Rookie With First Time Project FJ40

Joined
Oct 10, 2021
Messages
6
Location
Mississippi
Hey all,

I have never owned a classic or vintage vehicle, but just bought a 1975 FJ40. I live in rural Mississippi. The good news is the front half has minimal rust, it turns over easily, it runs strong, and the previous owner(s) got the frame mostly rust free and redid the entire rear end (suspension and axel etc). The down side is the rust on the body, particularly the back half. Both wheel wells need to be entirely replaced, in my uneducated opinion. I'm assuming there is a good bit of rust on the rear quarter panels underneath those diamond plated panels. Same probably goes for the rocker panel area that also has black diamond plating. Most of the rear bed looks pretty good, except where it is bolted down just behind the front seats, which is probably an important area! The mid-bed section right underneath the back end of the front seats where the floor steps up an inch or two is also really rusted. Finally, the support channels underneath are very rusty.

The floor pans under both the driver and passenger seats are in pretty good shape.

My goal is for this to be a decent Sunday driver. I don't want it to be a show car, but I don't want to neglect it or butcher it. And, like most people, I don't have unlimited funds, so I need to be practical.

I have no intention to do any body work myself since I have zero experience doing that type of work.

I have two questions.

1. Am I correct in thinking that, in the long run, it will cost me significantly less to replace the entire back half of the body by saving up to buy a complete 1/2 tub or 3/4 tub versus buying a few panels at a time and paying a body shop to have them put on?

2. IF my assumption is correct, what type of tub should I be thinking about? CCOT seems to be the best quality, and they better be for their prices of $8k for a 1/2 tub. There is the Aquala aluminum tub, for $3,800. Then I found the Relik Garage, which sells a steel 1/2 tub for just $1,700. There is a huge price difference between those three. Are there others I should be thinking of? Are the Aquala tubs street legal, their website says for off road use only.

FJ-DriverSide-Bed-Behind-DriverSeat.jpg


FJ-DriverSide-RearWheelWell.jpg


FJ-DriverSideDoor.jpg


FJ-DriverSider-FloorUnderFrontSeat.jpg


FJ-MidBed-Underneath.jpg
 
Joined
Apr 2, 2008
Messages
10,288
Location
Victoria, BC
Aqualu…

That’s the first time I’ve seen and disclaimers on the tubs. The wording is much stronger for Frames than tubs.

Tubs: Designed for off-road use only.

Vs

Frames: Our frames are for off road use only, they do not come with any DOT certification.

I’ve never heard any issues with using one of their tubs. Given TLC Icons use Aqualu tubs, I don’t see any reason you can’t use one. They have been selling them for 30+ years and almost all of them are driven in the street, you’re set.

I’m sure their lawyers don’t want them to be sued if you’re in an accident and your rig doesn’t crumple when hit by a pos tin can car.

I’m sure the same would apply for any aftermarket sheet metal.
 
Joined
May 22, 2018
Messages
1,318
Location
Fredericksburg, Va
Hey all,

I have never owned a classic or vintage vehicle, but just bought a 1975 FJ40. I live in rural Mississippi. The good news is the front half has minimal rust, it turns over easily, it runs strong, and the previous owner(s) got the frame mostly rust free and redid the entire rear end (suspension and axel etc). The down side is the rust on the body, particularly the back half. Both wheel wells need to be entirely replaced, in my uneducated opinion. I'm assuming there is a good bit of rust on the rear quarter panels underneath those diamond plated panels. Same probably goes for the rocker panel area that also has black diamond plating. Most of the rear bed looks pretty good, except where it is bolted down just behind the front seats, which is probably an important area! The mid-bed section right underneath the back end of the front seats where the floor steps up an inch or two is also really rusted. Finally, the support channels underneath are very rusty.

The floor pans under both the driver and passenger seats are in pretty good shape.

My goal is for this to be a decent Sunday driver. I don't want it to be a show car, but I don't want to neglect it or butcher it. And, like most people, I don't have unlimited funds, so I need to be practical.

I have no intention to do any body work myself since I have zero experience doing that type of work.

