'72 FJ 55 Buildup (1 Viewer)

Feb 14, 2009
los angeles, kahlifornia
I'm re-posting this from my blog at http://wonkywonk.net, so forgive me for the over-explanations at the beginning.

Part 1 - Interior clean-up:
I'm taking my '72 Land Cruiser FJ55 (the rare, wagon version) and restoring/upgrading it. The old Land Cruisers, are by far, the greatest off road production vehicles ever made (with the old Land Rovers coming in at a distant second - though still very tough). They last forever and it's almost impossible to destroy them. They're still widely used under the toughest conditions on earth. If you ever go on a safari on the planes of Africa, or deep into the heart of the Congo, it's a good bet, you're going to be riding in an old Land Cruiser.

I'm going to chronicle the restoration here. I paid $1200 for it and this is what it has going for it so far:

-> newly rebuilt engine
-> newly rebuilt transmission
-> clean frame + underbody
-> straight/rust-free interior with a rhino-liner spray on the floor
-> Nice winch bumper (not installed, and rusty, dirty, etc.)
-> new front seats
-> nice, 29" tires and clean, straight steel wheels (no spare though)

I drove it down from San Francisco to Los Angeles the day I bought it, and it made it with flying colors. Some of the major issues are:
-> It's dirty as hell inside. Looks like the previous owner had been hauling logs and dirt inside or something. there's three inches of dirt and pieces of wood under the back seat.
-> No heater (the heater core is missing, as is all the duct work, and some of the cabling)
-> One windshield wiper, and the wiper motor doesn't work.
-> Tailgate handle is broken, can't open the tailgate
-> Rear passenger door doesn't catch the second latch when you close it, so it's always a little open
-> doors have some cancer (rust) problems where the window frame meets the door panel
-> roof has some moderate cancer
-> body has mild cancer in places
-> brakes aren't worth a s***
-> parking break doesn't work
-> dash cap is in need of repair
-> some of the wiring harness isn't hooked up
-> rear seat is coming apart
-> no headliner, or dome light
-> suspension is shot.
-> missing rear interior panels

Here are some shots of it. as i got it (click on any image to see a larger version):


The back seat, showing it's age, note some of the seams are ripped, you can see the foam:


underneath the seat, not all the debris, dirt, etc.:


The back, note missing interior panels:


More of the back:


And so it begins. Here is the back, after i've swept out the dirt, wood, etc.:


And the front after I've swept it out:


Still very dirty, so I took the hose to the inside, then scrubbed with a brush and car wash cleaner. The rhino-liner makes it pretty nice to wash the inside of this thing. Here it is after I've washed and scrubbed it:



So there's step 1 of the restore, cleaning the inside. :) Next up, fixing the parking brake.

Stay tuned.
Feb 14, 2009
los angeles, kahlifornia
Part 2 - Parking Brake Disc Conversion

I live on a hill. I park on a hill. The parking brake on the '72 FJ 55 Land Cruiser I'm restoring is s***e. And so it follows; parking my Land Cruiser where I live is scary. Will it roll down the hill and crush the cars behind it, fly out into sunset blvd and maim even more cars/people/hipsters/etc? They don't make cars out of steel like this one any more. Anyhow, the parking brake is s***e because of two reasons:
-> it's a drum parking brake that wasn't terribly effective even when new
-> it's attached to the drive shaft, right behind the speedometer housing on the transfer case that's known for leaking into the drum parking brake, and causing it to work even less well.

I picked up a disc brake conversion kit from man a fre that replaces the drum brake with a new shiny disc brake, and this is my experience in installing it.

Here's a picture of the brake as is (this is under the car, right dead center in the middle of it):

and another view, notice the gear oil towards the bottom of the drum on both of these:


First step in replacing this, is taking it all apart, so here it is after I've taken the drive shaft off, and we see my first problem:


That nut in the center of the previous picture is a stake nut on a channeled bolt. That means the nut has little metal flanges that get bent into the channel to prevent it turning and backing off of the bolt. Unfortunately, as you can see, the nut is rotated a bit and the stakes are just mushed on the bolt. Getting this nut off was a nightmare. I tried using an impact wrench, heating it, etc., nothing worked. Finally, after a trip to the ih8mud.com forums, and a tip about locking the front differential, a 24" breaker bar and a lot of elbow grease got it moving.

