The Possum 40 project build

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Jun 27, 2011
Tampa / Lutz
So my buddy has had this 1978 FJ40 sitting in his barn for about 10 year+ now. He got this when we where in high school, it was to big of a project for us to handle at the time. The tub is in pretty bad shape to say the least. The guy he got it from though it would be a good idea to lay fiber glass over the rusting metal. Genius I know. So we got a lot of cutting to do. Frame looks like it is in really good shape , coupe small spots to work on. I got my inspiration from this guys post.

Great job by the way. This will be a first for me. My buddy is a master wood worker , and pretty good at metal work. Thought we would test out our skill on this rust bucket. I am getting a super deal on it . Comes with a 2f, with the 4 speed and the 4 speed t case. Engine ran 8 years ago. Also getting a running 1.5f with adapter to the SM420 and 3 speed t case. It is SOA, and the front axle was moved forward and the rear moved back. Also well get most of a hard top, not sure what all it has or needs, and a bikini top. I got some angle steel and 2 sheets of 16g sheet metal and going to get to work. Once I get the body rigid enough then it comes off, the engine comes out and off to the sand blasters. Then patch up the frame and put in the 1.5f with SM420. I will worry about the 2f later or might go with something else if the right deal comes along. Just joined the forms. Here is some pictures I took when we where taking her out of the barn. We found a possum living in the back of it. Kinda scared my buddy. Took a picture of him and though I would name the build after him. Stay tuned for more updates.
Good another one coming back from the dead! Neat story. MIke
Another one bringing it back from the grave. Be careful. It becomes an obsession and some people won't understand it. Good luck.
I paid for the subscription so could post some more photos. Thanks for all the luck, I will need it. My goal is to have it looking presentable, but keeping it simple. I love the 40 styling. I was going to just make a buggy out of it, but he buddy who sold it to me "40TUDE" insisted we need to work on our sheet metal skills and body work. Well let me give you some back ground. Me, working with sheet metal...... experience, NONE. I am good at turning wrenches and wiring, but the metal working skills are limited. I also went down and got a bunch of tools, so I have my own set " angle grinder, level, tape measure, face shield, toms of other goodies, so I can work at my house. Well let me give you some more background. My girl has started to wonder why I was selling musical instruments and things from my recording studio. Yes I am a musician, and run a little recording studios out of my house. So about 600 sq ft consisting of 3 rooms in the house are pretty much mine. Key words there "pretty much mine " So to say the least she has caught on to my cruiser fever, and I had to spill the beans about getting my 40. Her response is, " that card won't fit on my finger." Non the less, I have all my bases covered. I may have learn something over the years. :grinpimp: Oh by the way, I bet you can guess how excited she is about having this thing in our backyard soon. Just after the body it rigged enough to take off the frame and the frame sandblasted and patched up. Then the engine and drive train in. Then off my place, where it should get finished. So back to the build. At least now I have a 110v MIG welder at home to at least work on my welding skills. Thanks 40TUDE. So I have my work cut out for me. I have always wanted to build a car since I was 12 years old, so time to start learning.
Well the gloves came off today. Boy let me tell you what, that fiberglass sure was not fun to mess with. I am itch all over after today's battle.

First thing first, I pull out the gas tank. Then started to brace the body with angle steel. My buddy had to go work out with the family. When he came back I had all the angle in place and welded. Then he asked did measure the good 40 he had in the garage so we make sure that the hard top will fit once done. Though would be a good ides and sure enough it was a 1/2 in to wide. Was able to use ratchet straps to where we need it then rewelded the angle. After breaking one sawzall, the batteries kept dying for the Dewalt saw. Went threw 3 sawzall blades and about 3 girding disc. BTW harbor freight cutting disc sucks a you know what. After aboUt 3 hour we got the floor out. Stay tuned for more this week.
Here are some pics of the tank out and the angle in place before the cutting took place.
Here if after the cutting was done. For the day at least
Yikes :eek: you are braver than me!
Well last Friday we were able to get the floor pan made and the angle steel put under for the floor supports and around the edge to weld the wheels wells to. That was about it for the day. On the 4th we worked on the 40Tudes wife's 40/80 project. We are trying to get the steering taken of, so we can then mount the front axle.

So tonight we where able to get some more rust cut out and make some wheels wells. 40tude has lost a lot sleep making up a master plan for these wheels wells. I was thinking to make then out of 3 pieces and using some angle steel to connect them together. Well the master wood worker had a plan to use a 12" chop saw blade to make the rounded corner on the back of the 40. So he took some measurements, then he cut it out of wood and then I use the plasma cutter to cut it out using the wood as a template. We then took some 1 1/2 angle and put in the edge of the work bench and clamped it down and took what ever we could find to put weight at the back of the table. WE start putting some elbow grease and good sized hammer to start to make the bend. This was our first time hammering steel into shape. With that 16g steel took some work. But we where able to get 2 made and they look good for a bunch of rookies. BTW first time using a plasma cutter and working with steel by beating it into shape. We also had a anvil, to use to make the bend for the front part of the wheel well. Till next time
Here are some pics from today. I also need to get some 2 1/2 angle for the rear body mount.
nice progress, you have quite a project on our hands

So true- lots of work ahead- BUT 2 guys going at it gets it done in less than half the time of one. I think you guys can tackle it one way or another. Keep it up!

That looks like a 79 tub. The gas tank in the 78 is still under the passenger seat. The title may say 78 but I would double check on that.

As far as no welding experience it looks like your doing a good job. Welcome to MUD and welcome to the madness. Regarding the gals let them do easy stuff (repairs) on your cruiser. Get them involved and they will leave you alone. My gal love to paint with POR 15...(i told her it was fun...haha!) and she's my paint queen as well as other small jobs. Anyway good luck with the build. Hoz!

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