Builds Hawkdriver’s 1975 FJ40 Refurb Thread

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Holy schnikies! There are enough “build threads” on this section that the subject should probably have its own subforum.

This factor alone has been a main reason that I’ve hesitated to start my own thread, ever since the ol 40 was parked and this project began some 3+ years ago. Among the other factors are simply that I knew it was going to be a loooong drawn out process, and I wasn’t fully committed to “starting” this project until sometime down the road when free time and funds would be more available. And so here we are.

I hope to not bore you too terribly (I can get rather long in the tooth at times), but if you’ve got time to peruse yet another FJ40 project then read on.

First and foremost: This is not a “restoration” or a “restomod” or even a “build” thread. It’s a rebuild or refurb thread. This truck worked perfectly fine for the near 10 years I drove it, before the frame rotted itself completely through rendering it un-trailworthy. I simply intend to bring it back to life and bring that classic Toyota trail riding enjoyment back to the family, along with a renewed body & paint and some practical mechanical reconditioning along the way.

Secondly: I do intend to accomplish this with the most budget minded approach possible. So it will be interesting to see just how “budget” this endeavor can really be. It’s all relative really, so who’s to say what budget means from one person to the next?

Last: I don’t suppose I’ll contribute a great deal to the overall collective of FJ40 & Land Cruiser knowledge that is organized here on Mud, or that of the worldwide knowledge base, but it’ll hopefully serve to help me keep this project organized/archived and to stay on track now that I’m gaining some momentum.

So cheers to days ahead and to the day this ol girl rides again!

A58AFDA2-71F3-45FC-BFBF-9F233DFBDA56.jpeg

Pic from Katemcy Rocks, Lone Star Land Cruisers Roundup, Texas, circa 2005.
 
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To get organized:

This post I would like to keep a running tally of the costs I've incurred during this project, and keeping it here at the front, where I can come back and edit it seems most relevant and most useful to readers.

Project Cost Estimation:

As of 10/5/2018:
$0 New Frame: Donated by Mr. B here in North Utah.
$225~ Sandblasting #1; Frame & Bumpers: Sharp's PC in Brigham City UT.
$130~ POR-15 (enough for most all of the chassis and bumpers): Amazon
-includes 2 quarts of semigloss paint, 1 quart of topcoat, 1 quart metal prep​

$50 Misc Paint Supplies: Lowes
$45 Frame Button Head Hardware: Fastenal
$30 Frame Angle Iron: Boman Kemp
$50 Untold numbers of cutoff wheels, welding wire, etc.
$400~ OME suspension bushings, 555 tie rod ends, OME U-bolts, Spring Pins: @cruiseroutfit
$930

Update 1/14/2019:

$160 Sandblasting #2; Axles, Leaf Springs, Steering Rods, Bumper Gussets, Brake Calipers, etc.
$197 Toyota Front Brake Rotors: Cruiser Outfitters
$120 Rear GM Brake Discs, custom cutout and shipped from @Poser at LCR4WD in Minnesota
$45 Rear GM Calipers: Autozone (core credit applied)
$86 Front Knuckle Rebuild Kit: Cruiser Outfitters
$28 New Hardware for the leaf spring shackles I built long ago: Nut & Bolt Supply Ogden
$23 Back Plate Eliminator for Front Disc Brake Shields: Cruiser Outfitters
$30~ Axle/Pinion Seals & Pinion Nuts: Cruiser Outfitters
$689
$930^
$1619 Running Total

$15 3 Moly EP Grease Cans: Autozone

Update 12/30/2019:
$262 Transmission Rebuild Kit: Cruiser Outfitters
$181 Transfer Case Rebuild Kit: Cruiser Outfitters

$1619^
$2077 Running Total

Update 1/13/2020:
$106 Sandblasting #3; Transmission/Transfer Case Assembly. Not sure why it cost so much compared to #2 ^.
$2183 Running Total
 
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A brief history, and how we even got to this place.

I picked this gem of a rebuilt forty up while stationed at Fort Hood Texas, in 2005. Being my second Cruiser I was fairly familiar with the good and the bad and what to look out for. After criss crossing Texas for months looking at ridiculously overpriced ($10K+) 40's that were usually in terrible condition, I found this one, in the thrifty nickle, no picture, just a phone #. When the fella rolled up in this thing and I started seeing all the mods it had and its overall exceptional condition I could not believe his asking price. Around $7500 I believe. I was blown away! I made the deal ASAP and after handing the dude the funds in cash (from the bank) I drove off into the sunset the next day! The following 10 years or so were the stuff of Land Cruiser family wheeling legend on trails from Texas to Alabama and eventually back home to Utah.

This truck had been rebuilt somewhere between 5-10 years prior to my acquisition of it, and it looked fantastic still. I'll give a list of it's mods later, but worthy of note is the fact that it features a Gozzard fiberglass tub, and this tub is solid. So at least that part has stayed rust free. Unfortunately, unapparent to me when I bought it, being somewhat dazzled by the rest of the overall condition of the thing, it had a frame that was on it's way out. As you'll see in the pictures of it's final dead state, after 10 more hard years of wheeling, it was completely shot.