Before I pulled off that nut however, I had to drain the transfer case of it's oil. It's easy to do, there's a nut at the bottom of it. Unscrew it, and the gear oil will flow out.

The next step is to install the brake caliper mount and spacer, as shown here (note, there are locking star washers that are missing from this picture, but present in my install). You'll also see that a new shiny black cable mount is installed to the left of the disc mount:


Here is the mounted disc brake:


And here is where I ran into problem two, the disc conversion kit the sold me was for the correct year as my Land Cruiser, but it turns out, the driveline has been updated, and my drive shaft has a different hole pattern than the original, as shown here, with the bolts not making any sense:


A trip over to see Mark Algazy of Mark's Off Road, up in Burbank, fixed my problem. He sold me part of a drive shaft for a '72. These drive shafts are two piece, so they can stretch and compress with your suspension.

Mark is a super cool guy and knows his s*** when it comes to cruisers. Here he is, chillin' in his Land Cruiser:


I pulled my front half off, cleaned up the one he sold me, and popped it onto the my back half, and voila, the holes lined up.

Here you can see the installed drive shaft:


And another view, I also re-added the gear oil at this point. To fill, take out the plug on the back of the transfer case, shown in the far left, vertical center of the photo, and fill up with 80 to 90 weight gear oil until it flows out:


Next, I needed to hook the parking cable back up. This is where I ran into problem three. The old brake/cable came straight back and mounted on the right side of the brake, but with the conversion kit, the cable needed to mount to the left, and now the cable was too short by about 6 inches! Again, digging through the IH8Mud forums, I found that BTB Products sold a parking cable that was 8" longer than stock. It was a might spendy, at $125 :( - but what choice did I have. I ordered it and patiently waited for it to arrive.

While I waited for the new cable, I took apart the entire parking brake lever assembly, cleaned it up, and lubricated it with silicone grease. Before it was hard to move, and when you did move it, it made an awful screeching noise. Now it moved smoothly and quietly.

I got it a few days later, and it turned out to be a cable for a later model. This should have been ok, but as the next (out of focus) picture attempts to illustrate, the part that mounted to the engine firewall was considerably wider:


I took a dremel to the cable mount, to make it large enough to accommodate the new cable, then gave it a shot of primer (to seal the freshly exposed steel). The newly mounted cable is shown below:


The other problem i ran into, was that the cable at the brake end was just a bit too long with the new mount, as you can see in this photo (with the old cable):


As you can see, the cable actually goes a bit past the mount, which means you could pull the cable all the way and it still wouldn't catch. My temporary solution was to drop a nut on as a spacer, as shown in the following photo. This might give a slight rattle, so eventually I plan to create a teflon spacer by drilling a hole in a teflon cutting board the same size as the cable sheath, cutting it out and puting it on, but this is good enough for now. I also plan on installing a new speedometer housing with a "double seal" that i got from Mudrak Custom Cruiser that is supposed to prevent the gear oil leakage. So when I install that, I'll pop on the new teflon spacer.


There were a few hiccups during the install, but my new parking brake works like a charm. I can now park on a hill with confidence! It felt good pulling the lever for the first time after the install and feeling it dig in nice and securely.

Special thanks to Mark Algazy over at Mark's Off Road for diagnosing my hole pattern problem, and Mudrak for building those double-seal speedo housings.

Up next, will be my heater rebuild and install.
Feb 14, 2009
los angeles, kahlifornia
Land Cruiser Build-up/Restore, Part 3 - Winch Bumper

So part 3 was going to be my heater restore, but since i'm still trying to find/fabricate parts, and i finished my winch bumper today, i figured i'd write about that.

Unfortunately, I forgot to photo the bumper in it's original condition, but it was pretty rusty and nasty. I do have photos of the mounts, etc, though.

