A slow walk down a very long road.

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May 18, 2011
Somerville, AL
I decided to get out in the garage and spend a little quality time with the 40 this morning. Its a 1973 (Dec 1972 build date) FST in Freeborn Red originally. One of the PO's got rid of the soft top and installed a hard top. They also did some really excellent wiring upgrades as well as finding every rock and mud hole in AZ. I picked this one up a couple of years ago on an even trade for a 1993 Jeep Wrangler. The PO wanted a back seat for his kids and I wanted a 40, so here we sit. Him with a Jeep and me with a 42 year old piece of awesomeness. I had been having some issues with the blinkers so decided to take a look into the wiring. I soon found this:
speaker wire.jpeg

Yep kids, that is speaker wire that was spliced into the turn signal wire. Oh and it was just twisted together and a little electrical wire wrapped around the twists. This of course led to more panels getting removed. As I dug more into the wiring the PO struck again with his twisted spliced in wiring. This one had masking tape over one splice but the other was bare behind the license plate.


As one thing led to another I ended up with the 40 basically ready for the body to come off. All I have left to pull out is the gas tank and then the body will be sitting on saw horses hopefully by mid day tomorrow. How she sits now:

This will give me plenty of working room to re-gasket the transmission and transfer case and also room to convert the front to discs and rebuild the rear axle. I am fortunate that so far I have found any rust and the only repairs seems to be the windshield hinge mount points have broken off the dash. Other than that she is pretty sound. I am torn between going back to Freeborn Red or Heath Gray. The PO rattle canned over the original paint with Rustoluem from Lowe's, not a horrible job but she deserves better. Overall, the goal is to do a refresh and make it a solid daily driver. I don't plan on doing a purist rebuild but want to bring it back to her former glory while being more practical. The goal is to do most of it myself so we shall see how it goes. Next step is getting the body off and then rebuild the front axle and swap on the 60 knuckles for disc brakes then on to the rear and then the frame blasted and painted and all stuffed back together into a roller within the next 2 months. Hopefully I don't run into any snags. I am open to all tips tricks and pointers than anyone has on and please let me know if I am doing something wrong. I have more experience with airplanes than I do 40's.
Looks nice and sounds like a great plan. 2 months though?
You'll not have too much to worry about. Many of us around have been down the same road.

Only advice I'd give at this point... Don't forget to fix all your grounds.:D
Yea 2 months is a steep timeline but I have all the parts to rebuild the axles and gaskets for the transmission and xfer case. Just a matter of finding the time to do it all and the speed that the blaster can get it stripped down. I have to sure up the spring mounts on the frame, the rivets have loosened up on 2 of them. I plan on using either Mastercoat AG111 or Rust bullet on the frame. While I live in Vegas now, when I retire I plan on moving back to either Florida or South Alabama and don't want to worry about rust in the future. I wish I could galvanize but Phoenix is the closest city that can do it for about $500 and need a week to take care of it. Anyone have any preference between the 2?

Here is what she looks like now after 2 hrs of degreasing and pressure washing. 40 years worth of grease and dirt really gets stuck onto the chassis. The frame rails had about a quarter inch of dirt in the bottoms, luckily I have yet to find any rust on the frame or body.

40 frame teardown.jpg
View attachment 914796
So far the biggest hurdle is getting the wiring harness up to par. There are a lot of brittle wires and broken connections. I also have to figure out how to get the shifter out of the 4 speed. Anyone have any tips? I tried to press down and twist but I couldn't get it to budge. Thanks for the help fellas.

40 tub teardown.jpg
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To remove the shift lever--- make SURE the tranny is in neutral first. This will make re-install easier. I use either a large pair of slip-joint pliers, or a larger open end wrench. Place the pliers/wrench so it has a jaw on each side of the shift cane. The metal cover over the "ball" has an opening that has straight sides. I like to place the pliers/wrench at a right angle to that so that the tips of the jaws can be in contact with that edge as that helps with leverage. Press down firmly and turn the "ball" using the pliers/wrench as a lever. It could be either clockwise, or counter-clockwise. I've seen either direction be the way needed. You never know for sure until you try it. It will turn only about an eighth turn and then you will be able to let the spring under there push it upwards.

