This is a sometimes updated build log of my 1969 FJ40.
I bought this FJ40 in the summer of 2022. I had been looking for one for ages and had driven hundreds of miles trying to find the perfect one before I found this green beast literally 5 miles from my house. The most recent owner had purchased it with a plan to do a frame off in 2019 but it sat and never got any love, so I gave him a cheque and hauled it home 3 years later. It already had a junkyard 350 swap done, a front Wilwood disc brake conversion, shackle reversal, 4 inch lift and was mostly rust free. The rear brakes leaked, the carb was shot, the electrical system liked to start fires and the entire thing was clearly put together by a half dozen backyard mechanics.
I gave it it’s first wash and started crawling around to see what I had to work with.
The engine seems to be from 87-93 GM with center bolt valve covers, a split bore intake and a busted rochester carb from a 77 olds. It has the factory, non synchronized 3 speed transmission and vacuum actuated transfer case but someone removed all the linkage to engage 4lo. The suspension is the stiffest rancho 4 inch I’ve ever encountered, the seats are from a 95 Saturn SL2 and the steering column came from a 90 Chevy blazer. Mickey Thompson wheels and rims all around and a whole heap of homegrown bodging from previous owners.
The first couple of fixes were small things. Replacing broken clips for the underseat toolbox, tearing down the doors and cleaning up the window regulators, little things like that. The first expensive fix came in the form of an Edelbrock AVS2 1916 offroad carb. The install went pretty smoothly, though my carb arrived with some damaged parts and misconfigured floats. After taking it apart and getting replacement parts sent to me from edelbrock, it fires up faster than my fuel injected 4runner.
New Old Stock (NOS) dashmounted ignition switch and a dashbox were the next easy fixes and upgrades while I waited for more interesting parts to arrive. The dashbox is good, but has some fit and finish issues, still though, totally worth it for all the extra storage it creates.
The last easy fix was getting rid of the old diamond plate. I was afraid I would find a ton of rust underneath there, but overall it’s in pretty good shape. There is a mass of bondo that I’ll have to address, but I’ve got a welder and lots of time. The original color looks to be white and at some point a red primer was sprayed on before the wild green.
Now it gets expensive
Initially, I tried to just repair the rear drum brakes but found that, by the time I got parts, I was only a hundred dollars away from going to discs. I pulled off the drums, pulled and inspected the axles and bolted on brackets from JT outfitters along with calipers from an 85 montecarlo and discs from an 88 chevy that have been machined to fit the center hub .
The 69 had single hydraulic loop manual brakes with 9mm fittings everywhere. Going to discs meant needing a dual loop which meant 10mm fittings and, while I’m there, might as well add a brake booster. I sourced a booster from a newer FJ80 as well as a non ABS master cylinder and a bunch of fittings. I also grabbed some NiCop brake line and proceeded to fit it all together. The booster required an adapter that spaced it nearly 3 inches away from the firewall, so I had to make up an M10-1.25 extension rod to the brake pedal. I’m probably going to replace that soon with a shift handle extension off a Nissan. In the end, I replaced every single brake line, hard or braided, with new 3/16 with M10 fittings.
In order to run everything the way I want, I went ahead and pulled off the frontend body panels. It will help when it comes time to paint too. That gets us to today which is late October of 2022.
2022-10-23, Lug nuts and brake booster rods
Today was a less successful day. I bought all new wheel lugs and nuts, thinking since I was doing work at the hubs I might as well replace the 50+ year old hardware . I managed to break 4 of the new ones before I gave up. These are supposed to be Toyota lugs, but they are longer, the nuts are smaller and the shoulders don’t fit very well. I couldn’t end on a L though so I went ahead and modified the Nissan Sentra shifter extension that I ordered to act as my brake booster extension. It should be plenty strong for the boosted brakes though I’m not sure I would trust it for manual ones.