The Rusty Camel: A Basic Build.

YODA 88 62

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***Added helpful electrical how to and supplier links


This thread is for members thinking about how far they want to go into a build whether there are brand new members or slightly seasoned. I am not a expert. The thread will read straight though the process of a couple pages instead of a lot pages with conversations in the middle of progress.

So, the rebuild process begans. Cleanup dirt, live grass, and trash first. I like patina. Freshly painted isn’t as appealing as something with character. I drove it around to see looking for major issues. None major issues were found. It ran ok, needed a carb rebuild. It shifted fine, until it got stuck in neutral several times. The brakes had been redone recently. The radiator was relatively new. 4wd worked. Some things leaked. There were some holes in the floor boards where the floor mats didn’t allow the moisture out. But overall the tub was was solid. I determined it was feasible to do a build focused on the wearable items.

This rig will be a cruise around town rig and maybe a trip or two to the local rock crawling park. It’ll be fun to drive with open diffs vs fully locked on 36’s. Everything will be challenging. There will a wife and kids in this cruiser as well. Safety was a high priority in the build.

I’ve decided to do the whole build first and post all the info/pics in consecutive posts. This can hopefully be useful to those considering a similar route of restoration. It will cost at least several thousand dollars in parts and months worth of eight hour days spent wrenching and researching. Google is the best way to search the forum. Break the project up into different jobs. Pick the job you want to do that day and more interesting. Bounce around projects when necessary. Many jobs will take three times as long as the wishful part of the brain thinks. There are so many unknowns that will pop up.

This thread should also give an idea as to what your dollar is doing if you restoration work done at good shop. Not saying I’m good or a shop. They charge a lot for jobs that appear easy in an owners mind but are actually quite time consuming because of all the little things that DO pop up and slow the process of an “easy” job. From broken bolts to wrong parts to shipping delays to labor issues.

Electrical is not that hard. If you say it’s hard, it will be. You are basically teaching your brain a new language, or new way of thinking. The factory manuals are free online. They are the best source by far to troubleshoot electrical problems. I think about the electrical system as the land’s water system trying to flow to the ocean. Switches divert the water flow. A bad ground is a dam blocking the water flow to the frame (ocean).

Buy nice tools, GXL wire, and 3M quality heat shrink connectors. Or use a good soldering gun with GOOD glue filled heat shrink. There are a lot of good vendors that sell connectors, wire and other products. It feels so much better knowing the work is done to higher standard. Consider the tools you buy vs the labor cost of a shop.

Most important, have fun doing this. Don’t rush any projects. Do the projects right so you don’t have to come back to redo them.

Day one pics... time to learn wiring basics.

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YODA 88 62

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The first bit of work was cleaning the dirt, bottle caps and bullet casings out of the floor boards. The 40 came with the factory rubber mats which caused several spots to rust through near your feet and the A pillar. Also a small “flint stone” hole in the rear bed area.

It has a typically leaky Chevy 350. There was also a rear transfer case output seal leak on that had caked up the parking brake rendering it useless. Suprisingly the knuckles were not leaky and had likely been rebuilt in the last 10 years or so. I base that on a coolant hose dated 2011. It was caked in the normal knuckle grease. The knuckles were pressure washed off to get the majority off. Then is scraped the little stuff off. …fluid film will be used later to keep build up to a minimum and prevent any further rust progression on the frame and body.

I installed and Speedi sleeve from SOR to cover the grooves in the drum brake, a new seal from Cruiser Outfitters, and full brake rebuild kit. Rebuild process pictures below. The protruding part of the Speedi sleeve is broken off…see instructions. Reassemble, test, and adjust.

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YODA 88 62

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The exhaust that was originally built for the 350 swap was crushed in by the front diff which also caused an exhaust leak. I built a custom 2.5” exhaust using an exhaust kit from Speedway and used an old flowmaster I had from a another project. It’s all painted in high temp flat black paint. The exhaust mounts were sourced from various auto part stores. I used V-band exhaust clamps and a short flex pipe in the middle of the exhaust.

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YODA 88 62

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On to the steering…

There was a lot of play in the steering wheel to say the least. There was a series of PTO u-joints welded together with a slip joint in the middle that was the steering shaft. All the joints were sloppy. The Saginaw was mounted to some beefy 3/8” plate. The hole cut in the frame for the steering shaft was done with a hole saw but no tube was welded in the frame for strength. The tie rod was bent and a couple of the rod ends were worn out. The steering rod had a decent weld converting the Saginaw to Toyota end. For redneck engineering, it was not a bad setup.

