Lucy the LC: 1969 FJ40 Frame Off Rebuild

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Jan 12, 2018
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Arlington, TX
I found this bucket of bolts about a year ago. I'd always wanted a fixer upper project car and boy did I get one!

This 1969 build, '70 year model, had been sitting in Arizona for a while judging by the condition of it. It looked mostly original and was relatively rust free. The engine had a broken spark plug that had an attempted removal go wrong which resulted in a broken spiral extractor lodged deep in the well. There was no top or rear seats, along with a few other odds and ends that had been removed for various reasons I'm sure, but most of the truck was still in tact and in decent condition.

My dad and I made a weekend trip from TX on New Year's weekend and braved snow and ice to drag it home. We parked it, still covered in icicles, in the garage and let it thaw.

Just over a year later, I'm beginning the rebuild. I've taken pictures of everything so far but their isn't much to look at yet unless you like dirty old car parts. More to come!

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Joined
Jan 12, 2018
Messages
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Starting the disassembly process. First objective was to get it down to the frame while learning how it was all put together. Having never seen the truck running and it being somewhat in pieces when I bought it, there was a bit of a learning curve of where all the hoses went and what all the gadgets were for. This forum is a wealth of knowledge!

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The tub is in very good shape from what I can tell. There are some rusty places here and there but nothing a little handiwork can't patch.

I discovered the engine is not original to the truck. The frame matches the body number, but the engine is a late '74 F155. At this point, I was unsure of the condition or usability of the engine but I knew the outside looked good and it turned with ease.

The rest of the drive train is original but the transmission was converted to a floor shifter. Still undecided if I want to leave that way or return to a column shifter but I have some time to make up my mind.

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Joined
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Messages
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I had to cut through half of the body mount bolts after the weld broke loose on the clamp when trying to remove. That part sucked.

Lifted the tub off and set aside to begin removing the engine.

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Joined
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Transmission and transfer are in good shape. I was a bit worried when we got it home because the transmission wouldn't shift into gear. Apparently it had gotten water inside after sitting in the elements in AZ and froze. No cracks or breaks when it thawed, but a little oxidation/rust on the bottom of the shifter plate.

I can't wait to fire it up and check out the vacuum transfer shifter. Pretty neat 60's technology.

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Living in the Past

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Some people hate the vacuum operated transfer case but I like it. More reliable than the one in my FJ62.

Have you dated the VIN on the chart on SOR's site? Reflectors and not clearance lights would most likely be a 69. That style running board ended with the 69 model.
 
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Some people hate the vacuum operated transfer case but I like it. More reliable than the one in my FJ62.

Have you dated the VIN on the chart on SOR's site? Reflectors and not clearance lights would most likely be a 69. That style running board ended with the 69 model.
It's a September '69 build but I believe the VIN dated to 1970. The title shows 1970 as well IIRC. Lots of transitional parts on it which make it unique.

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1. In your 1969-74 year model range the vehicles may have had transmission and 4WD floor shifters (made up from all TOYOTA parts), so those conversions could still be considered stock. Also, since you have a 1974 engine in an older rig my guess is you will not be going for a "pristine stock restore", in which case you may prefer the floor shifters.
2. I noticed someone plugged the hole in the floor shifter tower where a reverse light switch goes, possibly because your year model didn't have a reverse lamp. Soooooo, now you could add a reverse lamp and switch to operate it.
3. I noticed with interest your rig has some cast aluminum rear spring shackles that Downey manufactured a zillion years ago, in fact those would be one of only a very few pair ever sold.
 

Living in the Past

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Apr 21, 2005
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It's a September '69 build but I believe the VIN dated to 1970. The title shows 1970 as well IIRC. Lots of transitional parts on it which make it unique.

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9/69 is a 69 model even if the title states 70. Original engine would have had a 3/69-9/69 only two barrel.
1. In your 1969-74 year model range the vehicles may have had transmission and 4WD floor shifters (made up from all TOYOTA parts), so those conversions could still be considered stock. Also, since you have a 1974 engine in an older rig my guess is you will not be going for a "pristine stock restore", in which case you may prefer the floor shifters.
2. I noticed someone plugged the hole in the floor shifter tower where a reverse light switch goes, possibly because your year model didn't have a reverse lamp. Soooooo, now you could add a reverse lamp and switch to operate it.
3. I noticed with interest your rig has some cast aluminum rear spring shackles that Downey manufactured a zillion years ago, in fact those would be one of only a very few pair ever sold.

Reverse light started with the 68 model. Switch was at the base of the steering column. I just ran the wires from the switch back to the floor shifter switch. Probably find the two wires for the reverse light in the wiring harness in that location around the column.
 
Joined
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Messages
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1. In your 1969-74 year model range the vehicles may have had transmission and 4WD floor shifters (made up from all TOYOTA parts), so those conversions could still be considered stock. Also, since you have a 1974 engine in an older rig my guess is you will not be going for a "pristine stock restore", in which case you may prefer the floor shifters.
2. I noticed someone plugged the hole in the floor shifter tower where a reverse light switch goes, possibly because your year model didn't have a reverse lamp. Soooooo, now you could add a reverse lamp and switch to operate it.
3. I noticed with interest your rig has some cast aluminum rear spring shackles that Downey manufactured a zillion years ago, in fact those would be one of only a very few pair ever sold.
My goal is to restore to original/period correct but practical since there are few PO modifications and I have most of the original pieces. The '74 engine is a bit of an upgrade so I'm ok with that not being factory since it is still 70's Toyota.

There is a reverse light on the truck, but the sensor is still wired to the original switch location on the column. I will be routing those wires down to the transmission when I refresh the wiring harness if I decide to not convert back to a column shifted trans. I still have half of the column shifter parts and would have to source the pieces I don't have.

The Downey shackles are pretty rad! I hope to be able to keep them on when I rebuild.

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Living in the Past

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I didn't realize that. I just assumed it was like modern cars where the next year model was rolled out toward the end of the current year.
It did but not until October for the 70 model. Many years the change was in September. 75 and 79 were exception and started January.
 
Joined
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Pulling the engine was a breeze with the body off the frame. I originally had mounted it to a 'T' engine stand, but the straight 6 was really testing its limits. I quickly replaced that stand with a 'U' stand rated for 1200 pounds. I feel a lot better rolling it around the garage.

My progress halted here for roughly 4 months while moving to a new house with more garage space. My dad's beard is even longer now.

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Joined
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Messages
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The frame looks 100 percent.......... Even the tub is in very good shape..... It will be nice when it is completed.
The frame's condition is 9.5/10. If it weren't for a bend under the passenger tow hook and a couple of broken weld nuts behind the fender aprons, it would be perfect.

The only mod is the welded trailer hitch/step which seems much sturdier than the factory bolt-on. I thought about removing it to make it original again but it will fit nicely in the usability aspect of the truck.
 
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^^^^^ The main problem I would have with your hitch is it is sooooo low that it destroys your departure angle in off road terrain. Also the fore to aft hitch brace will prevent you from installing my rear auxiliary tank, which doesn't make me happy.
 
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^^^^^ The main problem I would have with your hitch is it is sooooo low that it destroys your departure angle in off road terrain. Also the fore to aft hitch brace will prevent you from installing my rear auxiliary tank, which doesn't make me happy.
I never thought about the ground clearance. I don't plan on doing any heavy off-roading with this vehicle but you make a good point.
 
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