1974 FJ40 "Bones"

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1974 FJ40 SBC V8 350 TH400
Oct 18, 2016
Portland, OR
I bought this 1974 FJ40 in September 2016 from the previous owner in Vancouver, Wash. He owned it since the mid-1990's and he and his wife were quitting their jobs to join the Peace Corp after a cancer health scare. They were moving to Jamaica and could not take the 40 with them. I have been looking for a FJ40, FJ55 or a Nissan Patrol for years and have kept my eyes open for a good rig. This 40 was the one. Body was in good condition, only rust in rear quarter panels, rear sill and hardtop post area. Running gear looks good. PO converted rear drums to disk (Monte Carlo) previously. Changed out the original engine for a SBC 350 and converted to turbo 400 TH400 automatic transmission. Power steering was added. Seats were ripped and needed reupholstering. Came with a besttop soft top and bikini top and a hi-lift jack. No spare tire or spare tire carrier. 40 was not running when I loaded it on the trailer to carry home. I believe I got a good deal at $6,500. This was picture after unloading it at my place.

The interior paint was dune beige, the outside a different beige color and the rear body was all primer gray. First order of business was to get it running. I checked the compression, swapped out the spark plugs, adjusted the lifters, changed the oil, transmission fluid and coolant. Charged the battery and gave it a crank. It started up and ran pretty well.

Here are a few pictures of the rust areas on the quarter panels and rear sill.


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This rig has good bones and I have been working on it for a little over a year. It has come a long way. I will post progress pics and update the work that has been done so far.
Removed the front seats and took them to a local upholstry shop. For $800 I was able to get both front seats reupholstered. Bob's Top and Trim in Portland, OR did a good job on these seats. I ordered 40 headrests for the front seats from Wadesters here on Mud. I refurbished the jump seats--new paint, foam and seat covers from Cruiser Corps. Interior looking much better now and much more comfortable.

jump seats.jpg
Next on the list was upgrading the front brakes. I wanted to switch from drum to disk to give me disk brakes all around. Contacted a few people asking advice until I connected with DeadLew here on Mud. He sold me 1976 knuckles, birfields and Aisen hubs from a FJ55. I bought refurbished Toyota calipers and new rotors to complete. Cleaned up the knuckles & repainted. Did a front knuckle rebuild with the 1976 FJ55 knuckles and calipers and seals from Cruiser Outfitters.



brakes finished.jpg
Bought a set of 5 tires and wheels from a Vancouver policeman that owns a FJ45 and a Troopy. He just imported the Troopy from Australia and put new wheels and tires on it. I painted the wheels black and mounted on the 40. Now I have a spare, just need a spare tire carrier. Looks good with the new shoes. Our cat, Zorro, photo bombed me just I as took this picture. He seems to think the 40 is his jungle gym.
April 2017, I had a close call with the 40. High winds and heavy rain in Portland, OR caused many trees to fall. My wife rescued the 40 from a tree that was being pushed over by the winds. In the pictures below, you can see the wheel chocks where the 40 was parked before my wife moved it. The falling tree would have crushed it. She is a gem and enjoys the 40.
Began to fix the rust and ready the 40 for a repaint (Dune Beige to match the interior) once all the rust is fixed. Cut out rusted rear quarter panels and rear sill. Bolted and welded in new rear sill from Awl_TEQ and new rear quarter patch panels from Real Steel.



New sill and patch panels installed.

Removed cracked windshield and took to local glass shop to have a new one cut. Ordered new OEM windshield gasket after receiving a bad after market version that would not work. Windshield will stay out until all the repairs, primer and paint work is done.
Taking the 40 apart was fun. Lots of pieces and parts. Tried to ziploc bag and label as much as I could. Also used plastic bins and assorted bags and boxes to hold all the nuts and bolts and parts. I did a bad job at this. It has made the reassembly process much more difficult.



Most of our shop work time on the 40 is on Saturdays. During the week, I would take small parts home and refurbish them and bring them back to the shop when they were to reassemble. Bezel, bumperettes, rear heater, etc.



The front bumper was dented and twisted. I removed it, took it home and pounded out all the dents and straightened the twist. Wire wheeled it, primed and painted. Looks good and now its ready to remount.



On my birthday, I spent the day sanding the primer on the 40. Wife and kids were out of town and it was a very productive, good day.
My sister and 4 year old niece got me a balloon and Diet Coke. Much appreciated.
Sanding and treating a little surface rust in the gas tank area. Overall this 40 tub is very solid and in great shape.

After treating the rust, primered the interior.

Now it's time to work on the hardtop and sides. Some welding and grinding repairs needed for rust on the hardtop sides.

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