El Quarantico: a '79 Costa Rican BJ40 (1 Viewer)

Joined
Feb 27, 2019
Messages
18
Location
Venezuela
Hello guys,
my cousin and recently purchased a 1979 BJ40 which, albeit looking a bit like frankenstein, is actually in pretty good condition and original parts.
Being stuck in Costa Rica for 3 months now, we decided to pull the trigger on this project and hope to have it soon in ~2 or so months.

Mechanically, the vehicle is in great conditions. These old Land Cruisers in Costa Rica must pass annual inspections in order to stay in the road so brakes, transmission, engine, etc. is all pretty solid. The original B engine runs well, can climb a hill on 2nd or 3rd gear. It's not fast, but drives very nicely.
Bodywise, not much rust but lots to do. The old owner was "restoring it" and hence all the terrible weld jobs (hint: black paint spots). We're planning on replacing the tub and many body panels so no worries there.

The top isn't the BJ's original top, although it does seem to match the year (has the vents). Luckily, both the top and the fiberglass roof are in great condition.

There's an interesting story of these Land Cruisers in Costa Rica, as there are thousands of them still on the road. We met a few people here which told us that in the 1970's coffee boom lots and lots farmers purchased these as working vehicles. It definitely was the perfect vehicle for this country which has lots of plantations and dirt roads. Many are still being used, and currently there's a good community of Cruisers, lots of parts availability(although not OEM as it's extremely expensive here). Like any other SA cruisers, some of these vehicles have terrible (per US Standard) repairs, yet very repairable. I mean terrible per the US Standards since it's a workling vehicle and they dont care about the crap weld. (See picture below on the Spring Perch and Support Bracket)

Here's our project, plan is to have it here in our farm in Costa Rica for some months and then take to the US for our enjoyment.

It seems like originally the BJ40 was Nebula Green, but we're thinking of doing Spring Green which wasn't available in 1979, to our understanding. The main reason behind choosing this color is that the BJ40 came with "new" upholstery, in a light brown faux leather. We imagine these two colors will match pretty nicely.

Here are some pictures:

20200519_151927.jpg

This is what we expect our end result to look like:
982aa76746f3ea1b03a01d4a5d311fb5.jpg


The interior:
The cluster works entirely, except the fuel gauge. Might be the fuel sender unit... Engine Cutoff works, hand brake works nicely. Both cigarrette thing and glovebox are original, including the gear and tranny plate.

20200519_150550 (1).jpg


Engine bay looks original, no crap jobs here, except new horns. Note the lack of wiring for the engine. The diesel B has no need for so much wiring, this was a nice surprise for us as it makes it much more simple to work on.

20200519_150606.jpg


Under the body things like pretty good, with the exception of the Rear Spring Perchs which have been replaced and welded on. We're having them CNC cut and will build new ones.

20200604_115923.jpg


Enjoy! Any suggestions are extremely welcome, this is our second Land Cruiser repair/light restoration so we are learning a lot doing this. We often go through these forums to learn and appreciate everyone's knowledge. An yes, all the chrome parts will go...
 
Joined
Feb 27, 2019
Messages
18
Location
Venezuela
Here are some more pictures:

CAD Renders of the new plate and spring perch.
perch hanger.png


Looks good under the chassis:
20200609_160128.jpg


It seems every shop in town is fixing one a Land Cruiser. They're everywhere. This one has hydraulic steering and a Land Cruiser Prado Engine, it think it's a 3.0 Turbo Diesel. Will be painted Candy Red (not a fan...)

20200610_113344.jpg



Does anyone want a 1991 Diesel 70 Series? Can be yours for 8,000,000 ($14K) Colones before export (add $2,4K to have it in the US)

20200603_113826.jpg


Found this crazy 4 door conversion in La Fortuna, near the Arenal Volcano (Google it, pretty awesome).

20200529_143118.jpg
 
Joined
Feb 27, 2019
Messages
18
Location
Venezuela
These past few days I've had the chance to use the BJ40 around the farm, using it and deciding what needs done asap and what can wait for later.
To date, we're having the Shackle Hanger/Perch and the plate that attaches to the chassis CNC cut and bent out of 4.7mm steel. It seems they were originally aprox. 4mm so they should hold up like stock, hopefully for the next 30 years. They are not assymetric like the original ones, but will attach at the original attachment points so we don't have to drill new holes. Once we get these parts we can install the new leaf springs, shackles, bushings and oil shocks. (question: what is the general opinion on gas vs oil shocks here on MUD? my cousin decided on oil shocks which should give a softer ride, although wont last as long as gas shocks, to our understanding.)

Additionally to the shackle hanger, new running board supports and battery tray are being CNC cut and bent. I'll post pictures when they're done later this week.

