Frankenstein J40 (1 Viewer)

Joined
Feb 7, 2019
Messages
110
Location
Down Under
G'Day All from North Queensland - Australia... I thought it is about time I posted my kind of recent purchase up here as I've been a long time reader but without much to contribute really. I had been on the lookout for a custom dual cab 40 series for about eight years, when I came across a post on Facebook about six months ago that answered all of my dreams. I had looked at quite a few Troopies with the idea of cutting them down and converting to a dual cab, and a couple of shorties that I thought about mounting on an 80 series chassis, or even two fj45 LWB utes to turn into one, but the right one never turned up. I also nearly purchased an Arkana Dual Cab that was listed for sale in Perth, but as I am on the other side of Australia and up in the North it was just too expensive and too far to purchase sight unseen. I wanted to custom build something like a Brazilian Dual Cab Toyota Bandeirante, or the 'Phantom' custom 40 that was on Mud a few years ago, or the custom dual cab 40 that another Aussie was doing with a V8 from a 79 (can't remember if I saw it on here or Facebook?). To be honest, I never thought I would find a custom dual cab like I wanted, until at about 11pm in January when I stumbled across 'Frankenstein J40' (well that's what we've named him anyway)...

So here he is:

2016691

He's a 1975 shorty body which has had a third door custom built and rear seats put in. He is sitting on a 1985 HJ75 Troopy chassis which has been extended by 300mm, and has an imported 14BT up front. He also has a 60 series power steering, air-conditioning, Warn Winch and rear ARB locker. When I bought him he was overheating and the previous owner said he had cooked the engine towing a caravan at 120km/h. The PO said he had replaced the head gasket, but the engine was still overheating and suspected a cracked head. The PO had also shimmed the waste gate and was making 20PSI in boost, and told me he had turned up the fuel to max. I suspect he also had a go at advancing the timing because I later found out that IP timing was 1.88 after TDC.

Since buying him I have replaced the head myself (had the head re manufactured by a local cylinder head company - although I now suspect this wasn't the original issue), got all of the modifications passed because nothing had ever been through engineering (had to do work to various parts to meet engineering standards, but all good now - Woo Hoo!), painted him myself, replaced water pump, new fan clutch, all new cooling system hoses, new thermostat, radiator rodded and flushed (25% blockage), new turbo actuator, reconditioned injectors, welded up a crack in the air intake manifold, new gaskets including oil cooler (which was completely missing two bolts?!?), new dual boost/EGT and dual Water temp and Oil pressure gauges, new radio, lots of wiring work (had been severely chewed out by rats, but at least I know how to do a bit of 12Volt work now), new interior, new lights, fixed the air-con, built a tray, replaced seats and seat belts, overhead console with a new UHF radio, fabbed up a snorkel... probably a few other things, but you get the point.

After finally getting him registered (about a month ago) I have had a few dramas with the engine that I have been slowly working on. Basically, the first time I took him out with the new head and head gasket in, he overheated after about 20 minutes (temperature went up to 100 Degrees and I stopped and waited to cool before driving slowly back home). The same sort of pattern started to emerge where I would drive for about 15-20 minutes before the temperature would suddenly shoot up. I could also hear bubbles in the coolant overflow reservoir after shutting down. I also noticed that any speeds over 70 and it would happen quicker. I suspected the higher boost was playing a role, but even when I drove very conservatively the same issue happened. I tried a few different things including all of the cooling system work I mentioned above, but to no avail. I also noticed that just before the overheating occurred the engine temp would drop by about 10-20 degrees and then suddenly shoot up. I was also having to replace coolant but had no obvious leaks, so I turned the coolant overflow tube to the side so I would see if any coolant was coming out, and sure enough after almost exactly 20 minutes it started spraying out, literally spraying out. Obviously, this made me think of head gasket/cracked head, but the head was crack tested and I only just replaced the head gasket. I had also never heard of coolant coming out overflow tank so aggressively. Then, after going over the manual for the 14B, it mentioned injection pump timing can cause overheating issues, so I took it to the cylinder head conditioning company for the mechanic to have a look at.

