ROTW ROTW....cdaniel, 77 FJ40..... (1 Viewer)

Cdaniel

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So I'm jumpin' the gun a little, takin' a stab at this while I've got the time to compose myself. Besides, it looks like last weeks victim "Hossdog" was busy doing other Cruiser stuff.

The story of the 40.

My first 4x4 wasn't a Land Cruiser, it was a 77 Chevy long bed 3/4T pickup. Purchased in 1984, it served me well for many years, but it was put to pasture after 200k plus miles on the chassis and axles.
silver.jpg

The sickness begins:D

In 1993, shortly after I sank a lot of money into it's new engine, tranny and T-case, the front carrier split in half on a nasty hill. (Yes excessive throttle was in use.) Time to cut the losses. I pulled the fresh 383 stroker out of it and sent the remains down the road. Now the hunt was on for another (smaller) money pit. After browsing through many CJ's and FJ's I came to the obvious conclusion that a stock FJ40 was made of stuff much superior to any old CJ7 or CJ5. It seemed the Toyota drive train was equally as stout as the 3/4T truck I just disposed of. Perfect! Now where can I find one I can afford and isn't trashed? The pickin's were slim, but as luck would have it a couple of friends in my 4x4 club happened upon one. They were both fans of Toyotas and had stopped to talk to a guy about his FJ40 in the driveway as they passed through the neighborhood. They asked if he might sell it. He said no but if someone had 5k he'd think about it. They took his number and passed it along to me. The rest is history, I'm now the 3rd owner of a rust free 1977 Arizona FJ40 with 103k original miles.
mostlystock.jpg

Mostly stock when we got it

It came to me with some curious previous owner "upgrades". :rolleyes: Orange tint on the front door windows, with a matching orange plastic bug screen on the hood. An overhead shelf covered in yellow fur. Upon which, a base station CB was perched, attached to nothing, ready to fall in your lap the first time you climb a hill.:eek: The running boards were chromed and adorned with bling light strips on the edges (and this was before bling was bling). In the rear was a light strip above the ambi doors serving as sequential turn signals if they were actually hooked up. On top was a Conn Ferr roof rack, and a spot light poking up through it from the center front of the roof (non functional as well). Some disposable income was spent on some beautiful glass etching on the windows. Both hard top side windows have a picture of a stag deer alert in the grass, and the door windows have a goose in flight. There's a butterfly etched on the driver’s door mirror too. It’s also painted in the stock color mixed with orange pearl? I guess someone couldn't make up their mind if they wanted a hunting or boulevard Cruiser.

It did have some mods that were a bonus to me, namely the V8 conversion. Under the hood was Chevy small block (with lots of bling of course) installed with an Advance Adapters kit. The engine had some unusual noises and behavior but the P.O. thought it ran great. Whatever, it was to be replaced anyhow. It turned out the cam was flat and it had a cracked piston skirt. Problems not even the bolt on goodies could overcome. Those goodies (Moroso valve covers, dual K&N air cleaner, Mallory dual point, chrome Carter AFB, Edelbrock intake and a 4 bolt main block) netted some much needed cash at the swap meet though. It also had a set of decent chrome steel wheels with tired 31" Pathfinders, a Con Ferr Spare tire jerry can holder and a stout home brew rear bumper.

The 1st step to make the new beast my own was to remove all of the above mentioned "upgrades". My wife was a bit concerned when I started tearing things off and tossing them in the trash. The next priority was to move the driver’s seat as far back as possible. Being 6'4" is a problem with the stock seating arrangement. Not long after that the 383 was transplanted in with a new Centerforce clutch and we were on the trail once more.
383.jpg

383 heart transplant when it was new

Many trips were made with it in this configuration including a couple of long distance journeys to northern Arizona and Canyonlands Utah. Also, it wasn't very long before I discovered the TLCA and began reading about all the stuff other Cruiser owners had done to their rigs.
1sttrip.jpg

