View Full Version : 24 years - finally - a story

03-06-2014, 09:55 AM
<low grade chat here, but some of you can relate to this...>

After 24 years and most of 100K miles, my '78 FJ40 finally pooped out and required a tow home. Oh, the shame - towed by a Chevy!

Back story: in 1994, the air pump seized near my house and I drove it home anyway, with the drive belt smoking. I installed nice low-miles Toyota air pump, since aftermarket ones really weren't available (well, Classic Cruisers had a used one for $275...).

On Wed., my air pump seized without warning in traffic and I wonder 'why that old Chevy next to me was making such a racket..' - until the cab of my '40 filled with blue smoke. Never knew a belt could produce so much smoke!

I peeled into an Ace Hardware parking lot and saw that the belt was shiny and smoking. I found the air pump pulley to be seized, using the usual method - burning the tip of my finger on the pulley face. I cut off the belt with a pocket knife, stashed it in the back, and rolled back out into traffic. It was then that I noticed the temperature gauge rocketing to the Hot side. When I installed minitruck power steering, my belt routing (FJ60-style) removed the redundant water pump belt. Oops. Mr. Toyota had designed this correctly, and I had bypassed that useful element.

So, at this point, I have no water pump drive and no air pump. I peeled into the next handy parking lot with the temp gauge just short of buried. The engine did not severely overheat, but it was puking coolant into the recovery bottle. Truck still ran fine (and still does).

I called my next door neighbor, who conveniently was home and has a Duramax and a car hauler trailer, and he was there in 30 minutes. Of course, he was racing people at stoplights on the way home, while towing my FJ40 (and beating them). I owe him a nice thank-you gift.

Anyway - a few observations - carry a pocketknife in your truck, and carry the old OEM belt so you can re-fab the more-reliable OEM configuration after you fry a belt. I was glad to have a fire extinguisher handy, in case the belt had caught fire. Cell phone and phone #s were very handy here, since I was supposed to a) be going to a church meeting and b) pick up a child.

I'm quite unconcerned by this whole event - stuff happens that you cannot 'bailing wire fix' and get home - though I have a few times. I even have a Checker Auto smog pump sitting on my shelf - I've had it for years - apparently, it's now time to install it... I may even tear down the Toyota pump and see if I can replace the bearings and do a failure analysis.

Now - back to whatever was wrong with your truck.

03-06-2014, 12:14 PM
This sort of thing happens to us all from time to time. Reading your story reminded me of this new oil filter hose failure (http://risingsun4x4club.org/forum2/showthread.php?t=10738&highlight=oil+hose). :D

03-06-2014, 12:51 PM
Good story Steve, good result and good takeaways :thumb:

03-06-2014, 05:29 PM
Great story Ricardo - better than mine! Slick trick of bypassing the filter.