Here is a shot of the mounts, the one on the right is the original condition i got them in:


Notice the caked on rust, and broke bolts. On the left is after drilling out the bolts and taking a wire brush to get the loose rust off. The next step was to use electrolysis to get convert the rust back into metal (over-simplification of the process, i know, i'll post about it in more detail in another post). This is my electrolysis setup:


So, after a day in the electrolysis bath, the mount looks like the bottom one in this picture:


Here's a picture from when i did the second one, you can really tell that part of the mount was in the electrolysis bath, and part of it wasn't:


Back to the first mount, notice that the rust is completely gone, but we still have to clean off some of the black oxidized metal. Here you can see that i've done that to half of the mount:


What a difference that makes. After the electrolysis and the wire brush, compare the two mounts:


What a difference after the electrolysis!

Next, i hit them with some primer, to seal them and get a good base to apply paint to:


I then painted them flat/matte black, which, evidently, i didn't photo.

Then, onto the actual bumper! Here is the bumper that came with it. I think it's a '73 or '74 bumper, installed upside down. haha:


After i took it off, you can see the rust, etc.:

Feb 14, 2009
los angeles, kahlifornia
A close up:


Here's another close-up of the rust:


And another:


Here's after I hit it with the wire brush:


And a couple more:




Then I used this stuff on it:


It works pretty ok. Sprays on clear and tries to chemically convert the rust, and leaves a primer base. Here it is after i sprayed it on and let it work for a bit:


and a detail view:


After that, I hit it with some zinc-based primer (helps to stop rust, and prevent it from starting back up):


Once that dried, I gave it a nice coverage of flat black paint:


Here's a shot of the bumper in front of it, so I could size things up and figure out how the mounts went exactly. I took the bumper to a body shop and they cleaned it up and painted it for $200. In hind-sight, I probably should have just done it myself, but they did a good job, and gave it a nice rubberized under coat on the back side and the skid-plating, etc.


I then bolted on the mounts, here are a couple of detail shots of those:



The finished mounts:


And finally, I slid the bumper on and bolted it on:


Now the pig looks considerable different:


Next, i just need to buy a winch! :) hahhahah

So next time, i'm probably going to cover my heater restore, or maybe my back seat. Or maybe something completely different! we'll see what i get done first.

Stay tuned!
Feb 14, 2009
los angeles, kahlifornia
In part 4 of my Land Cruiser build-up, I'm documenting the restoration of the rear seat. Remember from earlier pics, the rear seat was in pretty bad shape, as can be seen here:


Not only were the seams ripped out, but it was dirty and nasty. Futhermore, I took it out, and the very next day my neighbor's dog ate the s*** out of it, utterly destroying it. I salvaged what i could, so i could get it to the upholstery shop, and showed them what i had. They quoted me $250 to have the upholstery redone.

So, i took it home, and proceeded to pull it apart. the metal was pretty banged up and rusting on the outside of the seat, but was still fairly clean on the inside. Unfortunately, i forgot to take pictures of the early stages of it, so you can't see how bad it was, but it was pretty gnarly. I then took the everything but the metal bottom and back to the upholstrey guys so they could begin pattern making, etc.

Then i started in on cleaning the metal. I knew i was going to give it a shot of the rhino-liner stuff, to match the rest of the cruiser, and those guys do their own sanding and such, so i concentrated on the spots that weren't going to get sprayed. The mounting brackets were also pretty gross, as you can see here:


I dropped them into the electrolysis bath, one by one, and then gave the a nice coat of the hammer-finish rustoleum:


And here is a shot of the seat bits at the rhino-liner shop when i went to pick them up:


they're lookign pretty sharp. All the white that you see is after i cleaned them up and painted.

Next thing i had to do is clean off all the little spikes that hold the fabric, since they were covered in rhino-liner, this next shot shows a spike after cleaning on the left, and before on the right:


Next, i had to put the seat pieces semi-back together again to get them over to the upholstery shop:


Unfortunately, as you can see, the guy over-sprayed the rhino liner a bit there in the middle. but other than that, they look really good! I put all new bolt/screw hardware on everything i've touched on the cruiser too, you can see the shiny new bolts and such in the photo above. Here's the back, with all the little spikes cleaned off:


took forever to get all those little spikes cleaned off. I then dropped these guys off at the upholsterers.

