Feb 2009 ROTM: HJ47

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Dec 9, 2006
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Well, February creeped up really fast, and I realize, hey! - it's my turn for ROTM. It's dark outside now, so I will wait until tomorrow to take some current pictures. Meanwhile, those of you unfamiliar with my rig might want to take a look at the build thread, found in my sig line below. Meanwhile, here's a picture from when I was at Devil's Tower, WY:
at Devil's Tower WY.JPG
 
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well folks, I've got the flu, or maybe the bubonic plague, so I've slowed down a bit. I haven't made it out to the driveway to take those pictures yet.

Well, I guess I can tell you all a little bit about my truck:

-I bought it off EBay Australia from a fellow who lied through his teeth, surprise, surprise, and ended up landing the HJ47 back on Vancouver Island for a total of about $11,000. It looked alright at first, but closer inspection revealed 1/2" or kryptonite-like roofing patching compound in the floors, a lot of white smoke when I got it running, and a wring loom that was a total mess. So, instead of doing the sane thing and trying to sell it, I decided to rip it completely apart. What i found, was hardly a truck, as the seller put it, that had "no beach, no bondo, no rust"
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The more I looked into things, the worse the truck's condition proved to be. Fortunately, I had naiveté on my side, and decided to take it on, even though i had no idea what i was doing. The front cowling proved to have terminal rust in a number of areas, so this lead to one of the major early decisions with my rig - to convert it to LHD by obtaining a better cowling/firewall, which I happened to be very fortunate to locate in the local area.

Here's some more pictures of the bodywork scene as I started out. The chassis was the only blessing, literally the only part of the truck in good condition with only a loose spring hanger to deal with. I was very thankful for that, as i've since seen frames in much worse condition.
Chassis rear section-small.jpg
cab rusty corner2-small.jpg
cab rusty corner-small.jpg
 
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So began 2 years of work, semi-full time, 7-days a week, and an outlay of some $40,000 in parts and materials. i learned to weld, to do electrical, body work, and rebuilt many parts. I know my truck inside and out.
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Boy, the memories that come rushing back, some painful, some joyous, as I flip back through the photos of the myriad steps in the rebuild. That was a chunk of my life alright! It seems a little surreal looking back at it now.
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The engine that came with the truck turned out to be thrashed, and in need of a full rebuild- again very luckily I came across a 2H in a local wrecking yard for $2000, out of a 1986 HJ60, with 315,000km on the clock. This engine has proved to be in fine shape.

In summary then, this is what I ended up with after all that time, expense and effort:

-LHD HJ47, 12v.
-power steering, with a 2000 Bandeirante gear box, modified rad., and oversise TRE's and rods, with the tie rod over the axle configuration.
-4 wheel disc brakes, 4Runner calipers all around, 80 series booster and master w. 1" bore, and proportioning valve.
-rear Full Floating axle, 8-bolt
-aprons customized to mount 70 series turn signals
-near new pto winch on the front, from a JDM HJ61
-factory fog lights and switch
-factory tachometer custom fit to dash
-factory pintle hitch
-H41 transmission with split case (rebuilt completely) and parking brake (all new) mounted on case.
-diesel 2H without EDIC system- uses simpler VSV-controlled set up, and custom throttle damper (from a Mazda 323) adapted on.
-60 series steering column adapted to fit, with significant dash customization. This gives me a collapsible column, and switches mounted on the column instead of the dash.
-60 series seats.
-new OME Dakar springs, and SprungArt greasable shackles, new OME shocks of course and steering damper.
-new glass front and rear, new fender and bib. All rust cut out and new metal welded in, as close to stock as I could manage. Tub is coated underneath and in floor pan with SEM truck bed liner. Epoxy primer underneath.
-all new weatherstripping and rubber everywhere. If I could obtain it OEM, I got it.

I think I have a pretty unique truck, and it certainly garners it's share of attention whenever I take it out on the road. A lot of people seem very happy to see it - like it makes their day! It makes my day to drive it - I'm very happy with how it came out. I think my truck looks 95% stock, though it's actually quite customized - only a LC nut would notice the differences I think.

I drove the truck across the continent shortly after completing the rebuild, and with a ton loaded on, returned 17.5 mpg at an average driving speed of 60 mp/h. That was pretty good I thought.

Many people around here in MA see my truck and are so unused to seeing a 40 series in long wheel base configuration that they ask me if I cut up a short wheel base to make my truck. Also, the aluminum tray on the back gets a lot of questions and interest.

It's a good truck!
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Last Set - any comments?

I'd like to thank my fellow 'Mud members who gave me wise counsel and encouragement through the build of Henry James the 47th. It was quite a process, and one I'm not sure I will ever repeat in my life. I plan to keep this truck a long time. Maybe it will get a 12H'T install one day, maybe not.