The last "trail ride" the wife and I took it on was the 2014 Relic Run through Utah's San Rafael Swell. It was at the bottom of the canyon below Swasey's Cabin (shown here in the pic with the Jeep) that the frame spoke to me and said that if it lets me leave this place in one piece that I would promise to never risk it again, it was done... This, of course, is after I'd welded and stop drilled on the crack more than once and extended her life as long as possible, but it was over. Lo and behold, on this particular trip, that night, Mr. B, myself, and a few other rigs left camp to make a supply run to the Green River truck stop. Mr. B was behind me in the night convoy and through a conversation over the CB radios he came to learn of this rig's plight and recalled that he likely had a spare frame in his collection and offered it to me free of charge! What?!

Screen Shot 2018-10-04 at 11.59.24 PM.png

Screen Shot 2018-10-04 at 11.59.59 PM.png


The truck's last hurrah was a camping trip with my youngest son up to Willard Basin here in North Utah. It's more of a dirt road than a wheeling trail, but this was it's last and final outing.

Willard Basin.jpg


Willard Peak.jpg


And so it has sat. In my driveway. For the past 12-16 season changes. Waiting.

Eventually I made it out to old Mr. B's Cruiser World and after a few visits I had the body removed and finally was able to break the frame free of the donor truck. This frame came home over 2 years ago and I've pecked away at it a little here and a little there until recently, when I broke my ankle and was home bound for about 3 months when I kicked this project into high gear and started really going to town!

And so that is where we are. I'd like to see this thing driving again by Summer 2019. But it's a long road ahead.

Frame 1.jpg
 
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The decision to start this build thread was finally made after I started this other thread here in the 40 section: Frame Boxing/Reinforcing Without Kit Pics? You can find a lot more pics of the details of the frame in that thread, but I'll summarize here. And no, my query for finding some examples of doing what I titled the thread did not produce any such examples. And so I pioneered it as best as I could with the means that I've got.

I don't want to get too far ahead of myself on the timeline, but here's a reference for the old frame's condition, and where I'm at today.

Rot 1.jpeg


Rot 2.jpeg


Rot 3.jpeg


Rot 4.jpeg





And the new frame, after A LOT of work, to be shown in the following posts.

POR'd 1.jpg
 
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An F ton of rivet removal. The donor frame's rear bumper/crossmember was shot, but the original one was in good shape, so it was the first thing to make the swap over.

Rivets 1.jpg
Rivets 2.jpg
 
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I blew the dust off my old sandblaster and shot the VIN clean. Seeing bare metal and contemplating the possiblity of blasting it then POR-15 it myself helped motivate me a lot! But after giving it a lot of consideration and reading up on it all I decided to just let the pro's handle it and I'd paint it myself.

Sand Blaster.jpg
FJ40-242310.jpg
 
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As I mentioned, I broke my ankle and was home bound for about 3 months. Not being one to sit all day I started doing what I could with my air cast and my knee scooter. I practically wore that knee scooter out running all around my driveway working on this thing and the other Cruisers.

I finally removed the frame that had sat dormant in the carport for 2 years. I put it out in the daylight and started banging away at it. I was so torn between just patching up and welding the seams or just what in the hell to do with it all. After a lot of hemming and hawing, and after really getting all the loose rot out I could see no other way than to just remove all the bad and start with some new steel.

RF2.jpg
RF 1.jpg
RF3.jpg


Rot 5.jpeg
Rot 6.jpeg
 
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I guess I didn't really address it before. Yes, this donor frame was in good shape. And while far from perfect it is definitely a frame worthy of repair. Did I mention it was free and available?

When looking at Mr. B's donor Cruiser it was hard to see the depth of the rust, but in comparison to my completely shot frame it looked awesome. I knew it was going to be a little bit of work, and honestly I underestimated how much it would take, but it is still a solid frame and I'm super grateful for it.

Rot 8.jpeg


Rot 7.jpeg


And so I dove into removing the rivets and cutting out the bad parts.

Rivets 3.jpg
Rivets 4.jpg
Rivets 5.jpg
 
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After scratching my head for days I decided to only remove the lower section of the inner channel. The upper was solid and preserving the rivets' strength in that area would help compensate for having to use threaded bolts in the new areas. And so long as the welds I make that join the old Japanese steel with the new American mild steel don't crack then it should all hold together fine. Only time will tell with an experiment like this, but I had few options and had to get creative.

Angle Iron.jpg
Angle 2.jpg
Angle 3.jpg
Angle 5.jpg
Angle 4.jpg
 
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By opening it up like this I was going to get great sandblasting done inside the channels and the POR-15 would be far easier to apply.

Open 1.jpg


Open 2.jpg
Open 3.jpg
 
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But before I could go off for sandblasting I had to engineer these replacement parts. Pretty straightforward, just cut and tweak to conform to the changes along the frame.

Repair 1.jpg
Repair 2.jpg
Repair 3.jpg
Repair 4.jpg
Repair 5.jpg
 
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