Amateur Franken40 Build (4 Viewers)

Joined
Mar 4, 2020
Messages
29
Location
Rockford, MN
Hi, my name is Dan and I’m a toyotaholic. Long time lurker, and finally far enough along on my build that I felt it was worth starting a build thread.

A little about me, my first car I bought was a ‘99 4Runner that I modified lightly, and began wheeling a few years ago. After getting into some tougher trails, I decided I would eventually like to build a more dedicated trail rig that I wouldn't feel so bad about beating up a bit. A 40 was always a dream, but financially out of reach, and I would feel bad about beating up a perfectly good cruiser.

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I am a 100% self taught, youtube certified mechanic and welder. This is the first project of this magnitude I have attempted, and I have learned a lot along the way. I can definitely see how people can lose interest in doing a build like this, but working on these cruisers is part of the fun for me. Much of what I know about cruisers has come from countless hours pouring over numerous build threads of other members with far more experience and skills than I have. I like to learn new and useful skills, and am told I am a glutton for punishment. So what does a 23-year old like me do once buying their first house with a big, empty driveway? Get a project car, of course…or a few…

It all started about 2 weeks after moving into my first house in February 2020, and I realized that a parts 40 I had been watching was still for sale, and nearby. This ending up being one of @buckroseau's parts rigs, a ‘79. After checking it out, he agreed to dump it in my driveway since I was just down the road.

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I tinkered with it for a few months, started taking it apart and figuring things out on it. I soon after picked up another parts rig, a ‘69, mostly for a number of parts on it I knew I would need.

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The frame ended up being bent and body trash due to its rough life, and after a lot of thinking I decided to use part of this frame to stretch the ‘79 frame, and fab up a cab to build somewhat of an FJ45 copy with an extended cab. This build will be getting its own thread, as it has taken a back seat to the current build. The 45 was going to be a more hardcore wheeling rig with an exo cage, but I also wanted to build a moderately modified 40 for cruising and some milder wheeling and exploring.
 
Joined
Mar 4, 2020
Messages
29
Location
Rockford, MN
Fast forward to December 2020. After checking out a ‘79 parts rig Poser was selling, I stupidly asked if he had anything else he was willing to part with. And he showed me this ‘76.
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Made a deal for both, and eventually got them both in the driveway and spent the majority of summer 2021 tearing them down. The frame on the ‘76 was complete toast, as were the floor pans. Got it running before tearing it apart.

The 79 was kind of the opposite, with the body being almost complete trash and the frame being about 85% there. Had to patch a section on one side, and decided to weld the bottom seam as the inner channel was starting to separate. Also had to remove a shackle reversal that wasn't welded on all that great… I decided I wanted shackle forward for reasons that matter to me.
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The general planned build is as follows:
Body:
‘79 frame
‘76 tub, topper fiberglass, doors, hood
‘79 topper sides with popout vent
‘69 bib, fenders
Ambulance doors and tailgate when running without top
Full roll cage tied into frame
Bud Built 3/16 quarter panels
Custom fabbed tub and floor pans

Engine and tcase:
Original (as far as I know) ‘76 2f
Desmogged carb and dizzy from cityracer
4 speed
Eventually an orion tcase, or split case.
AA Twin sticks

Axles and suspension:
Trussed 40 axle housings (overkill, but I was originally planning on running them on the 45 with 37s)
80 series 4.10 R&Ps (fine spline)
Aussie lockers
FJ60 birfs, knuckles and steering
FJ60 power steering
FJ60 OME 2” lift springs (standard 60 weight)
Ruff stuff shackles (4 and 5 inch, may change)
Will start out with the 285/70r17 tires that are currently on my FJ cruiser with steelies, may eventually go bigger. Don't plan on going over 35s for this one.
 