:cheers:

:steer:
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Awl_TEQ

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x2

A lesser man would have thrown in the towel before tackling all those "lessons learned" (I know I would have!). You sure made lemonade from that lemon - to say that rig was miss-represented when you bought it is an understatement!!

Well done - love that blue paint. :clap::clap:
 
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Thanks for the props gentlemen! There were a few points along the course of that build where I felt like throwing in the towel - or killing the p.o.. The moment when I found that the original engine was toast, after having spent so much time and money, well, that was close to a death blow. The frustrations with wiring, endless bodywork and welding, and the 6 month hassle with 4x4Labs.

I couldn't have done the build without the generosity and help from John at Radd Cruisers. He lent me one of his MIG welders for over a year, suffered through innumerable questions, let me scavenge his parts trucks. Kudos to him.

I was under a lot of time pressure towards the end of that build - it really came down to a crunch but I managed to get through, sanity barely intact. The truck hasn't let me down yet, and I feel security in knowing that if there is a problem, the odds are better than 95% I will be able to diagnose and repair it. That is a whole lot better place to be in than before I started the build.

:beer::beer:
 

Chamba

 
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High and dry in the desert, dancing between hemisp
...and when the Mass. rust gods come to visit your rig, you will know how to cut out the cancer and re-build...:grinpimp:

Still one of the greatest build threads on Mud.

Cheers,

Josh

BTW, I can do ROTM for March if you guys want. I was home for the month of Jan, and took a few more snaps of Patches.
 
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Henry, you are only 65 miles from where Yankee Toys does their Fall Gathering, Oct 2-4. We have easy trails that I have taken my HJ on with no damage, but even if you dont want to wheel it, come up and school the rest of us New England HJ owners (8). We'd love to see your truck in person.
 

Awl_TEQ

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Sorry, I didn't mean to hijack. I just thoguht this would be a good place to offer.

Cheers,

Josh
No Josh, I meant I was hijacking by bringing up your truck in someone elses......oh crap - there I go again.......:eek:
 
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Well done. You must be a very determined person that is for sure. If my rig looked like that, I definitely would have dumped it in the waste container out back by now and saved myself a lot of stress. Hats off to you.
 
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Well done. You must be a very determined person that is for sure. If my rig looked like that, I definitely would have dumped it in the waste container out back by now and saved myself a lot of stress. Hats off to you.
Yes. The wise advice is for would-be restorers is: start with the best possible vehicle. I realized when I bought it that it would need 'some work' - and I was led by the seller to believe that it was in much better condition than it proved to be. It would have saved me a lot of money to have flown to Australia to look at it beforehand. Also, I made the assumption, despite having visited Australia as a younger man, that because most of the country seemed to be dry or desert, that the rust wouldn't be much of a concern, forgetting that the vast majority of people there live along the coasts, and trucks such as these are often taken on the beach. I did ask the seller directly about such issues, but he just bald-faced lied. I took a chance, and it bit me a little harder than my worse-case scenario.

All that said, the rebuild amounted to a great learning opportunity, and has allowed me to know my truck inside and out, and that is worth a lot. I guess one could call the price of eduction a little high, and time will tell whether it was a good bargain. That was one of my goals for owning a truck like this - to have something I could understand and fix, unlike most of the past vehicles I had owned. Something without computer modules or other mysterious black boxes.

Hopefully this truck will run down the road a good long time yet.

looking forward to meeting other 40 series owners here in the N.E. I've only seen one 40 series on the road so far, and a couple of dead ones in yards. There's a couple of 60 series running around, otherwise LC's are a little thin on the ground.
 

Chamba

 
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Aussies have a significantly different definition of 'well-cared for' and 'zero rust' than Americans/Canadians. The Aussie 'well-cared for' seems to mean something more akin to 'I've never thrown bowling balls at it, and I usually wash it after I sink it in the surf.'

How are you keeping the rust gods at bay in Mass? Are you keeping it sprayed with fish oil? I would be too scared to drive such a great rig in Mass- I think that is why you don't see too many...all the nice ones are up on blocks 8 months of the year.

Cheers,

Josh
 
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I only drive the truck occasionally. I'm not putting any fish oil on it.

I realize that MA is a bit of a harsh and corrosive diving environment in the winter, however I am putting some faith in BuckRouseau's threads, where he states that after a couple of years of daily driving on salted gravel roads, he's had zero problems. He used epoxy primer and SEM truck bed liner extensively, and so did I. We'll see what happens. My flatbed, being aluminum, is of little concern. The access I have to the chassis for power washing and inspection access is really good, so I plan mostly to use the truck sparingly, keep it clean, and look after any areas where I see problems developing ASAP.

My trucks not a trailer queen - I intend to use it for work, and if it gets scratched and dented, that's fine. It's an old and crude truck, not a zillion dollar Bugatti that needs babying. That said, by next winter I hope to be able to have something else to drive in the winter, some little front wheel drive econo box. Maybe a Subaru - seems that they are the National vehicle of New England.
 
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