Builds The Clustertruck Rides Again - Refurbishing a 1975 Chevota (1 Viewer)

RWBeringer4x4

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Hello everyone,

I've been an IH8MUD member for the better part of a year now, and have been incredibly impressed with the level of knowledge, camaraderie, and helpfulness of the members here. I've been learning a ton and peppering the forum with questions, so I figured I would start a thread outlining my entire project of getting my banged up, mangled frankenforty back on the road. I'm not sure this will be a "build" thread, so to speak, since I don't intend to do a frame off restoration (so say we all) but I thought it might be useful to other members if I chronicled the somewhat unique issues you run into when dealing with a Japanese truck, with an American heart. In addition, I can ask most of my questions here, instead of starting a new thread every time...

I'll be updating this thread when I find time, until I catch up to where I'm at with this project today. Then, updates will come as I make progress.

So, without further ado: Clustertruck, the day she was delivered last July, and the basic specs:

745270

745271


1975 FJ40 Land Cruiser; Cygnus White
1957-66 era 283 Small Block Chevy Engine
Poorly Installed Saginaw Power Steering Conversion
Bench seat from a ~1984 Chevy Van
Otherwise, pretty stock.

The 283 was, apparently, installed by a company called GO-TEN manufacturing in Union City, CA when the truck was brand new. The truck was sold to me as having a 350, but the casting number tells me it's a 283. Mark W. says this conversion was accomplished through the use of the Lakewood Scattershield Bellhousing. "Modifications" to make this setup work included dog-legging the transfercase and transmission shifters, and cutting big holes in my transmission tunnel. :bang:

745272


Shipped to the East Coast in 2006 from California when the PO inherited the family farm outside of Annapolis, MD. The truck was used as a farm vehicle from 2006-2009. Afterward, it sat in the barn until 2012, when the owner decided to put it up for sale.

I had been saving my pennies for years and searching feverishly for an FJ40. When I stumbled across this one, with so little rust and (sort of) running, I pulled the trigger.

Asking Price for the truck $8100 (dreaming)
Ended up getting the truck purchased and towed back to Delaware for a total of just under $5000.

EDIT: I'm also going to add a table of contents here - this thread has become long, rambling, and slow - so this will help pinpoint any info people might need for future reference!

CLUSTER TRUCK THREAD TABLE OF CONTENTS

Page 1-4:
Misc Clean-up, Bumpers, Project Assessment, Blown Transfer Case replacement
Page 4-6: Rochester Quadrajet Rebuild/Throttle Cable Install
Page 5-9: Saginaw Power Steering Conversion Repair/New Tie Rod Ends (farmed out to shop - fixing a PO Hack job)
Page 8-12: Further Project Assessment, Steering/Suspension discussion
Page 13: Replacing Bent shackles/Worn bushings/Shackle Pins
Page 15 - 27: AXLE WORK: FJ60 Front Disc Conversion/Front Axle Rebuild/Monte Carlo Rear Disc Conversion/Rear Axle Rebuild/Brake Line Replacement/Differential Reseal/Aussie Locker Install/Caster Shims/Shocks
Page 28 - 35: ENGINE BAY ELECTRICAL - 97A GM 12SI Alternator install (with Ammeter bypass), Installing fusible links, Fixing Turn signal Grounds, Mil-spec Battery Terminals/IPF Headlight Harness/Halogen Headlight Install
Page 36 - 39: 283 Small Block Engine Health Assessment - Compression/Leakdown Tests, Spark Plug evaluation, fooling with timing. Lots of discussion of whether to keep or scrap the 283.
Page 39-44: IH8Quadrajets - New Carb, same old problems...
Page 43-44: Temperature sending unit
Page 46: Garage renovation (better known as a long hiatus from truck-related projects)
Page 46-53: Engine, Driveline, and Interior Pull, Tear Down, Inspection
Page 54-56: Driveline placement, new motor mounts, determining clearance
Page 57-59: Engine Teardown - AKA Sentencing my 283 SBC to death.
Page 60: Transfercase and Driveshaft teardown AKA sentencing my transfercase to death
Page 60-64: Miscelaneous "While the engine is out" stuff - heater rebuild, frame painting, fuel lines, radiator frame modification, etc,
Page 63: NEW ENGINE DAY!!! Gen 1 350 SBC, no-frills, 200HP
Page 64-65: Transfer Case Rebuild w/ detailed pictures
Page 65: Engine Accessory/Peripheral Fitting
Page 66: Clutch/Flywheel/Bellhousing/Trans/T-Case Install
Page 66: Clutch Slave Alignment/New Return Spring Bracket
Page 66: New 350 Installation
Page 67: Walker Y-Pipe Fitup (or lack thereof)
Page 67: Emergency Brake Installation
Page 67-68: Custom Radiator Mount, Fan Shroud, and Steering Cooler Bracket Fab.
Page 69: Y-Pipe Modification and final accessory/guage hookups/odd's and ends
Page 69: FIRST START OF NEW 350 and Break-In
Page 70: Sheet metal Repair - Transmission Tunnel, Plus New Exhaust
Page 72: Transmission Tunnel Temporary (but decent) rattle-can body work and weather stripping
Page 72-73: Scat ProCar 90 Seat Install w/ 3-point harness belts
Page 73: Front Heater Reinstall
Page 73: Fabricating Heat Shields for exhaust under Driver's floor.
Page 74: Center Console install (and modifying seat brackets to accomodate)
Page 75: Intake Manifold Gasket, Round 2 :bang:
Page 75-76: 16" City Racer OEM Steelies and 7.5R16 BFG KM3 install plus chalk test
Page 76-82: Tweaking/working the bugs out/driving it/wheeling it/side projects/much deliberation about where to go next.
 
