How To Make The Best FJ40?

Joined
Feb 12, 2009
Messages
959
Location
Colorado
Hello,

This is my first time posting on this wonderful site of LC knowledge. Hopefully in the near future I will be purchasing a 1979 FJ40 and doing a full frame up restoration. And before I even got started on the project it self I wanted to hear what all you guys would put in a dream FJ40. I am not looking at doing anything crazy or extreme. Something to appear mostly stock, look great, and run well. This vehicle will be used to do some off-roading nothing hardcore and as vehicle up at the cabin. Plan to keep hardtop on all the time.

Suspension: So many brands and kinds.
Bumpers
Engine components
Sound system that is hidden nicely
Tires
Power Steering (I don't know if the 40 I will get will have it. Have heard some 79s don't have it.)
Air Conditioning (I don't know if the 40 I will get will have it. Have heard some 79s don't have it.)
Undercoatings
Anything else you can think of.
Winch

Thanks for the help and time. This forum is awesome!!!
 
Joined
Aug 16, 2007
Messages
824
Location
So Cal 909
Welcome!!! You need to do what ever you think is best. Spend time on this site and you will start to figure out what looks good to you. Good luck!
 

Jetboy

 
Joined
Sep 16, 2004
Messages
1,353
For a mostly stock 79, with unlimited funds, I'd wait for the 4.5l duramax to come out, or find d4d diesel. With limited funds I'd go with a 5vzfe, auto, toybox, landcruiser transfercase. Then either detroit softlocker rear/ trutrac front or arb lockers in both ends. Stock gearing. 2.5" Old Man Emu suspension with front shackle reversal. Minitruck power steering, and take your pick of A/C. I'd rather drop the top, but I realize in NM it can get fairly hot. It'd be sweet to see someone get really creative with cooled seats. I'd go with 33/9.5/15 tires in some type of mud terrain. I'd keep the stock disk brakes, and upgrade the front axle shafts with longfields.

I think that'd be about my ideal stock ish fj40.
 
Joined
Apr 5, 2008
Messages
532
Location
N. Van, BC / WA
Ditto. What is best for one driver is totally different for the next, even if your rig will see the same type of use. I have been cruising around this site for about a year now and still have a ton to learn. Lurk around, ask questions, and do A LOT of searches. Chances are one or more people have done what you are trying to do. It is much more beneficial to do your own research and make educated decisions based on your particular rig and goals as opposed to asking people what THEY think and what worked for them. Also, while you are searching you will find that there are many people on this site that have been working on cruisers for many years and really know their $h!t. Watch out for their posts and take lots of notes. Good luck and have fun. Oh, and make sure you have lots of $$$$$$$ freed up, this will not be a cheap adventure!!
 
Joined
Feb 12, 2009
Messages
959
Location
Colorado
Thanks youmustbecrazy. I completely understand what your saying. I have definitely seen some very cool ideas on this site that I like.

Also picture would be great!
 
Joined
Nov 23, 2007
Messages
908
Location
East Hanover, NJ
Yeah this topic alone is opening a ship full of open 53' containers full of open barrels full of open cans of worms.

Seriously, whatever works best for you. This is like asking who is the greatest artist or what is the greatest sports team... no wait it isn't like asking what is the greatest sports team because it is common knowledge that it is the Pittsburgh Steelers. :D
 

BDSeff1fitty

1975 FJ40
Joined
Nov 12, 2008
Messages
1,903
Location
Lawton, OK
make sure you got the funds. if i woulda known how quickly i was going to be spending money i definitely would have bought a rig in much better condition. im at about 6k right now and the frame is on a trailer right now. i was shocked when i added all this up the other day. and off the top of my head i easily have another 6k in needs/wants to do to it before i can drive it for the first time. i am basically doing a ground up re-build so i know for sure my rig won't break down or have any problems with it once its done. atleast for a while.
 
