My first 40: Building up Barney the purple '77

bottombracket

SILVER Star
Joined
Sep 29, 2013
Messages
600
Location
Austin, TX
Hey there MUD,

I've been a longtime lurker and infrequent poster. I grew up wrenching on Chevys in Pennsylvania, fixing whatever I broke. I moved to Austin 2 1/2 years ago and bought a 1986 FJ60 2 years ago after a lot of thought, figuring that a 60 series would be the perfect adventure rig. I have 3 small kids (5/3/2 years old) and we had a lot of fun throwing the family in the truck and running around Central Texas.

6 months ago or so I read Sea Knight's 'Rustbucket' thread...and I was toast. I started looking in earnest for a 40 and was able to find a '77 on Craigslist. In South Dakota. The price was right because it was...PURPLE. And rusty. It looked like the truck had a lot going for it and had had a decent restoration attempt (it's really purple in a LOT of places) but needed a lot of mechanical love to get it dialed back in.

After a lot of discussions with MUDders and the local LC gurus, I bought the Purple Monster/Eggplant/Barney and had it shipped down to Texas. Thanks to Edwin Kincaid, AJ, FJsnoozer, davegonz, teleskier, and Georg (orangefj45) (to name just a few) who have already been instrumental in me finding this Cruiser.

And so it begins.

My goals are to get it mechanically sorted and then eventually repair the rust and repaint the truck in its original Freeborn Red. That's going to be a while, so I'm pretty sure I'll be the only purple 40 running around Central Texas. You'll know which one is me.

Galen

IMG_9056.JPG


IMG_9057.JPG
 

bottombracket

SILVER Star
Joined
Sep 29, 2013
Messages
600
Location
Austin, TX
So the truck ran pretty rough (it was desmogged by a previous owner) and the choke cable didn't work, along with a ton of other small parts and other maintenance issues. So I pulled the air cleaner and found a hornet's/wasp's nest blocking all of the carb adjustments.

image.jpg

I chipped it out, ran half a can of carb cleaner down it and she runs like a champ. Easiest tuneup ever.

image.jpg


The truck was in South Dakota- anyone know what kind of insect this is?

image.jpg
 

JohnnyC

Long ago TLCA# 2231
SILVER Star
 
Joined
Jun 17, 2005
Messages
15,826
Location
Nys
X2 congrats on entering the 40 world :)

Looks like a one eyed one horned flying purple people eater


A friend once wanted to paint his wife's truck... A dark blue... She said any blue is fine as long as it's not purple... Well it was a really dark purple ...she wasn't happy lol

Best part is you'll never loose it in a parking lot

You can't go wrong with freeborn red... Great color!
 
Joined
Jan 22, 2007
Messages
2,926
Location
Alva, Fl.
I kinda like the purple - plus if you change the color, now you have to go thru changing all your posts-------
 

bottombracket

SILVER Star
Joined
Sep 29, 2013
Messages
600
Location
Austin, TX
Barney is road legal in Texas as of today; got him inspected and registered.

Project #1 will be a mini truck power steering conversion. I just received a gearbox courtesy of @shmukster. Thanks! The remainder of the parts will be ordered soon from @orangefj45. I have to sell off a bunch of 2-wheeled parts (mountain bike stuff) to fund my new 4-wheeled problem, err, project.
image.jpg
 

bottombracket

SILVER Star
Joined
Sep 29, 2013
Messages
600
Location
Austin, TX
All right, time to ask questions and invite commentary.

My goals for this truck are, in order:

1. Make a safe driving rig for my whole family. I want to optimize this truck to be able to fit small kids (ages 2, 4, 6) and have myself and my wife feel comfortable driving them on roads or light trails.
2. Power steering conversion - mini truck swap in the works.
3. Brakes - keep front disc/rear drum as Toyota intended, or go 4 wheel disc.
4. Visibility - LED headlights. I ran Trucklite second generation LEDs for nearly 2 years in my 60. They were remarkable. Now I'm fighting an internal battle to go with 'standard' bulbs and headlights or modernize and use better performing, but non-vintage appearing LEDs.
5. Suspension - OME light vs. medium, 2.5" lift, enough to fit 33x10.5's.
6. Bench seat - it's hard to come up with options to fit 3 little kids; maybe just a Bestop or Corbeau, but the Little Passengers seats look amazing (and amazingly expensive).
7. Finally, bodywork and paint to change Barney back to Freeborn Red.

I don't want a concours truck, just a truck that is mostly stock appearing with well-though out modifications to improve its safety and handling, where possible, in today's modern driving world.

To that end, I invite any commmentary on LED headlights. There are several threads and options, but the most common would be: Trucklite 1st generation 10-LED's, Trucklite curent generation (27270c), JW Speaker 8700 Evolution 2, and 7" housings with LED conversions (Brite-ass LEDs, for one).

I have been going over this in my head for a while. My Trucklites were amazing, but they didn't look stock. On my 60, I received nothing but positive comments on them. They drove fantastically and nothing I have ever done to a vehicle made me feel safer driving in inclement weather or at night.

I don't know how I feel about putting LEDs on a 40. If I did, I've found some used JW Speaker Evo 2's, which appear to outgun the Trucklites and all others on the market, but look considerably more space-age. Some rigs look fantastic with them - cure @jetranger 's outrageous UZJ40. I'm torn between the safety and utility of better light output using a stock harness versus keeping a vintage truck vintage appearing.

Cost is another option. Current Trucklites and JW Speakers can be found on the internet used (thanks once again, searchtorrent) for $250+ on Trucklites and $425 and up for JW Speakers. IPF/Cibie/Hella housings plus LED conversions are less.

