Tubs - fiberglass, steel or aluminum?? (1 Viewer)


May I have another!!!
Mar 29, 2003
Northern Minnesota

I would like to seek the opinions of members of this group on replacement tubs for an FJ40. I'm doing a frame off resto on my 77 FJ40 and I am going to replace the tub. At the risk of burning in hell forever (in the eyes of this group) for saying this, I am leaning towards fiberglass, specifically a Gozzard tub.

I know most of the members of this group who have done a tub replacement have probably gone with aluminum. I guess I would like to hear from those who have done steel, aluminum and glass. And why or why not the other?

Maybe to big of can of worms to open up? If interested in checking out the progress of my rig click on the link below and click on the sidebar, "Matt's Cruiser".


Thanks for the input, Matt
Mar 13, 2003
Raleign / Durham, NC
I have experience with fiberglass. If done right, you may have good results. I had a Malotte tub that was set on the body by someone other than me and they had to go through a lot to get in on. A sub frame was required to distribute the load in case of a accident. I don't know how the Gozzard tubs are made but I'm fairly confident that you can't just drop it on the frame and think it will be crashworthy. Unless they did some serious engineering (with math data and Finite Element Analysis) and can prove it to you with test data, I'd recommend that you consider the sub frame idea. Even with fiberglass, you're may need a fair amount of steel to add strength to some areas like the front floor pans, seat mounts, and wheel wells.

If you're going to do it yourself, you're in for a lot of time and thinking - as well as welding up a sub frame to attach the tub to the frame.

I have an opinion that aluminum is not as strong as steel, so you may have to add strenth in some areas for the Al tub as well.

My only advice is to do a lot of planning, and always think about the vehicles crashworthiness if it will be driven on public roads. The federal government has a document called FMVSS (Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard) and it has a whole section dedicated to crashworthiness. You don't want your seat to be launched out of the vehicle with you in it!

Just my opinion... I'm curious how the Gozzard tubs are built, so I'll stay tuned for opinions from them. Stay away from Malotte - I got a tub littered with blowouts that I had to fix before I could paint... very frustrating. I think the design was done poorly without attention to critical areas. :slap:

Just my particular experience... hope it helps...
Sep 26, 2002
I have an Aqualu aluminium tub and love it. It is very strong and reinforced wear all your hardware bolts to. It was very easy to install and lighter than the original steel body. Going fiberglass you will have star checks from rocks hitting in your wheel wells and fairly easy to break. The aluminum tubs are made of 1/8" marine grade aluminum so they are just as strong, if not stronger than the steel body.
Apr 10, 2003
I'm with these guys on this one for sure. Helped a good friend do a frame up on his 78. He decided to go with the Malotte. Not impressed at all :mad: :mad: Mind you, 'glass is very light and easy to work with, but we put in way too many hours to make it look good. Nothing lined up at all and had to do all sorts of planing and shaving. You have all sorts of issues if you want it to appear even close to stock (dash, kick panels, door hinges, etc...). Also the structural integrity of the tub relies soley on 5/8" marine plywood, not what I personally want to have my seat, seatbelts, and rollcage mounted to. :G I must say though after countless hours of work, it looked great and man did that 40 move :D :D Aluminum might not be a bad compromise :dunno:


Staff member
Jan 15, 2002
Toquerville UT
From what I've read, Gozzard products are TOP notch and you'll be pleased. I also recall (vaugely) that their installers must be approved by the company, and not just anyone is allow to do it.

With proper backing and design, I see no reason a fiberglass unit would be any less dangerous than a steel. Cage needs frame mounting, and I would personally tie the seats into the cage too for rigidity.

Keep us posted....would love a tech writeup on the project!
Mar 6, 2002
I am almost finished restoring my 71 tub with 1/8 steel and Ill tell you its heavy duty

the rear quarters are made of gavanized steel, rocker panels made of 1/8 plate and 1.5 square tube for rock sliders 3/16 plate for the rear bed and wheelwells its literally bulletproof :D

I can get some pics up if you guys want to see this stuff

Have to tell you though its alot of work and well worth the time and effort to have something strong to mount the cage to

Plans for my rig include soa,2f,sm420+3spd,411,35sx
Apr 23, 2002
Bountiful, Utah
I have an Aqualu 1 generation aluminum tub on my 77 FJ-40, while not as nice as the newer models, it has survived some pretty hard use, mud, salt, snow, rocks etc. My paint sucks but the tub is amazing and STRONG. I would only replace it with another aluminum tub.
Dec 23, 2002
does gozzard have a web site? i need new roof side panels and a rear top door for a older cruiser (not ambulance doors) to go with my tailgate on my 76 fj40. my aqualu tub is great. just the tcase shifter hits the tranny hump in low range


