Builds Doc's 1978 FJ40 Rebuild

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Starting a Thread/Topic on my '78 FJ40 Rebuild. Im new to the board but have been reading thru the archives for months trying to learn what I can to avoid asking silly questions. I am switching things up a bit -- I usually drag a tractor into the shop to restore (some of my work can be seen at www.tractorrestorationbydave.webs.com ) but this year the FJ40 project has its turn. I bought this truck after the previous owner lost interest (hopefully pictures attach). It has a few good features (like the aqualu tub) but other parts need help. There is still more rust than I like to see on the front cowl and hardtop sides. . . worse yet the frame has been welded/repaired in the past and just feels thin in areas from rust. The PO put a good coat of paint on the frame before installing the new body but I am still not happy with it; I have a nice, solid frame under a 1972 FJ I also bought (to make one good truck out of the two, used to have to do it with the tractors all the time) so I will be tearing down both trucks to install the '78 engine, trans, transfer case, and axles on the '72 frame. I have not decided which cowl/year the truck will be in the end; it will have the aluminum body with the best of parts from each truck. The '72 cowl looks to be in better shape to I may officially have a 1972 truck when its all said and done.
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The PO said it had been awhile since the truck ran. Seeing as how there was no gas tank installed I tied up a temporary little tank and managed to get the engine going -- drove it around the farm enough (like my bucket seat?) that I was content the engine/trans were good foundations and that I could start the teardown process. I managed to get the fiberglass top off and only broke two of the 10mm bolts holding it to the sides/upper door channels. Figured that was not too bad considering it had been on there since 1978. The rest of the sides/rear doors came off easy enough but the windshield frame took a little time. Was called back into work later in the afternoon but figured this was a good days progress and worth starting a post on the discussion board. More updates/pictures to come in the weeks ahead as I take more apart -- I'm sure the questions will come once things start going back together. One quick one I can throw in now is about engine desmogging -- half the pieces have already been removed from under my hood and came in boxes when I bought the truck. The pulley on my air pump is fixed and not turning; I am not sure of the overall condition of the rest of the parts. Is there a good thread in the archives about the desmog of a '78 F2 Engine? I have read some topics about it but none of them seem specific to my situation. Emissions are currently not a big issue in my area and I would prefer not to have to deal with the extra plumbing if possible. My end goal for the truck is something to have fun with -- I will probably not take it off road or drive it super long distances but want to be able take if for a drive around town on a nice day or the weekends. It will look mostly stock but hopefully combine the best from a '78 and '72 into one. Thanks for reading. . . I know its long!
 

sggoat

 
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First-I love the 'bucket' seat!
I can't believe you only broke 2 bolts on the top!!--I think most times there are only 2 that DON"t break!--did you do anything special to assure the bolts would come out--like Kroil soaking,etc.?
Keep the pics coming--looks like an interesting build-you have some solid stuff to start you off on the adventure--
 
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North Central Ohio
I noticed the bolts holding the fiberglass top extended about a half inch above the threaded fastener piece -- after I detected the first one getting tight after a couple turns I reversed/tightened it back up and took a small hand held wire brush and cleaned the exposed threads -- that combined with some penetrating oil seemed to do the trick. Several still had some tight spots but not enough to break. Hope that helps someone else in the future. . . it took probably two to three times as long to get it done but will probably make up for it later when I don't have to drill all the brokens out.
 
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Ive had a few hours to play in the shop this week -- still in the disassembly process. I thought one of the challenges was getting acclimated to metric tools. . . this rig has not only metric bolts but also random US standard bolts/nuts that have been added over the years. . . plus the usual non standard sizes created by bolt heads rusting.
I can appreciate that one of the previous owners replaced the main tub with the aqualu option. . . it also seems Ive lucked out on the fenders as they still have Toyota factory labels on them. . . replacements shipped /dated in 1996. I doubt they have ever seen time on the road.
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What I cannot figure out is why someone would go through all the trouble to replace the main tub and fenders but then use other parts that seem rusted beyond saving. I know some people work on their trucks as they enjoy them but some of the rusty pieces are in place under the new. . . and by the looks of the primer I do not think there was plans to replace the bad bits before a paint job. I attached a picture of the backside of the front bib -- the bottom is barely attached to the hinge.
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I had a nice conversation with Jim at TLC here in Ohio -- will be sending him the carb and distributor for rebuilding. I did a quickie compression test on each cylinder -- all were at 125 psi with no leak down.
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Id like to ask opinions as far as what to replace and what to leave alone one the engine. My plan was to have the carb/distributor gone over and run everything else as is. I will be going without the emissions/smog equipment. Should I pull the pan to replace the rear main seal? There is not currently a puddle under the truck/engine after running it for awhile. . . but I know the time to replace these sorts of things is when the engine will be out/easier to get at. I was likely going to replace most other seals/gaskets. . . I just did not know if the effort of pulling the pan/rear main was worth the effort. This will not be a show truck and will probably only be driven 1000 - 2000 miles a year but I hope to have it looking nice when I am done and Id prefer it not "mark its spot" when I park it. I guess I would have the same questions about the transmission/transfer case. . . I will probably replace the clutch. The transmission seems to shift thru the gears fine driving around here on the farm and the transfer case clicks into each range as it should. I like to do things right but I do not want to overdo what might not need done. . . if that makes any sense. I appreciate any advice/help from those that may have been down this same road.
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Sooner or later those seals will go bad , if nothing else just from the passage of time - I'd replace all of them while it's out and apart since it doesn't get any easier than that . Do the rear cam plug as well , make sure to get with Kurt, Beno or Jim about the correct part since it's a shallow design . Do both ends of that crankshaft and front seal at minimum in the trans as well , might be a good idea to inspect the parking brake/seal/drum as well . None of that stuff is fun to work on in the truck , way easier on an engine stand or crane .
Sarge
 
