Paint/Restore Body Rust or V8 Conversion

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Joined
Mar 23, 2010
Threads
2
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16
Location
Grand Bay, AL
I am needing some feedback from the IH8MUD veterans. My 1982 FJ60 is in need of a Body Restoration very badly. It has some rust issues (normal rust on quarter-panels and door edges,) and the paint looks horrible (original faded look.)

The 2F Engine runs fine, but I want it as a daily driver with some horsepower and interstate driving abilities. (Not much on 4x4 driving). My thoughts are some type of Chevy motor (TBI or Vortec) with some type of Tranny (Manual or Auto). I don't really care about the engine or trans, just something that is very compatible.

My question is this: Should I do an engine swap first or the body restore first? Money is not much of an issue because my cousin owns a Classic Car Restoration shop and we are trading work for work. I do websites he does restores. Anyways, let me know your thoughts.

Thanks to all

- Chris
 
I would knock out the body work first. Fix the rust issues, paint whatever else you want and need to do. V8's are nice, but I would take care of the body first.
 
This is not an only car, just a project vehicle. I want it to be a daily driver though. It has 167,000 miles on it. Both rear quarter-panels look about like the 2nd pic everything else is probably just surface rust.

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You will eventually lose the war with rust. You may may score a victory now and again, but you will eventually lose. I figure when enough parts rust off my Cruiser, I will pull the drive train and start over. Those are the parts you can swap, the body you can't.
 
You will eventually lose the war with rust. You may may score a victory now and again, but you will eventually lose. I figure when enough parts rust off my Cruiser, I will pull the drive train and start over. Those are the parts you can swap, the body you can't.

Ahhh, that doesn't give me much hope. Well, my cousin is planning on stripping it down to the frame and cutting/welding/fabricating everything that needs to be so hopefully that will be a good start to my journey with rust. He does a phenomenal job with rusted cars (worse off than my FJ) and has sold dozens at the Barrett-Jackson auctions so maybe he can do wonders with the the Cruiser.

I'm a newbie to all this stuff because most of my 26 years of life have been geekin it up working on computers and building websites, but I really enjoy working on the Cruiser. It's a fun new hobby that will last a lifetime hopefully.
 
You could also look around for a cruiser with a better body and blown motor if you want the power of a v8 or fix the rust first however if you have never done anything as far as a frame off strip and paint it takes a while even for a shop to do and not to mention putting it all back together with 20+ year old wiring. Now don't get me wrong a healthy v8 is awesome. If it were me I would just fix what needs it as far as rust and then go v8 vs. doing a frame off, that way you get some more practice working on your cruiser.
 
rust first. gotta stop it in its tracks.


why the desire for a new powerplant? my flat 60 moves along on stock tires at 80mph...
 
Rust first, there's a line of futility with it. Get it while you still can. A rust-free cruiser has a lot of value and appeal.

Take a close look at the frame- especially behind the cat and muffler. If you are pulling out chunks, it's over.
 
Looks like I'm going to be giving it to my cousin pretty soon to restore. I was leaning toward cleaning up all the rust, but some people down in L.A. (lower alabama) were like, "Dude, put a motor in it." I'm ok with the 2F for now, but would LOVE to have a V8 in it because of all the pros.
 
rust first. gotta stop it in its tracks.


why the desire for a new powerplant? my flat 60 moves along on stock tires at 80mph...

Do you have the 2F with the 4-Speed? My RPMs seem super high when I get to speeds around 65-70. I thought it would not be good for the motor running it like that.
 
Do you have the 2F with the 4-Speed? My RPMs seem super high when I get to speeds around 65-70. I thought it would not be good for the motor running it like that.

yes, and 265k on the odo. rpms are just above 3k, maybe up to 3500.

towed a trailer full of dog show equip, 500lbs? w/my 205k lifted rig: 75mph on 30's all day long, still in the 3k rpm range.

i also ride motorcycles, which gives me a gut feel for powerband/rpms etc. usta own a 914, want another, w/o the battery acid/frame problem.
 
At 75 with my 2f I would get 8-9 miles to the gallon on stock tires. At 75 with my tbi 5.7 and auto I get 16-17 and thats on 35s. The real pleasure is getting on the on ramps and through the mountains. The 2f is great for offroading and running around town but mud, snow, and highways not so much. I never really liked my 2f. I had a 62 with the 3fe and I thought that was fine. Slow but much more practical for everday driving.
 
At 75 with my 2f I would get 8-9 miles to the gallon on stock tires. At 75 with my tbi 5.7 and auto I get 16-17 and thats on 35s. The real pleasure is getting on the on ramps and through the mountains. The 2f is great for offroading and running around town but mud, snow, and highways not so much. I never really liked my 2f. I had a 62 with the 3fe and I thought that was fine. Slow but much more practical for everday driving.

That's my thing. Gas is going to eat my lunch in the long run. I'll probably spend the difference in gas in a year as much driving as I do. I'm not sure which engine I will lean toward when I do the conversion (5.3 or 5.7). I think I am going to stay with the TBI instead of the Vortec because of all the computer stuff. All this blows my mind anyways because I don't know much about vehicles, but this site has helped alot.
 
You still have to deal with a computer and electronics with a tbi just not as many sensors.
 
I'm not sure how experienced you are with rust repair, but I just want to check to make sure you know what you're getting into. Rust, especially need seams panel edges and double panels is very hard to stop. Unless you have a welder and are willing to spend hundreds of hours on that truck I'd just keep the frame and drivetrain going and enjoy it while you got it.
 
Tbi was a pretty straight forward swap and pretty reasonable. I used a rebuilt built up 4l60e and a 93 tbi to the toyota split case. All said and done I spent 3300-3500$. That counted everything from nuts and bolts to adaptors to fuel pump and lines. The 5.3 is a good engine it just has to much stuff on it for me. I have its bigger brother the 6.0 in my 06 2500 and like it a lot as well. To me the small block is lot of fun because of all the options and tbi is extremely reliable and simple. Lehiguy on this forum has his 5.7tbi putting out 300+hp and 400+lbs of torque. That blows me away as that is more torque than my 2006hd pickup from a 40 year old engine design.
 

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