Take 3, the Forever 45- IFS and 1uz-vvti

Vossie

#thecrazycruiserman
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Hi all, So I had posted this originally in the 40/45 section, but I think it really belongs here, although I'm sure gonna catch grief for the IFS! Guess its more of a soft core build?! :cautious:

Before you chime in with "better to use an 80 chassis and keep the solid axles", here's the deal: I already have the 4runner, I don't have 5k to shell out on a used beat up 80 chassis (that's what they cost here), plus I really really love the 2nd gen 4runner set up. Its torsion bar IFS, same like on my dads hilux which is over 640,000kms right now and still going strong. We've never needed to replace those bars and we have taken it to some awesome places so I know its perfectly capable, PLUS, I have already owned a 2nd gen 4runner, and what has always stuck with me was just how comfortable that thing was. I regret that sale, almost as much as the sale of my last 45.

So I have had the pleasure of owning and building 2 FJ45s in my life, and I'm about to build my 3rd.

A couple of criteria of what I want this build to be:

1. A modern drive train. I've chosen a 1uz vvti paired with a R151 5 speed manual gearbox.

2. A Comfortable ride. This will be my DD, and although I live in Zimbabwe and do plan to go into the Bush and do some 4x4ing, it doesn't need to be a mad crawler or super mud machine. It just needs to be able to handle what the standard 4x4 of today handles. To this end, I'm going IFS in the front, coils in the rear, courtesy of a 2nd gen 4runner chassis.

3. Its got to look like a 45. I want to obviously retain the looks that we all love. There is more than likely going to be some chassis lengthening on the 4runner chassis as its very short, but it will still be shorter than a true 45. But at a glance, it should be a 45, just one that when someone in the know looks at, you double take and go, there's something different going on here. I'm still undecided whether to add 6" to the cab or not as well.

4. Interior. I'm wanting a mix of modern and classic. I don't want to clutter the dash with too much, but I'm a sucker for gauges and switch panels. This one I'm going to have to feel out as I go. Oh, and I want it to have very good AC. More on that later.

5. This is it, my forever cruiser. I want to make something totally unique, totally my own, that I will never, ever sell. This is going to be mine for all time, a cruiser that will never be done and I can always tinker and fettle with.

So, here's the plan. I'm going to take this 45 body...
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Mount it on the chassis of this 2nd gen 4runner...
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And then steal the heart and any other interior goodies plus the complete AC out of this LS400
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And yes, I have the wife's permission 😁
 

Vossie

#thecrazycruiserman
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so, here we go. First to tear down the 4runner. to say this thing was trashed is an understatement. in fact, it boggles the mind how some people can break a car to this level. but the chassis is good and that's all I really care about. Everything else that I need can be fixed and parts are readily available and fairly cheap.
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that was a 2L-TE, but when I drove it home, it was clear just how tired and underpowered this engine is. To be fair, I have driven some great little 2L-Ts, but this is not one of them. The turbo shoots more oil than boost, the power steering pump is a sieve and when you crank it to start I swear it sounds like a rod coming through the block!

First job was to gut the interior, dash and steering column.
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next up we will take out the entire wiring loom. Not sure how much of it I will end up using/needing but I learnt on my first 45 build its always handy to have a loom lying around.

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the steering column will be used in the 45. it has height adjustment, something i have always wanted on a 45, and it goes straight onto the existing power steering. nice and simple.

thats where I ended the day today, day 1 of the build. tomorrow i will tackle the wiring loom.

While I wait for tomorrow, I have made a list of everything I think may be of some use from the 4runner, even if I dont end up using it:
All Aircon parts
Wiring loom
Windscreen wiper motor and linkage
All window mechanisms
Panic handles
Steering column and switches
Clock
Rear view mirror
Seat belts
Sun visors
Brakes assembly
Clutch assembly
Power steering assembly
Pedal box and pedals
Fuse boxes

And now that Im behind a computer, I have also been messing around with sketches to figure out how the 45 body will sit on the 4runner chassis
Dimms.JPG

I took side on pics (courtesy of google) and scaled them to the correct wheel base length. I then line traced the 45 body, superimposed that over the 4runner wheel base, and voila. This one looks the best, stock chassis length with a stock cab with no extension. And yes, I'm choosing to center the front wheel in the wheel well. I'm not 100% committed to that plan, but for now, in cad, I think it looks good. I might just photoshop a pic and see for myself.

dimm.JPG
 

Vossie

#thecrazycruiserman
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Another day of ripping the 4runner apart. Got about 90% of the wiring out. I'm doing my best to keep it intact, although I have had to make some cuts. It's not a train smash as I intend on using the LS400 loom as my main, but I just wanted to have options available when it comes to connectors.
20211130_162753.jpg

Pulled a few more things out the engine bay, mainly stuff that got in the way of getting the loom out. Boy oh boy did the PO stuff up the wiring though. Some really dodgy splices, jumps and bare wires all over the place.
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And then we have the elephant in the room, or should I say lack of an elephant....
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This is where the 45 should be, but alas, not yet. Hopefully by week end its here. And hopefully tomorrow we will be in a position to pull the body off the 4runner. Gonna take the doors off and as much other weight as we can to help out with that.
 