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New seals it will be.
Snuck into the shop for an hour today -- started pulling pieces from on/under the dash. I am trying to take off everything not needed to start/move the truck around; I have an overhead lift in the shop that I want to move the truck under to remove the tub but right now there is other stuff in the way.
The main upper dash pad screws were so rusted that a screwdriver would not even begin to engage the heads. I was able to drill off the heads and then back the rest of the screw out of the threads. The pad itself was in good condition but the metal is rusted beyond use. The lowers should be able to be saved. The cowl has rusty areas where the upper pad was mounted, but should be workable if I go with the '78 year.
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Its always fun to see what extra bits turn up when going thru the glove box. . . found the fuse box cover, several receipts dated 1996, tail light covers, a lid from an artichoke hearts jar, but no horde of coins or other valuables.
I appreciate the warm welcomes and helpful comments, I hope to have something more substantial to contribute before too long!
 
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Port Orchard, WA
Welcome! Looks like a fun start! You mentioned you had picked up two...does the '72 have the drive train or anything too? If you part anything out on it let me know (i need fenders and possibly a transmission)

And I had some interesting stuff in the glove box on mine. Im pretty sure I bought it before the guy could clean it out. Had old registrations, insurance, some medical stuff from him, and a bottle of insulin. Plus a bunch of other random stuff.
 
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velillen, are you looking for a three, or four speed transmission? I have a three speed here that I will never use, condition unknown. If it is what you are looking for it is yours just for shipping.

Don
 
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velillen, are you looking for a three, or four speed transmission? I have a three speed here that I will never use, condition unknown. If it is what you are looking for it is yours just for shipping.

Don
I was mostly just kidding around but thanks for the offer! Im not sure what I would do transmission wise right now as it would involve going from an auto back to standard and Id need all the parts to do that (clutch, pedal, ect)
 
