Builds Early Fj40 Rock Crawler Gets a Refresh (1 Viewer)

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These guys are also 3 weeks out which is exciting. The factory driver seat is worn and torn to the base metal so that hasn't been the most comfortable ride. I was pretty exhausted after a day in the pits for the 4800 guys at KOH so I spent quite a bit of time sitting in these in the shade of the PRP tent. Some breathable material on my back will be nice too for the 100 degree days here in the foothills.
 

mr jits

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These guys are also 3 weeks out which is exciting. The factory driver seat is worn and torn to the base metal so that hasn't been the most comfortable ride. I was pretty exhausted after a day in the pits for the 4800 guys at KOH so I spent quite a bit of time sitting in these in the shade of the PRP tent. Some breathable material on my back will be nice too for the 100 degree days here in the foothills.
I'd take a look at some corbeau or Recaro seats before settling on the PRP seats. I liked my PRP seats (custom colors, $$$, "top of the line"), but in comparison to corbeau, cobra, recaro, the quality was crap.
 
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I'd take a look at some corbeau or Recaro seats before settling on the PRP seats. I liked my PRP seats (custom colors, $$$, "top of the line"), but in comparison to corbeau, cobra, recaro, the quality was crap.
I've read plenty of back and forth about prp vs (insert seat manufacturer) and saw plenty of opinions on what seat people liked. We will see how these hold up. Three reasons why I went with the PRP...
1. I've actually spent time in the seat. Ive had a little bit of experience with corbeau at the Jeep tour company I worked for, but the PRP just fit me better
2. I could get that exact model in a tall. Im 6'4" and after measuring my back and current seats, competitive offerings from corbeau, mastercraft, etc.. were all to short. If I end up with harness all of their harness slots would be sitting in the middle of my back.
3. The timing was right for a good deal. They PRP had free shipping this month plus I had someone that got me a little bit of a deal on them.

I'll definitely be keeping tabs on how these wear and will keep updates somewhere because during my search I couldn't seem to find many people really talking about that.
 
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No good pictures to update last weekend but I did make some progress. Completed the dash wiring and topped it off with some led backlights so I will be able to read my gauges at night again. Finished up plumbing my fuel system for my new to me 20+ year old edelbrock 1904 q-jet. I swooped it off a stalled out frame off resto 1976 Fj40 sitting in my parents yard. The carb and the crate 350 are brand new, but have been either under a carport or out in the open for almost 20 years now. I decided to just send it, spray out some passages with carb cleaner to get rid of the nests, lube up the linkage, and see if I could get my cruiser to make noise. Well it worked kind off... Couldn't tune idle mixture because screws were seized and after a few minutes, it was leaking fuel everywhere.
Tracked down a rebuild kit, (which edelbrock doesn't offer anymore) just picked it up tonight, and tomorrow morning I'm going to teach myself to rebuild a quadrajet. During my research I found out this carb won the offroad carb shootout in Petersons' magazine in 2001. That right there showed me how old this unit was. I still fit in my powerwheels "land cruiser" the last time this thing had been touched.

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Got the carb tore apart now. Realized this must have been the q-jet my uncle originally ran, and not a new one for the restoration 40 I stole it from. The inside of this thing is disgusting. Im shocked my engine even ran a little bit.
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Have a big can of carb cleaner ready to dunk some parts in. In the mean time I am going to be swapping the chevy oil and temp sensors with the Toyota ones so I can get my factory gauges working again.
 
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Wow. That’s awful. I’d be considering blasting that with some glass beads. There are some fairly small passages in those that can clog up pretty easy with that old fuel garbage
 
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My qjet(not Edelbrock) looked similar and I bought the parts store rebuild kit. I dunked it in carb dip and took my time on the rebuild. Everyone said these carbs are the worst to rebuild, but I just followed along on a YouTube video. This is the only carb I’ve ever rebuilt. Love the carb, great offroad and plenty of power.
 
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Just about to throw it back on the truck. Wasn't too bad of a job. I've gone through the carb on my dirtbike enough times to kind of grasp what goes into these things. My edelbrock kit had a good write up too. Chem dip, gun cleaning kit, and compressed air have it pretty cleaned up. I'd have it running now but I forgot I have online assignments due for school at 5 so I'm taking a quick break. Hopefully I have this thing running in a few hours.
 
