I'm in way over my head

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I've been looking at FJs for decades and finally pulled the trigger. This one is a 1975 4-speed, original engine and transmission. It has all the doors, hardtop, and componentry, much of which is in a box or sitting on my garage floor. It runs well but I'm hoping to tighten it up and take it off-road fairly regularly. I have no desire to keep it stock or stock-ish, I want the beauty and simplicity of the FJ with targeted upgrades to current tech where possible; e.g., brakes, electronics, lights, armor. I suspect I'll do some real bodywork at some point as well, but it's not my priority.

I've been looking at this site for years trying to learn a bit about where to start. It's a touch overwhelming with a ton of opinions and possibilities. I admire the congeniality of the posts and responses, and I'm quite positive I'll ask something that's been answered a thousand times, but I hope to avoid that as much as possible.

My mechanical skills are limited but I hope to level up as this story unfolds. The one thing I'm certain of, at least in my case, is that I learn far more by doing than by reading. I just don't want to do something I can't undo. Like destroy a part that has no replacement. Anyway, I look forward to hearing peoples' thoughts on where I should go next.
 
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I've been looking at FJs for decades and finally pulled the trigger. This one is a 1975 4-speed, original engine and transmission. It has all the doors, hardtop, and componentry, much of which is in a box or sitting on my garage floor. It runs well but I'm hoping to tighten it up and take it off-road fairly regularly. I have no desire to keep it stock or stock-ish, I want the beauty and simplicity of the FJ with targeted upgrades to current tech where possible; e.g., brakes, electronics, lights, armor. I suspect I'll do some real bodywork at some point as well, but it's not my priority.

I've been looking at this site for years trying to learn a bit about where to start. It's a touch overwhelming with a ton of opinions and possibilities. I admire the congeniality of the posts and responses, and I'm quite positive I'll ask something that's been answered a thousand times, but I hope to avoid that as much as possible.

My mechanical skills are limited but I hope to level up as this story unfolds. The one thing I'm certain of, at least in my case, is that I learn far more by doing than by reading. I just don't want to do something I can't undo. Like destroy a part that has no replacement. Anyway, I look forward to hearing peoples' thoughts on where I should go next.

IMG_0186.jpg
 

FJBen

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Looks like a great start.

take it one step at a time. Go safety items first.

If you are unsure, do a full knuckle job on the front axle, best time to also do.
brakes - pads, rotors,
tie-rod ends

Do your back brakes, although if you want you can upgrade to disc. I don't think it's necessary, but is a good upgrade.

Then move on down the list with other maintenace. Fluid changes, filters, cap/wires or upgrade to Fuel Injection like the Holley Sniper.
Grease, check drive-shafts and all that.


I would definitely take projects in chunks. It can spiral quick and next thing you know you have a rig sitting for months or more because you are overwhelmed.

Enjoy, research and ask questions.
 

rrv333

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^^^ These trucks are not overly complicated to work on. Start slow, one step at a time (as stated above) and work on the things you're comfortable working on. Leave the really "hard stuff" to the experts. The majority of the people who post on Mud have a "go to" resource for things they're not sure about. Good luck and keep us posted.
 
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Looks like a great start.

take it one step at a time. Go safety items first.

If you are unsure, do a full knuckle job on the front axle, best time to also do.
brakes - pads, rotors,
tie-rod ends

Do your back brakes, although if you want you can upgrade to disc. I don't think it's necessary, but is a good upgrade.

Then move on down the list with other maintenace. Fluid changes, filters, cap/wires or upgrade to Fuel Injection like the Holley Sniper.
Grease, check drive-shafts and all that.


I would definitely take projects in chunks. It can spiral quick and next thing you know you have a rig sitting for months or more because you are overwhelmed.

Enjoy, research and ask questions.
***Frantically googling "full knuckle job on a front axle".

Appreciate the guidance. Looks like I'm mostly doing the right things so far. Stay tuned!
 
