FJ40- Three on the Tree vs 4 speed on the ground (1 Viewer)

Joined
May 6, 2020
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3
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Iowa
I am looking to buy an FJ40 soon and was wondering if I should look for a three on the tree or the four speed. I personally like the shifter on the floor, but is the three more valuable or will it be more valuable soon?

Also with this, could a three speed even get on the highway, and if so what speed?

Please let me know your opinion on the FJ40 transmission choices

Thanks!
 

Jdc1

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Sep 9, 2013
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Akron, OH
I am looking to buy an FJ40 soon and was wondering if I should look for a three on the tree or the four speed. I personally like the shifter on the floor, but is the three more valuable or will it be more valuable soon?

Also with this, could a three speed even get on the highway, and if so what speed?

Please let me know your opinion on the FJ40 transmission choices

Thanks!
I’ve done 80mph with an F and three on the tree. It didn’t like it but I wanted to see if it was possible. 4 speed and 3 speed have the same final drive ratio at 1:1.
 
Joined
Jun 16, 2020
Messages
313
Location
Raleigh, North Carolina
I am looking to buy an FJ40 soon and was wondering if I should look for a three on the tree or the four speed. I personally like the shifter on the floor, but is the three more valuable or will it be more valuable soon?

Also with this, could a three speed even get on the highway, and if so what speed?

Please let me know your opinion on the FJ40 transmission choices

Thanks!
Also noticed your bio said 16. Awesome to have another youngster on here. Thought I was the youngest one here haha
Edit: the 40 is extremely rough. If it’s your daily, make sure it is what you want, because it is a rough ride. A lot different than a 100 series. Pretty much the only comfort options is some foam on the seat and possibly power steering, so keep that in mind. I’m 17 and daily my 40 but it’s in no way a good road car. I usually keep it off highways and limit it to 50-55 max.
 
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Mtntopper

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Vail, CO
I am looking to buy an FJ40 soon and was wondering if I should look for a three on the tree or the four speed. I personally like the shifter on the floor, but is the three more valuable or will it be more valuable soon?

Also with this, could a three speed even get on the highway, and if so what speed?

Please let me know your opinion on the FJ40 transmission choices

Thanks!
I wanted a floor shift when I was buying my 40, I ended up with a column shift and now I really love it. Two things stand out re column shift, 1: the clear floor is nice to scoot your sweety over; 2: the throw on the shifter is short and light weight, feels refined compared to the floor shifter.
Also, its been mentioned already, but the three and four speed boxes have the same top gear ratio, no highway advantage to either one.
 
Joined
Jun 16, 2020
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Raleigh, North Carolina
I wanted a floor shift when I was buying my 40, I ended up with a column shift and now I really love it. Two things stand out re column shift, 1: the clear floor is nice to scoot your sweety over; 2: the throw on the shifter is short and light weight, feels refined compared to the floor shifter.
Also, its been mentioned already, but the three and four speed boxes have the same top gear ratio, no highway advantage to either one.
Yea I have to agree a little on this one. At times, selecting gears on the 4 speed is a shot in the dark. It’s pretty lose. It’s more traditional of a manual but can be a little weird to get used to, I guess it’s the same with the 3 speed too. (3 speed probably more refined but something to get used to)
 
Joined
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Location
Texas
I have a 3 on the tree as well. Top speed i felt okay to try and drive was 80mph like @Jdc1 . Im sure it could have gone faster but why risk it. lol.

Buy whatever land cruiser you can get for the best deal. My dad has a 4-speed fj40 and I have been able to go up the same trails he can with his lower gearing. The lower 1st speed is better in certain situations tho. If you live in a very hilly city or town, taking off on a dead stop from the of a extremely steep hill would pose a challenge. You''ll definitely start rolling back if you don't ride the clutch on a 3-speed where on a 4 speed the gearing should still be low enough to take off normally..

For me, encountering an extremely steep hill on 2-wheel drive is rare so I don't have to worry about it. Normal inclines i don't have an issue. Also, a "problem" with a 3 speed is you can't shift downward from 2nd to 1st without either coming to complete stop or double clutching. It sounds like a pain, but you get use to it. A 4-speed you can run through all the gears without issue. I did buy a 4-speed transmission and have it off to the side in plans in swapping it in one day. Unsure if ill ever do it as my 3-speed is fun and I do like the extra room on the floor.

I really wish they made a 4-speed column shift adapter.

Edit: as in terms of value. the 4-speed floor shift seems to have more value. You can often find people selling their old 3-speed transmissions cheap for less than $100. A 4-speed goes from $250-400 on here. The only "rare" parts on a 3-speed column shifts is the actual shift linkages and column shiftier.
 
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Joined
Apr 21, 2005
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Why the top speed statements when final gear is the same ratio for three speed and four speed. Remove column shift in 68 with in a year of buying it. Installed a floor shift then later a four speed floor shift. Three speed floor shift was used for a short time in the US. Started collecting parts to go back to a three speed column shift. Before I did that bought a 70 with column shift. While the column shift are fun to drive think for resale a four speed would appeal to more people. Column shifts are not for everyone. Requires skills to drive. Double clutching to get from second gear to first without grinding gears takes practice.
 
Joined
Mar 16, 2021
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Location
Riverton, Wyoming
I am looking to buy an FJ40 soon and was wondering if I should look for a three on the tree or the four speed. I personally like the shifter on the floor, but is the three more valuable or will it be more valuable soon?

Also with this, could a three speed even get on the highway, and if so what speed?

