This Old "Beep Beep" Truck

fourlow&go

@ the speed of plaid
 
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Would you try and save an abandoned truck that's been sitting for decades and broken in half? What if it's a rare, to this country, short wheelbase FJ45? Or a even more rare, removable hard top SWB? After much head scratching and late night pondering we decided to go for it.

With some research we discovered that parts just don't exist. Especially the much coveted hard top.

Que the Johnny Cash "One piece at a time"

The foundation for the build


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As you can see, there really is no foundation left! What to do?

Thankfully a neighbor had just what we needed. A 55 that had been sitting for twenty years. The body had rotted away but surprisingly the frame was solid. We have a happy Wally!


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With the frame removed from under the mouse ghetto it was time to sandblast and start mocking things up.


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Much to our dismay, we discovered that more than one "body guy" had done thier "work" to this poor truck since it rolled off the assembly line in 1964. Buggah!
Time to peel off the giant brazed on panels.


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fourlow&go

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After getting down to the original metal we knew we had our work cut out for us. In the end all we could save from the cab was the top rail and the back center panel. The rest would have to be built from scratch. In true Poor Wally fashion, 1/8" it is!
The top was the same story, rust, lots of rust! We did a quick search to see if we could find one, with no luck. Hmmm, not being sure if I could save it, and having no other options, I decided to tackle the rust. What's the worst that could happen? Ruin an already ruined, hard to find corner stone piece of this build? No pressure.


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The entire bottom 2 inches was swiss cheese. So a new flange had to be made. Then an entire piece grafted across the back.


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My days were consumed with spot welding and grinding. Then success!


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With the back of the cab done it was time to move onto the roof panel and drip rail. It should be noted that around this time I was contemplating if a plasma torch to the temple would actually work!

More, later.

Junior.
 

fourlow&go

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While I was putting my sheet metal skills to the test, Wally was working on shoring up the remnants of the cab.


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Rear cab member with roll bar, seat belt mounts and gusseting. New cab mounts also had to be fabbed on the frame.


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A new floor was installed along with inner rockers.


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Next was cab corners that included the outer rockers and goes to the front of the cowl skirt.


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fourlow&go

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The roof of the top was also in sad shape. Both front corners were gone with no hope of repairing. Replacement was the only option, time to practice my dishing skills. A few minutes with a grinder and I had a dishing stump.


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With a little hammering and shaping I came up with something useable.


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Again with the spot weld and grind and we have something that is useable.


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fourlow&go

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The drip rail was gone. Literally. To the land of Ferric Oxide. Sweet yo.

We just happened to have a nice 40 roof kicking around with a perfect rail. Call the butcher.
I knocked out the million tiny aluminum rivets holding it together to get down to the bone.


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The rail was cut and sectioned to fit.


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This was rosette welded to the roof and assembled on the 45.

Other than some fitting and futzing with some other small things, the project was back burnered for a few months. Until last week.

The bed was too rough to use so we cut the bed rail off and sent it to J H Bennett to have them roll some 11ga sides for us. We asked them if they could roll them in two pieces so there was only one seam in the middle of the bed. A very difficult thing to do, roll two radii with an exact distance between them. They grudgingly agreed to try. It took some time, but they nailed it! They fit perfectly.

The old bed


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Cruiser_Nerd

That 25 Guy.
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Yes, yes I would. Great to see you guys bringing back the dead. Always thought that would have been my way to a 45........build one on a 55 frame. :beer:
 

fourlow&go

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Some random shots.


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Using defrost vents as a support for the top.


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Unfortunately the rail across the front of the roof was gone. A very complicated piece to make, which is too bad as we really liked the factory latches. It will be bolted to the windshield frame like a 40.




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More later,

Junior.
 
Last edited:

fourlow&go

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Yes, yes I would. Great to see you guys bringing back the dead. Always thought that would have been my way to a 45........build one on a 55 frame. :beer:

The rise front and rear is much more shallow on a 55 frame. This will pose some challenges getting cab and bed placement so it doesn't look like a truck stacked on top of a frame. Might look at a 60 frame if we do this again.
 

fourlow&go

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The only seam on the bed sides. We're really happy they could roll the sides like this!


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A friend works at a body shop and they had a floor panel from a Tundra that never was used. We'll take that thank you! The bed is pretty much done now and it looks the part with the Tundra floor in it. We did have to put small panels in the corners as it wasn't wide enough though.


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After cutting several inches off the rear of the frame, we had a piece of 3/16" bent to match the 40 series trucks. It fit and looks fantastic! We're probably going to finish it with 40 bumperettes and a pintle hitch. A small piece is going acroos the back to hide the bed mounts and clean it up a bit.


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This project is going to be back burnered for a while as there's other things going on. But when we come back we'll be dropping in a brand new Turnkey Motors 5.3l LS mated to an NV4500! Can't wait to mount this jewel in its setting!


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Mas luego,

Junior.
 

swelltimes

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Totally digging this thread!

What's the general time frame from when you guys started to where you are now?

Can't wait to see the next steps.
 

fourlow&go

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Totally digging this thread!

What's the general time frame from when you guys started to where you are now?

Can't wait to see the next steps.
Thank you. Two guys, we have about six weeks of labor into this so far. We started in late August and have picked away at it here and there. It'll be put on the back burner for a while now, as we tackle other projects.



I've had the pleasure of seeing this project, very nice! You guys are amazing fabricators!
'

Thanks bud. This has been one of those rare projects that's also been a lot of fun. It's been a full on challenge to our skills, and to be able to save such a rare truck, is icing on the cake.
 

fourlow&go

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Wednesday it was time to dig the 45 out of the corner and start setting the motor in it. It's so nice to work with all brand new parts!


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It took a day to assemble and find the right spot in the frame for this jewel. There's a bit of head scratching to make sure it clears the fire wall, front drive shaft and steering shaft. We unfortunately had to tilt the motor a little to make sure we had enough room for the front drive shaft, but it's only a half inch lower on the passenger side, the aluminum oil pans on the LS are much larger than the old small blocks. We can live with this.
On a 40 the tcase is very close to the frame, but on the much wider 55 frame this is non issue and the rear drive shaft is in perfect alignment.


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Next was the trans mount. We looked at what AA had supplied for a cross member, and didn't really like it. 1" ×2" 1/8 wall with no inserts in the mounting holes, too easy to crush it by over tightening the mount bolts. It just looked too flimsy for 300+hp, plus it was too short to span the 55 frame.
Also, with the supplied center trans mount the cross member would be about 4 inches below the trans. This isn't a wheeling truck and clearance isn't an issue, but we didn't like it hanging that low.
So Wally fabbed up a new cross member that is much tighter and stronger. Complete with cut outs for the tcase front output bolts, capped ends and inserts for the mounting bolts.


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AA unit on the bottom, new and improved on top.


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We'll use the factory rubber pucks on the frame mounts, just like, well, factory.


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