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My new seats came in wayyyyy early. So early I'm not ready to install them. Happy about the colors and stoked to have a seat that actually fits me height wise. I fought with this quadrajet all weekend. I was hoping this would be a simple swap but the carnage in the pics on my previous post paint quite the picture on what I was dealing with all weekend. The thing still needs some fine tuning and the accelerator pump seems to stick a bit. Probably because the springs were so corroded. If anybody reading through this knows the ins and outs of quadrajets lmk so I can throw some questions your way. The local Napa has the parts I need, but I ran out of time this weekend. Back to Sacramento for a few days of work and school.
When I come back down next weekend I hope to have a driver by Sunday. Its Summer time and the snow is melting so I want to get in the hills before it gets too dusty.
 
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I Don’t have a ton of experience with carbs in general, but I had good luck between the Haynes manual and this video. it was a slow process, I have a tendency to stare at it a lot and go forward and backward to double check. The carb dip was key for me, but I didn’t have rust to deal with.
 
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I Don’t have a ton of experience with carbs in general, but I had good luck between the Haynes manual and this video. it was a slow process, I have a tendency to stare at it a lot and go forward and backward to double check. The carb dip was key for me, but I didn’t have rust to deal with.
Yeah I went through the same video, and watched some others. The issues that I'm having right now should be fixed once I swap the accelerator pump and just run the thing a bit to clear it out.
 
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Went dark for awhile to finish up finals, but I have been working for the past few days to get this thing back on the road again. After accelerator pump issues and a nasty hesitation off idle with the quadrajet, the straw that broke the camels back for me was the driver side idle mixture screw breaking off while trying to tune the carb up. I want this thing driving around at least so I called my dad and he picked up an Edelbrock 1406 Carb from oreilly. Bolted up and ran just fine with almost no adjustment.
I was pretty bummed that I gave up on the q-jet. Im still going to play with is a bit and maybe put it on for the better offroad manners. My ultimate goal right now is a 5.3 swap. A buddy of mine was at a local pick n pull last week and said there were plenty of complete 5.3s laying around. So the plan is to pick one up soon so I can rebuild it over the summer and fall. I just do not see the value in spending money on my smog era 350 when newer 5.3 motors are cheap and plentiful. Thats down the road though, so I still need to work to get my current setup running.
Next was getting some more wiring buttoned up. Not a single gauge besides fuel worked on this when I started so I did not know if any of the gauges were even functional. Bench testing showed they still had life so I could move on with the factory cluster. Started by swapping out the chevy sending units on the engine for some Toyota pieces. Temp was easy. Thread in, female connector, done. I was surprised to see that the toyota oil pressure gauge uses a special plug. I knew mine was long gone and instead of looking online for one I just wrapped wire around it and soldered it up. It works just fine!!!
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Now with functioning gauges and a running truck I needed something to sit in. These seat mounts have been a major pain in the ass to get right. No welder at my parents house and no way to get the cruiser to my grandpas shop means lots of back and forth just to cut and re tack pieces. The goal was to sit as low as I could (I'm 6'4") and Re use as many of the factory mounting points as possible. Im jealous of threads i read where people use the adapter kits for some of these seats and like being boosted up higher to see over everything. I just do not fit right in these old Japanese trucks. I blame my bad posture on my old pickup because if I didn't slouch my head would be in the roof. Anyway, what I ended up with was seats sitting at two different heights on mounts made of 1x1 square tube and angle iron for the tabs on the seats to bolt to. The passenger seat sits directly on the fuel tank and is still not where I want it. One of these days I'm going to switch to a fuel cell underneath the rear so I can lower it to match the height of the driver side.

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Here is the passenger side. Re used the stock front risers instead of trying to match the tight factory bends around the tank. Plus they gave just the right amount of clearance for all the little humps on tank cover.

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Driver side. Front legs will bolt into factory spots and the rear legs are shortened to add some more lean to the drivers seat.

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Angle iron set inside the frame so the seat will bolt and sit flush. Getting as low as I can. My proportions are just to screwy to be 100% comfortable though. Id like to be abit lower but if i do that it is too awkward to use the pedals. So where they sit now will have to do.
 
