Burned up the 40. Clean slate for new drivetrain. Suggestions?

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Jun 24, 2005
Omaha, Nebraska
Mother's day, my FJ40 caught fire while driving along with the wife and kids. Everyone got out OK, and fire was put out. Body is fine except the paint is burned off the hood. Interior is fine except the melted trans and transfer boots. Under the hood is a different story. Anything plastic or rubber is gone. The amount of water I drowned it with probably did nothing good for the motor.

I built the 40 approx 15 yrs ago when I was single and broke. I had a good, cleanish body. I bought a running '78 with a shot body and Frankensteined the two together. 400SBC, Toyota 3spd trans and case. Typical cobbled up wiring (which is probably partially to blame for the fire).

Fast forward 15 yrs and I have a truck that has basically given me a clean slate to work with. Money flow is a little better now too. The kids love the 40, so I have the clearance from the :princess: to get it back together.

Looking for opinions for new drivetrain. Im gonna be SOA this time, running at least 37"s. My three ideas are 1) rebuild 400SBC, 700r4, Toyota tcase. 2)GM 6.2 diesel, TH400 (or 700r4), Toyota tcase. or 3) Cummins 4bt, SM465, Toyota tcase.

I can get the 6.2 cheap from a buddy, the idea of a diesel is appealing, even though the 6.2 seems to be a red-headed stepchild. The 4bt will be substantially more expensive, and maybe beyond my skillset to build and maintain.

Any other suggestions or words of wisdom?
How much do your kids understand about the cruiser thing and how would they want to build it? My kids both want versions of 40s with very different ideas, but I value their opinions. My daughter wants a tough pink 40 and son wants a troopy. If only your ideas are a concern, what type of wheeling to you intend to build for? I may be wrong, but it seems wheeling type should dictate the build.
Fuel injected SBC if since you want to go that way anyway. Sounds like you will be wheeling it some so you will love the Fuel Injecton.
If you decide to go the 6.2 route you'll want the 700R4 for the overdrive. The 6.2 does best if you set it up to run in the 1700 to 2000 RPM range at highway speeds. The nice thing about the 6.2 is that most all trannies that fit a SBC will bolt up to the 6.2.

With the "lack" of diesel rigs on the trail, you might consider the lack of jerry cans to fill from.

And the lack of a need. A diesel will idle all day on fumes. While a gasser will get 2mpg on a weekend of wheeling, a diesel will still get 15mpg.

I'm kinda considering a 6.2td myself. Easy, cheap, reliable beyond belief, fuel injected with no computer.
X2 on not needing to borrow gas from someone when wheeling a diesel.
If I did it again I would go with the Mercedes OM117 5 cylinder turbo diesel. They are making adapters to mate up to a NV4500 or most GM autos. If you read about this engine it is considered one of the most reliable engines of all time. You can pick them up for around $600

I also like the 4bt as well. I would not go with the 6.2, if I had a choice it would be my last.
I would go 4BT....reliable as get out...and adapters...the purr of the motor will stand out...the MPG will be good...and can get to mod pretty easy...don't think it is too much if you find the right donor rig. Good luck...but get the overdrive tranny.

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