What is Your Best Stranded by Your 40 Story

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May 9, 2021
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The other day, I took our 40 for a little shake down cruise after some work on the engine. About 3 miles from the house she decided to quit. Not to fret, I called my wife who thought it was nothing short of hilarious that she and our bloodhound, Stanley, had to come tow me and the 40 home with our F250. It occurred to me that this is a pretty lame "stranded" story but it might be amusing to hear from this community of some real zingers. So, please share.
Thanks.
 

FJBen

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Apr 1, 2004
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5,667
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Northern Colorado
Stranded once in my 40 series. SOA/350 TBI, SM420, 37's. 10:00pm driving on a highway and bang as I was coasting to stop at a light. Went to take off and nothing. Just like the tcase was in neutral. Tried everything I could but had to call a good friend who towed me the 10 miles home. The gear fell off the back of the SM420 shaft that is bolted on. Luckily escaped all carnage other than the tow rope of shame.

My BJ74 let me down once (sorta) the alternator adjustment bracket broke and I lost the the alt/waterpump/fan. Pulled over in front of a shop who happened to be a welder and the zapped it right back on. I could have made it home, but it was 95 degrees and with no water pump I decided to not press my luck on a new engine.
 
Joined
Feb 9, 2007
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800
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Boise, Idaho
Accelerator cable broke.
I've been stranded quite a few times. Mostly with my "newer" 1975 and a persistent vapor lock feeding the FI 350. Non ethanol fuel seems to have cured that.

Broke the accelerator cable in the '72 while elk hunting in central Idaho. 120 miles from home and 40 miles from nearest town. Used a drill bit (by hand) to ream out an egg sinker (fishing weight) and swaged cable back together with vice grips. Worked like a charm!
 
Joined
Apr 2, 2003
Messages
840
Location
Wyoming
I've been stranded quite a few times. Mostly with my "newer" 1975 and a persistent vapor lock feeding the FI 350. Non ethanol fuel seems to have cured that.

Broke the accelerator cable in the '72 while elk hunting in central Idaho. 120 miles from home and 40 miles from nearest town. Used a drill bit (by hand) to ream out an egg sinker (fishing weight) and swaged cable back together with vice grips. Worked like a charm!
I love how cruiser owners also are MacGyver types, making things work with what they have. My bro once used a foil gum wrapper to rig a blown fuse in his 45 so he could get home.
 
Joined
Jan 17, 2005
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5,882
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Southern Colorado
On my '78, I had an air pump seize in the early 1990s, and just drove it home a few blocks with the belt smoking. This was the OEM air pump at 90K miles or so.

Over the years, I added minitruck power steering and re-routed the belts. This next air pump then seized in about 2018 and after I cut the belt with my pocketknife, I realized that it was also the only belt running the water pump. Oops. I drove it a few blocks and the temp gauge rocketed up (obviously). Called a neighbor with a flatbed and was shamefully towed home behind a DuraSlax diesel.

I later installed EFI and am now running an idler pulley where the air pump once was.
 

rrv333

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May 2, 2011
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Weatherford, Texas
She's never left me a foot, well it's never been her fault. Drove the 76 to the pharmacy to get the meds. The line at the drive thru is 8 cars deep, so I take her out of gear and proceed to wait.

Close to an hour later, I get to pull up to the drive thru window and I shut her off so I can speak with the attendant. All of the cars in front of me were getting Covid tests, that's why It took so long to get to the window.

Get my meds and go to leave and she won't crank, nada, zip, zilch. There's long line behind me so I have to push her out of the drive thru to the backside of the pharmacy. I'm thinking "no biggie" I'll pop the clutch and away, I go. Popped the clutch twice before it dawned on me that the key was in the "off" position. Corrected that issue and she cranked right up and away I go.

Pulled up to a stop sign and stopped. I then went through first and second gears and when I went to third, I lost all power and I coasted to a stop. Had enough sense to park beside a pecan tree that was casting a large shadow onto the street.

I get out, pop the hood and start my initial assessment. Nothing jumps out me so I call my buddy, who is a guru in all things gear and wheel related. He shows up and we spend the next half hour diagnosing the problem. No luck. He then asks if I ran out of gas? Surely not, but yeah I ran her out of gas. To my defense the gas guage is broke but it still stings when I think about it:bang::bang::bang:.
 