A week later, and i took a trip back over to the upholstery shop, in the meantime, the price had gone up to $300, because i chose to get some better vinyl, some that matched the original a little better, and here is my completed bench upholstery:


and the back:


They had limited tools though, and with what they had, toyota engineering was a little beyond their grasp, so i took everything home and had to put it together myself:


Assembly was no easy task mind you. The thickness that the rhino-liner added made everything going back together a pain in the ass. But it was definitely worth it. that stuff holds up really well, and like i said, it matches the rest of the car.

Finally, i dropped the completed seat back into the pig:


Looks really nice! Tomorrow i'll take a pic of it laying down (i forgot to do that.)

Stay tuned for more stuff!


Feb 21, 2006
Congrats on a great thread:clap:.........:hmm:might be better in the 55 forum.....please keep the pix coming:cheers:

Feb 14, 2009
los angeles, kahlifornia
Oy, got a long one here. I spent the last 2 weekends up to my neck in wrenching on the land cruiser. My mission - convert all four drum brakes to disc, and rebuild the axles. The rear axle had at least one bad oil seal and was throwing gear oil all over the underside of the carriage, and the brakes were not worth a s***. I wound up doing a disc brake conversion on the rear, and swapping in a rebuilt axle from a '78 FJ55 on the front. It's a heavier duty axle and it already had the disc brakes on it.

So let's start with what i had. here's a shot of the brake booster and master cylinder:


pretty gnarly. and the connectors are a rusty mess. lines were pretty corroded too. Here's a shot of the rear axle, you can see the grease everywhere.



So the first thing i did was pulled out the old booster and master cylinder. The engine compartment had some moderate rust issues. as you can see in these shots:


Air filter removed:




at some point (like when i have a garage, and i'm not borrowing my neighbor's driveway), i'll do a proper frame-off restoration, but for now, i'm interested in rust control and just doing what i can.

so i started in with a 3M rust and paint removal wheel (these things are awesome - they're WAAAAY better than a wire brush wheel, or sanding), as you can see here:


i unbolted most of what was on the sides here, and went at it, and pretty soon it looked like:




i was able to get most of the rust off pretty well. here's a shot showing the primer on the right, and a coat of white on the left:


a detail view:


The mostly finished product:


And the new booster and master cylinder installed:


While i was at it, i also decided to clean up the front grill and hood latch, plate, etc. Here's a shot of the catch plate after i took the 3m wheel to it:




and installed (with shiny new hardware too):

Feb 14, 2009
los angeles, kahlifornia
the grill got the same treatment, here it is with the zinc primer drying (after i cleaned it off):


and installed:


so, back to the axles and brakes. i went over to auto supply co and got my '84 monte carlo calipers and discs, here they are still in the box:


and assembled:


i got the good semi-metallic pads too.

finally, jacked up the rear end and pulled off the wheels, and here are my good old drum brakes:


The driver side brake was clean, looked like it had been replaced fairly recently:


but i opened up the passenger side:


... and found axle grease. :( this means the oil seal was bad over here too, and leaking crap into the drum. that certainly would have been a major contributor to the brakes not beign all that great.

the drum brake backing plates sit behind the lug assembly (thing that holds the wheel onto the axle), so in order to get them off, you have to pull the axles out. the axles are held in via clips in the differential, so in order to remove the axles, you have to open up the differential and partially disassemble it.

i had started to drain my differential already, so next step was to take the diff cover off. here it is in all it's greasy/nasty glory:


it was stuck on there pretty good, so a screw driver and a rubber mallet, lightly tapped in broke the seal:


after getting it opened, the third member actually looked pretty good, which was nice:


in order to get at those clips that hold in the axle, we have to take out the pinion thing, so i removed the bolt that holds it in place:


and then pulled the spider gears out and the spacer. the spacer goes between the spider gears and keeps the axles separated. we needed to get that out so we could push the axles into the diff and get the little clips off. this was kind of a greasy messy thing, so i didn't get photos. but here are the parts:


those little horshoe shaped things are the clips that hold the axles in. you don't actually have to take those gears out, and it's probably easier if you leave them in.

