Builds 1977 Freeborn Red FJ40 Patina Build (1 Viewer)

Will Van

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Yesterday I purchased a 1977 Freeborn Red FJ40 from a great seller in Longview, TX. I found the truck on Craigslist, and was highly interested because it was in almost entirely original condition, including the original exterior paint.

I'm using this thread to document all of the changes to the truck once I took ownership. The previous owner rebuilt the motor, and resealed the transmission and transfer case. Plus, new Trollhole carb, brakes, battery and seat covers.

This is what it looked like after the long drive from Longview to Austin. It took me about 5 hours. Plus, I managed to lose the gas cap at one of my many fuel stops. My first mod is going to be a boring one - replace the gas cap.

9833963-B-0-C9-A-4-C13-9-A76-46-ADF84-DFF9-D.jpg


The first maintenance item to fix is the suspension. You can tell from the picture below that the rear is really sagging. I'm going to use it as an opportunity to install a full OME 2.5" lift kit and convert to Aisin hubs (@cruiseroutfit - I've already emailed you!). Plus upgrade the tires.

5650-D495-52-F5-4-AE4-BF4-C-C65-A87-CC2-D03.jpg


How do I know if the truck needs a knuckle rebuild? I saw a lot of grease on the steering knuckles, and I don't think the axles have been touched, other than replace the diff fluid.


The immediate maintenance items the truck needs are:

  • Rust Repair
  • Paint
  • Replace the Gas Cap
  • Switch to Toyota filters and change all the fluids
  • Install OME suspension
  • New BFG 33" Tires
  • New Steering Wheel
  • Alignment
  • Knuckle Rebuild
  • Replace Exhaust
  • Headliner
  • Tie Rod Ends

Some future mods I have planned are:

  • Vintage Air A/C (the drive from Longview nearly killed me!)
  • Fuel Injection Conversion
  • H55F 5-Speed Conversion
  • Twin Stick 62 Series Manual Split Case with 4:1 Low; 0.93:1 High (@orangefj45 - You can probably expect a call from me!)
  • Full-Float Rear Axle w/ Parking Brake
  • ARB Air Lockers
  • Dakota Digital Gauge Cluster
  • Power Steering
  • Stereo
  • Eventual Cummins R2.8 Swap???
 
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Will Van

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Here are the problem areas for rust. I spent a lot of time reviewing the truck with a paint gauge and magnet. It's possible/probable there is more rust than this, but these are the areas that need to be addressed immediately.

Bottom of all four doors...
BA7-B4-F8-B-C996-42-C3-8-C40-15900-A6-C77-D8.jpg


77982-CFD-ADD6-44-A5-AEE0-B8-E6-B1-DFBABC.jpg


83624-FD5-8761-41-E5-A94-B-76-CA6160-C7-F6.jpg


876-D56-D7-1-A1-F-4037-B50-B-82-BC4-CC8-C658.jpg


Corners of hardtop/tub...
2594-D982-F79-C-49-BD-9153-886-F32-B31-AE2.jpg


27-DA2-B4-A-BCFD-49-EC-BBDC-D2-F8-F94036-D7.jpg


Windshield Cap...
99976272-C04-B-4-D2-E-AB33-BCDCF58-C340-D.jpg
 
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If you are doing a knuckle rebuild now , you might as well go ahead and install the front locker and upgraded axle shafts. You will be over 3/4 of the way there when doing the knuckle rebuild.

Looks like the good start to a project.
 
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If you are doing a knuckle rebuild now , you might as well go ahead and install the front locker and upgraded axle shafts. You will be over 3/4 of the way there when doing the knuckle rebuild.

Looks like the good start to a project.
And it begins while i'm here i will do this and while i'm there i will do this........................12yrs later and many many dollars its still in pieces. LOL that's not going to happen to you! :cautious:
 

Will Van

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If you are doing a knuckle rebuild now , you might as well go ahead and install the front locker and upgraded axle shafts. You will be over 3/4 of the way there when doing the knuckle rebuild.

