'77 FJ40 buildup in Charlotte (finally) (1 Viewer)

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This project has moved so slow that I've resisted any idea of posting a build thread. I don't know if it will provide much help, but so many here have helped me that I thought it would be a worthwhile attempt to try.

A friend asked that I consider building land cruiser. I had done one back in the early 90's, that I sold to him. After a few discussions :beer: and cocktail napkin sketches, we hatched a mild build plan.

Formula:

'77 or 78 Land Cruiser FJ-40
steel body with no bondo
V8 with decent HP and torque
power steering
AC
automatic
cruisable comfort at highway speeds
decent crawl ratio for the rocks
retro look with modern internals
35's with an overall height of less than 80 inches
 
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The donor truck that showed up in my driveway ended up being this.

A '77 FJ-40 that appeared to be in excellent condition. It drove well, (I had forgotten how well since driving land rovers since '94)
donor.jpg
 
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Yeah, I wish.

When we started to pull the thing apart, it was found to have some issues. Both quarters had been skinned, the boxed section behind the fuel tank was toast, the roll bar mounts were bondo, and all seams appeared to be leaking rust.
rust1.jpg
rust2.jpg
 
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more fun...

Engine and running gear seemed strong though. The wiring had some suspect issues. The lights had gone out without warning a few times on the ride down here.
rust3.jpg
rust4.jpg
 
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Stripped it down to a bare tub and frame. Next step was to cut the motor mounts, steering box, and relay out. The frame was in decent shape, with the rear gussets intact and some scale on the rear crossmember.
tub.jpg
frame.jpg
 
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Sourced a set of fine splined diffs and stuffed them with ARB's I had the axle housings, backing plates, and chassis blasted and primed with an epoxy etching primer (pretty color!). We decided to paint the chassis instead of powder coating. This way we could touch up as needed, and add frame tie-in's for the cage at a later time. (more on this choice at a later time)
arbs.jpg
 
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Nice looking rig with some issues, but you lost me at auto tranny....
 
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Had the axles painted, rebuilt both with new gaskets, seals, and bearings, and stuffed the fronts with some goodies from Bobby Long. Poly Performance was out of their rear shafts, so the originals went back in place. To keep things quick and easy, I ordered the MAF 4+ kit that gave us shackle reversal, u-bolt flip, springs, OME shocks, greasable shackles and spring pins. Took the opportunity to install rear disks as well.
chassis.jpg
 
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Next step was to get the GM Performance catalog an begin to check out dyno charts. I was told to make sure that it was an old school iron block so that parts would be readily available at any NAPA or autozone, but that it needed to have fuel injection for the off-camber situations.

A quick trip to City Chevrolet in Charlotte yielded this result.
engine.jpg
 
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At this point, we started crunching numbers for gearing, final drive, and crawl ratio. If you ask 6 different people, you will get 6 different answers to the best formula, so we compared our probable numbers to the owners last wheeling rig ('97 Defender 90 with 4.10's, autobox, and a supercharged 4.0 V8)

It was found that our engine, trans, transfer case ratio would not give us the needed match to the old crawl ratios.:hmm: Swapping in a 3 speed transfer would also not do the needed drop.....
 
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Study.....

Read MUD.....

Call Marlin and order the 2.28:1 Toybox. This would grow our already long driveline by .5 inches over the standard AA adaptor for an extra 6-700 dollars, but give us the needed numbers for a decent crawl ratio.

Marlin sent the tailshaft to TCI to be incorporated into a 700R4 that they would build to our specs.
driveline.jpg
 
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I think it was either a BTB or Man-a-fre kit.

Edit: Man-A-Fre..
 
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Assembled the driveline and tried for a (the first of many) testfit. The first obvious problem was the rear crossmember. I hacked that out and started over.

We pushed the driveline as far forward as possible, while still allowing a clutch driven fan, and hitched the whole mess up as far as it would go (within reason) to center it on the radiator.
testfit.jpg
testfit1.jpg
 
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fabbed up a new crossmember and mounts on the plated section at the rear of the frame. The new tube was bent from a scrap piece of 1.75x.120 DOM.
xmember.jpg
 
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Boxed the front frame channels, added a Saginaw mount, and had the whole thing shot with enamel. Installed a PSC box that was prepped and drilled for hydro-assist (for future development).
paintedchassis.jpg
 

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