The mechanic said that the timing was way too far advanced (1.88 after TDC) and he reduced it back to 1mm after TDC. After getting Frankenstein back he was a different truck. Much less vibration in the engine, better idle, just sounded and felt like a different engine. But, most importantly of all, no overheating or coolant being pushed out. I suspect this was the issue all along (way too far advanced timing, too much boost without an intercooler, fuel turned up to max). After speaking to a local diesel injection repairer he mentioned removing the Automatic Cold Start device from the pump as a small part can break off and destroy the pump, and we really don't need it up here in North Queensland. An added benefit is acceleration is much smoother without it. I had to readjust the timing again as removing the ACSD knocked back the timing and had a heap of smoke on start-up, but that’s all fixed now. Also installed a new Mamba wastegate actuator with adjustable springs and brought the boost back to a more reasonable 12PSI and reduced the max fuel screw by one full turn. On the highway water temp sits at about 78-80 degrees with aircon going and EGTs about 320-350. Around town it sits at approximately 76-78 degrees with EGTs around 230ish. Oil pressure is also well within specs according to the repair manual. I have done a couple of mountains close by and temps increase to about 87-90 which I'm not so excited about, but I think it is acceptable and the good thing is that he isn't pushing coolant like before. I definitely have more work ahead in terms of getting fuel and boost levels right and probably injection timing (I have no idea if the PO messed around inside the IP with the Compensator (pin rotation/shims/spring tension etc...) but as it is pretty tight to get to I hope not... One of the biggest issues I have had is that no one knows 14BTs in Australia - even Toyota (imported engine) and I can't locate a manual specifically for a 14BT (I have managed to locate pretty much every other engine manual) so when I was rebuilding the head I used a 14B manual. I have since bought a manual for a Yamaha ME372sti, which was a marinized turbo version of the 14B which has some extra information I was missing. For example, the IP timing is listed at 1.19 instead of a 14B which is 1.31-1.37. It would be awesome to find an actual Toyota repair manual specifically for a 14BT, but that might take some more searching.

Anyway, regardless of the hiccoughs I've had so far I am absolutely over the moon with him. I've only managed to do a few tracks close to home, but he has handled everything with ease so far. Hopefully, after I build a bit more trust in the engine and see how it goes over the coming months, I would like to do a few trips around North Queensland with a trip to the cape (Cape York) on the cards once everything is running smoothly. Hope to be more active now that I have something to post about, and now that I've got a bit more experience on a 40.

P.s. I can't drive anywhere without being barrelled up by someone wanting to know all about Frankenstein/takes photos. Literally, every day I have at least one person come and ask about him, which I don't mind one bit. :)

Cheers Kit
 
Joined
Feb 7, 2019
Messages
110
Location
Down Under
What a beautiful custom rig. Calling it a "Frankenstein" is disrespectful to such good workmanship!
Depends which way you look at it I guess... Frankenstein because that's what he is - a mix of so many parts/vehicles lovingly created... not to mention a monster of a 40! I also agree he is a beautiful custom rig 😉 cheers mate
 
Joined
Feb 7, 2019
Messages
110
Location
Down Under
A couple of changes I've made recently that might be of interest to someone.

Firstly, I fabricated a new air intake assembly out of stainless steel flat bar (12mm for flange with 3" hole laser cut) + 3" stainless tube which utilises the factory crossover turbo manifold, which I then routed with 2.5" tubes down the left-hand-side engine bay to a front mount intercooler. I wanted something that didn't interfere too much with the flow of air, so I chose an intercooler that is 550x140x70mm in size. It fits quite well below the grill and doesn't detract too much from the look I feel + it gets good airflow and doesn't get in the way of the radiator too much. I also fabricated a cover out of stainless steel mesh to protect it from rocks.
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Frank4.jpg

Frank2.jpg

Frank3.jpg


Next, I fabricated a dog box, spare wheel carrier, lockable tool box and highlift jack/shovel/recovery tracks holder as you can see in the photos below.

Frank7.jpg


And I also made an in-cab winch switch for the Warn and changed the HID spotties to LED ones (huge improvement although I had some issues with fuses blowing and voltage drop which I have since fixed).

Cheers

Kit
 
Joined
Feb 7, 2019
Messages
110
Location
Down Under
Cheers mate, He's slowly getting there. I'll be replacing my leaf springs with parabolics in a couple of weeks which should be interesting.
 

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