I have two questions.

1. Am I correct in thinking that, in the long run, it will cost me significantly less to replace the entire back half of the body by saving up to buy a complete 1/2 tub or 3/4 tub versus buying a few panels at a time and paying a body shop to have them put on?

2. IF my assumption is correct, what type of tub should I be thinking about? CCOT seems to be the best quality, and they better be for their prices of $8k for a 1/2 tub. There is the Aquala aluminum tub, for $3,800. Then I found the Relik Garage, which sells a steel 1/2 tub for just $1,700. There is a huge price difference between those three. Are there others I should be thinking of? Are the Aquala tubs street legal, their website says for off road use only.

View attachment 2809354

View attachment 2809355

View attachment 2809357

View attachment 2809358

View attachment 2809362


I’ve used Reliks for years. Good product.
 

curtislow

Third fj40
SILVER Star
Joined
Sep 2, 2010
Messages
370
Location
Western Massachusetts
Hey all,

I have never owned a classic or vintage vehicle, but just bought a 1975 FJ40. I live in rural Mississippi. The good news is the front half has minimal rust, it turns over easily, it runs strong, and the previous owner(s) got the frame mostly rust free and redid the entire rear end (suspension and axel etc). The down side is the rust on the body, particularly the back half. Both wheel wells need to be entirely replaced, in my uneducated opinion. I'm assuming there is a good bit of rust on the rear quarter panels underneath those diamond plated panels. Same probably goes for the rocker panel area that also has black diamond plating. Most of the rear bed looks pretty good, except where it is bolted down just behind the front seats, which is probably an important area! The mid-bed section right underneath the back end of the front seats where the floor steps up an inch or two is also really rusted. Finally, the support channels underneath are very rusty.

The floor pans under both the driver and passenger seats are in pretty good shape.

My goal is for this to be a decent Sunday driver. I don't want it to be a show car, but I don't want to neglect it or butcher it. And, like most people, I don't have unlimited funds, so I need to be practical.

I have no intention to do any body work myself since I have zero experience doing that type of work.

I have two questions.

1. Am I correct in thinking that, in the long run, it will cost me significantly less to replace the entire back half of the body by saving up to buy a complete 1/2 tub or 3/4 tub versus buying a few panels at a time and paying a body shop to have them put on?

2. IF my assumption is correct, what type of tub should I be thinking about? CCOT seems to be the best quality, and they better be for their prices of $8k for a 1/2 tub. There is the Aquala aluminum tub, for $3,800. Then I found the Relik Garage, which sells a steel 1/2 tub for just $1,700. There is a huge price difference between those three. Are there others I should be thinking of? Are the Aquala tubs street legal, their website says for off road use only.

View attachment 2809354

View attachment 2809355

View attachment 2809357

View attachment 2809358

View attachment 2809362
Nothing but good to say about my Aqualu tub.
 
Joined
Jun 26, 2005
Messages
3,198
Location
City that rhymes with fun
My vote is aqua also! Thats the route ill be going for my 42 when time comes. Offroad use only is just a legal thing. Most vehicle mods will say the same somewhere in the small print. Anything emissions related will always say off road use only.

Save the time and money and just go aqua and be done with it.
 
Joined
Oct 10, 2021
Messages
6
Location
Mississippi
Well that was a pretty quick consensus. Sounds like Aquala is the way to go.

What all should I be thinking about if I go that route?

How much can I expect to pay in labor for a job like this?

How lung would the job usually take?

Are there other parts or component I will likely need to buy or replace as part of this tub swap?
 
Joined
May 14, 2016
Messages
1,910
Location
Arizona
Aquala is the answer. Had Toyota used aluminum in the first place , you would not be looking at this rust.
 
Joined
Jun 12, 2013
Messages
63
Location
Middle TN
I went through the same decision making process earlier this year and I just put a Aquala on my '78 and its really not that hard. You can do it yourself and it will give you a chance to learn about your 40. I'm painting mine myself as well and that takes some prep but again, it's not that hard- just time consuming.
It could easily save you $10K in labor by doing all the work yourself!
 