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Here they are in the cruiser. After some time driving I'll figure out if the overhang on the front part of the frame is a calf grabber or not. Setting the seats back also guarantees there will not be any issues hearing the music over the wind and the sound of the iroks. That wasn't an issue before but now the speaker sits directly behind the head.
 
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After this last weekend I got the seat mounts all prepped and ready for final weld.

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I've also been fighting issues with factory gauges. Sometimes they would work, sometimes they wouldn't. Instead of fighting with them i bit the bullet and ordered a new set. The gauges made it to my house before the metaltech blank bezel, so I got to work building a template out of cardboard and building my gauge harness.

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With that built I was able to actually install it in the cruiser and test everything. So nice having lit up gauges for the first time in years.
 
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So I spent some more time messing with the cruiser this last weekend. I get closer every week but I just seem to keep finding other things that need work. Being that I'm still kind of a starving college student, I'm just taking care of one thing at a time. First on the list was to wrap as much wiring as possible. This meant finishing my dash.
I left off last time I posted with the cardboard template I had made for mockup.
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I used the cardboard as a stencil on my blank metaltech bezel. Some things were slightly off here and there so there was still some measuring to be done to get everything right but doing cardboard first was definitely the right move.
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Could not find the correct hole saw sizes so the funky looking holes are from filing and using the dremel to get my gauges to slide in. Also you can see how the wholes for the screws into the dash got messed up. I never bothered to check to make sure my cardboard screw placement was perfect. I just needed to enlarge the whole a bit to get a little bit of wiggle room.

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Gauges and led indicator lights all set in place.

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Set up in the dash.
The wiring for this has been a pain due to how little space I have to run all the wires. I ended up using two 5 pin sealed trailer plugs for easy plug and play removal, similar to the large connector on the factory setup. I need to remove again though because my voltmeter doesn't have a functioning backlight.
For my new fuel gauge I went with a universal fuel sending unit from summit. Install was straight forward even though i had to make some modifications. The 5 bolt pattern is not the same as the factory toyota tank. We ended up just cutting the top off of the factory sending unit as a template to drill new holes on the summit sender. After that it bolted right up and I'm back to having a functioning fuel gauge.
 
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Now here comes the part where I keep finding stuff that needs work. My sm420 was giving me issues on my first test drives. My issue is that under some type of load, such as being on an incline, the trans will get bound up in 1st/granny gear or reverse. I can continue forward or reverse depending what gear I am in, but the shifter is stuck in that gear, and the truck will hold itself on a hill as if it was in gear, but the clutch is disengaged. First thought was my clutch was out of adjustment. My clutch is adjusted properly and no other gears seem to have the issue as far as I can tell. I put the t case in low so i could use 2nd and 3rd on the steep hill but could not replicate the binding or sticking into the gear.
My research has me all over the board on what to do. This is the worst part about living 3 hours from the truck. Im off work, sitting at the apartment, and cant go tinker.
If anybody has any ideas on what could be giving me that issue post them up. I want to have a few things to try before dropping the trans the next time I head home.
Extra info about the trans and some noises I hear:
  • It is a late model sm420 (has a reverse light switch)
  • Never had any issue popping out of gear like I see on a lot of threads, just occasional issue getting INTO gear
  • when in neutral this is a definite sound of something thats not quite grinding... but is something spinning. Maybe a bad bearing? With clutch pedal depressed the noise is gone, which leads me to believe it is inside the trans.
  • No clunks while driving. Typical whine when cruising and even though I do no have a similar trans to compare it too, I would not call it excessive.
So far today I've gathered that one of the first things I should go after that top cover. It seems people have issues with that being loose and causing shifting issues. Other things I have seen are people ending up with two gears in at once causing the binding.

If anybody has any input on what I should attack first please LMK. And say it needs a rebuild, should I go for the rebuild route, find one on craigslist, or splurge on a NOS military version? Anybody ever rebuild one and have a bad time? Or are they pretty straight forward? My concern is not having a press. It should not be hard to find a friend with one but I prefer not lugging parts all around to different garages.

Thats a lot to unpack there and a lot of questions. Thanks in advance for any input you guys might have. Ill for sure have some time to do some research because most likely I wont have a chance to wrench on it more until the weekend of the 27th. If theres some easy trouble shooting to do though I'll call my dad up and have him mess with it a bit and hopefully its something easy like that that fixes the issue.
 
