FJ40 Rebuild

Thursday, January 01, 2004

 

the day i drove it home

From the time I learned to drive in a cruiser on the dirt roads in eastern Washington, I always knew that I wanted one of my own. I searched off and on for many years, looking for a cruiser that was perfect for me. Finally, in the fall of 2003, I took the plunge. I found this 1972 cruiser for sale by a guy in Avondale, AZ. He said he had bought it hoping to rebuild it as well, but just didnt have the time to even start the project. FJ40

The cruiser was in in what I would call 'OK' shape. It had the typical rust in the rear quarter panels, but amazingly, none in the rear sill. It had some rust under both doors, and the rear swing-out doors were completely rusted out on the inside. FJ40

The driver's side floorpan was rusted completely through, with a hole about 4" completely missing. The previous owner had covered up the hole and rust with a fiberglass panel riveted in place. FJ40

The front fenders had numerous small dents and dings, and there were a few small dents and deep scratches over pretty much the whole rear of the tub. The lower portion of the cowl was also dented up on the driver's side. Several of the exterior lights and reflectors were broken or missing, and there were no mirrors. FJ40

The good news was that the cruiser started right up and ran well. The dash was not butchered up, and the rear wheel wells were not cutout either. The stock motor had seen a lot of miles, but seemed like it still had life left in it. The four-wheel drive worked perfectly. The steering was typical cruiser - wandering all over the place. The brakes were almost non-existent. The cruiser had not been registered in many years and only had a salvage title. FJ40

After several hours of trying to find a notary on a sunday, I was finally the proud owner of the light blue beast. Originally, I only planned on tuning up the motor and rebuilding the brakes so that I could drive the cruiser to work everyday. Little did I know that in a few months, the landcruiser would be nothing more than a frame and a million parts scattered in my garage. FJ40