the spacer is the thing on the left.

next, i disconnected the brake line:


and i couldn't get the axle to move, so a quick tap with the rubber mallet again, got it to slide in:


and then you can get those clips off that were in the previous photo. i rotated the axle and then fell right off (and into the gear oil) :(. hahha

and again, the axle didn't want to move, so i put my breaker bar behind it, and gave it a little pull:


and out it came:


next, the backing plates came off:


Feb 14, 2009
los angeles, kahlifornia
and since i was cleaning and rebuilding it, it was going to be a lot easier if i took it off (plus, i had to get it to mark's off-road, so he could pull the bearings for me - i didn't have a puller):



this is at mark's off road, using a pri bar to pull the oil seals (they're in there pretty tight, and it pops them out really easily):


next, you disassemble the cage that hold the bearings in the race, so you can get your puller in there:


put the puller in (mark has modified his to be just a little wider by welding a bit on the ends):


and give it a few good raps:


and out it comes:


now, with the axle back home, i dropped in the new bearings and oil seals:


peeled off the old diff gasket:


scraped off a lot of the greasy s*** by hand:


ick. it was caked on a half an inch in places. :(

brand new gasket on:


lots of cleaning, scraping, and simple green later:


the other side:


and finally, some more cleaning the next day:


and it's finally starting to look like an axle again. :)

some day, when i do the frame-off restoration, i'll have all these parts dipped in a hot bath to get all the grease and s*** off, and then i'll re-paint. but this is pretty good for now.
Feb 14, 2009
los angeles, kahlifornia
new oil seal in, this was the one that was throwing oil everwhere before:


and new, stainless steel, brake hoses attached:


these come from downey off-road (who sells them in their brake conversion kit). they're nice because they go all the way from the disk brake's banjo fitting to the rear junction block, replacing hard line that was there before.

downey sells the rear disc conversion kit, but like everything else, they sell, it's twice as expensive as everyone else's, which is yet more expensive than sourcing the parts yourself.

finally, i mounted my cleaned and rebuilt axle back on the springs:


what i didn't like about the hoses however, was that their fittings didn't really fit where the junction block was, so i had to raise it up with a couple washers as spacers:


this allowed the hoses to clear the u-bolts and the differential housing without tweaking the hoses.

here's a close up of the junction block/axle vent post:


now it was finally time to put the rear disc brakes on. here is the caliper mount and their spacer shims shown with the appropriate placement for my setup:


i got these from JTOutfitters, for $80. Downey sells them for $140. ....

you can also make your own, there is a scale PDF of them on the interwebs someplace.

however, before i mounted them, i had to check clearance on the caliper, and grind off bits that didn't fit. here's a shot showing that i had to grind down (with a grinder) a bit of the caliper body:


that little nub doesn't do anything, so it's fine to grind it down.

here's a shot showing the bolts and spacers:


you can put them forward of the axle, or backwards, as long as when you mount the caliper, the bleed screw is up (to let air out, but keep brake fluid in).

i mounted my to the rear, just cuz, here is the driver side rear:


next, rotors go on:


these are standard GM rotors, but the center has been milled out a bit to fit over the land cruiser axle. you can mill them out yourself, or you can buy them already milled out. again, i bought mine from JT Outfitters for $50/each, you can also pick them up at downey for $178/pair - see i wasn't kidding about them being twice as expensive. :S

next a little silicon brake lube (helps absorb vibration and such so the brakes don't squeel) applied to the backs of the pads:


and then on goes the hose and banjo fitting:


and then mount the shiny new caliper on:


here's a shot showing where to put the slilicon lube on the caliper mounting bolts. it goes where metal will be touching metal, so i pushed it in most of the way, applied the lube, let it set for 10 minutes, and then screwed it in all the way so the lube was between the bolts and the caliper:


oy. took forever to get here, and i hadn't even finished the rear brakes yet!
Feb 14, 2009
los angeles, kahlifornia
next, i replaced the TI Automotive bundy brake line (which is soft, and kind of suck ass) with stainless steel, seemless tubing. here is the raw tubing next to the stock brake line:


and after i bent it:


next, a 2lb residual valve goes in. this is basically a one-way valve that keeps 2lbs of residual pressure on the rear disc brakes, so that the brakes are at the rotor, but not clamped on it, and you don't have to double pump to get them to work. standard rear drum brakes require a 6lb residual valve that is built into the master cylinder.

