Builds 1977 Build Thread - Project Elsie

Joined
Jun 25, 2019
Messages
73
Location
Springfield, Mo
After what seemed like a lifetime of searching I have found my FJ40. Here it is on the truck ready to leave its current home in Texas and join me in SWMo. Shout out @Riverrunner getting this shipped so fast. I mean I think it was 4 hours between time I called to the time it was on a truck, just unbelievable service! If you ever need a car transported just save yourself the time and headache of trying to contact other places and just go with Summit. Anyways, no top or doors, but is running and driving. Not sure how far I am going to go with the resto definitely enough to get it street legal and a daily, but it seems pretty original so maybe I will go further.. not sure yet. Excited to get it here and really pour over it and get started with stuff. Starting this thread to chronicle the progress and my failures! On the lookout for Top/Doors/Jump seats, but that stuff can be down the line. There is going to be some mechanical issues to tackle first.
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Should be a fun project, I look forward to hearing any advice from everyone!
 
Joined
Jun 25, 2019
Messages
73
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Springfield, Mo
So carb issue fixed, but know having an overheating issue. Runs drives great it just slowly gets hotter and hotter. Until it boils over after turning it off. Going to check the usual suspects, first off with doing a flush of radiator and hope there is a clog we can identify and get out. Not ruling out head gasket or head issues, but want to stay positive! Picture of what coolant looks like, something is getting in there hopefully rust not oil.
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Joined
Jun 25, 2019
Messages
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Springfield, Mo
Flushed the radiator today to see if that might point to a blockage of some sorts, what came out looked dirty (almost oil like but staying positive!) Filled it back up and attempts to burp it but air bubbles continued to come out up to the point where the temp got to the point I had to put he cap back on and s*** the engine off. So no improvement. On the good news front the VIN on the body matches the frame and the engine id leads me to believe it is the original engine. Next step is to flush the block out with another radiator flush and see where I am at. Picture is before and after liquid
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that came out.
 
Joined
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Messages
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Springfield, Mo
After an afternoon of diagnostic work, it appears that the head gasket failure can be ruled out. Thermostat and water pump checks out which seemed to leave head gasket or radiator as the potential failure points. After taking the radiator out, it was easy to determine that it has seen better days. There was some corrosion and damage (see picture) and looking in through the cap it was clear that there were many blocked channels. Spent an hour or so trying to clear it out (mainly for diagnostic purposes, going to get a new one for sure) got a bunch of stuff out and upon reinstall engine would run about twice as long without overheating. Also, no more bubbles (which I think was coming from not properly burping the coolant system after my first flush). Thinking that during its first boil over when the transporter was unloading might have knocked a lot of carbon stuff loose in the engine which resulted in the black fluid coming out the radiator on initial flush (picture above) and contributed to increasing blockage. Called the PO and he said that he never really had the truck out and driving while he had it because it wasn't licensed. Longest that he had driven was 15 minutes or so. Which wouldn't have been long enough for the engine to overheat. So hard to determine if this was an existing problem that PO hadn't encountered or one that was created due to the initial boil over. Either way bought the truck to work on it, just pretty happy that the first project is probably not going to be a head gasket! Also ruling out head gasket due to the fact that after many gallons of water attempting to flush out block, there was no water in the oil and there is been no confirmed oil in the coolant. I know that rodding out the current radiator might be a possibility, however I think installing a new one is the way to go. Will also replace the fan clutch when I am in there due to the fact that it did seem to cool more effectively when it was driving. A pretty cheap part and install shouldn't be very difficult.

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Joined
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Well a couple weeks went by, but was able to get my radiator and new fan clutch installed. Good news is that the cooling issue has been fixed! It ran for about 45 mins without overheating, with about 20 mins of that being driven! Only small problem is that the water is still coming out really dirty. I am thinking it needs another full coolant system flush which will happen next weekend. Then I plan to fill it with actual antifreeze and then calling it good. Also getting someone in town to cut me a piece of glass for the windshield because they are WAY too expensive buying them online. Also replacing the whole back end tail lights with some reproduction ones that I bought from cruiser corps. The other ones were just too far gone. Then it is on to the steering components before this winter trying to tackle the toasted quarter panels. It is SO great to have everyone finally understand why I have been "obsessing" about finding one these old trucks for so long, everyone that goes on a ride becomes instantly jealous!
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Joined
Feb 23, 2017
Messages
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Texas
There is block drain on the drivers(left) rear of the engine block. It’s very common for that to be clogged and gunked up. Sometimes clogged up with stuff the consistency of concrete.

Flushing the rad and system is good but getting all the rust and crap from all around the water jacket is pretty important.
 
Joined
Jun 25, 2019
Messages
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Springfield, Mo
You are right, I think I am going to have to pop that plug and see what comes out! I will be adding that step to my full flush this weekend.
 
Joined
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Messages
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So it has been quite a while since updates, however there has been a lot of progress made. We were able to completely diagnose and fix the cooling issue and the truck can now run forever at the correct temperatures. We then made our way to the electrical issues. We were able to get the horn working and all lights (including high beams) rewired and working correctly. Also realized that the alternator wasn't charging the battery so that was another bit of rewiring.

After that the work on the front end started and we quickly realized it ALL needed replaced. The tie rod was bent, and all of the ball -Joints had a massive amount of play in them. We also rebuilt the center arm assembly for good measure.

Now that the steering was WAY better and am confident that I could safely drive the truck at around 55 mph (prior steering max I would dare was 40 mph), it was time to get the body work. I ordered new sheet metal from Cool Cruisers of Texas (Quarter panel and wheel well tops) and we were able to get one of the quarter panels off.

Interesting enough there was TWO pieces of sheet metal on the corner. We think that someone decided to just put the patch panel directly over the rotted area and then bondo the hell out of it.