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Joined
Oct 30, 2005
Messages
511
Location
Oregon
I’m a little embarrassed to share mine-as I have been stranded several times in remote areas. One would think My frontal cortex would have evolved and I would no longer find myself in these situations, but since the last time I found myself stranded was only six/seven years ago, evidence may suggest that it hasn’t: In my defense, most of the times I became stranded it was when I was young and dirt poor ( back when you didn’t need to be rich to have an FJ40), and never had the $ to maintain an FJ40, but always had money for beer and gas to go wheeling.
Strangely, I’m no longer poor but still prefer beat up vintage 4x4s and Land Cruisers over shiny ones, so about seven years ago I decided to take my haggard 1948 Willys truck from Oregon to New Mexico on back roads…and while pulling into Saline Hot springs in the heart of Death Valley, the transfer case mount failed. After being stranded for a day, I managed to secure the transfer case and drive it a few miles before the front wheel fell off as the studs sheared due to the endless washboard road, which also destroyed the disc brake mechanism…spent another night stranded in which time 6” snow fell, and I was 50 miles from pavement and cell phone coverage. Long story short, with the aid of much bailing wire I was able to get it (barely) driveable and limped into Vegas. Where I sold the Willys and flew home to buy another FJ40.

CA9F72DD-C6F9-490D-BFF0-3EF56AF5FC3E.jpeg


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Joined
Oct 30, 2005
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Oregon
Ok @daner that’s by far the best one. And the pics are perfect. Do you have to explain (i.e. make excuses for ) those pics to anyone you know 😝?
That was the short version but it wasn’t able to phone my wife for several days, so she was “upset”…to this day if I mention taking my FJ40 too far off the beaten path I am reminded of this boondoggle.
 
Joined
Jan 27, 2021
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230
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Wenatchee, WA 98801
Went wild pig hunting at Ft Hunter Liggett in Monterey County, Cali. (East of Hearst's Castle). Went up over a ridge and down the other side. Road was blocked by a large, downed tree. Tried to go back up and tires gummed up with adobe. Slid backwards into the rain gully, on my side (45 degree angle). Climbed out the passenger window and hiked out. Called for a tow (The Army wouldn't help if you got stuck). Tow truck busted an axle 1/4 mile in. Hiked out and hitched a ride. Guy in another FJ40 took me back in. Kept sliding on the "dobie" and we ended up winching the tree out of the way (still kept sliding around). Got it far enough we could barely squeeze by=broke a mirror off in the process. Got back out and called a local with a giant, 4000 CI 3/4 ton with a winch (🤪🤪🤪🤪). He took me back in (OH, called my wife to come get me with cash=spent the night in a motel in King City). He tried to winch me up the hill. Got me out of the ditch but burned out his winch. I went out the other way back to the check0in station.

Got back to Glendale, CA and went to wash the FJ. Got kicked out of the do-it-yourself carwash for making a mess. There was a pile of rocks (each was the size of my fist) lying on the ground when I left!

I had three scratches in the paint!
 

RWBeringer4x4

Mechanically Challenged
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The People's Republik of Maryland
Right after I bought my 40, I was excited to show it off to my friends. We decided to go out for some wings and I offered to take them in the FJ40, so me and 3 buddies (none of them car guys, literally just humoring me going for a cruiser in my jalopy) hit the road after a long discussion about how "bombproof it is for an old car" and how they have "absolutely nothing to worry about."

Literally 3/4 of a mile from the house I lose clutch hydraulics, another quarter mile later there's smoke billowing out the hood. I pull the truck over and my friends literally fall out the ambulance doors and run as far as they can from the truck, leaving me to die in the burning wreck of my precious beater.

Ultimately, the slave cylinder had failed and was dumping brake fluid all over the exhaust pipe (hence the smoke) - not really catastrophic by any means, but I'd never done anything more complicated than changing the oil in a car at the point. My friend's dad picked them up and they went to get wings. I waited for a tow - and while I did two rather attractive girls pulled up at the stop light in a Wrangler and yelled "Hey, it's a Jeep thing!" At which point they immediately became less attractive :bang:

Other than that - the truck has never stranded me, but I've broken it a few times.

1. Battery tie down broke on the trail, battery melted to exhaust manifold. Acid everywhere. Doused it in water, drove it back to camp on the alternator, then borrowed a club member's car for the drive of shame 40 minutes back to town to get a replacement battery at Walmart. Drove it 160 miles home.