Joined
Jun 22, 2004
Messages
6,978
Location
sittin on the couch in UT
i think people get restore and build mixed up.

i think you are looking to build a cruza


search the site and youll find millions of ideas and thoughts you can impliment in your own cruzer build
 
Joined
Mar 22, 2008
Messages
1,994
Location
Puerto Rico
Just if you are a lucky man...very lucky man you will found a rig with...4'' suspension,headers,safari snorkel,nice soft top,warn 8274 with blue rope,rear bumper with tire carrier,good body and chassis with no rust,new electric harness ,ARB lockers,tailgate with storage, nice tires, strong engine...and the list go one....for $ 4,500.00 but i guess you are not Eshu Elegua....:D
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Joined
Aug 25, 2007
Messages
3,383
Location
Bowling Green, KY
My 2 cents

I am doing an 81 frame off as we speak. Since you seem to be certain you want a 79+ lemme chime in. These models are prone to rust where the body mounts to frame near firewall. This almost always spreads to the floorboards then rocker panels and of course the infamous rear sill. So if your set on this year model check these areas very well with a flashlight.

Go ahead and spend a little more for a rust free truck, Or one that has already been "restored." I spent $4100 and got a rust bucket with a strong motor. Since then I have spent over $10,000 in parts to "restore" my rig and it is still in 100 pieces and 2 years later.

I saw a 77 in Classifieds the other day for $15000 that had already been restored. I would jump on something like this. You can then add goodies like Power Steering, A/C, stereo, winch, etc. It will be a lot easier and fun to add goodies to a "restored" vehicle than scraping rust and undercoating off for one month.

Whatever you buy drive it for awhile before you go cutting it up and decide what you "need" versus want. You may want lockers vs A/C, etc.

Like everyone said plan to spend more than you thought and this will eliminate many a headache. I'm done.:beer:

P.S. This is my first "restore"
 

BDSeff1fitty

1975 FJ40
Joined
Nov 12, 2008
Messages
1,903
Location
Lawton, OK
i will be the first to admit, when everyone told me before i bought my rig, plan what your gonna spend, then double it, and right about now im almost at my original price i thought i was gonna spend. and it WILL double pretty easily, but in the end it will make me happy and be exactly what i want, and i am gaining a TON of experience so far and i know i will learn much much more
 

msapers

 
Joined
Nov 23, 2008
Messages
693
Location
Los Angeles
Ok, Let's start with what you expect of this vehicle.


What terrain will you be using it in?


Will it spend most of it's time on the street or on the trail?


Will this be your primary vehicle?


What is your level of mechanical skill?


How much do you want to invest in this vehicle?


Do you want to drive it as you build or tear it down to the frame and start fresh?

There are a lot of VERY experienced and knowledgeable people on this forum but there is a lot of personal opinions too. I think if you can repost these questions with your answers, it might help all of us understand what you are going for and tell you what has worked for us. There is literally nothing you could do to an FJ40 that someone here hasn't tried. Good luck!
 

Lil'John

SILVER Star
 
Joined
Mar 24, 2006
Messages
5,201
Location
Nor Cal in the garage with a Cruiser
As long as you are building what I want, I'd say: 6.0L Vortec, NV4500, Orion, spring over, Dana 60 front and rear, 35s, ARB's:lol::lol:

Cool a post that will encompass V8 vs 2F, Toyota engine vs everything else, auto vs manual, spring over vs not, shackle reversal vs not, etc:cool:

But seriously, there are only two things that are "definite" in your swap:
winch - Warn 8274 accept no other
engine - cabin implies mountains which means EFI or diesel

From there, you get to decide.

Are you an auto or manual fan?

What size tire will you run? Anything 35" and over are almost guaranteed spring overs(GREAT ride)

Power steering? There are 18 ways to skin that cat. I prefer the Scout steering conversion since it keeps the front rails clean.

AC? You can track down stock components or install one of the aftermarket conversions.

Sound system? I'm considering vintage vibes classic car stereo for my FJ55 so it maintains something post style.

Bumpers? There are umpteen million "brands" out there... but if you don't see one that is exactly what you want, you might be better off talking to a local fabrication shop and getting what you want.

