Drew's 71 FJ40

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May 5, 2011
Greetings mudders, I've been lurking for a long time in anticipation of starting my build. My Dad bought this 40 new in '71, and it's been sitting in the garage for 17 years. A couple weeks ago I decided to pull the trigger since I'll have some more time this summer- engineering classes don't leave you much cruiser time. I spent 5 days checking it over, replacing brake lines and cleaning out the carb, then drove it the 900km from Prince George to Victoria, BC. Aside from a clogged fuel line halfway through, she ran like a champ. Manual steering, a couple of loose tierods, and 33x12.5 tires made for a hairy drive- any little rut in the road threatened to end the trip prematurely in the ditch. We made it though, and I was really impressed by the power the old F had on the highway. Only had to downshift once when I got stuck behind a rig on a hill.

Here she is:
nice gas tank fix on that front bumper :) what did you end up paying for that light blue beauty ?
So here's my plan: I want it to appear mostly stock, but I'm no purist. I have no bones improving things that need it. I'm a journeyman auto mechanic with 8 years in the trade, and now in 3rd year Mechanical Engineering, so I know my way around. :wrench:

Body: The tub is shot. You can kinda see from the picture, pretty much every panel is rotten. The left quarter was nicely reinforced by the hardtop, but now that it's off I could probably rip off the quarter with my bare hands. The floor is ok in the middle, but the edges are gone and it's bubbling overtop of the crossmembers. I could try to rebuild it with panels, but I'd end up basically building a half tub anyways. So I'm looking for a half tub, then I can probably patch up the rockers and floor up front. EBI is really close to me, but I've heard conflicting reports. Are the EBI half tubs any good? No hearsay please, if you've used one and it's good or crap I'd like to know. IPOR tubs look nice too, but I'm not sure about getting it up here.

Suspension: springs are stock right now, I think they were rearched and at least the rear has an extra leaf. They're well worn out between the leaves. All 4 also have coilover shocks, Dad's way of trying to lift it a little to swing the 33's. It rides like a tank. I'm thinking about an OME 2.5" kit, but I'm open to suggestions. Lots of reading to do still. I want a softer ride #1, crazy articulation isn't on the top of my list. I've never been rock crawling, had a pickup for a few years but it was a stock Chevy IFS so it didn't go many places. :D This will probably be a DD for the most part, with some camping and mild wheeling until I feel it out.

Steering: Armstrong has to go. I'm thinking Scout Saginaw for the simpler linkage and ability to tuck behind the bib. I can't tell if this will work with my PTO winch though. Do I have to go with a 60 box to clear the PTO?

Brakes: Front drum has to go, rear might as well too. Minitruck or LC front disc and GM rear disc is the plan.

Drivetrain: I'm happy with the F, 3 spd and 4.10 (4.11?) combo. I'll clean up, reseal, probably inspect the trans and TC and be done with it. Maybe TBI conversion in the future.

Bumpers: I'll fab my own bumpers. Something nice to protect the precious PTO up front, and an integrated tire carrier in the back. The rear frame crossmember needs work as it is, so I might as well beef it up and make it a real bumper.

Wow. Sorry about the novella, I have a lot of ideas I guess. With any luck I can at least get the body done this summer. :rolleyes:

Hehe, thx Hedgehog, it's a battery fix though, not gas tank. :) One of those marine booster-emergency light-compressor things Dad had hanging around. I wanted to make sure I could get it driveable before I sprung for an actual battery.

I paid nothing for the Cruiser- Dad was happy to get it out of the way and he knows I've wanted it for years. Score for me!
Wow, that is some nice stuff. I'll definitely keep him in mind if I do go with panels.

I guess you can't really see the full extent of the damage in the pics- the wheel wells aren't totally shot, but the flange where they weld to the quarter is gone. I guess I could scab in a new flange, that might work. Pretty rusty on the underside too though. The floor is ok in the center, but again missing a big strip close to the sill, and pretty rotten over the crossmembers. It could probably be saved with a lot of little patches.

Budget is a large constraint in this build (when is it not?) while I'm on student income. It might pay off for me to try and patch everything together, but I really want this old girl to last. Since it was Dad's, and I kind of grew up in the back, I have no plans to sell it ever.
well if you do end up buying a half tub, let me know i might want them wheel wells from you
:flipoff2: (welcome)

You should drop by and say hello...CA.BC- Vancouver Island Cruisers

Good to see another 40 in Victoria. I'll have to swing by sometime and have a look. If there's anything you need, let me know... I've got a stash and after 20 years in Vic with a 40, I know of a few others.

Drop me a PM if you're not going to use that winch... Or it's not useable.
Congrats on keeping up the family jewel ! For what you're doing I think a 2 1/2" lift will be fine. And it sounds like a good plan with PS and the disc conversion. Have Fun !!:beer:
Looking good...nothing like polishing a turd to make you feel accomplished at the end of the day :D As for the tub, there is no shame in going 3/4 aluminum to make it last up there on the island.
Ok, it's been awhile so I guess I'm due for an update. Big surprise, not much to report since the last one. School got pretty heavy over the summer, and what time I had I spent on my welder. It's a bit of a sidetrack but necessary and related:

Needed a welder for the bodywork, should have borrowed Dad's MIG when I brought the beast down. Oh well, too late for that. I much prefer working with TIG anyways, so that's the route we're gonna go. I found an old Sears brand AC welder, 295A for $40 on Craigslist. It works fine, and should be a good starting platform. I need DC for TIG on steel and wanted full foot pedal control, so I found some giant SCRs on EBay and started researching controlled rectifiers. Basically they are like diodes, only flow current one way, but you can tell them when to turn on. It's called Phase Control, because the turn-on point is adjustable in phase related to the input.

Sooooo, I spent a good part of the last 2 months playing electrical engineer. There are simple ways to control an SCR, but I wanted full 0-100% control and the simple ways I tried didn't work very well. So I made a phase shift driver circuit with 5 op-amps to give me the full range of adjustment. The foot pedal now doesn't see any kind of high voltage or current, so there's no shock hazard there. The control also works on a dual voltage power supply, so I can run the welder on 110 or 220. I've been running it on 110 for some test beads lately with 6011 rod, just to make sure it works and it actually does really well. It feels like I get about 60-70 amps running off 110, so I might be able to postpone running 220 to the shop for a bit. There's a picture of the finished rectifier assembly and control circuit. I mounted that in the welder, along with a big capacitor and inductor for smoothing (lots of free space in there). Built a foot pedal from an old computer power supply case and welded it with the welder. It was a good test, 3/32 6011 rod on maybe 20ga sheet? Pretty thin anyway, hard to strike an arc with the current set so low, but once I got it started it welded nicely. Now all I need is a bottle of argon and I can get back to the real project. That might actually have to wait until student loans come in next month. :(

Anyways... actually got back on the cruiser today. I stripped everything from the dash and underneath, wiring harness is out too. Steering box is out too. I think I want to at least brace the body really well before I pull it off, it's pretty floppy right now. I might try to do the frame and mechanicals this winter, don't really want to do body work when it's so wet out. If all goes well I can roll the chassis out in the spring and have lots of room to work on the tub.

The next couple weeks should be more productive I hope, I'm out of class until Sept now.

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