2. Just recently, one of the bolts holding my brake caliper on fell out - Drove it home with the driver's side front brake half off, pads slapping against the rotor. The threads holding the bolt in are totally stripped. This was a week before my second kid was born, so there it has sat, with a busted knuckled and rotor for the last 3 months, but it still got me 12 miles home.
 
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Joined
Jan 31, 2005
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3,935
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Denver CO
I ran out of gas once

I didn’t run out of gas once when I should have, doing elephant hill loop from Moab and driving the last 20 miles pegged below E

My engine swallowed a hose clamp and should have left me stranded in the middle of nowhere but instead went into limp mode in the middle of Denver but got me home on 2 cylinders

So Land Cruisers have always gotten me home.
 

4Cruisers

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bought mine in CO 8 hrs away from home. Drove it 7 hrs and suddenly the pedal went to the floor. Accelerator cable broke. I was on the side of a very busy freeway with small shoulder. Having had a cruiser with a broken accelerator cable before, my bro says "man if we just had a brake cable off of a bike we could rig this and get it off the freeway." I looked down the embankment and there are a couple of guys standing by an El Camino. Turns out they were smoking weed. I figured no way they'd have a spare brake cable because who would? So i just explained the issue and ask them if they had any heavy string or something i could attach to the carb and up through the window to get it off the freeway. One of them says "sorry man, no string. But I do have a bicycle brake cable if that would work." Heck yes.

We ran the cable through the firewall to the pedal and up to the carb and I drove it that way for nearly a year before I could afford to buy the OEM cable.
That's a great story! Any similar "stranded by your FJ55" story?

BTW, it was nice talking with you for a bit that evening at the Ouray KOA while at SAS #5.
 

4Cruisers

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3 times in 26 years, not bad.

#1 Starter died, towed it home myself.
#2 H42 transmission crapped out, called for a tow truck.
#3 Blown engine, towed home shamefully by my brothers heep.

The best story is #1. Instead of doing the smart thing, just getting a new starter and driving the cruiser home. I decided to use my buddies 40 to tow it the 10 miles back to my house and work on it there. I was 25 and an "invincible genius " in my own mind those days so why not? Ever tried towing a 40 with another 40? Don't! Even with a tow bar and the steering tied, I nearly rolled both vehicles turning sharply, caused a minor traffic jam and the weight of my 40 pushing on the tow one pushed so hard I nearly rear ended someone. Eventually made it home with both cruisers intact but my nerves shot... That's when I heard about 60 series gear reduction starters. Swapped one in and never had another starter issue. Live and learn!
Kind of like flat towing an FJ60 with another FJ60 (both mine - both beige), which is what I did once after a breakdown. Over the mountains west of town on a narrow road with steep grades and very sharp turns, and in the dark the entire way. @Tank5 knows that road well. Maybe the longer wheelbase of the FJ60 helped a bit.
 
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Wyoming
That's a great story! Any similar "stranded by your FJ55" story?

BTW, it was nice talking with you for a bit that evening at the Ouray KOA while at SAS #5.
Ha ha, I did get stranded in my 55 at the top of Corkscrew at SAS. But luckily someone in the group had two spares in his truck so we did a trail repair and drove it out. Sorry, maybe you were there that day? I can't put a name/face with your mud user name. You prob told me. I only met great people down there though so I know it was great chatting with you too.

Coincidentally the only other time it's had any mechanical issue was also a failed fuel pump last fall. Also on a trail ride at the top of a mountain. Towed out by my bro's fj45, luckily he was with me or it would have been a long walk out. You probably met him too a few weeks ago. Went back to oem mechanical soon as I got home from SAS. Not sure why the original owner abandoned the mechanical and put the cheap electric fuel pump in there, but they don't seem to last.
 
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4Cruisers

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A few years ago my youngest son and I took a trip to Southern Utah, flat towing my '76 FJ40 behind my '09 Silverado 2500HD. We found a nice campsite near the upper end of Red Canyon, which empties into Lake Powell (or what's left of it) not far downriver from Hite Marina.
Red-Canyon-Campsite.jpg

The next morning we drove quite a ways down Red Canyon, then turned north on a very ancient two-track up and over the south slopes of Chocolate Drop into Blue Canyon (BTW, the next canyon to the north is White Canyon).
Chocolate-Drop.jpg

After checking out an interesting rock formation called "The Cobra", we started back up and over Chocolate Drop, but only got about a half a mile, a hundred yards at a time.
Cobra.jpg