Vossie

#thecrazycruiserman
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Thats awesome. Rolled my 2nd gen crawler this last summer and was toying with the idea of pulling the body and putting a fj55 body on it. This seals the deal.
Do it! I personally love the 2nd gen as a platform, super capable.
This is going to be sick. That being siad i'd love to get a JDM Hilux Surf.
Thanks man. Just after my first 45 I had a JDM 2nd gen surf with a 1kz-te. I adored that car. So did my wife, and we only sold it due to circumstances beyond our control.
I originally toyed with the idea of building out the 2nd gen and just adding the 1uz to that, but unfortunately this particular surf is just too far gone. The more we strip it down the more we realise just how badly it was cared for. Scratch that, it wasn't cared for at all. When we drained the rad fluid in the overflow it stunk like water that had been sitting for 20 years!
 

Vossie

#thecrazycruiserman
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What is it about a doorless car that makes you want to drive it? :hillbilly:
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Shedding weight to make it easier to pull the body off. More stuff out of the engine bay as well.
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Tomorrow we will tackle whatever is left under the body like fuel tank and such.

The pile of stuff that's come off of this 4runner is growing bigger and bigger.
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And please excuse the mess of workshop:rolleyes:
 

Vossie

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Well, here's the biggest piece of the puzzle, finally!!!
Where I picked it up from
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On the road...
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And finally home!
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Vossie

#thecrazycruiserman
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Had to take a shot of all 3 of them together at least once.
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Looking forward to watching this....it is going to be fun!
 

Vossie

#thecrazycruiserman
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Vossie

#thecrazycruiserman
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Well, we finally have the body off of the surf and a rolling chassis.
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Just have to pull the engine, then clean up the chassis and prep for the 45 body!
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Vossie

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And engine out. So nice to finally have a rolling chassis
IMG-20211208-WA0001.jpg
 

Vossie

#thecrazycruiserman
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Now that we have the chassis on the 4runner all good to go, we can start tearing down the 45.
Doors off, roof off, hood off.
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Then the front bib, aprons and fenders
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Thankfully we don't have too much rust to deal with, but there is a bit to cure
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Where I do have to deal with a lot of eust is all the bolts! Had to resort to heating the windscreen screws with a blow torch and hitting them with an impact gun. Still broke 3 bits before I got them all
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What I'm not happy with is the rubber that the po sprayed the ENTIRE interior with. It might have protected from rust a bit but boy it's going to be a pain to deal with.
20211213_111207.jpg
 

Vossie

#thecrazycruiserman
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The front body mounts on the 4runner chassis are in the way of the fenders so I have taken them off.
20211213_150831.jpg

We then put the 45 tub on the chassis. I measured from the back of the tub to the front wheel hubs on the 45 before removing the tub, then we placed it on the 4runner chassis using that same measurement from front wheel hub to back of tub.
To space the tub off the chassis I used engineers 1 2 3 blocks at the back and 25mm aluminium bats at the front
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Then it was a case of trimming the fenders as little as possible to get them to clear the IFS. At a later date I will fab new supports for them and add in more metal to places where fenders were trimmed to suite the new chassis.
I unfortunately could not get away from trimming front bottom corner of the bib to clear the steering box. Again I will come in later and make it much neater and closer.
Then it was a case of measure, measure, measure to make sure its all straight and everything is where it should be.
Tomorrow I will start figuring out body mounts.
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I think we've done a good job of keeping that front wheel where it should be relative to the fenders.
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Gonna be a tall one though! I like it!!
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Vossie

#thecrazycruiserman
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Spent some time in CAD taking Mt measurements and coming up with mounts.
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Then had them laser cut in town. So then all I had to do was weld them all together.
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Made a plan with a nice peice of channel and some machinist blocks to keep everything square while I tacked the peices together
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And here is one of the fronts all tacked up
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And then all 4 tacked together
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Vossie

#thecrazycruiserman
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Been a bit slow on the updates whilst I've been figuring some stuff out.
When I went to do the front body mounts realised that there was a lot of rot on the front right, so I sent the body to be sand blasted. I was going to do this at a later date, but seeing as the mount is critical to moving forward I've moved it up in the time frame.
As usual I forgot to take more pictures, but here are a couple that show the rot at the back of the tub.
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I decided to leave the rubberising in the interior where it was still in good condition. Where it was bad we stripped it so we can repair any rust.

I did have to come back afterwards with an angle grinder and a flap disk to take the rubber off of the dash.
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Tedious and back braking, but now I can see what needs fixing in the dash, plug any holes I'm not going to use and go from there.
 

Vossie

#thecrazycruiserman
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Vossie

#thecrazycruiserman
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Well, it's about time I relieve my LS400 of its heart.

to be clear, I absolutely adore my LS400. It's such an awesome car and had I not already been totally indoctrinated by all things cruiser, then I'm sure I would be repairing and fixing this thing up with either a full safari or rally build.

but, it is simply too far gone with rust in the rear sub frame and too impractical for our roads here in Zimbabwe. Plus I can't take it to the Zambezi valley or the low veld on the annual hunting and fishing trips.

So, after a few hours of careful work, we finally got it out. Only had to cut out 2 connectors one to the steering rack and the other to the alternator to avoid breaking them, and only broke 1 connector on the gear box. Oh well, will fix that soon enough.
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