New parts!!!

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YODA 88 62

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More pics of steering…

The space is tight with an SBC, but it did fit. I had issues with the steering u-joint hitting the tube welded in the frame. Additional cutting welding was required to move the tube over. Tach weld all the parts in place before final welds. Then turn the steering lock to lock. Go slowly so you can hear or feel the lightest issues that would likely be much worse later on as the parts start to wear.

Clean the metal as well as possible. Flux core wire will be needed to cut through the old paint on the back of the frame.

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YODA 88 62

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Moving on to the the stuck in neutral issue.

There was no boot on top of the shifter. Water naturally made its way in. This FJ40 came from a ranch, so it likely spent some time uncovered in the elements.

Always check your fluids before driving. Pictured is the milkshake that drained out of the transmission. The transfer case only had dirty gear oil. I ran three short drives with a fluid change after each drive before the fluids came out clean. Time will tell if any major damage occurred. Currently have about 100 miles of driving with no significant noises or vibrations. Another fluid change will happen in the near future.

Also pictured is all the bolts broken and removed accessing the top of the transmission. All bolts were successfully rack welded and removed. The detention springs and balls were not in great shape. They were replaced with new ones. The issue of being stuck in neutral was mostly caused by wear on the end of the shifter. See the pics for a comparison of a lightly used one vs mine.

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YODA 88 62

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Next, I addressed hoses.

The brake lines and clutch line was replaced with Toyota brand. All the lines were likely stock and still functioning with multiple cracks and frays in each.

The fuel pump and filter were swapped with new ones. All the fuel hose was replaced. A brass T connector was used to replace the expansion canister NLA from Toyota. The fuel lines were then run to the stock charcoal canister.

The fuel gauge works even grounded to the sending units. I will add an additional ground to the body later since grounds like to cause issues.

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YODA 88 62

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Seat replacement and adding rear seats.

I purchased a fuel tank cover for the plastic tank. Given recent issues I’ve had with a rusted tank on a motorcycle due to old fuel, I think higher of a plastic tank vs. steel tank. The flakes of rust I found were large and impressive. Never seen a plastic tank do that.

The front seats are used Cinder Race seats. A little stiff but comfy. The rear seats are out of a 2019 ford transit and have integrated seatbelts. One even has the hooks for a car seat.

I think I used 3/16” x 2” flat steel and 1” x 1/8” square tubing. Many holes were drilled. I chose a wider plate to allow the use of more than one seat bolt pattern. Bending was done in a vise. Holes were drilled with two smaller bits and finished with a half inch bit.

Be careful of where you mount the rear seat brackets in relation to the tire flexing and rubbing the inner wheel well.

If you install a family cage, consider where the c-post will be. An adult cannot recline in my current configuration without hitting their head on the roll bar on bumps. Re drilling the holes, adding seat sliders and/or lowering the bracket height could fix this issue.

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YODA 88 62

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Some Exterior Items..

I installed mirrors using nutserts. Be careful of the interior hinge bracket.

I built an tailgate out of some scrap metal left over from a offset smoker build. Tailgate cable part number 15673251. They are from a 1999-2001 Chevy truck. Used an Toyota license plate light…not currently pictured.

Installed new door handles, and new door hinge pins to help re align them. The new locks will likely have issue with the Nader pins. Adjust the position of the door using the outside hinge bolts. Also, cleaned inside of the doors while the panels were removed. The steel clips that hold the panels will break is they are rusted and need to be finessed out or they will rip out of the panel.

Also, installed a cut down Harbor Freight winch plate and installed a Smittybuilt winch that I picked up for cheap. There are tons of holes on the winch plate. I used them to mount lights (pictures later) and run wiring. The plate was cut down to the width of the frame.

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YODA 88 62

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Now let’s see most of the electrical issues found.

I did not like electrical work before this project and decided this would be a great way to get over it. After many hours…prob more like days… of researching websites, suppliers, and on mud, I have solid understanding of the FJ40 electrical system. I also have a large supply of electrical repair items and throughly look forward to electrical work. The ocd in me enjoys cleaning up a mess of wiring and making it function properly.