The FJ40 would fire up and drive for a bit, then stall out. Since it was past noon, we decided to temporarily abandon it there and hike back to camp, which was 16 miles away. The next morning we drove down Red Canyon in the truck to the Chocolate Drop "turnoff".
Turnoff.jpg

No way the Silverado was getting up that road, I just barely made it in the FJ40. We carried a fresh battery in our hands as we walked side-by-side up and over to the FJ40. I figured we could winch our way back up to the top of the slope below Chocolate Drop, then carefully coast down to the floor of Red Canyon and the truck. The main problem was that there are absolutely no trees of any kind in the entire area. We did manage to find a stout cedar post laying in the road, so I figured we could drop it part way into the numerous sinkholes in the bentonite clay along the road and use it as a winch anchor. Luckily I had a shovel in the FJ40 in case we needed to dig new holes. BTW, I still have that cedar post in the backyard.

We got back to the FJ40 and decided to try and start it up. This time I was able to barely keep it running with the choke cable pulled almost all the way out, so we started back over Chocolate Drop. When we got back to the truck, with the 2F still running, my son quickly moved over into the drivers seat and started back up Red Canyon to the highway. I followed in the truck. He was able to get all the way back to pavement, where we were able to hitch it up to the truck.
Road-Back.jpg

A few weeks later my wife and I drove the FJ40 to explore the area north of town, and the FJ40 started to have the same issue a few miles from home. We made it home OK, but well after dark. The next day I decided to check it out, it turns out the fuel pump was on its way out.
 
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Nov 11, 2019
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Texas, Is there anyplace else??
My '40 only left me stranded twice in the twenty years (and 300K miles) I used it as a daily driver, tow vehicle, hunting vehicle (hauling a 23'travel trailer) and "farm truck" (pulling various "tag-a-long" farm implements like Hay Balers, grain drills, small combine, etc.. Even towed a loaded 18 wheeler up an ice-slick hill, one winter (all four wheels were, of course, "chained-up"!)

I bought my '74 LC new in Dec 1973. Within the first nine months of ownership, the #4 Exhaust Valve had burned!! This happened three more times (same cylinder & ex valve!!) The last (4th) burned valve happened in 1978!! I bought the "new, upgraded" valve then being offered by Toyota to eliminate these burned valves!! It was called a "Stellite" Valve!! Chevy STARTED using Stellite Valves in their late '30's Six Cylinder Engines!! This fourth #4 exhaust valve burned within a month of installation! I decided NOT to fix it, but to start working on the engine swap I'd been thinking about, instead.. I rebuilt a 1967 Cadillac 429cid V-8 & TH400 to install in the FJ40.. Well, the LC's Stellite valve didn't last long enough, the valve head "popped-off" during a thirty mile drive on the DFW Turnpike. When I heard the valve head start clattering, I just pushed the throttle to the floor.. The intent was to inflict enough damage to permanently destroy this FJ-40's engine once and for all!! Making it TOTALLY unusable in the future as I did NOT want to burden some unsuspecting soul with this issue!! My "plan" apparantly worked as the clattering valve made more and more expensive noises, the In-Line Six continued to slowly "grind" to a stop from seventy miles per hour!! I sold the remains as scrap metal!

The second time my LC "required" the "hook" to bring it home was less than a year after I had installed the 429cid Cadillac engine & TH400 into the '40. A "friend" gave me a pair of rebuilt Cadillac Heads. I used them in a effort to save some money by not rebuilding and using the original heads from the transplanted '67 Cadillac.. Well, it seems the gifted '66 Heads had Valve Guides that "oiled" up thru the push rod tubes while the '67's valve guides oiled via the rocker shafts (or vice versa).. in any case, I fitted the '67's "solid" push rods and had a valve seize in a guide, causing the valve to break and drop-down into the cylinder.. This was around mid-day Sunday morning in south Texas, about 200 miles from my house. The ONLY wrecker company that could be found capable of towing the FJ40 with the 23' Travel Trailer back to Ft. Worth was located in Arlington, Texas.. a town halfway between Dallas and Ft. Worth.. (about ten miles from my house!!) The wrecker driver made it plain that he was NOT leaving to pick me up until AFTER the Dallas Cowboys Football game was over!!
I arrived home around 6am Monday!!
Charles 1974 FJ40

PS: I did a proper rebuild on the '67 Cadillac's original heads, all new guides, seats and valves. Then logged 300K trouble-free miles!!
Moral of the story: Do It Right The First Time!!
 

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