View Full Version : 1980 FJ40--A Modest Proposal

07-21-2008, 03:15 PM
Hi all. I was a Denver resident for 4 years (3 as a project Cruiser owner). I’ve lurked over at the LCML for quite a while, and lurk around here every so often. I even attended a few Rising Sun meetings, but never made full admission as I could rarely get away to come wheel with you all.

Back story:
In July I was hired to come work as a teacher in Columbia, MO. After 20 years of living in NJ, TX and Denver, the chance to live this close to my wife’s and my family in our home state was an exciting one.

Not really expecting a relocation to come so soon, my 1980 FJ40 was in a few pieces. Not really a restoration, just a few cosmetics along with the other improvements to try to make her road worthy.

Pressed for time in the relocation, I was approached by the shop teacher at our school with what seemed to be a good deal. Let his students practice their welding/auto body skills on that old rusty tub. Would I be willing to sell it to him? I counteroffered: Fix the truck up, sell it, and I’ll split the proceeds, capping my half at $2000, with the rest going toward the shop program. If indeed they did such a great job that it sold for over $4000, they earned the extra, and could keep it. He agreed, and we had a deal.

Unfortunately, the guy had “buyer’s remorse” and backed out of the deal. This wasn’t really a problem...except he didn’t tell me. Instead, I heard about it through the school principal--on the day I was closing up the U-haul and pulling out!

The principal was a good guy, though, and he said he’d be willing to let me keep it on campus until I could come back for it. We figured I’d be back summer 2008 to slap it back together and trailer it home to Columbia, MO.

Fast forward: May 2008. As I was wrapping up the school year and planning a trip out to Denver, my mom went into the hospital. She had cervical cancer a couple years before, and it came back very aggressively. Her options were pretty limited, so she opted to forego any treatments. We brought her to our home for hospice care. Mom passed away on June 30, and I am still dealing with her estate and other stuff.

One positive that took place with Mom’s passing is that we have been able to start a charity where she lived in Northeast Kansas called “Helga’s Hope.” It is being used to help area ladies afford to get tested (pap test) for cervical cancer. It also will be used to help girls get vaccinated for HPV (which leads to cervical cancer).

My “summer of 2008” promise to my former school in Denver is running out, and the principal who was helping me in Denver has relocated to Dallas. I am starting to get emails from folks in Denver about my “abandoned property.” They are being nice, but I could see the right, well-meaning individual possibly calling a tow truck and sending the thing to scrap. I’d hate to see that happen.

So, I’d like to propose an idea similar to the one I proposed to our shop teacher. Would Rising Sun be willing to have a wrenching/welding/whatever party to get this cruiser in somewhat sell-able condition? (It does have a clear title). I’d be willing to split the proceeds with the club, half to Rising Sun, the other half to Helga’s Hope in the name of the Rising Sun Toyota 4x4 club. Feel free to PM me with any questions or ideas.

Thanks in advance!

07-21-2008, 03:42 PM
At minimum, we probably have a couple of people who could pick it up for you and store it for a bit. I can't speak to the entire club's enthusiasm for another project, although it's undeniably a very worthy cause. If we did it, we'd probably donate all the proceeds to Helga's Hope. That's just how we roll. :)

However, we built the raffle vehicle for the Colorado 4WD Club Association last year, and it ended up requiring a lot of work from club members who are already stretched thin. We also support and maintain several adopted trails.

I'll go ahead and ask some questions that everyone else will want to know:

1) Is it running?

2) How "in pieces" is it?

3) What kind of welding is required? How much rust is there?

4) Pictures -- the more, the better.

5) What's the overall condition of the vehicle? Is it something that will be easy to sell, or does it have saggy springs, a hacked-up interior, ancient tires, etc.

07-21-2008, 04:43 PM
I understand the time thing. If I had a lot of time, I'd have been wheeling the thing long before 2007! :)

Thanks for your kind words about how you guys roll. Even so, if you guys take this on, and decide to want half to go to the club, I'm all for it.

So, to answer your questions:

1) Is it running?

2) How "in pieces" is it?

3) What kind of welding is required? How much rust is there?

4) Pictures -- the more, the better.

5) What's the overall condition of the vehicle? Is it something that will be easy to sell, or does it have saggy springs, a hacked-up interior, ancient tires, etc.