Looks like the good start to a project.

How do I know if it needs a knuckle rebuild?

I would probably do a rear locker before the front (if I only did one).

And disc brakes...

It has front disc brakes already.
 
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My bad. Saw disc conversion....yet it say PB disc conversion. Unless absolute necessary, I would drive it for a year and tackle weekend jobs to keep it roadworthy.
 

FJBen

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I would check the knuckle balls and see if they are leaking or really greasy. You will know when they are looking bad. Check the receipts if you got them as well.

How much wheeling are you planning on doing and what kind?

33’s in muds or all terrains? That will help give a little bit of rubber overdrive and not be as bad on the highway.
 

Will Van

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I would check the knuckle balls and see if they are leaking or really greasy. You will know when they are looking bad. Check the receipts if you got them as well.

How much wheeling are you planning on doing and what kind?

33’s in muds or all terrains? That will help give a little bit of rubber overdrive and not be as bad on the highway.

The knuckle balls are really greasy. That's what prompted me to ask. Seller did not do a knuckle job, so it's probably due. I for sure want to do upgraded "short" birfs and swap to the Aisin hubs. I was just thinking I would do the knuckle job at the same time.

Really light wheeling. It's a weekend truck for coffee runs and getting laid.

33" BFG Mud Terrains for sure. Now just deciding on powder coating the wheels - silver or white?

4-CD0-D86-D-188-D-41-BA-8-DD5-48-DC621-EA89-A.jpg
 
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Nice find, Will. I think you'll be happier with this truck, built the way you want, than one with a factory diesel.

FYI, Harrop doesn't make a locker for the semi-float rear. If you're going to an H55/splitcase, you will want to find a rear axle with parking brake anyways - might as well go full-float then.
 

Will Van

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Nice find, Will. I think you'll be happier with this truck, built the way you want, than one with a factory diesel.

FYI, Harrop doesn't make a locker for the semi-float rear. If you're going to an H55/splitcase, you will want to find a rear axle with parking brake anyways - might as well go full-float then.

Where do I find a full float FJ40 rear axle? Was that an option from Toyota? Or an aftermarket axle?
 
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They were available in other markets. It would probably be easier/cheaper to source one from a 70 series, but you do have to relocate the spring perches. @joekatana would be the first person I would contact if I were looking for one.
 
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They were available in other markets. It would probably be easier/cheaper to source one from a 70 series, but you do have to relocate the spring perches. @joekatana would be the first person I would contact if I were looking for one.


I wonder if the hand brake cable from a 40 series will work on the 70 series axle? Or if a SWB 70 series cable would be the correct length for a FJ40. Funny I've had better luck finding 40 series full floating rear axles than either 70 series or 60 series axles. Few 70 series I've seen for sale lately were semi floating but did have the hand brake.
 

FJBen

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The knuckle balls are really greasy. That's what prompted me to ask. Seller did not do a knuckle job, so it's probably due. I for sure want to do upgraded "short" birfs and swap to the Aisin hubs. I was just thinking I would do the knuckle job at the same time.

Really light wheeling. It's a weekend truck for coffee runs and getting laid.

33" BFG Mud Terrains for sure. Now just deciding on powder coating the wheels - silver or white?

4-CD0-D86-D-188-D-41-BA-8-DD5-48-DC621-EA89-A.jpg

Sounds like a good plan.
Yeah, probably could use a knuckle job for sure. Not that hard, just messy. First thing I'd do is pop that top off. That will help with cooling things off a little bit.

Rims I could go either color but I like how the white ties in with the hardtop and bezel. Are you going 33x10.50x15 I assume since you are staying with factory rims?

As for lockers, if you are thinking 70 series at all, go whole hog on both of them and get OEM cable lockers. :cool: Any reason you aren't considering ARB's? You wouldn't have to source an axle that way.
 

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