The Rest of the Story. (73 Build) (1 Viewer)

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Oct 23, 2007
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The Story
I started with a 52 Ford PU in high school. It was fast and fun but it was for the street only.
Then I saw it. A red ’74 FJ40.
Traded the Ford and then I could go anywhere…albeit a LOT slower. When I graduated from college I sold the 40, but I never forgot about it.
Fast forward 15 years and I saw another red FJ40 (1973).. Soooooooooooo I bought it for a birthday present to myself. It cost $1000 dollars. I borrowed a trailer and she arrived home in October 2006.
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Joined
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ThE Rest of the Story

The Rest of the Story

The cruiser” became its name although I called it MANY…… MANY other unrepeatable names along the way.
She came with rust, a cracked head, and a jeep roll bar. The rest was mostly stock. I decided to tear it apart and start from the frame up.
I am NOT a mechanic. I have a full time job and a family. The work area is my barn without a cement floor. The tools I started with I got for high school graduation……..I figured it would take about 2 years.
My wife did not say a thing but secretly thought there was ZERO chance I would be patient enough to finish.
I started by filming “the cruiser” as I disassembled it. I did not catalogue every bolt or bracket or screw and I found out during the rebuild my wife had taped over the disassembly process with one of our daughters dance performances…………. However, I did take some pictures for reference. I began reading everything I could find on Ih8mud.com . Most, if not all of the references in this write-up are from Ih8mud website.
My best purchase (excluding the BF rubber hammer) was a FSM for a 1973 TLC. I learned to read it and follow its directions.
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Joined
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590
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Frame

Painting the frame I stripped and wire wheeled the frame down to metal using high pressure water gun and airplane stripper… If I do this again, I would have it sand blasted
I used Zero Rust as the first 2 coats. I used 1 gray, then 1 black coat so I could see each coat better and get better coverage. Next came 2 coats of Rustoleum…. gray and then black again for a total of 4 coats. I decided on Rustoleum because it is easy to buy and touch up. I used a regular paint brush to apply each coat. I poured paint in the boxed areas of the frame and pushed a paint soaked towel through those areas.
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Joined
Oct 23, 2007
Messages
590
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Running Gear

Running gear
I got out the FSM and took apart the front and rear axles. The idea for this cruiser was to be an around town cruiser. So I traded diffs with a local Cruiserhead who had a FJ60. This will help improve the highway manners. This also meant I had to change the drive flanges and u joints
Several tips regarding the running gear I found here on IH8MUD.
To get the axle bearing races out………
1. with the diff out….run a pie through the axle tube to the other side and knock the races out
2. with the diff in………run a weld bead along the race and the weld will contract and the race will almost fall out.
To remove the race from the axle shaft itself…… run a bead of weld on the race and dip it immediately into a bucket of water and the race will crack. You can hear it ….It is way cool :cool:
I added a OME 2” lift and plans for mini truck front disc brakes and power steering..
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Joined
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590
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Texas
 
Engine

Engine
The engine went to the machine shop with the F series engine manual for him to reference. I also installed an RV cam from SOR offroad. I replaced all the engine mounts. My neighbor was kind enough to use his tractor as a redneck engine hoist for reinstalling the engine. I painted the engine at least 6 different colors before deciding to do black. The radiator was shipped off for cleaning and sealing.
The carburetor I sent to Jim C. and for rebuild and it is perfect . ( FJ40Jim on IH8MUD)
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T/Tcase

Tranny/tcase
I purchased a good used 4 speed tranny for 50 bucks and took it apart to replace all the gaskets. I decided to use my original tcase (3speed) and started collecting parts to attach it to the 4 speed tranny. It turns out I should have rebuilt the tcase while I had it out. The tcase ended up at Edwin’s shop here in Austin for a rebuild. LCS Austin's Land Cruiser Specialist! I used a new 4 speed clutch and pressure plate and had the flywheel resurfaced.
If I did it all over again, I would have used a 4 speed tcase instead of trying to find parts to mount the 3 speed tcase to the 4 speed tranny. It all works great but prolly not worth the swap unless I was using it more off road.
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Joined
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Front disc brakes
I wanted front disc brakes and decided to leave the rear drum brakes. The rear drums were turned and I replaced all the calipers. For the front disc brakes I followed 1973Guppie's write up on disc brakes. I used a 1991 FJ80 Booster and master. The FJ80 had rear drum brakes and no ABS. This meant I had no need for a proportioning valve. The booster had to be mounted upside down and spaced out from the firewall about ½ inch. I used SAE ½ inch nuts as spacers
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Joined
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PS

