Builds Project 76 FJ40: What have I got myself into !!

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Feb 12, 2020
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Savannah
Some of you might have seen this on the classified momentarily, 76 FJ well I am the proud owner and as my title says I am a rookie at this, picked it up two weeks ago and have not had a chance to assess my buy. I did all of the first buyer mistakes , even though I read the FAQ with all the warning signs! Problem was that I committed to the vehicle unseen so I did not feel right to back out of the deal. I went into this knowing I might have to replace the tub as it looked pretty rough. But the more I get into looking at the vehicle closer.. I would be lying if I said there is no buyers remorse. At the same time, I have seen several threads and have seen several of the FJs being resurrected on this forum and it gives me hope. But at the moment , there is one word to describe how I feel.. Overwhelmed!! I really do not know what I am getting myself into yet, but I crawled under the vehicle to take a few pics , which should give you some sign of things to come, so critic away and don't hold back the punches. Just need to know what I am getting myself into.
These the first few pics:
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None. I have a lead on a tub, and I am hoping it will pan out as far as the body goes (its from a 75). Its the frame part that I am getting real worried about. Not to mention the cobweb of wires that the PPO (previous to previous owner) had done or did himself.

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I will comment. The pictures I have seen so far is that there is a lot of rust repair. There is a lot of add ons that are not stock as well. To me it is a large job so hopefully you are able to take this project on yourself and not always outsource the work. Harness probably would be best to buy a new one. The journey of a lifetime always begins with the first step.
 

Pighead

Stop calling it an FJ
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Well, it does have 4-wheel discs...
I assume you have a big garage if you're already contemplating a tub swap.
You CAN make a wiring harness by yourself.
What do you want your LandCruiser to do? Daily drive, rock crawl, mall crawl, other?
Do you really need that air conditioner?
You're not gonna be a rookie for long...
 

KingAir Driver

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Nothing is ever impossible... I'd take it one step at a time. It would be good to know what route you want to take with this? Back to stock a stock 40, resto-mod, crawler? The wiring looks like a nightmare and the connections at the battery look like a fire waiting to happen. I'd put a want ad for a 76 harness under classifieds, blow the thing apart and see what you're working with. If you're replacing the tub, it might be easier to get the frame repaired at that time.
 
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Well, my Mom once told me "Pighead, if'n ya can't say something nice jus' keep your blankety-blank mouth shut."
So, nice tires...
.
That’s fair enough 😄😄😄
I will comment. The pictures I have seen so far is that there is a lot of rust repair. There is a lot of add ons that are not stock as well. To me it is a large job so hopefully you are able to take this project on yourself and not always outsource the work. Harness probably would be best to buy a new one. The journey of a lifetime always begins with the first step.
Bought the vehicle with the prospect that my son and l could restore it and at the same time teach my son to drive a stick. I plan on doing most of the work myself. I am sure there will some amount of outsourcing to get the final paint job done. I concur on starting with a new harness. And getting the rest setup from there. I am somewhat mechanically inclined, I mostly used to work on motorcycles. This will be my first 4 wheel adventure.
Well, it does have 4-wheel discs...
I assume you have a big garage if you're already contemplating a tub swap.
You CAN make a wiring harness by yourself.
What do you want your LandCruiser to do? Daily drive, rock crawl, mall crawl, other?
Do you really need that air conditioner?
You're not gonna be a rookie for long...
The plan for the cruiser will strictly on road and probably weekend driving, at least until I have high confidence on its reliability. I do have a 2012 fj cruiser that is set up for moderate trail riding. I have always wanted to own a FJ40, I guess I should have done a little more research before jumping on this one. I have learned so much on this forum and the wealth of knowledge is incredible. Learn something new from every build I read through. I guess that’s the part that gets overwhelming. I enjoy learning about the vehicle. Just didn’t realize there were so many things to know 😳
 
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Nothing is ever impossible... I'd take it one step at a time. It would be good to know what route you want to take with this? Back to stock a stock 40, resto-mod, crawler? The wiring looks like a nightmare and the connections at the battery look like a fire waiting to happen. I'd put a want ad for a 76 harness under classifieds, blow the thing apart and see what you're working with. If you're replacing the tub, it might be easier to get the frame repaired at that time.
That’s a good idea to look for a wire harness. Totally agree that wiring does make me want pull my hair out!! And yes my plan is to get the current tub out, either in one piece or in pieces 😄 and while I am there I will get the frame squared away. It seems like they just ran wires as they needed to and just bandaged this vehicle just to keep it on the road. I must say the vehicle fires up within the first few cranks. It feels a bit rough but it runs. I am not looking to bring it back to its original glory because I think it will be a mutt once I get parts from different sources. I just need it be reliable and keep the classic look. I don’t plan on swapping engines, I want to keep the original 2F engine and tranny.
 

