Looking to buy this '78 FJ40-advice appreciated (1 Viewer)

Joined
Mar 21, 2011
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Hey Fellas-

So I found a 1978 FJ40 in my area and am strongly considering purchasing this weekend. Not much of a market for these in my area so I've got slim pickins. I'm including some pics below but here is what I know so far:

-originally an Oklahoma truck showing approx. 84k miles on the
odometer (my friend and I could swear we recall seeing a zero in front of
the 84K-am I crazy?)...and I know it has at least 3 owners
-appears to be pretty much stock aside from body repairs (most not done
by current owner):
-drivers and passenger floor pans
-rear quarter panels/rocker panels have been covered with thin
aluminum and pop riveted on
-spare tire carrier added on after the fact (seems poorly done)
-doors (front and rear) have poor seals/makeshift repairs
-soft doors are clearly not intended for an FJ

The Good:
-engine starts right up and runs strong
-interior components appear to be all original and in decent shape
-has original hard doors (in pretty good shape)
-the top is in pretty good shape-good glass all around
-all electronics appear to be working except some spotty brake lights
-current owner takes the truck for pretty long rides 2 hours plus with no
problems
-condition or rears doors is pretty good despite the poor seals/gaskets

The Bad:
-obvious rust issues here...body has surface rust as can be seen in the
photos as well as some likely through rust on the rear quarter panels
-undercarriage is pretty rusty...mostly surface, some scaling, no thru-rust
that I saw but some of the frame mounts are looking a little rough
-oil pan is showing some oil underneath, but no major drips or stains on
the ground
-suspension feels pretty rough and could definitely use some love

Probably not the greatest info but this will be my first FJ and I'm new to the forum scene as well. I really want to have this for the summer and some top down cruisin'....and I also realize this is most likely not an investment/restoration piece and will probably treat it as such and most likely how the last owner did...minimal improvements but will have to maintain and make any necessary repairs. From my assessment I won't need to do much to have her on the road and cruisin' and should be able to enjoy right away. It's sad that she most likely will never be more than what she is now, but at least I can have some fun and learn more about owning an FJ. That said, I'm trying to figure out what I should be paying for her....knowing that it won't be upgraded or invested in and is likely on the verge of "money pit" status and will start needing necessary maintenance one day soon. Any advice would be greatly appreciated!
 
Last edited:
Joined
Jan 14, 2011
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Broken Arrow, Oklahoma
I live in Oklahoma and we salt the heck out of roads at the first sign of ice.

This truck is probably rusted through in the floorboards, the rear tub and I see rust on the interior door post by the drivers left foot. Also looks like rust on the cowl and front fenders and front sheet metal.

Personally, I would not want this truck, but if you can get it for a couple hundred, I guess you might be okay. But I bet you will soon regret it.

The sheet metal on the back is to hide massive rust through spots...
Look at the massive rust on the engine bay, and how about the 1st cap on the master cylinder. These are all blantant warning signs to you.

The speedometer only goes to 6 digits, you saw no 0's in front of it.

You say the engine runs strong. Well, how is the transmission and transfer case at say 60 MPH. You want to run it up to highway speeds to check drivability and excess noise.

You don't want to learn what NOT to buy on your first FJ40. I am afraid that's what you will do on this one.

Good Luck whatever you do.
 

Poser

Oh...Durka Durka Durka.
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Pass on this, unless you are looking for a new career.
 
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They are all money pits, unless you get it for free and plan on using it as a yard decoration.

Unless it really runs strong and will pass smog, and you get it for less than $800 I would pass.

Mine was a total POS rust bucket, but I had a blast even with the mailbox sized holes and rusty parts falling off. I drove it all the time untill my temporary registration ran out. Now I have a few grand into it and all I have is a pile of shiny parts on the floor of my garage.
 

G-Cat

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That's a scary looking 40. I wouldn't pay much and wouldn't plan on putting another dime into it.
 
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i believe those soft doors are intended for the FJ40 - but not with the hardtop on. That one needs a lot of work.
 
Joined
Mar 21, 2011
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NYC
Thanks for the advice fellas....the seller is looking to get $3,500 for it....and unfortunately it's 1 of 2 FJ's I've been able to look at over the past 6 months....since you obviously know much more than I on the subject....I guess I'll have to pass???....don't want to throw 3K down the drain and have a bad first experience that I'll regret...or maybe I can relay some of your comments to the seller and convince him to sell to me for a lot less to when the truck craps out next year I'm not out a ton of $$$
 
Joined
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I wouldn't buy that one to restore, but...

That could be a great parts truck or donor for another rig - if you find a solid '74 and want a vent-window hardtop and disk brake axles and a 4 speed, etc.

So, I wouldn't buy that truck, but don't lose the guy's phone number. That could be a very useful donor truck down the road.
 
Joined
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Why does it matter that there aren't a lot in your area? Hit CL and eBay, there are always trucks there. Sure, they won't be local, but neither is that one. Take your time and find a good one; summer in NY is at least a few months away, no?

Good luck, you've found this place, and that's a very good thing. :cheers:
 
Joined
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Thanks JM:cheers: I am very happy to have found this place and don't think I'll be pursuing this one....I'm definitely bummed....but I know she's out there somewhere. Just gotta keep looking. Life is tough when you're trapped in this concrete jungle.
 
Joined
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Yeah....love those California FJ's!!! In NY there's a friggin' jeep on every damn corner....but alas...no FJ for me. I think I just need to save up some $$$ rather than keep hoping for something that doesn't exist...at least not in suburban NY anyway.
 
Joined
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Thanks JM:cheers: I am very happy to have found this place and don't think I'll be pursuing this one....I'm definitely bummed....but I know she's out there somewhere. Just gotta keep looking. Life is tough when you're trapped in this concrete jungle.
No worries. That one just to the left of this post rode in an enclosed trailer from Oregon down to me in Austin, and I'm pretty happy with it! The internet has made the world much smaller, so get a good one! ;)
 

JohnnyC

Long ago TLCA# 2231
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there are fj40 here and there...just not too many for sale expecially on LI and NYC area....they do pop up here and there
 
Joined
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Thanks JohnnyC:clap: All great info...I was not aware of that SearchTempest tool. Time to keep lookin'!!! Now that the weather should be pickin up maybe there'll be some more FJ's fining their way to the classifieds. Although, even though I've only been on IH8Mud for a few days, I've gotta say that there's a bunch of great people on here and hopefully I can buy one from a member.

Thanks again to everyone who took the time to reply to my post:clap: I look forward to being part of the community....now to find something worth talking about!!!!
 

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