79 FJ 40 Rebuild

Joined
Dec 1, 2022
Messages
20
Location
Milford PA
Good morning everyone!,

I have been looking for a project for my daughter and I for this winter. She is 15 and really interested in mechanics right now, so I thought this would be a great daddy daughter project.


Years ago I had a 97 TJ with the 4 Cyl, ran for 6 years, swapped in another 4 cyl then a SB350 with TH 350 trans advance adapter to np231 full width 79 bronco axles 5:13 gears 6’’ long arm anti sway yards yadda yadda. Also had an 89 Dodge Raider nursed it back to life, wish I still had it lol. I’ll do my best to search the threads before I ask a question. I used pirate 4x4 when I did the 350 swap, some users can be pretty hateful. Not saying anyone here.

On this 79 FJ, it’s had a poor resto job done from the dash back, debating on finding a tub or just make it look cleaner and roll on. What i mean is, body panels were bought and put over rusted panels, tailgate area has a solid piece of sheet metal running across it. Thinking of at least removing that and bolting an a non oem fold down tailgate.

Frame needs some patches at rear body mounts and rear brace. Ive seen that all those can be purchased and welded in. Not the best welder but I can do a fair job, shiny black paint helps!

Front half of the body is mostly good! Pin hole rust along nose of hood and bottom of grill at hinge mount.

So the motor runs/drives. Blowing smoke at startup, could be dirty carb it sat for 3 years, bad timing etc. Regadless I want to at least do a top end rebuild. My daughter is excited to take it apart. I was wondering though, any tell tale signs that the bottom end needs work? I don’t see any metal in the oil, no knocking. I’m going to do a compression test today, check timing and maybe clean up the carb and see when I’m getting smoke and exactly what color it is.

I’d love to buy a power steering kit but the instructions seemed a little intimidating…

Body is coming off the frame, clean strip rust treat, thinking 2.5’’ lift I saw there is a lot of combinations to try and get a soft ride (reasonably soft it is an FJ). Anything will be better then the current blown shocks and old springs.

Anyway that’s my intro, Any help ruling out the bottom end would be great. And maybe I just do a full engine rebuild I just feel like that’s a little more invasive than I am comfortable with not sure the difference in $$$ top end vs complete.

Looking forward to posting some build pics

Steven

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Joined
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Texas Coast
Looks like a great father/daughter project. Sounds like you are a good dad. My suggestion would be: Don't go too deep too fast. Get the the vehicle running so you nd your daughter can enjoy some behind the wheel time and have some gratification. There are plenty of stories here of folks who have well intentioned restorations in mind but never get around to getting the vehicle put back together. Time, money and life have a way of encroaching. I think it is easier to work on a driver than it is a pile of parts.
Good luck.
 
Joined
Dec 1, 2022
Messages
20
Location
Milford PA
Looks like a great father/daughter project. Sounds like you are a good dad. My suggestion would be: Don't go too deep too fast. Get the the vehicle running so you nd your daughter can enjoy some behind the wheel time and have some gratification. There are plenty of stories here of folks who have well intentioned restorations in mind but never get around to getting the vehicle put back together. Time, money and life have a way of encroaching. I think it is easier to work on a driver than it is a pile of parts.
Good luck.
Wise words! a thought was to getting it running better before tear down. We wont really have an opportunity to enjoy it for about 5 months. Bikini top, no heater, PA fin the winter….
 
Joined
Dec 4, 2020
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South Texas
Agree with Greenbean, start small and keep driving it. At least through the summer… carb, brakes, steering, suspension, hubs, driveshaft. These are all things that can be done in a few hours in free time together, and you really get to know the truck.
 

pb4ugo

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Get it running, stopping and driving. Doing a wet and dry comp test will help in assessing the bottom and top end condition. You might want to adjust the valves 1st to really nail the comp #. It's a good teaching moment too. Welcome.
 
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Location
Milford PA
I’ve really enjoyed all the information on here. I thoroughly research through the valve adjustment threads, much appreciated! I also tried the engine running method but i think a few valves were miss adjusted. New plugs 2-5 at idle for 10 minutes were pretty nasty. So re-readjusted valves lol. Compression test was 90 across the board. After some research and a phone call it was suggested that i re attempt with a stronger battery, so I jumped it. Compression went up to 120 but the starter was Struggling so probably need either rebuild or replace. (Should give me a more, more accurate compression test) I think I’d like to replace then rebuild OEM just for the experience when I have down time.

Any preference for non OEM starter?

Looks like I will also be doing research on Heater blower rebuild and carb blower cooler rebuild (Probably not necessary in Pennsylvania but I’d still like it working at some point) I’ve found threads on both.

I think all we have really accomplished is cleaning and painting the valve cover, Oh yay shiny! But my daughter is loving learning how everything works so each day is a win!
 