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RWBeringer4x4

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Passing Inspection

Didn't take a lot of fooling around to get this 40 up and running. The engine turned over pretty readily. Jumped the interstate battery that came installed in the truck, changed the oil, dropped some carb cleaner in the quadrajet, and it fired right up. No smoke, No choke necessary. Idle was set to about 1500 RPM, so I dropped that back to about 800RPM.

The truck had been delivered to my girlfriends neighborhood, which was still under construction. Naturally, the first thing I did was drive it to a vacant lot at night, and do a quick shake down test. What I learned, very quickly:

THE GOOD:
* Brakes were solid. Stopped straight, locked right up. There appears to be a non-stock brake booster (covers the clutch master's passenger side bolt hole.
* Engine idles amazingly smooth. Probably thanks to the HEI distributor.
* Transmission shifted like butter. No complaints.
* Upon further inspection: there really are absolutely no rust problems on the truck, aside from the hard top and driver's side door. Tub is solid.
*99% of the electric works

THE BAD:
* No Horn or license plate lights - wont pass inspection
* Very bent bumper, bolt holes wouldn't line up. I solved this, temporarily, with zip ties. :hillbilly:
* Clutch "chugging" when in neutral - most likely a poor adjustment that led to a bad throw-out bearing or pilot bearing.
* I can't shift the truck into 4WD Low, or Neutral. It also makes a really obnoxious grinding/rattling noise (like marbles in a tin can) when in 3rd and 4th gear....:doh:
* Suspension is, for all intents and purposes, completely seized.
* E-brake present, but non functional

The first goal, I decide, is to get it through inspection, or die trying, as I know, no matter how much of a death trap it is in its current state, I wont be able to resist the urge to drive it.

With the help of a local MUD member, I found the horn in a parts box, and got it wired up. A quick test off the battery showed that it was working, but the relay was toast.

Beck Arnley Horn Relay Part # 203-0042 looked almost stock. BUT - if anyone tries this, note, the terminals are shifted. It looks like the stock plugs will work, but in reality, you'll have to run jumpers from the plug to the proper male ends on the horn relay.

Again, with the help of a local MUD member, ran some jumpers from the original terminal wire ends on the tub to the license plate lights, scrubbed the corrosion off the bulbs and they lit right up!

