'74 Build: Dirtbike250x's Project: "Rotten Orange"

Joined
Nov 10, 2011
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65
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South Jersey
 
So I have put myself in the face of another project. I am no stranger to the Toyota world as I am also working on a '96 Toyota 4Runner.

I have always found the 40 to be a "cool truck". After being jealous of everyone with a solid front axle, wheeling the IFS of the 4Runner, I dreamed of the day I could own a FJ40. Every once in awhile I would search local ads for sales to see what was being offered. One day I found an advertisement for an estate sale 40 from a dealer one state over from me. My dad just so happened to be in a near by neighborhood and checked it out. While we can not expect a solid truck for it's asking price point, the frame was solid, while the body needed some work.

I'll keep the story short and let the pictures begin.
The 4Runner, and other project truck.
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The idea behind this project has not really been established yet. Right now the plan is to strip it down and build it back up. With the assistance of my dad and a welder, we are going to get it back to the state we bought it in except much less rust. Once we have a rolling driving truck the ideas will run wild.

So after making a deal on the truck we rented a uhaul and took the drive to PA to pick up my first FJ40.
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The truck is a 1974, claimed to be lifted with skyjacker springs BDS shocks, 2F engine swap from what I believe is from a 1975, Toyota pickup power steering conversion....and a lot of bondo. The truck was repainted what seems to be at least twice since the interior is blue. I know it is risky buying a repainted truck especially when they did not bother to paint the truck completely, but the need to have a 40 took over and we brought it home.
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I couldn't wait to get it out for its first drive...
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Once I did a quick once over of the truck before taking it out on the road and found brand new brake components. It was time for me to take my FJ40 for its first "unrestored drive".
(seats are out of an Acura)

However, the truck seemed very under powered, I know these are not race cars but something wasn't right.

We began looking for the problem and one thing lead to another and another....
 
Joined
Nov 10, 2011
Messages
65
Location
South Jersey
 
After only driving it for a few weeks. It was time to roll the 40 in the garage and place it under the knife.
The last un-restored picture to be taken...
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Once it was in, Project "Rotten Orange" began! :bounce:

It seemed that the performance was related to at-least two things.... the vacuum advance on the distributor was rusted solid and the carburetor was only only breathing on one lung (second barrel was non functional)
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But of course the problems did not stop there. It began apparent that the number of issues the truck presented with, a full restoration was needed to be in place, to prevent and correct the patch job repairs this truck has seen plenty of in its life.

After removing some more parts it showed its true color. It looks like it was originally Dune Beige. Funny thing is that, was my ideal color looking through numerous pictures of other's trucks.
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Joined
Nov 10, 2011
Messages
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So destruction started at the top and we worked our way down.

Off came the hard top. Whoever put that top on did not want it to ever come off or ever leak. It was sealed in addition to a aftermarket seal with some black duct sealant. That was a time consuming and sticky project to kick things off.

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Headliner seemed to be a good shape though....

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Orange and blue do not make a good combination :eek:

More of its original color peaking through behind the heater.
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Yes the wiring is messy and it is held together with countless wire nuts. Another thing to add to the list...

With all the big stuff off it was time to start cutting into this body.

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Joined
Nov 10, 2011
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One of its PO must have solved a rotten rear gate by fabricating up a solid rear section to the tub. Not really sure what the idea behind it was. Maybe the rear doors were to far gone, and boxing in sheet metal was the convenient alternative. It was disgusting and was the first thing to go...

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What is a project vehicle without the standard rats nest hiding somewhere, dead rat included. :(

Cleaned up some...
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As we began to clean off the layers of paint and bondo under its Orange skin, the rot was discovered little by little to the point of realizing removing the body was our next step to really fix this tub the right way.

Disconnected...
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And off it came...
 
Joined
Nov 10, 2011
Messages
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First was to start on the bottom of the tub to see what we are up against.

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Yeah I wasn't to happy to see it either....

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However, other than some pitting metal and some flaking rust the frame seemed to be pretty solid and the plan there was to clean it up and POR 15 the frame and axles.

