Morph: a 1HZ/H55F into a BJ40, Expedition Truck - Alaska bound

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Mar 14, 2006
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189
Location
Calgary, Alberta
Well, every story has a beginning, a middle and an end. I'm a ways away from the end and "stuck" in the middle. I hope that this thread serves mostly as as motivation to me, now that I have a deadline and a thread to keep up. If it inspires others, great.

Where am I now?... with a truck in about as many pieces as it comes...

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I finally need the motivation to finish what I started. That motivation comes in the form of being signed up for ACT2010.

Here's what I'm looking for:

I want to build (that's half the fun) a reliable expedition truck that's stable and predictable on road that can be wheeled reliably off road.

My motto: "Go Far, See Much."

I'm not looking for a rock crawler, that'd be a different truck in my mind. Most of the wheeling I do is either in winter or forested trails with a little, kept to a minimum where at all possible due to sustainability reasons, muskeg, skag, mud...

I plan to build a KISS (Keep It Simple Stupid) truck. Functional and reliable is the name of the game. I will not be putting on a roof top tent and a bunch of expedition gear. That'll go in or on a military trailer at some point. I don't like tippy trucks. Each unto their own.

Truck Spec Highlights (Starting point):
1HZ
H55F
60 Series axles with FF rear
4.88 R&P
Limited slip rear, ARB front
2.5 OME Sprung under, body lift and major bodywork to accommodate...
37" tires (Probably Cooper Discoverer STT 37x12.5xR17)
Spring flip (to get the "magic 100" wheelbase")
Airbags in the rear to support "expedition" weights (I'm of the pack the kitchen sink variety but weaning myself off that gradually)
Engine driven hydraulic winch with electric back-up
60 Series PS with potential hydro assist
York Air
Suspension seats
Snorkel (either Safari or Canadian military)
Endura paint
HAM / 2m Radio, CB for back-up although if you have a HAM license, you will know that a VHF radio beats all comers for wheeling. Nice to have on the road as well.
Webasto (If you live in Canada, Alaska or Minnesota, you'll get it :)
I might try to squeeze a second fuel tank in if I have room after other mods.
Some custom TBD sliders
Some custom TBD front and rear bumpers
Some custom TBD fuel and spare tire carrier
Some custom TBD fender flares
Some custom dodads I haven't even thought of yet


Oh... and a bucket load of bodywork to boot.

Wish me luck...I'll need it.

If you aren't already laughing,...it's OK, you can laugh now :flipoff2:

Regards,

Jim BTW

P.S. Yes, I have a full time day job. No, I'm not loaded. Fortunately I have accumulated most of the parts over the years wheeling and dealing (wow, did I really take that long to strip down the truck? Started end of 2006)
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Joined
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Messages
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The beginning...

Once upon a time I had a mostly bone stock 1979 BJ40. It was my first truck and first Landcruiser.

I don't really recall how I drifted into Landcruisers. Perhaps it was a good friend of mine who had a '71 FJ40, perhaps it was the need for a winter beater, perhaps the desire to get back into wrenching having done none since I left home a couple of decades previously. Why not. Whatever the reason, I bought the truck on October 4th 2004 from a gentleman in Medicine Hat, Alberta, Canada.

I joined the RMLCA (Rocky Mountain Land Cruiser Association) here in Calgary, a great bunch of like minded folks, and wheeled the truck, learning from scratch. One thing that persistently amazes me is where Landcruisers will go, and what they are capable of. Never ceases to amaze me.

Here are a few pretty pics before ugly set in...

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Joined
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Messages
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Then came ugly...

On one of the club runs, ugly set in...

In the late summer / fall of 2006 on the run that the photos in the previous post were taken, the roll bar punched its way through the rear wheel well. Given that the driver seat belt was attached to said roll bar, I thought it prudent to take a closer look at how I might fix the issue.

As a precursor, when I bought the truck, I could see it had some not unexpected rust in the body. The frame was good, the motor was strong (verified by 2 years of driving and a strong compression test when I sold the 3B this year). Half the allure of the truck was to need to maintain it. I fibreglassed the driver floor, fixed a bunch of minor issues such as new brake lines etc. and passed the safety inspection required by my insurer here in Alberta.

Two years later, I discovered the body to be pretty much shot. If you're squeamish, turn away now :D

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Said hole in rear wheel well. It gets better...
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Joined
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The rot...

More rot...When your truck is held together with bedliner, Bondo and expansion foam, you know you're in trouble...

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Joined
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Out came the bedliner...

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Look familiar? Some of you will have seen this all before...
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Joined
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You get the picture...

