4th generation '67

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Jun 3, 2017
Northern CA
I am a lucky and blessed man that needs some help and direction....hoping you guys could lend a hand?

At 15 I did no know it....but I got bit early.....as my first vehicle was a '67 FJ40....handed down from my Grandfather to my Father....and then to me. Other than my family, my FJ40 has been with me longer than anything else in life.

My Father put a bit into her on his teachers salary, a new coat of clean, removed the 3 on-the-tree and the 2F and dropped in an AT with a 289 (really don't like it and it overheats), but he did what he felt was right back 30 years ago. He passed her onto me a bit tighter and cleaner than he received her.

I drove it for 10+ years, through high school, college, on hunting/fishing/camping trips, took her from the mainland to Hawaii for a couple years and back again. To say I have great memories in her is a gross understatement. For all of us, there are few things in life that mean as much to us as our first truck, and when it's an FJ40 it will tug at you for life!

Fast forward to 2017 and she is in need of long overdue maintenance, and prep for the next generation. Both my children, now 11 & 13 years old, are begging and fighting for me to "tune her up" to drive her.....and my wife is fully supportive. The misses is great, "Fix her up nice as you want her, she is and always will be yours, the kids can learn to drive her for a couple years around town while in high school, and when they move off to college she is all yours." Like I said, I am a lucky man.

My question is where do I start on a rebuild to bring her back to her back and into a solid daily driver? My free time is a bit limited so I will hire out the major steps. My automotive skills a bit limited as I have never rebuilt/fixed up a vehicle from the ground up, but the tug is big and there.......and I need to get going now or the opportunity could pass my families next generation by!

A couple facts:
1. Changes from stock...currently has a automatic transmission with Ford 289. Not in love with this package.
2. All original, other than engine and 1988 year old paint job, which needs to be redone. Moderate rust.

A couple thoughts, questions and looking for recommendations:
1. Should I pull the 289 and go back to the 2F with 3 on the tree? Keep it on the floor? Add an overdrive transmission to help as daily driver if I switch back to a 2F? Other suggestion? I would love to be able to pull "comfortable" 200+ mile trips out of her again. The 289 ran like crap during the last breaths...but seemed like possibly a simple vacuum leak.
2. Seems most guys remove drum breaks and switch to disk....any reason not go to this route other than the cost?
3. Should I just bight to bullet and do a body off resto/paint job while having he engine swapped or rebuilt?
4. What about the frame...don't fret or should I do something?
5. Suspension....what should I consider or do you recommend as its all original.
6. What other major items am I missing?
7. Anyone care to list steps 1-10 you would follow if in my situation?
8. Anything you would definitely do yourself?
9. What would you recommend hiring out if your skill set is limited?

I look forward to your comments, questions, feedback, suggestions and possible direction. Myself and the next 1967 FJ40 generation thanks you!!
Well that’s a great story ... family ... but...

I need to see the cruiser to give you any sort of idea on what to tackle and order to do it

Post up pics of all the areas that you feel need addressing and several others of everything else

This will give a much better understanding of what you got and where you need to go

Welcome to mud :)
A lot of the questions you have are going to be dependent on the particular goals you have with your truck. You will get a lot of various opinions from members on here, but none of it will be applicable until you have a more clear idea of your trucks future.

Also pics would be nice :flipoff2:
A few pictures to show the current.
Overall goal would be to bring it back to a daily driver as a loaner for my kids to drive when they turn 16 until they leave at 18.

Overall, I have no desire to make it into a crawler or modify significantly.

My thoughts are:
1. Change out drum breaks to disk.
2. Possibly keep the Ford 289, but it needs work and I really enjoyed the truck more when it had the 2F engine. If I switch back to a 2F, any suggestions on transmission to allow for highway use?
3. Paint job and upholstery for sure. If significant engine work is going to be done along with disk breaks, what steps do guys typically execute first, second, third, etc?
4. I have about 2 1/2-3 years to have the truck back and in solid running shape as a first vehicle for my son.
5. Freeway driving with a few 5 hour trips in the soring/summers are a real possibility.
6. Off-roading, light 4x4 trails definitely going to happen as we do it now in my Toyota truck.
7. My heart leans to installing a manual transmission for my kids to learn on or who knows, like many in the younger generation they may never learn.

What would you do and why? No offense either way just looking for ideas and help finding a possible direction.
Nice leaving the current drive train would be the easiest thing to do so maybe tune her up make sure the brakes are good and the steering is solid and enjoy till you decided which direction you want go . Switching back to a 2 f would be cool but 3on the tree might be a challenge you'll need to find all the components including pedal bucket etc.
Believe it or not this topic was covered less than a month ago. And after I chimed in about my satisfaction with the drum brake system, @Living in the Past reminded me that it's a different ball game when kids are involved.

So now I would concur with him, and putting my personal preferences aside, recommend the disc brake swap.

I would also strongly advocate rebuilding the entire steering system up front.

And I would advocate doing both of those before the engine or body work. Better to run out of money or time AFTER addressing the safety issues than before.

I can assist with both those tasks but, based on my current list of pending projects, I would not be available until February. And that estimate could change in another week.
Somehow a 289 Automatic does not seem the right drivetrain for an FJ40. It is a choice but if I ever do a drivetrain swap I would use a Toyota engine, F,2F,3F etc, along with a five speed Toyota transmission. It would be all Toyota and modern at that as well.

Great story as I was in the same boat. Im 3rd generation owner and my wife as well has been very supportive. I decided to do a full nut/bolt restoration and it was the best decision I made. I have had a ton of help and “chime ins” which you need to take all of them in and accept because as you know this community of LC enthusiasts are great. Obviously this build wouldn’t of been possible without @Rock40. What a great friendship he and I have developed and what a fun project it has been. I hope my story will inspire a great build for you and whatever comes of it.

1966 FJ40 Frame-Off Build (3rd Generation Owner)

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