Important ideas regarding wiring:
-Grounds….check and clean all grounds. Consider tracing the ground wire. Add extra grounds to tie the frame and/or body to the motor. The electrical system needs mass to make a proper ground.
-Use GXL wiring. Way more better than stock.
-Use high temp loom material. Oversized loom if you might run wire through that area at a later date.
-Use heat shrink connectors with glue inside. 3M brand is expensive, but high quality. Or even better in many eyes, solder and heat shrink connections.
-Use dielectric grease on things like grounds. Star washers that cut in to the metal are great additions as well.
-if struggling to get a wire through existing loom, lube it with dielectric grease.
-the factory manual is the BEST resource for tracing stock wiring…print it out on multiple pages and tape it together.


Switches are easy to break. The knob set screws will likely be siezed. Hit them with heat and penetrate to see if they loosen up…if your lucky. Another idea might be to hold the tip of a good soldering iron on the screw, just thought of this. It’s easy to strip the JIS Phillips head.

Break the knob and pay the fee for a new, if available, or a used one. They are easy to clean and rebuild. Move slow so you don’t lose a spring. A light sanding will fix most issues with a switch. See corrosion below.

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Melted wires, cheap connectors, and cracked wires will cause issues and are likely the reason for popped fuses.

In this 40s case, the voltage regulator failed on the stock regulator. It melted wire up to the ammmeter. Suprisingly, the only melted wire was near the ammeter. It was cut and heat shrinked. This was part of the reason almost all the fuses were popped…they did their job of protecting the circuits. There were also several other wires that were shorted out near their connection due to corrosion. They were stripped to clean copper and new connectors were installed. The fuse panel was sanded clean and shiny. Any terminal within a connector that was corroded was replaced with a new terminal. Many times all of them would be changed to keep wire length even. Below are some of the wiring issues found…

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Electrical supply…
Multiple types of terminals, heat shrink, crimp connectors regular and two sized, battery cable terminals, cable tie anchors, multiple sizes/colors of GXL wire, etc.

Not pictured:
Long power wire with inline fuse to test wiring systems.
Delphi connector kit. Expensive, but very nice connectors.
Big solder gun.
Multimeter, quality one. It is the heart and soul of diagnosing problems.

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YODA 88 62

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Can’t delete the last photo above. It’s a rewire of the washer fluid connector and a new ground to the body. VintageTeq sells the kit, washer bottle, nozzle and hose.

*Star washers have been added to many grounds and may not be pictures


Next step in electrical, lights.

All of the lights were rotted, broken, corroded, etc. …one of the head light terminals fell off the headlight body due to corrosion. Some wires were, some were stripped to new copper and/or extended with new GXL wire. The rear marker lights only needed new connectors…the bulbs still worked!

The lights ground through their bodies or nuts. I added riveted dedicated grounds to existing holes. Even with new lights, they could not make proper grounds and would cause the wrong lights to illuminate…hit the brakes and get some combination of a couple lights illuminating. Electricity will always find a way to ground even if it’s the wrong way.
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I also added a proper trailer brake setup. The factory connectors were melted, cracked and corroded. Curt 56496 trailer wiring kit was used. All wire was stripped back to clean copper or replaced. The wires have since been covered in loom and attached to the heat shield using rose bud clips…like the top of a modern chevy motor.
The trailer plug was hidden on the bumper above the Toyota hitch.

To figure out what each wire does. Disconnect the connector above the right rear shock and send power to it using a 12v source. I built a long wire with and inline fuse that connects to a battery using an alligator clip. You can also use the factory wiring diagram.

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Naturally, the turn indicator didn’t work correctly and had a very brittle connector at the main harness. It was replaced with a new one. Only one of the horns worked…and only one horn button worked. The buttons rust at their joint and eventually break. I disassembled the factory horn and adjusted a screw that changed the vibration inside. Used horn buttons were purchased from Classic Cruisers…thank you for the sticker. The connections where the buttons, that complete the horn circuit…think dirty ground, in the steering wheel were cleaned and it was all reassembled.

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The factory flasher was also replaced with the updated one. Make sure to hit with sand paper for a better ground. Dielectric grease for longevity.

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…..another pic that won’t delete. It illustrates bad grounds. Engaging reverse caused a brake light to illuminate.
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YODA 88 62

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More electrical….