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The picture says rough. I suffer from chronic disassembly disorder, if I'm fixing something, I just cannot leave the one area fixed when the area next to it has issues, so my quick repair has become a "project."

Next step. Take the whole shebang to bits and start over.
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Joined
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Taking it apart...

For the most part, I started carefully disassembling the body. I have many horror pics but what you and I probably want to see is how it all goes back together again, preferably fixed.

The rotten pieces, well they just fell off...literally...including whole rear tub wheel wells and side panels. For the parts that weren't too rusty, the spot welds were carefully drilled out.

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I decided that I needed to rebuild the entire rear tub, b-pillar back. I took off each side wheel well and the rear sill / channel cross member which has left the floor.
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Joined
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Floor removed...

I removed the floor by drilling yet more spot welds...

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It's pretty rough as you can see and really needs to be replaced.
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First big problem...B-pillar

The front floors have faired no better. Once I removed the rear tub, and with the driver side floor rusted out along the entire length of the sill upto the seat belt fastner location, the B-pillar was no longer fixed to the cowl section and was free to float in all axes.

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The picture doesn't show it well but here's where I start to set things straight in preparation for fixing things. Here's where it gets a bit more interesting. To be continued...
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WOW, I would have just given up on it and bought another truck! :eek:

Alaska is one of the places I would love to go in the near future!

Keep up posted with the build and GOOD LUCK!!! :cheers:
 

Butt Ugly Chuck

Fish Biologist
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In a TACO down by the river!!
If you're squeamish, turn away now :D
Oh man I should have heeded that warning! That first pic made me light headed.
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I passed out cold halfway through your fourth post!

You've got your work cut out for you! Nothing's better than having a target like ACT to keep you motivated though.
:cheers:
Butt
 
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I'm on it...

Any update on the progress on this rig?
LOL

Yup. See first post. That's where I sit right now. It's all in bits. You can laugh now.

I have most of the important parts to start rebuilding now, such as springs, axles, engine, tranny, transfer, rear tub parts (that's another story to tell) and floor panels. My next steps are sandblast and primer frame and cowl and start repairs/mods, refurbish the axles and get them under the truck ASAP. So can see what issues I run into with geometries.

Today, I'll finish insulating my garage (it was -12oC here yesterday) and over the weekend put in a temporary spray booth. Probably sandblast next weekend.

I'll be posting a few more tear down pics for the record and then concentrate on the rebuilding part. I have braced the B-pillar.

To be continued...
 
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Messages
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Fresh canvas...

Oh man I should have heeded that warning! That first pic made me light headed.

I passed out cold halfway through your fourth post!

You've got your work cut out for you! Nothing's better than having a target like ACT to keep you motivated though.
:cheers:
Butt

The good thing is, now I can start afresh. Nothing fazes me really. I'm reasonably handy and mechanically inclined with an eye for detail. All the rot has gone (or will be after sand blasting) and I have a fresh canvas, so to speak. Better than just patching the truck and having a never ending source of mini projects thereafter.

Cheers,

Jim
 
Joined
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Messages
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A good friend, looking at Agent O, prior to her build said "Why don't you part that POS out?!?"

Good thing I wasn't holding a wrench at the time as I would have launched it at him.

That's where I got my motivation from.





So.










Why don't you just part that POS out already??? :flipoff2:
 
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Red Deer, Alberta, Canada
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Jim, knowing you for as long as I have (what's it been, 4 years??), I've come to realize that what ever you set your mind to, you usually follow through on! With your anal retentive attention to detail, once this is done, it will be such an example of a Land Cruiser, the likes not seen before. I'm around next Saturday, need a hand??

D.
 
Joined
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Why don't you just part that POS out already??? :flipoff2:

Er, I did part the truck out...:doh: I only sold the engine though. The rest of the truck as well as 1 1/2 other 40 series body parts lie neatly stacked under the deck.

Believe me, I'm motivated!
 
Joined
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Jim, knowing you for as long as I have (what's it been, 4 years??), I've come to realize that what ever you set your mind to, you usually follow through on! With your anal retentive attention to detail, once this is done, it will be such an example of a Land Cruiser, the likes not seen before. I'm around next Saturday, need a hand??

D.

Well, somebody had to bring up the :censor: retentive. Yeah, I can get a bit carried away with the detail but I hope that the deadline will keep me on the straight and narrow. If you're around, be sure to pop by. I hope to be sandblasting the frame and cowl next week in preparation for spraying. I'm working on insulating the last 170 sq ft of the garage and installing a temporary spray booth...

Cheers and thanks.

Regards,

Jim
 
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