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Thanks for the help. I will give that a shot in the morning, I tried using a box end wrench once before but only clockwise so that may have been why I wasn't able to get it out. I was able to get the rest of the body stripped down, all that's left is the switches from the dash and it will be ready for stripping. I talked to the blaster today, gave me a quote of between $200-$300 for blasting the frame and axles, wouldn't give me a quote for the body until he saw it. He said that if I decided to powdercoat the frame as well it would be around $600 including blasting, which is very good considering the level of his attention to detail. Think I will still be happier with the Mastercoat due to the ability to touch it up easily if it gets scratched and rust wont form under it.
Had a little extra time today so I got the frame basically stripped down as much as I could. Also got the transmission and transfer case out and ready for a cleanup and rebuild. No wear on the splines which is nice and the input shaft had no play and smooth bearings so I may just put on new gaskets it and call it a day will a good coat of paint. I am going to try and get the engine out and on the stand tomorrow night so I can get the frame to the blaster on Friday. The PO completely jacked up the rear crossmember and the passenger side angle support. Looks like he wrapped a chain around the brace and bent it all to hell. My OCD is kicking in and I want it fixed but not really sure if I should. I would prefer to keep the rivets and not go to bolts but I dont think I can bend it back and dont think I can put it back together without fixing it. Here are a couple of pics of the bent up area..
Made a little more progress today. Earlier in the week I picked up a Millermatic 140 from a semi-retired body guy here in town so now I can really get down to business. Stripped the front and rear axles apart got them mostly cleaned up and ready for blasting. I have some questions though. Inside my knuckles are several deep dents a gouges. Not sure these are acceptable. I also found a lot of rust on parts of the ring gear on both axles and a lot on the center section of the rear axle. Anyone tell me if this is normal and OK or do I need new axles and ring gears. Also are the gouges in the knuckle housing acceptable?





You can still get replacement parts for the rear crossmember. I can't remember where though. As far as the frame goes I would have it acid dipped instead of blasting and then just have it galvanized. Its a bit more money, but if you going to keep it a while its the best I think. The acid will get everywhere, and so will the galvanizing. Sounds like its a bit of a drive for you to have this done, but its sounds like your going to keep this rig so who cares if it will be done forever for just a bit more work. Where as sandblasting can't really get underneath into the boxed frame, and neither can any paint or powdercoat. As far as putting on the knuckles and such, have you considered just using 60 axles period? It will add a bit of track width to the truck and stability, as well as give you good brakes. This too is a bit more work. But not a lot of money in actual parts. Also the 3:70 gears will be nice for the highway, and they are fine spline so they are stronger.
Galvanizing is what I really want to do but without having someone semi-local it just isnt going to happen. The intent now is to have it blasted by a local guy and then repaint it with Mastercoat to seal it all up really well. I thought about staying with 60 axles when I got the front to do the conversion. It adds about 4 inches to the width but I didnt want to worry about it digging into the sheetmetal on the rear tub when I take it offroad.
Picked up this little gem off craigslist for a good price.
ImageUploadedByIH8MUD Forum1405897851.616142.jpg

It's a 115V Miller 140 which is more than enough for body work and good for a couple of beef up passes around the spring hangers. Now just need the blaster to work his magic.
That welder is more than enough for anything you need to weld on the 40.
So my blaster threw a massive wrench in my timeline. I dropped the frame, axle housings and a bunch of little stuff off back in July and it still isn't complete. I sold my Tacoma and bought a Tundra which filled up the garage with a lot of excess parts that I had to sale so I didn't press to hard for him to hurry up. Now it's all gone and he should be done with the frame Monday morning. I am considering to use Mastercoat AG111 on the frame and axles. Anyone have a good or negative review? I know a lot of guys use POR but I don't want to worry about the fading. Any help would be appreciated.
You'd be surprised what a crescent wrench/pie wrench/sledge/torch/prybars/maybe few steel blocks and vise grips will do toward straightening that bent brace on the RR if you decide to try it. Should be able to straighten it enough that it's very hard to tell it was done. My first 40 25 years ago was a red '73 softtop-still have it-not red 6 cyl, or factory softtop anymore.
I have been looking for a 2F around the forums to swap in place of the F.5, havent really found anything semi-local that I know will work without a rebuild. Lots of candidates but not sure if its worth the risk. I figured a full rebuild will cost me roughly $4K after I get the replacement motor and all of the machine work and parts. Well I was cruising around SOR and found they have rebuilt long blocks for $3400. I can reuse all the parts off of my F.5 and have a rebuilt 2F. Has anyone used one of their motors or am I being dumb for even considering this?
$or has a reputation for being expensive, but they also have a reputation for quality. I don't think you would be taking much of a 'chance' on their rebuilt motors, it's just mostly what you are willing to spend. I'm sure you would have a reliable motor, and that could be worth the expense. If you have allowed for it in your budget, I'd say go for it.
You'd be surprised what a crescent wrench/pie wrench/sledge/torch/prybars/maybe few steel blocks and vise grips will do toward straightening that bent brace on the RR if you decide to try it. Should be able to straighten it enough that it's very hard to tell it was done. My first 40 25 years ago was a red '73 softtop-still have it-not red 6 cyl, or factory softtop anymore.
I was thinking the same. Put a saw cut right down the middle of the bend, straighten the sides one at a time (don't be alarmed if it needs a second cut) Then use that Miller to stitch it back up.


Mark A.

Finally decided on Rust Bullet for the frame and axles. Took a lot of debating between powder coating and just using RB, POR, Mastercoat, and just plain old paint. Finally decided that powder was too expensive and not as easy to fix plus I was worried about any chips that may allow rust to eat through the metal. I plan on getting at least the first if not second coat of primer done tomorrow and then top it off with black on Sunday if all goes well. Coming together a lot slower than I initially thought but at least its coming together.

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