Pighead

Stop calling it an FJ
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Well, buy a case (or 2) of PB Blaster and start spraying every nut, bolt and connector on it.
I can highly recommend Coolerman for electrical help. Perhaps he can put you on his waiting list for a new harness. Or, again, make one yourself. With the correct schematic, a large work area (say a 4'x8' sheet of plywood or similar covered with butcher paper to write on) you can mock up an almost life-size plan of the 40 and lay out your wires, components and connectors. This aspect of your project could be a valuable learning experience for the both of you (how old is your lad, by the way?) You might also decide to use some more modern connectors for added reliability (I like the Deutsch connectors). Making a harness is a lot easier and cheaper than learning to replace body or frame pieces.
Plan on a new brake master cylinder, perhaps an 80 series non-abs with a new booster behind it (City Racer?).
Pull the head and send it out for a valve job. Do a compression test first if you can. With the head off you can assess the cylinders and decide if more is warranted.
Plan on acquiring a stockish carb.
Can we assume you don't have to pass smog?
Is that a Toyota air conditioner and do want to keep it? ( no, I don't want it, they just get in the way).
 
Joined
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Minnesota
 
The wiring can be intimidating. But once you wrap your head around it, its not that bad. Without all the crimping and soldering tools, you would be better off like others said and putting an ad in the classifieds for a harness.

Does she run and drive now?

My advice if it does, keep it that way. Don't blow it all apart and start a full resto that you and your son get tired of and discouraged and don't finish. If it runs and drives, take it in small bites and keep it that way. Enjoy it while you fix it!! Make memories using it and repairing it rather than always just working on it... You can clean up some of that wiring so it is safe while you look for a used harness to swap over in a week worth of work.

This is a wonderful community with a plethora of knowledge. Put the word out to some locals. I am sure someone with some wiring experience will happily come help for a day. We all love to talk cruisers and look at someones elses cool rig!!

Hope this helps.
 
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Son just turned 13 in December. He just learned to change oil in the Fj cruiser and my wife’s highlander. Next on his list is to swap tires. 👍 I did read one thread where a member had the wiring harness laid out. It was very informative. I might give it a try. I do like using the deutsch connectors myself. I do have the crimper for the pins and sockets. Makes it a very clean instal. I have used them on bikes in the past.
I guess my first thought is to get a level set of what I have going on, on my current ride. It has power steering ( I don’t believe that is stock on the 76) . The front wheel disc conversion, is that from a stock FJ from a later year? Not sure how to tell? Same with the distributor, I think it is safe to assume that it is not running on contacts. And is that a Webber carburetor? The PO had listed that it has a 4” raise . Is it done the right way are the shock shot, I don’t t know what a stock one rides like to compare. If I could I would like to go to a moderate 2.5” lift with 15” rims. The vehicle currently feels quite unstable as is. Air conditioning in GA is probably a good thing, but I read that with the sheet metal body there isn’t enough insulation to have an efficient air conditioner. I don’t plan on ever not having the hard top off. No smog to deal with in the sticks where I live.
 
Joined
Feb 12, 2020
Messages
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Location
Savannah
The wiring can be intimidating. But once you wrap your head around it, its not that bad. Without all the crimping and soldering tools, you would be better off like others said and putting an ad in the classifieds for a harness.

Does she run and drive now?

My advice if it does, keep it that way. Don't blow it all apart and start a full resto that you and your son get tired of and discouraged and don't finish. If it runs and drives, take it in small bites and keep it that way. Enjoy it while you fix it!! Make memories using it and repairing it rather than always just working on it... You can clean up some of that wiring so it is safe while you look for a used harness to swap over in a week worth of work.

This is a wonderful community with a plethora of knowledge. Put the word out to some locals. I am sure someone with some wiring experience will happily come help for a day. We all love to talk cruisers and look at someones elses cool rig!!

Hope this helps.
Thanks for the advice,
She runs, but the body just crumbles every time you slam the door shut. I don’t know if it is Bondo that is holding the whole thing together or a coat of paint. I feel like one of these days the floor is going to give while I am driving it ( yeah it is that bad) same with the frame, all that flaking that you see in the picture, I am not able to tell if it the POR that is separating or if that is steel delaminating.
 
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