Please let me know your opinion on the FJ40 transmission choices

Thanks!
I have a 4 speed in my 1978 and have been happy with it other than it not being a 5 speed I was always looking for another gear. I have never liked 3 speeds on the column I had a early Ford Bronco and it was terrible. I also took drivers ed and one of the cars was also a Ford with a 3 speed on the column that was terrible, may have been because they were both Fords.

I have been the only owner of my FJ40 and never had any issues with the 4 speed and was the best manual I have had in any of my trucks with a manual.

I bought the FJ40 new when I was 20 years old and abused it all the time and took everything I could give it. But it can also be a challenge to drive on the highway especially in winter weather you will be in the ditch very quickly. Because of the way the steering is designed you have to stay on top of it all the time you can not text and drive a FJ.

Get what ever you want and are comfortable driving and makes you happy. Be careful and have fun driving a FJ40.
 

Mtntopper

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I have a 4 speed in my 1978 and have been happy with it other than it not being a 5 speed I was always looking for another gear. I have never liked 3 speeds on the column I had a early Ford Bronco and it was terrible. I also took drivers ed and one of the cars was also a Ford with a 3 speed on the column that was terrible, may have been because they were both Fords.

I have been the only owner of my FJ40 and never had any issues with the 4 speed and was the best manual I have had in any of my trucks with a manual.

I bought the FJ40 new when I was 20 years old and abused it all the time and took everything I could give it. But it can also be a challenge to drive on the highway especially in winter weather you will be in the ditch very quickly. Because of the way the steering is designed you have to stay on top of it all the time you can not text and drive a FJ.

Get what ever you want and are comfortable driving and makes you happy. Be careful and have fun driving a FJ40.
I've driven a Ford truck with a column shift, it was a clumsy, gear grinding mess. The column shift on the FJ40 is a thing of precision and beauty.
Also, wondering with the amount of people that have converted away from the column shift if that has actually helped increase the value of the column shift as there are fewer available.
 

Biscuit

Mars Rover Driver Emeritus
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Having converted my 1974 (10/73 build date) which came with the J30 as 3 on the floor to a later H42 4 on the floor, I am much happier with the 4 speed. The gearing just seems right for the FJ40. From feel and sound you know when to up shift and the next gear is right where it should be for power and rpm.

In short, I am a big fan of the H42. It was great when I took my 40 on a 1000 mile road trip from Los Angeles to Denver.

One other thing to consider with the 3 on the tree is if the transfercase is controlled by a floor lever or the vacuum system. The vacuum shift system is fine, but needs to be checked that is is reliably functioning. I had a friend relying on engine braking coming down a hill (he lost his brakes earlier that trip, and his parking brake was busted) and the vacuum system decided to kick out of 4WD and into neutral. Ended up rolling the truck down the side of a hill. Everyone walked away (not to say there wasn't an ER visit). But something to consider. Maintenance on the lever is a bit more intuitive.

4 on the floor will have the t-case lever. But if it is a factory 4 speed, it will likely have the higher 4LO gearing.


As for value I'm guessing it will have to do with who it would be valuable to. Here on Mud an H41 4 speed with the lower first gear might be more valuable. For non-Mudders the column shift could be more valuable.
 

Mtntopper

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Having converted my 1974 (10/73 build date) which came with the J30 as 3 on the floor to a later H42 4 on the floor, I am much happier with the 4 speed. The gearing just seems right for the FJ40. From feel and sound you know when to up shift and the next gear is right where it should be for power and rpm.

In short, I am a big fan of the H42. It was great when I took my 40 on a 1000 mile road trip from Los Angeles to Denver.

One other thing to consider with the 3 on the tree is if the transfercase is controlled by a floor lever or the vacuum system. The vacuum shift system is fine, but needs to be checked that is is reliably functioning. I had a friend relying on engine braking coming down a hill (he lost his brakes earlier that trip, and his parking brake was busted) and the vacuum system decided to kick out of 4WD and into neutral. Ended up rolling the truck down the side of a hill. Everyone walked away (not to say there wasn't an ER visit). But something to consider. Maintenance on the lever is a bit more intuitive.

4 on the floor will have the t-case lever. But if it is a factory 4 speed, it will likely have the higher 4LO gearing.


As for value I'm guessing it will have to do with who it would be valuable to. Here on Mud an H41 4 speed with the lower first gear might be more valuable. For non-Mudders the column shift could be more valuable.
There is a shift lever on the dash for "H," "N," and "L" with a direct linkage, no vacuum switches in that part of the system. Not sure how your buddy's car slipped out of gear but the vacuum switch only engages "4WD" or "2WD," not "N." Also, I believe the sleeve in the transfer case that slides to engage "4WD" is magnetized on the ends so it holds its position if the diaphragm fails.
 
Joined
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I have a 68 that was converted to 3 on the floor. I kind of want to take it back to 3 on the tree just for novelty/rarity/restoration of it. Part of me also wants to do a 4 speed and power steering and everything else though too.
 

Biscuit

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There is a shift lever on the dash for "H," "N," and "L" with a direct linkage, no vacuum switches in that part of the system. Not sure how your buddy's car slipped out of gear but the vacuum switch only engages "4WD" or "2WD," not "N." Also, I believe the sleeve in the transfer case that slides to engage "4WD" is magnetized on the ends so it holds its position if the diaphragm fails.
I must have forgot which of the shift (Hi-Lo vs 2WD-4WD) failed (it was nearly 20 years ago now). Regardless it got disengaged somehow.

I'm partial to mechanical linkages...preferably with as few links as possible between the lever and what is being actuated.
 

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