My FJ40 Rebuild, things I've learned.

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Dec 4, 2002
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The rebuild is by no means OVER. Owning a '78 vehicle means lots of maintenance, I expect that. Here's what I learned along the way.
REBUILDING THE 2F : I found a reputable shop in Inverness Fl.,Precision Engines. They pulled it,rebuilt it balanced & blueprinted, and installed it. Cost about $4,500. That's with Centerforce clutch,new water pump,refurbished radiator,etc.
Costs for a 350 conversion were quoted from $5000-$15000.
If the 2F holds up I'll be okay with it.Otherwise,I'll go back with a 350.
I'd find a donor car for a 350 so I'd have all the brackets,computer & harnesses,etc. I found an engine at the salvage yard for $1,500. The rest of the cost was adapters,labor,etc. I'd been around $6000 and HOPING I didn't have overheating issues that seem so prevalent with 350 conversions.
Conclusion: The 2F is the way to go if you find a good one,a shop that knows one,or are a mechanic yourself. The 2F parts cost so much,are hard to find,and local shops know nothing about it.
The TUB: I was really taken by the cost of the engine rebuild because afterward I still had a rusty piece of junk. I was saved by a friend. He custom made a tub using 1/8" floor and 18 ga. galvanized skin. He custom made the front/rear bumpers with tire carrier. Custom made the rocker panel gaurds,trimmed 3" off the front/rear fenders and painted it all Ford Cherry Red.He rolled-on dupli-color bedliner in the tub. Cost,less than $2000. :eek:
Conclusion:It's good to have good friends :)
THE FRAME: After the tub and exhaust were removed we realized the frame was thin in areas. We gusseted,boxed, and braced for a solid week. A welder charged me $300.Conclusion: If you get a rig check the frame thoroughly BEFORE you rebuild the engine. The skid plate and exhaust can hide ALOT of thin frame behind them.
EXHAUST: I had a guy install a 2 1/4"Flowmaster with aluminized tubing. I exited the tailpipe on the left side. I'm happy with the sound and the rig runs ALOT better than it did with just the header,it needed some back-pressure.Cost $150
LIGHTING: When the tub was rebuilt and fenders trimmed I used aftermarket NAPA lights.Upgrading to Halogen lamps was a direct replacement and a big improvement over stock.I used just two taillights in rear and 2 markers on the front fender. That was a mistake. I had to go through a wiring fiasco,buy converters,etc.
Conclusion: Try to stick with as close to OEM lighting as possible.
So I have a rig that looks like new for the above costs and ALOT of extensive labor. Well,alot of it was enjoyable.
Conclusion: If I were to do it all over I would never start with a rig this rough. The engine was blown,the frame was rusted and the tub was shot! Alot of the damage was hidden under floormats,exhaust, skidplate and the entire exterior skinned with Bondo. It was ALOT of time and work.
Conclusion: If you take on a project like this count the cost in TIME and MONEY. Check it out GOOD! ;)
 

TJDIV

UP of MI.
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Jan 28, 2003
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As for the donor vehicle. That's the ticket. Get you a truck that you can take everything out of for less than $2000, and sell the hell out of all the stuff on it you don't need. Mine turned out to be a $900 total investment after I sold the extra set of wheels and tires and odds and ends off of it. Although I used everything off an 84 K5 Blazer from t-case back. (already had the 350, but need an extra engine and transmission.)
 
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Wherever the truck stops!!
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Better yet get them both free! The '76 FJ55 was free and mostly complete but VERY RUSTY, except the roof. The '74 FJ55 body that we're using is mostly incomplete but relatively rust free except of the roof which is very rusty. We'll have one restored FJ55 when we're done plus some scrap metal! All I've learned so far is to not trust the PO's rebuild of the 2F (there is way too many mistakes so far for me to even try to fire it up).
 

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