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^^^ These trucks not overly complicated to work on. Start slow, on step at a time (as stated above) and work on the things you're comfortable working on. Leave the really "hard stuff" to the experts. The majority of the people who post on Mud have a "go to" resource for things they're not sure about. Good luck and keep us posted.
That's actually really good to know. As much as I'd love to become an expert mechanic I don't think it's likely at this point. I'd be interested to know how people find their "go to" mechanics. I'm in Fairfax, VA, so I don't lack for shops, but probably not too many who see FJs on the regular.
 

FJBen

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***Frantically googling "full knuckle job on a front axle".

Appreciate the guidance. Looks like I'm mostly doing the right things so far. Stay tuned!


There are write-ups on mud, full step by step videos on youtube. You only "need" a few special tools, but they are cheap. it's an easy process and you have to pull the brakes anyway during it so a good time to do that. Plus might as well refresh the steering and have the front end done.
 
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I have no desire to keep it stock or stock-ish, I want the beauty and simplicity of the FJ with targeted upgrades to current tech where possible; e.g., brakes, electronics, lights, armor.

You might stay close to stock until such time as you need to upgrade. Many people modify the crap out of these and then pine for another truck that is stock. Stock is good, and quite capable, until such time as you need an upgrade. Stock is also easier to troubleshoot.

If you want to get your upgrade jollies, then do front disk brakes and a clean power steering job, and perhaps EFI.
 

izzyandsue

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Reach out to the club in the DC area, Capital Land Cruisers, when you get a chance. That way you have some local help as well for questions or comparisons. Many in that club have 40s and recently attended the Relic Run in NC so it seems that they are pretty active.
 
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I have no desire to keep it stock or stock-ish, I want the beauty and simplicity of the FJ with targeted upgrades to current tech where possible; e.g., brakes, electronics, lights, armor.

You might stay close to stock until such time as you need to upgrade. Many people modify the crap out of these and then pine for another truck that is stock. Stock is good, and quite capable, until such time as you need an upgrade. Stock is also easier to troubleshoot.

If you want to get your upgrade jollies, then do front disk brakes and a clean power steering job, and perhaps EFI.
Much appreciated. Agree, I'm not going to go crazy on new trinketry, but things that make life easier or safer are definitely in play. Thanks!
 
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Reach out to the club in the DC area, Capital Land Cruisers, when you get a chance. That way you have some local help as well for questions or comparisons. Many in that club have 40s and recently attended the Relic Run in NC so it seems that they are pretty active.
Just catching up on that now. Thank you! They apparently meet not too far from my house every month, so I guess I know where I'll be early July. Thanks for the heads up.
 

Rigger

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I agree with what has already been said.

Go slow, read, research, ask questions. Stay stock (or close to stock) until your knowledge catches up to your dreams.

And don't forget to enjoy the journey!
 

pb4ugo

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Welcome, looks like a nice 1. Get it running stopping and driving nice. Buy or download a Chassis Factory Service Manual. As others have said change fluids. Be sure to see if you can loosen the fill plugs b4 you drain anything. Crawl under it and grease it and while your there look around check u joints and anything out of place, loose or leaking. There's a plethora of grease fittings frt back back. Ask questions here and with your local chapter, pics are always good. You can put a knuckle rebuild on the list but it's probably not imperative to do immediately, unless there's a major issue. You may want to swap to disc brakes, if it hasn't been done already, and that would be a good time to do it. Check out the engine compartment and look for things out of place of added. It is a 40+ yr old vehicle, the PO's probably did some creative fixes thru the yrs.
 

Rusto

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do one thing at a time. And it's okay to suffer from "while I was in there, I went ahead and replaced..." for example, I'm pulling my fuel tank to get it cleaned. While I'm in there I'm also replacing all the soft fuel lines and double checking the hardlines. No better time to do that, it's cheap and a pain in the ass if you have fuel in your tank.

Welcome! I started my addiction on an 84 toyota pickup. Moved into an 87 60 and now have that and my 75 40. Also had a 95 4Runner for a time. My wife is starting to understand. At least she gets Toyota's, having had a Camry forever and now driving an '06 Sequoia.

Love the thread title as well. I feel that way at times, and then MUD comes to the rescue.
 

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