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What to look for when buying used FJ40?

Discussion in '40- & 55-Series Tech' started by wilsoncj6, Nov 1, 2003.

  1. wilsoncj6

    wilsoncj6

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    I am looking to buy my first FJ40. I am a big Jeep guy (82 CJ7 and 72 CJ6) and thought I'd buy my first cruiser! But I have no idea what to look for when I'm out inspecting used FJ40s. Like likely rust areas, cracked/broken/worn parts, signs of abuse, leaks, etc.

    What are the costly to fix items that I want to make sure are in good shape or already fixed?

    Also can you tell me the good items to look for? I know that I like the ambulance doors!

    What are difference between the different year engines? And trannies? Is one more desireable/durable than another?

    What else do I need to know? I sure appreciate the help and advice!!!

    Brett
     
  2. CruisinGA

    CruisinGA

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    IMHO unless you are going to be swapping engines, axles, and transmissions for offroad use, 76-78 are ideal, 79-83 are best for daily driver (3.70 diff ratio). Also has the ambulance doors, one-piece (less rattly) front doors and the (imho) better looking turn signals. (like it really matters)
    75 is the same as 76+, without disc brakes up front.
    pre 75 has a smaller engine with a 3 spd tranny, drums all around, and the one advantage of a nominally lower low range.
    There are other small advantages to different years.
     
  3. bad_religion_au

    bad_religion_au

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    look for rust in the floors, tailgate/ rear ambo doors (especially the bottom) frame, (crossmembers) and the bottom sills of the doors. the floors in the post 79 body style goes faster in my experience.

    engine, make sure it runs, doesn't smoke etc. fairly strong engine.

    pre 79 tub is easier to work on i think, 76 and up have discs (correct me if i'm wrong but 79+ has stronger birfs) post 8x has factory power steering (but rare)
     
  4. Romer

    Romer fatherofdaughterofromer Moderator

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    I have a 77 FJ40. It was grey with diamond plate when I got it. I took the diamond plate off and the rust holes were about a half dollar size. I cut out the rust (Drimmels are great) and arc welded steel on the back side and smoothed the surface with bondo, sanded it and painted it red. It's not as great as a Frame down complete restore, but I think it looks great.
    I would make sure the holes on the outside are small and workable, that any rust in the tub is minor and that the engine runs.
    I also had to spend about $800 getting the front axle rebuilt. The trunion seals leak a lot. The way you can check is if there looks like lots of gunk on the inside of the front tire mounts (Axel to tire mount). In addition, my oil pan was leaking ($300). You should climb under and check the oil pan, tranny and transfer case for leaks.
    Its not about finding a perfect cruiser, those are $20K at Rocky Mountain Cruisers. Its about finding one that is managebale to get in good condition. I paid about $4K for mine, put about $2K (above and new tires) and want to put a 2.5" skyjacker lift (tired shocks and springs) and new seats. The bootom line is understand what your getting and expect to put some money into it.
     
  5. axlechassis

    axlechassis

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    My prefference is for the 76-early 78 model. The steel used in them is a little more rust resistant thant the later models. the 75 and ealier one where the best af far as steel quality goes. The creature comforts of the 75 and newer are alot nicer than the early ones.
    Look out for the bondo buggies. I would'nt totally discount one if you find it full of bondo because one of the nicest adds you can make to these cruisers is the alluminum body.
    Check the rear frame for rust: rear spring hangers, rear cross piece and door sill are very prone to rust. again rust back there is'nt necesarilly disqualifying. It can all be fixed with a little time and money.

    Drive the vehicle. The stock engine should be smooth and have lots of torque. Gears should be quiet and shift silky smooth.

    I'd say some of the best deals out there are the ones that are well maintained good drivers with the rust issues. Expect to pay 2-4K for a good driving bondo buggie with a good interior. Arrest the rust and fix it as your budget allows. After all is said and done dont be too supprised if you've got 10-15k tied up in the rig.

    Watch out for the heavily half assed modified ones where some morons have put 1/2 ton chevy running gear in them.

    A nicely modified one is a rare find because chances are you'd have pry it out of the cold dead hands of its loving owner.
    Develop your cruiserhead network to help when you do find a good candidate.
     
  6. dinkleberry

    dinkleberry

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    If (when) you find some rust, make sure it's not too bad in the critical areas. Fenders, rear tub, and bottom of doors can be bought aftermarket. Front cowl, hard top parts, and hood can only be found used or in Aluminum or glass.

    Even though I bought mine already SBC converted, I would have prefered to have original drive train.
     
  7. 72cruiser

    72cruiser

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    i replied to your question on pirate, and talked mostly abt rust.
     