Next we are going to continue to work our way around the body, replacing the sheet metal where it needs it. After that it needs the seatbelt mod installed, wheels sandblasted, new tires, new emblems put on... and probably 100 more things. I am still targeting an April 2020 date of not finished, but drive able for the season.

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Joined
Jun 25, 2019
Messages
73
Location
Springfield, Mo
Every since the purchase the truck would run and drive, but you could tell from performance and appearance that the carb needed a good amount of work. The initial idea was to just use this one currently since it would run/drive and then replace it with something down the road. Well my fellow restorer (Dad) decided that the Weber 32/36 carb probably just needed a rebuild and sent me this picture of it all disassembled and cleaned. There turned out to be a jet that needed replacing and everything just overall in a bad state. So we have ordered a rebuild kit and ordered the parts that we would like to replace. Hoping that $70 in parts and the time to rebuild it will fix our problems, but if not still a fun experience of seeing one torn apart and working in it!

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Joined
Jun 25, 2019
Messages
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Some more great weather in Missouri allowed for some more body work to be done to the FJ40. We were able to get the wheel well cut out and most of the rest of the prep work done to start welding. The roll cage brackets were in pretty bad shape, but Toyota didn't even bother to weld them to the frame anyways. They are just welded to the inside of the wheel well. Even thougwe are pretty sure that the roll cage isn't going to do much in a crash, we are going to reinforce them anyways.

Shout out to the replacement sheet metal from Cool Cruisers of Texas. It shipped fast and fit great. There was some adjustments we had to make, but that was more due to some previous owner's "fixes" than anything they sent us. If you are looking to replace metal on your Landcruiser I can recommend them highly!

Also if anyone has any words of wisdom on painting, we think we are going to try and paint them ourselves. I would love to hear any tips about method or paint matching.

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ceylonfj40nut

Waiting for Barn Time
SILVER Star
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The memories are where it’s at. I am working with my boys on cruisers now. They are 14 and 16. I see similar pics of you and your dad a few years from now when my boys get their own families going and cruisers. Cruisers have been a blessing in our family in many ways. It has brought family and friends together in many cool and unimaginable ways. I look forward to following your progress. Nice rig. Good luck.
 
Joined
Jun 25, 2019
Messages
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Springfield, Mo
Thanks! Not pictured is my month old son, so I look forward to being where you are at and working on one with him when he gets to the age of your boys. Now only to convince Mom that FJ40's are safe enough vehicles for her baby boy..
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Joined
Jun 25, 2019
Messages
73
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Springfield, Mo
Merry Christmas to me! We were able to get the carb back on and the rebuild worked like a charm! No more crazy idling and no more chugging up hills. Needs some more fine tuning, but hey huge upgrade from where it was. Was even able to get the truck out and drive it (60 degree weather on Christmas down here.. Festive!) to see how much all the front end updates changed the driving. Night and Day. I was able to comfortably get the truck up to 60 mph (after a mile or so lol) and not feel like my life was in danger. Still not power steering, but wow what a difference. I think it will be a perfect driving around town truck. (Before anyone gets on to me I have a 92 YJ that was the project before this that will be the off road one, 3 inch lift 35 inch tires etc..., I like this one to stay on road) Also able to get some more body work done. Passenger's side quarter panel is now off, which is the good news. Bad news is every time we go to take some metal off it really just showcases how much of this truck is bondo! Next winter's tasks will include new rocker panels for sure. (First picture you can see the bubbling from 20 feet away!)

Also dropped off the wheels to get them sandblasted and powder coated. I know, I know this was a task we could have done ourselves, but at $60 a wheel (sandblasted and powder coated) .... it seemed like something to subcontract out and get professionally done. I went with white, which seemed to get some sideways looks when I said that, but I like the look of the white wheels especially with the current color. Time will tell how it will look, however I think I made the correct choice!

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Joined
Jun 25, 2019
Messages
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Springfield, Mo
Another day, some more work done. Gotta love this great weather during the holidays! We were able to get one new wheel well bracket welded in and one wheel well top tacked in. Also finished up the carb rebuild/install and did some cleaning up of some hoses in the engine bay. After looking at them for the past couple weeks, I decided that the back shocks were probably shot and would never have easier access than now to them. Taking them off confirmed that they were indeed both ruined. So, that is being added to our parts list.

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Joined
Jun 25, 2019
Messages
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Springfield, Mo
So after months of ownership, I have arrived at the name of this truck. After having to continue to differentiate this truck from my Wrangler when talking to friends about it and referring to it as "LC", the name stuck. Saying it fast produces the "Elsie" sound that has stuck.

I am sure I am not the first to discover this, but that is the nickname that the truck has chosen!
 
Joined
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So the rocker panels had to go.

After looking at them just bubbling and then pricing them out, the decision was made to take them out.(Picture two is the backside of one of the rocker panels, so... much.. BONDO) I very surgically started to rem.. nah I just went for it with sawsall and cutting tool. Results were mixed... However there wasn't any metal to weld to anyways so we will need to figure that out when the pieces get here and we sort it out. While looking at the rocker panels we also noticed that the floor pan is OK now, but really trending in the rusty direction. So, we are going to patch it for this summer and then put it first on the list for next winter. We did however have our first "successful" patch! Using some new wire we were able to get what we think is a pretty good weld in over one of the places on the wheel well that rotted through. (Just realized that I didn't get a picture of the after weld, will include next time)

In other news, for the first time I think maybe ever, I was able to find a part that was in good shape and didn't cost a fortune. Was able to find the fuel door pictured for only $35 shipped. I think it was a great deal, considering what others were asking! Also, new rear shocks have arrived and will be installed soon. More updates to come!

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