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I do/will have a number of extra parts that will need new homes. . . I actually picked up several trucks to make one good one with. I want to make sure I don't sell anything that I will regret later. I do have a couple extra 1F engines and three speed transmissions along with some other misc. parts; but nothing major at this point.
A few more hours in the shop this weekend and I was able to remove the aluminum tub from the frame/cowl.
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This gives me a chance to take a better look at the frame from above. I can see a large area on the drivers side that has had a patch welded in.
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In the "portholes" along the inside I can see piles of rust flakes and chunks.
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I know it will be a lot of work, but I am thinking I need to use the frame from one of the late 1971 trucks that I have (One from October, one from December 1971 -- both titled as 1972 year). From all that Ive read most everything will match up -- I may have to cut/rotate the center cross member for extra clearance around the parking brake drum. I have not heard/read of any other complications -- If anyone else has used an older frame with a newer model year drivetrain please give me a shout if there is anything I need to watch out for. If someone thinks the '78 frame pictured would be just fine and I should just use it let me know as well -- it just feels thin in some areas and has pitting along the entire length. I want a solid foundation if I am going this far into the project. . . even if it means completely taking apart a second truck.
On a fun note, I found a mouse house inside the heater unit -- the previous owner would have been surprised if he had left things as is and tried to warm up.
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Pulled all the pieces from the cowl. . . and then the cowl itself.
Most of the pieces came off without incident, created a nice little pile.
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I kept the wiring harness in one piece and labeled each end as I removed it (blue tape marked with a sharpie). I will be installing new wiring but I figured it would be a good idea to keep the original pattern -- that and all the original connectors.
Overall the cowl is in fair condition. There is some rust on the drivers side floor and I will need to replace an area of bad metal but this cowl is already cut to accept the aluminum body. I imagine it also has a wider range of holes/openings tapped for the 2F throttle linkage, steering shaft opening, etc. (vs. the '72 truck).
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I am hoping I can sneak the entire cowl into the glass bead cabinet. . . will make cleanup/prep for body work much easier.
The engine/trans/transfer case will be the next to come out, then off with the axles. I can see where there is a leak from the area of the idler shaft on the transfer case -- as discussed before I plan on new seals/gaskets. I ordered rebuild kits for both axles. I need to decide what to do about the springs/ride height. It appears the previous owner put a set of new springs on the front but kept the original, rusty rear springs. I am thinking about a 2" lift but not set on it -- I am fine with stock height if I have another set of good springs that I can reuse from one of the other trucks. I want to use the stock steel wheels/caps but would like a tougher looking tire that might benefit from a slight increase in height. I am also not sure if the PO installed correct shocks for the front -- they are fully compressed in a resting position (unless my years away from working on cars has me forgetting. . .)
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Another weekend and a little more progress.
I knew the engine had a bit more weight to it just to look at it. . . the overhead lift picked it out just fine but it did make a bit more noise than usual.
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Even with new(er) shackles installed I still had to give quite an effort to pull them out. Im sure there is some kind of puller setup that would help with extracting them but I am sure they are not something that gets removed every day. . . I am sure old ones that need replaced just get burned out (that is what I would do!). The previous owner made a good attempt to put good coat of paint over the rust but was not able or did not choose to cover the areas between the frame and engine.
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The bare frame will be stashed away outside until I am sure there is nothing else I will need off of it.
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An empty space in the shop now allows me to move onto the second truck. I will basically repeat the entire process down to the bare frame. I hope to have the frame sandblasted yet this year so that I can get it painted/start reassembling the drive train this fall/winter.
Here is a picture of the second truck, a 1972.
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It runs and drives; Ive enjoyed bouncing around the farm fields with it over the last several months. Why tear apart a perfectly good running/driving FJ40 you ask? Part of the reason is this:
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A previous owner to this truck installed a Chevrolet straight six engine of some kind with what looks like a bunch of smog components still on it. It leaks oil at a good rate but still starts up/goes. The three speed shifts thru all the gears ok but the clutch is starting to get weak. Also the transfer case moves thru the ranges ok but will only stay in four low if you hold the lever in place. My original plan was to pull this engine/replace it with the F1 Toyota engine and just drive/enjoy the truck. I would eventually still pull the tub off the frame and rework everything from the ground up. I was just getting ready to start the project when I stumbled across the 1978 truck and thoughts of disc brakes, four speed transmission, "better" engine, no rust on the body/less body work all took over. I figured if I was going all in on the project Id take advantage of the better options available. It seems I am never content to fix one little part here or there. . . I could start by changing an air filter and next thing I know the entire vehicle is a pile of parts on the floor. I hope to have the second truck apart somewhat quicker. . . having just done it once it should go faster the second time over.
 
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FJ40Jim

The Cruiser Whisperer
 
 
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Dave, you're on the right path to tear down both trucks and build one good unit. The AL tub is too nice to half-azz the job with a bunch of bondo-ed rusty doors & cowl.

It may be necessary to remove engine mounts from 78 2F frame & transplant to 72 Chevy frame. For best results have the frame acid dipped and e-coat dipped or galvanized.
Check the fit of the engine, trans & t-case w/drum to see if the tube xmember needs to be cut & moved. It usually fits, but will prevent removing tranny off the back of the engine. Considering how simple it is to pull the whole power train out the front, I prefer to leave the frame intact.
 
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Jdc1

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I was really suprised to see how economical my quotes were to sandblast and coat my frame. I ended up having it blasted, ecoated and topcoatEd for $550.
 
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Thanks for the vote of confidence Jim.
Intuition was telling me I was doing the right thing. . . but its good to hear from someone like yourself to confirm it. The carb and distributor are sitting here waiting to be boxed up/shipped off to you (talked with you last week about going over them for me) -- you will see those pieces in person soon.
The '72 frame (and to a point the entire truck) is very solid. I will have to re-establish proper engine mounts as I can see one of the factory 1F mounts was cut sometime in the past and extra mounts were added in. . . I think someone probably had a SBC 350 in the truck at one time as there are "extra" mounts on the frame that are not factory that are not supporting anything currently. I will take/post more pictures as the drama unfolds. . . Thank You again for taking the time to read the post and offer your thoughts. I too have been thinking that I may not even cut the cross member (depending on how a mock up fits) as I have the tools/ability to manipulate the powertrain if I ever needed to.
 