Apr 13, 2003
Ridgway, CO
I installed a 2nd generation Aqualu tub on my cruiser and was pretty happy with the fit and finish. These tubs are strong, they use thicker material than steel tubs and they also include all the necessary hardwhare(stainless steel :D). If your willing to take your time, and triple check everything you can get great results. The Gozzard tubs sure look cool, my only hesitation about going with glass is that you have to cut and drill holes for everything (that sounds like a major PITA) and you need to tie your rollbar/cage into the frame. Up & Over Innovations sells and installs Gozzard tubs, if your in the east you should check them out. :G
Mar 28, 2002
http://www.upnover.com/gozzard.asp for some idea of what the gozzard is like. I've never seen one, but I have chatted with some people who have seen and installed. As Woddy suggests, they are top notch. I' ve heard tell of someone taking a sledge to one piece, and there was no damage. Mike Gozzard (I've never met him) has taken his boat building skills and transfered that knowledge to the Cruiser. If you do a search on the web with the name Gozzard, you will find lots of information. He does not have a LC site that I am aware off, but I have not kept up to date on it all. They do have a Gozzard Yacht website, with which you would be able to make contact if you want.

I've a Gozzard windshield frame for my 42, and a second generation Aqualu tub. I am happy with the tub. Fit and finish is what you put into it. I had mine together and apart a few times till I was happy and drilled the final holes.

I was doing my frame off just at the time Mike Gozzard was stopping selling his tubs to just anyone. I could not afford a tub/install combo at the time, and there was no one near me who was an approved installed. I do not know if he is still holding this tack, as there are a few websites that display his stuff.

Fiberglass will require grounds run, as you can ground nothing to the tub. If I was going to go fiberglass in furture project it would be a Gozzard.

Jan 3, 2003
I went with steel as a do it yourself type job. Material is plentiful and cheap and relatively easy to work with. Painting is cheap and upkeep is relatively easy as well. And when I crunched both fenders in you just pulled out the ball pein and bang away, little filer and paint and as good as new. I like steel(though I do wish that I could afford aluminum)

Eternal 70 40
Mar 1, 2003
The new aqualu tub is a very fine piece of work. I'd be very suprised to find anyone disastisfied with it. I went with thier brand new lift hatch as well and am very pleased with it.
If I had the time and the money I'd get the cowl as well.
Apr 20, 2003
I've worked with three different ground up rests that used gozzard tubs,they are excellent.they are reinforced in every place that needs to be and there are dimples and indents where all hardware is to be used.you will have to do all cutting and drilling to fit things such as dash,kick doors,radio ext.but the problem is $$$ and the wait time to get them.i would go gozzard if it was available :beer:
Oct 26, 2002
Saanichton, BC, Canada
If you're trying to gauge the severity of your tubs rust and deciding between tub maintanence (a few new panels) and tub replacement, figure as a rule of thumb that your tub has two to four times the rust that you think it does!!! &nbsp:Don't forget to think about the body crossmembers that support the body, the body mount pads, the hard-top rail, the rear door lower-sills and pillars, the tranny tunnel and driver/passenger foot-wells, the front door sills and rocker panels, the firewall&cowl.....etc. Basically all of the parts of your tub other than the quarterpanels/rear floor/fenders that most steel 'kits' include. Also, do you want to put in all that work replacing a few (or many) panels, only to have your 'fixed' tub blister&rust an inch foreward of where you 'patched' it? Figure all of the time spent keeping whats left of your body in perfect square (you do want that hardtop to seal when you re-mount it, don't you!!)... Gently cutting away one panel at a time so as not to upset the next piece that you are using as a reference point for measurements...

Now, consider an aluminum Aqualu tub.

Welded for you on a jig (perfectly square, and no seamsealer to wear out of spot welded joints)). Six body-mounts and a handful of bolts at the base of the firewall (for '79+ bodies)... Done!!!
Book time for an Aqualu tub is in the around 40 hrs. however, this is from the moment you park your truck. Most of that time is liberal application of sawzall (removing the cancer), and meticulous measuring over and over to make sure the new tub goes on square&true. An able helper or two will let you finish the job realistically in a weekend (maybe even painting if you are fast).

Now consider that you still want to have your truck in a few years. No matter how much sealing/preping/rustproofing you do (except for galvanizing -- not good on thin metal), you 'new' tub will start to rust the moment you ding/scratch/dent it. Aluminum will never do this.

Though the outlay of $$$ for Aqualu is larger at first that steel panels, it is money well spent especially for the Landcruiser owner who is into owning their truck for more that a few years (ie. not a quickie restoration to sell for a few bucks).

needless to say I'm kicking myself for spending CAD$1500 on steel panels and now, a year into the project (slowed by school, mind you), I still have to rack my brains and nerves to assemble the panels so they fit and don't look like a botch job.

btw, what is my two cents canadian worth these days in US$?
May 15, 2003
Has any one using the aluminum run into all the problems we hear about from the steel and glass lovers? You know, grounding problems, corrosion between the different metals, paint issues. I would love to use the aluminum too, but need more first hand feedback.

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