  8. 70LCruiser

    70LCruiser

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    The main thing to look out for is rust. check for bondo, fiberglass, etc.. Also the motor should have lots of torque and power, I have a 70 with a stock F1 motor with 11,000 miles, and if you hammer that thing when you take off it will give throw your neck back it just snaps forward so to speak.

    now for the good stuuf to look for. If you can find one with a PTO winch buy it. They are definetly worth the money. Although they are rare they are great because as long as the motor has the power your truck will get out. check for rotted floors, shocktowers, motormounts, the usual stuff.
     
  9. bad_religion_au

    bad_religion_au

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    "a stock F1 motor " now that's a mod i want to see. wonder if mclaren or ferrari have any sitting around. would have thought they wouldn't have had much torque down low though. suppose you could gear it riggggghhhhhttttt down. "yeah in low low 1st my engine is turning 11,000 rpm doin 3 m an hour" :) :) :)
     
  10. axlechassis

    axlechassis

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    I suppose the F1 engine was offered only in the 70L model! Also a PTO winch is'nt necessarily a good thing because it will limit you as to what kind of power steering you use. Power steering is one of the most popular mods for a cruiser. As far a shock towers on an FJ40 they are made out of cast iron and as far I know arent very prone to rust out. It is not a VW rabbit after all. If a stock cruiser snaps your neck back it is probably because the builder hooked up the nitrous system into the passenger compartment! You will run occasionaly into the cruiser owner who smokes crack! Beware of them and the usual stuff. :banana: :banana: :banana:
     
  11. ducktapeguy

    ducktapeguy

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    Another Newb question

    Wow, I'm amazed. For one thing I can't believe my username still works, and I can't believe I still remember it after all this time.

    Anyway, I wanted to bump this old thread for a good reason. I have the exact same questions and am in the same situation (more familiar with jeeps). I wanted to know if there was anymore info or advice that people have. Been searching for land cruisers for about 5-7 years now, so I am somewhat familiar on what to look for. I've read all the FAQ, posts, forums, etc. on buying advice, decent prices, what to look for, and read the Land Cruisers Owners bible a while ago. I thought I was fully prepared to make an informed decision, but now that I'm getting very close to buying one, I'm getting nervous and wanted more last minute advice

    I'm supposed to go look at an 1975 FJ40 this weekend. Owner is asking for $6K. For that price, what should I expect in terms of rust and or engine problems? The engine has been rebuilt but carb needs to be tuned, seems like a lot of work has been done on the brakes and stuff, but I won't know the condition of the rest of the car until I go look at it. I know the quarter panels are rusted through, not sure about the frame or door sills. The cruiser's been repainted, so I'm suspicious about bondo under the paint. Is bondo all that bad if it's been done right? Aside from using a magnet, how else can I tell if there's bondo anywhere. And if it has been bondo'd, how hard is it to strip it and fix it the right way? I have welding and cutting experience, but not much experience with body work.

    Also, can the 75 be easily upgraded with disc brakes to make it like the 76? Or are there other improvements that I'm not aware of?

    I know a rust free cruiser at that price may be asking a bit too much, but how much rust would you consider acceptable for that price range? And how hard is it to fix that rust? I know on older jeep it's fairly easy to replace a panel, or even get to it from underneath to weld a patch. I'm not sure if that's possible with the FJ40's.

    I've printed out the Birfield FAQ on buying cruisers, along with a couple of threads from this forum. So far this is what I am going to look for and take pictures of

    Frame Rust near the spring perches
    Rust on sill and wheelwells and quarter panels
    Body condition(bondo patches, etc)
    Engine seal
    Transmission leaks
    Steering looseness
    Wheel bearings
    Suspension and shock mounts.

    Let me know if I'm missing something important.

    Also, a random question

    Why do the FJ-40's always look like the rear end is sagging? Most pictures I see of FJ's, the rear always looks like it's riding low. Is it just a visual illusion?
     
  12. FineWynsFJ40

    FineWynsFJ40 Eff-Jay-Farty

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    The sagging part is normal, the springs are just getting tired. Mine did, but Hellwig makes helper springs that straighten it right up. It's because there are only 5 leaves in the rear and 7 up front, so the front never sags due to fatigue. It might also be because the front fender is way above the wheel, whereas the rear fender is closer to the tire.
     
  13. HawkDriver

    HawkDriver

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    You can swap the whole axle, swap out parts from a disc axle, convert to mini truck discs, or buy a kit like what JTOutfitters for the fronts. Check out the tech links at top of page for disc swaps.

    Discs and Power steering are the big ones.

    Sounds like you're ready, now go and get one for hell's sakes. (7 years :eek: :doh: )
     
  14. ducktapeguy

    ducktapeguy

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    Got one! I'll start a new post with all the questions I have.
     
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