1. Yes, it runs and does so pretty well. It was running a little rich, and probably needed a vacuum problem chased out, but it started right up, and drove nicely.

2. I basically removed the windshield frame, front bumper, bib and fenders and the according pieces (battery tray, washer bottle, etc.) I was making room to work and also hoping to sand and paint the sheet metal on days weather forced me to work inside. It's fairly complete, but needing paint and reassembly. I started out replacing the pre-1974 windshield with a proper one, and fell into "well, while I am at it" syndrome.

3. Typical 1980 thin metal tub. Pretty shot. I was basically planning to patch, paint, and use as a trail rig, not a resto. Hardtop was pretty rusted. When a guy offered me $150 for it, I took the $ and bought a bikini top for $30. Used the rest for the windshield...Frame and front is quite solid, though.

4. Oy. Not many. Aside from my avatar, I'll post the best one I have, but it's still a little out of focus...

5. Overall condition? Meh...trail rig. Decent springs. Fair "Big O" All Season tires on factory rims. One factory seat, one "sports car" seat.

So, we're not talking raffle vehicle quality here. If we can get it to a point where someone can drive it away, wheel it on weekends, and upgrade at will, then hopefully that can be the goal. Other than getting it off of the school's property, time isn't a huge deal at my end. If you guys take on this project, I'm not under any time pressure to sell...

Thanks again!


07-21-2008, 07:04 PM
I have been thinking about this all day and even chatted with Matt about it.

The raffle vehicle was a big endeavor for this club and a few people busted their butt getting it done. As a club, I wouldn't want to take on a project like that anytime soon.

If there are individuals who want to, that's great but we have had a hectic year and I wouldn't ask anyone to do that.

You might be better off putting it up for sale, If I had the space I would make you and offer.

Some one may offer to store it for you in the interim

Good Luck

07-22-2008, 09:07 AM
Fair enough. Thanks for considering anyway. If there are a couple of folks who want to take on a project like this, please let me know. I'll still split the price with you and you can do what you want with your half.

Or, if someone just wants to buy a project outright, I am open.

I guess what I am trying to avoid is what happened when I sold my 78 on CL. (The black one in the background of the above pic) Most folks just wanted to walk around the truck and insult it in hopes I'd just give it to them. I did finally get asking price on it, but only after having to wade through all the BS. This in-pieces project is just begging for folks to come out and do the same--only worse.

Anyway, thanks to both of you as club officers for at least considering the project, and I completely understand why it's not a good time to take this on.

Anyone else? :-)

07-22-2008, 11:22 AM
There are better places to sell than CL. You might try ih8mud.com, and here, of course!

07-22-2008, 12:24 PM
There are better places to sell than CL. You might try ih8mud.com, and here, of course!

Seriously. What would you want for it as-is?

07-22-2008, 08:04 PM
I have seen this rig with my own two eyes around a year or so ago right before Stan moved. Depending on how much more assembly has been done since then, and what come with it to finish, it's probably worth the $2-$4K. There were some rough things, and some nice things. The fact that it runs, drives and has a clear title is a major bonus.

It's actually pretty close to Timm's place - I bet he wouldn't mind another 40 :)

07-22-2008, 08:07 PM
lol...already offered to store it and work on it when I can. :)


07-23-2008, 08:06 PM
Jeff, Thanks for the kind words. I was worried it was only worth that to me! :-)

Timmbuck2, Thank you for taking this on. The Land Cruiser community is half of why I love these vehicles so much!

Take care all, and thanks for helping a friend in need...

07-23-2008, 08:09 PM
And BTW, if anyone finds themselves traveling down I-70 east, Columbia, MO is a good sleep-stop distance from Denver. You are welcome to save a your hotel money and bunk at my place....

07-24-2008, 02:35 AM
If you care to stay involved in the Cruiser world, there is a MO club called Tornado Alley Cruisers. The current TLCA president, Alan Loshbaugh, lives in Columbia.

I grew up in St. Louis, and my parents still live there. My sister lives in Jeff City.

07-24-2008, 09:56 AM
I lived in Collinsville for a year in 8th grade. :) I think Stan knows Alan...

11-24-2008, 10:01 PM
Stan's 40 is about to be towed from the school. I am going to go work on it Friday (maybe wednesday) and get it running and store it at a friends house for awhile. Anyone available to help get a 2f running? Someone who knows engines better than me???



