Taking the plunge into FJ40s (what do I need to look for and avoid) (1 Viewer)

Joined
Oct 30, 2018
Messages
31
Location
East side of TN
Hello from Easton TN! I'm going to take the plunge after 30 years of jeeps and Land Rovers into the world of FJ40s, I have always admired the classic look and am shooting to end up with a mild to mid off roader on on 32/33s with a lockers for the mud around here I need to drive it to shops and movies once in a while so not looking to turn it onto a rock muster tube buggy. .. I'm also not looking to a a full restore, more just have something that does not look like a Sh*t box. i super fan of the patina look of a little bit of surface rust and that "I've been all over the world" look. I was about to buy a 1969 all in parts and rebuild it (as for the first time in my life I have a spate in garage) but it was a real basket case and had been though a few owners, non of them had it running. I just could not be sure all the parts were even close to being there.
My questions are really around what should I look for and also look to avoid. Here are a list of questions that have bubbled up on my search and I'm all ears when it comes to learning from others who have walked the path. My initial buy budget is ~ $10k and for that i would like to get something running. If there is already a list like this please just point me to it so i can continue my research.

  1. What year did they get disc brakes of any kind
  2. why is the engine swap in to the SB 350's, so common. or seem to be. any downsides?
  3. Is the F1 motor that much worse than the f2? i read it has less power, is that it?
  4. i have never hand any luck with setting points so can I convert all years to electronic ignition or at least get rid of the points?
  5. what would be the first things to change out or look to replace, the common things that fail
  6. why are doors so dang expensive!
  7. did they all come with a rear roll cage? i see a few photos of older ones without,
  8. where the bench jump seats standard?
  9. is there a list of vendors to get parts from that the forum has had good luck with.

Thanks in advance for all the help and advice, I've really learned a lot from reading all the posts so far.

Dave
 

1911

chupacabra
Joined
Aug 11, 2006
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6,469
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Parker County, Texas
1. Front disc brakes on U.S. models starting 1976
2. Because the 2F only made 135 hp when new. The F/2F is a good motor for off-road, but not great for modern highway speeds on-road. Downsides to a v8 conversion are mostly if it was done poorly.
3. Oiling system was improved in the 2F.
4. You can get Pertronix conversion kits for most distributors I think. '78 was the beginning of semi-electronic distributors without points (in the U.S.). California models earlier than that.

7. 1974 was the first year for the rear roll bar in U.S. models.

9. Two of my favorites:
Cruiser Outfitters: Cruiser Teq | Land Cruiser Specialists Powered by Cruiser Outfitters - https://cruiserteq.com/
City Racer: City Racer LLC - https://www.cityracerllc.com/
 
Joined
Aug 10, 2018
Messages
410
Location
Bozeman, MT
2. In addition to what 1911 said above, those GM motors were cheap, readily available, familiar to lots of people, and really easy to get parts for. They're still very popular for swaps, but now it's more likely to be the newer late-model fuel injected engines, which are lighter, more powerful, and easier to live with.

5. Wiring. There are chassis grounds everywhere and most of them are probably bad, especially if there is any rust at all on the vehicle. The way Toyota did the wiring is a little goofy if you aren't already familiar with it, and some of the components are getting difficult to find. Doing a wiring conversion is a big and somewhat expensive job, but not impossible if you are organized and can pay attention to detail. Converting to a modern wiring harness will allow for headlight upgrades, better reliability, and make future repairs much easier.

8. The side facing jump seats were standard. I believe there are 2 sizes. One for the models that came with a cage and one for the models that did not come with a cage. It's somewhat common to see the side facing jump seats removed and replaced with a jeep-style front facing bench, but just as common to see no rear seats at all. The rear seats can be difficult to access in the vehicles that did not come equipped with the rear ambulance doors.

I think that the best thing to do before you get too serious about buying something is to get real familiar with the differences between the years. Knowing what you want and what to look for will make it a lot easier to narrow down good options, bad options, and true basket cases.
 