With the truck's electrical systems up and running, I decided to take it through inspection. It passed safety with flying colors, and bombed emissions in an equally spectacular fashion (1966 engine in a 1975 truck). Luckily, I had a lane operator with an appreciation for my fine spectacle of a motor vehicle, and passed me anyway. Picked up Antique tags so I wouldn't ever have to worry about getting lucky again.

Got rid of the crates, added a $20 seat cover to the bench seat to "class it up" a little - since replacement seats are a luxury I wont be able to afford anytime soon...

FJ40 Seat Cover Large.jpg
IMG_0535.jpg
 
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RWBeringer4x4

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Clustertruck Down!

I systematically went through and replaced the radiator fluid, transmission fluid, and diff fluid. The fill plug on the transfercase was seized, so I had been dousing it in penetrating oil. I drove the truck about once a week for a month after getting it through inspection. Finally, I got cocky, and decided to take a couple of my friends down to the local watering hole one night.

I'd just pulled out of my friend's neighborhood, one buddy riding shotgun, the other in a jump seat. Went to shift, and the clutch went to the floor...and didn't come back. I informed them I had to cut the tour short, pulled onto the highway, and started RPM matching to try and limp it home. After about a mile, I got stuck at a red light, the truck stalled, and smoke started rising through the louvers on the hood. Assuming it was on fire, I ordered my friends to abandon ship. I opened the hood to find it was actually my clutch slave cylinder puking fluid all over my exhaust.

Had the truck towed to a local shop, and the slave cylinder replaced. Upon picking it up from the shop, I asked the mechanic if it had been any trouble. His response:

"If we had a shotgun in the shop, that POS would have even more holes in it." Harsh. They also mentioned the "bad rattle in 3rd and 4th gear" and the "modifications to the frame" (saginaw conversion)

As a matter of course, I replaced the Clutch Master cylinder that day with an OEM MC from CDan. It was only after the Master Cylinder got delivered that I realized my truck was actually running a pre-1975 MC. The period correct MC bolted right up and functioned properly.

I didn't replace the soft line, and I probably should have - but the rubber seemed decent, and I knew a larger clutch repair was down the road to deal with the chugging T/O Bearing.
 
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RWBeringer4x4

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That "Obnoxious Transmission Rattle..." (Not the transmission)

After the clutch master and slave were replaced, I turned my attention to the weird rattle in 3rd and 4th gear. I checked the drive shafts for bad U-joint, pulled them one at a time and ran on just the back wheels, then just the front wheels, etc. with no luck.

Because I'm working in a borrowed garage, I can't have the truck down for too long - pulling the transmission myself was not an option. As a result, I took it to a mechanic in Kennet Square, PA another MUD member recommended.

The mechanic quickly identified that my transfer case was the actual source of the rattle, and also the reason I couldn't get the truck into 4WD low. Of course, in the process, he managed to get the 40 jammed in 4-low. The clutch gear between the "high" and "low" side of the case was sheared completely in half. The pieces of clutch gear had taken a bunch of other teeth on several other gears with them as they exploded. My transfer case was toast.

MUD Came to the rescue again, and I got to take a road trip 2 hours into the state of NJ to pick up a replacement case from another MUD member. 4 months later, due to some unforeseen issues with my mechanic's shop, this case went into the truck, reinforced with a case saver and nose-cone saver courtesy of Georg at Valley Hybrids.

A shot of my sheared clutch gear:
Destroyed Transfer Gear explained.jpg
 
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RWBeringer4x4

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Back to the Present

This pretty much brings this thread back up to date - My 40 is now running, driving, and shifting into all of its 4WD options.

Another MUD member recently hooked me up with a Con-Ferr style front tube bumper to replace my bent, zip tied stock one. I have a line on a rear tube bumper to match, which I should be picking up in a couple of weeks.

GOALS FOR THIS SUMMER:

1. Rebuild the Quadrajet. The bowl is currently draining into my intake manifold when the truck sits. Which means gas in the oil. No good!