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But in keeping with the one thing leading to another, how do we make frame cleaning easier...
Remove the engine.



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At this point is when someone like me, who has never dug into a vehicle this deep begins to get nervous. I accept this will take long and really test my welding and sheet metal work to come.
 
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And then off came the axles...

Unfortunately the front shackles were frozen and bent, and you can see in the picture they are stuck in the up position. I was hoping something was wrong with the suspension during my test drive considering how bouncy it was. In addition to that, the shackle bolts were far to short allowing threads to twist inside the bushing, destroying the bushings over the years. The bushings and bolts each had to be heated and beat out (A good way to get out the frustration of the week). Everything I removed had to be so forcefully removed the only thing that was reusable was the rear leaf pins, which appeared to have been replaced not to long ago from a PO.

The leafs are going to be kept (for now) until the project is complete. I feel the best way to complete this project is with a proper suspension setup (SOA? ;)) and properly backspaced wheels and fresh rubber as I believe these are trailer wheels. The money required for such a suspension setup will be what is left over in the budget near the end.

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Joined
Nov 10, 2011
Messages
65
Location
South Jersey
 
The first thing to go under the body was the main support channel since the two body mounts were completely rotted away to the point of being useless...

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While we were cutting away the rot on the body, there was a second project of wire wheeling the frame to get ride of the loose rust and 40 years worth of mud and dirt laying in the boxed frame section.

After cleaning up the metal as best as possible it was time to start the POR 15 process.

We got two quarts of semi gloss black and one bottle of the acid etching solution. We skipped out on the cleaner for two reason, the attempt to keep the cost of this project low and we already had a simple green solution we have been using with much success in previous project.

After a good scrub with the hose and a scrub brush. I applied the acid and kept it wet for little over the recommend 30 min time frame.

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After washing off the acid and allowing it to completely dry.
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And our "paint booth"

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Joined
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Messages
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Two coats of POR15 on the axles and frame left a nice solid coating that will hopefully last awhile.

We bought two quarts and were able to do both the frame and axles with about 7/8 of a quart. While it wasn't originally planned the plan now is to POR15 the underside of the body after all repairs have been made.

The springs were left bare, as they will be replaced...

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Once the painting was complete, the task of turning it back into a roller was next. After welding up a set of shackles and piecing together enough hardware and bushings to bolt everything back up. It was time to have a rolling chassis again.

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Joined
Nov 10, 2011
Messages
65
Location
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Nice job so far. What's your plan in regards to the main beam you removed due to rot? Keep the progress pics coming!!
Thank You!

We fabbed up a new beam with some fresh metal with the incorporated body mounts. I will have more info on it when I catch up to where I actually am in the build. I started my build thread late so I am still playing catch up.

Here's a sneak preview of the beam...

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Joined
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That's what I was planning on doing. I was also going to cap off the ends unlike Toyota did when they stitched the tub together.
 
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Prescott Valley, AZ
 
Very nice.....seems like torture now but it will be SO worth it!!!!!! I am also a fan of the dune beige even though I have freeborn red, lol:cheers:
 
Joined
Nov 10, 2011
Messages
65
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South Jersey
 
Thank You all for the kind works.

You got that right LasCrucer, the truck has been throwing me curve balls everyday I go out and work on it...All good fun though right?
 
Joined
Nov 10, 2011
Messages
65
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South Jersey
 
I was expecting a fairly straight forward job of dropping the frame over the axles, just like an hour job right? Well maybe it was because I have never done it or maybe it is because I am trying to piece together enough correct hardware to get it into a roller until I have the funds to do a proper suspension. But the process of lining everything up and bolting together took a full afternoon.

Not many pictures of the process because I was attempting to get it done in a timely manner.

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But with some persistent effort it began to look like a 40 frame once again....

Threw a little extra kick of motivation into this project seeing the clean solid frame together.

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Anyone think these shackles that came on the truck are to long to have no center support? Again this suspension is not permanent, but will have to do for some time.

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