budgeting help

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Feb 20, 2003
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Upstate NY
My wife and I are going to be selling our house soon and downgrading. As such, I will have some money to spend, and I'm trying to decide whether I should keep building my 4Runner, or buy an FJ40. I'm trying to keep the emotional factor out of it (a 40 is my dream trail rig) and just work off of flat numbers/costs. That's where I need some help.

I'm pretty much a mechanical idiot. If I have a guide, I can take things apart and put them back together, but that's about it. So I'd be paying someone to do most of the heavy lifting for me. Can you guys help me get a feel for what labor costs might be like?

I'm looking for your best guess for labor costs at a typical off-road shop for the following things:
- SOA conversion, with turned knuckles and hy-steer
- install lockers (most likely aussies or detroits)
- install a crawler box (the Marlin site says it's pretty much bolt in)
- power steering conversion
- fab up a full cage

Thanks for the help fellas.
 

Chase77

 
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Just thought I'd add a word or two as a fellow mechanical idiot and owner of a 40. If you aren't interested in digging in and taking on some of the big stuff a cruiser is going to be retarded ammounts of cash that you wont see any return on. Why not farm out the SOA and Cage and do the others? Also should add that if you rationalize doing things yourself and are truely mechanically retarded you will end up hating the cruiser more than you enjoy it.
 
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the lockers you could do yourself and not pay anyone, simple.
the soa is going to be a bit more, maybe 1500 more or less,
powers steering 500 +/-
no idea on the toybox
cage 500 +/-

these are prices based on friends of a friend who would do them. if you lived closer a few things i would help you do for a dinner or something.
 
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Yeah i wouldstrongly recomend what albee said. That inthe long run is far cheaper and you dont have to wait around to get it done. its already done for you and sence people never get their money ou t of their crusier ( unless its completely original) than you are saving alot.
 
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also be aware that if you are going to wheel it.it might break.then what do you do if you have no mechanical knowledge of the vehicle????just stay out in the woods till someone finds you??
its best to learn as you go with a TRAIL VEHICLE.40's are very simple rigs.
shawn
 

76FJ40

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A ToyBox will cost about $2K+ for parts and drive shafts. You'll have to cut your tranny hump, fab a new cross member, fab your own shift linkage (time for a twin stick), replace your e-brake cable, other than that it's a simple bolt in.
 

76FJ40

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By the way, I had a '96 4Runner and it is no match for a 40 and never will be.
 

rusty_tlc

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You might want to hook up with the local TLCA chapter. Most clubs have fix it get togethers or upgrade parties. Even if you try stuff solo you have a support group you can call on. Our club has something like a hundred years of collective knowledge about Landcruisers.
 

RHINO

 
 
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76FJ40 said:
A ToyBox will cost about $2K+ for parts and drive shafts. You'll have to cut your tranny hump, fab a new cross member, fab your own shift linkage (time for a twin stick), replace your e-brake cable, other than that it's a simple bolt in.

well not quite, you forgot about replacing the tranny main shaft with the 10 spline unit marlin supplies.

not to imply anything here, but you and the wife are downgrading the house for some reason, i totally dig that as my wife and i are setting ourselves up to de-volve bigtime in a few more years. but, maybe you should look into investing in your future rather than a cruiser?? you can build the cruiser piece by piece out of pocket, but your future will benefit from a larger up front investment.
 

DSRTRDR

I can mangle anything ...
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Gosh, RHINO, how reasonable, but I totally second the "invest in your future" advice.

I also want to add avoice of moderation on the modifications: you can have a VERY capable wheeler if you leave out the SOA and crawler box. I enjoyed wheeling difficult-rated trails in Moab on 33"s, 4" lift with lockers front and rear. Cage is a safety consideration, though.
 
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Take the money you would pay others and spend it on a small shop and some tools. Then figure the rest out as you go. :beer:
 
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I'm not sure if the crawler box is worth it, unless you are gonna wheel this 40 every weekend and do some hard core wheelin. Like DSR says you can do a lot with front and rear lockers and a 4 inch lift and 33's or 35's. A fellow club member has a rig set up like I said, with a few other nice things, no crawler box and we took that to Tellico and ran it all over the place and didn't have any problems with it. Good Luck
 

Romer

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A 40 is an easy rig to work on. It is simple and basic and TOUGH. Buy and FSM and work on the 40 piece by piece. The newer cars have the same basic functions with lots of computers and electronics melded in that no one can work on. You would keep the 4runner and could work on it later I am assuming by your post.
 

Josie'sLandCruiser

Stop calling it a "FJ."
 
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Hi All:

I would highly suggest you consider the following:

1) Buy a FJ40 as a trail rig, and keep your 4Runner as a daily driver, or replace it with another vehicle as a daily driver/parts runner.

2) Buy as stock a FJ40 as you can; one never knows if the guy who did the mods did a quality or "hack" job; you can learn all about FJ40s gradually, and slowly build it as you gain experience.

3) "Rhino" has good advice! Your family's future is important! Maybe you can work a shop or garage space into this "downgrade." ;)

Driving skill is where it is at when off-roading; an excellent 'wheeler in a stock FJ40 can out 'wheel a novice in a built rig!

Good luck!

Alan
Seattle
 

65swb45

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DSRTRDR said:
I also want to add avoice of moderation on the modifications: you can have a VERY capable wheeler if you leave out the SOA and crawler box. I enjoyed wheeling difficult-rated trails in Moab on 33"s, 4" lift with lockers front and rear. Cage is a safety consideration, though.
Strong second on that! Nothing like wheeling 'inside the box' to tell the difference between a good driver and a good rig. ;)

Also, best to learn the handling issues of a cruiser BEFORE taking on the stability issues of an SOA. Toybox is going to be basically a total loss in resale value if you decide to resell the rig IMO.

Always nice to see someone trying to plan ahead. :)
 
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Thanks for the info everyone. To address some things...

We are downsizing on the house because we no longer need 6500 square feet and don't want to pay $15k/year in property taxes... not because we can't afford it. Obviously family is the first priority.

The crawler is non-negotiable for me as I don't really enjoy driving a standard on the trail. IMO, standard transmissions belong in deisel tow rigs and sports cars *flame suit on*

The cage is absolute necessary, for safety reasons, especially since I'm talking about lockers and 35s (leads to bigger rocks/harder trails).

The SOA is not necessary, for the cost, I would probably do a 4" skyjacker softride lift with 35s or so, but the purpose of this thread was to get some idea for labor would cost on this stuff. I'm trying to get all my cards in front of me before I go forward with anything.

If I were to get a 40, I would sell the 4Runner and buy something else as a daily driver.

I don't need to do all this stuff right off the bat, but if I'm going to sell my 4Runner, I want the 40 that replaces it to be equal or slightly better than it on the trail... that means at the absolute minimum, a crawler box (see my previous comment on this) and 33s.

Ideally, I'd buy a rig with some lift and 33s or 35s, so I have something to wheel while I work on the rest.

The nice thing about going the cruiser route is that I would sell the 4Runner and buy something else as a daily driver. Right now, the runner is my only vehicle, so I need to have it up and running all the time. If I tore something apart on the cruiser and couldn't get it back together (or brake something, or whatever), the cruiser can sit for a month while I try to get it straightened away.
 
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