Purchased an 8 gang switch panel from Amazon. Specifically back lit green to match the stick green color. This is is a protected circuit outside of the stock wiring. The stock fuse panel would not likely support 8 more items pulling current through it. The panel is currently controlling fog lights, a rear back up light, blue tooth radio on roll bar, CB radio, guages and an additional cigarette lighter.

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Like many other builds…I built a bracket to mount all the new electrical items. Some of these items prefer to be mounted upright so it has walls. The bracket contains the upgraded Toyota headlight harness fuses and relays, a maxi fuse to the stock fuse panel, breaker for 8 switch panel, a 30 amp breaker for the ACC circuit, negative junction post and double positive junction post. Allegedly, you should only have 4 wires on each post.

The breaker and maxi fuse protect the stock electrical system from a spike in amperage from a malfunctioning alternator. The alternator is a 10si and has a harness with a diode to make the engine turn off when the key turns off. Without the diode, the engine will run when the key is turned off. The ignition coil power wire has an additional fuse next to it prevent a spike in either direction of the fuse.

Do the battery cable work yourself. It’s worth it to buy a cutter/crimper combo with a battery terminal kit with multiple sizes. It allows you to make custom cables and easily shorten cables for a precise fit. Use good heat shrink to cover the terminal ends to protect from accidental shorts with wrenches or ratchets. The battery cable at auto parts store is pvc coated with a decent amount of copper strands. Better battery cable can be purchased online with higher strand counts and more GXL like coatings. Any future builds, I will use the better cable. For now it’s all covered in high temp loom.

Military battery terminals are awesome. Fastronix has good rubber covers to fit over wires coming out of both sides of the battery terminal. A little cutting with a razor makes it happen. They also sell the maxi fuse holder pictured. A 30-40 amp maxi fuse will “slow blow” and protect the stock electrical system.

The wires coming off the positive terminal are go to the starter, positive double pole junction, winch and alternator.

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YODA 88 62

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Additional pictures from electrical work…

To enhance the grounding of the starter, add and additional ground wire from the engine block or starter bolt to the frame. You can also ground the body to the frame in one or two spots. Battery ground terminal should be grounded to the frame and engine block. In multiple threads, multiple grounds solved so many odd electrical issues. An hour or two of making these grounds could save hours of trouble shooting later and simply make the electrical system run more effectively.

The top of the frame has threaded holes. Make sure the threads function. The passenger side threads would not thread for me. I used the drivers side. Sand/file the surface around the hole. Add dielectric grease in and around the hole. Attach your ground.

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Some odd electrical issues were caused by dirty connections on the back of the gauges and in the gauge harness. Clean all of these with sand paper. Clean the contacts for the light bulbs as well. Make the copper shiny wear an electrical current travels.

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More pictures of grounds. All these grounds could be run back to the ground post under the hood which would make troubleshooting easier. I initially had one and sure enough I added more. This may get changed later. Definitely, if I rebuild the whole wiring harness.

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Added aluminum cover to protect main harness. Make sure the grommet at the firewall is not rubbing on the harness or close rubbing through.
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Heat shrinked the stock ammeter wires. If the touch the back of the gauge cluster, smoke could be let out of the wires.

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The horn relay plug had almost completely fallen apart. There is no plastic on the other side of the plug. It was replaced with a factory replacement.

Note: when doing rewiring, I like to write what color wire goes wear on the plug or device. Keeps from having to look at the wiring diagram when you come back to a project.

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New cig lighter. Burned myself a couple times with these as a kid.

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Added an tach. This one fogs up if you keep your 40 outdoors. Easy to wire in. I cut most of the pvc wire off of it added added GXL.

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YODA 88 62

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Added some eBay $100 factory fog lights (not pictured). They are ok quality and good enough for this build vs $300 Toyota lights.

I also added a Baja Designs S1 work scene light. It was hidden in the middle of the tire carrier. The carrier with a nice patina was an added cost purchased from a member of the forum.

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Look more bad wiring that was cover with electrical tape. If you see aftermarket electrical tape, see what surprises await you. They are usually easy fixes.

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The cowl drain hose is NLA. I used 3/4” heater hose and cut the factory grommets with a razor to make them fit.
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Factory defrost hoses were connected to left over 2.5” exhaust adapter with duct tape. There are kits available to fix this issue.

