Road test - would like some advice (1 Viewer)

Joined
Sep 25, 2018
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San Diego
I want to thank everyone on this forum for the wealth of information and motivation for helping me get my '74 driving again.
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It all started about 7 months ago with @RAGINGMATT helping me fix my radiator so I could get started on trying to fire up the engine. After getting the engine running it was time to hit the hard stuff.

First off was replacing the wheel cylinders and the master cylinder. I was very excited to get the brakes working as well as they do. I appreciate all the info from everyone on here from how to get my drums off when the wheel cylinder adjustments are rusted frozen to when I panicked because I lost the pushrod between the booster and master.

I then replaced the clutch master and slave. The clutch and brakes were good but the engine still ran horribly. It's a sbc350 conversion mated to the stock 4spd but with a modified low gear ratio. I'm proud to have 'marlin crawler SN#23' engraved on my transfer case. What I'm not proud of though is this...I had that transfer case modified back around '96 but had torn apart the cruiser to put new paint on it and didn't finish before going back to school, life changed (in a good way but just not the same), many things where going on and fast forward here I am. I never could imagine getting rid of it though all these years. So, back to the engine...compression looked good so I took the opportunity to clean things up, get some new bits here and there, put a new intake on it, rebuilt the carburetor, put a new distributor on it and all the normal things for a tune up and now the engine runs great.

So about 3 weeks ago I was very excited to finally put the registration sticker on it and go for a drive. Its quite the experience given I'm on the stock saggy springs without any shocks. I'm fortunate to have a new OME 2.5" suspension sitting in my garage that I'm anxious to get started on which was going to be my next step but.....here's the deal. It's seriously has been sitting for 20 years except for the occasional moving around so I can't expect everything to work.

So the result of the test was good but my transmission's syncro going from 2nd to 3rd does not work. I'm really wanting to get this fj40 reliable so I can use it both on and off road. I'm now strongly considering pulling the engine/drive train out right away and getting the transmission rebuilt while I dive into the suspension. I have some questions:

1) I'm not interested in going just anywhere for Trans rebuild and would prefer a TLC specialist. I'm in the so cal area and could use a recommendation. (I've been eyeing @65swb45)
2) The Transfer case hasn't seen any use but then again has been sitting for all these 20 years, It shifts and seems fine but would you guys recommend getting that rebuilt while I have the chance?

The conversion was done with the Downey kit back in the late '80s so it has the front engine cradle mount. I couple things I'd like to change...
1) I'd sure like to get the shifter out from under the heater. I found out about the fj60 top plate swap. Is it really as easy as it sounds or am I missing something? It looks like the plate is taller than the fj40's. does it clear the fj40 trans cover and make it look stock?
2) I have stock steering. I'd love to go power steering some day. Is it true that the downey's cradle mount is in the way for a saginaw conversion, so I'd have to go to the AA front mounts to do it?
3) Also, I'm running rear dump exhaust manifolds with dual exhaust. I'd love to do the center rams horn manifolds some day to simplify the exhaust with the under engine cross over to a single exhaust setup. Is it true that I don't have clearance to run these manifolds until I get rid of the stock steering.
4) I'm not real stoked on the rear motor mounts. It only has a single doughnut. I think its the stock fj40 motor mount but only uses one between the motor mount welded to the frame and the TC cross member. Just doesn't seem like a good design since it only cushions in compression if that makes sense. If I pull the drivetrain I'm going to want to see if I can come up with a better solution.

The exhaust on it isn't optimal. I can't pull the drivetrain out without the exhaust in the way. The picture shows that the flowmasters are welded together. the drivers side flowmaster is welded to a bracket that mounts to the frame. The shop that did the exhuast way back then did a great job tucking everything up high but we sure weren't thinking of maintainability then. Anyone think there's a chance I can pull the clamps off and pull the tail pipes out of the flowmasters? If so I can drop the mufflers and everything forward to it to the engine. If I can't its hacksaw time if I'm really going to do this.
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Well, I never intended for this post to be so long. if you actually read all of it I want to thank you.
 
Joined
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1. I have a set of used/refurbished side weld-in front motor mounts if interested, cheaper than AA new mounts.
2. I have some of the Saginaw power steering pieces you could use if you go that route, lemme know. Plus you may want one of my freebie Downey Off Road Mfg. power steering installation instruction manuals before you start spending money on the steering conversion.
3. Problem with trying to use double donuts on your rear mount is the brackets welded to the frame are narrow (so that they could fit between the back of the transfer-case and back of the parking brake drum), that is why we only used the single donut on each side (between motor mount crossmember and welded on frame brackets).
 

pb4ugo

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I think a lot of ideas you mention sound good. Your 40 looks like a very solid platform to improve on. Your suggestions are gonna be a lot of work. I agree, the cradle engine mount is out dated, and side mounts would be better. As for the rear mount, idk if there a lot of choices other than the propeller cross member. You might want to look into scout, fj60/80 power steering also, along with sag steering out frt. I don't believe new leaf springs go bad because they are 20yrs, old. I switched to rams horn manifords, using the Wagner y pipe and ran the exhaust so it doesn't interfere with any future maintainence, or drive line removal. It was also made to be easily removed if I ever need to. In your pic, it looks like you could use most of the drivers side pipes and muffler that are in place and adapt it to the new manifolds and y pipe.
 

orangefj45

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I’ll throw the suggestion for Georg @orangefj45 into the tranny/transfer case rebuild loop. Valley Hybrids a bit north of you.

