Builds: My First FJ40! (1 Viewer)

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Feb 24, 2019
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Well, it finally happened, I found an FJ40 in decent overall condition that I could actually afford! It's a 1970 in Capri Blue, and she needs a decent amount of work. It hasn't even been registered since April of 1995, so that gives you a decent idea of what we're working with here. The hard top has some serious rust issues, which are (for the time being) outside of my ability to fix. What I'm thinking I'll do for now is get a soft top, apply rust treatment and inhibitor to the hard top (so it doesn't get worse), and then repair it as I get my metal work skills improved appropriately. The rest of the Land Cruiser has some surface rust, with a few holes, but over all it's in good shape. The frame has some rust as well, but it's potentially repairable. My first order of business, however, will be to get the stock drivetrain running and driving. Honestly, if I could get it all working, stock, it'd be a cool set up, at least for a while. It's a 3 on the tree with the dash mounted transfer case controls, neither of which are very common in vehicles nowadays. I also have a bit of a soft spot for 3 on the tree. Any tips or tricks on what I should do to try starting it in as kind a manner (to the engine) as possible? Basically what preparation should I do so I don't damage the engine before I try starting it for real?
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airon23

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Reno NV
Nice looking 40. I think to get it baselined I would start by draining all the fluids, making sure the crank will spin and it is not seized or anything, maybe, probably all new fuel lines and fuel and give it a crank to see if it even turns over. It looks in pretty decent shape other than the rust you've pointed out, but get it cleaned up and remove the top like you have planned and it'll freshen right up. From there move to the brakes which will likely need to be all new and bled and then you can know you can at least start and stop.

Looking forward to watching the progress on this. Good luck.
 
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Maryland
Fluids are 100% getting changed first thing. I can only imagine how long they've been sitting. I hadn't thought of the fuel lines, though.
 
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Dec 5, 2016
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LOS ANGELES, CA
Set the valve timing as soon as you can. I was so excited to get my first one running I got lazy and put that off. I had a backfire and it blew a rod and a valve and tore up the whole engine.

I had to replace my clutch master cylinder right away. And get real familiar with all the dual break cylinders and adjusting those. Drain and replace all your clutch and brake fluids too. Be prepared to clean and hone all your brake cylinders. It’s a tedious job but good brakes are a must for a heavy old truck.

Congrats and have fun with your new partner.
 
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Dec 5, 2016
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LOS ANGELES, CA
I forgot to tell you. I replaced all 8 of my brake bleeders with one way valves so I could bleed the breaks by myself. It takes a long time to bleed them all and it can be frustrating for any helpers.
 
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Feb 24, 2019
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Maryland
Awesome, I appreciate all of that. I'm trying to do this right, so having a good idea of where to start is hugely helpful.
 
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Southern Colorado
It hasn't even been registered since April of 1995, so that gives you a decent idea of what we're working with here.

That means it hasn't had road salt sprayed on it since then, either! On the east coast, that's a blessing.

Nice looking truck and a great color.

I would pull the valve cover and look at the valve train for rust or other oddness and maybe dump some oil over all the parts. Then, I would put a tablespoon of ATF (Dexron III, whatever) in each cylinder and let it sit overnight, (spark plugs removed) and then turn over the engine BY HAND using the crank hole (and any suitable tool). You could also put the truck in 3rd gear on a flat surface and push the truck to roll over the engine. Letting the ATF trickle down overnight will lube the cylinder walls and perhaps free up stuck piston rings. After all that, you can check valve clearances, which will also tell you of any stuck valves (or should). Pull the dist. cap and check the points for clearance, etc. Only after this, would I attempt to start it. If the oil that's in it looks nasty, change it first, otherwise warm it up a bit, and then change the oil. It holds 8 quarts, so be aware of that.
 
Joined
Feb 24, 2019
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Maryland
I put a 2f in my 71 with an HEI distributor and Holley Sniper EFI kit, I would definitely recommend that as a viable motor swap.
What did it take to do the swap? Will I need to swap the transmission and transfer case, too, or will the 2F bolt on to the 3 speed?
 
Joined
Feb 24, 2019
Messages
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Maryland
It hasn't even been registered since April of 1995, so that gives you a decent idea of what we're working with here.

That means it hasn't had road salt sprayed on it since then, either! On the east coast, that's a blessing.

Nice looking truck and a great color.

I would pull the valve cover and look at the valve train for rust or other oddness and maybe dump some oil over all the parts. Then, I would put a tablespoon of ATF (Dexron III, whatever) in each cylinder and let it sit overnight, (spark plugs removed) and then turn over the engine BY HAND using the crank hole (and any suitable tool). You could also put the truck in 3rd gear on a flat surface and push the truck to roll over the engine. Letting the ATF trickle down overnight will lube the cylinder walls and perhaps free up stuck piston rings. After all that, you can check valve clearances, which will also tell you of any stuck valves (or should). Pull the dist. cap and check the points for clearance, etc. Only after this, would I attempt to start it. If the oil that's in it looks nasty, change it first, otherwise warm it up a bit, and then change the oil. It holds 8 quarts, so be aware of that.
Unfortunately, either my skinny arms weren't enough even with a breaker bar, or the engine is seized solid. I'm looking into engine swap options now. While it's a mild bummer, I was 100% budgeting for that to be a possibility, so now I just need to figure out what is the best swap for a mostly incompetent DIY mechanic.
 