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The horn disassembled when I was trying to figure out why it didn’t work. Cleaned and reassembled and adjusted a screw to make it work.
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Also built a safety latch for the tire carrier. Latch is from Ruff Stuff. They still marking great products. Washer is welded under tire carrier hole.

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YODA 88 62

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Joined
Sep 1, 2005
Messages
395
Location
Austin, TX
Wiper motor didn’t function at all. Switch was replaced and Volvo S40 motor was added.

Build thread here:
 

YODA 88 62

SILVER Star
Joined
Sep 1, 2005
Messages
395
Location
Austin, TX
Don’t buy the cheap eBay reader view mirror. It will crack if it freezes and feels cheap. The Toyota mirror is worth every penny. You many need to finesse some of the edges to install it. It’s a tight fit.
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The stock suspension was wore out. Flat springs with groves in the individual leafs from rubbing the leaf below it. Might as well have been cracks in them. Shackles were rusted and caked with rubber…trash. I ordered an Iron Man 4x4 2.5” lift kit with shocks drying the Black Friday sale. I had already replaced the factory shocks with new ones…they will be for sale with factory overload springs.

The install was simple with a little clearancing cutting of the shackle on the power steering side. The nut was much larger than stock. It rounded on the outside and the steering box was ground down slightly.

To review the kit…It rides very well down the road and into driveways. The shocks do a great job preventing suspension bounce. Great bang for the buck.
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Also new 33 x 10.50 All-terrains on high temp painted wagon wheels.

A new windshield gasket was installed. The old one is pictured. The gasket plays a big part in keeping the windshield from hitting the doors.
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Photos of the roll cage radio and CB Radio (part of it) installed. Make sure the CB radio bolts won’t hit the bikini top when mounted.
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YODA 88 62

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Joined
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Messages
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Location
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High Lift refurbed and installed. Soaked in gear oil and then exercised a lot to clean out the rust.
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Drum brakes are an experience. All of the drums and cylinders were replaced by the previous owner. Alone with a could steel lines. They were way out of adjustment. One cyclinder had locked up. It was replaced by a non Toyota cyclinder which promptly broke a clip while adjusting. It was replaced with a stock one. I used a vacuum bleeder to get all the air out of the lines and to replace the old brake fluid.

Basic process:
-Try your best to adjust the brakes evenly against the drum. Use the Toyota adjuster tool.
-Loosen the cyclinders 3-5 clicks until there is a small amount of drag on the drum.
-Test Drive. Check for the ability to lock up the brakes and pulls in any direction.
-Repeat.

The factory manual is the best reference for the procedure.
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There are no timing marks on the 350. I added timing marks after finding TDC. The wires and plugs appeared new. The carb was replaced with a rebuilt carb. The other carb will be rebuilt and ready to replace the new one.

The 40 struggled to get above 60 mph. I adjusted the carb multiple times but could not get much more speed out of. I decided for replace the plugs and wires. The removed plugs told the whole story. Number 3 was misfiring when it heated up and the plug was wet and black. The wire was covered by a heat shield that covered multiple splits in the wire.

Now this 40 runs smooth and will easily hit 70 mph.

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Also found a good fuel leak.

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YODA 88 62

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Joined
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Messages
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Location
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And finally the never really complete, last photos….also the mug shots for the insurance company.
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A little flex shot.

Fluid film will be applied soon to prevent any further rust and give the patina a nice wet look.
The goal of this thread is to show what the basic build looks like without out additional time for body work. You can add 6 months or more to a personal build to complete body work and a fair amount of money for sheet metal and a welder.

This build took around a year and half or so to build. I’m fortunate to work shift work and have more time to work on this than an 8-5 schedule.
Adjust your goal accordingly. Expect delays of all kinds…shipping, gaining knowledge, family, etc. Have fun with your project.

If you having a company build your rig, understand they charge thier labor based on the fact most repairs/installs don’t go by the book. Rust/corrosion is probably one of the biggest obstacles they encounter. Shipping and reshipping wrong products is likely another time consumer. They can weigh in if they’d like to.

The repairs and improvements will take a minimum of a couple thousand dollars in parts plus the cost of the 40.

Good luck on your own projects and most of all have fun learning and using your rig.
 
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