Power Steering
I decided on mini truck power steering. This seemed to be the option with the least amount of fabrication. The power steering gearbox mount is also readily available. I used this thread as reference
My Mini-truck Power Steering Install
I used the mini truck power steering pump and modified the bracket to fit on the driver’s side…..old alternator mounting location. Coolerman has a similar mount on his website. !Oy: Coolermans 1971 FJ40 Build
A special high pressure hose was needed as the original mini truck power steering hose was about 3 feet long. I searched and searched finally found a Toyota power steering hose from a 1980 Celica GT that was the correct length.
Hind sight being 20/20 I should have used the FJ60 power steering to eliminate the drag link portion of the steering. I have more confidence in my welding and fabrication skills, so mounting the FJ60 power steering box to the frame rail is not as daunting as before.
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Joined
Oct 23, 2007
Messages
590
Location
Texas
 
Hub

Front hubs
I rebuilt the hubs using this link Rebuilding Aisin locking hub Locking hub rebuild
 
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Messages
590
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Tub

Body work/Tub/Welding
I started by stripping the paint with Airplane stripper and removing the bondo with a wire wheel on my angle grinder. There was ALOT of bondo covering ALOT of rust. My angle grinder with a cutoff wheel was used to remove the rusted areas of the tub. There was ALOT of rust.

I purchased some 16g sheet metal to replace the missing pieces. I purchased the rear sill from Ebay. Welding the metal back in place is when the learning curve gets REALLY steep. I am not a welder. Everything I know about welding I learned by reading and practice and this took ALOT of practice. I can’t begin to tell you how many times I burned a hole through the metal, or how many times I tried to weld sorta rusty metal instead of removing it entirely. My tips for this portion of the build would be to practice, practice, practice. Get a good welder that uses gas. I was unable to weld this thin metal using flux cored mig wire. I had much more success with gas and solid wire. I learned to make little spot welds every inch or so then fill in between the spots. Take your time and keep it cool to prevent warping. The best link to welding sheet metal is Welding in patch panels - The Garage Journal Board
The tub was rhino lined on the bottom after all the welding was done. The rest of the body work and paint was left to the pro’s.
The painter also lined the inside of the tub with a smoother style bed liner, but it was stark white in color and did not match the outside of the cruiser. So I took the gas cap cover to Ace hardware and had some Rust Stop oil based enamel paint mixed to match the exterior color of the cruiser.
I got the idea from ACE tintable Rustoleum product thread. The enamel hardener is from tractor supply and I mixed the paint, hardener, and paint thinner in a ratio of 5:1:1. I used a harbor freight paint sprayer (20 bucks) so I could throw it away when I was done. I sprayed the inside of the cruiser and it turned out great. I used the same set up (bought another spray gun) to spray the roll cage and tire carrier.
Next time I will have the tub sand or soda blasted. The airplane stripper I used to remove the paint sucks rocks. The paint guy had it bead blasted anyway.
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Joined
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Messages
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Fun

Just for fun
Once I had the engine/tranny and tcase in the frame, I was determined to hear it run. I jerry rigged an exhaust with bendable exhaust tubing. I hooked up all the vacuum lines, filled all the fluids, and set the dizzy in her(BE VERY CAREFULL HERE AND MAKE D**N SURE IT IS ALL THE WAY IN). I used a fuel line and my lawn mower gas can for a fuel tank. I wired up my Mission Control box (see pics) and she started right up. I was sooo nervous I was shaking before I hit the switch to start her up for the first time. The whole family came running out to the barn to see what was going on once they heard her running. It is hard to describe how happy it makes you feel to hear her run knowing you are the one who put her together…………. Or how relieved you are you didn’t jack it up bad enough that it exploded.
I ran her for 20 minutes or so at 2000rpm for break-in. I should have checked the valve adjustments prior to start-up because numerous ones were way off.
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Wire