2. Fix the PO's rather poor attempt at a Saginaw Power Steering Conversion (more pics in my thread specific to that situation). At the same time I'll be overhauling the entire steering system - steering shaft, drag link ends, tie rod ends, steering stabilizer, alignment.

https://forum.ih8mud.com/40-55-series-tech/719785-next-project-fixing-po-power-steering-debacle.html

Power Steering Box.jpg


3. Replace Brake Master Cylinder, Hard Lines, and Soft Lines - Brakes work great, but the Master Cylinder looks like it may be about 20 years old, based on the rust...Lines may very well be original to the truck.

4. Aesthetics - Rear tube bumper, cracked turn signal, address a number of minor leaks (oil pressure sending unit, intake manifold, etc.) Replace air filter.

New Bumper.jpg
 
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RWBeringer4x4

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Carb Rebuild - Chevy Guys, Help!

So I am embarassed to say that I cannot, for the life of me, ID what type of Rochester Quadrajet I have - which makes buying a rebuild kit somewhat difficult...

I can't seem to find a part number, or casting number, anywhere on the body of the carb. Closest I've found was a "0292" stamped at the base of the Carb. There's no circular ID tag next to the Quadrajet logo. Do any of you know where to look, or have any idea what type of Q-jet this is?

Looks like it once had a divorced choke, that has been swapped for a manual choke... Otherwise it looks like just about any Q-Jet I've seen.
IMG_0543.jpg
IMG_0539.jpg
IMG_0542.jpg
 
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Kinda hard to see in this picture, but the ID numbers for my quadrajet are on the little tab piece to the right of the Quadrajet logo. But it looks like yours is different. :confused:



I believe all the quadrajet rebuild kits are the same, the kit comes with multiple different gaskets for the couple variations they have. My carb looked just as nasty as yours but they sure do clean up nice.:cheers:
 

RWBeringer4x4

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That's exactly where I looked for it. I've also seen them on a circular tab to the left of the logo - no dice in either location. The older style circular ID tag looks almost press-fitted from what I've seen - I'm wondering if mine is long gone.

Rebuild kits come with multiple gaskets, do they not? I'm wondering if I should just buy a kit and see if I "get lucky."
 
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1975 should have had bucket seats...wonder why there is a bench seat in there?

Looks like it'll be a nice FJ40 to tool around in once you get some of these up-front issues sorted! Good luck with it!
 

RWBeringer4x4

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1975 should have had bucket seats...wonder why there is a bench seat in there?

Looks like it'll be a nice FJ40 to tool around in once you get some of these up-front issues sorted! Good luck with it!
Thanks Subzali,

The bench seat, as far as I can tell, is from a 1984-ish Chevy Van. I believe it is the rear bench seat, as it is non-adjustable. Makes driving ergonomics a bit sketchy! I'm looking forward to getting some buckets back in it - but that's a long way out. Nice bucket seats don't do me any good if the truck's not running! I'll probably be going with Scat ProCar 90's when the time comes.

I've got a couple major projects to take care of. Transfer case is done, fixing the steering mess is next, then brakes, suspension, and clutch. After those big projects, the nickel-and-diming begins.
 

RWBeringer4x4

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spotcruiser

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It looks to me as if that surface is there on your carb (directly above that rear bell crank). That surface doesn't have anything stamped on it at all?

Oddly enough, it would appear that entire piece of the casting is simply "not present" on my carb. Take a look at the picture of my carb compared to Rattle Can's, and you'll see what I mean...
 

RWBeringer4x4

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It looks to me as if that surface is there on your carb (directly above that rear bell crank). That surface doesn't have anything stamped on it at all?
You're right, it is, it's just significantly smaller/less pronounced. I didn't see anything stamped there when I was looking yesterday, but there's a pretty good layer of crud on everything. I'll have to check again.
 
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RWB,

My perspective may be a bit different, but IMHO the three most important things in a FJ40 are: rust, rust, and rust. Yours seems to have precious little of it, and that's HUGE!

It's very hard to find an unmolested vehicle this old. When one stumbles across such a vehicle it's usually priced very high. So there's kind of a spectrum of "original and spendy" on one end, and "junk and cheap "on the other. My impression is you got more vehicle than you paid for. Just look at what replacement steel tubs sell for. Now add in your side doors, hard top and ambulance doors and look at the total.