Joined
Mar 4, 2020
Messages
29
Location
Rockford, MN
Patched up the '79 frame, cleaned it up, metal prepped and brushed on a coating of POR-15
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In the process of hammering out frame rivets, I somehow managed to hurt myself. Was holding a rock hammer with the pick on the rivet in one hand, and a sledge in the other and hitting the rock hammer, and it twisted and I felt a pinch. Weird. I kept hammering. Few strikes in, blood starts pouring out through my glove. I had a small gash in the web of my thumb. Oh well, patched it up and kept going. A few months go by and it has healed over, but a bump remains. I tried everything and it wouldn't go away. Then I bought some strong magnets for something, and in the process of opening the package, they stuck right to the bump! Long story short, a chunk of metal about the size of a lightly flattened pea must have gotten into my glove, and got shoved up under my skin… and was there for about 3 months. Got er dug out and healed up fine. Anyways, moving on…
 
Joined
Mar 4, 2020
Messages
29
Location
Rockford, MN
I ended up deciding on using OME FJ60 2” lift leaf springs. The rear leaf center pin is about 2.4” back from the stock 40 pin, and the front was about 1.5” forward.

Pick of stock 40 spring next to OME 60 front spring lined up as best as i could.
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This would give me a slightly longer wheelbase, and give wheel well clearance for the larger rear tires at the bottom of the B pillar, but I wanted to maintain the front wheel location. So I slid the front spring hangers back to accommodate for the center pin shift, which will also allow me to use the stock front driveshaft and also cut off about 1-2” from the front frame horns.

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Joined
Mar 4, 2020
Messages
29
Location
Rockford, MN
Rear bumper was rotted, so stole the one off the stretched frame which won't need it. Used grade 8 bolts in place of the frame rivets. Will eventually need to make new cross braces.
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I am also running some longer shackles from ruffstuff (4” front, 5” rear), partially to correct caster from the rear hanger being shifted down about 3/8" when it got slid back. I’ll have to see where the caster ends up with the different springs. Tentatively tacked shackle hangers on, will likely have to move them once full weight is applied. Using ⅝ pins from CCOT with OMESB30 bushings which will work with my 15mm shackle hangers. The pins are fairly snug, but should be fine. bit of a pain to get in.

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Joined
Mar 4, 2020
Messages
29
Location
Rockford, MN
I plan on wheeling this thing and was concerned about how low the U-bolt plates sat. Looked at the available flip kits, but ended up ordering two sets of rear high clearence ubolt plates form superior engineering in Australia. They are made for FJ60 rears. Tricky part will be getting them to work with the front passenger side bolt as they shift the bolts outward and may push it into the diff. I will probably reinforce these more before final assembly.
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Joined
Mar 4, 2020
Messages
29
Location
Rockford, MN
Took the axle housings from the ‘69, stripped them down, and welded trusses on from Low Range Offroad. Ended up having to do some modifications to the front to work with the outboarded ubolts. I ended up bending the inner passenger side ubolt and welding on a piece of pipe, formed to fit the housing and at an angle to point the uboilt at the plate hole. The nut should be vertical once tightened down. Drivers side ended up shortening the truss a little and adding in another piece of pipe to make a rounded radius for the ubolt. Also welded on some small tubing to extend the breather holes to the top of the trusses. Front housing also got extra armor, meant for an 8” but massaged for the 9.5” in the press.
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Rebuilt both 3rds with used ring and pinions out of 80 rears courtesy of Poser, so 4.10 fine splined pinion now. Also installed Aussie lockers front and rear.
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Joined
Mar 4, 2020
Messages
29
Location
Rockford, MN
Ended up having bought a rear bearing kit for a later model, older axles have a pressed on sleeve and laters have it machined onto the shaft. Fortunately I had an extra rear from a later model I could steal the shafts from. Newer year shaft on the left, older year with press on tone ring on the right.
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Joined
Mar 4, 2020
Messages
29
Location
Rockford, MN
Had pulled the '76 body off earlier. To make room in the driveway I dropped in on the frame. I bolted the ‘76 front body mounts up to the ‘79 frame, they use the same mounting hole locations. The mounts themselves won't end up getting used, I have something else in mind.
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Joined
Mar 4, 2020
Messages
29
Location
Rockford, MN
Rebuilding front with FJ60 knuckles and birfs. Cleaned out and re-greased the birfs, one had some marks hopefully it'll hold up but we’ll see. Used the 60 short inner shaft, put the 60 birf onto the ‘69 40 long shaft. I will eventually pull the knuckle grease plugs out to drill and tap for a grease zerk to make greasing easy.
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Joined
Mar 4, 2020
Messages
29
Location
Rockford, MN
Knuckles on, new rotors and wheel studs pressed on hub and installed. Do not have lockouts yet, will be buying new ones later. Rear axle will be getting a disk swap.
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Joined
Mar 4, 2020
Messages
29
Location
Rockford, MN
While the engine was out, threw it on a stand and installed a new oil pump (updated newer version) as well as new oil pan, gasket and rear main seal. Old oil pan had a pinhole. Fortunately I had another seized 2F that didn't need its oil pan anymore. Cleaned it off and painted. May have to redo the side cover seal, looks like someone has been in there.
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Motor mounted with new mounts.
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Joined
Mar 4, 2020
Messages
29
Location
Rockford, MN
At this point, we were nearing end of fall and I was running out of time to make any meaningful progress, and my one car garage isn't big enough to do bodywork in (nor am I all that motivated to do much when its cold) so it got put into hibernation for winter behind the shed.