i got this residual valve from downey, here it is installed, just forward of the rear axle. you can also see i'm suspending the rear center brake hose from spring to keep it up and out of the way of rocks and such, but still let it flex withe the suspension:


i think that's just a throttle return spring or something i picked up.

woo, finally, rear brakes almost done, and it's on to the front axle. i got a rebuilt axle from mark's off road from a '78 FJ55, that already had disc brakes on it. it was a complete axle, and was just going to be a bolt up, but i decided to make it complicated.

i was under the impression from the previous owner, that the front differential actually had a limited slip (posi-traction) differential. i looked in the little oil fill hill previously, and from what i could make out, i confirmed this.

mark's axle seemed like a good idea, but i didn't want to lose my limited slip differential, so he sold me the axle minus the third member (the guts inside the differential), with the idea that i would remove my third member from my axle, and drop it into the new axle. a little more complicated than just bolting on a new axle, but hey, i just rebuilt my rear-end, so i figured i could figure it out.

oy. turns out, i didn't have a limited slip differential. it was just a regular old differential. and by the time i got mine apart, it was too late, mark had already gone off to texas or some other place, so i had to pull apart his axle anyway, to drop my third member in. :(

in order to remove or install a third member, you have to pull the axles out so they can slip into/out of the third member. turns out, there was an easier way to do this than mark had shown me, but i didn't know about it until later. the way he did show me was to remove the birfield (in the front axle assembly there are actually two axles on each side, one from the differential to the steering knuckle, and then one that is jointed and can move in different directions to allow for steering - that one is called the birfield).

so off i went. first, i pulled the locking hub dust cap off (after jacking up and taking wheels off):


this allowed access to a clip on the birfield that you have to take off before you can get the hub off.

then the hub comes off:


and then the brake drum:


and then you pull the wire out that runs between all those bolts on the backing plate, unscrew the bolts, and pull the backing plate off:


then pry off the steering knuckle dust cover, and there is the mystical birfield:


the birfield has some flat spots on top and bottom, so if you rotate it to where those line up with the knuckle housing's flat spots, it'll slide right out, bringing the inner axle with it.


ick. what a greasy mess. i think i went through three boxes of those latex gloves while doing this whole deal.

next, bolts come off the differential:


and there's a trick here. if you place a jack where you see in the previous picture, and jack it up a bit and let it site, the third member will pop free of it's housing (which is nice because that gasket has a pretty good seal).

third member out:


and then it was time to take the axle off (now that it was light enought that i could handle moving it by myself).

i had to get those u-bolts off, but they were a mess. i took a 24" breaker bar to them and i could barely move them. one was welded on so hard with rust that i actually sheared it off when i was pulling on the breaker bar trying to get it to loosen:


agh, 45 minutes and a cardio workout later, i finally got them all off. i had to use the breaker bar for leverage the whole way on each one of them, even after oiling the threads, they were so corroded. each time i would pull, move the nut a quarter of a turn, pull the breaker bar off, put it back on, and pull again. repeat like 6 gazillion times or something and finally they were off. :(

here's the old axle next to the new axle (with disc brakes):


you can see, i'm doing all this in a driveway. so at the end of each weekend i have to cart all my tools back up to my apartment and clean the driveway.

