Thomas FJ48 Build

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Started My FJ48 Build about 6 Months ago and wanted to start a thread for inspiration and advice. This is my first time posting to IH8MUD but have been enjoying posts off this website for years! Basically I had a Rusted out FJ40 on the farm and found a 80 series at the neighbours that did not run so 1+1=FJ48. I have always wanted to stretch a FJ40 but really like the drivability of the 80 series so why not combine the best of both worlds. The guys at Aqualu Industries ( HARD BODIES BY AQUALU INDUSTRIES INC. | ALUMINUM REPLACEMENT BODIES & ACCESSORIES - https://www.hardbody4x4.com ) out of Kelowna where a huge help introducing me to there highbred Body and linked me to a build on there website ( Kula's FJ220 build - https://www.pirate4x4.com/threads/kulas-fj220-build.1886386/ ) . I don't know if this build was ever finished but been getting a lot of good ideas from it. Looking forward to some feedback and hopefully if I hit a snag I can get some good advice. Will post work up to this point.
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Started By stripping down the 80 series to frame for Sandblasting and etch primed. Fab work then began to install engine mounts for the Crate R2.8 and rebuild 4l80 transmission. We had to move the engine and transfer case back about 8 inches. I got the engine mounts for the Cummins R2.8, transmission adapter for the 4L80e and the transfer case adapter to the stock HFTA from axis industries ( Axis Industries USA - https://www.axisindustriesusa.com ) as well as a ton of other parts to come. Kevin at Axis has been a huge help and absolutely great to work with!
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Needed to do some frame modifications to fit the Aqualu body on. Had to cut down the rear as well as the front to proportion properly. Enlisted another neighbour for his welding expertise!
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Once welding was complete we stripped down to the frame cleaned and prepped for new coat of primer then Rapter liner. Had the help of a veteran sprayer (65 years in paint) to spray for me and turned out great!! Frame sprayed, started to put drivetrain back in for further mock up. Went with a 37 inch Toyo Tire on 20 inch Rhino rims. All the linkage and bushing were replaced with Dobson adjustable and an Icon stage 3 lift is going to be installed with Dobson's springs. Lift will be approximately 2 inches. Wanted to keep centre of gravity as low as possible but still fit the bigger tires. Ordered the Hydraulic bump stop kit, radios arms and some other goodies from Deltavs ( Delta Vehicle Systems - https://www.deltavs.com) and will install at a later date when they come in. Also ordered new front and rear
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sway bar from whiteline and waiting to receive.
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Engine and Transmission no have a home so need to start fitting Aqualu tub. Picked up a new set of body mounts from the Toyota parts store and everything lined up perfectly. Was super impressed on how well Aqualu stuff fit on the 80 series frame! Had to hack the fenders a bit and made a few mistakes but will fix once everything is fitted.
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Brought rig back to my garage to start mocking up some more goodies. Worked with Kevin again from Axis industries to build a complete cooling package for the build. There work is absolutely amazing. Very little clearance issues but some minor tweaks. Also ordered the mega bracket to fit in the AC compressor and will put in at a later point.
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Started putting the uppers and roof on and adding lights, winch, markers lights, seats etc. Found and old roof section with sides that where in ruff shape that a friend traded for some other parts of the fj40 and will cut out what I need and tack into place. Will keep posting as I make progress.
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A couple of questions for the community.

Was considering an atlas transfer case to replace the Stock HF2A Transferase (need to be rebuilt). Has anyone done this swap in an FJ80.

Pro's
- Could use the room behind the transmission to fit for Aqualu tub
- Give me lots of options for rear end (Gears, brakes, etc)
- Gets rid of the AWD

Cons
- Expensive
- Rear end linkage Fab
- Need different rear end

Secondly, need a fuel tank solution.
- Will probably need to do a custom fab.
- Looking at two locations
- Stock location but make much larger
- Behind the rear axel

Anyone know of a good custom fuel tank shop in Canada or US?
 

DangerNoodle

Essentially a fire wielding monkey.
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If you have the funds and the want for an Atlas, I'd do it. With how long the rear driveshaft is, I wouldn't worry about the offsets too much, but I believe that you can get a passenger drop front / centered rear case, but I'm not 100% sure about that. Full-time 4x4 is a lot of extra wear if you aren't planning on adding ABS back into it. You could still use the stock 80 axle in the rear end and save a bunch that way.

As for the fuel tank, I built mine out of 1/8" 5051 aluminum. Any knowledgeable fab shop should be able to build a nice fuel tank.
 
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If you have the funds and the want for an Atlas, I'd do it. With how long the rear driveshaft is, I wouldn't worry about the offsets too much, but I believe that you can get a passenger drop front / centered rear case, but I'm not 100% sure about that. Full-time 4x4 is a lot of extra wear if you aren't planning on adding ABS back into it. You could still use the stock 80 axle in the rear end and save a bunch that way.