Finally, there's the plug-and-play benefit of Trucklites and Speakers. They plug in in 5 minutes and have more of a track record than some of the conversions. @WeberSarge I'd love to hear your experience.

Thoughts, all?
 
Joined
Apr 2, 2006
Messages
109
Location
Oklahoma
Nice looking fj40. I like the color! Around 15 years ago when I was looking for my first 40 I came across a slightly modified purple one for sale. It was priced right but I was looking for something more stock. I regret letting that one get away. Nothing wrong with the purple.
 
Joined
Jan 26, 2012
Messages
3,785
Location
Ohio, Illinois
The conversion thing using H4 lenses and led units for the bulb has a lot of factors , some of the conversion bulbs are pretty good - others are just plain crap . The bulb/driver kits in decent brands run $150+ for both sides . It's all about how well they work with the lenses - that's the problem area . The leds do not use a diffuser to reflect the light back against the housing reflector - that can create issues with control over the light pattern . Do some research , others have more detailed knowledge of this problem .A conversion will never beat a dedicated led light such as the JW Speaker , but as noted that comes at quite a premium price .

My conversions currently live in the Tacoma and work excellent in it's stock housings . They worked ok in the IPF H4 units , but didn't seem to throw enough distance for whatever reason .

Sarge
 

G-Cat

SILVER Star
 
 
Joined
Jan 2, 2003
Messages
4,678
Location
Georgia
6. Bench seat - it's hard to come up with options to fit 3 little kids; maybe just a Bestop or Corbeau, but the Little Passengers seats look amazing (and amazingly expensive).
I run a Little Passengers seat in my 77 that I found on Craigslist for $50. I saw a thread the other day where a guy found a 3rd row out of an Audi Allroad for $5. Both have integrated seat belts. I am not terribly impressed with the LP seat I have, but it did bolt-in easily and the integrated seat belts were a must for me.

I'd keep an eye on Craigs. There are many different minivan/SUV second and 3rd rows that have been used successfully. From pictures, alone, I'd pay $500 for the Allroad before I'd buy a LP seat new.
 

bottombracket

SILVER Star
Joined
Sep 29, 2013
Messages
600
Location
Austin, TX
I just don't know what to do about headlights; the more I read, the more conflicting opinions I get. What I have is safe, so I'm just going to wait it out for now.

As far as seats go, I'll keep an eye out for an Allroad seat. I checked with little passengers and they don't have anything used in stock that fits.

I do have a new problem: my ignition cylinder locks up intermittently, and about 1/4 of the time clicks instead of starting. The other 75% of the time it fires right up. I'll try to lube the lock cylinder first with graphite before replacing. I am assuming I will need a new switch. I'll try cleaning the contacts before spending the money, though.
 
Joined
Dec 29, 2013
Messages
1,149
Location
Las Cruces, NM
Had the same problem with mine after I bought it and began regular driving. Pulled the battery cables to the starter and ground, gave them a good cleaning, retightened and starts on first try every time now.
 

bottombracket

SILVER Star
Joined
Sep 29, 2013
Messages
600
Location
Austin, TX
Power steering mini truck conversion:

As luck would have it, my parents came to visit for 2 weeks. My wife is currently out of town for one of those weeks, but their visit gave me a secret weapon in that my dad is a pretty damn good mechanic. Everything I know about fixing cars has come from him. Over the years we've spent a lot of time under the hood, and even though this is a non-American truck (he's GM through-and-through), he agreed to help.

I was able to buy a new mini truck box from @shmukster and the rest of the conversion parts from Georg (@orangefj45). Thanks to Gary and Georg for their help. The high pressure hose was damaged in shipping and Georg shipped another immediately, on his own dime. THAT is customer service and Georg will ALWAYS have my business.

At 10 pm the night all the toys arrived we got started. I had sprayed Kroil on the pitman arm bolt and all of the other bolts involved every 48 hours for a week or so prior to conversion. The fender came right off but lo and behold, the PO had hard wired the headlights and there was no way to remove them other than cutting them out, so we sat the fender on top of the engine on some foam mats.

image.jpg


The feared Pitman arm was next. We cranked the puller down tight and let it sit for the night.

image.jpg
 
Joined
Jan 22, 2007
Messages
2,926
Location
Alva, Fl.
Power steering mini truck conversion:

As luck would have it, my parents came to visit for 2 weeks. My wife is currently out of town for one of those weeks, but their visit gave me a secret weapon in that my dad is a pretty damn good mechanic. Everything I know about fixing cars has come from him. Over the years we've spent a lot of time under the hood, and even though this is a non-American truck (he's GM through-and-through), he agreed to help.

I was able to buy a new mini truck box from @shmukster and the rest of the conversion parts from Georg (@orangefj45). Thanks to Gary and Georg for their help. The high pressure hose was damaged in shipping and Georg shipped another immediately, on his own dime. THAT is customer service and Georg will ALWAYS have my business.

At 10 pm the night all the toys arrived we got started. I had sprayed Kroil on the pitman arm bolt and all of the other bolts involved every 48 hours for a week or so prior to conversion. The fender came right off but lo and behold, the PO had hard wired the headlights and there was no way to remove them other than cutting them out, so we sat the fender on top of the engine on some foam mats.

View attachment 1161603

The feared Pitman arm was next. We cranked the puller down tight and let it sit for the night.

View attachment 1161608
Kroil is a super penetrant. Sounds like you are treating it accordingly-Hope you are successful getting the nut off-remember a thread here on MUD about this-seems I remember a large whack with a BFH helps to loosen the rust. Heat may help also, but you will have to replace the seal afterwards( I think Marlin Crawler has a good one). If you are replacing this, not an issue.
BTW, my Wife loves the color
 
Top Bottom