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Apr 29, 2003
I am driving 2 hrs on Saturday to look at a 1970 FJ40. Talked to the owner and found out that it has no top or doors, minor draw back, since I am an open air type of guy and here in Texas I can drive it that way 90% of the time.

He tells me the undercarriage is solid and the engine is solid also. It runs and drives, and has only been used on his ranch the last few years. It starts every time, the body is a little rough, and needs a new tailgate. The current one has a whole cut in it for a cattle feeder. He is asking $1850, and I am planning on offering $1500 if I find what he tells me on Saturday is all true.

But I am still new and this and would like some hints and tips to look for while I am crawling around this thing Saturday. The body is all original so I don't have to worry about any bondo, but I will take a magnet just in case. I have a little extra $ to fix a few things now but any major work would have to wait a while. Please help as any advise will be taken. Thanks!!
If the basics are good like the running gear and stout frame and a okay body and decent interior and its a driver hell and he takes 1500 for it you would be doing good evan if you put another 1000 in it you would have a fully usable cruiser for 2500 Its hard to beat that and no what you got.Thats my theory
I agree with Wayne. Worth it.
That was kinda my philosophy heading into it. Even if I put another grand in it I am still ahead of paying 4-5 grand for one that is questionable. Engjake- By seals you mean check the two differentials for visible leaks right? Are there any other chronic trouble spots that would be easy to check? I appreciate the help guys! One more thing, I found of Texas...they have a simple buying guide they use, but since they focus on the later models, it being a 70, that doesn't help me much. Are there any other resources on the web like a simple buying guide?

The good news I got from CoolCruisers is that year is included in some with the best non corrosive metal.

Thanks for the help!
David (0==0)
Just check and make sure 4wd works, a driving cruiser for 1500 is not bad. My '74 barely drove when I bought it (I'm not including stopping with driving!) :ugh: and I paid 6250. But for where I live (In GA where there aren't that many cruisers) its not bad considering it was all un-modified, and almost everything on the cruiser was original so I didn't have to deal with PO hack jobs and such. But its still a 33 year old car and stuff will wear out. The more you drive it the better it will run, but stuff will start wearing out. Within months mine needed/needs full brake job, clutch master, rear diff, oil pump, alt. But everything I was replacing were original parts, just worn out.
I would say biggest thing to watch out for is excessive tranny/transfer whine and transmission popping out of gear, unles you are planning on a tranny swap at some point. If you can get a hold of one, giving it a compression test before you buy it may also be a good idea, if the owner allows.
I would say for 1500 you can't go wrong, the doors and hardtop would bother me cause it can get cold in GA, but you can always get a good softop with doors or a hardtop and doors off a junker.
Good luck! :D
By seals I think he meant ALL the drivetrain seals--rear main, axle seals, tranny/xfer case, etc. Messy, labor intensive jobs.

Also, try 4wd low and high just to make sure it all works.

Make sure the engine doesn't smoke, look for evidence of blown head gasket (oil in coolant, coolant in oil, bubbling in radiator when running, etc.).

Look around the frame for rust, pound it with a hammer to see if it is solid.

If that all checks out and you can get it for $1500, definitely go for it. "Find a few things wrong with it" just to get him down from $1850, but even so, if it all checks out, even $1850 ain't bad.
Jman was right on with what I meant:
"ALL the drivetrain seals--rear main, axle seals, tranny/xfer case, etc. Messy, labor intensive jobs"
I had to have the tranny pulled to replace all the seals. The whole underside of my cruiser was wet. They replaced several other seals while they were at it and replaced the clutch.

I mentioned checking the seals just so you know what you're getting into it cost wise. I knew I'd have stuff to fix up on mine when I got it - that's a given when you get 20-30 year old car. Now that I've had the clutch fixed and the seals replaced its excellent. Not a drop of fluid on my new garage floor and it's run excellent ever since I drove it 8 hours home from CO. I think these guys are right. If it runs good and is over-all in decent shape the 15-$2500 is a pretty good deal.

Well well well...I appreciate all your guys help on knowing what to look for but to make a long story short, I didn't buy it. Turns out the owner had told me several lies...really got the conversation off to a great start, after that 2 hour drive. He told me it has been may have been, just not for the last 4 years. It is sitting in an overgrown field. He tells me not much body damage, I find the only piece not needing major repair of replacement was the right front fender. Even little things he had done to improve the "weight factor" (his words). He removed the front turn signals, wiper arms, and blades, rear bumper, and hence rear tail lights, spare tire, glove box door, and the real kicker, seat belts!!! I mean what a moron!! I asked what he had done with all that stuff...."ahh just trashed it"

Well I was more pissed about wasting my morning driving 4 hours total to find I had been lied to. Oh and the "no leaks" well it wasn't leaking any oil, but a radiator hose burst while I was hearing it run, and the front hubs, and wheels were no longer leaking, cause there was nothing left to leak out! Same with both differentials. So I kept my $1500...and still looking....Let me know if anyone hears or knows of any for sale in the lower midwest, TX, OK, KS....thanks!!

Vent closed....

Guy sounds like some kinda sociopath. Whatta jerk!
should be plenty to choose from in the area
check as well as your local ads. might take you longer to find one for 1500, look in the want ads here, and others on here have found decent cruisers for less than 2,000, but Id be sceptical of anything under 3,000 not needing some sort of major repairs, just cause the parts for these things are expensive. doesnt sound like the one you looked at was worth much, but have seen parts vehicles asking for around that. Good luck

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