following essentially the same process as before (hub dust cap off, axle clip off, hub off, rotor off, backing plate off, pull birfield from it's greasy vaginal resting spot), on the new axle, and then put it onto the springs:


and then the birfield back in:


woo, pink synthetic grease goodness. that stuff is so much better than the old school grease.
Feb 14, 2009
los angeles, kahlifornia
then whatever that spindle thing is (which you can't really even see anyway because it's got a blue shop towell on it):


then i cleaned off all the excess grease, and put on the gasket, and then the brake backing plate and the spacer plate:


and then the rotor:


the hub nuts are kind of tricky to put on right. you have to put the first one on, torque it to 43lbs, rotate the axle, loosen the nut, retorque, loosen, and then put it back on with just a little bit of resistance (like 34 inch lbs or whatever). this helps to push the roter on but it makes sure it's not too tight so as to crush the bearings. next, the washer goes on, and then the second hub nut gets torqued on.

and next, silicon brake lube again on the pads:


and then i assembled the caliper, this was a bit tricky, but this is the correct way to put the hardware in:


and then the caliper goes on:


another view, showing the hose and brake line hooked up:


and then the hub back on:


notice there's a bolt inside there. that helps to put the clip back on, because you can pull on the axle on it so it comes out far enough to get the clip on, here's a close up:


finally, hub dust cap back on:


and then the wheel goes on! yay! of course i forgot to photo that part. hahhaha...

i did have to put a washer on each of the lug nuts to get the wheel to clear the caliper. they're small washers so i still get full bite on the lug nuts (they go all the way down), but it was neccessary to not have the wheel hit the caliper.

next, i needed to install the rear disc proportioning valve and finish up the lines. the proportioning valve is useful to lower give the back brakes a little less pressure than the front, so they don't lock up first and bring your rear-end around when you brake hard.

mark suggested i put it on the passenger side firewall, but i'm going to be putting in dual batteries over there and i'll need to move the washer fluid resevoir to that area, so i decided to put it on the drivers side. here is where i put two self-tapping sheet metal screws to mount the mount:


i made a mount for the valve using a 3.5" floppy drive mount. i just cut it down to size and gave it a coat of paint. here it is mounted:


next, i bent up some new break line:


i picked up one of those brake line benders, but honestly, sometimes i felt like it would have been much better just bending around a can or something.

here is my installed proportioning valve:


i didn't have long enough screws, so it zip-tied for now, but that will be replaced once i get longer bolts.

the proportioning valve is also from downey, although i'm certain after seeing it's package i could pick it up somewhere else for probably 1/3rd the cost.

and finally, here are my shiny new brake lines coming off the master cylinder:


whew.... long post. and long job.

so far, everything is working well, much better than the old brakes. i had to re-bleed the lines a couple times to get all the air out. i also put speedbleeders at each brake caliper, which make the bleeding even easier.

but the cruiser sure stops now. :)

still working out a few kinks, and tuning the proportioning valve, but overall, i'm happy with the new brakes and the car feels much safer. :)
Nov 27, 2007
wow, nice build! wish i was there to observe and learn!

just wonderin, what did the disk brake conversion (parking brake) kit cost ya? besides the change in bolt pattern b/c of the drive train mod, looks like it's a pretty straight up bold off/bolt on?

and is that the speedo cable on the right side? e-brake cable on the left. on the 40, i believe theyre both on the left side, almost next to each other. is the speedo/cable working or is that on your to do list?

thanks for sharing the process.

Feb 14, 2009
los angeles, kahlifornia
i got the kit from here: MAF Disc Parking Brake Conversion Kit it was $300, but then i had to buy a new parking brake cable for $125.

the bolt pattern was my fault, had i known more about FJ55s when i started that mod, i would have got the later year conversion kit (my drive shaft was a later year model than my fj55). so it should have been a bolt on conversion period. speedo cable is on the left hand side, and it still works. parking brake cable was on the right hand side to begin with, but now is on the left (which is why i needed a longer cable). on yours, your cable will likely be fine, so you'll just need the conversion kit.

Feb 14, 2009
los angeles, kahlifornia
unfortunately, for now i'm just going to do a quick patch up on the outside. i don't have the space to do a proper restore on that part. eventually i'll do a frame off though. i might even just pick up another body and do a body swap. we'll see.

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