ROTW Rotw: Rezarf <><

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Sep 8, 2003
Bozeman, MT
Well, it is finally my turn for ROTW, it has been cool to see all the sweet rigs that everyone has posted up over the past year+, I hope I can deliver ;) :D

I got into cruisers back in college when a friend of mine helped me figure out why they were so much better than a J*&p. I loved backpacking and camping and really wanted something I could trust to go into the backcountry on isolated roads and still be reliable. Thus, my passion for the fj40 grew!

It was the summer before my senior year at Georgia Tech that I met a guy who had a 1976 FJ40 named "Maude." Maude had been apart of their family for all but 11 months of the cruisers life! The original owner skipped payments within the first year and the bank repo'd the cruiser, and then the second owner purchased it and had it for the next 23+ years! He did a great job keeping it original and the metal mostly rust free.

I bugged him for a year to sell it to me, as it had been removed from daily duty to hunting and fishing trips. After months of nagging he offered it to me once I graduated in the spring of 99.

Here are the pics from the day I first saw it:
Is this the rig that has the DIY bumper/swing away?
If I knew then what I know now I would have just tuned it up, cleaned it/painted it, and thrown on some small BFG A/T's and driven as a rock stock 40! But I was young and dumb and was just dying to get some meats under it to attack the Georgia red clay, and the Florida swamps.

My first weekend was spent cursing the rig as I couldn't figure out how to remove the cone washers on the drive flanges so I could replace my front rotors... CCOT's board was the only thing going back then (this was pre-mud) and that is when I found out the Land Cruiser had a cult following and from there I was hooked.

I did all the maintenance you do when you get a new cruiser, fluids, safety, all the little things and she was up and running.

A few weeks into owning the rig I decided I wanted to mod the suspension. I chose the TPI Smokey Mountain Kit, and 33x12.5 Thornbirds for tires... if you don't know, this may be the worst combination of anything you could ever do to your rig :(

It looked great, but road like crap. I took a bit of rubbing compound and polish to the original paint and it shined right up. Here are a few pics of Maude after the suspension lift, tires, and paint refresh.
Now gas was about 85 cents a gallon back in 1999 and I was driving this thing silly around Atlanta. It was and continues to be my DD over 8 years later! So a few things had to be addressed to make this thing a bit more DD friendly.

I did a bunch of things over the years to enhance the on road comfort and I also did a few more mods to improve the off-road capabilities too.

Right off the bat I installed an Alpine CD player and 2 sets of 6.5 component speakers into custom built overhead boxes that rest inside the hard top. I had a sub and amp in there for a while and could never get any SQ out of the system so I sold the amp and sub and kept the rest.

My top is off right now but I snapped a pic of the top so you could get an idea of the box, speakers, and dome light, which actually is one of the best mods I ever did, I use the dome light all the time!
As time went on, a few more things were done to the inside to make it a better DD, some of the big mods were:

Saab 93 leather Seats
A 6000rpm Tachometer
Interior Indoor Outdoor Carpet.
...and adjusting all the doors to get the rattles out! :D

Here are a few pics of the seats, which btw, are one of the best mods ever done to this rig! The pretty much bolted in after creating a strip of 1/4" steel to connect them to the factory rails. One afternoon working and they were in... I now have side curtain airbags! :D

Two things I would different with the seats.

1. Buy the convertible seats, they have a lever that allows them to tumble forward to access the rear area.
2. I would have bought seats with the seat heaters in them for those cool nights with the top off.
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For trail communication I installed a Cobra Weather CB, and a Wilson 1500 Antenna, the bummer is most of my club Rising Sun, in Denver has moved over to the fancy HAM radio's which seem WAY cool, but for now the CB works fine.
Other than that my interior is pretty much stock. I like a stock looking interior, in fact, I like a stock looking cruiser too. Here are a few more of the interior.
oops, forgot to show my cupholder mod... at least until the Tuffy gets installed.

:D :D :D
I have done several things to the exterior as well. I installed a Safari Snorkel when I used to wheel a lot in the south. I know a lot of folks see them as a poser mall crawler mod, but if you have ever jumped into a Florida swamp with a 4x4, then you know that they can save your butt sometimes.
I scored a 8074 (just like the 8274 but without the free spooling clutch) from Wadester on this board and rebuilt it with all new internal seals and gaskets. Cleaned up all the electronic connections and ran new wires and terminals to the battery. I have used it a few times and it pulls great!
Well, after years and years of fun, my old 2f gave up the ghost. I spun a rod bearing on #4 cylinder trying to get out of Texas quicksand on a river bed back in 2002. That started the process that most 40 owners have gone through... the 2f or V8 debate.

After tons of reading and research I decided to stay toyota. I did buy a 85 fj60 2f and kept the electronic ignition, but I reused the 1976 bolt on's like the intake, carb, air cleaner, and alt.

I had the head rebuilt and decked and installed all new gaskets and seals and gave it a fresh coat of paint... and all of the pictures of the process were lost with a hard drive crash soon after the project. :(

I felt like I got a new cruiser! The power was so different, my old trucks motor was TIRED! I had the carb rebuilt by Jim C. and that was some of the best money I ever spent. I went from getting about 10mpg to now getting 16-17mpg!
The electronic ignition has a lot to do with this as does a healthy motor.

Here are a few shots of the engine, carb and ignition:
I have added a Power Steering system using the mini-truck conversion and Bill Dorry's brackets on this board... Thanks BILL! FWIW, I run 35's now and wheel my rig on boulders and have had zero issues with the mini truck system.

I also installed a mini-truck brake booster, after the 40 booster died.

In the last pic you can see the new Radiator Barn Radiator and the red top and the cool alternator.
On the exterior, I have done a few things but not too much. I cut down a winch bumper for better angles in the rocks. And I have built a swing out carrier for the rear of the rig. This was my first big mod that I did in steel. It was a blast here is a link to the build-up on that tire carrier swing out...

Here are a few pics of the carrier...
Other than that she is pretty much like any other cruiser. I love to drive offroad, my favorite trails all seem to be close by :D

I live in Colorado now and the trails here are amazing! Also, Moab and Utah are just about 6 hours away too.

My wife and I had our first date in this truck, I proposed at a beautiful over look that we got to in this 40, and she loves to drive it! What a gal! We hope to not have to sell it, but we will see what life brings, I look forward to taking my kids out in it one day... until then!
So, when are you going to build #2? You seem the type of guy that loves to have a project going at all times, right? How 'bout a 55 or a 60?;)

Nice rig, I like how you built the overhead speeker consoles.:cool:
So, when are you going to build #2? You seem the type of guy that loves to have a project going at all times, right? How 'bout a 55 or a 60?;)

Nice rig, I like how you built the overhead speeker consoles.:cool:

our next cruiser will be an 80, once we start having kiddo's. The off road trailer I am building is satisfying my project fix right now :D
Nope, open front and rear. I decided to stay open until the wallet swells to ARB thickness... :D

I haven't been denied on any trail I have been on yet, although I have taken a strap or two.

No biggie!

Rezarf <><
Dude that looks great, and I'm liking the cup holder.

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