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Seattle
Just a thought, but if it's been sitting for a while, are you sure the trans was in neutral? I assume you would notice the truck lurching a bit it it was still in gear while trying to spin the engine over, but maybe not if the e-brake is still fully functional.
 
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LOS ANGELES, CA
I wouldn’t give up yet. You probably needed to replace that head gasket anyway. Pull off the head and you should be able to spray some PB Blaster on all the cylinders. You can tap on some of them gently to loosen them up. If it doesn’t break loose you can still do a rebuild cheaper than a new engine. These engines are pretty durable. Don’t be afraid to manhandle it. On that front nut on the harmonic balancer you may have to locate a large socket. I had to use a breaker bar and a 4 foot pipe over it to get the leverage to turn it.
 
Joined
Feb 24, 2019
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Maryland
Just a thought, but if it's been sitting for a while, are you sure the trans was in neutral? I assume you would notice the truck lurching a bit it it was still in gear while trying to spin the engine over, but maybe not if the e-brake is still fully functional.
It was in neutral, I could push the rig around freely. It shifts into 1st and reverse easily enough, too, and I couldn't move the rig while it was in those gears. I didn't think to see if the e-brake works or not until you mentioned it, but it does, amazingly.
 
Joined
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I wouldn’t give up yet. You probably needed to replace that head gasket anyway. Pull off the head and you should be able to spray some PB Blaster on all the cylinders. You can tap on some of them gently to loosen them up. If it doesn’t break loose you can still do a rebuild cheaper than a new engine. These engines are pretty durable. Don’t be afraid to manhandle it. On that front nut on the harmonic balancer you may have to locate a large socket. I had to use a breaker bar and a 4 foot pipe over it to get the leverage to turn it.
I haven't given up yet. I have to do some brake work on my FJ60, but once that's done I'll be putting the FJ40 in the carport, and work on it will start in earnest
 
Joined
May 23, 2018
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Fairbanks, Alaska
What did it take to do the swap? Will I need to swap the transmission and transfer case, too, or will the 2F bolt on to the 3 speed?
I am not sure if it will mate to the 3 speed, you may need some sort of an adapter, we put a 4 speed trans into my 71. If I remember right the motor should drop in for the most part, you may need to transfer the motor mounts from the 1f to the 2f. Also, depending on what you get a 2f out of you will have throttle cable issues. The 2f carb that came on the motor was out of a 75 55 which has mechanical linkage from the accelerator petal to the carb. The older 40's don't have the proper holes or mounting points on the fire wall for that to all line up so you may have to source a new carb if the 1f carb doesn't fit. I am sure there is someone on here with more knowledge in this field.
 
Joined
Feb 24, 2019
Messages
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Maryland
I am not sure if it will mate to the 3 speed, you may need some sort of an adapter, we put a 4 speed trans into my 71. If I remember right the motor should drop in for the most part, you may need to transfer the motor mounts from the 1f to the 2f. Also, depending on what you get a 2f out of you will have throttle cable issues. The 2f carb that came on the motor was out of a 75 55 which has mechanical linkage from the accelerator petal to the carb. The older 40's don't have the proper holes or mounting points on the fire wall for that to all line up so you may have to source a new carb if the 1f carb doesn't fit. I am sure there is someone on here with more knowledge in this field.
So according to several threads I've found, the 2F will bolt up to the 3 speed. Also, I've been told that things like the intake and exhaust manifolds will bolt up, too. For the carburetor thing, I'm wanting to do a Holley EFI swap for it anyway. The big thing now is just finding a 2F to put into it.
 
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May 23, 2018
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Fairbanks, Alaska
So according to several threads I've found, the 2F will bolt up to the 3 speed. Also, I've been told that things like the intake and exhaust manifolds will bolt up, too. For the carburetor thing, I'm wanting to do a Holley EFI swap for it anyway. The big thing now is just finding a 2F to put into it.
Heck yea man! I just put a holley sniper on my 2f in my 71 40, living in Alaska and being able to lean into the truck at 0 degrees and just touch the key to start it is amazing! I have a Specter off road header on my motor, but I wouldn't be surprised if everything is basically a plug and play. Good luck and keep us posted on how it goes. I want to see a video of that 1f running for sure before you pull it.
 
Joined
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Maryland
That's a little more built than mine is, lol. Awesome rig, though! And I'm still holding out hope that I can get the 1F running. If I can, then I'm gonna see how long I can get it to work for me before swapping.
 

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