Maybe you'll spend a few thousand sorting things out and improving others, but you'll have a really nice rig and you won't be "upside down" in it money-wise.

In short: I think you did very well!
 

RWBeringer4x4

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RWB,

My perspective may be a bit different, but IMHO the three most important things in a FJ40 are: rust, rust, and rust. Yours seems to have precious little of it, and that's HUGE!

It's very hard to find an unmolested vehicle this old. When one stumbles across such a vehicle it's usually priced very high. So there's kind of a spectrum of "original and spendy" on one end, and "junk and cheap "on the other. My impression is you got more vehicle than you paid for. Just look at what replacement steel tubs sell for. Now add in your side doors, hard top and ambulance doors and look at the total.

Maybe you'll spend a few thousand sorting things out and improving others, but you'll have a really nice rig and you won't be "upside down" in it money-wise.

In short: I think you did very well!
Thanks Jay,

I think so too :D. I looked at, and passed on, probably a half dozen other FJ40's over the course of 2 years before stumbling across this one. I saw the entire spectrum from completely rusted through, to good rust repair performed, to diamond plate/bondo coverups. Most of the time, they were either going to be too much for me, (this is my first time wrenching on anything) or the PO wanted an astronomical amount of money. Even though the one I settled on is, mechanically, a bit of a basketcase, I took the same view you did - Most of the rust (aside from driver side door and hard top) I will be able to sand out and be done with it. You don't get that very often in a 38 year old vehicle on the East Coast! I also liked the fact that, with the V8 conversion/saginaw/bench seat, etc. this 40 isn't "so stock" that I'd feel bad "making it mine."

The goal here is for a mostly stock look, when I'm done. The tub is in such good shape that I feel like it would be a sin to cut it up - the PO didn't even cut out the rear fenders under the flares. Aside from a hole cut in the passenger side quarter panel for an unfinished aux-tank project started by the PO, the truck is, body-wise, all there.

I appreciate the kind words! I'm learning a ton as I go, and really enjoying it, but it can get overwhelming at times! :cheers:
 
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To begin with, I just have to say PLEASE STOP TAKING WESTERN CRUISERS BACK EAST. Ok, I feel better now, even though you are not the one who sent her out there. I am also glad it's gone to a good owner.

Next, I agree with Jay - especially for Cruisers sent to the east. Rust must be stopped at all costs. That rig is just about ready to go seriously cancerous given where you live. I would invest a few hundred dollars in rust mort and at least slow down its progress. Once you get everything else sorted then you can galvanise, paint and seal. But I would not wait one more day without slowing that rust. Even out west they rust but back east they simply disappear.
 

RWBeringer4x4

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To begin with, I just have to say PLEASE STOP TAKING WESTERN CRUISERS BACK EAST. Ok, I feel better now, even though you are not the one who sent her out there. I am also glad it's gone to a good owner.

Next, I agree with Jay - especially for Cruisers sent to the east. Rust must be stopped at all costs. That rig is just about ready to go seriously cancerous given where you live. I would invest a few hundred dollars in rust mort and at least slow down its progress. Once you get everything else sorted then you can galvanise, paint and seal. But I would not wait one more day without slowing that rust. Even out west they rust but back east they simply disappear.
Agreed. The rust situation worries me. The hard top was stored outdoors, and it shows. Pretty bad cancer in the top corners by the ambulance doors, and by the mounting poles. The drain rail is toast.

For the time being, I'm doing what I can - It is being kept in a garage, and it only gets driven in the sun. If there is salt on the roads, or even a hint of rain, the Land Cruiser stays inside.

I'm tacking in rust repair as I go - ie: when I repair the jacked up power steering situation, the front of the frame will get de-rusted and repainted.

I may try to tackle the floors this winter. The truck was undercoated, and it seems the undercoat is largely intact (this also scares me). The floors appear to be rusting from the inside out... Just dreading trying to get rid of the crappy spray-can bedliner job the PO did in the rear, and chiseling up the asphault in the front...
 
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