Thanks for the honorable mention!

Yes, we'll be happy to help ……. and we have all the parts for the rebuild(s) on hand; OH kits, main shafts, synchro rings, you name it!

Georg

Valley Hybrids & Cruiser Brothers
 
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Further to my post #2 above (now that I've got my head out of the sand)- - - you can double donut the rear motor mount crossmember if you use a donut on top and on bottom of the crossmember, you just can't fit a donut under the frame bracket.
 

65swb45

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What exactly is the nature of the shifting problem? Coming out of second, or going into 3rd? Is it also hard to downshift from 4th to 3rd, or only on the upshift?

Since going from 2nd to 3rd involves crossing over from one shift gate to the next, it would be premature to rule out an issue with the gates, the cover, the tower or the stick itself.

I’ve done four transmissions in the last month and am starting another H42 either Wednesday or Friday (customer still trying to arrange delivery) and I always keep a good stock of rebuild components on the shelf.


Thanks for your consideration.
 
Joined
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Further to my post #2 above (now that I've got my head out of the sand)- - - you can double donut the rear motor mount crossmember if you use a donut on top and on bottom of the crossmember, you just can't fit a donut under the frame bracket.
Thanks @Downey for this and your previous feedback. I'd like to try and get a donut on top of the crossmemeber. Hopefully I can grind off some of the floor stiffener u-channel that is right above the mount to get the height needed. I'm curious too if I had installed the rear mounts at the correct height. I just found a copy of your install manual online and see you recommend the top of the lower donut to be flush with the top surface of the frame.
I've much like to get your power steering installation manual to find out what you've learned. I'd very much appreciate you letting me know how to get a copy.
 
Joined
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Messages
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Location
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I think a lot of ideas you mention sound good. Your 40 looks like a very solid platform to improve on. Your suggestions are gonna be a lot of work. I agree, the cradle engine mount is out dated, and side mounts would be better. As for the rear mount, idk if there a lot of choices other than the propeller cross member. You might want to look into scout, fj60/80 power steering also, along with sag steering out frt. I don't believe new leaf springs go bad because they are 20yrs, old. I switched to rams horn manifords, using the Wagner y pipe and ran the exhaust so it doesn't interfere with any future maintainence, or drive line removal. It was also made to be easily removed if I ever need to. In your pic, it looks like you could use most of the drivers side pipes and muffler that are in place and adapt it to the new manifolds and y pipe.
Thanks for the suggestions. I hope I'm at a good starting point with it. It looks good from a distance but there's some rust in some areas that I wish it didn't have. Overall I think its in pretty good shape. I'd love to get everything taken care of but I'm torn because I don't want it to be so nice that I won't feel comfortable taking it off road and using it. I read about the Wagner y pipe and think its the way to go for a tame stock sbc. It really looks good and will go with that when I have the option. right now I'm stuck with the 3/4 dump ex manifold. I never considered that I could reuse the drivers side pipes and muffler. I just assumed that the muffler may not be enough for both sides but I bet your are correct.
 
Joined
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Messages
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What exactly is the nature of the shifting problem? Coming out of second, or going into 3rd? Is it also hard to downshift from 4th to 3rd, or only on the upshift?

Since going from 2nd to 3rd involves crossing over from one shift gate to the next, it would be premature to rule out an issue with the gates, the cover, the tower or the stick itself.

I’ve done four transmissions in the last month and am starting another H42 either Wednesday or Friday (customer still trying to arrange delivery) and I always keep a good stock of rebuild components on the shelf.


Thanks for your consideration.
Thanks for getting back to me. Coming out of second is fine. I'm having trouble getting into 3rd, either way when up shifting or down shifting. I'm grinding gears going into 3rd unless I'm real gentle with it and allow it to mesh in on its own. Does that give you any insight? I really don't remember having this problem prior to it sitting for the last 20 years. All I did recently was replace the gear oil.

Dang you are busy with transmissions! wow. good to know.
 
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@middlecalf thanks for reaching out. I wasn't aware of your shop. I sure wish you weren't so far away. I get up that way a couple of times a year though so I'll keep you in mind.
 
Joined
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Thanks @Downey for this and your previous feedback. I'd like to try and get a donut on top of the crossmemeber. Hopefully I can grind off some of the floor stiffener u-channel that is right above the mount to get the height needed. I'm curious too if I had installed the rear mounts at the correct height. I just found a copy of your install manual online and see you recommend the top of the lower donut to be flush with the top surface of the frame.
I've much like to get your power steering installation manual to find out what you've learned. I'd very much appreciate you letting me know how to get a copy.
You can get a copy of the Downey Saginaw Steering Installation Instructions on line (here on Mud) in the same place you found the V8 Installation Instructions, on the Downey Off Road link.
 

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