11-24-2008, 10:59 PM
Fuel-air mixture at around the right proportion, compression and spark at around the right time. These are really simple engines and easy to make run. I have a lot of body work planned this weekend, but I could come down and help out. Time/location proposal for Friday? Stan's old school? (pun intended...it's a block from his old house, and 40s are old school technology).

11-24-2008, 11:58 PM
It is a half mile from my house...I would be glad to come help you after we easily get this running. :) I am available all day...will probably try and get an early start...hope to get the bib and aprons re-installed on Wednesday. Also need to put a new starter on, I have several in storage...and a freshly charged used battery...

Thanks as always Jeff!


11-25-2008, 11:47 PM
I'm in. Who else?

11-26-2008, 11:35 AM
When Friday? And are you on for today at all? It isn't too far from me.

11-26-2008, 11:58 AM
I will probably be there by 8:30ish on Friday. I am headed over there now, but not sure how long I will be there. Call my cell for more info...
threeothree sixonenine fourosevenfive

11-26-2008, 01:36 PM
I missed the message earlier. Wont be available the rest of the day. Will get in touch Friday if I can make it.

11-26-2008, 05:41 PM
It appears my :Princess: may have other plans for me that day. I will keep you posted.

11-26-2008, 07:27 PM
thanks for the info Jeff. I spent a couple of hours working on it today putting everything back together. I just need to put a starter in and the battery and battery tray and we are ready to get it running. If jeff can't make it I hope someone else with more engine knowledge than me is around. Did I mention free pizza and beer!?!?! :)


11-28-2008, 07:12 PM
Timm and I got her running and driving today. Not without a few issues. On the way down, I popped a heater hose and had to pull over to duct-tape the split and refill with coolant. Then, back on my way and all was fine.

Timm had a fully charged red top installed when I got there. As it was, the rig had no starter and he had to go get one from his stash and install it, he had already finished that when I got there. There was no proper stud in the bellhousing, so he made do with a DIN/ISO head bolt, but couldn't get it fully installed due to the head size. The bottom bolt was good and tight though. Then, one of the battery cables had no nut, so we pulled the SAE bolt and installed an M8 with nut. The other one wouldn't fit over the battery terminal (terminal too small, cable clamp too big, even fully tightened), but we found a drywall screw laying on the ground and screwed it into the gap to make good contact.

We checked the oil, and the level was good. With electrical power now functioning, we turned her over. So far so good. Sprayed some starter spray into the carb and she started right up! Once some fuel got pumped into the carb, she ran well on the fresh gas Timm had put into the tank. Then we noticed a puddle forming underneath and I had Timm shut her down. Turns out the rubber fuel line between the hard line and the filter was cracked and spewing (the mechanical pump had been replaced with an electric pump somewhere upstream, normally the only pressure here is head pressure).

We went to the parts store and got a new length of fuel line (and some 5/8" heater hose for me), along with a couple gallons of 50/50. Turns out it needed the 50/50, there was no coolant in her and she needed all of it and then some. We replaced the fuel line and started her up again, ran her up to operating temperature and then noticed coolant spewing from where a heater hose was unconnected. We reconnected the hose and started her up again, then noticed coolant spewing from the hard line to the rear heater. We bypassed the entire heater system by connecting the heater hose where it exits the head directly to the hard line at the side cover by the distributor. The hard line for the rear heater will either need to be repaired or replaced. Also the rear heater core was weeping, again, repair or replace. This rig still has a number of issues, including a major exhaust leak where the manifold meets the downpipe, hopefully a new donut will solve that.

Now we started her up again, and drove forward a few feet and back. Looking good! Brakes, clutch and tranny seem to work, engine runs, coolant and fuel leaks are in check and she seems ready to go. All in all, a good day's cruiser work! She'll be quite drivable from the school back to Timm's place.

11-28-2008, 07:16 PM
OBTW, Timm took two in the head for the team. He konked his head when he was tightening the lower starter bolt before I got there, and then konked it again on the suspension when he was checking something else underneath.

12-03-2008, 05:44 PM
My sincerest thanks to you guys, esp. Timm and Jeff. I appreciate this more than words can say. :bowdown:

12-05-2008, 11:39 AM
I am very happy to help. I am just so glad I am finally able to start giving back to the local Land Cruiser community. I am doing what I can on the national level, but it is so cool to be able to give back locally...I had so many Rising Sun people help get me started...