Joined
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Alva, Fl.
"Each day is a win" is an understatement--You and your Daughter rebuilding this rig will be a bond neither will forget!--Don't see a whole lot of stuff that needs to be done to this truck before you get it going and both of you go for the proverbial spin--work on the stuff that will keep it running so you both can enjoy--the body can wait--it;s already in pretty good shape anyway--love the color
Starter suggestion--get an OEM gear reduction--NAPA has them for reasonable-(don't remember seeing them on the Toyota parts list from Toy So. Atlanta)-order an FJ 60 starter--will fit just fine on that engine-
Carb blower--you need one I have one from an FJ60--if you really want to get rid of that , put a set of headers on--no more heat issues.
The compression numbers are quite low--but they seem somewhat consistent--that tells me the timing might be off a little--it also tells me the valve adj is prob pretty close--so check the dizzy points--they may be burnt a little and need cleaning/re-gaping/replacement -that may solve the issue.--a really good addition is a vac gauge-it can tell you more stuff about the engine than you might realize--it can tell you when the points are fouled, when you have a vac leak, when you have low compression in one or two cylinders-etc.--see attach--
Please keep the pics and the narrative coming--all forum members love to see a truck coming back to it's own place--good luck with the resto!
 

Attachments

  • FJ40 vac troubleshooting.pdf
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Joined
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Milford PA
Yes I’ll definitely post so pic as things progress. Thanks for the advice, just ordered a GR starter for an 85 60 will be here tomorrow!

I definitely think we have timing and fuel issues.

PO installed a Weber, not sure what size. Along with electric pump pass side frame near tank so a least the placement is correct. I was thinking of installing in line fuel filters for each fuel line. Disconnect from carb and watch fuel flow to make sure there is no obstruction. It’s an old tank which leaks when filled over 1/2.

I’m not quite sure how to TS the carb. Thinking of removing and spraying down with cleaner-reinstall. I’m sure it needs adjusting. Just need to research this area.

Not sure about this distributor. Looks like it has vac advance, line leading to carb. Also connected to electrical unit on passenger fender near washer fluid. Everything looks original so not sure how much current is distrusted through these old parts.

anyway it’s all good experience
 
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Two questions, while I wait on my starter being delivered tomorrow (with GR) I started on a few other needed areas of attention.

checkin my fuel delivery. So, the left side line is from the electric pump and the right side is from the tank not sure why PO did this. All the photos I’ve seen of 40 engine bays only have the one fuel line. Thinking of eliminating the old one from the tank and solely use the electric line.

On these body joints I’m digging out some kind of joint compound from the previous resto job (pass side at antenna). Did these come factory with a joint compound or is this some body shop trick of the trade?

anyway thanks for the insight!

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pb4ugo

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One fuel line could be a return line. The factory used seam sealer. I guess those pics are from or near the cowl. The seam where the windshield meets the cowl can leak. There's a lot of info around here on using 2 part and single part seam sealer. You might try using the search.
 
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One fuel line could be a return line. The factory used seam sealer. I guess those pics are from or near the cowl. The seam where the windshield meets the cowl can leak. There's a lot of info around here on using 2 part and single part seam sealer. You might try using the search.
Thanks! Wasn’t aware of seam sealer regarding joints. Will definitely research this topic!
 
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late 1979 which from the pics above look to be what you have,
the return to tank line should be at the fuel pump on the engine,
the earlier 2F's had a return from the carb

hard to say what a PO has done.
 
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late 1979 which from the pics above look to be what you have,
the return to tank line should be at the fuel pump on the engine,
the earlier 2F's had a return from the carb

hard to say what a PO has done.

Very true!

Sorry to be lazy I didn’t research this. Having the return at the carb vs the engine pump, will that cause a negative effect?
 
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Very true!

Sorry to be lazy I didn’t research this. Having the return at the carb vs the engine pump, will that cause a negative effect?

shouldn't be an issue as that was how 75-78 2F's ran with the return from the carb.
I've never run a weber
I just don't like electric fuel pumps.
 
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Milford PA
I’ve looked at a few instrument cluster threads but am unable to ID my problem. I only have two lights operational, only two hot spots on circuit board as indicated in image. All bulbs are good/new, I’ve also swapped out the bulb retainers to rule them out.

At my 9 wire plug only two wires are hot, 1 Red with black stripe, 2 Red with yellow stripe.

All fuses attached to firewall are good, tested for current and good.

Headlights work, I can dim/brighten the two operational cluster bulbs.

Any suggestions would be a huge help

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Center hole is high beam indicator. Upper two are turn signals. The 2 you highlighted are the cluster lights that come on with the headlight switch.
Ok embarrassing. I guess they all work. It just seems so dim! I guess that’s why there are threads about different bulbs to brighten the display up. Thanks! Good side is one less thing to fix lol.
 

MOTOV8R

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Ok embarrassing. I guess they all work. It just seems so dim! I guess that’s why there are threads about different bulbs to brighten the display up. Thanks! Good side is one less thing to fix

I have been down that road. They are pretty dim. The LED options are pretty good.

 
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you can also remove the inside "hood"
 
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Glad I’m not the only one. Yes I will remove the inside cup and maybe try the LEDs I also read about some brighter bulbs I think part number 165 or 168, I have it just rattling off from memory. Hey I’m just glad it actually all works. So funny I read about checking for wire holding fuses in, lol yup have some of those. Ill probably get a new fuse box down the road.

we were just doing a small project before going through the ignition/carb.

It was a good teaching point though. I talked my daughter through it. Why some lights were working, how we know when the turn signals work then showed her the corresponding lights and had her reason on why only two lights were on. I can tell this will be an experience. It’s easy to just reason that being a 79FJ40 that something must not be working, need to be replaced rather than use reasoning. Lesson learned lol
 

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