Plate_Perch.png


Additionally, we placed an order on a complete tub made here in Costa Rica. They are very nicely made! The people who make it are very knowledgeable about US vs. Costa Rican specs (for ex: US-spec has heater, and roll bar attachment points, plus narrower bench seats) Additionally, we're purchasing new doors plates (all 4), new running boards which include a long support underneath, as well as an upper ambulance door support (the one that attaches to the top). whole Tub should be finished in aprox. 4 weeks.

20200611_125046.jpg

20200611_125610.jpg


Did I mention we removed the top? Looks and drives awesome like this! Perfect for the farm. Mechanically, the cruiser feels fine. Gearbox works nicely, doesn't kick out of gears. These Costa Rican BJs came with automatic locking hubs, which I'm not 100% how they function or engage but 4H and 4L work like a charm. As I mentioned earlier, Costa Rican annual inspections (RITEVE) sure help keep these cruisers in working conditions.

WhatsApp Image 2020-06-16 at 11.49.26 AM.jpeg


Today we sent out the Cruiser to a workshop and we're having the following done:
1. new clutch assembly and gaskets
2. General inspection
3. new filters and fluids everywhere.
4. New battery and wires
5. wheels alignment
6. new tail lights, connect front turn lights (not Original or OEM but will work for now)
7. new belt

Is there anything else we should be inspecting? This vehicle spent ~ 1 year without much use, odometer only changed ~800km from 2018 to 2020. The original B engine runs nicely, although we do want to have injectors and the fuel pump inspected.
 
Joined
Feb 27, 2019
Messages
18
Location
Venezuela
Cool adventure. So do you live in Costa Rica or did you get stuck there during Qurantine?

Who makes the tubs? Would it be a guy named Paul Pilgrim?

Hi Longhunter. A bit of both, family and I were here when the quarantine happened, staying at our grandparents house. We live in the US but decided to stay here until pandemic settles. My cousin and I purchased the Cruiser to rebuild throughout the quarantine. We didn't have much to do here, so now we have this project which is our second 40 we build.

Tubs are made by SEQSA, a guy called Sergio. Lots of parts, decently priced here in CR.

Update #3:
The Cruiser is in a shop, getting mechanical inspections and some replacements of things we have: New clutch and plates, suspension is getting replaced with the Spring Hangers we had built from 4.7mm steel. Also added a new tank float, which is the only thing from the cluster that doesn't work (big win!). Some we win, some we lose. PO had added some new seat covers. It looks decent, but what they really did was to reuse the frame and 40-year-old foam, add new upholstery, and voila! Now we're having to disassemble everything... fix the frames (some rust), clean and paint, plus new foam and possibly new covers throughout. People here do like to cut corners.... Also, the front passenger's seat and possibly the driver's seat are missing the rear plates so we've have those manufactured here.

Here are some pics:

20200619_131801.jpg

20200619_115628.jpg

20200617_151852.jpg


Found this really cool Safari 70 series long van on the streets. Funny cars around everywhere.

20200619_121734.jpg
 
Joined
Feb 27, 2019
Messages
18
Location
Venezuela
Update!

The rear leaf spring hanger/ perches fit correctly! With every custom made part, there's always a doubt whether it will fit as intended or not. I designed the part in Onshape, had the various components built locally including sheet metal and the cylinder. A local shop soldered the entire thing for us and the car shop is in the process of replacing the entire suspension, including the perches. Here's the result. We're pretty happy, it is overbuilt, as it is 4.7mm steel. We intended to use the original holes, but I guess the car shop didn't get the memo. They put in lots of bolts. The part is raw and unpainted, but since we need to dissassemble to sandblast the chassis we'll prime and paint then.


20200625_124809.jpg


Most of our time we're spending repairing the bench seats. Unfortunately, the PO put some nice seat covers over old foam and rusted seats. As we don't want to follow in his foot steps we're building new bench seats and reusing hinges and the pop-out legs. We met a nice muffler maker guy who has the experience to bend the 1'' steel tubes. The guy usually builds roof racks and other accessories, as well as exhausts. The result was very nice, although he doesn't want to solder the parts together. The guys who made the perch for us are rebuilding the seats using the new tubing. Regarding the seat panels, new panels will be made for all seats, a total of ~6 panels. Still need to take apart the drivers seat, but the front passenger seat is in great condition after disassembly and rust removal.

20200626_115428.jpg

BJ40seat.png

.
Overall, we expect the seats to last some 20 more years. Would rather make sure things are well built, primed and painted than tackle them in the future. We also picked up our door panels, new running boards, upper ambulance door support, and roof cap frame. All of these were sent to the body shop for them to take apart the doors and install these new panels.

