Aloha from Las Vegas! 77 FJ40 Project

1MAC

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The bug has bitten me again! I just bought a 77 FJ40 that was someone else’s project and never finished.

My first 40 was an early 65, corrugated hardtop model with all the vintage features. Drum brakes, 3 on the tree, vacuum shift and a PTO winch. I had a great time and learned a lot in the process. It took me over eight years from start to finish. Unfortunately, at the end of the project I had a rig that was too nice to take out and not that much fun to drive. Sold it on BaT to a Lexus dealer in Ft. Lauderdale who says it’s going in his museum.
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This build will be quite different from that one. Because the early 40s are so rare to find unmolested, I felt obligated to preserve/restore the originality wherever possible. This one will be done just for me to enjoy. I plan to take it to the local cars & coffee events, donut runs, tote the dogs around and the occasional trail run/light wheeling.
 

1MAC

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I started stalking FB marketplace, Craigslist and the MUD classifieds. Found a lot of rusty junk and a few nice examples, but I wanted a project. Finally found one like I was looking for- it’s a 77 so it has power disc brakes, ambulance doors, 4-speed and a 350. One catch- it’s 1400 miles away in Las Vegas.
As luck would have it, my wife and I had vacation plans coming up. We were flying to Fresno and renting a car for a 10-day trip including Yosemite National Park, Death Valley National Park and then a few days to relax… in Vegas, baby!
I linked up with the seller with help from @oakweb. We texted, talked, he sent pictures, and then we had a FaceTime session where he gave me a tour of the garage where the project was stored. We agreed on a price and he said he would hold it for me until I could come and see it in person.
The rig was purchased in St. George, Utah from a guy who ran a pool service. It was driven from there to Vegas , disassembled and the tub was media blasted. The POs friend is a metal sculptor and took on the job of replacing all the rusted panels in the tub. He does nice work!

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1MAC

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At the end of our vacation (this Monday 10/4) I dropped my wife off at the airport, returned the rental car, and took an Uber to the Uhaul dealer. Picked up a 15’ moving truck and one of their awesome car haulers. In a couple of hours, we had the tub and chassis strapped down to the trailer and all the rest of the parts nestled inside the truck.
I pulled out of town just before noon Vegas time and hit the highway. Somewhere around the Grand Canyon I ran through a few sprinkles, so I pulled off the highway and quickly covered the bare steel in rattlecan primer. I later ran through two more light rains and was glad I had brought the primer with me.

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1MAC

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I drove straight through the night, stopping only for fuel and bathroom breaks. Saw an incredible green meteorite that looked like it came down right in front of me. Took a 5-10 minute power nap around Tucumcari, New Mexico. Made it to Kansas around 5am and then realized I still had almost seven hours to go!

At last, I pulled in to the auto stripper just before 2 Central time. Right at 24 hours of driving!
I left the tub, hood, aprons and fenders at the stripper and headed home to unload the rest.
At this point, I was pretty tired, luckily, my BFF @milemarker60 insisted on coming over to help me unload and return the Uhaul. Probably saved my life, as Mrs. 1MAC does not like to move dirty, rusty car parts.

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1MAC

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Not much happened on Wednesday- had to go to work even though I’m on vacation. Thursday, my friend @kc_chevota came over. We pulled the now tubless rig out on the driveway and started the engine to check it out. Fired right up with a little starting fluid and idled nicely. No scary noises!
Then we started stripping the steering box, exhaust, and brake lines off the frame. Two sawzall blades and a cutoff wheel later, we had the massive bumper lopped off. Rob did most of the cutting while I ran to @2fpower ’s house to borrow an engine stand.
By the end of the day, we had a stripped chassis loaded up on the trailer. The old 350 on the engine stand, and Rob had stripped all the hardware off the front doors, ambulance doors and hardtop sides.