I spent the rest of fall planning out the bodywork. After much research and designing, I ordered a set of Bud Built 3/16 quarter panels. I forget the exact price difference, but I believe with shipping they were about $40 less than Real Steel quarters. Being that this rig will be wheeled, the thick quarters were attractive to me. Would also allow me to do some additional body fab I otherwise wouldn't be able to do. Bud was nice enough to edit the CAD file for me and shift the back half of the wheel well opening back 4.8”, so my rear wheels should be centered (60 springs moved rear 2.4”) and have additional clearance for bigger tires. I also ordered skids for my FJ Cruiser at the same time, both high quality items.
 
Joined
Mar 4, 2020
Messages
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Location
Rockford, MN
Due to the late spring this year, and an overlanding trip to Utah in early May, the 40 didn't end up getting dragged out till end of may.

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This 40 will be getting these tires, 285/70r17 on FJ steelies.
 
Joined
Mar 4, 2020
Messages
29
Location
Rockford, MN
I started by cutting out the floor pans, which took far less cutting than I want to admit…
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I then bolted up a set of fenders and got what was left of the front body mounts lined up to get the body squared up.

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Clamped on the quarters and marked the upper cut line.

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Joined
Mar 4, 2020
Messages
29
Location
Rockford, MN
I then started by cutting from the inside, below the topper rail flange that is spot welded to the quarters and tore off the quarters.
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I then cut along the top line I marked for the new quarter earlier, which is right at the edge of the top of the quarter and drilled out all of the spot welds and peeled off the piece.
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Last edited:
Joined
Mar 4, 2020
Messages
29
Location
Rockford, MN
I suspected some rot on the drivers side topper rail, and needed the top off anyways to clamp on the new quarters, so the top had to come off.
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As suspected, the driver's side is pretty bad. Passenger side is ok, rear radius will need some patching. Fortunately, I am a parts hoarder and have 2 decent top rails from the scrapped 79 tub I should be able to use to patch this.

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Joined
Mar 4, 2020
Messages
29
Location
Rockford, MN
The new quarters will be clamped onto the inner flange that the old one was spot welded to, and welded across the top and down the B pillar. I will then plug weld in the old spot weld holes. The new quarters will sit a little proud compared to the old ones where it meets the B pillar. I may bend in the flange to get it to sit flush, or not. I think it will look fine either way.

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