As I mentioned earlier, we're having the new tub built. When we picked up the panels we got to see the progress and should be ready in ~3 weeks or so we hope. In case anyone is interested, they have a brand new complete tub for a Troopy ready for delivery.

20200624_170202 (1).jpg


And as always, there's some interesting cruisers around this country. Lots of them with various modifications, including tow truck. We saw one of these speed up a hill so we imagine it didn't have the original B engine in there... Still, looks awesome.

20200624_141457.jpg
 
Joined
Feb 27, 2019
Messages
18
Location
Venezuela
We need some advice on the process to replace the door wing vent frame. As we took apart both of our doors, the frame was rusted on both doors towards the bottom. It's easy to assume water bypasses the weatherstrip and settles in the frame, rotting away. What's the best way to fix these? replace? rebuild? does anyone make new ones? We're asking around town, trying to figure out which is the best solution.

20200620_124355.jpg


20200621_124327.jpg


We got a tip from someone suggesting we visit this store called Choyca. We weren't sure what we would find other than that he sold Land Cruiser parts. Luckily for us, it ended up being the place to go buy whatever used parts we needed for our Cruiser. Everything impeccably organized. great people and good prices too. Unlucky for us, the vent frames they had were all rusted as well. We bought some random parts, and the rear vent glass, as well as one our rear side glass to replace a broken one. These are original TEQ glass, so now every glass we have for the cruiser is original ~1970's. They all have their markings and completely match.

20200625_102627 (1).jpg


20200625_103944.jpg

20200625_172209.jpg
 
Joined
Jun 14, 2020
Messages
2
Location
El Salvador, TX
We need some advice on the process to replace the door wing vent frame. As we took apart both of our doors, the frame was rusted on both doors towards the bottom. It's easy to assume water bypasses the weatherstrip and settles in the frame, rotting away. What's the best way to fix these? replace? rebuild? does anyone make new ones? We're asking around town, trying to figure out which is the best solution.

View attachment 2356753

View attachment 2356761

We got a tip from someone suggesting we visit this store called Choyca. We weren't sure what we would find other than that he sold Land Cruiser parts. Luckily for us, it ended up being the place to go buy whatever used parts we needed for our Cruiser. Everything impeccably organized. great people and good prices too. Unlucky for us, the vent frames they had were all rusted as well. We bought some random parts, and the rear vent glass, as well as one our rear side glass to replace a broken one. These are original TEQ glass, so now every glass we have for the cruiser is original ~1970's. They all have their markings and completely match.

View attachment 2356769

View attachment 2356771
View attachment 2356773
Update!

The rear leaf spring hanger/ perches fit correctly! With every custom made part, there's always a doubt whether it will fit as intended or not. I designed the part in Onshape, had the various components built locally including sheet metal and the cylinder. A local shop soldered the entire thing for us and the car shop is in the process of replacing the entire suspension, including the perches. Here's the result. We're pretty happy, it is overbuilt, as it is 4.7mm steel. We intended to use the original holes, but I guess the car shop didn't get the memo. They put in lots of bolts. The part is raw and unpainted, but since we need to dissassemble to sandblast the chassis we'll prime and paint then.


View attachment 2356723

Most of our time we're spending repairing the bench seats. Unfortunately, the PO put some nice seat covers over old foam and rusted seats. As we don't want to follow in his foot steps we're building new bench seats and reusing hinges and the pop-out legs. We met a nice muffler maker guy who has the experience to bend the 1'' steel tubes. The guy usually builds roof racks and other accessories, as well as exhausts. The result was very nice, although he doesn't want to solder the parts together. The guys who made the perch for us are rebuilding the seats using the new tubing. Regarding the seat panels, new panels will be made for all seats, a total of ~6 panels. Still need to take apart the drivers seat, but the front passenger seat is in great condition after disassembly and rust removal.

View attachment 2356727
View attachment 2356733
.
Overall, we expect the seats to last some 20 more years. Would rather make sure things are well built, primed and painted than tackle them in the future. We also picked up our door panels, new running boards, upper ambulance door support, and roof cap frame. All of these were sent to the body shop for them to take apart the doors and install these new panels.

As I mentioned earlier, we're having the new tub built. When we picked up the panels we got to see the progress and should be ready in ~3 weeks or so we hope. In case anyone is interested, they have a brand new complete tub for a Troopy ready for delivery.

View attachment 2356741

And as always, there's some interesting cruisers around this country. Lots of them with various modifications, including tow truck. We saw one of these speed up a hill so we imagine it didn't have the original B engine in there... Still, looks awesome.

View attachment 2356744
 

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