As for the fuel tank, I built mine out of 1/8" 5051 aluminum. Any knowledgeable fab shop should be able to build a nice fuel tank.
Thanks for comment on atlas. I’m in the cue for one but don’t have to fully commit for another couple weeks. Passenger drop and centre rear is what I have tentatively planned but never thought I could use stock rear end.
 

DangerNoodle

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Thanks for comment on atlas. I’m in the cue for one but don’t have to fully commit for another couple weeks. Passenger drop and centre rear is what I have tentatively planned but never thought I could use stock rear end.

You should be able to, you can get any toyota flange on the end of it.
 
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How about using a split case from a 60 series. Lots of gearing options, up to 4:1, proper off-sets. twin sticks, 2wd option. Might be a whole lot easier? Sell off the adapter that you have now that is not going to work for an Atlas.
 
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This is a really cool build, @Farmer Thomas. I am also working on a stretched FJ40 build.

I agree with @DangerNoodle and @matzell. I went back and forth between the FJ60 split case and the Atlas. I ended up going with the latter but I was set on replacing my FJ40 axles. You already have an FZJ80 axle setup so it really all depends on whether you want to keep that or go another route.

Depending on the era of your FJ80 axles, you could have a front between 91” to ~63” WMS (FZJ80 should be the latter). My rear end is a Corporate 14 bolt with cab and chassis hubs, giving me a WMS of 63” (it measures roughly 62.75 but my straight edge technique might be flawed). My initial plan once I decided to go 14 bolt rear was to find the wider 80 front. I mention that in case the axle width was part of your decision. On a side note, I ended up going with a Dana 60 front but that is another story.

I have been on the waitlist for an Atlas 4 since June 2021 and it is expected to arrive next week. My advice, if you are not sure about going the Toyota route, is to stay on that waitlist as long as you can. I originally hopped on the waitlist in January 2021 when the wait was only a few months. Hopefully their wait times will normalize soon.
 
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Joined
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This is a really cool build, @Farmer Thomas. I am also working on a stretched FJ40 build.

I agree with @DangerNoodle and @matzell. I went back and forth between the FJ60 split case and the Atlas. I ended up going with the latter but I was set on replacing my FJ40 axles. You already have an FZJ80 axle setup so it really all depends on whether you want to keep that or go another route.

Depending on the era of your FJ80 axles, you could have a front between 91” to ~63” WMS (FZJ80 should be the latter). My rear end is a Corporate 14 bolt with cab and chassis hubs, giving me a WMS of 63” (it measures roughly 62.75 but my straight edge technique might be flawed). My initial plan once I decided to go 14 bolt rear was to find the wider 80 front. I mention that in case the axle width was part of your decision. On a side note, I ended up going with a Dana 60 front but that is another story.

I have been on the waitlist for an Atlas 4 since June 2021 and it is expected to arrive next week. My advice, if you are not sure about going the Toyota route, is to stay on that waitlist as long as you can. I originally hopped on the waitlist in January 2021 when the wait was only a few months. Hopefully their wait times will normalize soon.
Thanks for the feedback. I am still on the Atlas wait list scheduled for delivery (march). Advanced said they would contact me a couple weeks out to finalize the build so still have a little time to decide. From everything I have read the H2FA is a good transferase but I figured that once I rebuild it, convert it from AWD etc I'm not to far off an atlas. More than likely I will stick with the stock rear end and transferase to keep the project moving forward order the atlas and swap transferase and rear end at a later date. As for the gas tank I built one out of foam to test fit and found my best option was to mount in the rear. Worked out to approximately 85L which is pretty close to stock. Sent the drawing to Fuel safe (www.fuelsafe.com) and hope for a 2-3 week turnaround.

How much are you stretching your 40? Be great to see some picks.

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That is a great drawing, @Farmer Thomas. I might have to borrow it. Do you mind me asking what sort of ballpark the cost to build that is? I need something like that but with an indention built into the front to clear the differential.

I am stretching mine by 14" with the hopes of using an FJ43 soft top. Here is a link to the build. It's a big rough as I haven't finished the outer frame rail scab plates yet. 1-Ton FJ43 Build - https://forum.ih8mud.com/threads/1-ton-fj43-build.1253008/
 
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That is a great drawing, @Farmer Thomas. I might have to borrow it. Do you mind me asking what sort of ballpark the cost to build that is? I need something like that but with an indention built into the front to clear the differential.

I am stretching mine by 14" with the hopes of using an FJ43 soft top. Here is a link to the build. It's a big rough as I haven't finished the outer frame rail scab plates yet. 1-Ton FJ43 Build - https://forum.ih8mud.com/threads/1-ton-fj43-build.1253008/
Hey mike. Ended up talking with the guys at RCI racing instead on fuel tank. There turn around was a lot better and service been great. They are building the tank for ball bark $300. Will let you know how it turns out.
 

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