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Now here comes the part where I keep finding stuff that needs work. My sm420 was giving me issues on my first test drives. My issue is that under some type of load, such as being on an incline, the trans will get bound up in 1st/granny gear or reverse. I can continue forward or reverse depending what gear I am in, but the shifter is stuck in that gear, and the truck will hold itself on a hill as if it was in gear, but the clutch is disengaged. First thought was my clutch was out of adjustment. My clutch is adjusted properly and no other gears seem to have the issue as far as I can tell. I put the t case in low so i could use 2nd and 3rd on the steep hill but could not replicate the binding or sticking into the gear.
My research has me all over the board on what to do. This is the worst part about living 3 hours from the truck. Im off work, sitting at the apartment, and cant go tinker.
If anybody has any ideas on what could be giving me that issue post them up. I want to have a few things to try before dropping the trans the next time I head home.
Extra info about the trans and some noises I hear:
  • It is a late model sm420 (has a reverse light switch)
  • Never had any issue popping out of gear like I see on a lot of threads, just occasional issue getting INTO gear
  • when in neutral this is a definite sound of something thats not quite grinding... but is something spinning. Maybe a bad bearing? With clutch pedal depressed the noise is gone, which leads me to believe it is inside the trans.
  • No clunks while driving. Typical whine when cruising and even though I do no have a similar trans to compare it too, I would not call it excessive.
So far today I've gathered that one of the first things I should go after that top cover. It seems people have issues with that being loose and causing shifting issues. Other things I have seen are people ending up with two gears in at once causing the binding.

If anybody has any input on what I should attack first please LMK. And say it needs a rebuild, should I go for the rebuild route, find one on craigslist, or splurge on a NOS military version? Anybody ever rebuild one and have a bad time? Or are they pretty straight forward? My concern is not having a press. It should not be hard to find a friend with one but I prefer not lugging parts all around to different garages.

Thats a lot to unpack there and a lot of questions. Thanks in advance for any input you guys might have. Ill for sure have some time to do some research because most likely I wont have a chance to wrench on it more until the weekend of the 27th. If theres some easy trouble shooting to do though I'll call my dad up and have him mess with it a bit and hopefully its something easy like that that fixes the issue.
I'm not sure what exactly your problem is with the transmission, I've never personally experienced that. I'd "guess" it's potentially related to the top cover or the shift rails.

Overall, the transmission is very simple and it can be rebuilt with simple hand tools. A press is handy but likely not required as usually the gears are not that tight on the shafts. I've done many of these, the first of which I rebuilt in my bedroom and now has over 32,000 miles on it with zero issues. I rebuilt it 17+ years ago.

The problem is parts availability at this point. If you need anything beyond standard wear components (like gears or shafts) they can be hard to source. Sometimes they pop up on Ebay.

I'd recommend saving your money and going the rebuild route frankly
 
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I'm not sure what exactly your problem is with the transmission, I've never personally experienced that. I'd "guess" it's potentially related to the top cover or the shift rails.

Overall, the transmission is very simple and it can be rebuilt with simple hand tools. A press is handy but likely not required as usually the gears are not that tight on the shafts. I've done many of these, the first of which I rebuilt in my bedroom and now has over 32,000 miles on it with zero issues. I rebuilt it 17+ years ago.

The problem is parts availability at this point. If you need anything beyond standard wear components (like gears or shafts) they can be hard to source. Sometimes they pop up on Ebay.

I'd recommend saving your money and going the rebuild route frankly
Thanks for your input. Parts availability should not be too big of an issue because I am pretty positive any noises I hear are bearing related. Also nice to hear a press isn't essential. I did not find rebuilding my transfer case to be hard, so I am not too scared to dive into this trans. I'm really just looking for other things to trouble shoot before I tear it down.
Hopefully this weekend my dad will have some free time and can pop the transmission tunnel off and check the top cover situation. If that is not the issue, then at least I can get a head start on sourcing parts or getting some quotes from a shop to rebuild it. I still have a goal of being able to wheel it this summer but a busy schedule and lack of funds are making that quite the mission.
 

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