The 1st trip in the 40. A muddy run, testing my wheelin’ skills with a totally different vehicle and wheelbase

elephanthill.jpg

Elephant Hill on an early trip to Canyonlands Utah

elcaminodeldiablo1997.jpg

El Camino Del Diablo run with the AZLCA circa 1997

My next big improvement was the mandatory lift kit. The original springs were very tired and saggy. After some research I was convinced that a shackle reversal and 4" springs would be perfect. Although it's still there, in hindsight the shackle reversal seems to be money wasted. 33 x 12.50 Yokohama muds were added at that time as well. The suspension has evolved a bit since then, in what seemed to be a never ending battle to have a level sitting FJ40. After 3 sets of rear springs I currently have a tired stock set on stock shackles over the axle. The front is still the 4" Ranchos with the 2nd leaf removed and well worn. The next significant change was power steering. This happened after I stumbled upon Dave Gore at Renegade Fabrication, the local metal and Cruiser wiz behind the MAF 4+ stuff. As it turned out, I had a set of tires won in a raffle and he was willing to take them in payment for the P.S. conversion work. Great for me because at the time there was no way I could of afforded his services otherwise. Later on I called on him to work his magic on creating the mount/skid plate for my next big improvement, the SM465 trans and a 3spd case to back it up. Dave also created the 2 section front drive shaft that's tucked up out of harms way. Another big improvement in the early years was a Lock Rite in the rear, followed by one in the front a couple of years later. Another minor mod was also needed at some point in the early stages. A baby was on the way so a rear bench seat from an early Bronco was installed to accommodate a baby seat.
justwashed.jpg

Not long after the 1st incarnation of a lift kit

Time passed and finances allowed me to get welder. Look out he's got a gun! Now the modifications really start! Lets see now, 1st project was a C-channel front bumper with tow bar mounts. Then, make brackets and a shroud to install an aluminum radiator. Then, some sliders for the rockers. On board air pump and tank. Rear SOA conversion with the requisite anti wrap bar was next. And then, at band camp.......................

My version of an anti wrap bar
wrapfront.jpg


wraprear.jpg


On board air system
engineair.jpg


tanksmall.jpg


After many years and many changes I came to a big decision (for me). Time to pull the hardtop. The trails had been getting tougher and the top was getting abused. Not being one to carelessly destroy something as rare as a good Cruiser hardtop, off it came. What a major difference in the character of this rig! Felt like a different vehicle. Well now, a roll cage is in order isn't it? Buy this time, we had moved to a new 3 car garage (with a nice house attached). As luck would have it, two houses down was another gear head. A gear head who builds sand cars, and has a tube bender, a lathe, a mill, and a lot of other cool stuff. Plus he's real friendly and willing to help out. I pitched in to get a 2" die set for his bender and we bent up a nice family cage kit. I drug all the pieces home and commenced to a notchin' and a weldin'. Of course I needed a soft top now, luck was on my side this time too. I stumbled across an old internet classified ad for a guy selling a Cruiser top for $200. Sounds perfect, a used top to trash out in the sticks, but it's probably gone by now. Can't hurt to inquire, sure enough he still had it and it's tan too! What's more, is the top is new and in the box! A 20 year old box! This guy happened to be in the 4x4 parts (Jeeps) biz and had bought the surplus inventory from a 4x4 shop that closed. He was after all of the Jeep stuff and ended up with some NOS Cruiser stuff. For 2 Ben Franklin's I had a new Dualmatic (bought by Bestop) FJ40 top with doors. The snap on design is dated but it does the job well. More welding/fab projects have followed. Like hard half doors, frames for soft upper half doors, a swing out cooler rack and most recently a new rear bumper. Future plans include: A pair of Longfields and chrome moly inner axles (now that it's wearing 35" MTR's), Install the rear Detroit that I won in a raffle (4 years ago), maybe an Orion T-case, an improved front bumper with a winch mount and who knows what else?:idea:

Bumper build
https://forum.ih8mud.com/showthread.php?t=45841
My Cruiser page
http://zot-art.com/cruiser%20page/indexcruiser.htm

hangmanmoab.jpg

Hangman trail, Moab 2001

Jawbreaker%20.jpg

Jaw breaker trail, Arizona (now closed)

somewhereincolo.jpg

Somewhere outside Silverton Colo

renopass2004.jpg

Testing the waters of Sycamore Creek near Reno Pass, Arizona 2004
Tow strap attached just in case. I stopped after the water started seeping in under the doors. There was another 20 yds of deeper water, then it started flowing fast!

ajax2005.jpg

Ajax trail, Arizona 2005
 
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Cliff-

Looks SWEEEEEEET MAN!

I really like the way you have made your cruiser into a well rounded wheeler and driver. I think your write up and pics are awesome.

Thanks for 'jumping the gun!"

Rezarf <><
 
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Very nice all purpose cruiser!!!
 

Cdaniel

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Thanks guys!!!

And thanks to Steve for the pics of the semi famous "Coke Oven" trail. Right?
I remember that trip but don't remember you being there. I'm lucky I remember how to get home every day.;p

And as far as the "driver" qualities of my Cruiser go, I've tried to keep it still able to get to the trail without being on a trailer. It's gradually become less friendly in that respect though. A daily driver it is not.

I have had to drive it daily at times and it just sucks after about a week of parking lots with the lock rite.

It still handles the highway pretty good though.
 
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damn that looks like mine used to
 
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Cdaniel said:
And thanks to Steve for the pics of the semi famous "Coke Oven" trail. Right? I remember that trip but don't remember you being there.
You are correct on the Coke Oven trail. And yep, that was me behind the camera taking the shots . . . . and taking cover. :eek:

And to show y'all that Cliff does have a serious side, note the contemplative assessment of his next move. :)
CliffDaniel2.jpg
 

Cdaniel

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mel lowe said:
thanks for sharing.....

I dig the color

cool that you take you son wheeling

"my dads truck will climb rocks"

thanks for swapping rotw dates


It's funny, he's been in that thing since before he was a year old. Now he's jaded.

Rocks? Whatever. Unless he has a uninitiated friend along. Then the bragging starts.:D
 

Cdaniel

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:D
LandCruiserSteve said:
You are correct on the Coke Oven trail. And yep, that was me behind the camera taking the shots . . . . and taking cover. :eek:

And to show y'all that Cliff does have a serious side, note the contemplative assessment of his next move. :)

You're starting to worry me with these dusty old photos Steve. What else have you got stashed? Will I be getting extortion demands soon?:D
 

Cdaniel

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74fj40 said:
Ok so I came up with a question to ask. did you notice and serious changes with the antiwrap/traction bar?

In a word, yes.
IMHO don't leave home on an SOA without one.

On my 1st drive after the spring over I immediately noticed the springs loading and unloading every time I took off from a stop. I think that's mostly due to the worn out stock springs.

There's no better testimony than the fact that my 1st incarnation of a traction bar broke on it's 1st serious hill climb. Not completely understanding the forces at work down there I had created a woefully wimpy piece. Luckily I didn't loose the pinion, but it did spin the splines out of the pinion flange.:eek:

The traction bar has been forcibly altered on two other occasions. Each time at a different weak spot. I think I got it nailed now (knock on wood)

Some claim no ill effects running with out one.
:beer: here's to ya if you do.
 

Cdaniel

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74fj40 said:
ok, would you recommend it with an sua?

I guess I'd say no.

I never had any spring wrap problems before the SOA. Lots of trail miles behind a torquey 383.
 

Cdaniel

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Your price is much too high Mr. Bolander. Especially with the cost of steel these days:eek:

I guess I'll have to suffer the indignities you have in store.

But be careful, I could tell the world about another 4WD vehicle you owned, and it wasn't a Toyota. Or worse, I could tell of the misadventures you had with fuel experimentation on it.:doh:
 

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