FJ60 is an in-line 6 cylinder 3F engine. The FJ60 has a square body with 2 pair of round headlights.

Is there any reason that the extra 3.5" would be a deal breaker in a FJ40 with a V8?
 
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It sounds like you'll have to build a transmission mount. Whether or not 3.5" will make a difference depends on lift and where the transfer case lands with the V8... you have some flexibility... with that said, I carried spare bolts and wrenches so I could put the driveshaft back in when it exited - short driveshafts have a lot of vibration issues; and those bolts take the brunt of the vibration - the higher the driveshaft angle, the more vibration... fortunately, it's not a lowered pickup so climbing under to replace those bolts isn't terribly difficult just annoying.
 
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The 3.5" could work out just right. With my SBC conversion, the motor is about 3.5" forward necessitating shortening the front shaft and lengthening the rear. 3.5" would allow the T-case to remain in the stock location.

Pro 465: granny 1st gear which makes them great rock crawlers.

Con 465: granny 1st gear which is unusable on the street. Making it a rougher shifting 3 speed.

Pro 60 4-speed: smoother shifting, better gear spacing.

Con 60 4-speed: no granny gear... Excellent off road, but not crazy low gearing.

I'd run 33s, 3.70 gears, 60 4-speed, and the SBC... It's what I've got and it yields a 25% overdrive in 4th, and good road manners. With the 300ish HP I've got starting in 2nd is quite doable, 1st not too low, and gearing still reasonable off road (although 10% higher than with 4.10 gears).

35+, I'd stick with 4.11 gears.
 
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What you need to do is take measurements of your drive gear and determine if it will actually fit without serious modifications. That 3.5" may be the straw that causes you to cut out and reposition the rear frame cross support.

Since the rear end has been changed to a Ford keeping the NP205 might be an easier and shorter drive train to deal with.

You might start by figuring out where you want the engine to sit before making any final decisions. Or, you could start at the rear building forward and see if things will fit.
 
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The 3.5" could work out just right. With my SBC conversion, the motor is about 3.5" forward necessitating shortening the front shaft and lengthening the rear. 3.5" would allow the T-case to remain in the stock location.

Pro 465: granny 1st gear which makes them great rock crawlers.

Con 465: granny 1st gear which is unusable on the street. Making it a rougher shifting 3 speed.

Pro 60 4-speed: smoother shifting, better gear spacing.

Con 60 4-speed: no granny gear... Excellent off road, but not crazy low gearing.

I'd run 33s, 3.70 gears, 60 4-speed, and the SBC... It's what I've got and it yields a 25% overdrive in 4th, and good road manners. With the 300ish HP I've got starting in 2nd is quite doable, 1st not too low, and gearing still reasonable off road (although 10% higher than with 4.10 gears).

35+, I'd stick with 4.11 gears.

Glad to hear that this might all come together to make a decent FJ40
 

pb4ugo

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Keep in mind the np205's center rear output is considerably higher than the output on an offset rear output t/case. With the 205 you will probably have a steeper driveshaft angle. I went thru this a couple of yrs ago. I centered the rear & had to rotate the pinion up, along with lowering the centered output tranfercase a couple of inches so the driveshaft yokes wouldn't bind at full droop. The reason I centered my rear output was only because of the added strength. IMO, offset rear outputs suck. With that said, my street/mild wheeler 40 will have a toy T/case.

The Toyota trans is friendlier shifting/driving unit. I think, to run the FJ60 axles you will need to outboard the front spring mounts because the axles are wider.
 
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Even though I like the ground clearance of a spring over, I'm thinking the stiff lift springs mounted under the axle might be more stable and not require high steer arms (cheaper)...just some labor to outboard the hangers.
 
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OK, did some more reading. Seems that people who use FJ60 springs on a FJ40 are going for stretched wheelbases and don't mind completely hacking up the rear quarter panels. That is not what I have in mind for this cruiser. I guess I'm using the lift springs that came with the truck and going with 33-35 inch tires.
 
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Ok, did even more reading....seems that the really hacked wheel openings are the result of turning the springs backwards for maximum wheel base. When installed in the factory orientation, the rear axle moves back a couple of inches and centers the wheel in the wheelwell?

Can somebody post up a build with FJ60 springs mounted the most "factory-like" way?
 
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Bump... :D

I know 60 springs are a few inches longer, I redrilled and cut down a 2nd leaf to use it in a 40, but I can't remember how far the hole moved... 'twas 20 years ago.
 
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OK, I've had more time to think about this. Since this will be for my daughter, I'm, thinking about going with a lower ride height to start off.

Since I do like the idea of it being spring-overed on the FJ60 springs SOMEDAY, I'm thinking about outboarding the hangers for the FJ60 springs and axles, but leaving the axles above the springs. This will get me the longer wheelbase, a wider stance, better brakes....and be more stable for a beginner driver.

What size tire could we run with stock FJ60 springs on a FJ40?
 
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Oh yeah, I forgot to mention that I plan t dig the FJ40 and 60s out of my dad's barn over the holidays :bounce::bounce2::bounce::bounce2::bounce:
 
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Typically in Chevota conversions the radiator is too far forward (too far in front of fan blade), so the radiator normally gets moved back a couple inches. That means that you could actually motor mount the 350 more forward than my installation instruction manual calls for, thus giving you some more rear drive shaft. Send snail mail address and I'll send you a freebie manual Flipper. Also, if you find that you don't have front Chevota mounts lemme know, I have a couple sets left at somewhat econo price.
 
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On occasion I would let my wife or kids drive my 40, fingernail biting time for me. I decided I wanted a safer, more stable vehicle for that reason. I went with 60 axles, front about a year before the rear. I was shocked how much out boarding the front springs a couple inches stabilized the rig. flipped 40 springs up front and 60 springs rear to lengthen the wheelbase. Much happier with this setup.
 

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