Joined
Dec 8, 2018
Messages
14
Location
Northfield MN
Just went thru this for the last 6 months as a noob trying to decide what was right for me. Watched a lot of TLC & Proffit videos on youtube. Spent a lot of time on this groups forum reading builds ( invaluable ) and looking at multiple webpages documenting and selling 40's. Was actually able to test drive a 73 and a 82. Found a way to convince the wife to let me pay-up and buy the 82 as the driveability was quite a bit better than the 73. That being said, buy the best and least rustiest one you can afford and enjoy it.
 

ceylonfj40nut

Waiting for Barn Time
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Jan 11, 2015
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3,392
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TX
Besides rust......

Don’t total your receipts. Smile often. Brace yourself.... you will buy another one. Enjoy the journey. As important as the ride itself. Get some parts bins, for some light hoarding. Last but not least make friends. So many great ones I have met through this....ahem addiction. It’s a different kind of a 401k. Rich life experiences.
 
Joined
May 7, 2019
Messages
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Location
Grand Rapids, MI
Here's some terrible advice... just buy one. Dreamed for a decade, got looking seriously for over a year. Amazingly a friend of mine took a '68 on consignment at his dealership and I drove straight there, then bought it after a quick test drive. Probably some things I would have preferred to know before I pulled the trigger (drum brakes, sourcing parts for a D40 carb) but I don't regret any of it.

In all seriousness, I got lucky where I was not smart. No rust, matching serials and solid mechanicals.

Sometimes I just go into the garage and sit in it, crack a beer and smile. I also put all my parts receipts in a folder that I never look at :)
 
Joined
Oct 30, 2018
Messages
31
Location
East side of TN
Fantastic info and good advice., really appreciate the replies. I've been researching for about a month but the links you have pointed me to really snap it all into focus. I guess its going to be a mix of what in can find and what I can live with. I have created a punch list of things that are a non-starter for me and that is helping me narrow my search down. really having low standards is going to be a asset here. As for receipts i do the same until its time to sell them. My last jeep i paid 22k for , spent 13k on it and sold it for 28k. Clearly i don't consider anything with wheels an investment. :)
 
Joined
Aug 10, 2018
Messages
410
Location
Bozeman, MT
One thing I wish I had done is hire a qualified mechanic to do an inspection before buying. At least I'd have a professional's list of things to work on.
The family daily drivers go to a shop I trust about once a year and I pay a little extra to have them do an inspection and give me a list. Most of the time there's nothing on the list I don't already know about, but once in a while they find something that I haven't noticed yet. It doesn't cost very much and it's nice to have somebody else look things over once in a while.
 

FJBen

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Apr 1, 2004
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Northern Colorado
starting budget? $5-$10? $15~$20?

I would highly suggest the classifieds on here and we have some great mud people who sell/consign great rigs. @overton is one that always seems to have great solid 40's.

That said, find the most solid/clean cruiser you can afford and don't worry about the year so much. Brake conversions aren't that hard or expensive.

Feel free to post up cruisers you are thinking about. We all love looking at pictures and seeing what catastrophes the previous owners try to hide :rofl:
 
Joined
Oct 30, 2018
Messages
31
Location
East side of TN
Thanks FJBen. i want to keep it around 10-12k for the start of my project. i turned down a "fj40 in boxes" for 6k it had never been running that anyone could tell. Well not in the last decade, I've seen 3 that have had the SB 350 conversions and may go see a few this weekend if the storms blow though. I'm still torn between the almost stock and rock crawler build. too much time living in Nevada and Colorado has made me think all 4x4s come with a min of 35in tires just to get to the store. i like the look of some of the semi-restored ones but they seem to start at 20k+. there are a few basket case tube buggies knocking around, had i not moved to TN i would have considered them but its just not what i see myself using it for. I guess when i see something that either really calls out to me or meets my punch list i'll post it up here and make the call.
Thanks
Dave
 
Joined
Feb 3, 2020
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269
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Stanwood, WA
I would decide how original you want and go from there. For instance, is the factory gauge cluster and dash switches a must or are you fine with a dash full of aftermarket gauges and switches? I think the more stock appearing, usually the higher the price. It gets spendy sourcing all those little parts to go back to stock.
 
Joined
Aug 18, 2013
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4,843
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Prescott Valley, AZ
Budgeting is tough on these, your head will spin as to how fast you can put $10K into one!!! That said I am single and my other half loves 40’s, so I am blessed. I would bet there are many on this site that own more than one, myself included. They are not quite like other “classics”, they get in your blood. Post up loads of pictures, we all love that! Welcome to the addiction👍
 

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