The first description is close to what my FJ55 is built to. It is intended to be a daily driver and see all sort of wheeling that isn't going to guarantee body damage:cool: It is also a project that got out of hand when the height of the Vortec wasn't what I expected:eek:

My FJ40 was a little more mild: 5.0L TBI, SM465, stock tcase, spring over, shackle reversed, and 35" tires. I did the 5.0L TBI because it was the only way to get EFI smog legally in CA at the time. Otherwise, I would have considered a n EFI conversion on the 2F I had.

I would honestly say find people in your area with modified FJ40s and see if you can take them for a spin. You will get a feel for what the different conversions are like and be able to make a better decision rather than rely upon anonymous people on Mud telling you how to make their FJ40 on your dime:meh:
 

batcon

 
Joined
Dec 9, 2008
Messages
662
Location
Twelve miles in.
In this economy you are in the drivers seat. Do your homework on this site and you will do well. Everybodys different on their opinion on the perfect rig. Do what you want - need. My only suggestion is - take off the top once and its going to be to be hard to put it back on because you're going to love it ( weather permitting)
 
Joined
Aug 31, 2007
Messages
726
Location
Cadillac, MI
check out this thread to see pics to help you decide what you want. Lots of eye candy.

https://forum.ih8mud.com/40-55-series-tech/48947-post-your-pics-your-clean-daily-driven-fj40s.html

Once you have narrowed down your options buy a rust free landcruiser that you can build into your dream cruiser and then drive it for a year before making any serious modifications. Seriously get to know the vehicle because if I made all the modification I thought I was going to do when I first purchased mine I would now be thinking of re-doing a lot of them. (I guess I'm lucky I didn't have the cash) Driving it for a year will help you figure out exaclty what it is you want. Good luck and welcome to the sickness
 

DanS HJ-45

SILVER Star
 
Joined
Apr 26, 2007
Messages
5,031
Location
Idaho Springs, CO
Quick suggestion:

Try to make it to an HDC meeting or run. A few of us have 40s you can take a peek at, in various stages of operation or disassembly. ;) You can learn a LOT by simply looking at some of the aftermarket parts and things.

Frankly, I'd drive it for a bit before I started making many changes. If it drives safely and reliably now, it'll be a great thing to start with, hit a few of the local trails, and see what you really want to change. A stock 40 will do an awful lot more than you are probably thinking.

Dan
 
Joined
Feb 27, 2002
Messages
2,894
Please just buy my 1980 :) It already has power steering, I can add air nor problem. I'm nearby in Texas...save yourself alot of money and time!
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Joined
Feb 12, 2009
Messages
959
Location
Colorado
You guys have given me a world of advice. My mind is constantly thinking about this project. I understand that this is going take a large amount of money and time. Even by posting this one post I have gained ideas and knowledge.

singletrackjunkie - Your point about driving it for year or so is a great one I would not of thought about doing that.

msapers -

What terrain will you be using it in?
- Just some trail work mostly and a 4x4 vehicle to get to a cabin.

Will it spend most of it's time on the street or on the trail?
- Mostly street

Will this be your primary vehicle?
- During restoration no, after complete rebuild/restore mostly likely yes.

What is your level of mechanical skill?
- This is my first major automotive project so to be truthful. I know it is a large chunk to bit off for a first time project. I also was going to use this project as a way to pick up some skills. I am however not going into project unprepared tool wise. During the restore this vehicle will be in a heated garage:) done plenty of projects in the cold and its not fun. I have access to 2 huge variety of automotive tools. Cutting out parts and welding in new pieces is not a problem

How much do you want to invest in this vehicle?
- Hopefully no more than 15k grand total. If it cost more to get the way I want it then I'll pay it then. All that means is I have to wait and I got time on my hands. I am going to do this project right the first time.


Do you want to drive it as you build or tear it down to the frame and start fresh?
- Start fresh so I know what I am getting into. I will have access to a car a reliable car during this build.

Thanks for all your advice!
 
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