Joined
May 14, 2016
Messages
1,910
Location
Arizona
I went through the same decision making process earlier this year and I just put a Aquala on my '78 and its really not that hard. You can do it yourself and it will give you a chance to learn about your 40. I'm painting mine myself as well and that takes some prep but again, it's not that hard- just time consuming.
It could easily save you $10K in labor by doing all the work yourself!

Agreed. I have rust free stuff , Arizona, so I was not forced to decide on tubs and fenders. However, if I ever did find an FJ40 with holes and rust creep, Aquala would be my solution.
 
Joined
Jun 10, 2015
Messages
778
Location
Idaho
Aqualu for my rebuild and never looked back. No rust to worry about EVER again. It’s a fairly straightforward (almost) process and there are a number of threads on MUD that will walk you through the process. The biggest challenge for me was getting the door space just right, but I’m pretty OCD. Definitely go with the 3/4 tub and eliminate rocker rust as well.
 

pjohnson

SILVER Star
Joined
Jan 15, 2003
Messages
2,619
Location
Idaho
Welcome to Mud!
A decent used original tub shows up in the classified section every once in a while. I would keep an eye out there.
@White Stripe has good info in his build thread. You'll have to read through to find it as I'm too lazy today to look 😀:
 
Joined
Oct 10, 2021
Messages
6
Location
Mississippi
Wow. You really think I can swap the tubs myself with no prior experience of working on cars?

Anyone remember any MUD threads with good explanations of what that process looks like?
 

DangerNoodle

Essentially a fire wielding monkey.
SILVER Star
Joined
Oct 25, 2019
Messages
1,601
Location
Divide, Colorado
Wow. You really think I can swap the tubs myself with no prior experience of working on cars?

Anyone remember any MUD threads with good explanations of what that process looks like?

A Sawzall and some friends are all you really need to swap a tub. I'm joking, but these are pretty easy to work on. I've pulled apart running and driving cruisers to a near bare frame in less than a day at work. Are you looking at doing a 1/2 or 3/4 tub?
 
Joined
Dec 13, 2012
Messages
1,567
Location
KY
Wow. You really think I can swap the tubs myself with no prior experience of working on cars?

Anyone remember any MUD threads with good explanations of what that process looks like?
This is where you need to do some soul searching.

Usually with the amount of rust you've shown there is more you don't see. My suggestion is to find a reputable shop that can give you an honest second opinion. If the frame has any serious rust issues putting a new tub on it will solve nothing. You're going to have to decide how much work are you willing/capable of attempting and are you willing to spend what is needed if you are unable to complete the task.
 

Comet

Knower of little, master of less.
SILVER Star
Joined
Nov 22, 2009
Messages
2,477
Location
Southwest Virginia
It’s easy. The back is like 8 to ten bolts, six or eight holding the back to the front, and two sawz-all places. You got this.

87225AE3-2B41-4B15-8572-63F81856F78F.jpeg


4B1D7704-2530-48DC-B8DF-34E9EE73B81F.jpeg


E3AE2115-8660-4934-BBED-34931B81567A.jpeg


7BDB8F52-32B6-4249-AA0B-386555B0CFA7.jpeg


8B8B2D29-64EF-4433-82CB-E77DA5F457B2.jpeg
 
Joined
Oct 10, 2021
Messages
6
Location
Mississippi
Okay. The tub swap sounds easier than I thought. Anyone know of a good MUD thread or YouTube video that walks you through the process step by step?
 
Joined
Oct 10, 2021
Messages
6
Location
Mississippi
Okay. I brought my FJ to a body shop yesterday. They confirmed that the frame is in great shape. The back half of the frame appears to be rust free and painted. The front half of the frame has some very minor surface rust. What type of paint should I use on the frame after I remove the surface rust?

The bad news was he said it would cost a couple thousand to repair the front fenders (cut out rust and weld in new material). Therefore, I am thinking of replacing them. Should I replace the front fenders with one’s from CCOT to keep the front half steel, or Aqualu? CCOT is less than half the price for front fenders.
 

Users who are viewing this thread

Top Bottom