Let it Begin! 87 frame off, vortec, H55...

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Dec 17, 2010
Mitchell, OR
Where to start? Second FJ60 – this time it’s not a DD so I have more time, space and a bit more cash to throw at it.

BUT, I don’t have the skill of some of the enthusiasts here – talking to you Georg, Skinner, KMRowland, Joe_E, dbleon, Oyaji, Manu Chao, ntsqd, Philos, rover67, klinetime, Elbert, Kurtis, etc (no offence meant to all you others who offer your expertise and experience here, that’s just off the top of my head!). There’s a ton of guys that I’ll take inspiration (aka steal ideas) from in hopes of making a great project.

My goal isn’t to make the best crawler, nor the most efficient, nor the most historically accurate cruiser in the world, but just to enjoy fixing her up, get a few more years out of a classic (I expect either my 8yo or 4yo to take this beast to college) and learn about my ride rather than just sitting in it.

I will certainly ask a ton of questions (I’ve been lurking and prepping for the better part of a year so far but anticipate hitting roadblocks) and I won’t update as often as anyone would like but I hope the experience is worth something to those thinking of diving into a certain area or tearing a specific part off or replacing something. I will try to answer where I can too, but I am learning as I go so can’t contribute too much right now.

The starting product is in pretty good shape already, I’m about 1/2 way into teardown (I won’t document my 'hey-look-at-this-I-wonder-if-I-can-take-this-off’ approach to “restoration”) and will start POR-15-ing, bedlining, sound proofing, powdercoating, seal replacing, engine swapping as soon as I can. The list of ‘to-do’s’ is too long to bother with here, but it’ll be a full frame off project. I am a self admitted ADD and OCD :bang: sufferer so I expect to jump from sheet metal to knuckle rebuild to heater core flush to toothbrush scrubbing a dash part as I work through this.

Anyway, hope that’s a decent intro. If there’re any cruisers in/around Boise I’ll be here for about two and a half more years (hopefully I can drive "Clifford" out of here by that time) and will be happy to help wrench if needed.

Best regards,

Oh yeah, all that said I'll be posting a ton of stuff in the classifieds as early as this weekend; CruiserCorps dash cover that I bought before I decided to glass/bondo myself, rear bumper, engine and trans... I'll be happy to GIVE away almost anything to do with the 2F (some PO took all the smog stuff already but otherwise it ran well) if you'll pay shipping or come get it. Some of it I'll even pay shipping just 'cause i think there are some on here who give a LOT more than they get in return and I'd like to do what I can for them :cheers:...more to follow...


Gotta get the pics off the other computer...here's how she sat when I got it, I know I know...pics pics pics
man that is a nice looking rig.
Best color!!

Good luck with the build. Take your time and show the rig the love it deserves. These trucks have feelings, dont-cha-know!!
Anything I can help with let me know...... !!!

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did i miss the build thread? looks good to me. needs more diesel tho.
I would subscribe to your own thread here (keep all the questions and issues you have in this one thread) so it will help you and help others too....make sure and read through some of the engine swap threads. If you have not done so get everything under the hood related to the GM engine donor car and get all the accessories, brackets, wiring harnes, PCM, air filter assembly....everything.

I'll be glad to answer any questions I can, I'm sure most of the others guys will help out as well.

One thing I would have done (looking back) is move my engine a little farther back towards the firwall to allow a little more room between engine and radiator at the front.

If you get the marks adapter....make sure you read that 11 page or so instruction sheet. Not sure what vortec engine you plan to use...mien is a 5.7... a lot of the guys have been running the newer engine design... 5.3. If you are going to go with the 5.3, make sure to understand what clutch, and flywheel works..etc (your entire clutch assembly)...
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If there's anything I can offer to help you along, I'll be happy to chime in with my limited knowledge. I've had a HELUVA lot of help along the way to getting my rig up and running. I think I speak for us all when we say we're very excited to see what you come up with. We all do things slightly, or completely, differently around here! :cheers:
I've got a 5.7 swap going at this time also. I've got some cool stuff figured out. Don't know if they work with a 5 speed. I'll share everything I've figured out. Good Luck :) matt
Just sort of documenting

So, I said I wouldn't post pics of my undisciplined tear down but here's some anyway - with a couple notes for those who, like me, are feeling their way through this.

1. Rowland's panels really are just that easy to put in. POR-15'd the inside of the tailgate while I was in there. Starting to do the inner fenders. I think I'll do this everywhere I can reach.



QUESTION: do I need to remove this 25 year old seam sealer and seal it up properly or can I go over this...what do you all think?

2. One man job - I wouldn't want to do this with the doghouse still attached. Putting a new one in there, fitting it left to right, front to back, centered on rad is going to be interesting...


3. Working on the dash too. I'll sell the cruiser corps dash cap I bought as soon as I am sure me and 20 pounds of bondo (SKIM coat?:whoops: what?) will come to terms. Hmmm...pictures are somewhere else. I'll post up when I get a minute. There are many threads here on fixing the dash, like I said just sort of writing.

Thanks for the kind words all - and more thanks in advance for the offers of support. I'll need it when I start putting this back together!!

Yeah, I was lucky; this truck started pretty nice. Just last night :princess: says "so you're putting a DIFFERENT engine back in it?!" "I thought you were going to just shiny up that one". Hard to explain. I honor the L/C but if I'm gonna take it all apart I'll take a little modern engine action thank you very much.

'nuf for now. TDC.-
Good luck with a huge project.
Try to leave the seam sealer if you can. Use compressed air and a soft wire brush to clean it up. Usually seam sealer is applied to bare metal, then primed over top. It seals to bare metal, so you don't want to mess with that and introduce water/contaminants. Wipe it with a prep and then paint over that.
My info is POR 15 should have a top coat. Others might have a different opinion.
I spent time in Boise last summer, didn't see any 60's. Next time I'm there I'll post and look you up.
Looks like this is gonna be an interesting build, basically my dream build. I will definitely be watching this one!
Is that POR 15 self etching primer on the fender and in the TG?
It's POR-15 paint, it's just grey.

I am experimenting a little. In the TG I used their whole process (marine clean, metal ready, POR paint). On the fender I sanded down to bare metal and wiped/painted and another block of fender I did the whole clean/etch/paint thing. We'll see how it works out. As others have said, it's only metal we can outsmart it.

No advertisement; POR is just what I happened to use on this portion.


Oh, thanks PILOT. I'll treat the sealant gently and just try to add protection to it. This was a Texas, then SD truck so the only things I've found in the creases so far is 25 years of dry powdery dust, and some mud dauber nests!
Bought a few of the no longer needed 2F engine parts from Travis. Fair price, quickly shipped, and arrived in great condition. Thanks Travis! Will keep following your build. Looking good so far!
I love Georg's ever-present sign-off HTH...

You will brother, you will.

I didn't think about a gear splitter - I will look into it. DOn't let the ambitiousness of the project fool you. I don't really know what I am doing!! So in that sense the bolt-up 5sp is "easy" (I like a manual). And, honestly I am a bit of a gear-geek and there's no denying the H55 is sexy.
That said, I am looking forward to getting stuff done and enjoying learning while at it.

More soon. I've got a long weekend to keep tearing stuff off, sanding, prepping, playing.


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