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Spent a lot of time this week cleaning up the shop. . . had a couple mini projects to work in and have a number of other half finished projects that needed organized/consolidated. I know folks probably get tired of the same old truck tear down pictures after awhile. . . I am trying to use these posts as a guide/motivation for myself to keep me on track -- the extra help and advice are great as well.
After cleaning out a hole I pulled the second truck in and started work on removing the hardtop. I was lucky enough to use my bolt cleaning method and only managed to break two bolts (again) getting the fiberglass top off. I knew I had all the bolts removed but I was having trouble getting the top to separate from above the windshield frame. A little digging beneath the headliner found a fix from a previous owner. . . about a half inch thick layer of duct tape, silicone, and pipe insulation holding things together.
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After a couple hours the big pieces were off. I took the FJ out for a drive around the farm and enjoyed the open air feel. To be honest, I am not much of a sun person. I seek out the shade when I can and the hardtop will likely be a permanent installment. From 20 feet away the truck does not look too bad. Check out the seat cover. . . glitter sequins in a butterfly pattern. I may have to put those back on when the truck is done!
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A quick picture of the rear shackles gives a fair idea of the condition of the underside. Surface rusty yes but overall very solid.
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I will continue to work on disassembly, continue to post a few pictures of interest along the way. There are a few more interesting pervious owner repairs/modifications. . . including the transmission being supported/held in with wire. Keep checking in/reading to see the pictures of that!
 
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A few hours here and there and a few more pieces removed.
IMG_2327.jpg

This far into the process I can say there are several things I like about working on the Land Cruisers.
1. More or less I need a 10, 12, or 14mm wrench. There is enough difference between the sizes that I can easily discern them by eye. Over the years I was able to do the same with a 7/16, 1/2, 9/16 head bolt. . . but it took a little longer. Also, love the ratcheting wrenches I picked up at the Chinese Tool Store (Harbor Freight). Always used box ends but picked up a ratcheting set for this project -- much quicker in hard to reach areas.
2. While the metal rusts, it is not near as thick as the cast iron I am used to working with (engine will be different I know). It takes a lot less heat to free up stuck bolts. . . sometimes I even use the little propane hand torch vs. busting out the oxy/acetylene and it has done the trick.
3. Interchangeability is great. Love the fact that I can use the frame from a '72 with the engine/axles out of a '78. Also love the aftermarket support, could probably build an entire truck with all the available parts and enough money.
There are also several things I don't like. . .
1. Philips head screws used as bolts. The metal is soft enough that too much torque distorts the Phillips slots and then you're, well, screwed. A small vice grip was able to grab the head in most instances to finish the job.
2. Previous owner hack jobs. After uncovering the transmission hump this is what I found. . . I can imagine someone swinging away (probably using some profanity) at the metal but wonder why they just didn't take the hump off. . .
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Hope to have the body off this weekend, will see what time allows me to get done.
 

Jdc1

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A few hours here and there and a few more pieces removed.
View attachment 1298534
This far into the process I can say there are several things I like about working on the Land Cruisers.
1. More or less I need a 10, 12, or 14mm wrench. There is enough difference between the sizes that I can easily discern them by eye. Over the years I was able to do the same with a 7/16, 1/2, 9/16 head bolt. . . but it took a little longer. Also, love the ratcheting wrenches I picked up at the Chinese Tool Store (Harbor Freight). Always used box ends but picked up a ratcheting set for this project -- much quicker in hard to reach areas.
2. While the metal rusts, it is not near as thick as the cast iron I am used to working with (engine will be different I know). It takes a lot less heat to free up stuck bolts. . . sometimes I even use the little propane hand torch vs. busting out the oxy/acetylene and it has done the trick.
3. Interchangeability is great. Love the fact that I can use the frame from a '72 with the engine/axles out of a '78. Also love the aftermarket support, could probably build an entire truck with all the available parts and enough money.
There are also several things I don't like. . .
1. Philips head screws used as bolts. The metal is soft enough that too much torque distorts the Phillips slots and then you're, well, screwed. A small vice grip was able to grab the head in most instances to finish the job.
2. Previous owner hack jobs. After uncovering the transmission hump this is what I found. . . I can imagine someone swinging away (probably using some profanity) at the metal but wonder why they just didn't take the hump off. . .
View attachment 1298544

Hope to have the body off this weekend, will see what time allows me to get done.
They arnt Phillips but JIS (Japanese Industrial Standard). Look for Vessel, JIS drivers on Amazon.

Also, if you try to source new bolts, unless they are JIS automotive, the head size will be wrong for the corresponding thread size, not 10, 12 or 14.
 
Joined
Jun 24, 2016
Messages
408
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North Central Ohio
Yeah,
I read about the JIS bolts in the archives. Also used a Vessel Impact driver on some of the "screws" with similar results. Mostly needed on the rear barn doors and such. Able to get the job done in the end. . . appreciate the information!
 
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