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1MAC

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Today, I dropped off the frame/chassis at the sandblaster, and took the doors and hardtop sides to the auto stripper. I was pleasantly surprised to see they had already blasted the first batch of panels. They looked fantastic! I almost want to just shoot clear on the hood and run it as unpainted steel. Should probably stick with the original plan and let them epoxy prime everything before I pick it up.

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1MAC

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The old Chevy 350 left today. Some very nice gentleman bought it to fix his brother-in-law’s truck. I probably let it go too cheap, based on the number of guys who wanted to buy it. Glad it’s going to help somebody out.

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1MAC

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A10Driver

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I’ve got a clean slate right now. Thinking LS 5.3.
You won't be disappointed with that engine, I really like the way mine drives. I also went with a fj60 tranny and transfer and it is crazy quiet.
 

1MAC

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Still waiting for the frame and axles to get back from the blaster. Tub and body panels are at the auto stripper.
Lots of parts piling up for the upcoming next steps- steering and knuckle parts from @cruiseroutfit , caliper brackets for rear disc conversion from JT outfitters, new fuse box, proportioning valve and other little parts from @Racer65 , turn signals from CCOT, and basically a new braking system from O’Reilly. My last 40 was all drums, this one will have an 80 series master, 4Runner calipers in the front and GM disc brakes in the rear with technical expertise from @tornadoalleycruiser .
Today I re-plumbed my blast cabinet with a foot pedal and metering valve and then went to town blasting all the door hinges, bib hinge and windshield hinges. Also did the seat brackets and a few other little bits so I can shoot epoxy primer on them tomorrow.

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1MAC

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Picked up the chassis from the blaster today. Turned out great, no surprise rust found. I took advantage of the perfect weather and sprayed 3 coats of Southern Polyurethanes epoxy primer on the frame, axles, radiator shell and all 11 hinges.
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1MAC

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Lots more small parts epoxied yesterday. Grill, seat brackets, etc.
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Started pulling apart the rear drum brakes and front hub assemblies in preparation for complete knuckle rebuild, rear disc conversion and steering work.
Dropped off the gas tank at a radiator shop and got some bad news- leaks in the bottom of the tank. I plan to install an in-pump tank for the EFI that’s coming. What’s my best option for a new tank? I see CCOT sells a replica tank for 69-72s which looks like it should work. It’s the same shape and size, but doesn’t have all the evap lines. I assume the new pump will have its own supply and return lines.
 

airon23

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Lots more small parts epoxied yesterday. Grill, seat brackets, etc.
Started pulling apart the rear drum brakes and front hub assemblies in preparation for complete knuckle rebuild, rear disc conversion and steering work.
Dropped off the gas tank at a radiator shop and got some bad news- leaks in the bottom of the tank. I plan to install an in-pump tank for the EFI that’s coming. What’s my best option for a new tank? I see CCOT sells a replica tank for 69-72s which looks like it should work. It’s the same shape and size, but doesn’t have all the evap lines. I assume the new pump will have its own supply and return lines.
I used the CCOT replica gas tank for my 76 and I can say they are very good quality and could not really tell the difference between it and OEM, and it comes with a new sender if that matters for you. So it saves you a few $ but the overall quality was very good imo.
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pjohnson

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Lots of good info in @SipLife 's build thread.
 

1MAC

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I used the CCOT replica gas tank for my 76 and I can say they are very good quality and could not really tell the difference between it and OEM, and it comes with a new sender if that matters for you. So it saves you a few $ but the overall quality was very good imo.
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CCOT is out of their replica tanks right now, but I think I’ve located a new OEM. Fingers crossed.
 

1MAC

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I had a couple hours before dinner tonight, so I stripped the knuckles in prep for a rebuild. Lots of fresh-looking grease in them. Neither axle seal was leaking- no birf soup on the menu!
The knuckle bearings were showing light to moderate wear on the races and the wheel bearings only light wear. The knuckle balls look great! No rust or pits. All the hardware is soaking in odorless mineral spirits until I can start cleaning it all up Saturday.

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