Wiring
This is the area I was most worried about because I know nothing about electricity. Everything I had done with electricity previously had either caught on fire, smoked a lot or shocked the #$@! out of me. I read Toyota Technical Articles - Tech - 4x4 Offroaders Club Karachi prior to starting.
I removed the wiring harness intact and I labeled all the wires with tape and a sharpie. I would recommend additional markings because after 3 years of storage a lot of the writing had faded away. I untapped the entire harness and replaced any burnt or exposed wires. I replaced all the plugs with new plugs and connectors. I used OEM-Type Bullet & Spade Electrical Connectors for 1960's to 1980's Japanese Vehicles... Bridgestone, Datsun, Hodaka, Honda, Kawasaki, Landcruiser, Suzuki, Tohatsu, VW, & Yamaha for the connectors. I bought a “kit“ from them that included a crimper. The crimper is a must have tool for this job. The electrical diagrams in the FSM are also a must have. Coolermans’ web site also has numerous diagrams for download. I also took each dash switch apart and cleaned it. They come apart easily and were not hard to clean and put back together. I decided to install another fuse block for accessories instead of adding to the original harness. I put this fuse block in the glove box. It is easy to do, just run a hot wire from the battery + to the new fuse block. You must use and inline fuse on the battery side of the fuse block. The best tip I learned while reading about wiring is “electricity is lazy. It will take the easiest path to ground”. That reminds me to redo all the grounds in the harness and keep them clean.

I decided to add a new gauge cluster. I used Trail Candy LLC-Put a little Candy in your rig for the face plate and installed autometer gauges. I would not recommend the LED blinker and high beam light indicators from trail candy because they will blind you when they come, on especially the high beam light. I had a special speedometer cable made from
Nevada Speedometer
878 Marietta Way
Sparks, Nv 89431-6018
Phone: (775) 358-7422
They are great guys and know exactly what you need. I decided after blowing a voltage regulator that I would upgrade to a GM alternator that could better support the new stereo system. I used Texas Alternator Starter Service in Austin Tx (512) 836-6601. They can build whatever you need and tell you exactly how to wire it.
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Edmonton, AB
 
 
Right on!
I like your perseverance in your build. Thank you for sharing the pictures with us.
All the best in getting it completed.:clap:
 
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Cage

Roll Cage
I bought a roll bar from Metaltech 4x4 Protection Evolved The hardest part of the install was the notches. I made a pattern for the T ‘s but the complex angles were very difficult. . I used a combination of chop saw and angle grinder to make each notch. My first inclination was to tack it together and take it to a welder to weld, but I decided to weld it together myself. See pics. I tacked the cage together in the rig then removed it to complete the welding. BIG MISTAKE. The welding caused considerable movement in the cage. Soooo when I went to re install, it did not fit as well as it had prior to the welding. My suggestion would be to weld as much as you can with the cage still in the rig.
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Tunes

Stereo.
I cut the dash about 3/16” to allow install of the head unit. I placed 2 speakers in a homemade overhead console and two more speakers in the rear of the cruiser. The overhead console is 18g sheet metal I bent to fit between the roll bar supports. My son talked me into a sub and an amp. Heck, you can hear the stereo from a mile away now.
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Carrier

Tire carrier.
This was just another opportunity to practice my welding and fab skills. I wanted the tire on the driver’s side to allow better visibility while driving and I wanted the license plate to look stock( I think the stock license plate carrier is cool). I used a heavy duty homemade spindle and a latch with a locking mechanism. I also used a hydraulic shock to limit how far the swing arm opened.
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Seats

Seats
I used 1995 Toyota Camry seats with Wet Okole seat covers and they look great. I will put a Suzuki rear seat in the Cruiser later with the same seat covers.
 
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Rest

You know ……I began this project to build a cruiser for myself and I ended this project by giving it to my son for his first car. There have been very few times in my life when I have experienced as much joy and satisfaction as the day he took the keys from my hand, gave me a huge, and said “thanks Dad, I love you.” And now you know the rest of the story.
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More

I will post some poser shots when I get the top from OCD.
Thanks for all the help along the way.
 

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